My family’s reaction to Efe’s sudden departure was as if I’d killed Jesus. My father and I had a very terse, one-way conversation that made me feel I was a poison. My mother wondered whom she had offended that has now washed my head clean of reason. My sister’s judgment was very loud in her silence.
Funnily, my only sympathizers were my in-laws. They even offered to drive me to the airport but I was so numbed by everything I chose to take a cab until my sister practically shoved me in her car and drove me. The long flight was the worst of my life. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t think straight.
For the first time in a long time, I felt like I overplayed my hand. Efe has been very wrong and is the source of all our problems. But, like my sister kept saying on the way to the airport, she had done everything to change her ways. She had left wealth and comfort for a chance to repair our marriage.
But, I’d been too deaf and blind to all her efforts. I had moved on and my future was decided in my eyes. Now, as I sat in the plane, I saw the opportunities I missed to retain the upper hand. Now, in this big drama of my life, I was not in control anymore.
I was actually scared to face Efe alone. The last time I saw her, she looked like a woman that had gone round the bend. I wouldn’t be shocked if she had a shotgun, cocked and waiting to go off as soon as I showed up. I thought of calling Lori but decided against it. So, I called my lawyer.
“Dude, you need to do this alone. You don’t me there lawyering you up,” he said.
“I was just thinking she may be up to some of her normal hanky-panky. It may help to have you there,” I replied.
“I seriously doubt that from all I’ve heard. But, if she does, call the cops. That would be a nail in the coffin,” he said and hung up.
I called Zoey.
“Hey, man – you kind of fucked up. Handle you shit. We’ll talk later,” she said tersely, which was shocking.
But, that’s Efe for you. She wins people over rather quickly. Now, I felt really alone.
Even though she’d been in America a mere sixteen hours ahead of me, Efe was already packing up her stuff when the cab dropped me off in front of our house. She wasn’t surprised to see me.
“Hope you had a good flight,” she greeted, more for the kids that had ran out to greet me.
“Yeah, thanks” I replied.
“We’re moving, Daddy! Mommy said we’re going to have two houses,” my son said excitedly.
“Really?” I replied.
“Yes. Our new house is after the El Pollo Loco after the freeway. We have a swimming pool,” my son continued, still very excited.
“Can we talk about all this?” I asked Efe.
“What’s there to talk about? You wanna help us move?” Efe joked.
“My brother, there is nothing to talk about. You made your choice and it’s just taken a little long for me to join the program.”
“My brother!” I’m not sure if that was subconscious or deliberate but somehow I felt that classification just told me Efe has moved on. And, suddenly, I wasn’t too sure if that’s what I want. Or, maybe it was because I seem to have lost the initiative.
‘Please,” I begged.
“Hey, guys – go play outside,” Efe told the kids who needed no further urging to dash to the backyard.
Efe pulled up a chair and waved me into it. Then she sat on the floor and looked at me.
“Can I talk?” she asked.
“Sure,” I replied.
“I have to apologize to you. We had a good marriage, not great but who does? I should have been happy with what I had. But, I was selfish. I wanted quick money. And, I think I also wanted some kind of security for my kids and family. Sometimes, it still haunts me if I did the right thing and if I should have been contented with what we had,” Efe began.
“But, you know what I did I did for us. I knew about all the movements in the accounts. I know I have a peculiar situation so I paid someone in the bank to help me keep an eye on my accounts. I could have stopped all your moves if I wanted. But, I didn’t. You wanna know why?”
“Because in my mind that money was for us, for our family. I just wanted to make sure that white woman was not controlling it. As soon as I knew it was you and your private investigator, I was fine with it.
“I knew I was wrong and I begged you. God, I begged you. I even went home to talk to your parents, your parents who have an intense dislike for me. You should see how I was received. It was like I had killed the family’s favorite child. But, credit to Baba and Mama, they listened to me and they understood what I’d done.”
“Then, you came and I begged you. But, you were so focused on showing I was a devil you didn’t even listen. Then, to make matters worse, you believed I tried to have you kidnapped. Why would I kidnap anybody? Why would I want to take my husband’s life?”
She paused. I took it as a sign that I should say something.
“Can I say something now?” I asked.
“Yes. But, answer me this, how would you feel if I accuse you of trying to kill me?” she asked.
I had no answer.
“You know I was thinking on my flight here that since all this started you’ve been talking and I’ve been listening. I’ve done everything I feel will help our marriage. But, you know what? You’ve not listened to whatever I have to say since this started. It’s like you’re on the altar and you just rain the sermon down at me,” she continued.
“Well, you got your wish. You want a new life and you got it. You may think I’m just saying this because I’m angry but I’m not. I’m at complete peace now. I have two kids, I have my health, I have my family and thank God you’re healthy too. I really wish you the best with your new oyinbo woman. I know you love your kids and we’ll make it work somehow.”
“I think you’re making a hasty decision, Efe” I heard myself say.
“Hasty? You mean I should wait until they serve me a divorce notice? See, I’m a Nigerian woman. I respect the fact that this is your house and I’m moving out. Thank God I have some money,” she replied.
“I’ve been thinking, Efe. We should leave things as it is for a little while. We have to sort this Temi thing out you know and it’s better if we’re united,” I counseled.
“It’s okay. I talked to Zoey already and I let her know we’re separating. She told me it won’t affect anything with the Temi case. Besides, Temi is really more my problem than yours,” she said.
“She had me kidnapped!” I snapped.
“Yes, to get at me, and I’m sorry for that,” she replied as she got up and started packing.
“You sure this is what you want?” I asked.
“No, my dear, this is what you want, remember? The biggest obstacle to your happiness is about to leave you alone. Abeg, my movers are here. Let me go and attend to them,” she said.
With that, she let in four huge movers.
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I thought it was strange my kidnappers took off a few minutes before I was rescued. But, in this game between Temi and Efe, if you stick your neck too far out, it’s gonna get chopped off fast.
It turned out Temi suddenly got a sixth sense something was not right. She called every number she had for Efe, me and our families but no one was picking up. Temi doesn’t believe in destiny or coincidences. She makes or wrecks destinies and coincidences are for failures in her eyes.
Temi gave the order. She asked that I be killed and the kidnappers disappear to the holes they came out of. But, what she didn’t know was that all her lines were scrambled. As soon as she gave the order, Zoey was on the line to the air force officer.
“You have the location?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am” he replied.
“Do you have a man with him on the roof yet?”
“No, that would be a problem. I have a change of plan. I have two snipers on a rooftop and a tree on either sides of the building. If anyone goes up there with a gun, he’s dead meat.”
“How far are you away from the building?”
“We’re on the street. Just waiting for the kidnappers to clear out.”
“Move in and arrest them.”
“No, we’re drawing them out. Too dangerous for Abu if there’s a fire fight.”
Five minutes after that call, the kidnappers hurried out. They were stopped at what looked like a routine police checkpoint by a couple of policemen, one of whom was busy fast asleep. As soon as the cars stopped, air force officers came out of hiding with their guns blazing. The kidnappers didn’t have a chance. They were all captured.
I got back to my parents’ house about thirty minutes after that. I was relieved but I was incensed. I couldn’t wait to tear into Efe. On the ride back, I had everything worked out. I even put a quick call to the love of my life, Lori. I was going to America and we were going to start our lives together.
When I got home, it took all the resolve in me to maintain my cool and not strangle Efe. But, she knew from my words and deeds that any brick left in the bridge between us just fell into the river. We were done.
It took several minutes but finally Efe and I were alone in a room together.
“Did you really believe I arranged to have you kidnapped?” Efe asked.
“I don’t think it, Efe. I’m tired of all your games. I know you and Temi did this and I will prove it and nail both of you,” I replied coldly.
“Wow,” Efe replied and looked like she was in some shock.
I’ve seen a lot of fakery in this lifetime but Efe tops it in every category.
“You’re right, Abu. When there is no trust, there cannot be anything. I called a lawyer in LA. I will grant you the divorce and waive the required wait for counseling. You’re in a hurry to re-start your life and it’s useless for me trying to delay the inevitable. God knows I’ve tried hard for many months now. Now, I realize I have been wasting my time. So, I don’t know if I should say congratulations or good luck or both. But, I will take my kids,” she declared.
“No, we will split custody,” I charged back.
“No woman is going to raise my children while I’m alive, Abu. You can stay close enough to us, if you want. But, you can go and marry your white girl. I’m tired. I’m tired of begging you and trying to let you see I made a terrible mistake I regret. If you think in a billion years that I will arrange for the kidnap of my husband, the father of my children, you’re either dumb or wicked. Either way, I don’t want to be a part of this anymore. I have my kids. I will spend my life raising them as best as I can. Maybe that is what God wants for me at this stage.”
‘Listen, Efe – you can make this easy or hard. But, I have good lawyers and I will have sole or joint custody of my kids. You can take anything you want.”
“Anything I want?” she snickered. “You are so blind you can’t even see beyond your nose. If I wanted money or property, I’ll be with Temi. I was already better than her in her businesses. I left it all for a chance to get my family together.”
“You’re so full of it. You think this is a game? You think you can do and undo? This is real life and there are consequences,” I shot back.
“I wish you all the best. I sincerely do. I will leave for Los Angeles in two days with my kids. You can come whenever you like. I won’t even deny you of your house. We will move out and leave the house to you. Just give me a couple of days to sort myself out,” she said, opened the door, walked out and closed it softly.
A couple of minutes later, my father walked in looking like a heavyweight boxer moving in for the kill.
“What just happened?” he asked.
“Taking care of business, Dad. Efe and I are through,” I told him frimly.
“Without Efe you’ll be dead”
“No, Dad – I’m here by the grace of God. Efe and her friend, Temi tried to get me killed.”
“No, my son. It was because of Efe that we found you. Without her, God forbid, we’ll be planning your funeral now.”
“You don’t understand, Dad.”
“I do, son. I was here. I saw it all play out. The girl may be tough to handle. But, show me which woman is not and I’ll show you a liar.”
My father narrated the whole ordeal that had led to my release. When he was done, I didn’t know if to cry or scream. I was so confused my head was throbbing in pain. I knew there was one thing to do – go after Efe and try to keep her close.
I was ready to beg her and take her back because I need her to be calm so she can come with me to America. Once there, I can let the law take its course. Already my lawyer has filed for a divorce. I have Lori in my corner and we can prove we will be better parents for my kids. I have so much against Efe she would have no choice but to give me custody. If she fights it, I was ready to escoryt her to jail.
But, Efe had disappeared. No one knew where she was. Even her parents were confused. Everyone said she came out of the room after our conversation in tears. Then, she picked up her bag, took a car key and drove into the night.
I was so tired I went to sleep. Everyone was sure Efe would return in the morning and we can all beg her. I lied to our families that I had discovered my folly and I was prepared to have a second honeymoon just to save my marriage.
I was nudged awake around mid-morning. I was so groggy I didn’t even know where I was. Then, my sister’s face came into focus.
“Efe and the kids are gone,” she announced calmly.
I was reassured by her calmness so I simply nodded and rolled.
“Did you hear what I said? They’re gone,” my sister said again.
“It’s okay. They’ll be back or we’ll go to her parents’ house,” I mumbled.
“She’s gone to America. She came back around three and took the kids. Everyone was still asleep and the housemaids thought she was just taking them home. They never went to her family house. They went straight to the airport and took Virgin to London. She asked her friend to tell us two hours after she was in the air. Even Efe’s parents had no clue,” my sister said.
I sat up in bed. Now, I’m really in a mess. Efe has taken charge of this saga again.
“There’s one more thing,” my sister said as she handed me a manila envelope. “Her friend brought this. It’s a copy of the divorce document. She signed her part.”
My God! I gotta get backl to America right away!
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Efe ordered my sister to keep a close watch on my father. If the man went into the bathroom, my mother followed him. If he goes to get water himself, my sister snatched the cup from him and poured him another. When it was time for him to take his vitamins, my sister actually made sure they were vitamins.
“You all should move back to Nigeria where there is reality,” my father joked after I’d been released and was told of Efe anti-suicide safeguard measures. “Why would I kill myself because of one stupid boy?”
It was during that whole drama that I called and got Efe. Instead of working with her, I who needed help, was fighting her. I couldn’t trust her.
Around that time, Temi was getting worried that there was not much action from my family. She had calculated that Efe would know what’s up and get in contact. Temi’s plan was simple – she wanted the money she claims Efe stole from her and, as a condition for my release, she would force Efe to continue working for her until she was ready to let her go.
If Efe refuses her terms, Temi’s decision was simple – she would have me killed and pass some off Efe’s records to the police. Efe would be too scared to return to America and Temi was sure she could access her account and reclaim her money.
Efe was five steps ahead of everyone, including Temi. She didn’t pick up any of the strange calls. She was so sure they were coming from Temi because the numbers were all blocked. But, it was a double-edged sword. There was no way she could have known if it was the kidnappers trying for a ransom. In Efe’s reasoning, if the kidnappers really wanted to talk, they will call my sister or parents too since she was sure they had those numbers.
Then, I called again. Efe was smart enough to know I won’t talk to her so she gave the phone to my sister. My sister talked long enough for Zoey to activate the trace on the phone.
Zoey was far away in America so she needed a local guide. The air force officer came in handy. But, there was a problem. The trace was connected to Google maps. Now, Lagos is not such a great place to navigate. Google map may claim something was in Ikeja while in actual fact it was closer to Festac town.
In this case, Google map claimed the call was coming from somewhere in Isolo. The air force officer was certain this couldn’t be right. The call was in a densely populated area of Isolo in Lagos and someone would have noticed something fishy. Zoey not being Nigerian and a worshiper of technology got into a big argument with the officer. Finally, my father stepped in.
“Where do you think he can be?” my father asked the officer.
“I don’t know. But, definitely not here,” the officer replied.
“Why don’t we check it out then, just to eliminate it?” my father asked the officer.
The officer was on his way when Temi called the kidnappers again. Zoey monitored the calls and realized it was coming from another area. Worse, it was a moving call. The kidnappers were on the move. Then, the trace disappeared. But, it proved the air force officer right. It also made Zoey trust the officer some more.
“I’m gonna e-mail a program to you, download it and upload it on your phone. I have the numbers the kidnappers are calling from. If you call from there, we may get a better signal,” Zoey told the officer.
Thirty minutes later, the program was uploaded on the officer’s phone. He called the kidnapper’s phone.
“Hello?” a voice answered.
“What’s going on? I’m still waiting for you guys to show up?’ the officer said.
“Show up where?” the surprised voice replied.
“Ah, ha, is this what we agreed on? Let me talk to Bros,” the officer continued, his eyes brightening as the trace came on.
“What Bros, who is this?’
“Stop this nonsense. Abeg, put uncle Duke on the line.”
“Which uncle Duke? Who is this?”
“Okay, stop this joke! I’m sitting here at Kafanchan junction with the bags of yam and there’s no one to pick me up as agreed. If I don’t get this bags to Asaba before the traditional wedding begins tomorrow afternoon, no one should blame me O!”
“You have the wrong the number!” the voice on the other end snapped and hung up.
A few minutes later, my phone rang as I hid in the filthy bathroom on top of the building.
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Zoey was getting really antsy. She’s an officer who, once she has the suspect in hand, goes by the book. The suspect is arrested, she’s brought in, read her rights in a version of the English language that’s as ambiguous as Latin, gets scared to hell and spills major beans.
But, the pastor’s wife was not playing by the book. She was more of a tougher puzzle than the toughest New York Times crossword puzzle. And, it was driving Zoey insane. She knew now that the circle now includes the pastor’s wife whom she can’t fully control, I’m in more danger than ever. She badly wanted to crack the case.
Zoey reached out and called her new best friend, Efe. Or, as she told me later, “the best criminal I’ve ever met or a genius, I’m thinking more of the former so ‘to catch a thief, romance a thief’”
Efe was ready for the call. Although it’s only been a few hours since the pastor’s wife was turned, she had been busy emailing and texting all she knows to Zoey. She had practically held sleep hostage until further notice.
“Tell me what she said,” Efe ordered Zoey.
“It’s true I manage these companies but I don’t know anything,” she’d cried to Zoey a few hours after Zoey had surprised her in the kitchen.
“You’re fine or you’ll be fine if you do what I say. I don’t care about your money or business, I just want to get on Temi’s phone,” Zoey said.
“That’s what I’m saying. She stopped making calls or taking calls,” the pastor’s wife replied.
“You know that’s bullshit. No one stays off the phone.”
“I swear. Here let me call her”.
She proceeded to call all of Temi’s five phone numbers and all went into voice mail. Zoey was at a dead end. She knew the pastor’s wife was lying but she didn’t know how to prove it.
For once Efe was lost for ideas. Temi is a woman who lived on the phone and she knew she was using a phone. She needed time to unlock this knotty part but she had no time. In thirty-six hours they would need a court order to tap the lines they may need.
Zoey confessed she was thinking of formally letting the agency handle the court case. Efe wanted to know what that meant and Zoey spat out the dreaded words, “ bureaucracy takes over and we may be on the forever train.”
Efe was still processing the dreadful thought when she looked out the window and noticed something curious from an innocent exchange on the street.
A girl’s phone was ringing. Instead of answering it, she gave it to her boyfriend. It was a gag, probably a gag on a mutual friend.
But, Efe saw it differently. Only Efe sees these things. Her brain is like a clock on the devil’s wrist.
“Are you still with her?” Efe asked.
“Yeah. She’s in the coffee shop. I just stepped into the bathroom to make this call,” Zoey replied.
“Ask her to call her husband’s phone,” Efe said.
“What? Why? The point is that he doesn’t know!” Zoey shot back.
“The pastor is a man of God. He’s close to untouchable. If Temi wants to hide, where’s she gonna hide?” Efe reasoned.
Zoey stopped thinking. Everything Efe had suggested had worked. It was almost like she was working from the inside or someone who turned but came out with the playbook. Zoey had the pastor’s phone number and called it.
“Hello,” the very familiar voice of Temi answered on the other line.
Zoey pretended she was a telemarketer. Temi snapped the phone shut. Zoey didn’t even bother reporting back to Efe. She marched back into the café.
“You are in deep trouble, ma’am. You’re coming with me to the agency,” Zoey coldly told the pastor’s wife who burst into tears.
Once she realized the game was up, the pastor’s wife sang like a broken record. Temi had moved her operating base to the gas station run by the pastor, a station that is actually owned by her. She uses the phone when at the gas station but when she was home, she was using pre-paid phone lines registered under fake, Latin names. To the naked eye, Temi was on vacation and hanging around the pastor.
Because Temi didn’t trust anyone, she bought the phones herself. Efe knew Temi’s routine. She hated mixing with commoners – doing it in church or when the press is there was one thing but really mixing with those from the streets was out of the question. She always felt poor people carry diseases. She should know because she wasn’t born rich and she used to ride the buses on the east coast before she moved west and struck it rich.
Efe knew Temi would only stop over in a grocery store that carried a pre-paid phone cards. She also knew she won’t do it in daylight when someone may recognize her. More importantly she knew she would do it on any exit with a grocery store on the 210 freeway between Fontana and the 605 exit. Zoey got to work and within minutes was able to narrow Efe’s hunches to three exits. Within the hour, she got the video footage of the stores from dusk to dawn.
Efe was wrong. Zoey did not buy the cards in one store. She bought it in all three stores on the night Efe left for Nigeria. And, she looked very upset too. It felt like she just discovered Efe was gone, about ten hours after she’s been in the air. Better still, the pastor and his wife were with her.
“You should be very scared of your wife, Abu. What you think you know is not always true,” Zoey told me later.
One of the phones was the one in regular contact with the kidnappers. Jackpot!
But, then the confusion started. Once my father was told the latest, he demanded Temi be arrested and forced to reveal my location.
“It’s a little dangerous, sir,” Zoey warned on the phone.
“What is dangerous? This is as clear as A, B, C. She’s behind it. Arrest her,” my father shouted into the phone at Zoey as if he paid her salary.
Zoey refused, Efe backed her. My father disowned Efe and threatened to call the police in.
“What police?” my sister asked sarcastically. “The same police that was looking at us at the bus stop as the kidnappers hijacked our car? Abeg daddy, I’m with Efe – let the professionals do their jobs.”
That knocked my father back onto the couch. He wasn’t used to been helpless. He broke into tears. A man close to 70 crying is a near abomination.
“I asked him to come home and see what has happened. He would be okay if he was in America right now,” my father cried.
“It’s okay, sir, he’s going to be okay,” Efe assured my father.
“I’m sorry, my daughter. I was just trying to help. I was trying to be a father,” my father continued and reminded her that he was “re-owning” her again.
By now everyone was in tears. Even the air force officer who had just walked in to help took a look at the room of weepers and joined in.
“You are a good father,” Efe reassured my father in tears.
“What kind of father can’t protect his son?” my father asked.
That set off a new round of crying. Now, I was not just the problem. My father was too. Efe who watches so much reality television in America and reads every junk magazine in the supermarket aisles recognized something instantly.
My father was suicidal.
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It’s a huge mistake to cross Efe. Huge! I used to think she’s like a cobra but I think she’s worse. She’s the scariest combination of human intelligence and machine, like a submarine – down there in the ocean, no one knowing it’s there but it’s observing you, gathering information and waiting for the right moment to strike.
Efe doesn’t go to war or play without a game plan. She knows a fun session can turn into war quickly and she is always prepared. She figured she may be forced to leave Temi’s underworld organization from the moment Temi trusted her enough to bring her in. She did what normal people won’t think of. She hired a nerdy kid to constantly back up their computer files, phone records and store them away in the bank.
She knew a woman like Temi plays dirty and was sure that when the time comes, she would need the law on her side. Only Efe thinks like that, a criminal thinking of a bailout by the law!
One of the first things she did was look for the people Temi trusted. It was a difficult thing because Temi did not trust anyone. Sometimes, she didn’t even trust herself enough. The one man she trusted was Temi’s ex and he had been so burnt, sometimes Efe thought the man was better dead. But, trust Efe, she kept him close, really close.
Efe noticed that she was constantly around the pastor. She realized this even before she joined her business. The pastor did whatever she wanted, even running a false interference when we first started having our problems. I later found out that was the moment Efe was upgrading Temi’s escort ring from a small call service to a company that services the who is who-in-politics, sports, business and entertainment in Los Angeles and for visiting foreign dignitaries and African leaders.
Temi did not want any distraction and was worried Efe may abandon everything for love. So, she brought the pastor in. The pastor basically told Efe she was obeying a directive from God by helping Temi.
“Tell me, sister Efe, how did you know you will be here, at this time to meet sister Temi if God, the all-knowing and all-seeing, had not ordained it? You could have been anywhere in the United States,” the pastor said.
“God is good,” Efe who was busy thinking about coming riches answered subconsciously.
Efe thought it was weird that a man of God was under the thumbs of a woman of evil. Normally, she wouldn’t have cared. But, Efe was deathly scared of Temi, a feeling reinforced when she got deeper into the organization and saw how Temi routinely used, dumped and destroyed people.
But, what she couldn’t quite figure out was what the pastor had to gain. Temi didn’t really fill the till on Sundays. Sure she was good to church members, sponsored this and that but it was too little to have such influence. Then, she hit the jackpot when the church’s leader from Nigeria visited. The man stayed at Temi’s place and rode in Temi’s cars. Efe figured out that there was a link between Temi and the church leader and it had nothing to do with God.
Try as hard as she did she couldn’t find any illicit link between the church leader and Temi or the pastor and Temi for that matter. The church leader had enough money to fund a bank and rode a jet in Nigeria because everyone like him had one. The pastor on the other hand was surviving. Sure, he has a house, rode a nice car and his kids were in good schools. But, he barely made enough from his pastoral duties and works as a part-time manager at a gas station.
Efe kept digging until she stumbled on a break though. The pastor’s wife hated Temi. But, she often disguised it with a fake smile, false hugs and back slaps. One day after a women’s fellowship, the pastor’s wife was bad mouthing Temi in the parking lot and Efe felt it was odd.
“Some people walk around like they don’t have shit in their yansh,” the pastor’s wife said.
She and Efe were standing alone. Efe had just started working for Temi. Efe was surprised because she didn’t know who the pastor’s wife was talking about. Then, she looked up and saw the pastor and Temi talking inside the church.
“She comes in here and expects everything to stop for her,” the pastor’s wife continued.
Efe didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know if it was a set up because she was sure the pastor’s wife knew she was Temi’s new personal assistant/business manager – the reason she was waiting in the parking lot to start with. Efe has a strong radar for gossip and mischief so, she decided to play along.
“She’s actually not a bad person when you get to know her,” Efe replied.
“You’re like every member here. She gives you a hundred dollars and you think she’s God,” the pastor’s wife scoffed.
Efe was so sure now it was a set up. But, a set up for what? Was sister Temi trying to test her loyalty. But, how can that be since these two women do not like each other and everyone in church knew it? Something wasn’t right and Efe knew she had to find out or she may be toast.
Efe allowed the woman to drone on and didn’t commit herself. Temi finished with the pastor, walked over and hugged the pastor’s wife. They got into the car and drove away. Temi never asked Efe what she was discussing with the pastor’s wife. Efe almost said something about the encounter but Temi seemed to be waiting for it.
“Nothing, ma” Efe has replied when Temi asked what was up.
Efe was in so much turmoil she couldn’t sleep that night.
After service the next Sunday, Efe asked the pastor’s wife to lunch. They met the next day.
“I’m having problems with my husband,” Efe confessed to the pastor’s wife.
“Really? You know this is a tough country. What you have is not a problem but a challenge?” the pastor’s wife comforted her.
“He’s just cold. We argue all the time and now we’re fighting,” Efe insisted.
“Is it physical?” the pastor’s wife asked.
“No, except when I push him”.
“Does he push back?”
“No. Abu would never do that!”
“Well, in case he does you know you can always call 911. You have to teach these men a lesson sometimes.”
A pastor’s wife and the head of the “married couples for Jesus” group of the church campaigning against marriage. Problem one.
Then, they went into the real reason why Efe had come there – Temi.
“You know I work for Sister Temi now?” Efe began.
“Really?” the pastor’s wife replied in shock even though the pastor had congratulated her publicly in church for the job a few Sundays before.
“Yes, she was really kind to take me in.”
“What do you do for her?”
“A little bit of this and that, still getting my feet wet.”
“Good for you.”
“Thanks. I just wanted to ask, you’ve known her for a while. How do I deal with her because God knows I don’t want to loose this job? I have to support my husband”.
“Well, what does she do? I mean what business are you in?”
“Real estate,” Efe lied.
The pastor’s wife paused. It was so short a normal person wouldn’t know this. But, when Efe is like this, she’s not normal. She’s almost alien. She felt the pause meant something. Later on, she found out that pause was for the pastor’s wife to figure out if Efe knew more than she was letting on. She decided Efe was really on the margins and was too dumb to figure out what was in front of her in the organization.
“Then study everything on real estate. I think she will appreciate that. She’s a tireless worker, you know,” the pastor’s wife finally replied.
What the pastor’s wife didn’t know what that the nerdy kid in the booth next to them is Efe’s techie guy. When the pastor’s went to the bathroom, Efe swapped her phone with an exact replica and passed it to the nerd. The nerd in turn backed up the phone.
When the nerd was done he dropped the phone and slid it across the desk. Efe pretended she was eager to help, bumped the table, slid the replica phone on the floor and clumsily grabbed both phones. She gave the replica to the nerd and the real one to the pastor’s wife.
The nerd got up and walked away.
“These Americans! No respect at all!,” the pastor’s wife half spat in disgust.
Ninety minutes later, the nerdy kid gave Efe the contents of the pastor’s wife cell phone and it was a shocker.
The phone was filled with messages from Temi’s special phone. The pastor and his wife were running Temi’s money laundering businesses. The man of God was in bed with the devil’s mistress.
That was the wisest $500 Efe had ever spent.
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