2200 Hours, Dan’s Club…
DAN’S Club was a landmark in the region. It was known for the caliber of people it attracted from the city and beyond. The colourful lights from its signboard sent flashy beams that tore through the darkness of the night announcing its presence in the vicinity. It was general knowledge that Dan’s was a place exclusively reserved for the elite. I was certain that if Mark was out partying, he was most likely to be in this club.
We arrived at Dan’s Club after a brief ride. Our unmarked taxi drove into the embrace of the high hip-hop music that floated in the cold, wet air that reeked of alcohol and cigarette. We located a free parking space as our driver killed the engine of the car.
Where is Mark? He never missed his Friday night parties. I recalled the various stories, most of which were exaggerations, he often told us about his nightclub escapades. This was the climax of his life and he was pretty religious about it.
I scanned through the compound. All the parked cars were exotic; there was no way I could differentiate his from others’. I was careful about having him see me first; the success of my mission was tied to the preservation of his belief that I was not in the scene – dead or arrested.
The Mark I knew would want to stand out. He would want to be noticed. In a place like this, the use of money may not bring him out of the crowd as every other person in the club obviously had enough of it. I knew that he would not mind going to any extent to make sure he was seen.
Just then, a red-coloured Toyota Highlander drove past us as it searched for a free space to settle in. As it drove through, my eyes stayed glued on it. There was something peculiar about it; it was not its beauty or massiveness, rather, it was the number plate. It had a customized gold plate; on it was written ABDUL001.
Eureka! I had found it. The number plates had the answer to our quest. Whatever Mark drove would be having his name – or some sort of signature – boldly written on his plates.
“Julie, would you mind stepping out with me?” I said to Juliet.
“No, I wouldn’t,” she replied.
We exited the car and walked through the compound hand-in-hand. As we walked, we talked and laughed, a little bit too loudly some times, nudging each other in a romantic manner. She pulled me to her side as she placed her head on my right shoulder with her hand curled around my waist.
“What are we up to?” She whispered.
“Just walk along…and keep loving,” I said.
As we walked through, my gaze moved from one plate to the other in search of anything that would indicate Mark’s presence: Mark. Mark-Man. Mark001.
“Excuse me, please,” a voice called from behind.
“That’s a prohibited area. You may want to turn back now,” a security agent said through a thick, masculine voice.
As we walked back to the car, my gaze met a plate bearing MK-01. It was a relieving sight to behold. Mark was in the building.
“What do we do now?” Juliet asked.
“We go in.”
The smells of smoke and sweat masked with perfume streamed into my nostrils as we entered the party hall. The atmosphere vibrated to the beats of the blazing music as people of different sizes and shapes danced in the crowded stage. Holding Juliet by the hand, we squeezed through the pulsating crowd as we searched for a free table to settle down.
We found a free spot just across the dance stage.
“At what point would you tell me exactly what I’m to do here?” Juliet spoke at the top of her voice as she tried to beat the sound of the music.
“We are looking for a young man in his late twenties,” I said. “He’s dark in complexion with prominent musculature.”
She gave a hard laugh.
“Why are you laughing?” I queried.
“You mean you brought me here to look for a young man in his late twenties, dark in complexion with prominent musculature?” She said.
“Yea, I still don’t get why you are laughing,” I said.
“There are over fifty men here that suit your description!” She said.
“Oh!” I exclaimed.
“Are you serious or you are fooling around?” She said.
“I’m dead serious,” I assured her. “I understand that my description is loose but you must know that, my target would announce his presence at the appropriate time,” I said.
She seemed dissatisfied.
“May I get you a drink?” I tried to ease the building tension.
Her smile returned almost immediately.
I knew it would be a futile attempt to look for Mark in the crowd. I figured that the best way to get Mark was to monitor the bar. He was bound to get some drinks, at one point or the other.
We sat for about ten minutes as we discussed, laughed, and teased as any pair of lovers would. As we did all these, my eyes stayed fixed to the bar in expectation of Mark’s emergence.
We ran into luck after another ten minutes. I saw him walk towards the bar as he picked a free stool and sat… to be continued…
This story was excerpted from ‘Condemned’- a Crime and Action Thriller Story by Babema Amaye-Igonikon,.
Condemned is now selling at okadabooks.com for N200 only. Please click here to get your copy NOW.