It was just another night. Nii Kotey lay quietly in the canoe on the Sakumono beach, hopeful it was going to be a peaceful night as usual.
It was well past midnight. A light breeze was blowing. He tucked himself very well under the fishing net, feeling warm under it. He had decided to stay on at the beach till the rest of the crew turn up at 4:30 am for their usual early morning fishing expedition.
Sleeping in one of the canoes was a habit he had developed since childhood. The beach and the sea were environments he was very comfortable with. His residence was some 600 metres away from the beach but it was at the beach that he always felt at home.
Nii Kotey was finally drifting off into sleep when he heard a sound. Initially, he thought his ears had tricked him but soon, the sound became more audible; a car! He raised himself into a sitting position and peered into the darkness. He saw a car approaching.
About ten metres away from where his canoe and others were, it stopped. He waited with bated breath, wondering who it was that will come to the beach at that time of the night. Just then, he heard another sound – another car was coming towards where the first car was. Like the first car, this approaching one too had its lights off. It was the light provided by the moon that made the vehicles visible.
The second car came to park by the first. Nii began to sense trouble when no one came out of the two cars: they just stayed by each other with nobody coming out. Then he heard the sound of another vehicle; a third car!
“What is it? A gang of armed robbers coming to share their loot at the beach or a group of people coming to perform rituals?” he asked himself. As a fisherman, he had on many occasions seen people come to the beach to perform rituals. But gut feelings was that this was not a group that had come to perform any spiritual exercise.
The third car came to park by the other two. Then their doors opened and the men stepped out.
“Nice place to choose for this kind of meeting,” Nii heard one of the men say.
“Yeah. I have been here once to survey the area. No prying eyes here at night. We can talk without fear of being overheard.”
“Very good. Assassinating a Vice-President is not an easy task. Our plot is perfect. Our sources at National Security and the Presidency are ready to make the final move”, another voice said. Suddenly, a cold chill run through Nii Kotey's body: it was clear to him that the group and others were planning to assassinate Vice-President Gertrude Mensah!
He felt his heart begin to beat rapidly as the import of what the men were discussing dawned on him. He strained his ears so he could hear every word they were saying.
One of the men brought out a pack of cigarette and pulled a stick out of it. As he held a lighter to the cigarette that now dangled from his lips, the glow from the lighter revealed his face. He was not somebody Nii knew. He wore a beard and was very fair in complexion.
“I don't think anything will go wrong” the tallest of the three men said. The boss' plan for this operation is perfect. And it will be very easy. One it is done, we shall all become rich forever. There is Plan One, Plan Two and Plan Three. As decided, the main plan will see the Veep being eliminated at the Presidency by one of her own at the Presidency. If that fails, we shall activate Plan Two; a bomb in her vehicle will end it all for her. And if that too fails, we shall turn to Plan Three; get our Vietnamese friend to take her out at the Independence Day parade.
He is already in the country but only the boss knows where he is lodging at the moment. I am sure it will not come to Plans Two or Three. Plan One is perfect. The person the boss chose to finish the Veep is the last person she will ever suspect will assassinate her. And no one will suspect her afterwards”.
The man with the beard roared with laughter. But his laughter turned into a terrible cough. He coughed violently for a while.
“You have to stop smoking” the shortest of the three advised.
“Oh boy, you are right. These cancer sticks will kill me. After the operation, when we all take the long holiday as decided, I will check into a rehab centre in the US so I will be assisted to quit this habit. I need to quit before I die leaving all the money I am making to someone else” the bearded man said.
Suddenly, Nii Kotey felt the need to sneeze. But he knew he will be a dead man if he does that. He struggled to stifle the need to sneeze.
“Okay, the money is in my car; $500,000 each for all of us as upfront payment for the operation. As soon as it is done, we shall all receive the remaining $1.5 million each and then go underground. The money for our colleague at the Presidency and that for the National Security guy must reach them this morning before nine o'clock. Spider, I will give their money to you to deliver to them. I will call them at ten to find out if they have received them.
No one is to deposit his money in any bank. Hide it somewhere. Furthermore, no one should start splashing monies around at least not now. Avoid booze and women for the next six months or until the boss says it's okay to start spending.
But no crazy spending like going to a party and spraying money on people dancing; and no buying of expensive cars or big mansions. You do that, you arouse suspicion. Remember, the security chaps will be looking for whoever assassinated the Veep. And if you suddenly begin displaying wealth, people will become suspicious and alert them. Understood ?” the tall man said. His frame was intimidating. He looked rugged.
“ Sure! No fears” the short man said. Suddenly, Nii Kotey, in spite of himself, sneezed. The three men whirled around to face the canoes where he was hiding. He froze!
By Michael Dokosi