Wedding Ops (Fiction Micro-series) Entry 5
Mayokun drove up the shady drive-in. Upfront, there was a road block made up of three large cubes of grey concrete with chalked-in graffiti.
“Park here,” Flavian said. She pulled over a few feet from the blockade. Two uniformed men stood beside a small grey kiosk on the other side, guns hanging from their shoulders.
Their heels knocked and their hands went up in salute when they saw Flavian .
“We walk from here,”He said to Mayokun as his hand shot up in response.
“You should have told me,”She murmured,”I’d have dressed more appropriately.”
“It's a relatively informal location. No pressure.”
“Right.”She murmured tucking her blouse into her jeans and trying to keep up with him.
Soon they came to the front of a house. It was a two-story building with earth tones and wood trimmings. A water fountain was set in the compound next to a wild garden. There was no water in the fountain but somewhere, she could smell damp grass.
They climbed up a few stairs to the front door—twin wooden doors that brought back memories she had pushed into the rearmost parts of her mind. Now she lightly grazed over the memories in her mind. It brought a taste to her mouth. A salty taste that she found hard to swallow. She cleared her throat, exhaled and looked over Flavian’s shoulder at the door. He had a key in the lock. He flushed the handle and the door opened.
“I thought you’d use some face-recognition technology or something,”She whispered,”Well, that was disappointing.”
Flavian ignored her.
The reception area was a dimly-lit large space with a courtyard in the middle. There was no furniture in sight. The floor was grey terrazo and in the center of the floor where they stood was the coat of arms—the horses held up a shield, standing on a lush green tuft, on top of the shield an eagle stood proudly looking into the distance.
Flavian walked to a door on the far right side of the hall and held it open for her, “Please.”
It was a stairwell painted with cream gloss.
“I guess an elevator is out of the question.”She murmured.
They took the stairs up.
“I think I’m dead.”Mayokun panted has she held on to the wooden banister on the fourth floor.
“Mental note: Fitness. Zero.”
“Four is usually my limit. I'm a stallion on two,”She wheezed.
His expression had grown more serious since they drove through the gates but now his eyes glimmered lightly from amusement.
“Come on. A few more flights.”He said, bounding off the stairs.
They made it to the sixth floor and walked along a narrow corridor girded on both sides by offices.
He knocked on the door at the end of the hall.
“Agent.”A man sitting behind a small desk acknowledged Flavian. His glasses sat on the tip of his long nose. His perfectly round head was shaved clean and shone healthily even in the dull light. He wore a shirt and a skinny knotted tie.
“Who is this?”The man nodded towards Mayokun.
“My Uber,”Flavian responded as he walked towards the inner office.
“Beg your pardon. Agent. Your lack of protocol can endanger us all. Who should we expect next? Your laundry man?”
“Buzz me in, Olu.”
“Well, I need to check her in properly—”
“Olu,”A voice came from somewhere in front of the ranting secretary.
“Get her a visitor’s badge— ” He quickly picked up a receiver and listened to the rest of his instructions.
“Ma.”He responded over and over.
“Ms. Lawson will see you, first,”Olu said grudgingly to Flavian when he hung up.
A loud buzzing sound echoed and the door popped open off the locks.
Olu handed Mayokun a badge. He was tall and lanky and the helm of his trousers seemed to run away from his ankles. They flapped as he went back to his seat.
Mayokun sat in the leather arm chair. Two large metal cabinets flagged the man on both sides. He stared into a computer screen. Next to the computer screen was a telephone, a strange machine, a stapler, a box of loose memo sheets, a mug and a small cup of paper clips.
The phone rang.
“Ma,” He said at the end of the call.
“You may go in,”He said to Mayokun still sulking.
Mayokun walked into the office. The only light in the room came from a projector. There were photos on the wall—a satellite image of something she couldn’t make out and the silhouette of a man.
Mayokun strained her eyes in the dark. Ms. Lawal was a short woman, with a tight pony tail.
The image of a man appeared on the screen, he was dressed in black native, safari style. His fleshy neck piled on the collar of the shirt. “That’s your target. Morris King,” She was saying, barely noticing Mayokun, “Don’t get excited, it’s an alias.”She said drily, “His real name is Makinde Lawson.”
”Business man. Dabbles here and there. He made a fortune during the military era from pharmaceuticals, oil and timber. He currently sponsors seasonal small cell groups which cause unrest during elections. Off-season, he sponsors a small insurgent group called the Alakia boys. Alakia has recently been absorbed by the Walata group.”
“Should I be here?” Mayokun whispered to no one.
Ms Lawal continued speaking, “Walata is planning an attack. We do not know where,” She paused, then picked up pace like she was suddenly in a hurry, “Arial surveillance is completely ineffective as they have moved locations to the caves within the Jambila region, shrouded in thickets of vegetation. King is a paranoid man. He uses an old Samsung B319 cell phone. He keeps the names of the key persons on the phone. In notes.”
”B319 kwa,”Mayokun chuckled.
“Do you have some insight?” Ms Lawal asked, her eyes pierced in the dark.
Mayokun shook her head.
“We need that phone. It never leaves his front pocket. I need it to be as natural, hiccup, blood, and drama-free as possible.”
“If there’s a pocket involved, we will have it. I’ve seen Ms. Ladiran work. She doesn’t miss a beat.”
“Good. Target is in South Africa for a wedding. His niece’s. Ms. Ladiran you will find your way to South Africa, expenses, extraction are all on you for now, to avoid any suspicion. When you are successful you will be reimbursed. Understood?”
“Ah!”Mayokun exclaimed, “On me, how?”
Flavian shot her a look. “Understood.”She said, “But first I need one thing from you. Call it my sign-up bonus.”
“What?”Ms Lawson crossed her arms.
“I need a partner.”
“Right?” Flavian said.
“ Agent—“Ms Lawal started.
“ Not Flavian. My real partner. My cousin, Fali. She is being held for ransom by someone.”
”That’s not a problem, Ms. Ladiran,”She said, “You’ll have your partner. However, we would appreciate discretion. The circle is us three. No more.”
“That will be all,”Ms Lawal said abruptly, walking out of the light of the projector into the darkness and out a back door.
Her voice called out, “Training starts 4AM.”
The door shut behind her.
“Training ke?”Mayokun looked at Flavian.
“This is going to be fun.”
She could hear the mirth in his voice.
To be continued (tomorrow)