Murder At St. Lucas Hospital 4.

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Chapter 2

Portrait of young woman on white background --- Image by © pinkypills/Corbis
Portrait of young woman on white background — Image by © pinkypills/Corbis

Perez and Abel Ogwu were at a party in a nightclub on the Island. Drinks, drugs and smoke filled the VIP section they had occupied with their friends. It was the birthday of a popular DJ and they had sponsored the party to celebrate him. DJ Hinnow was their friend from the university who also left halfway to return to Nigeria. He was making quite a name for himself and they latched onto his fame; like dogs to the scent of meat.

Hinnow was so named because when he first moved to London, he had the habit of greeting everyone with a cheery “Hi Now!” What began as a joke turned into a nickname that he took on as a stage name when he became a DJ. He had a regular job with a nightclub and also accompanied a few musicians when they had to perform.

Perez was dancing with two scantily-clad girls. They were all high with cocaine, his preferred poison. Hinnow did not do cocaine. He preferred Indian hemp. It was his party, so someone else served as DJ. They had invited 3 of his musician friends and the paparazzi so they would end up on all the blogs. He was seriously trying to break into nollywood. His few attempts to get work as an actor in London had failed; mostly because he showed up at auditions too high to read the script.

On Hinnow’s advice, he was trying to fraternize with some celebrities in Lagos, hoping to get a leg in. If anything, his british accent, tall and built frame, and good looks were only going to heighten his chances. He was going to live the life of his dreams, doing what came most naturally to him. One of the girls was saying something he couldn’t hear over the music. He lowered his head.

“What?,” he asked, cupping his ear.

“I like your tatoo,” she shouted.

He grinned and flexed his arm to show off the tatoo of a man with a noose around his neck, obviously committing suicide. “Thanks. I have about 5 of them. Maybe, I’ll show you later, if you’ll show me yours,” he shouted and winked.

The girl laughed louder than was necessary. It was meant to be seductive. She needed him to focus on her as he had danced with every girl at the party and she could not fool herself that he was more than mildly interested in any of them. That accent usually came with pounds sterling and she intended to get her hands on as many crisp notes as possible.

************************************************************************************

Abel was fighting with the boyfriend of a girl he had gotten too “friendly” with on the dance floor. His nose was already bloody when Perez came to break up the fight. Hinnow joined the group just as the aggressor turned to leave with his girl.

“What’s going on here?,” he asked.

“That oaf just plain jumped me!”

Abel was sitting on the floor holding some tissue to his nose. It was about 4am. The party had started winding down. Perez pulled out his phone to make a call.

“Who are you calling?,” Hinnow asked.

“Emergency services,” he replied.

Hinnow burst into laughter.

“What’s so funny, mate?,” Perez asked.

“Call your cousin to send an ambulance from the hospital. This is Nigeria mate! Work your contacts, don’t expect too much,” he advised.

“No, I don’t want any favors from that dwarf”

“He’s got a cut on his lip. You don’t have the luxury of refusing favors,” Hinnow warned.

“Just call her,” Abel snapped.

Perez raised his phone to his ear and put a call through.

************************************************************************************

Veronica was rudely woken by the shrill sound of her ringing phone. She frowned as she looked at the clock. Who could be calling at such an hour? She knew the doctor on call was a capable hand and he was not likely to need her assistance for any decision. Looking at the screen, she observed that it was a number she didn’t have saved among her contacts. She answered the call.

“Hello?,” she said.

“Veronica, we need the ambulance,” Perez spoke shortly.

“Who is this?”

“Perez”

“P-boy! What is going on?,” she asked, suddenly awake.

“Abel needs an ambulance. Send it to Renegade Night club V.I….And make it snappy”

“What exactly is wrong with him. Is he breathing? Is he bleeding?”

“He’ll live. Just get the ambulance, yeah?”

“Okay, I’ll call the driver. Then I’ll meet them at the hospital”

She ended the call and called the ambulance driver. He told her that only 1 nurse was on duty so, she called the doctor on call to tell him to follow the driver to the club. She began to pull on her clothes, praying under her breath for her cousins. They had never really been close. They teased her endlessly about her height, as a child, and when they moved to London, they only met occasionally on line. At Dr. Nigel’s burial, they hardly spared her a glance. Since she took over the hospital, they had not reached out to her in any way. Barr. Obi had warned her that they were unhappy with their father’s decision and would try to challenge it in court. She had pushed the fear of a legal battle to the back of her mind in order to be able to handle the daily challenges of her new position. That did not stop her from dreading the day they would come for her.

*************************************************************************************

At the hospital, Veronica headed for the ER to see Abel who she heard had already been brought in. She could hear him complaining loudly even before she entered. He was sitting on the couch, surrounded by the nurse ( who was holding his hand), his brother and Dr. Jike who was attending to him.

“Blimey! Will you take it easy! Who trains these doctors anyway?,” he shouted.

Dr. Jike was trying to clean the cut on his lip. “Calm down. Let me look at it”

“And get a prettier nurse! This one looks like a trangender,” he ranted.

The nurse gasped in anger. Perez laughed and shook his head.

“You’re gonna get in trouble, mate! She doesn’t look happy. Guess who will be giving you your injections?,” he chuckled.

“No! Out! I want her out of here,” he pulled away from the nurse almost splashing blood on the occupants of the room.

“Abe, you’ll stop that this minute!,” Veronica raised her voice.

“Who’s that? Is that Shorty?,” Abel asked.

“Dr. Jike, I’ll take over from here, if you don’t mind?,” she said as she stepped forward.

“Mind? Hmmm…I need to get some sleep and this clown is acting up” He bagan to pull off his gloves.

“Watch it man! ” Perez warned.

“You watch it!” Dr. Jike was sounding angry.

Veronica guessed he would have exhausted his patience during the ride to the hospital, what with Abel acting like a baby and Perez being uncouth. She patted his arm to calm him down and began to pull on gloves as he left.

“I hope you know what you’re doing?,” Perez warned. “Don’t use my brother as a guinea pig”

“You called me, remember?”

“We wouldn’t have to if dad had not been so silly as to give what is rightfully ours to you,” he fumed.

“Do you want me to fix his lip or stand here and engage in chit chat? If that lip is sutured by the wrong person, he will end up looking like a dragon. I remember Abel used to be fascinated with dragons when we were kids?,” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Get to it then. What are you waiting for? ,” Abel snapped.

Veronica silently got to work. The nurse stood by longing to abandon them but she did not have the courage. The sting of his comment had nearly reduced her to tears. She bit her lip as she resisted the urge to tug at the suture on his lip she was assisting Veronica to cut. The pain alone would have reset his idiotic brain, she thought to herself.

*************************************************************************************

Abel liked the nurse who had the morning shift. It was Kasarachi, the most unprofessional of them all. Veronica had given her a written query after she was reported by a patient. She did not change her attitude but did her best to avoid Veronica’s notice. She fell hard for Abel. He was suave and smooth-talking when he chose to be. Perez was more boisterous but he knew how to turn on the charm. He decided that he wanted to be admitted because he was enjoying the attention.

Kasarachi was giddy with excitement. Her hem suddenly got shorter, her top button came undone and her make up was being retouched by the hour. Perhaps to cover for all the making out going on in the private room Abel occupied. Perez left him in her able hands and went home to take a shower. Kasarachi ordered him a continental breakfast and stayed to feed him herself.

Veronica had gone home to refresh. She had to attend a conference for hospital CEOs being held at Eko hotel. That meant she would be away till evening when she planned to pop in just to check on Abel. Edet, the boy she had rescued, was recuperating from his surgery in the ward next to that of Abel. It was a week after Dr. Adebayo had graciously operated on him for free. He was being fed by the hospital as his mother often showed up quite late with the food she prepared. She had to keep her job as a shop assistant and that meant he was often left in the care of the nurses. He was a quiet boy, grateful to be allowed to watch cartoons all day on the TV. The privileges of having a room to himself, regular meals and the attention of the nurses were enough for him to wish he would never be discharged.

************************************************************************************

Jeff was driving to Eko hotel to attend a business meeting. He was the Human Resources manager of Chocalot, a company that produced a variety of cocoa- based beverages. They were hosting some foreign partners to lunch and he had earned himself an invite. He had been unable to see Veronica after the day they met at St. Lucas. The days following had been busy and he had to postpone all plans of dropping in suddenly. As he stepped out of his car, he straightened his jacket and tie before locking up. Putting his phone on silent mode, he prayed as he stood by his car pretending to be checking that it was locked. He always prayed before meetings for wisdom, tact, strategy, favor and that he would reflect godly principles in all his conduct.

The story of his rise in Chocalot was a testimony to the power of prayer. He had graduated with a degree in Sociology after putting himself through school by taking pictures of students. Both of his parents had died within 5 years of each other and he and his 4 siblings were left in the care of his grandmother. Two of his brothers went on to learn trades but he desperately wanted to go to school. Sheer determination enabled him to endure the rigors of living on a tight budget and being a part-time photographer. That experience emboldened him and defined him as an adult.

During his NYSC he taught in a school in Osun state. The mother of one of his students was a staff of a Public relations company in Lagos. She noticed that he was good with people and encouraged him to go into HR. That was how he began to forge a career in the field, eventually getting a job with Chocolat and rising to become the HR manager, without having to depend on anyone’s recommendation.

He became a christian when he was 14 years old. At the time, his mother had died and his father was struggling to provide for 5 children, working as a school teacher. Jeff, a middle child who had always worked hard to fit in, began to hang out with a group of truants. During school hours, they would sneak off to steal mangoes from the compound of a catholic church on the next street. They ate as many as they could and sold the rest to raise money to buy alcohol and cigarettes. Okpo, the leader of the gang, had promised to introduce him to the wonders of sexual intercourse. He had the phone number of a prostitute who would teach any of the boys who could raise N200, what it was their parents did behind closed doors.

One day, they all said they had saved the money and asked Okpo to take them to his customer. She lived in a dingy apartment that harboured all manner of ladies, of various ages, in varied states of undress. The shacks, for want of a better word, were wooden houses covered with zinc sheets, polythene bags, and cardboard. 4 of the ladies sprawled on benches outside, motioning to them to come and sample their goods. Jeff tried to control his pounding heart when he really wished he could run away.

Okpo’s customer, Agatha, was probably in her 30s. He wondered how he was supposed to be intimate with a woman of that age. Prior to that, he had never attempted to touch any girl. His 2 older brothers often teased him about being innocent and he planned to get back at them once he was disvirgined that day. Gritting his teeth, he hunched his shoulders and added a swagger to his step as they headed for the narrow passage where they were to stand and wait their turn. Ikechi, the 1st in line went in while Okpo went to organise drinks and cigarettes for all. Agatha had refused to share her “bounty” with her colleagues, despite their half-hearted pleas.

They were exchanging coarse jokes as they listened outside Agatha’s door. Suddenly, there was a shout and a bang as if someone had kicked in a door. Jeff and his friends made for the exit to see what was going on. They ran into a group of policemen who were kicking in all the doors and dragging out their occupants. The women were screaming and protesting against the invasion. 2 men who must have been utilizing their services were kneeling outside with their hands on their heads. When the policemen saw the boys, the yelled for them to kneel down and put up their hands.

Jeff felt his heart sink as his knees sank into the mud. He wondered what would be his fate in the hands of the officers who looked very angry.

“Oga, wetin we do? Why una dey disturb our customers*? ,” one of the women asked, kneeling.

“You dey ask me? When we reach station, you go answer yourself, idiot*!,” a policeman barked motioning menacingly with his gun.

Jeff observed that Okpo had made himself scarce. They were thrown into the police van and driven to the station. It turns out that a customer had died during an orgy in the room of one of the ladies the night before. His family had paid the police to prosecute the matter as they alleged that foul play was involved. The girl he had been with was already in police custody so the others carried on with business a usual. It was surprising that the cops came back for them.

Jeff spent 3 days in their cell. His father did not know where he was. By the 3rd day, he was so tormented that he was wishing for death. They were given no food, no bathing water and no access to visitors. The stronger inmates beat the boys up for fun, mocking them for visiting harlots. At night, Jeff knelt and prayed for the 1st time in a long time. He made a vow that if God delivered him, he would remain a virgin till his wedding night. The next morning, he was dragged out by a burly officer. At the front desk, he saw his father waiting with his 2 brothers. He nearly collapsed as he burst into tears of joy.

After his father had settled his bail, he was released. There was no need to scold or punish him again. His father guessed he had learnt his lesson. Jeff later found out that Okpo had had a twinge of guilt that night he prayed that prayer, and had gone to his house to inform his father about his detention. He believed it was God who touched his conscience. After thanking him, he informed him that he would never hang out with him again. That was the beginning of a walk with God that had now spanned 20 years.

*************************************************************************************

Veronica was taking a break from the conference to use the bathroom. She had called the hospital to check on Abel and was told that he was doing great. Dr. Korede was on duty alone. Usually, 2 doctors covered the morning shift but due to budget constraints, she often did the morning shift. She was paying herself half of what the others earned until their finances improved. The staff were unaware of this and if course assumed that she was living the golden life.

Dr. Nigel had run up some debt and patients were wary of the new management. Attendance was at an all time low. Matron Ngwanu and Dr. Korede blamed her for the state of things. They made remarks about her bringing ill-luck and so on, even though things were not any worse than before she resumed. She had decided to pray for a breakthrough rather than let them get to her. The hospital was well known and had once had an eviable reputation. She knew that people needed their unique services. What she could not understand was why they were not coming.

On her way out of the bathroom, she stopped to take a selfie by a particularly interesting painting. Her navy blue pant suit looked especially lovely on her.

“Dr. Veronica, I believe? ” a voice sounded behind her.

She spun around to see who it was. It was Jeff. He was wearing a brown blazer on dark pants and a white shirt. She wondered what he was doing in a hotel at that time of the day.

“Proably a hustler,” she thought.

“Hi!,” she greeted, extending a hand.

“So good to see you again. How have you been?,” he asked as he shook her warmly.

“Fine, thanks. I have to be on my way. The conference I am attending will soon end,” she said.

“Okay.” He realised he was being shooed off but couldn’t tell why. Perhaps he had just met her on the wrong day. “Have a good one.”

She waved as she left, heaving a sigh of relief. Lagos was full of hustlers. They dressed well and talked smoothly but they had no steady work or source of income. When they latched onto you, they wouldn’t let go till they sucked you dry. Like leeches, the more you bled, the more they sucked. Veronica shuddered as she walked briskly away. She would never be their prey in Jesus name.

To be continued. Click on the title to leave a comment. Cheers, Dr. N

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27 thoughts on “Murder At St. Lucas Hospital 4.

    dnddyon said:
    June 9, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Nice development… I see a romantic story budding between Veronica and Jeff..
    .

    Inthe... said:
    June 9, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Wow! Girlfriend you can write!!!! Ps, is that how you easily call ambulances in 9ja? Lol

      E' said:
      June 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      hahaha
      me sef wonder ooo. on top swollen lips? but I guess they were taking advantage of the fact that it was their father’s hospital hence free.
      Ambulance for what?!?!,! lol

        drnsmusings responded:
        June 9, 2015 at 11:06 pm

        Forming “I just got back”

      drnsmusings responded:
      June 9, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      Learning from u O
      Their dad owned it

        Ruby said:
        June 19, 2015 at 8:06 pm

        Dr N. Good evening. Trust God fam is fine. For some reasons, episode 5 isn’t opening. Its saying page not found. I hope its not one of the pranks you play. We are hungry.

        drnsmusings responded:
        June 19, 2015 at 9:23 pm

        I don’t play pranks naaa. It refused to edit. Still trying

    adefunke62 said:
    June 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    lol, I will Neva b their prey in Jesus name

    Teniola said:
    June 9, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Smiles, great story line Dr N, I enjoyed reading all the way. Thumbs up ma!

      drnsmusings responded:
      June 9, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      *bows*blushes*grins. Thanks

    E' said:
    June 9, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    . He always prayed before…..
    that line got me speaking in tongues.
    ah GOOD GOD MEN!!!
    phew!!!

    Anonymous Chick said:
    June 10, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Thanks for the long post. Was so happy when I noticed the length 🙂

    That prayer pattern of Jeff before meetings is what’s up! I also see a romantic bond between Veronica and Jeff 🙂 and I cringe at a link between Abel and that Karasachi girl….

      drnsmusings responded:
      June 10, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      The length was an apology for going AWOL. How r ya? Cheers

    Blackpristine said:
    June 10, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Nice one Dr N….my seatbelt is well fasten.set to roll with this to the very end.#adirestillveryfreshonmymind.
    God bless your mind and may your ink never run dry.

    drnsmusings responded:
    June 10, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    #yourheadisthere. Lol. Thanks

    reformed silent reader said:
    June 11, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    ghen ghen!! this was a captivating read (as always). Well done Dr N.

      drnsmusings responded:
      June 12, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      Ghen ghen indeed. Thanks for reading

    miss Pynk said:
    June 11, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Dr N…..you are awesome. You should look to turn your stories into books, plays and movies.

    http://www.pynk360.com

      drnsmusings responded:
      June 12, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      U r more awesome Ms Pynk. My fave color.
      Do sponsor d movie. Lol. I picture Omotola as Ijeoma in Adire & Genevieve as Veronica or maybe someone shorter

    Tobilola said:
    June 20, 2015 at 1:21 am

    I am waiting ooo😠😠

    Tobilola said:
    June 20, 2015 at 1:22 am

    For part 4 that is. 😊

    Fola said:
    June 20, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I just learned something from Jeff.
    Dr. Vero, why the assumption now? Why couldn’t she see a help-mate in Jeff? Arrrrgghhh
    Abel and Karachi? Birds of a feather. I see their coming together as a more dangerous hurdle for Veronica.
    Let me stop ‘jumping’ and go with the flow.
    Well done Doc.

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