Published on May 24th, 2012 | by The Alchemist34
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Alchemist’s corner. The themes for the next few weeks will be - Courage, Discipline, Loyalty, Purpose and Sacrifice. In case you missed the introduction to this series, here it is: Fist:0
Now, let’s get to it, shall we?
EPISODE 1: The more you look, the less you see…
“Every living soul! Every living soul praise deh Lord!”
Pastor Clement Omo-Osagie declares and leaps into the air just as the choir – right on cue – echo his words, inciting the seated congregation to their feet in chant and dance. I adjust the focus of my scope and tilt my head back a few millimeters to account for the members of the congregation that now obscure my bullets path. If I didn’t know better, I would have said he had an uncanny ability to communicate with the choir. But I do know better. If he has a special connection with anyone it would be Sister Dolu in the front row. Their depraved sexual encounters were described very vividly in my briefing file. I didn’t even bother to view the video tapes; the pictures had been more than enough for me. Besides, I had read enough earlier on to know that she would be useless in getting to him – she was brainwashed beyond all hope of redemption. A true believer – she truly believes that accommodating his penis in every orifice she has available is an essential part of his ‘ministry’ and she would sooner die than betray him. The idiot. I should kill her too – just on principle. But no one has paid me for that piece of wet work so she can keep her pathetic life.
The entire congregation is singing and dancing wildly now and Pastor Clement raises his hands upwards and begins to clap. The congregation follows suit and soon I can hear the claps even without my frequency receiver. The ringmaster knows his circus well. Pastor Clement moves erratically across the raised podium, gesticulating wildly, clapping and singing several keys off pitch along with the choir. It is a pity his microphone is so loud. I keep my eye on him and follow his seemingly chaotic pattern, waiting for the right time, the right moment to squeeze the trigger and send him to meet the devil he claims to have so much power over.
Chaos is merely a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds. Without confusion, there is no chaos – only apparent chaos – which is easily defeated by focus.
Finally it arrives. He stops mid-podium and asks for an usher to take his jacket off him. I watch as one of the loyal ushers leaps towards the podium to assist the ‘man of god’. Standing there, arms outstretched, as though crucified on an imaginary cross, he is an easy target – perhaps undeserving of death at the hands of one as skilled as myself but duty is duty and strict adherence to duty is the most virtuous virtue in my virtueless profession. I strengthen my grip on the bipod and make a small adjustment to the scope before pulling the trigger. There is a sound but it is not the sound I expect to hear. Not the ‘pop’ that usually accompanies my messengers on their lethal journeys but a clicking sound. I know exactly what that means – the magazine is jammed.
I quickly dismount, pull apart and examine the rifle to see what the problem is and discover that the firing pin is bent out of shape – most likely because it was loaded with the wrong caliber of ammunition. This is what I get for buying used sniper rifles from shady Russians in the seedy beer parlors of Port-Harcourt. My well laid plan is undone. I close my eyes to meditate briefly before making my next move.
When one has made a decision to kill a person, even if it will be very difficult to succeed by advancing straight ahead, it will not do to think about doing it in a long, roundabout way. One’s heart may slacken, he may miss his chance, and by and large there will be no success. The Way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong.
I open my satchel and pour the small bottle of acid on the grip of my rifle before kicking it aside and walking down the stairs that lead from the roof of this Zenith Bank branch, to the utilities room. It’s a Sunday and apart from the security guard who gave the key to me in return for a five figure deposit into his own account last week, no one knows I am here. I slip out of my blue coveralls and into an oversized grey suit. Wearing oversized clothes always leaves spaces for me to hide things and also obscures my body build from observers who know what to look for. I open my satchel and distribute its contents into the pockets of my suit before discarding it in the service bin. I check my left holster to make sure that my Berretta 92FS is securely fastened and out of plain sight. I also pat down my left trouser pocket to make sure I still have enough of Baba’s grains if I need them and check that my backup Glock 19 is securely fastened to my belt. Good. All is as it should be. I take a minute to empty my mind of all other considerations and focus on the task at hand. In the nothingness of thought, my plan and purpose is clear. I breathe slowly. I am calm.
Our bodies are given life from the midst of nothingness. Existing where there is nothing is the meaning of the phrase “Form is emptiness.” That all things are provided for by nothingness is the meaning of the phrase “Emptiness is form.” One should not think that these are two separate things.
I clamber out of the ground floor window directly facing the Modern Christ Ministries Church entrance and begin to walk slowly, deliberately without change of pace or pause for any concerns. The ushers hand me some leaflets and attempt to show me to a seat at the back row, I ignore them. My focus is on the bodyguards at the right and left wing of the church. One of them is short and skinny – probably carrying a pistol that he cannot handle properly. The other is a big man – I can tell from his long coat and the bulge in the side that he is carrying a rifle – probably an AK47 – the militants’ favorite. This is Warri after all. I know all I need to know and my pace remains slow, steady and deliberate – unchanged as I walk down the aisle, sidestepping the dancing worshippers and people in the throes of holy passion. I am almost at the podium now and a polished wood altar with the words “Welcome to Modern Christ” engraved in gold, stands between me and my target. I keep walking and I know that I now have almost exactly 3 seconds before the bodyguards watching me realize that I am not here to seek any form of redemption from their false prophet.
I take a deep breath and reach into my jacket to retrieve the Berretta as Pastor Clement enters my view and looks right at me. He stops singing.
I stop walking, shift my weight to my right leg and bring the Berretta up to his eye level in one smooth, rapid movement. He stops clapping.
I fire two shots into his head. One penetrates the space between his eyebrows and the other goes right through his nasal cavity. He stops breathing.
A spray of blood and brain matter hits the floor just before the rest of his body and makes a sickening sound as the church comes to an instant standstill just before erupting in a million noises of the terrified and confused. My right leg bearing my body weight, I am ready for what comes next. I duck and spin just as a bullet goes whizzing past the space my head used to occupy.
There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not run or be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.
I stop spinning as I align my body with that of the first bodyguard. The skinny one. I knew he would move faster and would aim high. He does not have enough bulk to handle the recoil from the 9mm Luger he is wielding. I fire two shots at him, one hitting him in the thigh and the other in the heart. I roll towards his falling body, flatten myself on the floor and brace myself for the scattering splinters and debris that will spray me when the second body guard begins to fire his AK47 wantonly. I know he will miss.
“Bastard! You don die today o!”
I hear a gruff voice above the screams of the confused and rapidly dispersing congregation and I know it is him. The bullets come in a heavy barrage but they are going where I was, not where I am. This man is a slow, brutish imbecile. I take aim and perforate his neck with a bullet before sending another through the side of his skull. I rise up and run through the choir section; into the back rooms of the church, taking position in the corner of the offering-room just to the left of the door. I probably have only about 2 or 3 minutes before the rest of the guards in the car park realize what has happened and come after me. For a moment I try to recall how many of them there are and map out a plan to cut through them and then I stop to meditate. I breathe slowly and think clearly.
Do not fight a battle if you will not gain anything by winning.
My work here is done. The target has been eliminated and Baba will be pleased. That is all that matters. It is all that should matter. I quickly reach into my jacket and retrieve the red pouch that Baba always gives me before I embark on any assignment. I pour the yellowed rice grains onto the ground and recite the incantations that I have known by heart since I was a teenager. The grains move with the power of the incantation and form a small circle which I step into.
I close my eyes just as I hear the rest of the bodyguards come storming in through the main church entrance shouting obscenities.
I open my eyes and I instantly recognize the dusty red mud of Baba’s ‘hut’. The noise and light from the 46 inch LCD TV is familiarly out of place as it displays the progressing Liverpool–Arsenal match. Baba loves his Sunday football.
“Ah! Omo mi kabo. Bawo ni warri?” (Ah! My son, welcome. How was Warri?)
Next Week on FIST:
EPISODE 2: Pandora’s Box.