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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 40 page 03


Damilola walked to the SunCity Hotel where he had been living for the last year. After he arrived he took his kontigi onto the balcony and played for half an hour. Because he was recognized for his musical talent he had been asked to perform at a community fundraiser. He was in the habit of practicing every evening before bedtime.

In the morning Damilola took the long ride by danfo to the shoe factory where he worked as a supply chain manager. He had a small radio on his desk and was listening to the daily news when he heard a bulletin that shocked him.

“Protests outside the Oil and Gas Conference turned violent last night. There were a number of minor injuries and over twenty people were arrested. The police are uncertain whether a death in the area was related to the protests. The victim has been identified as Ajibola Adedotun. He was discovered near Olosa Street where he died of knife wounds. Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed anything that might be pertinent to contact the police immediately.”

Damilola thought he had saved Ajibola from losing his life in a reckless suicide attack but Ajibola’s passionate beliefs led to his demise regardless. Damilola disregarded the request to contact the police as he didn’t trust them. They were known to be particularly harsh in their treatment of protesters so it wouldn’t serve him well to be allied with Ajibola. Besides, Ajibola wanted to give his life for his cause and he accomplished that. There was nothing more that could be done for him.

His decision not to notify the police became moot as two officers found Damilola at his desk before the end of the work day. He was ordered to accompany them to the police station where he was led into an airless cube of a room.

“We have a witness who saw you with Ajibola Adedotun at the La Whisky bar the night he was murdered. You were seen grabbing a knife and following him into the street. Can you tell us what happened when you left the bar?”

Damilola related the events of the previous evening in the most honest and straightforward manner.

“Would you have considered this Ajibola to be a friend of yours?”

“Yes, not a close friend, but we had socialized together. We know many of the same people.”

“And so you’re asking us to believe that you would have gladly taken the life of your friend to save the lives of people you had never met?”

“It is the nature of a suicide bomber that his life would have been lost regardless.”

“And it is a coincidence that, while you pursued him prepared to take his life, he was discovered murdered by multiple stab wounds shortly thereafter? It seems you had intent. The results speak for themselves, wouldn’t you say?”

“I know it looks bad, but that’s not what happened. I didn’t kill Ajibola.”

The interrogators abruptly grabbed Damilola by the arms, led him out of the room and down a long corridor to a cell. A jailor pushed him into the cell and gave him a sharp blow with a cane before locking the door. They left him there without any explanation of how the interrogation might be resumed.

About an hour passed before another jailor arrived and opened the cell door. “You’re being released.”

Damilola was skeptical. “How can that be? The investigators believe I am a murderer.”

“Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. It doesn’t really matter. If you’re innocent, you’re harmless; if you’re guilty, you’re useful. Have a good weekend, my friend.”

Damilola started making his way to the SunCity Hotel but then decided to stop in first at La Whisky. He felt like a Legend Extra Stout and wanted to leave a generous tip to compensate them for the missing knife.