The Author (Episode 21)

After receiving their orders, one of the two men watching Kingsley got up and walked to the counter. He spoke in low tones with the bartender and after a while he collected two large glasses of beer and walked back to their table. ‘This round is on me’, he said and passed one of the glasses to his partner who smiled at him.

Okey, the bartender watched Kingsley for a while. He had never been a good salesman but he knew that in Kingsley’s current state, he would be an overeager customer. He carried a small bottle to Kingsley’s table.
‘Kingsley, the one and only barrister’, he hailed as he approached Kingsley’s table. Kingsley looked at the bartender and smiled at him. He noticed the small bottle and immediately, a curious look spread across his face. ‘Okey, you know very well that I’m the barrister, yet you are bringing a small bottle of alcohol to my table. Go back and bring a bigger bottle of alcohol’, Kingsley said. ‘This is not just any alcohol. It’s my own special cocktail. I named it ‘Knockout’ because it does exactly that; knock you out’, Okey said. Kingsley laughed. ‘You know my drinking capabilities better than anyone yet you are saying that this small bottle of alcohol will knock me out. You must be kidding me’, he said. ‘I’m not. I’ll make you a wager to that effect. The cocktail is five thousand naira. If it knocks you out, you’ll pay me an extra five thousand. If it doesn’t knock you out, you’ll not pay me anything’, Okey said. ‘That’s okay, but in addition to not paying you anything, you’ll buy me one crate of beer if the drink doesn’t knock me out. That’ll be the penalty for questioning my drinking capabilities’, Kingsley said. ‘I agree. I know that ‘Knockout’ will not disappoint me’, Okey said. ‘That’s settled then’, Kingsley said and poured the whole cocktail into a glass. He then proceeded to drink the whole cocktail in one gulp.
‘I’m still conscious. I win’, Kingsley said. ‘Not so fast. Give it a few minutes and if you’re still conscious, come to the counter and I’ll give you your crate of beer. I need to get back to the counter; some customers are waiting’, Okey said and walked back to the counter.

The Author watched in annoyance as Kingsley gulped down the cocktail. ‘He’s already tethering on the edge, yet he’s buying more drinks. I don’t understand why people drink this excessively. Thankfully, his drinking would soon be cut short by his death. Unless of course, his ancestors produce beer over there’, he thought. He had hoped to eliminate Kingsley when he left the bar but he had a feeling that it was going to be a long while before Kingsley would be able to walk home. ‘He seems to want to break his own drinking record today. I may have to consider a way of killing him in this bar without anyone noticing’, the Author thought.

Kingsley waited for fifteen minutes before deciding to go to the counter. ‘I’ve waited long enough and ‘Knockout’ has not knocked me out. It’s time for me to collect my reward’, he thought. He tried to stand up but he couldn’t. A wave of dizziness swept over him and he felt as though he was losing consciousness. ‘I must have underestimated this ‘Knockout’. I can’t lose it now. I’m so close to winning this wager’, Kingsley tried to motivate himself. Despite his best efforts to stay conscious, Kingsley’s head dropped to the table as the cocktail succeeded in knocking him out.

The two men watched as Kingsley’s head dropped to the table. ‘Let’s go. I think it’ll be better if we waited outside’, one of them said. The other man agreed and they both went outside the bar.

The Author decided to improvise a bit as he watched Kingsley’s limp form. His pistol had a built-in silencer. Kingsley’s unconscious state meant that he wasn’t going to react if he was shot. ‘I’ll just pass close to his table and shoot him. Hopefully, no one would notice’, he said to himself and started walking towards Kingsley’s table.
As he was two tables away, a woman passing by Kingsley’s table screamed. ‘Somebody call an ambulance. He’s foaming at the mouth!’ she said. ‘Don’t worry Madam. He’s just had too much to drink’, a man said. The Author became curious. He walked briskly to Kingsley’s table and checked his pulse. ‘You’re right Madam. He’s dead. Call an ambulance’, the Author said and he left the bar.

The Author had decided to leave the bar because he didn’t want to be questioned by the police when they got there. A lot of questions were running through his mind as he drove off.
‘Who is killing my targets?’ ‘Do they have another common enemy?’ ‘Has someone found out my identity?’ ‘Am I being followed?’ ‘Or is it just a coincidence that my targets are being murdered before I can get to them?’ ‘Is somebody trying to hide something from me?’
He desperately needed answers to all his questions and he intended to get them.
‘That bartender probably knows something. I suspect that he poisoned that cocktail, he gave to Kingsley. I’m going to get the answers I need from him, even if I have to cut it out of him’, the Author said to himself.


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