The Wages of Poaching

by Oma Edoja

 

Femi swore under his breath. He could hear Kofo’s nervous laughter in the living room. Klaus was oblivious to Kofo’s nerves. He was too preoccupied with business. As long as she smiled and looked pretty in public, Kofo was serving her purpose. She was Klaus’ trophy wife, imported from Nigeria.

Alone in that huge house for days on end, with Klaus away on business and only the domestic servants for company, Kofo felt lonely. She spoke very little German and knew no one outside her husband’s circle. It was therefore a pleasant surprise, as she walked through the broad, green spaces of Kornerpark one cold spring morning, to hear a man speaking Yoruba.

He sat alone on a bench, talking into his phone.

She lingered, he ended his call and their eyes met.

Kofo smiled. The man smiled back.

“Hallo.”

“E kaaro,” Kofo replied.

“Ah, you speak Yoruba. My very own sister. What brings you here to Kornerpark? ”

“I am new to Berlin, just looking around.”

“How much of Kornerpark have you seen?”

“It’s my first visit; not much.”

“Do you have a guide?”

Kofo shook her head.

“Then allow me the pleasure.”

Berlin was home to Femi and also his mother’s birth place. His father was from Lagos, Nigeria. Femi ran art galleries in Lagos and Berlin. He had a team of Nigerian artists presently exhibiting in Kornerpark.

In the following weeks and months, Kofo and Femi spent more time together.

It wasn’t long before they expressed mutual feelings.

And that was how Femi came to be hiding in a wardrobe in another man’s house.

Kofo’s phone rang. It was Klaus.

“Engel, my meeting was cancelled. There was no need to stay on in Stockholm… ”

Leaving through the front was not an option. And in her confusion, Kofo had forgotten the back door code. Even then, the dogs would not let Femi slip away unnoticed.

Kofo shoved Femi into the guest room, her heart pounding.  A split second later, Klaus walked in. Their embrace was stiff and awkward.

Later that night, as Klaus sat leafing through some papers, he thought he heard a sound. He got up and walked past the guest room to look out through the window. Kofo’s heart leapt to her throat.

“Cup Cake, it looks like rain. I’ll bring the dogs in. They can sleep in the guest room.”

The five hefty dogs leapt, barking, clawing, sniffing and snarling, straight to the guest room, almost knocking Klaus down.

“W-what are they barking at?” Kofo’s voice shook.

“Maybe a mouse?”

Klaus peered inside the closet. There was a faint bad smell. Almost like human faeces.

“Mouse must’ve got away. Don’t worry, Engel. They will settle down and sleep.”

But sleep was the last thing on Femi’s mind as he trembled behind the wardrobe.

It was the last thing on Klaus’ mind as he pondered how long the “mouse” would stay hiding. And what the rottweilers would do when they found it.

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