By eleven o’clock, Kenneth Brown was driving through the streets of high-brow Victoria Island. Cogar Drive was easy to find and the three-story office building that was number 1001 was one of the biggest and most impressive on the street.
Kenneth parked his Honda Accord car in front of the place and made his way into the building. Taking directions from a uniformed security guard at the gates, he headed for the second floor where he found a big glass door with a gold sign above it reading…’Coleman Private Security’. When he walked in through the door, he found himself in a well-furnished, brightly lit, large office. There was a pretty receptionist sitting behind a desk, busy with a desktop computer. She looked up with a professional smile that told clearly of a high degree of efficiency.
“Good morning, sir,” she said. “How may we help you?”
“Good morning,” replied Kenneth. “I’m here to see Joe Coleman. He’s expecting me. I’m Kenneth Brown.”
“Oh yes, sir. He’s expecting you. Please, go straight into his office,” she gestured towards a door at the other side of the large office.
Kenneth walked crossed the room to the door, got it open and went in.
Joe Ibe Coleman was sitting comfortably relaxed in a high-backed chair behind a huge desk, staring at the large screen monitor of the desktop computer before him.
“Kenny, my man,” yelled Joe happily. He stood up at once and moved quickly around the table to welcome his old friend.
Joe was in his early fifties while Kenneth was still under thirty but the age difference had never mattered. Both men had known each other for three full years. Joe had been a ranking police officer stationed at the Lagos State Police Headwaters when Kenneth had done some work as a DSS agent in the city. They had worked together and mutual respect for each other’s abilities and a deep friendship had grown from there. After just one year in Lagos, the Department of State Security had posted Kenneth to Abuja before sending him on to Port Harcourt while Joe had retired from the force soon after. They had still kept in touch off and on.
The two men shook hands and hugged each other warmly then stood back to look at one another. It had been a long time they last set eyes on each other.
Kenneth shook his head in wonder. “Now I know why you sounded like a frog over the phone. You’ve grown fat.”
Joe threw back his head and laughed. He patted his friend on the back and waved at one of the two chairs in front of his desk.
“Sit down, man, let’s talk. You can get fat too, you know?.”
Kenneth took a chair as Joe moved back around the desk to sit down in his high-backed chair again.
Looking around the office, Kenneth saw that it wasn’t just well furnished but expensively so.
“Looks like private security work is paying far more than I imagined,” remarked Kenneth.
Joe sat back in his chair and grinned. “Trust me, it pays even more than you think. You just need to know your customers and the right people, that’s all.”
“And the government is not one of those customers, I suppose?”
“Hell, no. I don’t touch government contracts at all or the politicians that go with them. The real money is to be found in private security work for the rich of this city and this part of town is full of them. Once you find a back door into their circles and make a name as a problem solver, you’ll be amazed at the problems that get brought to you and the fees these people are willing to pay to get things done quickly and quietly is simply insane at times. Things have reached the point where I can’t handle all the business alone anymore. I’ve got a ton of connections and two ex-policemen on my payroll but things are not getting things done right. The guys are good but not that good so I have to do things myself sometimes. It was okay before but not so anymore. Business is getting more demanding now and I’m getting tired of going out into the field daily, my age I guess. As things stand now, I’m loosening too many good jobs. That’s a lot of money slipping through my fingers for my peace of mind.”
“Which is why you are in need of a partner,” said Kenneth.
“Only a very capable one I can trust completely and you are just perfect for the part,” replied Joe.
Kenneth nodded. “What do you have in mind?”
Joe sat up. “I’ll handle administrations, the customers, and the connections while you run operations. We’ll split everything fifty-fifty including the name on the door, Coleman and Brown Private Security, how does that sound?”
Kenneth nodded. “Sounds good, but B comes before C so my name should be first on the door.”
“In a pig’s ass, yes, but not on our door,” Joe shook his head firmly. “I’m the senior partner here so get used to it.”
Kenneth laughed and Joe joined in.
“So, when do I start work. I need some money to get an apartment and move out of my hotel. I’m sick of the place.”
Joe lifted his eyebrows. “You’re already broke?”
Kenneth smiled grimly. “Don’t be surprised. The government doesn’t really pay that well and the money finishes too quickly. It’s one reason I never quite looked down on other agents taking a bribe, particularly when they have a family to care for, but I’m done with that now.”
“I’ll like to hear your story someday, man, why you really quit the DSS. But that’s up to you, whenever you want to talk about it.” Joe picked up a file from a pile to one side of the desk and tossed it across to Kenneth. “That just came in this morning and its very important. You’re just in time to look into it. Get it done within forty-eight hours and I’ll loan you enough money to get a new apartment and a new car too, that thing you came driving up in is not going to do here. You’ll need a nice new car with air-conditioning cos most of the cases we get here will have you spending hours just tracking cheating wives or husbands with too much money to spend and too much free time on their hands. That could mean sitting in your car all day so you’ll want a very comfortable car that can blend into the background in any wealthy neighborhood.”
Kenneth picked up the thin file from the desk and took a look at it. He frowned then looked back at Joe.
“You want me to go looking for a lost cat?” he asked incredulously.