Long legs made for top runways and elite magazines did a lazy catwalk on the metal bench making sure her moderately big behind bounced at every move. Smooth hands with nails painted blood red went to her bra and removed it seductively, setting round, firm mounds free for everyone in the room to see. Loud cheers rented the air and she smooched her breasts and bent low; jutting her ass out. It was a perfect act that had men slipping naira notes and cheques into her pant while some sprayed the money all over her. To show her appreciation, she loosened the tiny ribbons that held her thongs together and her pant fell on the stage. She turned her back to the crowd and shook her ass like an expert. More money was sprayed on her and some of the men slapped her behind. She did not mind, all that mattered to her was the money they were spraying on her. It was the rule of the club that whatever money the girls made on the stage belonged to them. It was their choice also tro strip fully for the men and they also decide if they wanted to sleep with men for extra cash. She did a bit of pole-dancing and ass clapping that made the crowd crazy. Crazy meant more money and more money equals freedom to start a better and respectable life. When the music stopped, she picked up her lingerie and did a lazy catwalk to the backstage. People clapped as she left, screaming for her to come back to the stage.
Disgust was etched on his face and if everyone had not been so lost in the performance of the naked girl, some would have noticed it. They were all shameless. Pot bellied men shouting and throwing money at a girl whose dignity had been robbed by the love of money. Girls like that were not supposed to be alive. They were the reason grown men leave the comfort of their homes almost every night to find bizarre amusement in dancing naked girls who would do anything for money. He took a gulp from his bottled water to calm himself down. He was not a fan of alcohol. Alcohol distort his way of thinking and he liked to think straight all the time, especially tonight. There was an assignment he needed to carry out for humanity and his head had to be clear. He got up from his seat and moved to a room that had “MANAGER” written on it. He knocked and waited for a response. After what seemed like forever, a woman opened the door for him. To his amazement, the woman had on a gown that reached her toes and a pashmina around her shoulders. Her hair was packed in a tight bun and her was void of make-up. As if she could guess what the man was thinking, she said: “I know I don’t look like a typical strip club’s manager. Things we do to make ends meet.” He just nodded and followed the woman into her office.
As a man working with time, he told the woman why he was there.
“I need that girl that just left the stage. I will pay any amount to have her”.
The manager smiled. She was used to men coming into her office paying heavily just to sleep with a stripper. She had never tried to question the way their customers spend, it was not her place to.
“Ruby; that’s her name. There is a standard price. 50,000 naira to the club and 100,000 to the girl.”
“Done, call her in. Do you have rooms here or you don’t mind if I take her to my place?”
“We have rooms here. If she wants to follow you, that’s her choice.”
“Call her in, so we can sort this out then”
The manager watched the man count money while she called ruby on the intercom. The man was too willing to drop the money. Well, she had learnt in her business that horny men were not thinking men. Some minutes later, Ruby came and the business was concluded. Ruby liked the man and the fact that he was not stingy with cash, so she agreed to follow him home. Maybe, he would be generous if she went home with him.
He drove with one hand and touched the cross pendant on the chain round his neck. He mumbled silent prayers for the forgiveness of the soul sitting next to him. The very soul that reminded him of his own mother. A woman who had sold herself to men who did not care about her bulging stomach. A woman who did not have a care in the world for anybody. She slept around and left him to fend for himself. He had done the baby in the protruding belly a favour by taking the live of the mother and since then, he had vowed to do the world a favour by getting rid of those cheap whores. That was when he was just 17 and powerless. Now that he had the power, he was going to fulfil his vow with nature. Ruby lit a cigarette and smoked without a care in the world. She would flash a sultry smile and wink at him now and then but he was not even moved. He was angry instead and eager to get his assignment over with.
1 DAY LATER in a national newspaper
A lady found was found today near a canal dead. She was found naked with no sign of scar on her body. Alongside a handbag stuffed with clothes, under wears and an I.D card with the name RUBY 08 on it, a skin-like mask and a note was found near her body. The note read thus: ONE LESS, MORE TO GO and is signed “The Shadow”. What this means, no one knows. Investigations are already going on and people in the area are being questioned about any strange movement around the canal. We hope that very soon, the culprit will be found and punished for the innocent life taken.
The detective looked at the newspaper on his desk and shook his head. The case had been assigned to him specially by the IG and he was not prepared for it, not after the last one that almost cost him his life. It was already making his head ache thinking about he would go about his new assignment. He drank his now cold coffee in one as he played with the rosary hanging round his neck, searching his mind for solution. He knew that was just the beginning.