When Chuks Michael, an African from Umueze Village met Genevieve Walker an English beauty, whose mother was a member of The Hate Party, both had come to a turning point in their lives.
Neither realizes that this chance meeting would result in a bizare murder puzzle and a life-altering friendship that led to the birth of a prince.
“My son, I breathe unto you the breath of change. It shall be well with your generation.”
“Yes, for you are the prince of Africa. The pride of Vieve and of the whole world. You are unity. You are the confluence in which River white met and mingled with the River black. You are freedom. Two bloods run in your vein. You are as white as you are black.”
People move from place to place and only those who have moved appreciate those who move. The truth remains that migration is always for a purpose.
Young Michael moved on scholarship from Umueze in Africa to England for academic and work reasons. His father was a pauper, a poor butcher who could hardly feed his family three times a day. Never did he know that his son would one day be the greatest man in Umueze.
Luck was always on Michael’s side. He was naturally strong and intelligent from birth. He could learn in hours what other children learnt in months. It was very easy for his uncle to teach him all he could. He thought him basic alphabets and numbers, which was all he learnt in his one year in the Missionaries. Michael’s zeal to learn made him regret his withdrawal from school. At least, he would have known more things to teach Michael before his first day in school.
On Michael’s first day in school, the teacher realised that Mike already could read words and pronounce them correctly. From then on Michael took the first position in the class and was never second.
Michael came back from England a renowned doctor of his time. Born with no silver spoon in his mouth, his son Chuks was born with a mouth full of silver and golden spoons.
Chuks took after Dr. Michael his father in all things except that his own voyage to England was crapped. He lost it all including his most appreciated rights. All he lived for were gone. His father was no more and his entire heritage disappeared in the most undesirable way. Fate had a way of paying him back with more silver and gold than his father ever made. He was happy again.
27TH MAY 1970
“Congratulations! You have a son, a fine little angel”.
“Blessed be God,” Liz responded with a tired smile.
The midwife cleaned the baby up and gave it to Liz.
Liz kissed her angel. She tried to spring up with force and felt a stabbing pain. It was then she remembered it was a caesarean section.
“This baby looks as cute as his father.” Said Dr Miller to himself.
“It is too early to tell, Doctor.” Replied the midwife.
“You are right my dear, they keep changing until they are fully formed.”
“He looks gorgeous any way.”
“Thanks Doctor Miller.” Liz managed to say.
Liz slept off shortly, her head resting on her left arm, while the right arm rested on her ribs. Intravenous drugs dripped drop by drop into her hidden veins. Though it kept dropping, the packet of blood hanging on the stand did not seem to reduce.
Dr. Miller removed his operating gown and went straight into the scrub room for a wash. He changed his clothes and could not wait to ring Dr. Mike. “Ding dong ding” the ward phone rang. It was Dr. Mike calling. Dr. Miller picked the receiver immediately.
“Congratulations Mike, I was just about to call you. You have got a bouncing baby boy here.”
“The lord is good!”
“All the time!”
“How did it go Doc?”
“A struggle with foetal distress.”
“We thank God they are both alive. We could not tell the cause, all we had to do was act quickly.”
Dr. Mike could not thank Dr. Miller enough. It was a professional duty, decorated with some elements of friendship. In his excitement, he asked to speak with Liz but was advised to call the next day.
Liz slept peacefully through the night. The baby was returned to her after a routine check-up with one of the nurses. She smiled at the baby and glanced at the nurse, her face glowing with excitement.
“Now Mrs. Michael” said the nurse, “Shall we feed the baby?”
Liz struggled to get up. She adjusted herself and glanced at her milk-swollen breasts; she examined the two closely to know which was fuller. She weighed the two in her palm and pulled out the left one. Gently she cleaned the nipples before pushing it into her baby’s mouth. The baby grabbed the breast with its two tiny arms and sucked hurriedly as if to finish before the mum could change her mind.
“It must be very hungry.” Said the nurse.
“I think he is.” Replied Liz.
The baby sucked with an element of expertise and precision. He sucked too hard for his age. He got tired so fast, slept off on the breast and woke up again soon after. He retired again for a longer sleep in the same manner in which he woke up.
The hospital air was filled with the smell of disinfectants, antiseptics and medicated soap. These did not help Liz’s appetite at all. She nobly resisted the fruit and candy, chocolate and cheese piled by her bedside and rather enjoyed a light lunch. She quickly prepared herself for the visitors who would come in the afternoon. Dr. Mike’s sister, Sandra, a lecturer in University of Wales, was expected with two of her friends. She could not wait to see her new nephew. Liz’s schoolmate Jane had also rang and was equally expected in the afternoon.
Though he ordinarily likes knotting his ties properly, Dr. Mike had to keep the top button of his striped blue shirt undone. That reduced the choking feeling he had at that moment. He toyed with the loose knot out of discomfort and restlessness. He wished he were in his lounge on his boxer shorts and a light T-shirt. He looked miserably unusual that very day.
Doctor Mike paced up and down the front of his office. Shortly, he squatted, in a moment he stood and soon he walked up and down again. What must have been the problem? He was careful though not to let his patients and staffs notice his disorderliness. He was mindful not to stumble at the staff’s children who were playing with a pile of clothes tied into volleyball. He also looked out for the little fat boy flying his brown kite on the hospital lawn.
Notwithstanding the unusual winter-like chilliness of that day’s tropical breeze, Dr Mike was sweating profusely. He pulled an immaculate white handkerchief from his pocket. The more he wiped his face, the more the white hanky turned brown. The sweat-drops drizzled down his forehead like raindrops down a corrugated zinc roof.
Dr. Mike was a surgeon and a general practitioner of medicine. He was a consultant surgeon often consulted by fellow consultants. He owned and directed the famous St. Michaels, one of the best hospitals in Africa. He trained in Oxford and was the best student in his final year. He worked as a consultant in many hospitals in the United Kingdom before returning to Africa. His training and wealth of experience gave him an edge over his colleagues. He never failed in exams and never failed in the theatre.
Patients hardly died in St Michaels. Some patients, though, were brought by their people not to recover but to avoid blames from contemporaries. Such patients had their journey to the grave interrupted briefly for a courtesy call to St. Michaels. There was once a case of a patient whose coffin was ready before, on a second thought, he was brought to Saint Michaels. Sometimes Dr Mike would choose to refer such to the Teaching Hospital as a matter of courtesy rather than record death in his hospital. In fairness to Dr. Mike, St Michaels was neither a funeral home, nor an undertaking company. It was not a death registry either.
Dr Mike was a man of the people in all ways. He was such a hardworking man that could work all day and still arrive for work the next day earlier than the cleaners. God was so generous in rewarding his hard work with cash. ‘Chief Mike’, as his people called him got it all at a very young age. His kind was a rare breed.
He was married to Liz, the daughter of his father’s best friend, Professor Kaine. Liz was a personification of beauty, a sample of good character and a model for ladies. Notwithstanding her background and beauty, Liz was as simple as Alice, the woman next door.
While Liz was in the labour ward in London, Dr Mike too was literally in labour in Umueze. Though he had no reason to be anxious, he kept pacing up and down the corridor of his office, regretting why he did not go with his wife to London.
Chief Mike did not want to take chances. Liz was flown to London for a safe delivery notwithstanding the level of sophistication of St Michaels Hospital. Chief Mike did not at all want to take chances with Liz and his first-born. Liz travelled to London two months before the expected delivery date. After all, money was not their problem. He registered his wife for antenatal care at Great Ormond Hospital in Central London, a hospital for the obviously rich, the aristocrats and celebrities. Coincidentally, Dr. Miller, an old colleague of Dr. Michael’s was the Chief Surgeon.