Dike got into the car and searched for his ignition key. Nwabueze watched him keenly. He felt that Dike had changed in recent time. He was sure that something was bugging his mind. During the past few weeks, Dike had been even more quiet than usual. It was true he was not talkative but these days he seemed to be carried
away, Nwabueze mused. He was worried about Dike’s state of mind because he had become fond of the man.
He knew that Dike was as tough as teak and he carried a punch that was like a sledge-hammer blow. He had never forgotten how Dike once
manhandled a very tall and huge man who had tried to pick a quarrel with him. He and Dike had been
enjoying their drinks
in a nearby bar when this man came up and said in a meancing voice that he didn’t want to drink in the same bar with Dike.
Dike had said quietly, ‘Then drink your beer somewhere else.” Dike knew that the man had an eye on him since
the day a lady they both admired made it
obvious that she preffered Dike. But he never imagine that the matter would lead to an open confrontation.
Nwabueze had always admired the soft way Dike spoke; he never shouted even when he was furious.
The fellow had angrily turned to Dike and hit him heavily. To Nwabueze, it seemed like a hell of a punch but Dike didn’t even grunt. He swayed this way and that and gave
the man a sledge-hammer blow that put him in his place. Nwabueze hadn’t seen the punch. It had been too fast, but he had seen the effect. The fellow lay motionless on the ground.
No sooner had this happened than three men who were coming out from a nearby restaurant confronted them, apparently rallying to the support of their fallen friend. Without demanding any explanations, they immediately resorted to using their fists.
A quick jab
from one of them sent Nwabueze flying, while Dike stood his ground. One after the other, he floored all of them to the amazement of onlookers. Nwabueze, who was still lying on the floor nursing an injury, was impressed.
Although Dike was a loner, he seemed friendly with Nwabueze who had worked so closely with him knew littler or nothing about him except than he had been Otike’s gunman for some fifteen years, was about forty-four
years of age, unmarried, and had no relations and lived in a four-room apartment. The boss evidently thought highly of him.