Tabitha’s father was getting impatient. He kept calling and asking if I had come up with a solution to his mistress problem, and I detected a hint of disappointment in his tone every time I told him not yet. Given that I was busy with work, I relegated the responsibility of brainstorming the best way forward to my right hand man, Steve, who was a master in digging up information about anyone and everyone. So it was a relief when he called me one evening when I was dead bored in the office and said he had something for us. I was elated to hear the news and asked him when we could meet to discuss his findings.
“Meet me at Msonobari later this evening,” he said before hanging up.
A few minutes to 7 O’clock I wedged my car between an old motorcycle and a white dusty Toyota Premio with the words ‘wash me please’ scribbled on its rear glass. It was mid-week so Msonobari Bar was almost empty as I walked in, picking a table on our usual corner before ordering two cold Tuskers. The heavily endowed barmaid was just leaving my table to go work on my order when Steve stuck his head around the door, scanned the room until he saw me before walking in. He stopped in front of the waitress, blocking her way. He whispered things which tickled her to her ear before stepping aside to let her pass. He then joined me.
“You will not believe what I found out,” he said pulling a chair.
“And what did you find?”
“A very interesting piece of information concerning Chief and his mistress. Apparently chief did not tell you the whole truth when he asked for your help.”
I was going to ask him what he meant but then the barmaid was back with my drink. She leaned in too close to Steve as she set the bottles on the table before asking him what he would have. A seducing smile balanced on her lips and for a moment I had a feeling that she was secretly lusting after Steve, a suggestion which Steve later disagreed with furiously. But later when both of us had our own drinks in our hands, I asked Steve to explain what he meant when he said Chief had been economical with the truth.
“Did you know that Anne the mistress has four children?” he asked holding his glass mid air.
“I dint know but I don’t see how that is relevant.”
“Well, out of the four children, one, the last born actually, is allegedly Chief’s. And my sources inform me that the kid is four years old which means…”
“That chief has been cheating for over four years,” I finished his sentence for him.
Steve nodded in agreement before proceeding to sip from his glass. I glared at him, then at my glass in silence as I let the new and crucial piece of information sink in. It hit me hard. It was hard to believe that the most respected man in Msonobari, one who made my life a living hell when I wanted to marry his daughter because, in his eyes, I was not worthy of her precious daughter, could be caught in such an unflattering love triangle. And to imagine that he wanted me to help him get rid of this woman and, most definitely, the responsibility of catering for his kid? I decided to call him and confirm if indeed it was true he had a child with this woman but Steve stopped me before I could dial his number.
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” he pointed towards the counter. I looked up to see chief talking to the cashier seated behind the counter. They talked for almost a minute before he started walking out again. I sprung to my feet and quickly followed him out, catching up with him just outside the door. He looked surprised to see me.
“I dint know you were in there,” he said still holding on to my right hand, with his left hand resting on my left shoulder making me feel like I was a child.
“It’s okay,” I said before quickly adding, “I was actually going to call you before I saw you talking to cashier inside the bar.”
“Oh, do you have any good news for me?”
I shook my head, “I am afraid no. But I have one crucial question to ask, and which I am not sure how to ask it and still sound respectful, or like I am interrogating my father-in-law.”
“No no no. Just go ahead and ask anything you want to ask.”
I took in a deep breath, gathered enough courage I knew I needed at that time before I finally blurted out, “Do you have a kid with Anne?”
He suddenly looked alarmed and uneasy. He let go off my hand and shoulder and scratched his head like he was guilty as charged. And I stood there patiently waiting for him to confirm or rubbish the claims. But from the look of things, there was nothing to rubbish.
“Ha… how did you know?” he stammered.
“So it is true?”
“It was supposed to be a secret. You see why I don’t want that woman in my life anymore? She can’t keep anything to herself.” he was talking more to himself than he was talking to me. And I felt inclined to inform him that I did not find that piece of information from his mistress.
“Not the point here, sir.”
“Okay, the truth is she and I have a son together. A son that I am making sure is well catered for. But I told her that as much as I will continue taking care of the kid’s needs, I am not interested in our relationship anymore for many reasons,” he then paused to look at me, maybe to give me time to interject but I chose not to. I simply crossed my arms against my chest and waited for him to continue talking, and he did, “But he threatened to not only make sure my wife knows about this, but the entire village and you know what that will do to my well guarded reputation.”
I wanted to tell him that his reputation was not well guarded after all but again, I did not want to sound rude. But what I did tell him, however, was that it was wrong for him to ask me for my help and still withhold such important information from me. He apologized for that.
“Only that I thought since my plan was not to abandon my responsibilities to that child, that it was not important bringing him into this.” he said before quickly asking, “So do you think you can still help me?”
“Well, I made you a promise and I will keep it.”
He nodded before extending me a firm handshake. He thanked me for my understanding and I promised to keep him posted. We then wasted a few minutes catching up about family, about my daughter Natasha and his daughter Tabitha.
“By the way, not a word about this to Tabitha.”
“Agreed,” I then turned and headed back in the bar as he wandered through the dark on his way home. Steve who by that time had cleared almost a dozen bottles of Guinness and his eyes had turned blood red, was curious to know whether or not chief refuted the claims and his blood red eyes shone bright with delight for being proven right.
“Steve never gets it wrong,” he said. And I agreed.
“So what should we do next?” I asked.
he smiled, “You see, I hadn’t told you the best part.”
“And what is the best part?”
He stared intently at the drink lingering on the bottom of his glass before mumbling, “My most trusted source informs me that there is a possibility chief might be spending on a kid who is not his. He may have been lied to and all we need to do,” he drunk the remaining drink in one swoop, “is find out if its true his mistress, Anne, lied to him.”
NB: For those who have been following this series I am sorry it took me too long to post. It won’t happen again. Kindly share this story and your thoughts on the comment box below. Also subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already. Peace.