Return of the King

 

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Msonobari Village. Nyumbani kwa mama. A village with long windy dusty roads. Or muddy when it rained. A village masked with old corrugated rooftops, except for a few belonging to the elite class (ahem, including yours truly). A village hosting the exclusive Msonobari Bar, where the who is who of Msonobari came to close deals. A village where everyone paused to greet the other when they met, exchanged a few gossips because gossip was what breath life into Msonobari, before continuing with their journey.

Oh, I loved that place. And the fact that I influenced decisions as far as matters of importance were concerned made me love it even more. Had Madam Anne known this, she wouldn’t have dared me and Steve to do our worst. So as you might have already guessed, she bore down to pressure and stepped down as the official side dish of the one and only bwana Chief. And chief was full of praises for our efforts, by the way. More importantly, it all went down without affecting my marriage. The love of my life, Tabitha, and the other love of my life, Natasha, were solid beside me -all the time.

Things couldn’t get worse. Or so I thought.

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Return of the King

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A woman drinking in a bar was a concept widely frowned upon in Msonobari village. It was considered the height of impunity. Immorality. And basically, loss of direction and vision. If your woman was spotted in a Bar you would be advised (by other women especially) to look for another wife or risk bringing up children who look like your neighbours. So every self-respecting woman steered clear of bars and drinking in general.

But not Madam Anne – the self-appointed and official side chick to my father-in-law. In her defence, though, she did not just drink in any Bar but Msonobari Bar. Drinking in Msonobari Bar symbolized prestige. I have told you before that only the rich warmed chairs in this Bar and downed expensive drinks ever sold in Msonobari and its environs. Men of status came to close deals in this Bar. You would see them seated in twos or threes or fours or…you catch the drift… foreheads touching, discussing whose son should marry whose daughter and the number of cows to be brought dowry. Or why so and so should give out his daughter for free. This, while Papa Wemba, mostly, coughed from the speakers behind the counter, and the heavily endowed waitresses standing alert, or gossiping, or luring men to buy more drinks by dishing out their cleavages every time they served them their drinks.

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Return of the King

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You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, Know when to run… oh yes. As Steve and I walked out of the office, Kenny Rogers` Gambler tune played in my head over and over again. It would take a short break, the tune, but only to allow the words that Madam Anne had spilled out not long ago have its share of fun in my head and then the tune would be back to repeat mode. You surely do remember that not even once had Steve and I been on the losing end. We run the show in Msonobari village. We administered threats and those who were smart enough knew we did not mince our words. Unfortunately Madam Anne was not one of those people.

Here is what was going to happen. If Anne made good her threat, Delilah would surely be shown the door by her mother-in-law. Yes, her mother-in-law was powerful like that. She was the human version of the devil. even her own son, Prof, feared her. And if that were to happen, it meant that the responsibility of taking care of Delilah and her kids would fall on my shoulder. Not that that would have posed a problem to me because like you know, I am the epitome of success in Msonobari, but the logistics were enough to cripple my marriage. And I could not afford that. since she put to bed Tabitha had turned out to be a calm and loving wife and things were better that way.

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Return of the King

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I stood by the office window, a glass of water in hand as I stared outside. The cloud was no longer clear but dark and gloomy like a woman with a broken heart. It was clear it was going to rain sooner or later. I watched as the people of Msonobari increased their pace, others actually running to avoid being rained on. Then slowly my mind drifted from what was happening outside and clouded itself with Anne and the decision she was yet to make. It was one week now since the not so pleasant meeting we had with her yet she had not called. Chief had not called either. So nothing was happening. Steve and I were not winning this. And I was getting impatient.

My phone which was lying on the table rung, bringing my flow of thoughts to a screeching halt. I turned around and reached for it, staring at the caller identity in anxiety as it was Anne calling. I stared at it, my fingers shaking, not sure whether to pick it or not. Rather, not sure I was ready to hear her answer or not. It ringed off. A few seconds later, it ringed again. This time I swallowed hard and pressed the green button before slowly lifting the phone to my ear without saying anything.

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Return of the King

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Anne agreed to meet me and Steve in my office. I had managed to convince bwana Chief to give me her number and she was obviously surprised to receive my call. I know because she told me herself. Which was understandable because I am such a big shot in Msonobari village. Anyway, I told her there was an issue we needed to discuss and when I gave her the opportunity to decide where we could meet, in my or her office, she picked mine. And just to be clear, I told her my good friend Steve would be in that meeting too and she said it was fine. Okay, not at first, but when I told her it was important he be there she caved. Immediately I hanged up the phone I called Steve and told him that the meeting was on. So he came by the office later that evening as we were expecting Anne to stop by after work hours.

“Just remember we need to go easy on her,” I told Steve while glancing at the clock watch on my wall. In no time Anne was going to be there and we needed to be prepared for her. We had spent a lot of time going through our plan, and our back up plan to ensure that everything run on smoothly.

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Return of the King

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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.

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