As it turned out from the introduction, I was the devil in this whole scenario and the mentality was not just about to change soon. From the side of my eyes, I could see the way the wife was looking at me. I cannot even remember her name. I don’t think I needed to. As long as I knew Onkwani, She would always remain Mrs. Onkwani. As if by cue, the rain started coming down seriously. The heavy kind that cannot allow you to cross the street without getting drenched. I was that lucky. Two ladies rushed to roll down the canvas that covers the side of the outside seating area of the restaurant to prevent the rain from getting inside. I had given the road my back and I was uncomfortable. I just felt insecure in a way.
A lady approached our table and greeted us all. The hosts responded audibly but I was not as firm in my response as they were. All this time I was looking at the space between them on the couch.
“What would you like to order?” went the lady.
“Do you have Juice?” Said the Mr.
“Yes.” “Which flavor?”
“Do you have cocktail?”
“Yes, we do sir.”
“Is it thick?”
“Yes it is thick.”
“What does it have mixed in there?”
“Fruits of the season.”
“Hizo ndio gani? Like which ones?”
“It has passion fruit, Melon, Mango, tree tomato and orange.”
“Hiyo inakaa mzuri. Bring me that one.” “Nyinyi pia mnaweza itisha kitu”
I almost ordered hot coffee. I was desperately cold and I could feel that colorless tell-tale mucus slowly flowing down my nostrils. However, I decided to go hard. I said I was okay and I would not be ordering anything. I saw the Mrs. looking at me. She was somehow fighting a smile or was it her face of pity. I could not just order under their bill under the circumstances. This particular thought drained enough energy from the heat management system in my brain that a shiver ran through me. I hoped that no one noticed. The lady left the table and there was a moment of silence between us. Then Onkwani broke the silence. He tried to explain why he was late. A series of meetings in and out of Karen and a few other errands that he had to run.
“I just want to understand one thing, why were you doing what you were doing yesterday?” “I still don’t believe in your story. Maybe the police did, and that is why they released you. I called and they told me a friend of yours came for you…”
“Yes they did, and I was released.”
“What do you do?” “Just tell me.”
“Same story for the 5th or so time now? Student and freelance business person.”
“You know Maina, I came with my wife today for a reason. Are you married by the way?”
“No. I’m not”
“Girlfriend? Fiancée?” “Why?” … “That is the story of another day.” “So I came with my wife today as I mentioned earlier, ndio akuone. She wanted to meet you, and eeehhhrr… You are a very smart man you know that?”
The juice came. The wife was suspiciously looking at the lady. There was a tinge of jealousy and I could tell that this was the kind of wife who would not let the house help serve the hubby. This was a good thing, to some extent that is.
“Hii haikai thick vile mimi hutaka… But its okay.”
“Nyinyi mumeamua hamtaki kitu? … Ni Sawa!”
The lady smiled and walked away. I guess she read the cues from the wife. Considering the ordering conversation a while back was unusually long, she decided to ignore the man and walk away. Sorry, I forgot to mention; from my eyes… If I were to be introduced to the two ladies as single ladies at a party for instance, I would concentrate on the waitress.
“Where were we?” asked Mr. Onkwani
“How you, she (pointing at the lady) was looking forward to meet me.”
“Yes. So (looking at his wife) ukiangalia huyu kijana hivi… anakaa askari kweli?”
“Apana. Hata kidogo” (A smile stuck to her face. She could not hold it back. I guess she had already given me fatigues – army fatigues to be specific and had it over me. A jungle hat to top it up and a few fresh scratches and bruises on my face to complete the rugged look.) ‘We know these ideas, we can tell it from your faces ladies!’ I had to smile myself.
“Anyway, this is the man.” “Anasema aliacha hiyo kazi” “I have even told my wife many times how I wanted to enter that career, many times. Very many times.” “Aaata saa ii, nipatie and I will gladly go!”
“Okay, sio mbaya, lakini but your views are legitimate enough” “Mimi sikutaka na hayo ni hayo”
“Wewe lazima kuna jambo.”
“Is it true you were in the military really?” Asked the wife.
“Yes I was. That is true.” “I don’t look like one?”
“No!” (Smiling and awkwardly stealing glances at the hubby)
“Well, I may be a little bit too skinny for the military, rather typical jeshi, but trust me anything is possible with the little I have,” (Flipping my fingers in front of my head and chest.)
Onkwani interjected “Na wewe ni mang’aa!” “Ata nimekumbuka!” “Baby huyu, tena! he is a pilot. Can you imagine. He even flies planes, pale Wilson”
“You mean?.” Said the Mrs. “You are really into a lot of things…”
“Yes I am.”
“Tell us about flying, tuguzie kidogo tu…”
“There is nothing much to tell. Feels much like being at the heli… I mean, rooftop of KICC.” “Panda huko juu siku moja ukipata nafasi” I wasn’t sure if man from Masimba would know what a helipad is.
“Anyway, No problem if that is the case, I will see how it will go for this other issue, with the court because I can see that is what you want” (Was I supposed to be intimidated by this?) “Young Man, Nairobi is a bad place but it has both good and bad people. As I told you, I am a humble businessman who has no other business to do in this town except to give people my cars, they go use them for whatever reason, and then they return them and I can be able to help others. And life goes on Maina.” (pauses) “Ama namna gani baby?” looking at the wife. She nodded in response.
“I hear you, & I don’t refuse that your mission and vision are on point. This little clash of coincidences that the random person I choose to hire their car is the very person who doesn’t believe and trust me is what has the two of us seated here and you having cocktails on a rainy evening.”
“I just want to understand you Maina…”
The wife then decides to chip in. “You, see, I don’t know you, and for the few minutes I have been here, you seem genuine, actually you are very good. I don’t have a problem with you. All he wants is you confess and you finish this and then it can all be over.” “Anataka tu kuelewa nini ulikuwa unapanga jana?” (He just needs to know what you were planning yesterday.)
I was getting irritated again, but I decided to distract myself. The lady who served us was making her rounds inside the restaurant and I was stealing glances whenever I managed to get my eyes off the face of Mr. Onkwani. His wife was not as interesting as the faces he made when having that cocktail. At some point she was, I mean, I just got bored for some reason and decided to stop concentrating on her. All I wanted was Mr. Onkwani to withdraw the case. And time was running out. Otherwise, I would be escorted to Industrial area and it would have been a whole different story.
“Now that I already paid you & never got the service, when & how do you want to refund my money?” “I did not get the car, right?”
“HA ha ha!, Mr Maina, do you know how much time you wasted yesterday, and the night before?” “Infact, you should be the one who should be paying me for damages.”
It was my turn to laugh. I laughed so hard it took the wife by surprise who started to smile. His man, as if on cue looked at her and said… “Tell him, I had a sleepless night.”
“You are not serious, right?” “I wasted your time?” “Between the two of us who has wasted the other’s time?”
“Maina niko serious…” “That was my business time you consumed, and my family time…” “Ask my wife, she will tell you. That is why I brought her.” “She is my witness.”
“Okay, so how much should I pay you?” “Kulingana na wewe, Nililalia masaa yako mangapi?” (According to you how many hours did I waste)
“Ukinipea mia mbili sio mbaya.” (200 is not bad…)
I looked at the wife and asked her “Bwanako ako sawa kweli?” (Is your husband okay?) Then I let out a sigh of sorts. Angry like a branded bull. I decided to give this man some time to think. I also needed some time to think, and maybe some time to check out the lady who served his cocktail. Seemed like a better antidote to the anger that was welling up in me. So I asked them to excuse me. I loved the puzzled looks on their faces.
I walked over towards the main dining area of the restaurant. My timing was right and the beautiful lady was just walking without any sense of urgency to her work station. So I stopped her.
“Excuse; Kindly direct me to the restrooms… It’s my first time here.”
She smiled, sized me up so fast that no ordinary person would notice, backtracked a bit and pointed to a door at the end of the dining floor. “Turn right after that door and you will see them…”
“Thank you.” I replied and stood there smiling like an idiot to nothing in particular. Took me a while to realize I was at the center of this part of the restaurant and within sight of everyone. I got back to my senses and walked to the door as directed. I looked around and saw the washroom sign at a corner. Then to my left I also noticed the main entrance to the building. Ahaaa… Alternative entrance and exit point, how nice huh? ‘This would be a nice place to cheat/ evade/ con someone’ I thought to myself.
To be continued…