Short Stories, Tale Africa

At the bottom of the glass (II)

By Egan Tabaro:

To enthral and seduce a woman of her status and beauty was a mystical experience akin to creating a smile on the Mona Lisa with a brush's stroke. So besotted was she that she paid for his blue sky plans for his own personal modern art gallery, which had even never had its foundation laid. The rumours were doing rounds in the city about the two and her husband had caught wind of her philandering but she knew too well that her Security Chief husband was away most of the time doing his duty by his country and Leader. In fact she chose to meet him this evening because only two days earlier, he had to urgently leave the country for another of his never ending missions which he promised would last only “a few weeks”. “A few weeks,” she angrily retorted, “whenever you say a few weeks it takes you months before you return. Do you ever think that you wife and family need you to be around them?” she said, this time her voice lowering as though she was about to cry all the while cleverly concealing her delight at spending weeks with her indulgent artist toy-boy. He knew he was a dangerous man, with a hot temper and that if he had to he could kill Andrew. But what is danger to ardour? Does not risk up the pace of love's game?

It is close to midnight now as the couple order their last drinks. The Taarab band has stopped playing, and the Mwambao Bar and Restaurant is fast emptying. In fact other than them, the only couple remaining is a giant man and his date at the other end of the balcony. The dim lights and night's dark conceal their faces. Then Andrew notices the eerie feeling has come back to haunt him. The lady from the other couple's table stands up, and walks a few feet past them with her purse in her hand, as Andrew casts a lustful eye at her well formed figure. Moving to the inside of the Mwambao she then signals the waiter, and quite strangely, sits at the bar. Andrew, ignoring Maureen's grumbling about their delayed drinks, turns back to look at the lady's date, the giant as he watches them from where he is seated, his face still not visible.

The drinks are brought. After the waiter has placed the drinks on the table he quickly leaves. Andrew grabs his drink and gallops it fast, to steady his nerves. Now Maureen too is noticing something odd. Turning to see the giant man at the other end she misses, seeing Andrew staring into his glass. At the bottom of the glass from which Andrew has just galloped is a whitish substance, which Maureen, now on her two feet and her head switching from Andrew to the direction of the giant man, can see. Andrew begins to choke on the remainder of what he last gulped, both his hands clutching his throat, limbs trembling and breathing quickening. He slumps to the floor. Maureen quickly falls to her knees to help him, just as the giant man, rises to his feet, and slowly walks to the where they are. Believing he has come to help Andrew, Maureen turns to the man only to see fully his face – it is her husband!

Andrew lies motionless on the floor, not a measure of life in his body.  Maureen's husband had just done what he threatened to do – kill the toy-boy!

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