“I have studied the book of Famine and abject want “the gentleman with a mean look about him and blood shot eyes was telling his friend.” I know it, forward and backward, like the back of by hand”, he added.
“So, why not take what your employer is giving, as it were freely! err Monsieur Bonnie”
“Its simple –if you follow what am saying. I long ago conditioned by family to, lack and need – they‘re battle hardened. They can survive whatever circumstance and cope along if anything bad incapacitates me. So taking the month-end ten Kilograms of sugar and Cooking oil will negate this austere conditioning I have worked had to inculcate in my Household. That what this is all about, Monsieur XInjam, my brother.” he explained.
I was at the reception lobby of Ngamia Oil Inc .I was here to follow up on a tender for the supply of office flowers and was to talk to the director of Tender at the company. I was the first contractor at the reception and had been asked by the team at Lobby to recline in seat and wait .I w’ld be shortly see the director .In the meantime there was constant traffic of workers ,contractors and customers ,going and coming. To kill time I listened to what the other waiting to be attended to were talking about.
“ in fact I have never taken these freebies that the company gives us ,the workers ,for the last eleven years” the man who had been identified by his friend as Monsieur Bonnie continued, leaving everybody who was hearing this stupefied beyond comment. Then he added the bombshell. “By the way, Opanja, I don’t take raw sugar.”
“What raw sugar?”
“I mean sugar that you people lace in Tea, Coffee and other such gooey stuff, “
“Argh! You must be kidding. what do you take then ?”
Monsieur Bonnie barely smiled revealing even but stained teeth and said, “I take cooked sugar. You only get that in local Liquor!”
I turned and looked at the men .It was like the Fish telling the frog that it arbors dry air- it only consumes air mixed in water! At that point I was beginning fight the urge to cross-over and seize the man eye ball to eye ,to fully understand him. But this never happened-the men were called away to attend to the mission that brought them at this Corporate head office ,in the first place.
I seized that moment and grabbed coffee from the coffee dispenser .As I lurched back into the chair the customer experience guy told me that the director mighty see me but at that time She was attending to an urgent and delicate matter. He then turned to the gentleman who had sauntered in .He was driver with a transport contractor .He appeared tired and had face that betrayed the fact that he been a casualty of untold agonies lately .He filed in his papers and came to sit accros.At which point a man who was sitting beside me recognized him , and wondered aloud what had happened to him. He said he was accosted by hired goons intend on flushing the living daylights out of him. From the look of him, he had survived the burst up by a whisker. He had sustained deep and serious machete cuts on his cranium and limbs. The left hand was in heavy bandage and only two fingers-the small finger and the thumb. The others were chopped off as he tried to wriggle out of the deadly fracas.
I wondered to myself what kind of deal had gone sour. And I was shocked when he revealed in a pained voice the person behind the attack –a woman,infact his wife of 3 years. The woman who happened to be his second wife had ditched him for a Boda- boda Rascal!.The taxi man had told his wife that he could make her conceive through faith healing. Upon which thing ,She moved to a Kadhi court to annul his marriage ,against the wishes of this poor fellow. She was granted a divorce on the ground of un-reconcilable differences. But the man ,so enamored by the love of this woman , flatly rejected signing the court papers. In fact he had appealed the ruling in the high court, which happened to be ,pending for hearing .It’s this appeal that irked the woman so much that she took extreme measures. Subject him to a one sided conversation, in language he could not fail or refuse understand.
As the man continued with his sad story , the reception officer signaled to me and told me when a was close enough for him not to shout ,that the director was tied up in a daylong meeting and that I should come again the following week ,same time. I was brusque with him and asked him to make certain that I had my appointment booked. Then I marched with a spring in my steps to my VW Polo and drove off.