(Continued from Deadbeat Father II)
Boniface wakes up at 9 am and goes straight to the shower. As he dresses, he stares at his image in the mirror. He admits that he looks good. At 59, he is still strong and energetic; as a testament to that, he has a twenty six year old wife, a real tigress in bed, and he has never had to use Viagra. He even has mistresses on the side. Jane is an older, married woman, but exciting to sleep with all the same. And then there is his secretary Anna who is forty one years old and who has been working for and sleeping with him since he fired his first secretary Lilian. Just as was the case with Lilian, Anna’s terms of service included being his mistress. And there are countless casual flings he usually has with women he fancies but who he doesn’t wish to have long term sexual relationships with. Virility is his middle name.
He has had many women in his life, but Purity is one of the only two who made him feel complete. That is why he married her. The other one was his late wife Sophia. Right from that Sunday back at Ruiru Campus when he met Purity for the first time, he knew that she was cut from the same cloth as Sophia. Purity was a vulnerable young woman back then, on the brink of despair, but even then he could see that she had a fighter spirit in her. Time has proven him right.
He only gave her a little push and she has established herself as a serious businesswoman. Her drive and energy in bed make him feel young again. Her intellect and sharp wit keep him on his toes. Thanks to her, he has regained his body and youthfulness, which he had lost after the death of Sophia. Just like Sophia, Purity cooks balanced meals and insists that they should be going the gym regularly. Now his potbelly is gone and he generally feels good about himself.
Boniface is not educated; he hustled his way into success. He dropped out of school in class six and became a casual laborer in his village. Then he found his way to the city and started working in construction sites while staying in the slums of Mathare. His life began to change when he was hired an Asian family first as a gardener and later as a driver.
It is while he was working for Patel, as the Asian head of the family was called, that he met Priscilla, who was working as a house help in the family. The chemistry was instant and soon she was sneaking into his house at the servant quarters every night. Before long, she became pregnant. She was fired when the pregnancy became apparent, and was asked to leave the compound.
She pleaded with Boniface to help her, and he agreed to rent her a house in Mathare, where he had lived before he was taken in by Patel. He promised Priscilla that he would take care of her and the child, and he did; for a while anyway. Whenever he got an opportunity he would visit her, and would do shopping for her. In a way, they became man and wife. Meanwhile, he was polishing his English and learning the business of insurance brokerage firm from his boss. As a driver, he travelled almost everywhere with his boss, and he observed as the man worked. One day he asked his boss to allow him help out in the business as his assistant. Patel refused.
But Boniface is not the kind of man who despairs after facing a stumbling block. He reached out to one of his boss’ business rivals, a man called Kung’u, and through a well-orchestrated web of lies, convinced him that he was the best sales agent Kung’u would get. Whether Kung’u believed him or not is debatable, because Boniface came to realize later that one of Kung’u’s talents is seeing through lies and bluffs. But he also had a knack for spotting talent, so he probably saw Boniface’s potential. Whatever the case, he hired Boniface as a sales agent in his firm. Boniface quit his job as Patel’s driver and moved in with Priscilla in Mathare. Boniface’s star was rising. Within four months of working with Kung’u, he and Priscilla had moved to a one bedroom house in Kayole. Boniface was however more excited at the prospect of being a father than he was of being a husband.
Boniface is a smooth talker, and he has a natural talent of spinning lies and exaggerating stories and that is what makes him an excellent salesman. He excelled in his job as an insurance salesman and rose to become a manager in Kung’u’s brokerage firm, even though he had limited education. By then Priscilla had given birth to their first born, Jacob and a second child was on the way. It is around that time that Boniface convinced himself that he could go on his own. With money he had saved over the years, he rented an office in Embu House not far from Khoja Mosque and set up his own brokerage firm. He got a forger in River Road to forge certificates for him: he got a CPE certificate, an O-Levels certificate, and A-Levels certificate and a university degree. With his crisp suits and polished English that he perfected while working for Patel and Kung’u, no one would suspect him.
No one has suspected him to date.
He proved to be a successful businessman and his business grew year after year. Priscilla gave birth to two more children, Naomi and Maureen. After several years running his business successfully, he felt that it was time to upgrade his life. He wanted to move out of Kayole and go to a better neighborhood. He had also grown tired of Priscilla and wanted a more “stylish” wife to go with his newly acquired status of a successful businessman. In the course of his work, he got invited to many corporate dinners. Almost all his friends and acquaintances went to these events with their wives.
But he could not go with Priscilla because she was illiterate and he no longer thought she was so beautiful. The women other men came with were sophisticated, upscale women. He already had a girlfriend called Sophia, and she is the one who attended these events with him. Sophia had no idea that he was married. Since wanted to marry her, he sent Priscilla to the village, telling her that the business was not doing well. His share of the family’s ancestral land was an eighth of an acre. That is where he built a wooden house and settled Priscilla and the children. All his children were enrolled at a public day school. He paid a full year’s worth of school fees and then returned to the city.
He quickly forgot all about Priscilla and the children. He had no intention of ever returning t the village, which he associated with hardship and poverty. There was no way they could contact him. That was an era before mobile phones. He had a telephone in his office, but Priscilla did not know the number. He also had a postal address, but she could not write. And even if she did, he would simply ignore the letters. He moved from Kayole to South C. A few months later, he married Sophia in a colorful church ceremony.
Sophia introduced him to church, and he is a church elder to date.
Sophia turned out to be a good woman. She was ambitious, driven, educated and very sophisticated. She came from a well up family: her father was a successful real estate agent and her mother a medical doctor. But she was also very humble and pleasant. Sophia had been working at her father’s firm since she graduated from campus, and she had become almost as good as he was at the business. Boniface told her to show him the ropes of the business, and they started their own real estate firm. To accommodate both businesses, and because he could now afford it, he moved his office from Embu House to Anniversary Towers. He managed the insurance side of things while Sophia ran the real estate side of things. She became pregnant twice and gave birth to two lovely girls, Cherry and Charlotte, two years apart.
A cloud passes over Boniface’s eyes as he remembers his daughters. He loves the girls, but the love is no longer reciprocated. Not since the day they walked to his office and found him on the couch making love his secretary Lilian. It was a Sunday afternoon and they were supposed to be shopping with their mother, while he had said that he was watching football with his friends. Football was the excuse he invented that allowed him to spend Sunday afternoons making love to Lilian in his office.
That day, however, Sophia wanted a document from the office, so she parked her car in the basement and sent the girls up to their fourth floor office to get it for her. Boniface had locked the door, but Sophia had given the girls the key. She did not expect anyone to be in. Boniface heard the key turning, but he did not have enough time to react before the girls rushed in. Their mother’s cubicle was next to his, and the girls would probably have taken the document and left without catching him, except that Lilian chose the worst possible time to talk.
“Let’s get dressed Boniface. There is someone in the office,” she said.
The girls came to investigate the source of the sound and found their father frozen on top of his secretary, both of them clothed in the glory of nature. The girls fled the room before he could say anything. For some reason, they never told their mother. Perhaps they wanted to shield her from heart ache, because at that time Sophia was already battling cancer, even though she was still healthy enough to work and carry out her day to day activities. But Boniface’s relationship with the girls broke down completely. He had betrayed them and their mother, and they chose not to forgive him.
When their mother died a year and a half later, the girls insisted on going to boarding school. Sophia is the one who died of breast cancer, so Boniface did not lie to Purity. Whenever Cherry and Charlotte came home for holiday, they would avoid their father at all costs and would only talk to him when it was absolutely necessary. More often than not they would insist on visiting their grandparents, Sophia’s parents, to spend the holidays there. They did not have paternal grandparents because Boniface had told them (and Sophia) that he was an orphan who grew up in a children’s home and they had believed him.
The last time Boniface spoke to the girls was during their grandfather’s burial four years ago. And they had not talked to him willingly. He had been brought to them by their grandmother, and they could not ignore him in her presence. They were university students in the UK then, and had gone directly to their grandparents’ home after flying into the country. After the funeral they did not tell him as they were leaving, and they have never spoken to him since. They are now graduates. He knows from a family friend that Cherry got a scholarship at Oxford and is doing her doctorate while working as an assistant lecturer in the same institution, while Charlotte is a medical doctor in London.
Boniface sighs deeply.
He picks a bottle of lotion and starts applying it over his body. Then his phone rings. He picks the call and talks briefly to the person on the other end then hangs up. It is the spy he planted to watch Jacob, Priscilla’s son. The stupid boy had the guts to come to his office to confront him. So Boniface sent his goons to watch him. Through his spies, he knows that Jacob has been operating a boda boda in Juja, and for three weeks now has been using the shed that is near his (Boniface’s) house as his operational base. Boniface set up that shed to serve his neighbors, so that their wives, children and house managers would be saved the long walk to the main road.
Boniface’s contact has told him that Jacob has just kidnapped Purity and has taken her to an abandoned house in Gatanga. Apparently Jacob has been scouting the location for weeks. Boniface wonders whether he should just kill the boy to save Purity, and then hush the matter.
And then it occurs to him that Purity’s death would be good for him politically. He will blame his rivals and milk all the sympathy votes he can get. He will miss her because she is such a lovely woman, but then he can get another. This world is full of good women. If he could find such an excellent replacement for Sophia, then he can get another. He picks up his phone.
“How do you know where they are?” he asks his spy.
“I was watching him as he took your wife. I already knew about the house. I actually have a man watching it as we speak and he has confirmed to me that Jacob has taken your wife there. My man is hearing screams, so she is still alive. But it won’t be long before your boy kills her. He is probably killing her as we speak.”
“How did you know he is my boy?”
“He looks exactly like you, boss.”
“Is your man carrying a gun?”
“Tell him to move in and kill both of them. Leave my woman’s body in that house but carry the boy and bury his body at the usual place. You know what to do.”
Boniface hangs up. Wilson and his gang are loyal and have helped him destroy many of his enemies. But the stakes are higher this time because of his political ambitions. So after they kill Purity and Jacob, Wilson and his gang will also have to die. Boniface only needs to whisper the right words to his friends in the security agencies and trigger happy police officer will destroy the entire gang and claim they were on a police “wanted” list.
But first he has to get proof of the death of Jacob and Purity.
Image by Ayoub Wardin from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/snake-head-savage-design-dead-5405862/
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