To chase a rat out of its hole, you sure need smoke. I reckoned, even without being told, that was what my former Mexican bosses were doing. I didn’t get it though because I didn’t know much about the cartel. I knew they used the prostitutes to do the delivery in most countries using their accessories with or without their knowledge. I knew too that they had many officials working with airlines who allow them passes without so much as a check. I got to know some of those officials kept the drugs in the planes even before those taking them board, that is, if they are in large quantities. I knew there were high government officials who lend their powers to the cartel too. From those who were just testers to those who package right up to overseers, I didn’t know any of them. I just knew the rumours which chose to bless my ears without much effort. So I didn’t know why they were so after me.
Ntwanu asked that I stayed in as it was risky even working in my mask. He wanted to go back to Mexico and see for himself why a two hundred thousand dollar ransom had been placed on my head for grabs by anyone with information. With poverty walking naked on people’s faces, I would betray my mother given this chance if I knew anything. I knew Ntwanu was careful but somehow, I felt naked, felt everyone knew me even when I walked to the supermarket close by to buy groceries. He was gone for weeks and I was getting tired of giving Billy excuses as to why I could not meet him. Ntwanu liked vanishing without a trace. No phone calls, no text messages talk less of post cards. I was getting bored and strangely started missing Billy so I gave in and met him at his cottage far east of Kentucky.
The room was lowly lit, with the right heat from the modern chimney housing one of the best set of sofas and the most comfortable I had tasted. It felt as though they were hugging you and though I was in my disguise, I felt the softness. From the white tiled bathroom to the brown tiled hall, kitchen and bedroom floors, none gave clues as to their existence in the high walled, natural compound outside. Something strange happened. Billy poured me some brandy, I had barely finished it when he asked me to strip naked. Although something felt odd, I placed my glass on the centre table and stripped. He started kissing and roughly touching me. Before I knew what was happening, he stripped off my disguise with ease, releasing the black and authentic me to stand naked in front of him. How he got to know, beat my imagination. I had taken him for a fool, thought him to be my slave, thought I could do with him as I pleased but he was smarter, way smarter than I thought. I was caught. He took his time unmasking my whole body, layer after layer.
Billy locked the door electronically. “You can’t escape no matter what you do. So sit down and tell me who sent you”. The tone of his voice scared me. I was so stricken with fear until I remembered he was one of the most powerful men the world knew so it was natural for him to think people were after him. I started laughing so loudly that it took him by surprise. “Whoever is out to get you doesn’t know of my existence.” With that, he called on one of his waiting aides to tie me up to one of the two dining chairs after putting on me a purple nightwear. That night, I sat all through, without a drink nor meal. The next morning when I woke up, I saw no signs of him. The aide, Jack, brought me water, which I declined and offered to feed me but I politely thanked him. I don’t know how I missed the days but I woke up on the bed being tended to by Billy himself. His anger had subsided. He asked who I was in a very calm tone. I still didn’t utter a word until he broke down, not in tears but desperation. “It is a lonely life you know? Any time I try to get close to someone, I meet an unexpected barrier. From spies to assassins, gold diggers to fraudsters. My psychiatrist told me to let my guard down, that was why I took that chance with you. But you seem to want something, something I don’t know”
I felt pity for him and for the first time since I met Ntwanu, my heartbeat skipped for someone else. Call it attraction borne out of sympathy but it was so strong. “I am not after you or anything you have. I am just hiding, hiding from my past”. He looked straight at me as I did him and without batting an eye, came to sit by me. He asked if I could share my past with him and I told him of my fear of it leaking. It was his turn to laugh. I couldn’t fathom the tone of his laughter. Whether it was mockery or reality hidden in sarcasm. So I just laid there, starring as he laughed like a maniac, thinking about what he would do with my fate which had sadly been placed in the middle of his left palm. It was a sad experience, falling in love with someone who has every right to suspect you, to hate you, to get you arrested or even kill you to avoid a scandal. I waited breathlessly.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © June 2018
Photo Credit: Google Pics