It was a very busy and involving day. Oh, actually, I feel it is safer to say it was a busy and involving week for none of the working days in that week was taken casually or better still could accord me ample time to gulp whiskey or some latest gin in the bar.
That week, all my operations were done from some renowned public places such as hotels, lodges, taverns, bars and night clubs. It is suffice to say I was ever on my toes to and fro various places. However, I had the mandate to drink and work, the unusual work schedule could hardly allow for that. This was one of the weeks I worked as sober as an SDA pastor on the Sabbath. Nonetheless, the inevitable thirst for liquor was there.
Zambia was about to go to the polls; for Local Government, Parliamentary and General Elections. The strong wind of change was blowing and breezing from all corners of the country. Everyone, including civil servants, was talking about the wind of political change which was about to hit the higher public offices.
Let me not bore you, but I guess you are all aware that in my country, Zambia, civil servants are to remain loyal to the government of the day and have to be non-partisan. Discussing politics in public offices by civil servants is totally discouraged. However, that year, it was something else.
My office was that of an itinerant; I moved and shifted to various places which proved to have had fertile information. Prominent ones and worth of special mention are: Taj Pamodzi Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, Radison Blu Hotel, Golden Bridge Hotel and Chrisma hotel.
For various reasons, I drove different vehicles from time to time. And owing to the senior position I held, I had close to four personal to holder vehicles. These I could drive at any time without anyone’s consultation or approval. I was always alone in the car and I made sure I did just that. This is a tact I once learnt while in the United States of America as I pursued my second bachelor of arts in Information Security.
Two laptops, two smart phones and a few other gadgets were enough to complete my office. Wherever I lodged, I made an office and work immediately ensued.
I am one parent who has never vested interest or trust in public schools. As such, I have never taken any of my children to public schools. Instead, private schools are always the best alternative if not a darling to me. Stain, my first born, was at a private school in boarding, doing his tenth grade.
Marjory, the second born, was equally at another private school as a boarder, doing her eighth grade. While Lweendo and Peggy were day scholars from a nearby private school. Lweendo was in his sixth grade as Peggy was in her third grade. A driver was engaged to be taking them to and from school on a daily basis program. In spite of their school being within the vicinity, I could not let my children walk there. How could I do that when I had three cars, all in perfect conditions, parked in the yard?
I had no reservations but to employ Zulu as their driver. I gave him one of the vehicles to be using around in town for minor chores such as taking and picking up my children, going to the market in case my wife needed something from there.
My wife, Maggie, was a housewife per se. She had done Primary School Teaching Diploma way back. She was deployed in Muchinga Province in one of the remotest places but she turned down the appointment due to her not wanting to be serving from there. After series of struggles to have her appointment redirected to urban areas proved futile, she eventually lost interest in the teaching fraternity and gave up.
While working in the room at Taj Pamodzi Hotel, one evening, I received a text reminding me about our seventeenth marriage anniversary which was due in four days’ time. I sincerely thanked my wife for the reminder because honestly speaking I bound to forget it due to the heavy litany of work I was loaded with. It was our custom to celebrate our marriage anniversary yearly unlike those who celebrate theirs after some years.
The seventeenth marriage anniversary was prior to that date prearranged to be treated as a very special celebration. All our four children were to be in attendance.
It fell in July when the Zambian academic calendar was in full motion. Nevertheless, we always got permission from schools for our children to celebrate with us. Maggie told me she had since sought permission for all of them. Moreover, Marjory had already forwarded home the recipe for the cake she was to bake for us. On the other hand, Stain had already composed a poem to be recited b our last born, Peggy. I felt so behind and almost out of place noticing how the family was readily prepared for the celebration, yet I had been taken by the order and course of other events.
I got two days off from work so that I could be with my family full time. Since my home was in a well-furnished wall fence with a nice, fresh and flourishing flower garden, a yard with healthy simba grass, we opted to host the celebration in the backyard right at home. All went well just as planned. A few friends of mine as well as Maggie’s were invited and we celebrated together.
Zulu, as well as Memory, worked together seeing certain everything was in its rightful place. Memory was my long time serving maid who had nearly turned into a family member. All my children were fond of her as their aunt. They never despised her let alone treat her as a maid.
At one point in time, Memory became a live in maid for more than three years. Later, she got married and that is how we terminated her contract of being a live in maid because of her newly updated marital status. Unfortunately, her marriage did not last for too long. She was divorced as we recalled her as a live in maid together with her daughter she was blessed with in that somewhat marriage.
I loved my wife so much such that she was ever in my thoughts. Equally, she loved me back. I always created some time for the two of us together outside my busy formal working schedule. Even though she was never a materialistic woman, I made sure I surprised her with lots of material presents. On days I was a bit free in the afternoons, I took her out either for a mere ride or for ice cream. As a man who cherished nature and adventure, I spoiled Maggie with what mainly seemed to her as unplanned tours, picnics, adventures etc. most of the days when Peggy and Lweendo were at home, we went along with them. Lweendo liked holding the camera and photographing us. Jokingly, his mother would tease him that he might end up being a photographer in life.
Lweendo was just an extraordinary child; imagine he covered the seventeenth marriage anniversary that day. It was a tug-of-war though with his elder brother on who should be photographing us that day. At the end of it all, Stain succumbed to the defeat and gave in, and only offered to edit the videos as well as the photos afterwards – an art which Lweendo was yet to know.
It was news time (afternoon). As a custom, I was glued to the television set. My gadgets were ready for use on the table. This time around, I was operating from the formal office and not public places for I had yet another special and very delicate issue to investigate on. My office had three flat television sets installed on the walls. When it was news time, all of them could be switched on and we listened on attentively. We were the two of us of the office with my colleague. My handset for general use, which had the line for my friends, relatives, acquaintances etc. buzzed for a call which was eventually cut. I paid less attention to it and continued following the news items.
In less than five minutes later, the phone had recorded more than ten missed calls from the same number. I was not even willing to call him back whatsoever urgent information he had for me it mattered less. He was one of those guys who can persistently call one no matter how many times one ignores them. Shockingly, at the end as one picks up the call, the fellow would just he called to check on how the fellow was doing. Can you imagine the unnecessary disturbance!
Joshua is the one who was persistently calling me that afternoon. I called him back after I felt my temper was gradually rising. At first attempt, he answered in a panting and low voice. This was unusual of him for was always jovial and liked cracking jokes even when they were unnecessary. I thought he was panting and panicking because I delayed to call him back. To my uttermost dismay, he had what I would call the most heartbreaking news about my wife, Maggie.
The facts of the whole paradox are that he saw my wife entering a room with a boyfriend. Joshua took a risk to spy who exactly the man was but he failed. Upon getting the information from him, and being told they were still locked up in the named lodge, I got more confused. I crisscrossed the office and dashed outside heading to the VX which I parked there. I pulled the door only to realize it was locked and the key was in the office on the table. Furiously like a wounded buffalo, I rushed back in the office to fetch the key. After inserting the key in the ignition, I realized my pistol was left carelessly in the drawer, and I did not know how long it would take me to sort out Maggie together with her boyfriend. Without much delay, I pounced back in the office and grabbed the pistol from the drawer; tacked it in the jeans pair of trousers nicely and strode away swiftly to the mentioned lodge.
Maggie was a woman after my heart; she had never done anything stupid to me. I lived to trust her so much. Hearing of her being in a lodge with another man got me thinking extremely. Did it mean I was failing my marital duties? Did it mean I was no longer making sense to her? Did it mean she had lost all the interest and feelings for me? Could it be she had been doing that for a long period of time or she was just trying to misbehave for the first and a Good Samaritan served his purpose? If what Joshua has reported to me is the truth, should I leave the two unfaithful fellows alive or they simply join their ancestors as soon as possible?
Tears rolled down cheeks as I neared the lodge. I felt my heart drowning in the blood stream. My spirit and soul threatened to abandon me. I remembered how innocent she looked in that white wedding dress. I could not forget that tear of love she dropped as she read out the marriage vows. Then I shook myself and indeed I was not dreaming.
Having completed Grade 12 and passing with very good results, a former classmate enticed me to join the army as they were recruiting new soldiers as well as army officers. My friend had a strong backing or rather connection in a layman’s language. Among the recruiting officers was his maternal uncle who helped us go pass the interviews. How I wish he also helped us not to undergo that tough training for over nine months. On countless occasions, I staged to escape but something was always whispering to me to remain focused for better days laid ahead. I successfully attained the pass out and I was posted to Central Province of Zambia. I served in the army for four years before I went for another training (Special Operations) under Intelligence Information Service (Office of the President). This was the time I got myself a transfer to the city and I got attached to the higher office. Apart from that, I was relieved from most of army duties but I remained a soldier. Actually, the new job earned me further rapid promotions and I reached the rank of Lieutenant.
My name is Jay Muloongo or better still, call me Lieutenant Jay Muloongo.