When she first told me she owns a club, part owner, I had a specific picture of that in mind. Her office in the top floor, over by the corner. Large metallic door. Huge curtainless windows from end to end on the side opposite the door. File cabinets everywhere. A single table. Fancy office chair. Then her in boots, black of course, black jeans and a white shirt. Sleeves rolled up to slightly below the elbows. Hair tied up in a messy bun and a Glock tucked carefully into her jeans. Of course, she laughed when I described that to her. “You watch a lot of movies,” she said.
Steve and I were on Mortal Kombat, had been since way past 3 am. It was almost 8 when we heard her coming. There was a soft thud, then an ‘ouch’ then the footsteps could be heard again. She swears she doesn’t see that step there, but we know it is her way of notifying us she is coming downstairs. Eyes glued to her phone, she passed the living room through to the kitchen. She emerged a minute later holding a mug, plopped down on the sofa then said her usual greetings, “there is no sugar in this coffee.”
“There is. Keep up your usual sugar levels and you’ll die young” I returned.
“I am too old to die young, and I buy the sugar you are economising.” That is her defence for almost everything. You forgot to turn off the TV last night- I pay the damn electric bill. You left your engine running again- I buy the fuel.
She sipped her coffee before looking up from her phone. “Again with that game, it’s too violent.”
“You bought this game.”
“I also bought brooms and mops, but I don’t see you putting those to good use.”
“Why don’t you sleep in on weekends like normal human beings.”
“There is no rest for the wicked. Now pass me a controller.”
Three weeks. The game was bought three weeks ago, and she might be better than we are at it, not that I would ever say that to her. But she is really smart, and a fast learner. She hasn’t been to the office in weeks. They email when they need her and she emails back. The phone calls come in at all hours. She has been forced, occasionally, to dress up and meet someone somewhere or have lunch with her partners. “I am not particularly fond of them” is her polite way of saying she hates them. You’ll hear her ask “who will drive me to lunch with Delilah and Jezebel?” Those are not their actual names. I don’t know them and frankly don’t care to. They took over their older sibling’s shares after one of them passed and the other went away. The older siblings were twins. Jack and Jackie. J and J, everyone called them.
Aunty T’s excuse for lazying around the house is “I’ve worked enough for a lifetime.” She pulled eighty hours a week at a law firm in Seattle for five years. “I got homesick, a lot, and after the fifth year working, I called quits. The three of us moved back home.” The three, her and the twins, met in primary school. They were inseparable. Even found a way to work in the same firm. They packed what they could, sold what they couldn’t pack and gave away whatever they couldn’t sell. They had plans to venture into business together. Had made considerable progress in the same. “We each owned land and several other assets back home, so starting up was easy. On coming back we picked from where we had reached. In three years business was booming.” Things were good, then tragedy struck. One of the twins suffered a heart attack and didn’t make it, the other moved back to Seattle months later. T mentioned something to do with a break up.
Other party: “Sikusema sikupendi.”(“I never said I don’t love you.”)
J: “No, you just tried so hard to show it, and I don’t know why.’
Other party: “You know I wouldn’t walk away even if I could.”
J: “Yes. You just chose to push me away instead.”
T says J gave her all those details before leaving. That is interesting because in the months prior to her departure, they didn’t speak much, and when they did it was barely two words.
‘JACQUI BRIGGS WINS.’
“Ha! Girls make better fighters than you,” T quipped after her clean victory.
“Seriously. We were once robbed by three girls back in `09. In the middle of the night. Clean robbery. Ni violence, no weapons just brains. Their leader was fascinating. Till today she is still the cutest gangster I’ve ever met.”
We moved on to select new fighters and she went with Jacqui Briggs again. That gave me an idea. This was a good opportunity to fill in the holes in the Jackie leaving story.
“Whatever happened to J?” I asked.
“Moved back to Seattle. Works at the firm we were in before leaving.” There was a brief silence then, “Haven’t I told you this before?”
Ignoring her question I asked another, “she moved after the funeral right?”
“No” Silence. “About six months later, right after we broke up.”
‘Huh!” Steve and I said in unison. She just chuckled and said “story for another day boys.”