Charles was always the epitome of the henpecked husband.
I suspect a bit of a cuckold too.
He is married to the most cantankerous and the most garrulous woman you would ever see.
He is as skinny as she is fat.
As silent as she is loud.
As intelligent as she is… (Charles is going to read this story. Fill in the blanks for me).
They are a mismatch formerly made in Heaven. But currently living, (and with full recourse to emotional abuse) in Hell.
He is such a nerd.
A very rich and wealthy nerd.
An architect per excellence.
Brilliant, brilliant mind… I’m not saying these just because he is my mentor. Seriously, his intelligence quotient is stratospheric.
I have been trying to be his friend for years. Rather unsuccessfully I am afraid.
So I switched tactics and tried baiting him with sweet business ‘connects’.
Hey, choose your company wisely, you will ultimately mirror them.
Unfortunately, I am a mere protocol officer he met thrice at separate fundraising dinners; the Hilton, the International Conference Center and the Sheraton. I have kept in touch. I need him permanently on my contact VIP list.
I am a CDM – a Can-Do-Man.
You have a problem, come sit and talk with me. I will find you a ‘connect’. For a small fee of course.
I am a high network individual… That is why I graduated with a very weak “Pass” from the University… I was networking, building my wealth of contacts. Hehehehe…
I like people. People like me. I make friends easily. I am dependable once I commit.
I know models, pastors, plumbers, assassins, dancers, real estate agents, prostitutes, policemen, politicians, judges, all sorts.
And I know Linda. (yes, real name withheld.)
If you lived in Abuja, and frequented ‘hot spots’ there, you would know Linda too. (yes, real name withheld).
Beautiful, eloquent, curvaceous socialite. She is a valued friend. Yet we know nothing of each other.
Except that she drives a Range Rover Evoque and is a bona fide millionaire. Money earned from a jewellery franchise and some high profile agency commissions from sales of property.
There exist rumors that she is a lesbian.
There exist rumors that she is the mistress of a billionaire businessman.
There exist rumors that she had her fiance killed and then used for a money ritual to get rich.
Yeah… The circles I roll in… Sigh.
Charles recently ran into a glitch. His firm was awarded a contract worth hundreds of millions to build low cost housing units for a state in Nigeria. The commissioner of works and housing was being difficult. I overheard him complaining to someone over the phone last week.
I dug deep and pulled some favors. The said commissioner agreed to sit and talk with Charles whenever he (the commissioner) was in Abuja. He was in Abuja yesterday morning and called me up. I convinced him to accompany me to Charles’ house later that evening. He agreed.
I have never been invited to Charles’ house. But I know the address. His mansion sits atop a knoll in Ministers Hill, Maitama. I was going to gatecrash knowing I would be forgiven and then loved for doing so.
We drove into the grounds of Charles’ spectacular edifice at about 8 pm. We were using the commissioners convoy; pilot, escort, sirens. We were ushered in speedily at the gate.
His staff saw us into the waiting room and a maid came to offer us refreshments. I was standing by a handsome fireplace admiring an exquisite painting at the time. I heard the commissioner request for some soda with ice.
Through my peripheral, I saw that the maid was dressed, uhmmmm, like a maid. In a proper ‘maid’ uniform (stop being stingy, if you know what the uniform is called, inbox me. Politely!) .
I saw her walk toward me and I turned to face her.
Few things have the ability to shock me. But this situation stunned me into inactivity and silence.
Linda (yes, real name withheld) was the maid.
She looked at me like she had just seen the grim reaper.
My body felt like I gazed into Medusa’s eyes. I was a breathing statue.
I heard Charles’ wife coarsely screaming instructions as she approached the waiting room. She barged in like a frenzied baby elephant escaping from poachers. Charles was trailing docilely. His head down.
She barged in from my right hand side and made a beeline for me. Her eyes scrutinizing my face in search of recognition. Her eyes momentarily settled on Linda. That look alone conveyed disgust, contempt and dismissal. Linda excused herself and I saw her walk past Charles. She must have given him a signal of some sort, because he turned on a dime and speedily followed her out of the room.
I introduced myself and the honourable commissioner. Just then Charles walked back in. I made the introductions again and after they shook hands, Charles clasped my hand in both of his. Pumping it gently, warmly. He was pleased.
Linda walked in with the beverage for the commissioner. She asked what I would care for. Before I could reply, Charles insisted that we raid his bar together. Dismissed, she quietly left. The commissioner was making small talk with Charles’ wife.
Charles guided me out of the room through another door.
“I see you know Linda.” He quietly stated.
“We are acquaintances.” I offered.
“She works here, and I would like that fact kept as a secret. Can I count on your silence?”
His body language was suddenly assertive. His eyes glittered almost maniacally. His spine erect. His enunciation so crisp that his lips and teeth curled into a snarl each time he spoke.
It was in that instant I saw the real Charles. I understood right then how he built and maintained his vast wealth.
In that instant I saw many things.
“You’re shagging your maid. I get it, my lips are sealed.” I assured him with a wan smile and a wink.
“No.” He corrected me with a righteous wince of tolerance,
“My girlfriend works in my home as a maid. Outside of Linda and I, you’re the only other person that knows. I would have it kept just like that.”
Of a truth, an elephant can fly.
A myriad of thoughts flew about in my mind. And I arrived at the conclusion that Charles was perhaps one of the most dangerous and the most ruthless men I know.
Keeping up the appearance of timidity and somehow managing to get your lover employed as a maid under your wife’s nose was brutal, cunning and almost downright devilish.
I whispered in total submission, “Master, teach me!”
He stared at me for a moment and then threw his head back roaring with laughter.
“Come, let us go and make some money first.” He answered.