THE LION’S DEN.
©Benson Mphandika Lungu III. All rights reserved.
He drove slowly his Corolla make car down the the street heading home after a long day at work. The road he was using was very busy with pedestrians. Some were venders selling their merchandise, others were people who were hurrying to their home as well from the town centre where they had gone back. The road was so busy that some people crossed ahead of his car a few metres from it without caring whether they would get hit by it or not.
As the road was so dilapidated and having a lot of potholes, he had to carefully drive along it making sure that he controlled the car from plunging into the muddy potholes of the untarred road.
As it he passed by the night club, he saw some people gathering there preparing for their night stay there. He remembered the day he had visited that night club and how extra ordinary the environment was were women skimply dressed would throw themselves on him.
“This world is crazy now” he thought to himself as he should his head with a weak smile on his face.
He then heard a loud angry shouting besides his window from a man who looked so plump and bogous. When he paid attention to what he was growling about, he realised that as he was deep in thoughts he plunged into a pothole which splashed the water onto the man. He then realised that he had wronged the guy and there was nothing else he could do but apologise.
“Sorry man” he shouted through the window.
“Nonsense! You are even saying sorry. Do you know how much is laundry soap? You should pack your wretched car! Useless man” the man shouted from outside.
“Buy yours and splash others” he shouted again as he drove away from the man.
He did not pay attention to the man who was still shouting. As he looked in his rear view mirror, he could see the man raising his hands and talking angrily. Though at that point he was not able to hear the words, all he was sure of was that the words were not friendly.
“The economy is really bad. All people are angry” he said to himself.
He then turned on his sound system in the car and started playing some nice slow Rhumba songs as he hummed along the songs.
He was some three hundred metres away from his home which made him feel a bit relieved knowing he was getting home a few minutes from there. With his heart so relieved, his vehicle started jerking at which this went on and it stopped. The engine went off. He looked at the dashboard trying to figure out what could be wrong with the vehicle. There was no sign of any problem with it as the fuel gauge and oil indicator were showing all was well. He then switched off through the ignition and then on again.
“Wait a minute!” he exclaimed as he looked at the fuel gauge.
He just saw the gauge pointer confidently point at ‘E’. He tried switching off and on again but the gauge was still showing that there was no fuel in his tank. He opened the opening for fuel tank and then went out of the car. He opened the lid to the fuel tank and tried shaking the vehicle. There was no sign of any fuel in it.
“This is being foolish.” He said as he walked back into the car and opened the boot.
He removed his shoes and wore some rainboots after which he disengaged the gears and started pushing the vehicle. As the road was very wet and with a lot of potholes, it was very difficult for him to get grips on the ground. He went on slipping as he tried to push.
In a few minutes, he was sweating profusely after covering a short distance of pushing the car.
“Boss, are you going far?” Asked some young gentlemen who were passing by.
“No, not really.”
“How much do you have we push for you?”
“I don’t have any coin”
“Seriously? Okay, we will sell a wheel from your car when we reach”
He did not answer the young men as he was getting provoked with them. And the idea of exchanging wrds with them proved worthless of his effort as they looked so marijuana oriented. The young guys went on as they laughed and said bad words to his car.
He continued pushing the car with full hope that he would soon reach his place. People just looked at him and walked by minding their business.
“Neighbor, is the vehicle down? Let me help you push” came a voice from behind him.
It was his neighbor who had also knocked off from the factory where he was working from. The neighbor threw his back pack into the car and joined in the pushing of the car. He did not worry about the mad as he was already wearing his rainboots.
They finally got to his house really exhausted with the pushing of the car. He was very much grateful to his neighbor who had helped him as he was almost giving up and leaving the vehicle along the road.
“See you neighbor” the neighbor said as he left
“Thank you neighbor”
He then got his phone from the car and locked the car. Before he could make a step heading into the house, his phone rung.
“Mom, how are you?”
“Am fine how are you and the family?”
“Am fine too”.
“Yes, I just called to remind you that the mealie meal here which has remained will just last us less than a week.”
“Okay, I remember, I will see what I can do”
“Thank you. And your young brother got selected to grade 8. He needs some things and school fees.”
“How much are the fees where he got selected?”
“It’s K1,200 per term but if it’s difficult, we can take him at a day school where it’s k500.”
“Ah no problem. I will see what I can do”
When the call came to an end, he dialed the USSD code of his bank account to check the money in his account. The response instantly came back:
‘Dear customer, your account balance is K1,450.30’
He just shook his head knowing the pressure which had just landed him. He slowly walked into the house. As he entered his two kids ran after him so happy to see him. He found his wife sitted watching ‘The General’s Daughter’ on TV with her young brother.
A little while later he went to take a bath and then sat at the table to eat his meal. It was nshima with pumpkin leaves and kapenta. He was eating it slowly and for the sake of eating not really in the mood as he had a lot on his mind.
After chatting for a little while the brother to his wife who had just come, he went to his bedroom to sleep. He tried to sleep but all was in vain as his mind was after finding ways of sourcing for the money which his mother wanted
His wife then came to the bedroom also to sleep and she was surprised to find him still sitted on the bed.
“I thought you are sleeping” she said joining him in bed.
“Oh okay. Actually, the landlord came to tell me that he has hiked the rent with a K350 starting next month.”
“I tried to reason with him but he said that we should shift if we feel he is unfair”
“And the teacher called to remind about our children’s school fees. They said the kids shouldn’t go to school tomorrow without money.”
“Okay and has your brother just visited us?”
“His college tuition fees is due and he has come to ask if he can be helped with anything. Mother is completely bankrupt.”
“The children’s school fees, your brothers tuition fees, my car is down with no fuel, my mother called asking for fees for my brother and to ask for food. Problems are just too much on me” he said.
“Edmond, i personally appreciate your effort for our family and I also understand that things are not fine for us but am positive that things will be fine. I will see what I can do too though my salaula business is not going on well too.” His wife said calmly to him.
Watch out for episode 2.