Episode 1 is available here: https://kiirumacharia.com/2020/04/17/effervescence/
A chilly Monday morning. You are seated in your office mapping out this week’s activities for the team. They are all abuzz about last week’s coastal trip. The firm won its umpteenth Firm of the Year award and you won your fourth PRSK Practitioner of the Year award. You are sending out emails with instructions on what each member of the team needs to work on. You get to Samuel and last weekend’s memories flood your mind. Never had you had such pleasure in your thirty-three years under the sun. You have no idea what he did or how he did it, but he definitely touched an erotic nerve you never even knew existed. All you felt was a therapeutic healing spasming throughout your body. All you saw were rainbows dancing before your eyes. All you heard was the sound of your own gratification. Talk of beer and skittles.
The following morning, you had woken up a happy woman. Ashamed, but happy all the same. You had headed straight to the shower, leaving Sam snoring like a buffalo. Your body was burning with lechery for more of last night’s dose but you had fought it hard. I’m sober now. I have no excuse, you had convinced yourself. You had woken Sam up and had a mature conversation with him. You two had made a pact not to ever bring up whatever happened the previous night. You both blamed it on the alcohol and swore that it would never happen again. Sam was strangely cool about it. It’s like he had done this quite a lot. You two had then caught the flight back to Nairobi, trying hard to keep your hands to each other.
For the seven years you had been married, you had only strayed once before. College ex-boyfriend. It had not been worth it. You had not felt anything after. Neither had he. Nothing like what you were feeling right now. Your body was exasperatingly itching for that touch of his coarse but gentle hands. That festered look in his eyes as he undressed you. That semi – profane scent of his cologne mixed up with his sweat. Those dry pink lips rubbing against your lip gloss. Your body wanted it one more time. But what about your pact with Sam? Oh, come on. Just one last time. It won’t hurt anybody. You smile mischievously, rubbing your pen through your Brazilian wig as you muse your concupiscence away.
You are startled back to verity.
‘Natasha on the line, good morning?’
‘We are ready for the meeting, ma’am,’ the voice on the other end says.
‘OK. I’ll be there in a minute,’ you say.
You finish typing the email to Samuel and hit ‘send’. You pick your notes and proceed to the boardroom for the weekly Monday morning brief. You step into the boardroom and find Samuel laughing his heart out with Lilian. A bolt of jealousy grips you and for a moment, you halt your step. You feel as if someone snatched all your happiness from you and sprinted off into oblivion. How dare she? And how dare he entertain her? You regain your sanity and bring everyone to attention. You kick off the meeting, avoiding eye contact with neither Sam nor Lilian. To everyone’s surprise, you adjourn the meeting after a quarter of an hour. Ironically, that was one of the longest meetings you had ever attended.
Campaign trails are an interesting time in Kenya. There are freebies everywhere. Booze. T-Shirts and hats. Umbrellas. Even cash. The gubernatorial race for Kiambu County has narrowed down to the two bigwigs. Stephen Kinyanjui and Isak Baraza. Three months to the upcoming elections, tongues are wagging, mind – games are being played, strategies are being crafted, alliances are being formed while smear campaigns are increasingly becoming rampant. Stephen is the sitting Member of Parliament for Kikuyu town while Isak Baraza is the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the recent discovery of rhodium within the borders of Kiambu County, whoever clinches this seat will be in charge of the mining, processing and exportation of this precious metal. Opinion polls have placed Baraza at 46 % and Stephen at 44 %. The remaining 10% are undecided. This will be a tight and interesting race to watch.
Stephen’s campaign manager is his brother, Mwaura, while his financiers are a global chain of hotels. He was kind enough to allocate 100 acres of land within his constituency for them to build one of their largest hotel properties in East Africa. The hotel is still under construction and will probably be ready in a year or two. On the other hand, Baraza is managing his own campaign by himself. He is a micromanager and a perfectionist. He cannot let someone else do what he is capable of doing. He only happens to have one financier. Salim Katana, Natasha Baraza’s brother from the United States. There are claims that Symbiotic PR Limited has chipped in but the PR firm denied these allegations. Isak Baraza has also been accused of dipping his finger in the public coffers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As you would expect, he denied these allegations.
Natasha was stressed out. She could not get the picture of Sam and Lillian laughing happily together out of her mind. The more she tried to ignore it, the more it pestered her. She had not felt anything like this. She needed to talk to someone or she would go crazy. She called Sasha, one of her close friends. She was her former colleague and is now a fellow PR Practitioner at a competing firm. Sasha was enlivened to hear from her. They had met briefly while at the PRSK summit last week but they had not had the time to talk deeply. They decided to meet at Kafe Koko at Two Rivers Mall on Wednesday afternoon. Drinks on her. As usual, Natasha was on time and Sasha came in forty – five minutes late. Traffic, and rain, she said.
‘So, tell me, what is this I am hearing?’ Sasha was all excited.
‘Settle down and have some coffee first,’ Natasha teased. A waiter approached.
‘Coffee? I did not drive all this way for coffee!’ Sasha affirms, ‘Give me a glass of sweet wine please,’
‘Red or white?’ the waiter asks.
‘Any, please. Wine is wine,’ Sasha shrugs.
‘So…’ Sasha pesters.
‘Okay, here’s the thing,’ Natasha says, ‘It is a big secret. For me to tell you this, you have to tell me something equally secretive and dark about you, deal?’
‘Uuuh. Dark! I’m loving the sound of this already!’ Sasha exclaims.
‘Deal or no deal, Sasha?’ Natasha is adamant.
‘Okay then. Deal,’ Sasha concedes.
Natasha opens up to Sasha about Samuel and how she feels like strangling Lilian. She confesses how she didn’t think it would affect her this much but admits she cannot even concentrate in the office whenever she sees Sam and Lilian together, probably taking lunch at the cafeteria or working on a project as a team. Sasha kills two birds with one stone. She advises Natasha based on her own experience, by confessing about her affair with a colleague at work too. His name is Philip. He is her driver. They have had this thing going on for almost six months now and according to her, no one has ever suspected it. She admits the younger ladies at the office all clamour for Philip’s attention, but she has developed a thick skin and learnt how to tolerate it. They wouldn’t do it if he wasn’t worth it.
‘Let me see him,’ Sasha requests.
‘See who?’ Natasha is surprised.
‘Oh My God!’ Natasha laughs, ‘I don’t even have a picture of him,’
‘How about his profile picture on WhatsApp?’
‘Oh, maybe that,’ Natasha says, pulling out her iPhone X.
‘There,’ she shows it to her friend.
‘Hmm. Good enough. But he could do with a wardrobe makeover,’ Sasha advises, ‘I wish you could see Phil…’
‘Enough with Phil already!’ Natasha teases.
They chat more about life, politics and work before Sasha excuses herself to rush home before traffic builds up.
As they hug goodbye, Sasha reminds her, ‘Remember. Wardrobe makeover,’
The LC Waikiki branch at Two Rivers Mall is so big that they have rented a store with an upper floor. A wide array of kids, ladies and gentlemen wear stands on the hangers while some sit on the shelves. Wednesday afternoons are not usually that busy. Natasha Baraza walks in. She is dressed in a beige off-shoulder top, flowered palazzo pants and a brown fedora hat. A pair of dark Burberry sunglasses sits grandeurly above her nose. She strolls non-chalantly through the shelves, whistling to The Chainsmokers’ Closer buzzing through her Pace headphones. She is not the kind to be rushed or bothered by the store attendants. She knows what she wants and knows where to get it. She carefully selects dozens of dresses, tops, pants and shoes and steps into the fitting booth.
After about an hour of toss and turn, she steps out of the fitting booth with whatever impressed her. She checks out and issues her card. The bill amounts to Ksh 47,499. The cashier swipes the card and wishes her a pleasant day. Natasha strolls out leaving a bewildered bunch of girls chattering behind.
‘Oh My God! How do you spend 47 K like it’s nothing!’ one of them is shocked.
‘It’s probably her husband’s money,’ another one chimes in.
‘Stop being a hater, Josephine. She seems like a hardworking lady. She probably has a well – paying job,’ another one defends her.
‘Did she pay by card? You can check the card details, you know,’ Josephine advises.
‘You are smart,’ the cashier says, pulling out a copy of the receipts.
‘The name on the card is Natasha Fatma Baraza. It’s definitely her money. Stop hating,’ she says.
‘Let me see,’ Josephine asks for the receipt, ‘That name sounds so familiar. Where have I heard it?’ she wonders.
‘Wait a minute,’ she says, ‘Is this not the wife of Isak Baraza? The guy running for Governor?’ she asks.
‘She is? I don’t know,’ the cashier responds.
‘Wait, she bought five pieces of Size 32 pants. And ten Polo T – Shirts. Her husband Mr. Governor is not that small,’ Josephine is quite observant.
‘What are you trying to say?’ the cashier asks.
‘Nothing. Just thinking out loud,’
‘Hey, let me have that receipt for filing,’ the cashier requests.
‘Sure. But let me take a photo. You know, for inspiration. One day I will get here too,’ Josephine says, scanning the entire receipt.
‘You wish!’ the cashier laughs.
‘Who’s hating now?’ Josephine asks, handing over the receipt to the cashier.’
‘Hello. Mwaura speaking,’
‘Hi Mwaura. My name is Josephine,’
‘Yes, Josephine. How may I help you?’
‘I have some information that might interest you about your opponent,’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Isak Baraza. Is he not your opponent?’
‘What kind of information?’
‘It’s about his wife,’
‘What about her?’
‘It seems she has been busy while her husband is away,’
‘You can prove it?’
‘Beyond reasonable doubt,’
‘Okay. What is in it for you?’
‘Ksh 100,000. Cash.’
‘I will get back to you,’
‘However, if you are taking me for a ride, know that you will lose your front teeth,’
‘Be my guest’
END OF EPISODE 2
Episode 3: Friday 1st May, 2020.