Missing Christabel

Episode Three here

 

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FOUR  – She had my number!

We had both slept like logs. Maybe it was the constant Police visit all through yesterday that had gotten us both dog-tired and fagged out, I don’t know. I only know I woke up feeling a little less jumpy and ready to face a new day.

It was a Sunday morning and though we should be rushing off to church and all that, we’d slept in and woken up too late for any church service.

So once again I found myself in front of the TV, doing what I did best – watching my favourite sports channel. Lola, I suppose was in the kitchen doing something about our late breakfast. In the meantime, I doused my appetite with a cold fried chicken and a bottle of beer. As I munched and sipped, I felt my world slip back to normal… perfect.

I stretched my hand to lift my glass of beer and the decisive knock on the door stopped my hand in mid-air. Christ, who could that be?

I dropped my hand and held my breath. Was the interrogation ordeal not over yet? Jeez! This is what happens when you fail to keep the Sabbath day holy – you get punished by the Lord.

The knock came again, and cursing under my breath I pushed to my feet, pulling up my un-belted jeans trousers as I trudged to the door.

“Yes?” I snarled the instant I had the door open.

A man in old-fashioned grey suit and a lady in a deeper-life looking skirt suit with a little boy looking stuffy and nerdy in tucked-in light-blue shirt and black trousers stood at my door staring smilingly at me.

Yikes! Jehovah’s Witnesses, great! Now I knew without the least doubt that I was being punished for not going to church.

“Good morning, sir.” The man greeted still smiling at me.

I grunted in response

“Good morning, sir.” The lady and the boy seconded in unison.

Once again I grunted.

I was one of those who firmly believed in being rude, staying rude and never be anything but rude to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Frankly, It’s not that I minded their preaching that much… there’d been times I’d found them interesting… one of those few times I’d managed to listen to them. But my problem was that they just have no understanding whatsoever about timing. They were always at the right place at the wrong time.

“Sir, if you wouldn’t mind, we are Jehovah’s Witnesses…” The lady continued now.

Like I needed an oracle to tell me that.

“…and we would like to share some of God’s word with you?”

They were looking up at me expectantly, yet there was a certain resignation in their eyes like they already anticipated my response.

Well such a pity this wasn’t one of those rare moments when I was in the mood for biblical teaching. So adjusting my body so that it much more fully blocked the door, I sighed heavily.

“I am so very sorry.” I dipped my voice in the way that made it sound like I was truly sorry. “But you see my wife and I are really very busy inside the house.”

“We promise not to take up much of your time, sir.” This was from the little boy.

I stared at him, he couldn’t be older than twelve and already he was a preacher, I suppose God would be proud. But even his tiny preacher-like frame couldn’t bulge me.

“Unfortunately, we can’t spare the time.” I shook my head and pulled up my body.

“Eh, but could we leave this with you?” The boy added hastily.

I’d been expecting that. Witnesses never left your door without leaving one of their publications… tenacious fellows!

I was reluctantly stretching my hand to take the Awake magazine when a movement just ahead of me caught my eye. I looked up and my gaze locked with Detective Davies, he was strolling towards Christabel’s apartment. I quickly averted my gaze but something caught my eye – the pink-cased handset in his hand.

Snatching the Awake magazine, I mumbled a quick ‘thank you’ and shut the door with such a hasty vehemence that must have shocked the poor Witnesses.

My heart was beating so fast, I literally heard the thud as I leaned my back against the door. He had Christabel’s phone in his hand, and Christabel had my number in her phone!

My jumping heartbeat joined my befuddled mind on a mini time travel.

It had been a Wednesday, I remember the day clearly because Lola had gone for a mid-week service in church. Though I had come back early enough from work to join her, I’d opted out on the pretext of having a headache. There’d been no aches – whether on the head or anywhere else – I’d just wanted to relax at home and not be badgered by our over-enthusiastic Pastor. So I’d relaxed a bit and then went out for a walk…

****

I was just finishing off my bottle of beer and goat meat pepper-soup and contemplating if I dared have another plate when Christabel strolled into the Estate mini bar.

“Hey, Mr. Elvis.” She hailed the instant she saw me.

Not caring that more than half the eyes of the men in the bar were on her, she swung over to join me at my table. She was wearing a black leggings and a just-below-the-butt print top and as usual she was looking all curvy and tempting.

I adjusted slightly as she dropped into the space beside me. Her very-feminine perfume whiffed past my nose and instantly clogged half my brain.

“Hello Christabel.” I sounded almost as dazed as my brain.

“Ha, Mr. Elvis, I didn’t know you come here too.” Christabel grinned openly at me, ignoring the man sitting opposite us, eyeing me enviously.

“Just once in a while o.” I laughed sheepishly. “Man shall not live by bread alone.” I quoted certain I was blaspheming somehow and yet speechless on what else to say.

“Hahaha.” Christabel laughed leaning towards me as she did so.

I shifted… just a little though, not wanting to offend her.

“Yes o, Mr. Elvis, you are so on point.” She agreed. “Hmm, maybe I should join you in this bottle of Star and goat meat pepper-soup.” She eyed my empty plate and near-empty bottle

“Please do.” I responded instantly. “Madam K, please two more plates of pepper-soup and two bottles of Star.” I called out to our patroness.

“Wow! Mr. Elvis that is so generous of you.” Christabel flashed me another grin, batting her lashes this time.

“Oh, it’s nothing.” I said modestly like a real gentleman would.

Our plates of pepper-soup arrived swiftly accompanied by our drinks and we both bent our heads and began our feast.

I felt somewhat guilty as I ate my second round, I had planned on taking a plate home for Lola but with me now hosting Christabel that could not be. Well, I was only being a good neighbour, I rationalised silently.

Christabel kept the easy-breezy chat all through the meal and even afterwards as I paid and we walked back together into the Estate. As we reached the path leading to each of our apartments, I stopped to wish her goodnight.

“Well, thanks for the company back there.” I said with a mild smile.

“Ah, I should be the one thanking you.” Christabel chortled, nudging me with her elbow.

The nudge though harmless, kind of tickled so I took an involuntary step backwards. “As I said earlier it was nothing.” I smiled again.

“Ah, Mr. Elvis you must be such a kind man then.” Her voice has dropped a bit as she said this and she’d edged closer. “Kind people like you are rare o.”

She was smiling from ear-to-ear as she said this and the mix of her perfume and that wide, seductive smile was doing untold things to my poor mind.

I laughed. “I don’t think so.” I shifted from one foot to the other like a teenage girl listening to sweet nothings.

“But it’s true sha.” Christabel crooned with a soft laugh. “Anyway I should be going in but if you don’t mind, could I have your number? I mean we are neighbours and it’s only right we have each other’s number.”

I nodded and called out my number as she noted it in her rather massive looking Android phone.

****

We’d parted ways after that. That had been almost three weeks ago and she hadn’t ever called me since then. But the fact was that she’d saved my number that day in that phone.

I pushed away from the door and moved back to the seat I’d been occupying earlier, tossing the magazine on the centre table, I dropped down into the chair. Wild, crazy thoughts tormented me. Had she saved my number as Mr. Elvis? And surely the scary Detective would put two and two together and know it’s me?

Kai! Why can’t this be one of those instances when ladies saved numbers with such nicknames as – Mugu or Maga, even Otondo, I wouldn’t have minded.

I made to lean back against the chair but the sharp knock on the door jolted me. I swung my head around to stare at it.

I didn’t need to open the door to know it was Detective Davies on the other side of it, I already had a mental memory of that sharp, resolute knock in my head.

I rose to my feet and with my heart now pummelling, I slogged back to the now dreaded door.

 

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Episode Five here

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