27 C
City of Banjul
Thursday, September 24, 2020

No Witnesses!

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“Is this seat taken?” he asked, pulling out a chair before even getting a response to his question.

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“No,” she said with some sense of finality. Her tone did indicate hostility but showed at least that she wasn’t ready to indulge in small talk.

“Are you waiting for someone?” he asked.

“No, I am not.”

Perfect, he thought to himself. He now had to find a way to charm his way into her heart. He was handsome, no doubt and many a woman had fallen prey to his charms before. This one though seemed different. 

“Shall I buy you a drink?” he asked.

“No, I just drank,” she replied.

“My name is Amadou Jobe. What’s yours? He now had the courage to ask.

“Kumba Mboge Jange,” she intentionally added her maiden name so that he would know that she was taken.

“I am a soldier and I am at the Army Headquarters in Banjul.”

“A soldier,” Kumba said, she had always been enthralled by men in uniform. She had been told that they are very strong and are more charming than any other. She had the proclivity to be with them. She thought of her high school days when all she and her friends discussed was how they will get married to soldiers! The look of someone who had lost an opportunity passed through her mind but she dismissed it immediately. “That is nice, not dangerous, I hope?”

“It depends on the definition of dangerous; some see it as escapade,” he said smiling at her. He was flirting with her, he had seen the brief sadness in her eyes and knew that he could capitalise on it and make a connection. They chatted for an hour; Kumba explained that she was with her husband who worked as the branch manager of a bank in Basse. They had come to the Kombos to visit his brother who’d been sick.  They were returning to Basse the next day.

Amadou could not sleep on that day, all he could see when he closed his eyes was the beautiful eyes of Kumba. He tossed and turned till dawn. He had to get her, no matter what. The next day a slept a bit but was woken up by a terrible nightmare in which she dies violently. He got up sweating profusely, if she dies before I own her, I would rather die as well.

The next day he arranged to see a ‘specialist’. This man was a fixer. You have a problem you want to fix; he was the man to go to.

“I have a problem and I want it handled,” Amadou said when they met at a sleazy bar that night.

“What is the problem?” the Specialist asked.

Amadou pushed an envelope from beneath the table and gave it to him. Inside was a picture of Kumba’s husband and his address, along with his daily routine.

“Fifty thousand, half upfront the rest after completion,” the Specialist said.

Amadou passed another envelope which the Specialist pocketed and got up to leave. “No witnesses, remember?”

“I am a professional,” he said and was out of there. He seemed to have disappeared into thin air. Amadou was surprised but then though, that is why I hired him, he can disappear without a trace!

In Bassse, Kumba and her husband were enjoying their Sunday. She had not been in such a beautiful mood in a long time. Since they returned from the Kombos they’d been busy rearranging their house. But today it was just resting. Her husband was complaining of a mild headache and Kumba had promised to go to the pharmacy to buy some drugs. She now got up and went outside to buy these drugs. The Specialist was waiting right outside. When Kumba left, he entered surreptitiously and was in the sitting room in no time. He caught her husband by surprise. He didn’t even leave his sofa. The shot pinned him right where he was sitting. The Specialist turned to leave only to face Kumba in the door way. In his entire career, he had never killed a woman. What should he do? He remembered Amadou’s parting warning, no witnesses! He pulled the trigger and dropped Kumba as well.

He went out and walked to a telephone booth. He dialed Amadou’s number and waited for the call to connect.

“Hello,” Amadou answered after the third ring.

“It’s me, it’s done,” the Specialist said tonelessly.

“I hope there was no problem.”

Not one I couldn’t handle.”

“Can you explain that,” Amadou said his voice panicky. 

“I mean just as I was about to leave, the wife entered unexpectedly, and of course I remembered your warning that no witnesses. So I shot her as well.”

What have I done? All this for nothing. I will have to live without Kumba after all. Amadou put down the telephone, dejected. He took out his gun and made sure that the Specialist never asked him for the rest of his money!

QUESTIONS

a) Find a word or phrase which can replace the following as used in the passage.

i) pulchritude ii)   enthralled   iii)   proclivity   iv)   escapade   v) capitalise vi) surreptitiously

b) . . . threw caution to the wind . . .

I) What literary device is employed by the writer in the above extract?

ii) What does it mean?

c). . . when all she and her friends discussed . . 

I) What is the grammatical name for the above extract?

ii) What is its function?

d) What is it that Amadou wanted from Kumba?

e) . . . specialist…

I) Why is the word specialist put in inverted commas?

ii) What is the work of the specialist according to the passage?

f) What aim did Amadou hope to achieve?

g) Why was Amadou disappointed with the work the specialist did?

h) What do you think happened to Amadou in the end?

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