Karanja, the patron with the wide brimmed hat, was in a foul mood and his mind was in an overdrive. He swirled the glass and gulped down the contents that left a searing fire in his throat as it coursed down to his stomach. As he refilled the glass, his eyes were bloodshot.
He could still hear the voice of Linah ringing in his ear following a phone call hours earlier.
He had called her that morning and she had screamed back telling him to cease bothering her.
He could not believe that, despite all his sacrifices he had made in name of loving her, she had rejected him and moved in the hands of another man – or so, he thought.
Then he looked at the text message she has sent him. I am not a type of your class. It read.
Linah was seated with five of her campus friends in a makuti (grass thatch) shed in an out of town social joint having a good time. They were in middle of a healthy discussion and their topic was on men and their weaknesses, or how they perceived them. Linah, a known social party butterfly, was entertaining them with a hilarious story of how she had fooled a stone mason boyfriend to send her his entire week’s earning and the fool had willingly obliged.
“I’m sure he’s feeling sorry for himself after I told him off,” she was saying.
And the five friends, all females, burst out in laughter and commended her for her ‘brevity’ upon learning she was paying for all the drinks heavily laden on the table with the money she had milked the ‘fool’. It was nothing new, however, as her friends too were in the game of fooling men out there just for the sake of having a steady cash flow to ease their campus life.
“And know what, the love smitten man was insisting on coming for a steamy session this weekend,” Linah said.
All her friends either burst out in laughter or giggled.
As they enjoyed drinking, Linah’s phone rang and the call abruptly disconnected. She checked to see who the caller was only to realize it was from Karanja, and the call was abruptly terminated as she had screened his number.
A moment later a message came, and it was from Karanja wanting to know the meaning of her earlier text and venting frustrations while demanding a refund of the money he had sent her the previous evening. She communicated the same to her friends and each, highly intoxicated, was giving her advice on what to tell him or ‘put that dog to his place’, as one of her friends implied.
“I’ve an idea. Why don’t you tell him the money he sent was insufficient and ask him to send you more?” another friend quipped in.
All others concurred with her, and Linah was torn between following the advice given and hurting the now former boyfriend who, anyway, she had met through social media and did not mean the world to her.
Karanja downed another glass and stared at this phone furiously. It was clear Linah did not want to communicate with him, and for all he cared, she was in the hands of another fellow going by the way all his attempts to call her were futile. The messages were going through, though, and were hardly acknowledged or replied to.
He recalled how he had been taken by her stunning pictures and had sent her a friend request and the two had began chatting and became the best of friends online. It was this madness of wishing to sleep with her that saw him sending her money as to satisfy her needs. He recalled how their initial meeting was like and how they had ended in an uptown lodge and he had almost broken his bank account in pleasing her just to make the day the most memorable.
“I will be sending you money if we shall be meeting like this,” he remembered telling her after the bedroom marathon.
And she had nodded in consent and planted more kisses on his lips as he lay exhausted on the bed. And their friendship had blossomed to the extent the two had become like inseparable lovers, save for the barrier of distance.
She was a third year accounting student at a local university campus, and he had lied to her he was an architect with his own construction firm, and not a merely casual at construction sites, and had gone to the extent of showing her pictures of great architectural masterpieces stored in his phone memory which he claimed were his works.
“You seem to be making good money if you can construct such buildings,” she had told him. To which he had agreed and told her, “and I’ll make a beautiful house for us two.”
And she knew she had bagged a good guy, and did not know who between him and Tony, a lawyer boyfriend who too was treating her well, she would go for in case she made a choice to settle down. But, at the back of her mind, she knew it was worth it to play the two as she pursued studies and latter a career and maybe find a good fellow who met the qualities she was looking for in a man.
Linah was thinking as she sipped her drink and weighing the advice of her friends. She knew Karanja was already a provoked man going by the angry tone of his texts. But she knew his weaknesses as well and was figuring the way to charm him out of his anger. Maybe she was too hasty telling him off when he kept insisting on coming this Sunday to have another fling with her. She had challenged him to send her money and he had complied sending her almost his entire wages of that week yesterday evening.
But that same evening, Karanja had uploaded few photos of him working as a casual at construction site where he was carrying heavy bricks and had tagged a few friends of his, mainly workmates, being grateful for a week well ended. Linah had grown curious and wondered when architects became casuals and contacted a friend who was among those tagged and was taken aback to learn Karanja was simply a casual with next to nothing like an architectural company to his name.
She had questioned him almost nightlong and his lies were coming off and but had insisted on the two meeting the next day where he would be ‘candid and honest’ with her, but she had become cold all of a sudden and by the morning, she was in such a mood that she did not want anything to do with him and had told him curtly that she was not interested in a school dropout who weaved a web of lies simply to win her love.
And it was when he had become insistent in meeting her that she had told him to find someone of his class.
The only regret he had was not reversing the money he had sent her in good time and he was left ruing when it became clear the lady was no longer interested in him.
Linah regretted betting part of that money and using the rest to entertain her friends with. Her conscience told her it would have been better if she had not asked even for a coin as it now looked he was not letting go of her and would be on her neck for the long run. But she knew Karanja was like any other man out there and her best defense would be that they have been lovers of long standing with litany of love chats to back her claims. This was consoling, but to further fool Karanja on advice of her friends’ seemed unwise.
The leading newspapers carried a similar headline two days later. One of the popular dailies had a story that read;
A university student was brutally killed and a suspect apprehended in what is believed to be love gone sour.
The body of Linah Belinah, which had multiple stab wounds inflicted by a kitchen knife, was found in a pool of blood in her rental room just outside a university campus where she was staying. The deceased was a third year accounting student at the University of Hesabu and was believed to be in a relationship with the suspect who sources say works as a casual labourer at construction sites.
According to tenants where the deceased lived, the suspect, whose name the police gave as Peter Karanja, came into the plot after allegedly trailing his lover from the campus gate late last evening.
“We heard a heated argument and a confrontation ensued as the two shouted at each other,” a tenant at the plot, who wished not to be named, said.
The suspect was apprehended by residents while trying to flee and was set upon but the quick intervention by the police saved his life. He is currently admitted at a local hospital receiving treatments after suffering grievous wounds.
Area police boss, Mr Stephen Maongo, has called for calm as police investigate the matter.
A friend to the deceased, who identified herself only as Susan, said Linah had disclosed her fears that she was being stalked by a love smitten man, who, even after she had blocked from her social media accounts and screened his phone number, was still pursuing her.