“If only I could call in sick …if only I wasn’t presenting at the board meeting today…if only I wasn’t flat bloody broke. Damn it, Monique, you have to figure out how to get through the whole day, how to get to work!” I pulled myself back to earth. I had locked my house up and had to travel from Luzira to Wandegeya. And I had exactly Shs 50 with which to start my day. I trudged down the road towards the stage, my desperate eyes glancing furtively from left to right, seeking a way out…. “How are you today, sweethearty wange?!” Crap! The last thing I need today is this damn rolex maker irritating me. Can’t some people stick to their levels? If I’d told him once, I’d told him a thousand times to leave me alo…then again… I turned toward him with my most delicate ‘Damsel in distress look ‘. “What was wrong with his sweetheart? Her ATM card was not working? Eeeh, how sad! She needed to get to work? Oh, how urgent! Unfortunately, he can only give his sweetheart Shs 1,000 and very welcome she is to it! He also has problems, I must understand. In fact, when my ATM card is working, I could provide him with a loan…” Uh-huh. Right. I tripped off feeling considerably lighter. Shs 700 to town, Shs 300 to Wandegeya, and from work I can confabulate productively with the cashier. Twenty minutes later, I am cursing my folly. Early morning fare to town is Shs 1,000. So. Exactly. I walk thirty minutes in four inch heels to my workplace. With three minutes to spare to dash into the boardroom for my presentation. That’s over at any rate. It is now lunch time. One needs money to eat lunch. I am sitting at my computer with a glass of water, telling everybody I have a stomach bug and do not feel like eating. The reality is that I did not even have supper yesterday. I am SO hungry. I am hungry and miserable and numb because the Cashier called in sick today. How ironic. How right, How bleeding natural. How I want to cry. Five O’clock. How to get home. Was in the toilet with a stomach bug-naturally-and missed all my potential lifts. Excellent. Went back into the toilet to cry. But its okay, I developed an idea while I was in there! I saunter into the Senior Accountant’s office, whose eyes, I have noticed, are always raking my body. “How is my Fred today? Okay? It makes me SO happy to hear that!” I casually unbutton my coat to reveal my white blouse and its expanse of cleavage. God I hate myself. So, how long is he in office today? Up to seven? Hey, me too!” I sit in the chair close to him and cross my legs, allowing the skirt to inch high up my thigh. His eyes bulge and he fiddles with his tie. “Will he give me a lift home, maybe? If it’s not out of his way? Oh, well, if he so desires we can probably stop off in town for supper…” I brush an imaginary speck of dust off his collar and lean in close
to admire the repugnant odor coming off his shirt. I sniff delicately. “His cologne is so…lovely. I really cannot get enough of it. Hey, the cashier had Shs 20,000 of my money and she missed work today, I am in such dire straits…What a lovely tie my Fred has…” My hands trace its entire length, letting my fingers brush off his chest ever SO lightly. Bingo. Dinner at the Serena. A lift home. And money in my wallet. And tomorrow is pay day. I can sort Fred out before he and the cashier cross paths!
By Louise Kukunda