It was a brief ride during which Lita marveled at the luxurious enclosures of the Mercedes Benz. Mr. Dangote and herself took in the whole comfort of the freshened backseat. A soft melody rose and fell, as the American male voice sung out his heart. The driver was an incredibly black skinned man who reminded Lita of the Sudanese. He seemed unbothered by the duo behind him, almost like a robot, he went about his duties of the wheel.

‘I see you have never stepped into a car like this’ Mr. Dangote observed. Lita nodded, ‘It’s awesome.’

Mr. Dangote seemed pleased with this observation and kept quiet. Lita wondered if it was normal to sit without any normal conversation alone with a man, she thought she had feelings for. She eyed him from the corner of her eye as the machine as it strode its way amid the heavy jam of both vehicle and human traffic. Through the windscreen, she could see a number of buildings with dazzling lights of red and green, orange and yellow al appearing and then disappearing to a new color in a defined pattern. In front of these buildings stood several women of all heights, shapes and colors. The only similarity was that they all wore tightly revealing skirts as the badge of their profession.

The Benz came to a halt and Lita was at once alert. She looked at her watch, it was a half past nine. It was still early, she thought. She would, she mentally planned her maneuvers, finish up by ten thirty before her mother found her absentia at home at a late hour. Lita craned her neck to the building, it was a flat and slowly, she was able to make out the words, ‘NIGHT SPOT’ hanging boldly up the three floor building.

The door opened, not by herself but by a man, she imagined must be a waiter since Mr. Dangote was busy engaged in a hushed dialogue with his driver which she thought was a dictation of instruction from boss to servant. The man who opened for her smiled at her broadly and helped her out. Mr. Dangote signaled to him to leave her alone, and together, they entered the building, arm in arm.

Achayo’s dress brought out the goddess in her as the eyes of several men and women turned from whatever they had been observing to the girl with Mr. Dangote. The room was lit in a weak red and clue. It was clad with men and women drinking in several tables and others had clung on the counter, like piglets on their mother’s breast. Huge drawings of half-naked women looked at her from the walls, with NIGHT SPOT artistically drawn over them.   High volume fast and vocally extravagant music blew out of invisible woofers, almost choking her ears. Mr. Dangote held her hand tightly, as though afraid she would be snatched by some malicious demon. The customers paved way for the duo to approach the counter, behind which stood two beautiful youths in black and white uniform. They smiled widely and seemed to know Mr. Dangote.

‘Long time Dagie’ one of them, who looked a bit superior to the other from the way she carried herself. ‘Who is this beautiful soul with you?’  Lita recognized the song which had just started patrolling the bar. The singer, she knew was Lydia jazmine and titled ‘Masuuka.’ Her head started going with the flow of the sing as she loved Jazmine’s voice as though it was hers. ‘Oh this one is just a friend’

‘’Are you sure it is not one of your new catches?’ the waitress said, laughing. Lita managed to hear ‘…catches’ but paid no firther attention to their discussion, which she imagined was entirely business based. Probably, he was arranging for a quiet place where the two of them could sit and discuss issues of extreme importance. Perhaps marriage, offspring or a new business for her. Her attention was on the song and the people in the building with her. Men who had become drunk shouted like possessed church goers, women were dressed in butt shorts, miniskirts and mini tops which displayed their bodies magnificently.

She started to imagine herself as one of the bar folk. What if I had also dressed like them, I would get more attention.  Her mind, as though to shield her from ‘criminal thoughts’ was attacked by a memory of her Pastor who had once exhorted her, to refrain from clothing that brought out their bodies. He had pointed out that those who did so were ungodly and would never see heaven. ‘Your bodies’ the Pastor had explained ‘are temples of God and should be respected. They should only be seen by your husbands and not just anyone.’

But that, she thought was an exhortation to the married. What about people like her who were young, blessed with budding breads and hips who had no husbands? Who then were supposed were supposed to praise them if they always kept their bodily blessings within the big bitenge?

‘LI-TAA!’ Mr. Dangote had been forced by necessity to shout in her ear in an attempt to shake her out of her mental discourse. She came back to her senses with an equally louder voice ‘Whaa-at!’ ‘Oh I am sorry. Didn’t mean to’ ‘I know right’ was the calm reply.

He led her upstairs until they reached the third floor. It was quiet, as she had expected since she had seen this happen in movies. The only difference was that this was Kampala. The third floor was an open space which was almost unoccupied, except for a table and two chairs. One could see part of the streets where people still carried on their own business. A few chips, chicken and meat frying stalls were still operating and human traffic was still high.

‘Please take a seat.’ Mr. Dangote bowed in a gentlemanly manner. It was as she had expected. It seemed to her that the rich always read a poor girl’s mind. She sat, the chair was cushioned and on the table, two bottles of Uganda Waragi stood, guarded by equally tall glasses. She was surprised but maintained her calm. He poured her and himself a glassful of the drink/ ‘Please! Cheers!’ Lita shot him a confused look, unable to utter a word. ‘Small small.’ Urged the voice. ‘I can’t’ she finally managed to utter. ‘I take Mountain Dew.’’

‘’Come on. It is not as bad as you think.’ Implored Mr. Dangote.  She shook her head. ‘Only a sip.’ He begged, like a child to its mother.  When she refused, he sank back in the chair, with a morose face. Lita seemed to think hard. Here is an opportunity to re pay the man’s kindness. ‘Just a sip.’ She thought. Álright.’

She lifted the glass, much to his delightment and they shook cheers. Her first sip sent a fiery feeling to the bottom of her stomach and left a feeling like fire along her throat. They then launched into a serious dialogue as they drank. Lita’s body seemed to have adjusted to the sweet feeling her body would go into after each bitter sip. She talked of her mother, how she had divorced, the many many debts she had accumulated. She talked of her sister, Nukwita was just a child learning to survive earth’s fierce storms. Mr. Dangote was observing her keenly and listening to everything, like a student in a lecture room a day before his final examination.

He thought that the drink was having its desired effect. The clock had struck 11:30 PM. Lita had launched into a discussion of herself. How she had feelings for a handsome rich man going by the names of Mr. Dangote. She explained in every possible detail how she wished to make a family with him, to settle with him. She stumbled her head on the table on the chair and still, the man still looked on.

When at last, she fell down on the floor unconscious, Mr., Dangote left the building. As soon as he left, a group of men in black suits carried her body, used a secret passage, bundled her in one of their cars, and sped off. …….. THAT SAME NIGHT: 9:00 PM.

Her phone vibrated in her hands. Swiping down the notification bar, it was Achipah Specie, the girl she had met at Tasty Restaurant. ‘Hello there.’ ‘Hey –‘shouted the excited voice on the other end. ‘I am inviting you to my friend’s birthday.’ Nukwita could make out noise, mostly music. ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Come on Witie’ she said. ‘Don’t be dense. My friend has a birthday party. You don’t mind coming to Nakawa House. It is just a stone’s throw.’ ‘You are kidding me right!’  She asked. ‘Do I sound like it?’

Nukwita wasted no second. She was sure Lita was at work. Her mother was also at work. Just a couple of hours won’t cause trouble. She quickly donned on her tight damaged jean pants and a mini top she had managed to smuggle and hide in her clothes. Making sure that none of the neighbors saw her, she fled her home, like Cinderella that had sensed the whereabouts of her lost prince.

‘Wow!’ exclaimed Achipah who she met at the entrance of Nakawa House. They sped off inside where they passed boozing men and women but finally reached a separate encircling of chairs where a dozen girls and a handful of men were drinking. One of the boys had a crown on his head and everyone had a glass or a bottle they soothed their lips with. ‘I am afraid.’ Nukwita’s legs were shaking, Achipah pretended not to have heard, ‘Do you see the birthday boy?’

She could see him laughing and being kissed on the cheeks by several girls who wished him a log life. The boys merely sipped their drinks. It was not long when the birthday boy noticed the two staring at him. He laughed loudly approached them and hugged Specie. ‘She is Nukwita.’ ‘Call me Witie.’ Nukwita said in a shaky voice. She had adopted the name Witie on the advice of Specie who pointed out that the name Witie carried more saw than her other names.

Óh I am Philo.’ Said the man, smiling. He was apparently a teenager like her and his chin beards were countable. He was tall and dressed in an immaculate Tee Shirt which brought out the muscle structure of his chest. Nukwita felt her heart throb mysteriously, she could not speak steadily and she felt as though she was in a dream.

‘When she had drunk a Mirinda, Philo begged her to dance with him which she was reluctant to. Achipah urged her not to be a boring party attender. The boys had also clasped the girls to dance close to each other. ‘He is single. Do not worry.’ Achipah had whispered and went ahead to dance with another boy.

She felt his arms gently rest on her waist. She did not know how to react. Philo guided her arms on his shoulders as the music slowly sloped into a slow tide,

‘What if heaven is just a dream? The angels and clouds, What if they were all just a dream...? We could perhaps create our own heaven, In all the world, create our own heaven Where me and you alone could be one…

The tension was growing between the two, Nukwita felt a surge in her emotions she had never felt before. Her head rested on Philo’s shoulders as they danced as slow as snails. She felt something growing hard. She did not know what it was but she sensed, it must be one of the best feelings.

They slowly slid into the next room and went wild with desire. Nukwita’s mind was all on Philo and Philo’s on hers.

Nukwita knew, she was going to eat the forbidden fruit. Nothing would stop her. She was not herself anymore.

..........To be continued............

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