Memories of a fuel drought

Old habits die hard. And for one acquaintance, his long tamed habitof lies hadbecome a source of incessant trouble in his marriage.

For starters, let me lay the background right:

More than five years ago amid a spell of dry filling stations in the country, this acquaintance made Christmas out of the ‘necessity’ to stay out late, sometimes overnight,  hitting filling stations, waiting for that hard-to-come-by chance of getting served by the fuel attendants.

It was during those days when vehicles would snake in a queue more than two kilometres from the pump station.

Now here’s the story.

On one such dry day in town, the acquaintance got a call from a friend, alerting him that three fuel tankers had just arrived at a filling station along the MasaukoChipembere Highway and chances were high that early birds would not go home with an empty beak.

The whole conversation was on loudspeaker and after the call the wife needed no separate briefing.

The acquaintance appropriately kissed his wife and little daughters goodbye, off to his vehicle which he hastily ignited to a rave.

‘Mungaka zizidwetu Hun,’ the loving wife said as she dashed towards the now mobile vehicle to pass on a coat to the hubby.

‘Zikomo kwambiri Hun,’ said the acquaintance as he speedily plucked the coat from off the grip of the wife.

The vehicle purred to a sprint and left the wife happy; for her, at least there would be enough fuel the next day to take her to a bridal shower somewhere along Chikwawa Road.

Hours passed into the night. The wife’s calls, just to check on the acquaintance, went to a dead end as his phone was persistently off.

But there is always a chorus to every good tune and most ‘fraudulent’ acts leave gaps that a good investigator picks and scores from.

Amid the acquaintance’s busy schedule of filling himself up with the desires of his insatiable waist, and the wife busy worrying about the whereabouts of her man on such cold a night, a certain ‘good’ Samaritan had coincidentally helped the wife with coordinates of the exact filling station the man was frequenting.

Hours later, when the acquaintance turned his phone on, he was greeted by numerous ‘who called’alerts.

The acquaintance, being the jerk that he is, was on the phone instantly to douse the fire told by the number of alerts received.

‘Hello, kodi Hun mumaimba?’ The acquaintance started the conversation, doing his buttons as he prepared to walk out of the ‘filling station.’

‘Eya ndimaimba.Ndimafuna nanenso mundithirire mafuta m’galimoto langa?’ said the wife, calmly.

‘I thought tagwirizana kuti muyendera galimoto yangayi mawa? Kunotu mzere ndi wautali ndipo sindingagulenso am’chigubu,’ said the man, convingly.

‘Don’t stress. Galimotol anga ndaimika kale pambuyo pa yanuyi,’ the acquaintance’s blood raced.

‘Kutikonso,’ the acquaintance asked with a heavy tone and heart, his knees so shaky he threw himself to the bed, nearly crushing into the ‘petrol attendant’ lying on it.

‘Ku resthouse konkuno’ said the wife.

This week, I just got rights to share this story and consequently consider including it in one of the plays or movies I want to have a go at.  My weekend is made as I will be piecing together the detailed story of such a bubble that burst in a loud thunder. n

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