FORKS AND KNIVES – Episode 4
A story by Kennedy C Katongo
∆ SEPARATE MINDS ∆
They day had ran up very fast, Mambwe took a look at the window and the blue skies had closed their eyes, it was dark. He had been on the laptop for more than 4hrs with occasional visits to the kitchen. His email was filled with mails of people seeking employment at his company and he had to make sure he personally reviewed all of the applicants qualification.
“You still working?” Malumbo asked as he stood on the door.
“Yes. I never expected the advertisement to catch so many people.” He responded.
“Well Bliss Estate is the talk of the town. Who wouldn’t love to work for your company – beside that, rumour has it the pay is good.” His young brother teased him.
Malumbo was all dressed up and ready for the night. It was black on black from top to bottom.
“You seem like you about to go out. You haven’t checked your email have you?” Mambwe asked him.
“It’s Saturday. I don’t check my emails on Saturday.” He responded accompanied by a clap of his hands.
“Too bad. Dad has called for a meeting. Am sure it’s going to be during supper. I advice putting on something bright, you know how dad can be at times.” Mambwe said as he moved his eyes away from Malumbo to continue his work.
“It’s Saturday for Gods sake. Why does he need to call a family meeting on the weekend? This sucks. Now I have to miss a live band and good food. Am sure he just wants us to eat together.” Malumbo complained as he went back to his room.
Their dad, the brains behind more than a dozen Flats and houses to name a few was a very busy man. Because of that, he rarely spent time with his family and when he did… It was kind of a law to eat together as a family. From April going up to Mambwe, they all had something they hated about him. Observant old man.
After an hour, April went through his brothers rooms to call them for dinner since their rooms were the furthest in the house. Their house was big, it had two living rooms, a very big kitchen, three offices, a library, 3 public bathrooms and toilets, 8 bedrooms of which the main ones were all self contained. The house was big.
“Hey Dad!” Mambwe hugged him before going to take his seat.
“You look tired. Have you been sleeping?” He asked him, “You need to rest son.”
Mr Katongo was of medium height, fair in complexion, a bit fat with gray patches of hair. Many people said he looked like the late President of Zambia, Michael Sata. Expect for the gray hair.
“Where is your brother?” He asked. Everyone was at the dinning table, only Malumbo was left.
“April did you call him?” Their mum asked.
“Yes I did. He said his coming.” She responded calmly. Her face was blue. The thought of having her mum spill the beans of her clubbing behavior really freaked her out.
While she was hoping for that, Mambwe also had his fingers crossed. He didn’t want to hear his father talk about inheriting the company and what a big responsibility he had as the first born.
“Mambwe… Can you please call your brother.” His dad said.
“Yes sir.” He responded in a flash as he got up.
MAMBWE: ‘Where the hell are you?’
MALUMBO: ‘Am in my room. Will be there in a second.’
MAMBWE: ‘A second! We’ve been waiting for you for more than 10 minutes. You know how inpatient your father is.’
MALUMBO: ‘Am coming…’
MAMBWE: ‘Am coming to get you.’
Mambwe cut the line as he furiously walked to his young brothers room. Him delaying to show up for supper meant a longer speech from Dad. A longer speech meant the family business was definitely going to come up.
“How’s your business going?” Her dad asked.
“It’s slow. I do have reliable customers now. Unlike before when people would go with my things.” April responded.
“That’s good. Have you thought of expanding it yet?”
“Dad am still in school. I can’t be like my brothers busy setting up businesses.” She giggled.
“Am just saying. Am just saying.” He laughed, “It’s just good to know that my baby girl is doing good with her business.” He said happily.
Their father made sure each of them found a business venture to do very early in life. In fact, once April was done at Apex, she was supposed to go for a business program in the UK. That was just the family tradition – Mambwe for example was a lawyer and had three more qualifications in business. Malumbo had studied Business Administration at Oxford University.
“Why are you naked?” Mambwe asked his brother.
“I don’t know what to wear. I’ve tried out almost every outfit in here.” He complained pointing at a hip of clothes on the floor.
“Stop being gay. Here!” Mambwe said as he threw a blue jean followed by a Game of Thrones t-shirt. “That was easy. Now let’s go… You know how dad hates waiting. Yet you still doing it.” Mambwe continued to nag as they walked back to the dinning room.
“Does dad know that April’s cosmetics business failed?” Malumbo asked his brother.
“Failed! What you mean?”
“Snap. She didn’t tell you, did she?” Malumbo asked him.
“I knew something was fishy. But why didn’t she tell me?” Mambwe asked.
“She wants to work it out on her own. She’s learning. Besides that’s a good thing.” Malumbo said happily.
“Your sisters business just sank. I don’t see how not asking for help is a good thing.” Elder brother commented.
“It’s a good thing because she doesn’t get to ask me for money.” Malumbo laughed.
They got at the dinning, Malumbo passed his greetings and without much from his father they began eating. Jokes were flying across the table as the family interacted. Moreover, Mr Katongo was a chatty person until something went wrong.
When they finished eating, Malumbo excused himself since he was still with the thought of attending the musical.
“Don’t forget we have church tomorrow.” His dad said warmly.
“I can’t forget dad…” He quickly responded.
“Where is he going… He seems to be in a hurry.” Mr Katongo noted.
“One of his friends from Australia just came in town and his hosting a party – with live band music. That’s were his rushing to.” Mambwe answered.
“What about you?” His dad asked him.
“What about me, dad?” He asked back.
“Why are you not going with him?”
“Oh! That… No I can’t. I still have work to attend too.” He said as he beamed his teeth.
While they were talking, April and her mum had gone to the kitchen to wash the dishes. She knew better than to object to anything her mum would say. After all, it seemed like she hadn’t told her husband what their daughter was up too.
Her mum, though silent seemed to be in a very good mood.
“When I got married to your father – we didn’t have all these things. I remember I would visit him, the time he was renting a one roomed house. Many are the times he would tell me how one day things would be better. His always been a dreamer and that was one thing that drew me closer to him. Even with nothing, he never limited himself… A few years later here we are.” She said with a smile. The thought of where life had brought her from always made her smile and at times cry.
“You’ve told me that countless times mum.” April responded.
“It’s not about the number of times but of what you learn every time I tell it to you. Am hard on you because I don’t want some cheap guy to come and mess up your bright future. Many of these young men have nothing to offer than the snake between their legs.”
“Mum!” April exclaimed.
“What? Oh, now you want to be shy.” She laughed, “Your father always tells you to think outside the box for a reason. Am looking out for you as my daughter, so am going to let your sneaky behavior pass this time around. But once I hear one word that you been going out – am definitely going to tell your father.” Her mum said… April wasted no time to hug her.
“You just an angel mum. Thanks a thousand times.” She said excitedly.
Back at the table, Mambwe was about to get himself caught up in a marriage conversation with his father.
The two of them spoke more like buddies. Even though Mambwe and his young brother were successful, leaving there parents house was a no go topic of discussion. His father would always say the house was way to big for him and his wife. Not only that but he insisted that when the time was right for them to move out of the house… He would happily allow them.
“You remind me of myself when I was your age. The only difference is… I was in a relationship. Don’t you think it’s about time you found a nice young lady to settle down with?” He asked his son. Mambwe’s eyes almost popped out once he heard his father say that.
“Dad. We not going to talk about women. Can we talk about the business… How was the meeting with the Mayor?” Mambwe asked in a flash as a way of changing the topic.
To be continued.