At the insistence of my friend Chilungamo, we combed at almost all the drinking joints in the green city of Mzuzu where we had hoped to find Laura, but the search was proving futile.
“Chilungamo”, I said, feeling dog tired now, “Do we really have to trouble ourselves this much for some woman from the bars?” I asked.
Chilungamo looked at me. “You have no slightest idea how much Laura means to me,” he simply said and suggested that we end our search at Paris International Club at Old Town.
Paris was jam packed as it is usually the case on Fathers’ Days. We looked around for Laura from the dance floor to the counter, but she was not here.
“Chilungamo!” somebody called as we made for the counter for extra drinks. It was the loudmouth we met at Sports Café the other day.
Without minding him, we proceeded to the counter but the man pulled an empty stool and sat next to us. His bottle was as empty as a church on Monday morning. “Are you guys married?” he asked.
“Yes” I replied, “Why do you ask?”
“I have two beautiful cousins, you know. I can even offer them to you as second wives if we sign an MOU. I will just need a few greens from you wherever we meet,” he said.
Chilungamo and I exchanged glances and laughed.
The barman dressed the table and we sat talking about everything that came our way.
“What do you say about Malume’s change of tune regarding our lake?” Chilungamo asked later.
“What exactly are you talking about?” I asked.
“Did you not hear him disown his campaign statement that he was ready to fight Dodoma if the Taifas dare lay a hand on our lake?”
“What did he say now?” I queried.
“He just contradicted himself as usual. In one breath he said the lake issue was non-negotiable, in another he said he would love the two countries to resolve the issue amicably without going to war!” said Chilungamo.
“If Malume is afraid of war,” loudmouth said, “Let him give us the guns and we’ll defend our lake with our blood. There are a lot of us who are ready to die for our beloved lake.”
My friend Chilungamo and I simply looked at loudmouth.
“On a serious note,” loudmouth returned, downing his seventh green. “Malume needed to be clear here. It is either he takes the path of fighting the Taifas or chose to negotiate with them.
“And talking about negotiations, can you negotiate with a man who comes to your house demanding that from now the two of you should start sharing your wife, the woman you have been married to for ages. Unless you are dispossessed of your mind!”
“Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” we couldn’t help laughing our lungs out.
But loudmouth was not done, “Otherwise, we are tired of leaders who go about saying ‘I know who shot him’ ‘I know why they shot him’ only to disown their statements the following day.”
We again burst out laughing.
“By the way, she is in now.”
I saw Chilungamo looking around the bar. “Laura?”
Loudmouth and I laughed.
“The Destroyer of the Stupid Cashgate,” loudmouth said, “She had to come through Chileka to avoid meeting Malume who was at Kamuzu International Airport preparing to fly for Zim. I didn’t know these people hate each other so much.”
We shook our heads. It was now becoming clear to us that the eight bottles of green he had taken were getting to his head.
“And you heard what she went about telling Azungu? She told them she lost because of her fight against Cashgate and that she conceded defeat of the May 20 chaotic elections because she did not want bloodshed,” said loudmouth.
“What bloodshed?” Chilungamo asked.
“She alleges while DPP was planning to cause bloodshed in the event of a loss, the other parties in the opposition were preparing to meet the blood-thirsty DPP sympathizers in the streets.”
I looked at loudmouth. The man is always drunk wherever you meet him and I wondered where on earth he finds time for current affairs.
“Masiteni’s Party is never short of madness.”
“What do you mean, loudmouth?’ I asked.
“Haven’t you heard that they now claim it is them the vote was stolen from not Abusa. They say even Abusa is aware that it was Masiteni who was robbed of election victory not him as he and his flock thought at first. That is why Abusa has recoiled and gone strangely quiet of late.”
Before I said something, loudmouth stood to go.
“My wife is always on my neck every time I go home late from my drinking sprees,” he said.
“You are afraid of your wife yet you said you are ready to fight the Taifas!” the barman butted in.
We laughed our lungs out as we settled our bills ready to leave.