“So, what did they say?” Jemima asked.
Hands linked, we walked though the secretariat lobby. “My licence is intact. Prisca convinced them it wasn’t their business whether I took advantage of her or not, so long as she didn’t report it.”
“How is that supposed to be convincing?” she asked doubtfully.
“The conviction is that I didn’t. So, there’s no point to the panel.”
“And the lawsuit?”
“A dud. Israel has no locus standi.” I simply repeated Anthony Carew’s word.
Jemima playfully poked my side. “Is that psychospeak or legalese?”
“In English, even if something did happen, he can’t bring a case against me since he’s not the offended party.”
“Oh.” She exhaled. “Well, I’m glad nothing happened. But the thinking part was brutal.”
If only you knew, I thought. But she did know. If Prisca had volunteered a tell-all, she was certain to spare no salacious details. I was witness to her sensational confessions.
We exited the lobby into the late morning sunshine. Relief flowed through me like a river. I asked, “Exactly what did she tell you?”
“Mostly the things you didn’t put in the blue folder. The blank spaces were completely filled in colour when she was done.”
“Must have been very convincing.”
“It was absolutely terrifying.”
“For me,” she explained. “I mean, she has so many dirty little things going for her, the sort of things men would lose their heads over. She’s such a sexual being, so out there and…and wild!”
“Even when she doesn’t mean to be,” I said.
“That’s what’s so terrifying. I’m not saying she isn’t to be held responsible for her actions. I guess that’s what you’ve trying to make her do. But it must have been difficult listening to her—when every word she says sounds like a come-on.”
True. I agreed in silence. Very true. Ask me.
“And then actually tells you to get on with it?” Jemima phrased the question innocently.
“She told you that?” I asked, stunned. Have you no limits, Prisca?
“She said she was naked and all over you when she told you to get on with it already,” Jemima said sweetly. “Why didn’t you?”
“Why didn’t I do it?”
“Admit it, Stan. We’ve already established she’s a sexual being. She was ready to put out. You must have wanted to. Why made you stop?”
“I made you stop?”
“She said all the men in her life didn’t matter at that moment. You’d think having a woman telling you she wanted you and in the same breath reeling out men’s names in a list as long as your arm would be a major turn-off. It wasn’t. But when she called your name, something snapped within me.”
“That’s when you threw her in the lake?”
I nodded a reply. This Prisca had no limits.
“I’m glad.” Jemima loved the reply. Her hand crept higher to my upper arm. “Prisca’s turned you into an animal by fuelling your masculine fantasies. From now on, I’ll be the bringer and fulfiller of your fantasies. Is that clear?”
“But, first, you need help,” she said.
“Admit it, first of all, Stan, you need help. Say it after me. You need help.”
“I need help,” I repeated after her. “Why?”
“We have to get Prisca’s world out of your head.”
Even before she spoke, the answer stared me in the face. I had seen it but refused to acknowledge it. It was clear. The de-Priscaisation of Stanley Mala.
“You’re right.” I couldn’t agree more.
“I know,” she said triumphantly.
“I need help.”