It was neither Chief’s business nor the business of other humans that the daytime finally and bitterly gave up, after a complex and everyday battle with the invasion of the nightfall. The Chief of Africa naturally ignoring this daytime’s trouble finished telephoning; and started back to his table, placed at the end of the VIP bar in Estancia Cristina Hotel on St. Francis Island. He had stepped out of the VIP bar through the hotel’s lobby to the hotel building’s porch to take a call; a heavily intended move, for confidentiality’s sake. He re-entered the lobby of the hotel, now crowded and noisier, with a group of American tourists laughing and making alarming noises as if the lobby was one of those church crusade grounds that formed familiar sites back in Nigeria. They occupied the west end of the big lobby, chatting loudly; their kids playing around, shouting uncontrollably. The noises must have irritated him for he grimaced when he looked in the tourists’ direction. Then, in the opposite direction, he began walking faster as if running away from the noises. Just past the reception near the entrance to the VIP bar, he exchanged pleasantries with the handsome, slender Juan Crespo, the famous Argentine artist whom he had aided in the past and continued walking towards the bar. Walking with an air of authority, importance and distinction that always made people see him as a man of substance, power and culture, whom he was.
Labina, his two-week vacation professional mistress on St. Francis Island had been alone around the table, smoking and assumed waiting for him. The table was decorated with a bottle, each of Bodegas Trapiche and Alamos, two packets of Virginia Slims cigarette, Chief’s medication and Chief’s tablet. Chief’s twenty four-minute absence had given Labina time to carry out what she thought a tricky operation, the first step in a much grander operation.
Chief had said: ‘Labina, my beauty, I will take this outside, it is an important call and might take much time,’ when his phone talked; and left immediately. This unexpected opportunity made Labina to survey the bar, immediately Chief left. She noticed that a group of German tourists seated at the northern end of the bar were busy chatting and did not pay her any attention. She had also noticed that the guitarist on a podium towards the bar’s entrance was busy stroking his guitar with his eyes closed, probably in another world. All the waiters were catering unctuously to the Germans. She had dropped a generous dose of a white substance secretly into Chief’s drink. Cassandro had assured that the excessive dose was necessary for effect, and that the substance was soluble enough to leave no trace residue or noticeable granules in the liquid. With this white substance, Chief would go into a heavy sleep from the next two hours or less and would sleep for about six hours. This working accordingly would give her ample time to leave Argentina with Cassandro via the next three hours flight already scheduled and with five million USD in Chief’s briefcase. She had accidentally noticed the money two days ago hidden in a wardrobe, in a room, in Chief’s suite. Little did she know that the money itself was bugged and would reveal the money’s position on Chief’s tablet from anywhere in the world. The quick planning of the big steal was solely based on faith because she did not know what Chief planned to do with the money, when he would use it, and how long the money would be there. But the amount involved, after intense considerations with Cassandro made depending on faith, while planning the operation worth it. So while planning, she had all along took a very big risk of confirming at intervals that the money was still there.
Within Chief’s absence also, she had called Cassandro her Italia partner; about his private boat and other arrangements that would help them leave Argentina immediately with the money.
Chief felt better inside the VIP bar, the noises from the lobby had petered away, and the bar was filled with pleasant melodies produced by the guitarist. He waved at the guitarist, who had opened his eyes momentarily and for the first time in a while; and continued towards Labina. He was now approaching, while her mind was still on how to lure Chief back to his suite probably with sex before the two hours elapse and steal the money. She forced a smile as Chief was approaching towards her and her smile became broader as Chief took his seat opposite her.
‘I am sorry for the interruption, Labina,’ Chief started, smiling to show that he actually meant what he said. He selected a thin cigarette and lit it. His heavyweight friends had teased him about the Virginia Slims, saying that it amazed them that he smoked women’s cigarette. But Chief drooled on the slenderness of the cigarette sticks in a way that evoked his preference for slender, sexy women.
‘Some political issues back in Nigeria demanded my attention. I have taken care of the situation, as always.’ Chief summarized and puffed a thick smoke upwards.
He had, of course, not taken the liberty to divulge details. The first telephone conversation had been with Nigeria’s president, Mallam Musa Abubakar: a number of issues that demanded his going back home immediately. He had also spoken with the boss to a paymaster of a Federal Appeal Court Judge scheduled to deliver a judgment the next day, a judgment that would have ungovernored one of the governors in his political party, had he not made the call. The said governor was one of thirty one state governors that his party rigged in during the last general elections. Justice Aladiya Olobole had promised him that the judgment would be delayed till next five months after which the judgment would not be needed anymore.
Back in Nigeria, his pan-African political party, the African Democratic Party, was contending with difficulties that threatened to severely dilute their strong majority in the upcoming polls. Chief was acutely aware of this, but was committed to seeing through his vacation, one he considered the most enjoyable he had had. The chance of his party winning the presidential election was petering rapidly and so were the prospects of their securing good number of seats in the upper and lower legislative houses. It was necessary for him to rush back immediately and take care of the pressing issues but his vacation was important to him. At sixty eight, he was still strong and vital like one in his early fifties. And this was because of how he took care of himself. Moreover, he did not understand why heavyweights including the president could not take care of petty political issues. Must he be there before things would move accordingly? Negative affairs bothering his political empire disturbed him greatly but he did not let Labina notice anything, even through his facial expression or allow it affect the enjoyment of the three days left of his two-week heavenly vacation.
‘No problem Chief, the guitarist is doing like he always does. He has been entertaining me greatly,’ she returned in heavily accented English.
Chief considered Labina’s murderous accent, particularly the awkward way she pronounced ‘Chief’ attractive. ‘Oh Yes! He is very good, one of the best guitarists in the world,’ Chief said. ‘He is a class act. He plays far better than my private guitarist.’
The guitarist, Lionel, as if having heard their conversation started playing: ‘My last night in Hong Kong,’ which made all eyes turned in his direction. He would probably get another tip from Chief tonight.
‘I have never seen anyone play like he does, so many tourists frequent here because of him,’ Labina added. They started watching Lionel and showing admiration.
Labina had prostituted professionally and internationally for four years now. She was taller than most women; about five foot seven and of attractive build. In her late twenties, she was crazily and strikingly beautiful; slim, sensuous with a symmetrical face and blue-gray eyes glinted with brilliance and energy. She had tanned skin, a model’s forehead and sexuality oozed out from her beauty and design. She grew up in Italy, had modeled and had musiced, belonging to a band of Italian crooners, before she was contracted professionally for six years to entertain extremely wealthy people on vacation on St. Francis Island. In her fourth business year, she was undoing badly and had made what she would not have made from any other setup. And if the hand of fate would be kind tonight, she would escape with the money for an Island in Ireland’ west coast for the meantime. She had considered that the operation could not work without Cassandro’s help and made the plan about stealing the money with him. She had her own plans about what to do with the money but had lured Cassandro into the operation with the phoney promise that they would start up a new life in Italy, raise kids and live the kind of life they wanted. Later, she would devise the means to dupe him and get the money from him. That was for later. All that mattered now was getting the money out of Argentina.
They clicked glasses.
‘To another beautiful evening on St. Francis Island,’ Chief said, ‘and a better future together.’
‘Yeah Capo,’ she chimed in, after a while until her brain fully processed the adjunct: ‘a better future together?’
‘Yes Labina. Yes.’ Chief said, sipping his wine.
‘You have made my vacation one of the best I have had in my life. I have started liking and getting fond of you. You are the most beautiful woman that I have seen. And still at it, you are so witty, can speak about four languages,’ Chief paused briefly to let his preachment sink. And continued, ‘you have changed my perception of women by three sixty degrees. I think we could be together, court-marry tomorrow in Santa Cruz and see what to do about your painting skills. I am sure this would be one of the best decisions that you will make in your life.’
And really, she had made Chief’s stay a humdinger.
The Chief of Africa had arrived Buenos Aires eleven days ago from a presidential inauguration in Mexico. Priorly, his travel agency Davas Travel Agency headquartered in the United States with branches in every nook and cranny of the world had booked a suite for him in Faena Hotel + Universe in Buenos Aires for him to spend his first night after his meet with the President of Argentina, Ricardo Lorenzetti, on the president’s interest/quota about a coming dam construction in his country. The agency had also made a reservation for him at a posh suite in the Estancia Cristina Hotels on St. Francis Island. His itinerary was loaded. He would spend a two-week vacation on the Island. Then leave for Germany to meet with the Board of Hochtief over a bridge construction contract in Madagascar. In Germany, he would spend two days and then come down to Banjul, to witness the swearing in ceremony of the newly elected President of Gambia, Muhammed Suma, who was under the Gambian wing of his pan-African ADP.
Chief liked beautiful, brainy and courageous women a lot; and it had been the norm to associate a beautiful mistress with his vacations for his entertainment. In the light of this, his shad’ agents had made available a mistress that would entertain Chief during his vacation. They had hand-picked Labina knowing fully well that she did match Chief’s taste in all ramifications and was indeed brilliant. There had been two occasions, one in Australia and the other in Dubai, when Chief walked out mistresses that were sent to him during his vacation saying that he could not interact with them, that they had their brains only within their legs.
After Chief’s meet with the Argentine president, he was jetted to St. Francis Island on the second day. He had met Labina in a lounge in the Estancia Cristina’s main lobby and was thrown aback by her beauty. He had never seen a woman this beautiful throughout his associations with people in so many sectors in the world. For which occasion had Chief not attended: Presidential and Prime Ministerial inaugurations in Austria, US, UK, France, Sweden, Australia, South Korea, India, South Africa, Israel, Vietnam, Brazil, Canada, Solomon Islands, Iran; or Nobel Peace Prize Dinner nights in Norway; or honorary doctorate degree ceremonies in the thirty four universities that had given him honoris causas in Africa, Asia, Europe, Caribbean and the Americas; or film festivals in Caine and Cairo; Chief was a socialite.
Labina’s beauty and figure would have stampeded even an octogenarian. It stampeded Chief.
He had started with: ‘you are a beautiful woman,’ when he was left alone with Labina. His entourage of four personal assistants had gone to their private suites while his four military bodyguards were around in the hotel’s lobby after their initial ritual of seeing that all was in order. This was an unusual way and a stark contrast to the way Chief started with so many mistresses that he had had.
‘Thanks sir,’ Labina returned, smiling. Chief signaled a nearby waitress and made an order.
‘You are Italian?’ Chief asked Labina, picking her accent immediately.
‘Yes,’ she said, showing more of her well-formed dentition, ‘a right guess, probably you just picked my accent.’
‘Non importa. Ed il suo nome? Sarebbe difficile indovinare quello?’ He asked rhetorically in Italian; still smiling, knowing that he had surprised her with his fair knowledge of Italian. Following Chief’s fishy deals with some Italian Mafia Bosses, Chief was seeking perfection in Italian and always saw it as an opportunity to converse in the language whenever he was with someone that could speak it fluently. With his shrewd mind, this he saw as a major opportunity to get stronger in the language.
‘Labina De Bommel,’ she answered and continued, ‘lei parla l’italiano e lei ha un buono comando di esso, impressionando.’ She sipped a glass of Alamos wine.
‘Labina! Che il bel nome. I am seeking perfection in the language. I really want to be perfect in it. I hope those that made you come here tonight had informed you of the nature of our association here?’
They had dined together that night, listened and watched a saxophonist play while she aroused his interest with beautiful discussions about where to explore on the Island. Later in the mid-night, they elevatored to his suite for the first session of their main association.
Her sexual skills made the sixty-eight year old Chief hanker for more. She had given him a degree of sexual pleasure he had never got from any of the innumerable women that he had slept with. Seeing her naked was the best sight Chief had seen: a spell-binding figure, curvaceous outlines’ and long, slender legs. And through the eleven days, they had had sexed countlessly. Chief started building affection for her, getting more interested in her and becoming softer on her.
They had golfed, horse raced, hunted, car raced; had enlightened discussions together about global politics and entertainment; swam together etc.; and all these aroused Chief’s interest in her. Really she had made this vacation a special one and had amused Chief greatly. Chief had never seen a female-first-class-shot before.
The way she killed birds with Winchester M97 made Chief gape during their hunt. Chief thought she was more than an asset and the kind of woman he needed at his age. He would not let her part, her intelligence was something else. He had seen the only woman that was not just for sex like he thought women to just be for, she mattered beyond sex romps. He thought this woman would be an important asset.
‘No Capo. This is an ill-timed proposal,’ she started in response to Chief’s marriage proposal. Despite the accent, her command of the English Language was impressive.
‘Regardless that I do not fancy marriage in any form, you have married six women, currently living with the last one. You have eleven children. Oh, this will not work. Let us just leave it at being your mistress maybe even after your vacation.’ She pleaded.
‘Oh Labina, I must repeat that you have the best contralto in the world,’ he digressed while she chuckled. ‘L’ha fatto come sa di me a questa lunghezza,’ he asked suddenly.
‘I wikipedia(ed) you some nights ago,’ she lied as she had all along known who Chief was, and his obsession for beautiful women. Labina’s love for wealth and power had made her always equipped with information about the wealthiest people in the world.
‘Brilliant. And I am sure you can tell from your research that the political party that I co-founded and currently lead is the ruling party in twelve countries in Africa already, including my own country. My pan-African party just won in Gambia in their recently concluded general elections. And we are going there for the presidential inauguration. If I can handle such intense and dangerous political issues, would trivial domestic issues be a trouble for me? This is exclusively my business. Forget about my wives, divorced and not. Forget about my kids dispersed like mustard seeds cavorting around the world with more money than they know what to do with. They will not trouble you, my beauty. I divorced my current wife three weeks ago before I started my tour. The Wikipedia guys have yet to pick up on that. That should be good news to you. And I guess you also saw my net worth as the 8th richest man in the world by the last Forbes listings; then my power, my mighty corporations spread across Africa and how enormous my influence in global politics and the entertainment industry is,’ Chief boasted. And continued, ‘Money, no matter what you wish for, would never ever be an issue. Maybe you should give this proposition a better thought. I would be here for another three days mio bellezza.’
She listened quietly but inattentively during the sermon. He would think that she was processing the proposal without knowing that her ruthless mind was busy thinking about how to take the old man upstairs before the next one hour elapsed and disappear into thin air with the money. She was not good at locks. And she did not expect that she could slip through the reception and past Chief’s guards, each of them occupying strategic positions in the lobby, with the unique plush briefcase. The money would have to be ferried past these obstacles by Cassandro.
Within the next one hour, Cassandro would be in the hotel’s lobby. She would have to call him to come up with a different briefcase when appropriate hoping that Chief’s briefcase would not be stubborn for him, an expert in locks, to unlock. Sometime would be needed to unlock the case. The money would be transferred to Cassandro’s case. Then, one after the other with Labina first and with a definite interval between, they would make their ways to his waiting vehicle. Only bad luck could prevent them from leaving Argentina with the money once she was under the wheel. She was concerned, however, that if they did not do all these on time, Chief’s network might net her like a fish once Chief woke up from the coming heavy sleep. Definitely, Chief had to be bluffing; his marriage plan would never happen. But the prospects were enticing. She admired Chief’s enormous influence, power and money so much. She would have accepted the proposal if not for the five million USD.
Chief signaled for a waiter and leant forward admiring the good amount of flesh that Labina’s partly covered breasts where showing.
‘Baby, I want you to eat something now before we go up,’ he said, devouring her with his eyes. ‘Though I do not want you to fetch more flesh, feeding as when due is important.’
She nodded in affirmation and her heart had a nudge as Chief suggested about going up to his suite when they were done eating. The sign in his eyes showed all about his insatiable desire and Labina had gotten friendly with this sign within a short period of their knowing. The sudden happiness and satisfaction shown by her facial expression flashed only but briefly that Chief would have noticed it if he did not start looking at his tablet immediately. Her heart witnessed a hidden happiness that only her heart could say of the degree. After all, everything was moving swiftly and beautifully. The whole situation was just saving her trouble in every way.
Oh, he wants another sex romp. He was in for a mighty surprise. What a he goat? He would not let me rest. No one would ever believe that such an old man is this sexually active. Jeez!
Her thoughts were disturbed when the waitress Chief had flagged over came around: a nubile, teenage Argentine in jeans and blue polo, waiting to courier their diets to the people in charge.
‘Dirle che lei mangerà, mio bellezza,’ Chief said as he lit another cigarette.
‘Just get me chorizo, locro and empanadas,’ she ordered. ‘Also, a bottle of Alamos.’
Chief regarded the waitress.
‘Get a bottle of Bodegas Trapiche for me and also another packet of Virginia Slims,’ Chief ordered.
‘Lei non mangia stasera, il Capo?’ Labina asked as if she cared whether he does or not.
‘Yes, I will rest this way tonight,’ Chief returned, drinking more of his spiked wine and lusting over her.
‘Labina mio bellezza,’ he continued as the waitress left, ‘you have no need to worry for anything, and you of all people should know. I will treat you sacredly, more than a nun does to her chaplet. We will have a happy life together.’ Chief allowed his fat face to relax into a smirk of triumph as he remembered his favorite quote: With money, all things are possible. The partridge had been captured.