Start of something new
By Brian Ngoma
The happiness Zoey brought in our life was heavenly. A year and some months old, she was a busy body in the house already, Even more active than me and Leah. Whenever i looked at Leah and Zoey, the joy i felt was inexplicable. How could i be this lucky? I was a nobody. Just a kid from the hood with a woman who saw what every woman couldn’t see. I wasn’t a strong beliver in God but when i looked at my wife and daughter, i believed God existed.
“Baby you have to wake up,” Leah said looking at me.
I yawned and rolled over the bed. “Just five more minutes baby,” I said. I felt her eyes on me and couldn’t go back to sleep. Oh and one other thing, i still didnt have a job. For the whole year my daughter had been born. The first eight months, we survived on the money the agency had given us. I had planned that by the time the money would finish, i would have found something to do but No, life had other plans; to make me jobless for as long it wanted. “I’m awake baby.” I said getting up.
“Sometimes i think you are not taking the job hunting seriously,” she said concerned.
Why would she think that? I had dropped applications everywhere for the past months. I had used my plumbing skills whenever i could to get something for them but it didn’t work. The field was just too rigid. If you are not a recognized plumber, no one dared to have you work for them. I was trying my best, God knows. “We are not going to have this converstaion again Leah,” I looked at her. I could see she shifted uneasily. One thing she didn’t want to do was to make me feel pressured but hell, we needed to survive and i knew she was at her wits end. “Let me take a quick bath.”
I went in the bathroom and showered. Before going in, i came across the water bill on a table at the door. I knew Leah had put it there delibaretely. To remind me that the water i was bathing needed to be paid for. I was glad the house didn’t need any rentals otherwise i would have committed suicide. I finished bathing and joined them in the kitchen. We had our breakfast in silence while Zoey kept playing with her food and shouting dada all the time. Leah and i could’t deny the fact that Zoey made our problems look like a speck of dust. “Bye baby,” I kissed her goodbye. I could see she had hopeful eyes for the day but just couldn’t tell me. “I will let you know how i will go, ok?”
“Okay baby and don’t forget that we are meeting my sister and her husband for lunch at Hillpark View Mall,” she said.
Floyd and Triza were living the dream. Apparently, Floyd had been promoted at the station for the job well done. He took down three most wanted criminals. In short, he took down the whole operation. Anyway thats what everyone thought.
Leah and i were basically living off Floyd. Leah was afraid to tell me that her sister usually helped her because i would be hurt. It wasn’t too long ago that her sister came to beg for help from me and Leah and now. How tables change. Leah knew if she had told me, i would have thrown a fit but i couldn’t, even if i had to. You don’t bite a hand that feeds you. I had to be humble and hustle my way out of my mess. Desperate to find a job, i found myself going back to the Agency.
For months i had been pondering about it. What i went through was a deadly experience but i survived. The hole in my ear was a reminder. What could stop me from surviving another experience? After all, Mr. White followed me to offer me my job back but i was caught up in the moment. I thought i would find a way for my family but as it stood, i didn’t. I drove to the headquarters and thought i would find my way in easily since i was obviously a legend back there. I caught and beat up Mr. Imp. He was in prison because of me. The agency ought to thank me for that, at least. Why else did Mr. White give me a huge sum of money?
I reached the entrance and found a girl. Last time i came, i found a sluggish old man. Perhaps he was dead. I walked to her. She was smiling and welcoming. Things had changed. The reception looked more beautiful. It was beautifuly decorated and had two beautiful paintings on the wall. One had a waterfall on it and the other had a tiger.
“Goodmorning sir,” the young lady said maintaining her smile.
“Morning,” I said adjusting my tie. “This place looks beautiful.”
“Thank you sir,” she smiled even more showing her white teeth. “How can i help you sir?” she asked.
“Oh yes. Iam Bryn Williams, I’m here to see Mr. White,” I said looking around.
“Mr. White?” she asked.
“Yes Mr. White, the manager?”
She looked confused.
“Middle aged, simple looking man but always serious and has a funny accent?”
She nodded her head in confusion.
Was she playing with me? It then hit me that Agency X Corp was a secret agency. “I worked here a year ago. I am sure you have heard of Agent BrynX,” i said proudly.
“say what?” she chuckled.
I looked around. What was this all about? “Agent BrynX?” I said. “The man who took down the blackmailers?”
“Is this a prank sir?” she asked looking around. “Where are the cameras?”
“What?” i asked. “No, hell no. Come on, we are just the two of us here. I know this is the headquarters of Agency X Corp. I have worked here before,” I said desparetely.
“Sir this is a Massage parlour. It’s no secret agency,” She laughed.
I felt weak in my knees. I turned around and saw three women sitting on some waiting chairs reading magazines. A gentleman came and called one lady from the waiting chairs. He intently looked at me and the girl at the receiption. “Everything fine Nomsa?” he asked the girl.
“All good sir,” she answered. She waited for him to leave while she made herself busy and i didn’t know what the hell i was doing. “Sir, like a said, im sure you have the wrong place.”
That was a dismissal. I didn’t need to be told to leave. “How about James and Olivia? Don’t they work here?” I asked. Some part of me told me that the Agency was playing me. Maybe they wanted to see how bad i needed my job back. “They are agents too. JamesX and OlivX?”
“Sir iam calling security,” she reached for the receiver.
“I am leaving sorry,” I bowed my head. As soon i exited the building, i heard the women laugh. It was obvious i seemed liked a deranged person to them. How could i be talking about a secret agency and secret agents? Even mentioning Agent BrynX. I felt like a fool. Now the main question was, where the hell was Agency X Corp?
“Agent BrynX?” Floyd laughed after narrating the whole incidence to him. “You seriously told them about the X?” he couldn’t stop making fun of me. “I love it when a man is desperate,” he said.
“It was embarrasing man. I don’t know what happened to the Agency,” I sighed. “I didn’t know a year was this long.” I hadn’t told Leah how i had gone. She thought i had a job interview somewhere in town. I didn’t tell her i was visiting my old Agency. “I love my family man. It’s heartbreaking not having a job. This was supposed to be a start of something new.”
“I told you i could always hook you up in the force,” Floyd sipped on his orange juice. Floyd had been offering to help but with my pride, i couldn’t let him. I had to show him i was a man who could provide for his family without any help and i knew he knew. Hence the reason for using his wife to help my family. “Next month, we have an opening and i could squeeze you in.”
Perhaps it was time to consider his offer. I couldn’t continue letting pride deprive me of an opportunity. But working in the force? I never dreamt of that. Floyd used to tell me that i would make a great detective someday even though i was a chicken. The agency was my last hope at getting a job and i had nowhere to go to. “I will think about that Floyd,” I said.
“Bryn!” Leah shouted running towards us. I got affrighted. She reached where i was standing with Floyd. “Zoey is missing,” she said her eyes dropping tears.
My stomach turned. I felt like my bones had turned flaccid. I looked at her composing myself. “What do you mean she’s missing?” I looked where Zoey was playing from and she wasn’t there.
“She was playing over there with some friends while i was having a chat with Triza and the friends came saying a man in a black suit took her,” she said panting.
Floyd quickly got his phone from the pocket and called the police station. Leah couldn’t stop weeping. “Where is your sister?” I asked.
“She has gone to check the other side of the bulding,” she responded.
“Let me follow her,” Floyd ran off.
I also left Leah and went to the entrance of the mall. I called Zoey’s name but there was no sign of her. While searching, i kept thinking of what could happen to me and Leah if we lose our daughter? I ran as fast as i could around the mall while shouting like a mad man. How worse can a day get? I had left my old life and this was not supposed to be happening. I had other problems and now this. I got tired running and sat on a bench panting heavily. For the first time in my life, i raised my head above and prayed. “God if you are hearing me please help me. I cannot lose Zoey now, not ever God. She’s just a baby. My baby, please God help me. I will do anything you want me to do God, Amen,” I said.
“Dada,” Zoey called me from behind.
I turned around and saw her walking towards me smiling. She was alone. I quickly got up, carried her and hugged her tightly. I know she didn’t understand why i hugged her so tight but i was glad i found her. “Where did you go?” I asked her.
She just smiled and looked away.
“You gave me a scare. You gave us all a scare.” I checked her and saw that her little hand was folded as if she had something in it. “What is this baby?” I asked her. As usual, she had her bright smile on her. “Give it to dada.” she unfolded her hand and passed me a business card. It read;
BLACK & WHITE SERVICES
Just like that, nothing written on it except for Black and white serivices. I heard Leah happily shouting Zoey’s name while running towards us. With her, was Floyd and Triza trailing. I put the card in my back pocket and put Zoey down, She was equally happy to see her mother that she got off my tight grip. I walked behind her while looking around to see any strange man in a black suit. I didn’t see anyone but mere people having fun at a mall. I kept wondering about the business card.
What is BLACK & WHITE SERVICES? I asked myself.
To be continued
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