Sleep was intermittently nudging his eyes. He reached the topmost landing of his hostel block. One hand held on to the banister on the staircase. This posture supported his wrestler frame. The other hand clung to his load of accounting textbooks by his side.
He allowed his eyes to close, pulled in a deep breath, “God,” he sighed. “Thank you Lord.”
The weekend for him had not been an easy one. Spending six hours studying in the reading room was not a joke. He was taking this last lap of his undergraduate days very seriously. Now though, he needed all the sleep and sweet dreams he could get. At his door in the middle of the wing, he slotted in the key and unlocked it. He pushed the door ajar. Instantly he froze at the sight that welcomed him.
There, on top of his mattress, levelled on the green mat, was Cynthia. Lumumba thought he saw a woman enjoying nature in the comforts of a green African forest. Cynthia was stretched on the mattress in her white night gown looking like a white pussy cat.
“Sister Cynthia?” he said, unsure.
“Oh, Lumumba, drop that sister thing. I’ve told you before to simply call me Cynthia. Well, don’t just stand there,” her voice was soothing as a goddess’. “Won’t you like to come in?” Here was another bombshell for Lumumba – somebody was inviting him into his own room.
For a split moment, Lumumba thought he was at the wrong door. But there he was in a glass case on the wall, directly opposite the door above where Cynthia was lying, wearing his matriculation gown, posed in a black and white photograph as a bona fide student of the Collège de Kinshasa.
Lumumba was completely baffled. How in the world did Cynthia get access into his room? His wall clock was approaching 11.57 pm.
He remembered the only time Cynthia had been there was one evening. And that incident happened only because she had kindly met him after campus fellowship, and requested him to take her to his hostel room, so that they could discuss some worrying concerns happening on campus.
Lumumba prided himself on his sound memory. He was confident there was never a time he gave Cynthia (or any other girl for that matter) the spare key to his room. What for? It was not as if he was involved in any romance with her. Although, he couldn’t help noticing the mounting soft spot Cynthia was having for him. What he had done to deserve her attention he did not know. His only darling was his pack of accounting literature. Cynthia was only a student acquaintance he met often on Sundays at the place of worship.
Cynthia helped him out of his paralysis. She floated to the door and gently took him by his strong left arm. Lumumba, hypnotized, followed her meekly into his room like a lamb. Cynthia jammed the door.
He had to just form the courage to ask her what was up? Why was she there? Lumumba contemplated.
“Sister Cynthia,” he began.
Cynthia had already sailed into the hollow of the room. She turned smartly to face him. Her face was bright like a full moon. Before Lumumba could utter another word, it happened.
She had magically unfastened the strap around her waist, flicked the gown off her shoulders, and permitted it to fall freely revealing all her gems. There, Cynthia stood, before God and Lumumba, perfectly naked.
Lumumba let go his load of expensive textbooks. They landed on his green mat. It appeared he was repudiating the romance with his bookkeeping scriptures. Sleep had never been so frightened in his life, he flew away and abandoned Lumumba to his sight, the prospect of a real dream having overthrown him. But Lumumba’s mouth braved it. It opened up in want of the mouth-watering dish. He heard his heart, clasped in a fight with temptation, banging against his ribs.
Cynthia’s enticement can in no way be defined as an act of sexual harassment; it was rape; Lumumba concluded. But he knew Cynthia as a decent girl. How could she behave like this? He cautiously retraced his step in the opposite direction, away from her.
She was now standing arms akimbo, slowly prostituting her hips from left to right. She extended her left arm to him, smiling seductively, gesturing him to come. Lumumba stood still.
Cynthia was not discouraged. She returned her hand to her left hip and continued pushing the hips from left to right.
“Look, somehow I found out you’re busy preparing for a test on Marxian Economics,” said Cynthia cheerfully. “Come,” she said inviting Lumumba again with a nod of the head. “You don’t have to worry about that, give your books a break,” she advised. “Let’s just enjoy ourselves for now. I promise you,” she said with the light tone of a seductress, “tomorrow I’ll take care of eve-ry-th-ing before you write the test on Monday. Isn’t Mr. Khrushchev the lecturer in charge of the course?”
Cynthia giggled somewhat mischievously on mentioning the name Khrushchev, as if the name sounded amusingly grotesque to her ears. In a silly manner, she covered her mouth with her right hand. When she finished amusing herself, she uncovered her thin lips and said, “Relax, that Russian imbecile is after my skirt. I’m sure the old flirt will do anything for me. I can get him to award you some extra grades, you know. Of course, I’m letting you in on a little secret. Besides, aren’t you the Student Union President? Which lecturer will ever think of failing you? They should understand it is not easy championing the cause of campus politics. Tell me, which student on this campus can sacrifice his or her personal time looking out for the general welfare of other fellow students? The responsibility squarely falls on your shoulders, you see. And I’m sure any lecturer marking your script would definitely be lenient after having considered your peculiar situation. Or, don’t you think so?”
Dumbfounded, Lumumba literarily shrunk. Cynthia’s angelic shape of a Miss World, slim and above average height distracted him from paying attention to what she was saying. He tried to resist his eyes feeding on her, but he failed woefully. Her body was so smooth, so fair. She could easily have been mistaken for a flawless albino, but the glow of her skin was of God’s own creation. Lumumba wondered if she had ever been to the toilet. All the fleshy weapons that made her a woman were just curved appropriately in the right corners.
Cynthia took advantage of Lumumba’s limbo. She started performing some more seductive feats. Her pointed nose was now lifted upwards. It was facing the yellow light bulb attached to the concrete deck above her head. Her natural blonde hair fell backwards reaching the basin of her butt. It was swaying like a happy child enjoying a swing in an amusement park. Beauty was the name of her oval face. She leisurely started swallowing her right middle finger.
Lumumba was watching her, imagining Cynthia to be a princess in her birthday suit, who was trying to master the art of swallowing a full-length carrot.
Cynthia was gently bringing out the finger from the mouth she had formed into an “O”, creamy saliva covering it. In slow motion, the finger began journeying downwards. She glanced at Lumumba with her sky-blue eyes to make sure he was watching her. Then the finger disappeared somewhere deep, just below the middle of her trunk. She got the show on the road when she started moaning, “Aaah…aaahh…aaahhh….”
She stopped suddenly. Quickly turned her back to him, widening her legs. She bent in a swift athletic move from the waist down, her palms on the green mat.
Lumumba’s mind showed him steam coming out from the hottest part of hell. In his eyes Cynthia was no longer a human being. She had turned into something else – a poodle bitch, an evil one. He finally decided he had been bombarded with enough of her biological missiles.
“In the name of Jesus,” he said, “I beg of you, Cynthia, leave this room.”
Cynthia was still smiling watching her prey through her opened legs. She knew she had him. Her backside cakes were waggling in a twin ritual dance, bombarding Lumumba the more. She saw the outline of a big prisoner trapped in Lumumba’s zipper agitating desperately for his liberty.
Lumumba fumbled with the jam on the door in an attempt to take flight. But lo! The speed of light had already placed Cynthia against the door.
“Where are you going?” she growled. Lumumba was shivering while he peered down at Her Excellency. He was scared shit. He watched her metamorphose again. This time she had transformed into one of the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
“Cynthia, I beg of you in the name of Jesus,” Lumumba pleaded, his black glossing skin smeared with sweat.
“Jesus what!” Cynthia flared. “You’re a fool. Idiot!” she declared. “I can now see the damage that ass, Mr. Khrushchev, had done to you. It’s a sorry case that he has succeeded in brainwashing you from enjoying a life of bliss. Damn! You’re a coward for a Student Leader. You mean you have allowed yourself to be turned into a eunuch because of Mr. Khrushchev’s crazy course? An elective course?” Lumumba was completely at her mercy.
“I’m offering myself on a platter of gold and here you are Jesusing me?” Cynthia carried on, “Hey!” The interjection was a crescendo she expressed in a raw Yankee accent. “Who do you think you are anyway? Angel Gabriel?”
She gripped the gate where Lumumba’s big prisoner was locked – unexpectedly. It was operation trouser storm as she battled at the city centre to help the ally know freedom. If Lumumba was not going to cooperate in order for them to enjoy a true democracy, then she was ready to do everything like a nymphomaniac, to deal with Lumumba, liberate her ally and together celebrate the dawn of a new era.
Lumumba arrested Cynthia’s wrists. She felt the crushing power of his hands while she tried to wriggle free. She looked him up in the face and saw his wrestler frame staging a come back. Her blue eyes could not do any magic to hide her feeling of surprise at Lumumba’s stiff resistance. Now more than ever, Lumumba was convinced that Cynthia was his enemy. Satan had sent her on this night from his kingdom on a sinister mission. She may have had her reasons for considering the detainee as a comrade. Lumumba on the other hand saw him in the image of an unpatriotic citizen. He was determined to keep the traitor incarcerated in his maximum-security prison. He was not going to take it lightly to have anybody break into his trouser jail in a bravery show to rescue the shameless conspirator.
Cynthia was not an insurgent; nevertheless Lumumba considered she was behaving like one. Her confrontation with him did not stop Lumumba from jiving into a nimble. ‘This is madness’: that was the first caller who came screaming into his brain. Who was Cynthia to have the lever to rudely violate the sovereignty of his independent room? Was she a spy or a commando? If she was either one of them or in fact doubled as a dangerous two-edged sword, then Lumumba summarily considered her too small. He thought she was going to need the miracle of getting around the President of America to send her back up from the whole of The U.S. Marine Corps. While the struggle lasted, just imagining Cynthia armed with shipments of neo-nuclear bombs screening the length of the Atlantic Ocean, Lumumba had the strongest conviction that, hard as she could try, Cynthia could never put a full stop to the ticking hand of the seconds on a clock.
So long as he was alive, Lumumba reasoned that if the placenta, which escorted him into this world, was really buried in The Congo, then he was ever rooted in his resolve to defend the territorial integrity of his beloved pants. This duty, he felt weighted on his youthful shoulders, with every drop of his blood.
Meantime, Cynthia could not claim back her wrists from where it was confiscated. Her waning strength to wriggle off gave Lumumba reason to let her off the hold.
Cynthia gave up the attempt to force off Lumumba’s trousers. She quit as abruptly as she had started. Her arms remained still by her sides. Without warning, she flung her right hand across his face: kpaaash!!! The force of the murderous slap swept his spectacles airborne. Lumumba’s right hand automatically went to console his left cheek. He was staggering counterclockwise, shock in his eyes.
He didn’t wait to finish nursing the pain on his cheek before he strode forward, shot his muscular right arm ahead of him, caught Cynthia by the neck and lifted her clear off the green mat. Cynthia was held suspended.
She was kicking the air with her legs like a suffocating criminal being executed via hanging. Lumumba actually held her at arms’ length. Her eyes poked out, turning blood red. Deadened bleatlike sounds came out from her throat. She struggled wildly with both hands to wrench Lumumba’s grip. The more she did, the more firmly his hand encircled her neck in a squeeze.
Mercilessly, Lumumba launched Cynthia on an unscheduled flight. Her blonde hair was revolving all about her in mid air, like the rotor blades of a military helicopter, which had been shot in battle, lost control, and was heading for the crash.
Boooom!!! Cynthia did crash against the wall. She slid down, sprawled on the mattress, which did not give her any comfort. She managed to gather herself on all fours; gasping and choking like a sick dog whose stomach was convulsing in preparedness to throw up. Her head was directed towards Lumumba but her face showed its blush to the mattress.
With great effort she lifted a hand and rubbed her neck with caution. She gave a dry irritating cough, which she repeated again and again. Her hand went up her long nose. She used the back of it to carefully brush her nostrils. Blood, she saw, coloured the back of her hand.
Lumumba watched her in utter disgust. He was tired of seeing her naked. She was in a state that made him feel like vomiting. He moved forward and kicked her white gown lying about in the centre of the room. The gown landed just in front of her.
“Cover your filth and get out!” said Lumumba as he jerked the door open.
“Damn you!” Cynthia cursed.
“Thank you!” answered Lumumba.
Cynthia began shaking her head slowly from left to right. “You will be sorry,” she said in a low voice, almost like a child’s threat, without looking up at Lumumba.
Swift like a swift, Cynthia bounced back on her legs with her back turned to Lumumba. Her hair covered her in absolute ruin – a true witch. Then she did it again. She had bent from the waist down. Was this girl never going to give up? wondered Lumumba.
He was unshaken. He threw his face away from her while still holding the knob of the door ajar. He was waiting for her to finish weaving her new tapestry of mischief. This time he assured himself he was ready for her.
Just yesterday, he read in his Bible of how Eve successfully lured Adam into disobeying God in the Garden of Eden. And here she was in spirit, having allowed the devilish serpent take control of her, she had come to possess the soul of Cynthia today, working hard as she could to bury him in sin. But how can such an abomination happen? The blood of Jesus would never permit it, Lumumba prayed.
In the position Cynthia was still stationed, she grabbed her sizeable handbag waiting for her by the edge of the mattress. She mechanically unzipped the polished leather. Cynthia plunged her flexible right hand into the handbag with maddening speed. In one clench, she flung out the whole content in that compartment of the bag. A small rectangular paper spinned past Cynthia’s hair the moment she pulled what mostly appeared to be clothing items out from the bag, on to the mattress. Cynthia didn’t see the paper take off.
Lumumba’s eyes returned to her to see what she was doing. He caught sight of the paper butterflying rapidly to meet him. From a bird’s eye view he saw among other things, a pink headscarf, a bra, a loose causal blouse along with its ankle length skirt, then her white undies, all spread out to decorate the mattress.
Her white night gown, which now lay by her side, received her generous attention when she bundled it into the bag and in a flash returned the zip.
The flying paper gained Lumumba’s attention again. His eyes drifted away from Cynthia and zoomed on the paper just as it was making its landing in between the hand-made sandals he was putting on, fashioned out of original zebra skin. The pair of sandals was a gift from his mother when he went to spend the last semester break in his native town of Katako Kombe.
He saw the paper clearly now. It laid flat before him on the green mat. There was no question about it; the paper was a cheque leaflet. The bold inscription: Washington City Bank, adorned its top. Lumumba couldn’t make out the exact day the cheque was due for payment. Though, he certainly saw that it was a signed post-dated cheque for the current month of that year, September 1960.
He strenuously tried to go through every detail contained on the cheque. Indeed, the cheque was made out for payment in the full name of the bearer, Cynthia Eisenhower, whose name was written in duck-walk handwriting. The figure, an Arabic numeral of twenty five, preceded by a dollar sign, lined with a staggering six zeros after it, then punctuated by a decimal point with its compliment of two zeros, read the total sum.
Financially, Lumumba knew Cynthia to be a lady who was pretty well off. At least, taking into consideration the mint she doled out for offering during worship each Sunday. On one of such occasions, Lumumba had actually seen her dish out wads of the denomination of one thousand CFA Francs.
She told him on the day he first walked her to his hostel room, that she had come to Collége de Kinshasa to study African History.
“How I love Africa,” Cynthia told Lumumba while he walked her on that day half way through their stroll. “Its people and culture have so much, so much to tell about primitive man and how civilization started in the world. God!” Cynthia sighed in excitement with her clenched fist near her chest, her eyes closed.
Lumumba looked at her with bemused interest. Cynthia spoke with the sweetness of her soprano voice; her utterance came with such vibrant passion as if she loved Africa more than all Africans put together. “I…I…” Cynthia opened her eyes, dropping her arms. “Well, being given the opportunity to come and study here is for me like a dream come true. I specifically choose to come study in Congo-Kinshasa because of its rich wild life.”
Cynthia further informed Lumumba that on completion of her first degree at California State University, Northridge, she was among the lucky few picked by the institution to be sponsored on any six month course of ones own choice. The only condition attached to the scholarship being that the beneficiary’s choice of institution should be in any continent of the world apart from North America.
In any case, for whatever reason Cynthia had come to his country, Lumumba reckoned that even if the World Bank was responsible for footing her bills and her scholarship, they couldn’t have possibly sent her a cheque of such colossal amount, talk less of her Alma Mater. What kind of a bank account would they have stacked away to be in a position to send Cynthia that kind of money? That was if Cynthia’s claims were anything to go by in the first place.
Keeeyaash! Keeeyaash! Keeeyaash! The sound of clothes being torn to pieces checked Lumumba in his thoughts. One look at Cynthia now squatted by the edge of the mattress, told Lumumba that she was yet to do her worst. Cynthia still had her back to him. She grabbed the last of the ladies’ wear she had brought out from her bag; her underwear included – then, Keeeyaash! Keeeyaash! She tore them to shreds as they screeched for help.
Lumumba was thoroughly alarmed, “What are you doing Cynthia!!!”
Cynthia turned her neck to have Lumumba in full view, then she howled, “Mother fucker!!!” The veins on her neck were a mass of swollen earthworms. She added in a deadly chilly voice, “You’ll soon find out.”
At once Lumumba lost his temper. He became mad. He shut the door and was already on his way approaching Cynthia in a trod of grand menace. He resolved immediately to dress Cynthia up by force. Thank God her night gown was still safe in her handbag.
Before he could reach her, Cynthia rose up with the agility of a jaguar, turned to face Lumumba with the pieces of her clothes gathered in her hands, then stood rooted. She practically froze on the green mat, which spontaneously took on a life of its own, like a fertile land which sensed the omen of forcefully being rendered into a barren one.
Lumumba came to a halt. He felt it. There was something different about Cynthia. The atmosphere in the room had suddenly changed. It was like an invisible force was oozing out from Cynthia’s body, a spell sort of, which had drained the air from the room, making nonsense of the law of gravity.
Cynthia’s bosom was steadily rising and falling. Lumumba’s eyes saw right through her chest like the eyes of a medico. Her cardiac muscles were blistering in a rage of volcanic explosion. Her vicious mammary glands had ceased to tempt him. He didn’t feel any pity for them. For all he cared, they should continue to heave in tremble under the threat of eruption.
Now, Lumumba did not see Cynthia’ eyes blink, but he saw wild flames burning in them. Like a bolt from the blue, he felt the drums of his ears nearly busted out.
Cynthia had let out a piercing scream, and with great carelessness, she had thrown up the shred of clothes gathered in her hands. Each piece brought out wings and took to its different destination in the airspace of Lumumba’s room.
He stepped backwards, an action necessitated out of strategic retreat than out of cowardice. He knew what she was up to; her altered manoeuvres were all too familiar. Lumumba did not have to be an Army General to decipher that Cynthia was desecrating the conventions of combat. Here she was with her crooked tactics, tactics which Lumumba knew she was not going to hesitate in using, while trying to turn the tide against him.
Cynthia was doing what she knew how to do best: stripping morality of its clean clothes of virtue, just the way she had shamelessly stripped herself naked.
Sensing a wicked mastermind in the brew, Lumumba had the feeling that Cynthia was deploying dragons after his reputation, to assassinate his character, and destroy his credibility before the whole world. If possible, if only she were to have access to heaven, Lumumba was sure Cynthia would carry the case a step ahead, to discredit him before Jesus and God.
Critically, Lumumba assessed the situation. It was evident to him that what was happening was no longer of warfare. Cynthia had outwitted him. She had turned the fierce challenge into an exclusive woman’s game, leaving him handicapped, without any tools. A play of ploy she had dragged him into, in which she held all the master cards.
He instantly recalled the words he had read somewhere: “Never underestimate the power of a woman.” Clearly, Cynthia had so much power in her right about then that surpassed even the strongest Army in the world. Lumumba considered it was better for him to come up against billions of weapons more deadly than nuclear bombs, rather than face Cynthia at that very moment.
Quickly, he tried to flee the room once more. Again, Cynthia succeeded in stopping him. She had dived and collared Lumumba behind his shirt just as he was jerking the door open to make his escape. Veering round to deal Cynthia a blow, his collar gave way. Cynthia promptly let him off, bounced once, steadied herself and took a super-woman leap. Lumumba saw at best a nude football fan about to shout, “A goal!” And then Cynthia started acting like a character in a chart buster movie, yelling, “RAPE!!! – HELP!!! – RAPE!!! –
(c) A. A. Rufai (November 2003)