I didn’t know what’s in it for me, if there was anything after all, but I buried myself deep into Fr. Frank’s case file. Every passing minute was pelting me in the head and telling me to go back to work whenever I took a five-minute break.
Surprisingly enough I seemed to have forgotten all about ‘Miser and Miseries’. I had interviewed three different expert witnesses to the case, and the cook. I felt like a fly caught in a spider web.
Still, I didn’t know what my motivation was.
Vengeance? Hell, no!
Doing what’s right? Perhaps.
Everything was a possibility. Or was it because I was thinking of writing a story, the kind that made news and sold newspapers?
Purity Karuoya, our chief crime reporter and editor, would not be happy. She would feel like I was invading her turf. Or was I doing a job that’s not mine? Was I going out of line? I had not yet told her, but I knew the young, enthusiastic reporter would take it personal, create a conflict of interests.
Either way, the best thing was to see justice done despite who told the story. Even sports reporters could write crime if they stumbled onto something. And on top of that, I am the managing editor. Everything goes by me, and if I don’t okay it, who would. Purity would have to bear with me, it’s just a one-off. I knew she would cause a fuss, accuse me of abuse of power, nevertheless, the story had to be told by Yedioth Ahronoth.
So far, we have been doing fine in the market though there’s stiff competition from the Nation, the Standard and Taifa Leo, besides the just launched The Star. More so, digital media is taking up what used to be print media, but Yedioth Ahronoth is keeping up the pace. I was sure that Fr. Frank’s story would popularize the paper more, even endear it to Kenyans.
The expert witnesses collaborated with the evidence and what the court was missing in order to nail the last nail into Frank’s coffin.
When I interviewed the cook, who now runs a poultry farm at his Thika home, I found that he was so sure of what he was saying. Word by word his account had not faltered since five years ago. Despite his being schizophrenic, forensic psychiatrists had attested that he wouldn’t have been that consistent if his instability measured up to what was being said.
Therefore, Father Francis Macharia committed the crime, of that I am convinced – he killed Bishop Luigi Locati – as sure as I can be. I believe I got the missing link to the case, the ghost in the machine. Nothing would be as satisfying to me as to know that Fr. Frank was going down, all courtesy of me. And I would tell the whole world that. It’s only him who would know better than the world.
It was Tuesday night, just a day to the hearing.
Purity, as I had anticipated, was all claws, and paws, on everybody, and anything, that crossed her way, or so I was told. Of course except me. I am her boss, and the Editor-in-Chief listens to no one below the rank of God and me.
I had the Wednesday’s front page, and page two, all for to expose the filth of a priest who was getting away with murder. Everything was set and in an hour they were going to roll.
I was at home, reaching for my phone to call Purity to tell her that I was terribly sorry, but I had to do it when Gwen beat me to it.
Guess my preliminary apology was put on hold.
“Hey, Gwen. Sema,” I said in little Swahili that I know.
“Shiri, has your tomorrow’s daily rolled out?”
“What a thing to say to your best friend when she picks up your call,” I said. “Anyway, no, but it’d be in about an hour’s time. Why?”
She ignored my question. “It has your story about Frank, right?”
“Then don’t. Just pull it off.”
“Why? I can’t just do that right now. It’s too late.”
“This is why. I just got off the phone with Fr. Frank’s lawyers. Frank just went AWOL. Someone must have talked. I suspect your people.”
And that someone was Purity. Damn her! I felt my hands clench into fists.
“Whoa! That just adds flavor and drama into the mix.”
“Serious, Shiri. Pull it off. Fr. Frank has not been seen since Saturday last week. He was with Sister Batel.”
“Come on, Gwen. We both know where the lovebirds are. You can’t destroy the party.”
“On the contrary, that ain’t the case. Their phones were found in Fr. Frank’s room at the vicarage. They seem to have gone off the face of the earth. Missing is the word, Shiri.”
“I think it won’t be wise to pull that story off now. Fr. Frank and his sweetheart would resurface, who knows when and where, with a cook and bull story, and as it always happens, the confessional is always their haven where they are absolved of all their sins. Maybe he smelt the stench of his damnation.”
“I hate to say this, especially to you, but guess you’ve got to do it,” Gwendolyn told me. “We are in a new Kenya, sweetie.
Apparently, as we are talking now, his lawyers are heading to your offices with a court order to stop the story from being published.”
“Then you get a lease on those hounds before it gets nasty. The last thing I want in this country is legal suits against YediothAhronoth. I’m getting in touch with our printing guys and Purity. Just don’t let them get near our building.” As I said this, I reached for my other phone, BlackBerry that I used mostly for work and speed dialed Purity.
I hung up on Gwen when Purity picked up, on the fourth ring after supposedly ignoring my calls, cutting her off as she was saying something to the effect of the implementation of the new constitution.
“Look, Purity, this is no time to fuss, or curse. Just get the printing guys to halt everything and get down there and put your story on the front page.”
“But it’s already late. In thirty minutes they should be producing. Plus, I haven’t done the final editing…”
“Purity, cut the long story short and stop whining. Get your ass down there and see to everything,” I said and hang up.
I could imagine her calling me bitch, calling me every name in the book, and cursing all the way to Yedioth Ahronoth.
Ask me if I cared.
Copyright ©Elove, 2012.