I called an impromptu meeting for Gevin Technologies on Tuesday and shared what I had gotten from the MOSD meeting. The software development engineer, a diminutive Japanese-American lady, was least pleased by being summoned to non-scheduled meetings. But who cared? I am the final authority in GT. Moreover, there were other things I had to do than listen to dissatisfaction grumbles – calls to be made, other meetings with different people, press conferences to attend (politicians were busy hitting on media houses) and all.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” I began, “As we all know that here at GT we speak the language of the future – software – we are needed somewhere,” I told the seven brightest minds of GT’s cognoscenti.
“We have been fêted for our state-of-the-art software, and now the Kenya Ministry of State for Defence has approached us for a job.”
Now, I had their attention. One thing I like about these guys, the minds of GT, is that military software stuff piques their curiosity. They pride themselves in being associated with military prowess and might occasioned by the software they develop.
“And guys, this is serious, damn serious. Our embassy is involved and that means you’ll see more of IDF guys. I know we have not been in good terms with the IDF after our last business contract with Syria, but we have got no choice with this. Apparently, the relations between Kenya and Israel are of paramount importance and GT shouldn’t be the one to jeopardize the longstanding camaraderie.” I swept my eyes through the whole room. All the fourteen eyes were fixed on me.
“Detailed design documents would be availed to you once you arrive…”
“Wait a sec,” interrupted the team leader. “Are you suggesting we are leaving?”
“I know how much you hate travelling, Ricky, but that’s one of the terms and conditions of the contract. We must work at their base, for security reasons,” I said. “And now if you’d allow me to finish what I was saying ‘coz I needn’t tell you never ever to interrupt me again when I am…”
I gave him a long look that could have qualified to be a stare were the environment warranting before saying, “You’d do the analysis, do your thing, install and be there during the testing. More you’d get at the Laikipia Air Base. Your contact is one Mark Beiber who’s been there training UAV operators and technicians for the past three years.
“Now guys, get moving. The plane that would be taking you to Nanyuki leaves at 1545Hrs at Moi Air Base. A DOD rep will pick you up by noon. Any questions?”
“Yeah, like you’d answer,” said Angela Morsi, hacker and jerk. Well, she was right. I wouldn’t have answered. I had just pointed out that everything they would get at the base, including answers and clarifications anyone had.
“And guys, don’t forget, our policy. Don’t sell our technology.”
With that done, I went to Yedioth Ahronoth.
The phone call from Major Sang from the army came in the early evening as I went through the following day’s publication draft. It was an invitation to luncheonette on Thursday at Sarova Stanley.
Wednesday saw me at the Karen Hospital for the weekly dose of plasmapheresis and progress diagnosis. When Thursday came and I left the office early for my date with the uniform guy, it did not occur to me that I could be so reckless.
He was waiting for me, and as he got up to greet me, I was impressed by his casual look and appraising glance. I was in a crème pantsuit, and my usual jewelry – not the expensive stuff. I was intrigued to see the military guy not in suit and tie.
At first it was conventional exchanges that are no more than social chat for a first date – work, books, films, music, politics and all. Lunch, long done with and forgotten, was replaced with drinks that offered protracted enjoyment and unrelenting passing of time. Before I could even realize, we were on a less formal ground, and even threw in a few tidbits of our private lives here and there.
On the umpteenth glass of wine I intercepted a signal that screamed ‘I want more of you’. I had long forgotten I had a job to go back to, and before I could change my mind, the talk became too desultory. “I don’t like red wine, white serves me better.”
When I tried to clear the haze of stupor, I realized that lights were on. What the heck! I needed to sober up. I never drank to lose control, not in public.
“We could go somewhere else, if you don’t mind.”
I said, “I don’t mind.” And that was me.
The invitation, my acceptance, was totally without strain. Or was it the alcohol.
Wherever we went, if I can remember, was so grand that I felt like one of the top ten billionaires in the world. Or was it the alcohol (again)?
And when he leaned forward and kissed me, I knew what would happen despite the drunken haze. But then, hadn’t I known from the first day at Ulinzi House?
Subsequently, it was all easy, so natural, devoid of doubt or anxiety, even of conscious thought. Lying, intertwined, in bed Friday morning, late for work, everything came back the sledgehammer way.
How could I be so reckless?
Copyright ©Elove, 2013.