My palms are sweaty. This is it! This is what Mr N and I have planned for… I’m sitting in the VIP’s office, about to try and pull off the con of the century. Will it work?
“So you’re pregnant?” the VIP asks.
I guess he’s getting right into it.
“I am,” I respond.
“Is it mine?” he asks.
“Of course it is,” I snap back.
“Isn’t this you on the Internet?” he asks, passing me his phone. “Because it damn sure ain’t me.”
I ignore the phone, already knowing what video it’s playing.
“About that…” I start.
“Yes?” he interrupts sarcastically.
“I’m with my boyfriend in that video,” I say. “Did you ever really think a girl like me wasn’t dating anyone?”
He looks at me incredulously.
“C’mon. You have a wife, I have a boyfriend, that’s the way it goes,” I continue, looking him dead in the eye.
“Then why not go to him regarding your issues?” he demands.
“He was away for a month, around the time I conceived,” I respond. “Tag. You’re it.”
My tone is cold. My gaze unwavering. He breaks eye contact first.
“How much do you want?” he asks, heading to his desk.
Well, this is it. I try and maintain the same cold tone.
“Sh2 million,” I say.
“What!” he asks, and then bursts out laughing. “You’ve got to be kidding me! For an abortion or raising the child?”
“The abortion, as you know, will not cost much,” I say calmly. I’ve practised this over and over. I’ve got this! “Sh2 million is for me NOT to keep the baby. A child you will have to provide for – for a good 18 years! Not to mention the drama when you die and he or she demands a share of inheritance.”
“Why, you little conniving bitch!” he says.
“Please, Waziri. No theatrics. Sh2 million is a bargain. Think of your family,” I say with more confidence than I expected.
I’m not scared of this powerful man. I’m the one holding the cards. He looks cornered. Defeated. The feeling of power that washes over me is intoxicating. I have made this big man tiny before me. He holds his head in his hands. The seconds tick away. Then minutes. Then he looks up.
“I have your guarantee that you will get rid of it?” he asks.
“I swear on its life,” I say with a slight smile.
He doesn’t respond to my attempt at humour. He grabs a chequebook and writes three cheques.
“I assume you know you can’t bank a cheque for over a million?” he asks in a slightly condescending tone.
“Yes,” I say.
He rips them out of the book and hands them to me.
“Get out of here, you c**t,” he says bitterly.
I do not respond. Quit while you’re ahead. I head to the door.
“Samantha!” he says.
I pause at the door and turn towards him.
“About the other thing… What you saw when we were in Mombasa….” His voice trails off.
I slowly walk back to him. “I want you to know on everything that is holy, that I will never betray your confidence about that,” I say.
That much is true. I never even told Mr N that the VIP was a hermaphrodite. He nods and dismisses me with a flick of his wrist. I leave quickly. I’m elated, but I have to wonder… Did he pay me because of the pregnancy or because I would tell the world his secret?