The Black Widow Spider
By Lawrence Kadzitche
There are some restaurants that are so expensive that once you go there with your loved ones, you wince whenever they order something. When you receive the bill, you go through it as if you are reading your own death sentence.
The Ritz was such a restaurant. Located uptown, it was where the city’s who’s converged for lunch or dinner. The saying was that if you could dine at the Ritz, it meant you had not just made it in life, but made it big in life.
It was the first time for Donovan to eat at the restaurant. He was in there to celebrate signing of a huge contract. After years of struggling, the company which he owned had just won a big contract. He was accompanied by Jonathan, who was his cousin as well as his Marketing Director.
“Congratulations, Donovan,” Jonathan said.
But Donovan gave no sign that he had heard. He sat with his head cupped in his hands, elbows resting on the table. His eyes were glued at a woman who was seated in a corner with a man. In his life he had never seen such a beautiful woman. She was dressed in a green satin dress that looked as if it had been melted on her. A golden necklace hung around her neck. The bangles around her wrist were golden too. One didn’t have to be a connoisseur of dressing to see that what she was clad in was very expensive. At any rate only people with money dined at the Ritz.
A uniformed waiter stood attentively as she ordered things from the menu. It was clear by the reactions on the man who sat with her at the table that she was digging very deep into his pockets. He could be seen cringing every time she ordered something. Donovan imagined him to be one of the people who talked big but had no money.
“Hey, Donovan, what’s the matter?” Jonathan inquired for the fourth time.
Eliciting no response from Donovan, he tapped him on the shoulder. “Hey, man you’re salivating.”
That jolted Donovan. “Cousy, do you see what I see?” he asked dreamily, wiping the saliva that had been trickled down his chin from the corner of his mouth.
“That’s Mr Gudumu. Used to own a big trucking company,” Jonathan replied. “He is almost bankrupt now.”
Donovan glanced at his cousin with undisguised amazement. “You mean that’s what you’re seeing?”
“He’s with his wife Sabina,” Jonathan answered. “Actually his second wife. Married her four years ago.”
“I’m amazed with your sense of perception,” Donovan said incredulously. “So if you went into a field filled with weeds and flowers all you would see are the weeds?”
It was Jonathan’s turn to look surprised. “I don’t understand, cousin…”
“Since you married Kate, have you ever cheated on her?”
“No, why would such a thought ever enter my mind?”
Donovan smiled. “Exactly my point. Look at that woman. What do you see?”
Donovan burst into a fit of laughter that shook his whole body. Jonathan stared at him in astonishment.
“Are you okay, cousin?” Jonathan asked, worry creeping into his voice.
Donovan grabbed Jonathan’s head and forced him to look in the direction of the woman. “Cousy, you now have an opportunity to see beauty personified. Look at the hair cascading to the shoulders like water flowing down a falls. The alluring black eyes, the elegant nose, the heart shaped lips, the pointed chin…”
“See the dimples when she smiles, the gleaming angel white teeth. See how her breasts rise majestically like twin towers!”
“Shhh…She’s rising now. Look at how her bust tapers at the waist like a wasp’s. Man, the hips, they’re wider than a barn door…”
But Donovan was in trance. “The booty, man, look at her booty. She won’t need a chitenje to carry a baby. Oh, the legs, so plump and shapely…”
“Donovan!” Jonathan shouted, shaking him.
The couple which was the focus of Donovan’s unadulterated attention seemed to be arguing. The man threw some bank notes on the table, turned out all his pockets to show that he had nothing, then stormed out of the restaurant. Donovan watched him out of the big windows go to his car. The engine coughed and sputtered several times before the car came to life and then limped away.
Donovan clenched his right fist and raised it triumphantly and then got to his feet. It was very clear what his intension was.
“Yes!” he hissed.
“Donovan, please stay out of this,” Jonathan advised.
Donovan straightened his tie which was a little off side, smoothed his suit and patted his black short hair which was turning grey at the temples. Then he majestically walked over to the woman’s table.
“Excuse me,” Donovan said grinning like a cat that has caught a mouse.
Sabina turned and shot her eyes angrily at Donovan. Her mouth opened but something made her bite her tongue. Her big eyes went up and down him as if she was inspecting something she wanted to buy. Dressed for the contract signing ceremony, Donovan was sharply suited in a two button single breasted black suit, snow white shirt, perfectly knotted red tie and matching shiny black pointed shoes. He looked every inch a successful business executive that he was now. He saw respect gleam in her huge eyes.
She rolled her eyes as if she was trying to remember him. “We met at last year’s Christmas Party?”
Last year Donovan did not attend any Christmas party. But he seized the opportunity. “Yes,” he replied and produced a business card from his pocket. “Donovan Bwatha.”
“Managing Director, DD Construction,” she read the business card in a honey coated voice. “Yes, I remember you, darling,” she said hugging him.
Donovan was enveloped in a paradise of subtle jasmine perfume. He felt elated as if he was on drugs. He took a deep breath to calm his nerves.
“Please have a seat, my dear,” she intoned.
Donovan pulled a chair where she sat down and then he went to take his own seat. He casually waved to a waiter who arrived with considerable speed with the menu.
Sabina raised her hand. “There has been an increase in prices. My husband thought that the prices are now way too steep hence the small altercation you witnessed just moments ago…”
Donovan sniggered. “This is nothing to me, Mrs Gudumu. I’ve just come into very big money. Choose whatever you want.”
“Now that’s a man talking,” she purred. “Call me Sabina.”
Everything at the restaurant was expensive. But Donovan was in big money so he allowed Sabina spoil herself. You don’t stint bait to a fish you want to catch, do you? By the time they were leaving, the respect in her eyes had been replaced by pure admiration.
They walked side by side to her car, a sleek red BMW. The perfect gentleman, Donovan opened the door for her.
“Can we meet again at the Hotel Continental for lunch next Saturday?” she asked, a mischievous grin on her face which told him it would be for more than dinner.
“That’s fine with me, Sabina,” he replied eagerly.
“Saturday then at 1pm. I’ll make the reservation,” she said. She winked at him, blew him a kiss and she was gone. He stood transfixed until the car was out of view.
Jonathan emerged from the restaurant, his face a mask of concern.
“What are you doing, cousin?” he asked staring at Donovan as if he had just gone crazy.
“I’ve just found the woman of my dreams,” Donovan declared. “And I’m going to marry her.”
“Sabina? I told you she’s married to Gudumu.”
“I don’t care to whom she’s married. But what I know is that I’m going to marry her come rain or shine.”
Incomprehension was written all over Jonathan’s face. “But you’re already married to Grace…”
“I’ll divorce her…”
“I’ll pay child support…”
“You’re a church elder…”
“I’ll join a Pentecostal church. They don’t care as long as you contribute a lot of money…”
Jonathan realized that his cousin was gone beyond redemption. “That woman is clearly a gold digger. Anyone can see that you’ve got money…”
But he was talking to himself. “I’m meeting her on Saturday at the Continental for lunch…”
Jonathan reacted as if he had heard the voice of a ghost. “Continental? Do you know how expensive that hotel is? They charge everything in US dollars!”
“I’m rich, aren’t I?” came Donovan’s careless reply.
Jonathan placed his hands on Donovan’s shoulders and looked hard into his eyes as if examining something. “If I wasn’t with you the first time you saw Mrs. Gudumu I would’ve said she has bewitched you. Donovan, you’re fifty, you’ve been faithful to your wife all these years; why do this now?”
“She’s an angel, man,” he replied irrelevantly.
“Wait, wait, wait. Donovan, do you know the black widow spider?”
“No, I don’t. What about it?”
“Read about it on the internet,” Jonathan said. “The woman you’re selling your life to is a black widow spider.”
Donovan laughed. “What do you mean?”
“They say of the species, the female is more deadly than the male. But the female black spider takes it to another level.”
Donovan laughed again. “I don’t have time for that nonsense, cousin. I’ve a woman to woo.”
Jonathan wanted to say something but knew it would be useless. Donovan was plumb loco with love. He was like a mad man playing with a scorpion. How would you make such a man understand how dangerous the arachnid was?
End of Part One