He sat at his executive desk with all the trimmings of success trying to think of a polite way of saying he would not be coming home for the holidays. He had promised to visit his father for Christmas but then something came up, something always did but the Easter break was rather long, he couldn’t possibly be evasive all five days of it…. Maybe if he said he was going away on a business trip____
A soft knock at the door broke him out of his reverie.
“Yes?” he inquired.
The frosted glass door slid slightly, opening a fraction. He could make out the silhouette of his PA behind the door; they all knew to never just enter his office, and when he said yes, he meant state your business and then go away unless invited.
“Sir, I was just about to leave, for the holiday, will there be anything?”
“Thank you that will be all” he dismissed her and then as an afterthought “What will you be doing this Easter?”
“Sir?” she responded, slightly puzzled, he was never one make personal conversation.
“Family, Sir, will be with family… that’s all we ever truly have” she finished.
“You, know what? You are so right. Alrighty then; get my father on the phone for me. Have a happy Easter.”
“Thank you Sir, see you on Wednesday.”
The door slid shut silently followed by a faint click. He rubbed his temples as if that could ease the turmoil inside, if they could see him, the shark in a suit, ruthless in the boardroom dreading a conversation with his father. The telephone on his mahogany desk beeped once and then a light started flashing, indicating a call on hold. He took a deep breath, to steady himself and picked it up.
“Hello baba, yes, I will be coming for Easter.”
Once he made the decision, everything else, was simply logistics; this is how he got to be where he was, single-minded objectivity. He phoned his sons, and informed them they would be going to the country, to their roots, he made it clear, he was not offering them a choice, it was an order. That’s what his own father should have done, given him orders instead of giving him choices maybe things would have turned up differently.
A few short hours later they were on the winding road leading them back home. The ride was a bit bumpy, he had opted to use his old faithful pick-up truck and not any of his new sleek status symbols with low ground clearance and low tolerance for pothole ridden roads. The roads were terrible indeed potholes the sizes of small graves, you would think a massacre had been done on the tarmac, and then later the road would become a strip road and then finally a dirt track.
It was a logical decision taking his trusty truck he told himself, but deep down he knew it was also superstition, he remembered stories of how people got bewitched or cursed by jealous folk for flaunting their wealth. He did not believe in witchcraft, but he certainly did not want to put it to the test.
They had been making good time being fortunate to not get stopped by any of the roadblocks that seemed to be around every bend but then luck ran out. After requesting to see driver’s licence the police officer went on to ask to for a whole lot of other things and finding fault with everything
One of his tyres had low pressure; he spare wheel was not the regulated size, the red warning triangle was not the standard issue one, the safety reflective vest was the wrong colour shade, the red reflectors at the back of the truck were not the new hologrammed ones, the fire extinguisher was an aerosol fire retardant and not a fire extinguisher, and what had finally set him off, that the car as dirty…
“But officer I had the car taken to a car-wash before I left the city_” he tried to argue
“There are dead bugs on your windscreen….Dirt” The officer pointed and while he was saying that a bird flying past decided then to drop its business on the truck’s bonnet.
X sitting in the back seat snickered “I bet that bird is his and he trained it do that”
“Shut up son, I am handling this” he said as he lowered the volume on the stereo which up till now had been belting out beats, as his son called them, after all it was X’s phone connected to the auxiliary port.
“Ah and I did not see a valid listener’s licence for your stereo” The police observed
There was no use arguing, he knew it, you had to pay the radio licence whether you listened to local radio or not, he even wanted to ask do you want to see the licence for my Phone has well it has a radio on it but instead said;
“Ok just write me up the ticket Officer”
“Well, you have multiple traffic offences, you see, and the law states that we impound your vehicle pending a court case and tomorrow being the start of a holiday… that will only be next week Wednesday__”
He started cursing and ranting.
“Calm down father__” but of course never in the history of calming down has anyone calm down by being told to calm down, you can imagine how everything escalated and father and sons ended up handcuffed to a tree restrained ‘for their own protection that is’ and the car was being hitched to an impound tow truck.
“Dad..” X whispered to his father “ this is not the time to be all self-righteous offer the guy a bribe, that’s what you should have done from the start, how did you become such a shrewd business man if you cant grease a few palms”
“but he is the police__”
“Exactly! They are the most corrupt of them all, let me handle this, dad give me your wallet.” X requested “Officer, please step into my office!” He yelled from beneath the tree they were handcuffed to.
Not long after that they were merrily on their way, plus an extra passenger, turns out the officer was just finishing his shift and was headed in the same direction, so he was now riding shotgun and they didn’t get troubled by any other roadblocks as their passenger with a quick wave gesture got them waved through.
They got to the country just before midnight, a bonfire lit one of the thatched gazebos where, his father waited, years had passed since he left for the city, never once had he returned but now, now he was back… He hugged his father, no other words, none were necessary. They sat in silence of the crackling fire, all the unsaid words between them reflected in the tears that sparkled red in the firelight. Wood smoke does sting the eyes does it not?
“Tomorrow my son, I will show you your goats, we can slaughter a couple and you can take some meat with you, and when the police stop you next time, just offer them some goat….”
They laughed, sometimes you need to take the winding road ever leading you back home, to see how you never really left….
BlogBattle Entry themed bribery… again the story continues you can catch up HERE