Former Congressman

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Richard’s office got revealed. In it was Richard who stood while thinking. This was after he had given Dale a call. When Dale arrived only five minutes after he was called, the only thing Richard did was to point at a seat. Dale understood what that meant at once and sat down. But he expected Richard to take his own seat immediately, and tell him why he had placed a call so pregnant with urgency. Richard continued to stand and think, scratching his jaw in the process. Dale’s patience got tested. It got tested to the point that he could no longer keep on watching.

“I didn’t come here to watch you scratch your jaw again and again,” he said. Verbal response did not come from Richard. Words Dale uttered only succeeded in jolting Richard in the world of his thoughts, and made him take a seat. But he still went on thinking and scratching his jaws so hard, as if there were sound ideas hidden there that needed to be scratched out. Hairs on his jaw really got horrible ruffling of their lives. The last trickle of what Dale could call the patience he had, eventually left him.

“I’m waiting to know why you called me,” he snapped in a tone in which little anger and large chunk of impatience had dominated. Dale went on to stare at his watch. “This is ten PM,” he said. “The urgency in your call gave the impression that all hell would break loose if anything would stop me from coming over.”

Richard kept on thinking. He was not even looking at Dale, whom neglect led to speak further.

“Now I’m here, you’re dumb. I had to get here at a cheetah’s speed. Well, if you’re still not going to start talking, let’s call it a day.”

Frustration got Dale on his feet at once. His firm decision was to leave. But he did not even throw a step, before his host’s voice finally came alive, and made him sit again.

“I’ve been thinking,” Richard began, got up, and commenced sauntering, as Dale watched him like a magician he was expecting to unveil the next item in his bag of tricks. It all looked strange to him. Another weird side of Richard I never knew all along, he thought.

“I’ve been thinking of a new twist to our game,” Richard went ahead to say, now fully emerged from his thought asylum. Dale was never the same immediately he heard the word game. All his earlier frustration and little anger he experienced got drained away by excitement now trickling into him.

“What is that?” He said. And it was quite clear from the way he sounded, that his eagerness to hear Richard speak further was already so huge, surpassing the size of the heaviest elephants in the African and Asian wild. If Dale’s bloated eagerness were to concentrate on his stomach region, maybe he could have been made a pregnant man, like excessive beer consumption has done to some men. The voice Dale longed to hear came alive again.

“I’ve been thinking about you and how to bring more excitement and unprecedented charity into your life.”

Dale got thrilled and more enthusiastic.

“Hey! Rich! Go straight to the root of your message!”

“Fine.”

“I’m listening.”

“I’ve been thinking of how you can keep staying in the game, on and on and on.” Richard smiled and went ahead. “And that means more money in your pocket.”

“Interesting!”

“I’m talking about twenty thousand pounds a week here, Dale.”

“Huge!”

“That is to be injected into your existing contract.”

Dale roared in laughter when tears of joy suddenly arrived and stood in his eyes. Words to speak could not come because awe had by now taken him prisoner. Twenty thousand pounds to Dale was absolutely out of this world. A fat red carrot so well dangled that all his teeth could not wait to explore it. Oh! He nearly was on his way to going bananas.

“You’re now the one not talking, Dale.”

“Come on, Rich, what’s all these? You know the monkey loves bananas a lot. Are you going to keep teasing it with bananas until it gets drowned in hunger for it before you drop it?”

Dale sprang to his feet all of a sudden, threw his hands and face up. “I love games,” he bellowed. “I’m a game player! Give me the game!”

Richard gently urged Dale to sit down and listen. Dale of course, had no reason not to comply at once. His buttocks found his seat. Richard wondered if Dale had the nerves that could take what he was about to drop. He asked Dale if he could, and got his quick nod to forge ahead. Richard then observed Dale in silence for a while, as he worked out the best way to start off. This Dale didn’t understand as he allowed impatience to give him words.

“Rich! You’re now the one not talking,” he urged.

Richard believed every man of great wealth and success had at one time been faced with a crucial moment in which he needed to take decisions to forge ahead without entertaining emotions. He told Dale there was no great wealth for a man that would not go ahead with what needed to be done. He got up afterwards and took gentle steps that took him behind Dale.

“Do you agree?” He said later.

“I do,” Dale responded, in addition to a nod in the affirmative, which he offered.

“Emotions are dangerous, Dale. Emotions have been known to deter men from taking important steps that stand between them and the next level.”

“I see.”

“Strangle your emotions and move ahead.”

“What is the game? Rich, you’re not talking!”

“I need Nancy in my game. Nancy as my personal assistant and my top personal aide.”

“That is the game?”

“That is the twist on the way you stay in the game, Dale.”

Dale got on his feet, some uneasiness having descended upon him. He did not speak at once. What he did was to look down. Richard did not go ahead to speak too. He just kept observing every reaction Dale put up. And it became obvious that silence would come in and take over. Silence did exactly that. It pervaded, as a flurry of thoughts marched up and down in Dale’s mind, as if they were a cantonment of military personnel perfecting their drill. All thoughts housed by Dale’s mind eventually mingled and evolved into one question. Dale raised his head at last to meet Richard’s smiling face, and sought to know which Nancy he had talked about.

“See?” Richard said. “Emotions kill enthusiasm.”

“Which Nancy?”

Dale’s question caused Richard to laugh. He took two steps backwards, away from Dale.

“Don’t pretend, Dale, my dear game player. See? Emotions kill dedication.”

“Which Nancy?”

“You and I know only one Nancy. So I don’t see how your queries fit. Stand up to it, my man!”

It was like bees had stung Dale’s eyes. It was like his heart had received the entry of glinting sharp edges of a medieval Roman soldier’s sword. Richard’s answer had billowed in, like hurricane Katrina, and had stolen the joy in his heart. It also sneaked in like a terrorist’s bomb, and had blown his joy apart.

Dale grimaced quickly, buried his face in his hands, and stayed that way. Richard, in the absence of a verbal response from Dale, continued to speak as he observed Dale, his tone rising. “Emotions . . . . . emotions . . . emotions,” he first began like an opera singer gracing the stage at New York’s Broadway. “What else can deny a man unprecedented financial freedom if not you? You can break a man down when he’s so close to pulling the trigger that will catapult him to great wealth, after which you will then feed him with lack and abject poverty for the rest of his life. Few men who have conquered you are now financial giants. Emotions. . . emotions . . . . emotions . . . . . . Please leave my man alone. Your stronghold cannot contain his will to break away into great wealth you’ve denied most men. Leave him alone . . .”

Dale looked up from his hands as soon as Richard’s mouth stopped making words, and focused his eyes on Richard, whose face wore a welcoming smile.

“This is my wife you’re talking about here. I don’t think you know.”

Dale almost sounded like a child begging his father not to suspend his daily stipends, before burying his face in his hands again. But he got jerked up when he heard Richard say, “Very well, I make it fifty thousand pounds a week.”

Dale was now starring at Richard, silence having a field day, before his response came as a nod that said no. And what followed was that he simply stood up, and was soon leaving.

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