CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR
He got revealed, and seated in his living room. He looked ruffled, his right arm carrying his jaw, as he did a lot of thinking. He was feeling the heat. He got up, and gently looked up and down, his face twitched. Discomfort set in and got him to shake his head slightly, in a way that suggested regret. He then sat down again. Dale went ahead to wonder about what was missing in his stay in the game. He saw nothing before, but it had now dawned on him that there was something money cannot buy that was missing. He gently got up again, when some emptiness money could not fill, kept haunting him. Things had begun to turn out the way he could fathom no more, everything happening so fast, and draining away joy from his heart. Dale could keep quiet no more.
“Money . . . .,” he yelled. “Why is it that you can’t eradicate this painful loneliness that is devouring me?” He further yelled. “You made me believe you’re everything that a man needs. You deceived me! Murderer! You stinking fool.”
Nancy entered looking very cheerful, making Dale feel a little surge of joy inside. He had not set eyes on Nancy for quite a long while. He smiled. He got thrilled.
“Hello, Dale,” said Nancy. “How’s your new life?”
“Nancy. Oh! As if you knew my eyes have been itching to catch at least a glimpse of you.” Dale was so thrilled to behold Nancy’s presence that he went to her at once, and sought a hug, which he did not get, because Nancy just got out of his way. Dale’s hands hung in the air, as both surprise and shock riddled him. “What may be the meaning of that?” He said, on recovering, as his hands dropped.
“Exactly what you forged by making sure I got into the game. I’m a game player! A fantastic one at that!”
“No, Nancy, drop that game thing. Spare me that please.... I want to know why I did not get a hug.” Nancy’s response was emphatic.
“You got no hug because my hugs don’t like your face anymore these days.”
“Is that clear?”
“I’m a game player! I’m a game player! I’m a game player!”
Dale got angry and screamed, “Give me no more of that game nonsense! Is that clear?”
Nancy began to walk around Dale, observing him with sarcastic glances. Her walk around Dale was for only four times, after which she stood and laughed, the laughter, a sarcastic one.
“What are you doing, Nancy?” The now very confused Dale, asked.
“Dale, if there is one thing that will never cease, that would be the element of surprise. How come the word game gets your ears aching now, my dear?”
“I just hate it!”
“Oh! All of a sudden, Dale?”
“You should continue to be faithful to what has turned your life around beyond your wildest imaginations.”
“I can’t stay faithful again!”
“Whose concern? Certainly not mine. Well, I came back home because you need to know the latest twist in the game.”
“No more games, Nancy.” Dale suddenly declared on top of his voice.
“When I’m just warming up to embrace the next level of the game?” Nancy laughed at Dale. “This must be a joke you’re making, Dale,” she further spoke.
“It’s no joke!” Dale yelled, anger and frustration having got the better of him. He stormed back to where he stood before he reached for the hug he never got, and rested his weight on the green couch that was there. Nancy watched him all these while, and commented.
“You’ve changed. What happened to you?”
“That’s the point! Look, Nancy, you’re the pillar of my happiness.”
Nancy got mesmerised for hearing that, her mouth wide agape, all of a sudden. She then recovered fast.
“No one can be a better pillar of happiness than money that comes from staying in the game.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Nancy.”
Dale had realised that Nancy’s absence had been a big blow to the very essence of his existence. It had left him pathetically vulnerable to the whims and caprices of loneliness.
“I was insane when I dragged you into that treacherous game,” he continued. “Now my sanity is back,” he further said to Nancy, who sauntered a bit, stopped and responded.
“I’m surprised. What’s better than money?”
Dale’s pleading tone then erupted.
“Please you must come back. Quit the game please . . .”
Nancy’s retort was a contrasting one. It came strong, fully embellished with anger.
“Don’t dare to go there!”
“Please.” Dale went on his knees.
“Staying in the game is sweet like heaven and you know it. There’s nothing like it.”
“Please leave Richard and return to the one formidable unit we were. Please, I miss you.”
“You miss me? Why?” Nancy giggled before she spoke further. “The excitement in the game is getting bigger as each day comes, and you’re here telling me to call it quits with a free-minded exotic personality like Richard, whose magnanimity has kept you wallowing in opulence.” Nancy giggled again. “Come on, Dale. Wake up! You should know that’s no longer possible under the sun.”
“Stop kidding, Dale.”
“Please quit the game and return to me. I no longer need his money. It’s strewn with bitterness.”
“Look, Dale! Maybe the heavens care to know what you’re talking about. As for me, I don’t. Spare me some breathing space.”
“I do need you.”
“But I warned you. Didn’t I? My instincts you described as flawed flashed this situation around. But you were so deaf to heed its warnings.”
“I now know better.”
“You were blindfolded by a shawl of Pound Sterling around your eyes. Dale, things are better left alone when it’s late. You know that.”
“Nothing is late now.”
“Oh . . . . So you think? This has come to the delicious point of no return. You know me, Dale, and my policy of sticking only to one man once I get to know him romantically.”
“Oh. . . no., Nancy, don’t tell me it has got to that.”
“You heard me. Didn’t you?”
“Please stop torturing me. Stop torturing me,” Dale screamed.
“Stop dreaming! Stop dreaming, Dale. What makes you think I can even abandon this exciting game?”
Nancy was now neck deep in the game. And her wish and hard work were all tenaciously geared towards remaining stuck in the game. Her joy for being in the game had no boundaries at all. She was always in jubilation mood. This led her to dance before Dale, who got enshrined in jealousy. “Yeah! Yeah!” Nancy yelled after dancing.
Nancy was all sold out to the game, all globe-trotting that came with staying in the game—from Paris to Amsterdam, to Rio, to Hollywood, to New York and many more choice destinations around the world. She could hardly name all the beautiful cities staying in the game had connected her to, in addition to savouring amazing sights she never thought she would behold in her entire life. Nothing would stop her from enjoying all the glamour and attention, all the trappings of travelling around with a Hollywood personality—all the sex, real good sex, plenty of it.
Nancy suddenly got struck by awe, as Dale’s body began to convulse because his jealousy had grown so big, and was expanding to reach the sky. He grabbed his head with both hands, as if to prevent it from exploding. He screamed further, as his body convulsed.
“I’m going mad… Mad…. Mad! Someone is licking from my honey pot….”
He then collapsed on the floor.
Nancy and Dale were beginning to fade off fast now. A voice got audible.
“Oh! Katy, wait!”
Nancy and Dale faded off completely with their surroundings, before the second voice came on.
“I believe the time is right for you to accept my offer. Marry me, Katy. My whole life is like an open door waiting for you to come in.”
“Sir, I appreciate your thoughts towards me. But it would be nice if you look for someone else. Someone who can give you what you need.”
“What are you talking about? You’re the perfect lady.”
“I don’t see myself caving in to your pestering.”
“But why?” Kevin sounded bitter. He was now clearly revealed in his office, seated and looking at Katy whose back faced him. Katy was actually on her way out, with documents in her hands. “Why are you rejecting me?” Kevin went ahead. “You want to get on like this? A spinster for life? Please review your stance and marry me.”
“I want to take life the way it leaves me. Please, sir, there are plenty of tasks I need to accomplish today. Can I leave now?”
Kevin rose to his feet as soon as Katy had exited his office. He remained standing, and busy thinking. Then he shrugged his shoulders after a while. His shrug spoke just one word. That word was resignation. He had given up.