Where is Cassandra

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CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR

I was still in bed by 8:00 a.m the next morning, sick to my bones for lack of any real sleep all through the previous night. This was when Stefi had left home to take Tammy, Dick and Hadley to school. So many thoughts ran through my mind as I lay in bed and all alone in the bedroom. Now what next? Look at what has been done to you. Are you just going to lie down on this bed and do nothing? You have been humiliated.

“I have nobody to blame but myself,” I replied to numerous thoughts that kept barging into my head, like they were humans who could hear me, my tone laden with self-pity and resignation. “This would not have happened if I had been able to make Stefi pregnant,” I further said, my voice sounding like I was about to cry. I was a man who had been hurt to the deepest core of his pride. And I figured out that all I could do was to muster the courage to bear the humiliating burden of my situation, as it was nobody’s fault but mine. “It’s all my fault,” I soliloquized, finding strength from not laying the blame on anyone else. However, sticking to that approach could not do much in terms of stopping me from gradually slipping down the road into despair. It only managed to delay the inevitable. The grim fact that I had suddenly gone from being a man who thought he had children, and with a strong desire to have more, to a childless man who couldn’t make babies, was becoming much of a burden for my heart to bear.

“Jan, what did you do to deserve this?” I asked myself, starring at the walls in the bedroom that had no answers for me. It was at this time that I heard my phone ring. I had kept it on a wooden cupboard beside the bed, so it was easy for me to reach it without getting out of bed. I saw it was Wack that was calling. I took his call. Wack had called in to know why I had not shown up at the workshop. I told him I was not feeling strong enough to come to work.

“Do you need help so I can come?” He asked.

“No, I will be fine,” I said. “All I need is some rest.” My phone conversation with Wack was quite brief, after which I got out of bed. Four hours of time had sped past so unbelievably that I doubted if it was truly noon already. I threw a glance at my watch and saw it was twelve in the afternoon. I walked to the living room bare-chested, wearing only the red boxer shorts I had gone to bed with the previous night.

On one of the couches in the living room was a mail. I went closer to take a look and saw my name on it. Stefi must have left it there for me, I presumed. I picked it up out of curiosity, wondering where it had come from. And when I opened it, I realized how much I did not get away with the reckless driving I had done the previous day. In my hands was a speeding ticket for being a speed demon like in Michael Jackson’s musical video. I had been fined two hundred and fifty dollars, and had ten days to pay it or risk having my ass dragged to court. I tossed the ticket and the envelope on the floor, in disgust, as the fine was the least of things I felt I had to worry about. Feelings of frustration and hopelessness began to creep in on me as I stood in the living room, feeling useless, while trying to figure out what next to do to get on with my life.

And it happened! It struck me like a brick. You are not going to stand here and do nothing, thoughts in my head said. Then a sudden rush of anger swept through me.

“I think you’re right,” I responded, rushed into the bedroom, my strides like those of a mad bull freed from captivity. I knew what I wanted to do, but would not go about doing it, wearing my boxer shorts. I put on my trousers and white tee-shirt the moment I got to the bedroom, grabbed my car keys in a flash. I was back in the living room within minutes. Then I used the door. Once outside, I yanked open the door of my car, got its engine roaring to life, and drove off. I was careful not to get involved in reckless driving this time. My first destination was a store. Why a store? I needed a store where I could purchase fake beard, moustache and a dark goggle. I was back in my car with the items I had purchased within half an hour. I wore the beard, which was dark and long. Then I put on the moustache and the goggle. It was no longer the real face of Jan that I saw when I looked in the car mirror. I had become the same man with a new face. Perfect, great for my plan! I drove off and got to my destination in thirty minutes. I walked into a building and went straight to the reception area. I told the Caucasian lady there whom I wanted to see.

“Do you have an appointment?” She asked.

“No,” I said. “But walk-ins are available, right?”

“Sure,” she replied with a courteous smile. “Have you been here before?” She further asked.

“No,” I lied.

“That means we have to get you registered in our system,” she said. “And that’s gonna add extra fifty bucks to your bill. Fifty bucks for your card.”

“No problem,” I responded.

“Your name?” She asked.

“Justin Gustafo,” I answered. I had to come up with a quick combination of letters for a last name, whatever, so that the lady would have something to work with. This I had to spell because she could not.

“Your address?” She further asked.

“195 Diamond Street,” I lied the third time.

The lady did a bunch of things I did not care about with her computer. These included some typing, some quick paperwork and others I gave no damn about.

“Go have a seat, Mr. Gustafo,” she said to me when she was done. “You’re good to go. Your card will be mailed and you can expect to have it in two weeks.”

“Thanks,” I said to the lady and left the reception desk for the next person in line to be attended to. There were up to fifteen people already seated and waiting for their turn, and five more people in the queue. I sat down. Armed with my ugly plan, I waited patiently for my turn.

It took up to an hour and half before I heard the lady at the reception call me.

“Justin Gustafo,” she said. “Your turn!” She further said and pointed me in the right direction she thought I did not know. Then I rose and walked straight into a room, an office to be specific, where I met face to face with whom I had come to see. The person brought out a hand, a right hand, and I put my right hand forward as well. With a fake smile on my face, one that did a good job of hiding my unfriendly intention, we shook hands. The handshake lasted a little longer than two seconds. That was because I was reluctant to end it, as I had considered twisting my host’s right hand in a way that would be excruciatingly painful to him. Too early, not now, I thought. I decided against that, withdrew my hand from his and sat down after my host had told me to. He looked at my file on his computer, which was by his right.

“Oh, a new person,” he said, as a smile flashed across his face. “Good to have a new person come to patronize us today,” he further said.

“I heard you guys do wonderful things here,” I said, trying hard to sound nice with all the anger boiling in me. “Someone told me to come here based on his experience.”

“Who’s that?” My host asked.

“I can say that person is a kind of guy that likes to stay anonymous,” I replied.

“Right,” my host said. “I understand that and I respect that.”

“I’m glad you do.”

“They say word of mouth works wonders.”

“That’s true,” I agreed and nodded my head in the affirmative.

“So what exactly brings you today?”

There was brief silence as my host looked at my face, and I, did the same to him. ‘To make myself loud and clear,’ I said, but only in my thought. “Mr. Gustafo,” my host called me when some more seconds of time had passed without a response from me. I was lost for a while. The reason I had gone to see the man before me had sucked me in, urging me to act at once. I managed to place restraint on myself. “Are you still here, Mr. Gustafo?” My host went ahead to ask. “Come back! You look lost.”

“You’re right, I was lost because I was thinking of what had brought me here today,” I said.

“Go ahead and tell me,” my host responded and threw a suspicious glance at me.

“You don’t wanna know why I’m here,” I said.

“Why not? That’s my job.”

“Well, if you must know,” I began to give my host a piece of my mind. “I’m here to determine if I can make your wife pregnant or not.” My host was shocked to hear me say that. Did I care one bit? Hell no! There was no doubt that the way he looked at me was absurd. My host looked upset. And I could read his thoughts that were so spelt out in his widened eyes through unspoken words that said, oh my gosh I have a lunatic in my office!

“You must know, Mr. Gustafo that I don’t appreciate people coming in here to have me insulted,” he said, and was on his feet. “This is not a mental health facility where people like you need to languish forever.”

“Come on, give me that anger,” I yelled in response. Anger made me bounce to my feet as I spoke. “I’m not seeing enough. Bring on that fury,” I continued. “I want you to feel how I feel. You have the training, you have the touch. Please help me determine if I can make your wife pregnant or not.”

“You must be mad and very sick, Mr. Gustafo or whatever you say your name is,” my host said, his tone, shrill, and ridden with anger and disgust for me. Startled, he asked, “Who the hell are you?”

“Take a look,” I said with a derisive smile on my face. “Do you remember me? I’m I clear to you?”

My host took one look at my face, this time more closely. Pictures of Tammy, Dick and Hadley’s faces sprung up in my mind. I could see their resemblance to the fuming man in front of me. I took off my goggle, then my fake moustache and beard. I placed them on the man’s table, my host, whose eyes widened in surprise when he saw my real face and quickly recognized me.

“You’ve been here before,” he said to me, took two steps backwards and gazed at my face. He seemed to be slowly reaching for the table behind him on which there was a button that could be pressed.

“That’s right,” I answered, while managing to keep my anger in check.

“The man who can’t make babies?” He asked me.

“So how does that give you the permission to make my wife pregnant?” I yelled. “Not once, not twice, not thrice, but four fucking times!” I added.

“Your wife?” Greg Graz, my host and fertility specialist asked out of surprise. That suggested Stefi did not tell him whom I was or that she had a husband.

“Yes!” I replied. “She is my wife.”

“Stefi?” Greg asked.

“Yes!”

“You are her husband?”

“Do I look like a liar to you?” I yelled at Greg.

“She didn’t tell me she’s married,” said Greg. “I thought she was single. She only presented herself as a slut that needed my services in bed.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked in an angry shrill tone.

“Hey men,” said Greg with a cunning smile on his face. “None of my fault,” Greg spoke on, and kept moving towards the table behind him. There was this freaky nervousness he showed all of a sudden. I could see fear was gradually creeping into him, like I had come to murder him.

“Whose fault then? Mine?” I asked Greg.

“I helped you out. Brothers help brothers in need, right?”

“Wrong!” I said that word with every sadistic loathing I could pull out of myself.

“So what the fuck are you here to do?”

“So why the fuck did you have to do that to me?”

“Shouldn’t you be buying me gifts for helping you out?” Greg asked me. I got angrier. “Did your mom not teach you anything called gratitude?” Greg asked and got to the table behind him in a flash and pressed the button on it. All control I had managed to have on my anger got lost at this time. I reached for Greg and landed a punch on his jaw. He grimaced in pain and wanted to make a dash, but I was too fast for him. I grabbed his neck and pushed him hard. He fell on the floor and on his back. He was about to spring to his feet when I pounced on him and landed two more punches on his face.

“You don’t do that to me and get away with it,” I yelled while delivering more punches to Greg’s face, as he struggled in vain to shrug off my beastly assault. Then the door behind me opened. I turned back to see it was Anastaciia that had rushed in. The button Greg had pressed must have been an alarm. Alarmed by what she beheld, Anastaciia screamed and ran out. I continued to hit Greg, who was now fighting back and had succeeded in landing a few punches on my face from his disadvantaged position under me. They hurt! And in no distant time, more people whom I believed to be patients at the clinic, rushed in to break up the brawl Greg and I were locked in.

“You don’t do that to my wife,” I kept yelling, on getting to my feet, after some hands had held on to me and had dragged me up and away from Greg.

“We have a case of mental illness here,” Greg yelled on getting to his own feet. “This punk ass man needs to have his head examined,” Greg further said as he tried to straighten out his ruffled shirt and neck.

“That’s not the case,” I shrieked.

“He is sick in the head,” Greg said. “Please take him out of here!”

“Tell him to say what he did to my wife,” I yelled.

“That asshole knows nothing about showing appreciation,” Greg responded. “He’s sick! Take him away! We don’t have a mental health facility here. Has someone called the cops yet?”

“I have,” I saw Anastaciia say.

“Tell them what you did to my wife,” I continued to yell.

“Who wants to believe a mad man?” Greg said. “Nobody here wants to believe a mad man who sneaked in here disguised.” Greg went to his table, picked up my fake beard, moustache and goggle. He held them up for all to see. “These can only prove the grave nature of his psychiatric condition,” Greg said and flung them to the floor. “Do we not have a deranged man in the house?” He asked with a disdainful smile on his face that made me suspect that all he had told me about not knowing that Stefi was married, was a big blatant lie. I also felt he knew Stefi had told me about their affair. He was just a punk ass liar I needed to whoop his ass, as far as I was concerned, and a crook who was a sly smooth operator that deserved to experience the full weight of the fury he had planted in me like a seed.

“Yeah, I think we do,” I heard some in the room say in turns, in response to what Greg had said about me being deranged.

“He’s so unhinged,” others said, referring to no one else but me.

“Crooked philanderer!” I screamed at Greg. “He is a crook,” I screamed the more. “Read the words on the walls and you will know what I mean,” I said, hoping to turn the attention of the people present, to the point I was trying to make.

“Words on the walls of a man’s office have never been proven to be the content of his character, have they?” Said Greg.

“He gets married men so angry and gets them to behave like me when he finishes with their wives,” I yelled. “That’s what he does!”

“Nobody knows what you’re talking about!” I heard Greg say.

“You won’t get away with this!” I screamed.

I could see nobody was even interested in all what I had said. To the people around, I was just no one else but a mentally sick man who had somehow found a way into Greg’s office and had assaulted him. To them, I was just an asshole that needed to be dragged out of Greg’s office at once. That was what they did. What happened next from this point was anyone’s guess. Yes, you know it! The cops came and a little blood on Greg’s face was enough to get me on the wrong side of the law for assault and battery. I was set to have another monetary fine added to the one that resulted from my earlier reckless speeding offence. The cops did not believe I was sane enough, and so was the judge who delivered judgement on my case. I had to go for a psychiatric examination. And the next phase of my story took off from the mental health facility I had to go to. Don’t stop reading. Believe me! This is only the beginning of my story.

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