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Monday, December 7, 2009

An enemy of progress

From an early age, Katesa had always known what she wanted in life and wasn’t about to let an old lecherous pervert hold her at ransom and force himself on her, writes Dennis D. Muhumuza

Katesa crossed her legs and the spectacled man pretending to read The East African sighed. Not even the finest seer in the land could believe that behind that baby face and silky-smooth skin was a woman of 28. She had, at the age of nine, defied tradition and ran away, a fortnight after she extracted a dozen bullets with the tip of a short spear from her father, a respected pastoralist who fell defending his herd from Maasai rustlers. Impulse drove her to the city, where she lived on the edge, attained an education, and became a veterinary officer.

Today, Katesa was trying to further her education but the head of post graduate admissions at Kavuyo University was frustrating her move for a Masters Degree in Animal Husbandry. Her mind shot back to the old episode that had sent her father six feet under. Had that not been painful enough? A sudden grief seized Katesa by her slender neck and she grimaced as she struggled to control herself.

Her right hand absentmindedly slid into her huge black leather handbag, stopping at something. A lopsided smile crossed her face, hardening the edges of her finely chiseled cheeks, as she thought of what she was capable of if this enemy of progress continued to dilly-dally with her admission.

“Will you tell me, Sir, what my fate really is?” she asked softly.

The old man lifted his eyes from the newspaper and said curtly, “I told you to check on the notice board every day.”

“But, Sir, the lectures have begun already.” The man leaned back in his sofa, thinking of her vulnerability, and a mischievous smile lit his creased face. There was something about the huskiness in Katesa’s voice that drove him insane with desire, as he was sure it would electrify every man with blood in his system that saw her.

He remembered his boyhood conquests that had come to a sudden and painful end after he was forced to marry the daughter of a village tycoon he had made pregnant, shutting him in a loveless relationship like a rat under a trap, and draining the colour out of his life. Now, as he studied this Karimojong stunner, all he could think of, just like that first time she had come to his office, was what it would be like to feel her soft body – skin for skin – against his. The image of them together in a secret room dazed him.

Currents like he had never felt before charged through him. He wobbled to his feet like a drunken man and, with a trembling hand, turned the key in his door. “I’ll do everything for you, pretty, you realise,” he said in a weak voice before Katesa recovered from the shock of seeing the door locked. The man’s eyes had suddenly assumed a strangeness that alarmed her.

“Just let me touch you, please,” he panted. “Your admission letter is in my drawer; let me touch you like this…”  “Don’t touch me,” she shouted, but the man had already swooped, heaving and grunting, as one of his awkwardly long hands went to work; desperately surveying the contours of her body from her neck, to her firm chest, down to her hips, his calloused fingers tearing her blouse and struggling to roll her jeans off impatiently.

Katesa didn’t know how she got the weapon out of her handbag. The man collapsed with one painful cry.
And she didn’t know she was squealing frighteningly as she frenziedly thrust her short spear back and forth into his head, chest and stomach until everything was doused in blood. Then she spat at the “old dog,” feeling no gloom for this doom.

--Sunday Monitor, September 6, 2009