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Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Master’s Wife and Daughter (2)

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The Adventures of Fast Joe

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In the next few weeks, his Master’s wife, Maame Pokuaah, became more friendly toward him. She started bringing them breakfast. She also started delivering dinner for Joe to the shop.  Normally, her husband, Master Mensah, preferred to eat only after consuming copious quantities of alcohol. That is only when he would totter home to eat and sleep. Master Mensah could not be convinced to eat when he had not taken any alcohol. That meant that the meal was delivered to Joe alone. The drunk would eat his own whenever he managed to totter home.

Then, strangely, the woman took it into her head to start serving the apprentice, Joe, dinner every evening before she left to go back home. For a few days, she would come, serve him dinner and leave without talking to her husband.

Then, she started trying to get Joe in conversation about himself. After two days, her husband protested, “Don’t you have anything to do in the house? Leave the food and go back home. He has work to do.”

Joe, who had been about to pop a morsel of fufuo into his mouth, paused. He did not know what was happening here, but he did not like it. He tended to agree with his Master. The woman was embarrassing him.

But Maame Pokuaah was having none of it. She had her retort ready.

“When I came, he was doing nothing. You, the Master, are doing nothing. There is no work here so what are you talking about?” she shouted.

Before Joe could intervene, the man and woman were exchanging fisticuffs, which attracted several people from the street into the shop to try to separate them.

That was followed by verbose explanations from both the wife and the man.

Listening to them, Joe was aghast. He set aside the meal he was about to have, his appetite gone.

When they were separated, Maame Pokuaa stormed out of the store, no doubt on her way home. Her husband, looking bewildered, was immediately invited by his friends to go with them to drink, as was usual, leaving Joe and his food in the shop.

He was deeply embarrassed as he poured the food away, shut the shop, and headed for his uncle’s place. In his mind, he wondered the reason why the woman had done what she had done. He even wondered if she was mad. He could understand her problems with her husband. The man was a total drunk, and a wastrel who spent more time and the little money he made drinking alcohol than working or taking care of his family.

It was also true that the man was not responsible. The state of his home and the poverty that reigned there was reason enough that he had left his home to deteriorate. But that was no reason for his wife to come to his shop and behave as if she was falling in love with his apprentice, a boy nearly two decades her junior. It was unacceptable.

Joe decided that he would tell his uncle about his troubles. He also decided that he would never accept the food the woman brought him in the future.

He set off briskly towards his uncle’s house at the edge of town, but just two or three houses down, a hand reached out and touched him in the semi-darkness of the kerosene-lit street.

“Hello,” said a timid voice.

Joe whirled to face the person. It was Abena, Maame Pokuaa’s eldest daughter.

“What are you doing here,” Joe demanded.

She smiled whitely in the darkness. 

“Mother came to tell us what happened. I was coming to the shop to see you. I saw you leaving and followed you. Why you did not eat your food?”

“I have lost my appetite. What are you doing here?”

“Where are you going?” she countered.

“My uncle’s house,” he replied shortly and turned to leave.

“Can I come with you? I have something to discuss with you,” she said.

Joe was still walking, “What is it?” 

“Do not be angry with Mother,” she said, following him, “She has a lot to deal with.”

“But what does she want from me,” Joe asked bitterly.

To Be Continued.

(The Daily Searchlight appears every day on the newsstands and is for sale 24 hours every day and all week on www.ghananewsstand.com. Visit www.ghananewsstand.com for a wide variety of newspapers published in Ghana and from across the world.)

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