Frankly Told: Lady in the Night

Frankhie Muthumbi
5 min readJun 12, 2024

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Photo by Frankhie Muthumbi

“Bro!” He started. “You’ll never guess who I saw!”

“Who?” the voice came through the car’s audio system.

There was a pause as he slowed to a stop at a junction. Looking left then right, he flipped the switch and the right-hand indicator flashed twice before he took his foot off the brake pedal and tapped the accelerator. A gear shift up and another. The engine growled in pleasure as he got back to his cruising speed down the empty street.

“Remember the girl from school?” He continued with a question.

“Surely wewe! Which one?” the voice asked almost insultingly.

“Pastor’s daughter!” he exclaimed. as if it was obvious.

Haiya! Where did you see her?” The voice asked amused.

“Are you sitting down, before I tell you?” he switched the pace of the conversation.

“Nah, you caught me making supper,” his friend explained.

“At 1 am?” he judged.

“Don’t judge. I have free will,” the retort came back. “I will practice it for so long as I am alone in my own space. You will not disturb this peace!”

“Are you, at the very least, close to somewhere where you can support yourself?”

“Ah, stop with this edging and just say whatever it is you want to say,” the friend's patience ran thinner with every word. “You can’t have stopped my sweet jazzy jam sesh to bring my nonsense. Nitakata hii simu.”

“Okay,” he accepted. “I was going home or should I say I am… because it is currently happening… Ah! Whatever! I’m going home after another late one at the office, yeah?”

“Yeah?” the friend adlibbed.

“So of course, I am not expecting to see anyone on these streets as I go home,” he proceeds, occasionally going silent to make a manoeuvre on the road. “Well, of course except for security guards and a few erratic drivers trying to get home after a night at the bar but I digress.”

“As I am stopping at this junction before I turn into the street to take me out of the CBD; like a block from the office,” he spoke in budding excitement. “I look to my side and I see this figure. It kinda spooked me because there was darkness until I realized it was a lady dressed in this very short black dress with fishnet stockings and this horrendous wig. I think she was fixing something on her legs because her wig had covered her head and with no streetlights, I was just seeing this thing moving moving.”

Wacha,” his friend let slip.

“Since I am alone on the road and curious, I wait a little longer until she looks up… or at least I can make out what it is. Shock on me!” He dramatically raised his hands for a moment off the wheel. “I see a familiar face.”

Ati?” there was the sound of pots clanking on the other end of the phone. “Ebu! What you are trying to say is she was working a corner?”

“I haven’t said that, I don’t know what she was doing on that corner,” he admitted. “All I am saying is that she froze just as much as me when our eyes locked. Then she walked away very very fast as I rolled down the window…”

***

The night had been a slow one. Typical of a Wednesday at the end of the month. The usual clients were waiting until the end of the week to get their pay so they could come and partake of the nighttime vulgarly. Until then, she knew to patiently go through the routine, in the likelihood of catching new unsuspecting prey.

A sleek SUV pulled up to her self-marked corner. Like clockwork, the driver leaned out of the window, his eyes glazed with lust and she had learnt how to manipulate her way into this desire for so long as she had it. They spoke in a short exchange about her “rate card” and the corresponding services. She had of course hiked them up for the season. This was a new customer so he had no idea of the usual and it seemed he did not care to bargain.

She got in his car, which smelt like it had just freshly been to a carwash except for the liquor that hung heavy on his breath as he spoke. She directed him into a parking silo not too far from where she had been picked up. The guard upon seeing her just nodded them in. Another one of the perks of her line of work, “free” services.

She went through the motions ensuring to get payment upfront and kept the services only within what he had paid for. Where he was excited like a little boy discovering himself for the first time, she was cold and indifferent to the whole charade. Her acting could have been award-winning in the way it hid how much she hated the whole situation and how her lack of options landed her there. Still, bills must be paid and children fed.

As they came to a close, the man tipped her. In his excitement, he accepted her request to be dropped back where he had picked her. He obliged and within a few minutes, she was back to square one. Resetting the scene with a few extra zeros in her account. She straightened her outfit in a bid to erase evidence of the preceding for the oncoming client. As she did her nail got caught in her stockings.

As she tried to free herself of the little snag she heard a car approach. Ah, the next customer, she thought to herself. When free she looked up to meet a mature yet so fondly familiar face. She froze. Through the window, she could read the disbelief on her “potential customer’s” face. She shook her head and when she saw his hand slide off the steering wheel to the button that would roll down the window, she abandoned all thought and turned heel.

As quickly as she could, she disappeared into the night. Hoping she at least left as a graceful lady nonetheless.

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Frankhie Muthumbi

Perfectly Imperfect || Human, Alexithymiac Poet, Writer, Musician