The Prodigal Son: A Retelling (Part 1.2)

Hello there, lovely people! I am glad to get this opportunity to share this retelling with you.

The story continues… Enjoy and be blessed as it has done to me.

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

*   *   *   *   *
Today I don’t feel like doing anything, I just wanna lay… The Bruno Mars hit song Tevu had set as his Saturday morning alarm blared. He woke up, stunned. Groggily, he reached out from under the covers to his bedside chest of drawers, pushed aside the clutter he had accumulated over the past few weeks and grabbed his gilded iPhone, dutifully ringing. He squinted at the screen. 8:30. He groaned. He pressed snooze, tossed the phone under his pillow and covered his head. Why did I even set it for 8:30? He asked himself, stifling a yawn. He closed his eyes, projecting his already interrupted sleep to end at about 12 noon. After all, today I don’t feel like doing anything, he mumbled the words of the song, albeit out of tune.

He had barely gotten two minutes of sleep when the phone rang. The incessant melody of the trademark marimba ringtone invaded his mind like the Vikings, plundering all sleep and relaxation, which he considered quite valuable. Angrily, he tossed back the thick quilt he had covered himself with, flung away the pillow and picked up the phone, sliding the ‘Answer’ button before confirming who had called. “Ni nini?” he asked, his voice hoarse with sleep, making him sound hung-over. The masculine voice at the other end of the line chuckled. “Relax, buda, it’s only me.”

Tevu instantly recognised the voice. His best friend, Sali. They had met as children through the friendship their families shared, and instantly took a liking to each other. It was known everywhere that Tevu and Sali were inseparable. Their friendship was cemented by their various ‘excursions’, as they called them, that had often landed them on the wrong side of the law. Once, they sneaked out of their boarding school to attend a hyped house party happening nearby, which ended in them running for their lives when the police raided the event. They got caught eventually, trying to sneak back into school. What made it funny was that they tried to get in at 8 am, through the main gate and in their school uniform. Though they were promptly suspended, the tale was told around the school for the two weeks they were away, and upon return, they were treated like gods, heroes of old, and held with high regard among all the boys for being able to ‘escape from Sobibor’, a name they used to satirise their institution, which was known for its strict regulations.

“Why are you waking me up early on a Saturday morning? Tevu demanded. “Si unajua vile I value this time, especially after we cleared high school?” He pulled aside the covers and sat on the side of his bed, his toes touching the soft bedside rug. He rubbed his eyes, and cradled his phone between his ear and shoulder as he drew the curtains open.

“Don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten, Tevu. We’ve been planning this thing for a while now. Let me forgive you since you’ve just woken up,” Sali said, a tone of cheekiness lacing his voice. Tevu gazed at the golden morning covering the ranch. The sun’s rays made the dewy green grass sparkle like diamonds, and he could see the workers already up and working. He tried to recall what Sali and he had planned, but could bring nothing to mind.

“Remind me,” he said defeatedly, turning away from the window.

“Well, I will, for the third time this week. Oh, by the way, happy birthday.” Sali said, his voice a little irritated.

At the mention of the phrase, Tevu instantly recalled what he and his friend had been arranging. “Oh, nimekumbuka. Did you ask your dad?” He could hear Sali grunt. He knew the answer before it was delivered to him. “Of course, I did. He’s processing the cheque and I’ll have it by this afternoon. You had better do so too if we want out by tomorrow night.”

Tevu sighed. He had wanted to go through with it, but a part of him resisted with the idea. He had tried silencing the voice that spoke against the plan, but it could not be muted. Even now, it was screaming in his mind. Don’t do it, Tevu!

“Hello, anyone there?” Sali asked in a singsong type of voice. Tevu shook his head, returning to the moment. “Yeah, niko. Just give me till eleven, Sali, then I’ll get back to you. Promise.”

“Alright then, I’m waiting. Usinilet down.” Sali disconnected the call, and Tevu tossed the phone on his bed. He scratched his head, sleep still heavy in his system. He sprawled himself on the bed, faced the ceiling, and thought about what he had been planning with Sali.

Bwana Mdala, his friend’s father, was a successful spice manufacturer and seller. His friendship with Bwana Malitele begun long before the boys were born. The two men had been in the same college and graduated together. During their employment period, they put aside some money in a joint account to help them start a business together. However, they had no idea on what business to engage in, so the savings were channelled into buying shares in a newly emerging mobile service provider. At the time, they collectively owned thirty-one percent of the company, and as the corporation grew, so did the returns. Ten years later, the company was amassing billions in revenue, meaning Malitele and Mdala were self-made millionaires.

The money they were receiving annually was used to start the spice plant, from which Mdala created exotic, and expensive, seasonings, and build up the ranch, from which Malitele provided prime lamb, pork and beef, known all through the country and even beyond. He reserved some land for his friend to grow the herbs that provided the raw materials for his plant, meaning Sali and Tevu had grown up practically side by side as the Mdalas came to check up on their spices.

When Sali cleared high school and was at home for the few months before he would join university, he had been informed by his father that, upon turning nineteen, he could inherit his share of the Mdala fortune. Being the youngest son and the last in a line of five children, he could only get his measly fifth of the entire Mdala riches. He, however, noticed that there were only two Malitele boys, meaning that Tevu could, if his father agreed to it, have close to eight-hundred million bucks in his pocket by the time he too was nineteen. Their birthdays, strangely, were a week apart, meaning they could get the money within a few days of each other. Pull the strings a little, payday would be theirs simultaneously.

Sali did not want to accept it, but he did feel greedy when he realised the pile of gold Tevu was, in his mind, trampling on, so much so that he questioned if his friendship to Tevu was based on material benefit. Seeing to the fact that his father never was as generous in lavishing him with gifts as Bwana Malitele was to Tevu, definitely it was greed. He stifled the thought, called Tevu immediately and proposed the idea.

Tevu was surprised to hear an idea as brilliant as this coming from Sali. He pondered over it over the few days that followed the call, and did covert prying of his own. He perused through his father’s account ledgers and bank statements and noted that the value Sali had proposed was true, but he knew most of his family’s wealth was in assets, meaning if he was to get half of what hard cash his father had on him, he would be two-hundred millions richer. He began to drool at the thoughts of what he’d do with all that money.

However, a voice had spoken against it, even in the months leading to his birthday, which was the very day he had hopefully and eagerly looked forward to. He had no doubt that Sali had pressured his father ever since the previous week, and today was the day he had caved in.

He walked around his bed to the full length mirror which was on the wall that formed a corner with the window. He looked at himself. He was now nineteen. He could hardly believe it. It only seemed like last year when he had been gifted with his car, which he balled with during his school holidays. He was now headed a step closer to buying any car he wished, and the thought of that gave him delicious shivers. Besides, it would be what he could claim as the cherry on the cake that was his physical appearance.

He wasn’t what the world would term as handsome, but he had an attractive form. He had enviable chocolate-coloured skin and long, curly black hair that formed a loose afro around his head. He considered his brown eyes the highlight of his face, a lovely chestnut colour that seemed to sparkle in just the right lighting. One of his former girlfriends told him that he could easily be a model, but in retrospect, he realised she had said it to appeal to his wallet, since he lacked the height for it.

He sighed, then stretched. He looked at himself one more time. Before he became a millionaire. Again, the voice spoke up, Tevu, don’t do it. It isn’t right, not one part of it. He shook his head, as if to quieten the voice. He headed for the door and walked into the shower. “Today is the day I gain full control of my life,” he said as the gentle spray of warm water hit his back.

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