Queen of Bohemia (2)
Friday, August 05, 2011
When Zak entered the Orion Bar and Restaurant that night he was feeling like he had just stepped into a far, strange land. The place really lived up to its name.
It was illuminated with starlights of different colours. Even the ornate walls looked as if star spangled, thanks to the shadows cast by the hundreds of the star shaped bulbs. A cabaret piped out cool jazz from a raised platform right in the middle of the restaurant. Uniformed waiters were all over the place, which was half-filled with mostly Western tourists.
Zak wasn’t surprised about the guests. When he was being tutored on how to go about this business, Greg had told him that the cost of a three-course continental meal at the Orion equals the monthly salary of a middle-level civil servant. ‘This is no place for the lowly in society,’ Zak mused. He wished he could go elsewhere far cheaper, a place one can spend far less money than what Greg gave him to carry out this ‘operation’. ‘Fancy coming here to spend this huge sum of money in one night,’ he thought.
Zak went to a table that he felt was strategically located, somewhere from which he can see people coming in and out of the restaurant. He hoped to spot Simi whenever she enters. “The menu, sir.” Zak looked up into the face of a smiling female waiter. ‘Goodness me! What a damsel!’ Zak almost uttered the words. The girl standing before him was really beautiful, the type men never fail to look at twice. She looked completely natural, with hardly any makeup, something very rare among girls of her age these days.
He wondered why a girl like this was serving in a restaurant, when it should have be the other way round. With her figure and looks, this girl ought to be sitting as a guest here, with a rich man sitting by her side and more than willing to indulge her fancies. But there was something about the girl that intrigued Zak. “The menu, sir,” the smile had disappeared from her face. Zak noticed that she looked embarrassed. He wasn’t surprised. The way he had feasted his eyes on her was enough to make any woman blush.
“Er…sorry,” Zak apologised, as he took the menu booklet from the waiter. She smiled again, and Zak felt relieved. He perused the menu and made his order. The waiter smiled again and left. Zak’s eyes followed her as she walked away to fulfill his order. When she finally disappeared from sight, he eagerly awaited her return. Zak had heard tales about the temptations and dangers young ladies working in expensive restaurants frequented by tourists are usually exposed to, with many male customers veritable predators.
‘This beautiful innocent looking waiter must surely have received a lecherous leer too many, so why was she embarrassed over the way I was looking at her?’ Zak could find no answer to the question. He became more curious. There was something about the girl that was unsettling him. She was like a compelling, irresistible force. It was not long before she came back. As she got to Zak’s table, he tried not to look at her again. As she placed the tray on his table, Zak saw Simi walk into the restaurant.
But she was not alone. She had company -a man. That means the mission has to be postponed, in accordance with Greg’s instructions. “Make no move whatsoever, if she is accompanied by a man,” he had told Zak. Simi and her escort swept through the restaurant and settled at a table near to Zak. He was never so close to the ‘notorious’ Simi. ‘Truly beautiful, but what a fiend angelical!’ was how Zak summed up the facial appearance of the self-styled belle.
Her male companion was adequately handsome, little above average height, probably mid-thirties. ‘One of the many that she has at her beck and call,’ Zak thought.
“Want some ice for your drink?” the female waiter’s words reminded Zak that she was still around. He looked at her and noticed that she was staring at him in a rather reproachful manner. Zak understood at once. The way Simi arrested his attention when she entered, the way he stared at her, must have given him away. This waiter standing before him thought he was fascinated by the Queen of Bohemia. Of course she had no idea about Zak’s mission to the restaurant.
She thought that he was just like many other men that found Simi irresistible. “Yes, I will like my drink with ice,” Zak told her. She left again. He stole occasional glances at Simi and her companion, who were now being attended to by another female waiter. Zak’s waiter came back and again caught him in the act. He was trying to steal a glance at Simi when she appeared. She dropped the ice and their eyes met, briefly. What Zak saw in her eyes was something akin to pity. She pitied him!
The beautiful female waiter was a reoccurring decimal in Zak’s dream as he slept that night. Not once did Simi appear in his dreams. The following morning he went to Greg to report on how he fared in his ‘mission’. Greg frowned when Zak told him that the man Simi came to the restaurant with was not elderly. “And who is the chap? How is he like? What type of car did they come with? How was the mood between them like?” Greg quizzed Zak to the point that the latter got confused. “Master, I thought you don’t care at all who goes out with this woman,” he said.
“Of course I don’t care. Why?”
“I just feel that it’s like you didn’t like hearing that she was with a man last night.” “No, Zak, you got it wrong. I was surprised hearing that the slut came with a young man. She usually goes out with old, fat-bellied men, the ones with loads of cash to burn, of course.” Zak returned to the restaurant the following night. It was still mission impossible, as Simi was again accompanied by the same man. Greg got crabby again when Zak gave him the information. Zak could not figure out why his boss was averse to the idea of Simi dating a young man. “Why does he get worked up when I tell him that a woman he seems to hate so much was with a young man? Why? Why? Why?” There was no way he could find an answer to the question, except he asks Greg himself, which was also way out of the question.
The following night, Zak went to the restaurant yet again. That night Simi came alone. Zak was in front of the restaurant, leaning on the Lexus jeep, the one Greg assigned to him for the mission, when Simi appeared. ‘This is the moment,’ he thought as Simi disappeared into the restaurant. He followed her. Once inside, Zak mustered enough courage and went over to her table. “Hello,” he said. Simi did not respond. Her eyes surveyed Zak from his feet to the crown of his head, the way a schoolmistress eyes an errant pupil. She then said: “ What game is Greg really trying to play by sending his chauffeur to come and court me?”
Author: Pierre Ogo