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A Lusaka-based sales and marketing manager, Greenfold Khobili, was going through a copy of one of the day’s daily newspapers one morning when one of his female sales representatives, a 23-year-old “beauty queen” aptly named Mrs Beauty Kajikhomele, entered the office. It was obvious from her appearance that she had a problem.

“Yes, young lady, “he said as he offered her a seat opposite him.”You don’t look happy. What’s the problem?”

Beauty hesitated for a moment before she replied, “You have guessed right. Actually, I have a big, big problem on which I need your sincere advice. Mr Khobili,” she went on, “I take it that you have been taking a close at me since I joined this company two years ago. Would you say I am beautiful or ugly? Please be frank and sincere about it.”

Khobili had never been confronted with such an awkward question before,and for a moment, he did not know how to react to the situation. His problem was compounded by the fact that he was one of Beauty’s secret admirers. From the day he set his eyes on her, he had never ceased to be attracted to her.

In fact, Khobili was disappointed to learn that she was another man’s “property”, otherwise he would have made advances to her already. But then here she was, the same young woman he had secretly been feasting his eyes on for so long, asking him whether she was beautiful or not!

“Beauty, you have really surprised me,” he confessed. “What really prompted your question?”

“Mr Khobili please. Just tell me whether I am beautiful or ugly. Simple. I will explain later,” she insisted.

Khobili then made his confession, telling her how much he admired her. “I am not flattering you, but you are one of the loveliest young ladies we have in this company,” he said. “You are such a pleasure to look at. Thank your lucky stars that you are somebody’s spouse….well, you know what I mean,” he laughed.

Beauty thanked her boss for the compliment. She disclosed that she had heard several other men make similar comments about her looks and she wanted to make sure that her boss was of the same view.

“What surprises me is that while other men consider me to be beautiful, my husband doesn’t seem to appreciate this,” she said. “Of late, he has been ill treating me, coming home late drunk, insulting me for no apparent reason and doing all sorts of things that clearly show he no longer loves me.”

What she found particularly irritating about her husband’s behaviour, Beauty told her boss, was that he kept accusing her of flirting around with other men, something she never did. “I am a very faithful wife and it hurts me a lot to be accused of doing something which I don’t do,” she said.

According to her, she had now resolved to teach her husband a lesson by finding a “spare wheel” so that he would accuse her of doing something she was actually doing.

When her boss advised her to be patient a little longer, her answer was that her patience had run out and that her husband needed to realise that there were other men who admired her.

Two weeks later, Beuaty informed her boss that she had found a “spare wheel” she had fallen madly in love with.

“When I tell him that I am married, this man says he doesn’t care and that he is ready and willing to marry me if I divorce my husband,” she said.

During the period she was having an affair with the “spare wheel” while avoiding any sex with him, Beauty opted not to engage in any argument with her husband even when he came home late.  He would talk and talk but she would just remain quiet as if she was not listening.

Strangely enough, after some time, Beauty’s husband suddenly changed for the better. He stopped coming home late and became a loving husband once more. It was as if he knew what his wife was up to.

Meanwhile, Beauty discontinued her relationship with her “spare wheel”, warning him that her husband appeared to be aware of their secret love affair….

The author is a Lusaka-based media consultant, recipient of the 1978 Best News Reporter of the Year Award and a former diplomat in South Africa and Botswana. For comments, sms 0977425827/0967146485 or email: pchirwa2009@yahoo.com.

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