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The Umazi Men's Only Resort

"A place where men can reminisce a man's world."
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“Do you know what this is my boy?”

“No, I don’t,” I said.

“That’s proof that you are a simpleton.”

My boss Mr. Muwi meant no harm by the statement. Despite the meanness, I smiled as I looked at his newest piece of jewelry. It was a beautiful copper bracelet with African art engraved on it.

“This is a gift for a real woman, not a simple bitch,” he said.

Many people would have found him to be either vulgar or arrogant, but I preferred to think of him as brutally honest.

Mr. Muwi was the kind of man who would willingly come into the office on a Sunday but would spend the entire time accusing us of disturbing his morning sex. He often boasted about how many things he owned and women he had been with. In his defence both the former and the latter had impressive tallies.

The car’s headlights shone a bright light on the building, giving me a clear view of the lodging area. The pan bricks had a light brown vanishing that complimented the cedar wood doors. The aesthetics led me to understand why so many men as prominent as Mr. Muwi chose it as one of the venues for their retreats. On the other hand, the prospect of an all men’s business resort was still unclear.

The reception was of no interest to me. I quickly walked past an empty receptionist’s desk out into a beautifully lit front yard. The lawn chairs were made out of bamboo, and the barbeque pit was made out of bright orange bricks. Mr. Muwi called me back to the reception once the receptionist had returned to her post.

Everything about her seemed off to me, her outfit especially. She had on a white blouse with so many buttons loose, I felt all she was hiding was her nipples. The skirt she had on seemed more suitable for a posh night club than professional office wear.

“Hi Mr. Muwi,” she said. Her tone was flirtatious, though a bit more like saleswoman’s flirtatious. It bothered me less than the outfit.

“My angel,” Mr. Muwi replied with a smile that exposed all his teeth. “I’ve missed you. My life is dull without you.”

It seemed like a silly line, but I realised it was meant to humour her rather than flatter her. And she did seem to find it hilarious. After a long laugh, she asked Mr. Muwi if I would be getting an Impala room next to his. He looked at me waiting for an answer, probably assuming I understood the question. When he figured out that I was clueless, he told her a Kudu room would suffice.

She gave me directions to the area where my room was and handed me the keys. Each key had the room number engraved, which made the room easy to find. Unfortunately, the area was lifeless. I stood in an empty yard accompanied only by a gardener who had earpieces covering both ears.

The Impala area was probably more expensive, but I decided I was better off losing money than losing my mind to idleness. I walked back to the reception hoping to get directions to the Impala area. Close to agitation upon noticing the absence of the receptionist, an attractive young lady came to my rescue.

“Can I help you?” she asked me politely.

“Yes, you can uh??”

“Nicole. I’m one of the maids here.”

“Yes Nicole, I’m looking for the Impala area.”

She signalled for me to follow her and I gladly obliged. Guilty of prejudice I mistook her for a guest rather than a maid. Her soft voice and a petit figure made her seem extremely approachable. Her plain blue jeans and navy blue jumper gave her a more middle-class look. I came to the assumption that the maids at the Umazi were well compensated.

When we arrived at our destination, a lot more made a lot less sense to me. The Impala area’s decor was no different from the Kudu’s and yet it was packed to the rafters. The irony being that it was a Men’s getaway, and we were outnumbered by women.

A large number of female staffers sat down next to extremely attentive men. Some of the women had on maid’s outfits and others had on waitress uniforms. Both the former and the latter wore as much cleavage as the receptionist and were equally as flirtatious.

It seemed friendliness was one of the perks of having an Impala room. I tried not to think about the extent of that friendliness. It did, however, make me wonder if Nicole had mistaken me for an Impala client, paying more attention to me than needed. I would have tricked her into staying with me, but I feared she’d lose out on tips.

“You can join them if you want,” I said. I put a brave face, hoping she wouldn’t notice my disappointment were she to admit she wanted to join them.

“Are you trying to get rid of me?” she said as she smiled.

“ Actually, the opposite,” I said giving off a laugh I felt was too shy. “I was just worried you mistook me for an Impala client. I don’t want you to lose out on tips.”

“Sorry sweetie,” she said playfully, “but you’re so obviously not an Impala client. No offense, but you don’t look rich enough.”

“What gave me away?” I said appreciating her sense of humour. “Was it my pot belly, it’s not big enough is it?”

“No sweetie, it isn’t.”

We both laughed.

“I’m just messing with you,” she said. She changed her tone; her voice grew softer, and her smile disappeared. “I spend a lot of time here. In fact, I spend almost all of my time here. I know what type of man is coming to the room before I’m sent to clean it. It’s the same men, the same suits, the same German cars, and the same conversations.”

I tried to listen to what she said after, but a middle-aged man with a large pot belly was shouting to someone behind me.

“Sweetheart,” he shouted. “I’ve missed you. You know my life get’s sad when you’re not it. Come to me sweetheart!”

I turned around only to see the receptionist smiling back at the man. I remembered Mr. Muwi had said something similar to her. It helped me understand what Nicole was referring to when she talked about repetition.

The receptionist walked past us and had a quick word with the loud gentlemen. She returned to us immediately and gave Nicole a stern look. Nicole looked away trying to pretend she hadn’t noticed her workmate’s hostile glare.

“Nicole, one of our clients, is back, you need to go and check his room,” she said. She looked at me afterward. The look she gave me was even meaner than the one she gave Nicole.

Nicole turned around, looked at the receptionist’s desk and took a few steps towards it. Whilst she was still within my reach, she turned and looked at me. Her eyes were dull and lifeless, and her head was low, and her hands were clinging on to each other below her waist.

“Are you sure you don’t want to switch to an Impala room?” she said. The desperate look in her eyes had every vein in my body flooded with guilt. It was if she was about to be thrown into boiling water and she was reaching out for me to save her.

But save her from what?

Or perhaps all she wanted to clean the room of someone she could have a different conversation with. Perhaps I overrated the impression I had on her. Perhaps out of envy I overrated the friendliness of all the women that worked at the ‘all men’s resort’.

Even if I decided to save her, it would have been a worrying decision. I was told by a trusted friend that a woman could easily go from loving a man because he represents heroism to hating him because he represents dependence. Apparently, that’s why doctor’s who marry their patients get divorced. I didn’t research it; it sounded so good I wanted it to be true.

“Sorry Nicole,” I said. “Maybe when I get a pot belly I can trick you guys into giving me one.”

She tried to laugh, but it was futile. The trouble dominating her eyes overshadowed the brief inversion of her frown. A few seconds later and she was gone, the receptionist followed her closely to the desk. Nicole went up a one the hallways, but the receptionist stayed at the desk answering the phone.

I would have turned and faced the other way, but she kept looking me right in the eye during her conversation, even when she put down the phone. She had the same hostile expression but this time with more purpose.

“You’re Teddy right,” she asked, “the guy who came with Mr. Muwi?”

“Yes, I am,” I replied.

“Mrs. Umazi wants to see you.”

Even though Mr. Muwi paid for my room on my behalf, I still found it rude for the owner of the resort to summon me as if she were a high school principle. Sadly enough, she was the only company I could afford.

The hallway that led to her office was opposite the one Nicole had gone down earlier. Mrs. Umazi’s office was the only room on the floor. It didn’t seem like the office of a woman whose business attracted some of the most successful men in the city. It would have suited a civil servant more than it did her.

Her appearance on the other hand was far more befitting of someone in the line of work. The former motivational speaker joined me the room and immediately asserted her dominance. With her black daffodil high heels, her tight fitted pantsuit, her neatly done bob hairstyle and her excellent posture, I could see why people sat for hours just to hear her talk about the importance of confidence. The receptionist left so she could speak to me.

“Hello Teddy, how are you?”

“I’m fine, thank you, how are you Mrs. Umazi?” I replied.

“Very good, very good,” she said as she pointed at the seat behind me. Once both she and I were seated, she continued. “Teddy I have a problem and that problem is with you. Unlike our other customers, you don’t seem to understand the difference between the Impala and Kudu privileges.”

“I think I do understand,” I replied, believing I now sounded as confident as she did. “Unfortunately, I think I understood them a little too late.”

“That’s quite a relief, Teddy. You see, in a place like this intimacy is cardinal. Men come here to feel like men, and for that to happen, I need to allow for an intimate environment. Much of the intimacy expressed at this resort would be too much for common men of society to comprehend. So, men who crave this intimacy pay large sums simply to be in the company of their peers.”

I was able to catch her drift.

“So clients such as me, who are neither willing nor capable of affording this intimacy, are a potential hazard to this environment?”

She smiled at me, I smiled back. I disliked her arrogant nature, but I applauded how diplomatically she went about it.

“So Teddy, I need you to stay in your roo...”

We both heard a commotion coming from right below us. It was the sound of a few women arguing and one woman shouting at the rest. I opened the door for Mrs. Umazi and waited for her to exit the office before following her.

When we finally got down the stairs, a group of young maids was trying to subdue one of their own. The receptionist walked over to Mrs. Umazi and gave her what I assumed was an explanation. Unfortunately for the maids, their efforts to subdue their fellow maid continued to be unsuccessful. She fought each one of them off and began to shout.

“He said he’d take me there,” she shouted. “He said he’d take me there. That mother fucker said he’d take me there.”

Each of the young maids tried to help however they could whilst avoiding any eye contact with me. All except one, I looked attentively at the small crowd of maids and saw Nicole standing behind all of them, making little effort to help.

When I finally caught her staring at me, she tried to hide her wrists, but it was too late. I had already spotted the bracelet she was wearing. It was the copper bracelet with engraved African art. Overcome with inexplicable emotions, I looked over to Mrs. Umazi.

“Perhaps this would be a good time for me to return to my room?”

“I’d appreciate that,” she replied.

I tried to walk past Nicole as if I hadn’t seen her but it was pointless. I had to say something to her before I left.

“Do you know what that is?” I said pointing at the bracelet.

“Yes,” Nicole replied, “it’s a Traditional Copper Band.

I gave a cheap smile.

“Good, it means you’re not a simpleton.”

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