فصل 06

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فصل 06

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Chapter six

Mma Makutsi’s Promotion

Mma Makutsi, Secretary of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and top graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College, sat at her desk and looked out of the open door. She liked to leave the door open but sometimes the chickens came in. She did not like the chickens. It was not professional to have chickens in a detective agency.

‘Get out,’ said Mma Makutsi. ‘This is not a chicken farm. Out.’ She got up and the chickens moved slowly towards the door.

How many top graduates of the Botswana Secretarial College had to push chickens out of their offices, she wondered. She had expected to get a job in one of the modern office buildings in town, but she had received no offers. But some women with much worse marks on the examination had found good jobs. Why?

‘Men run these businesses, don’t they?’ said one of the other students in Mma Makutsi’s class.

‘I suppose so,’ said Mma Makutsi. ‘Men choose the secretaries.’

‘So how do you think they choose them? By their examination marks? Of course not! Men choose the beautiful girls. To the others, they say, “Sorry, but all the jobs have gone”.’

Mma Makutsi had cried that evening. Why had she worked so hard for her top marks? Would she ever get a job at all?

The next day the question was answered. She was offered the job of secretary at Mma Ramotswe’s agency. If men will not give you a job, go to a woman. The office was not modern, it was true, but it was certainly better to work in a detective agency than in a bank or a lawyer’s office.

But there was still this problem with the chickens.

‘So, Mma Makutsi,’ said Mma Ramotswe, ‘I went to Molepolole and found the commune where those people lived. I spoke to a woman who had worked there and I saw everything there was to see.’

‘And you found something?’ asked Mma Makutsi, making a pot of bush tea.

‘I found a feeling,’ said Mma Ramotswe. ‘I felt that the young American was there.’

‘He is still living there?’

‘No. He is dead. But he is there.’

Mma Makutsi understood. When we die, we do not leave the place where we were living. A part of us never goes away.

She poured the tea and gave a cup to Mma Ramotswe.

‘Are you going to tell the American woman this?’ she asked. ‘She will ask, “Where is the body?” She won’t understand.’

Mma Ramotswe looked at her secretary. ‘This is an intelligent person,’ she thought. ‘She knows how the American woman would think.’

‘I also found this,’ said Mma Ramotswe. She took the newspaper photograph out of her pocket and gave it to Mma Makutsi. ‘It was on the wall. Those people lived there at the time.’

‘There are names below the photograph,’ said Mma Makutsi. ‘Cephas Kalumani. Mma Soloi. Oswald Ranta. But even if we find these people, what can they tell us? I’m sure the police talked to them. Maybe they even spoke to Mma Curtin.’

Mma Makutsi studied the people in the photograph. Two men and a woman were standing in the front. Another man and woman were behind them, their faces unclear.

The names belonged to the people in the front. Cephas Kalumani was a tall, thin man who looked uncomfortable. Mma Soloi, next to him, was smiling - a hard-working, uncomplaining woman.

The third person was Oswald Ranta. He was good-looking and well dressed, with a white shirt and tie. Like Mma Soloi, he was smiling. But his smile was very different.

‘I do not like Ranta,’ said Mma Makutsi. ‘I do not like the way he looks.’

‘I know,’ said Mma Ramotswe. ‘That is a bad man.’

‘Are you going to find him?’

‘That is the next thing I shall do. But first you can help me with some letters.’

While Mma Makutsi typed the letters, she thought about Oswald Ranta. His name was slightly unusual. It would be simple to look the name up in the telephone book. When she finished the letter, she took out the Botswana telephone book. As she thought, there was only one Oswald Ranta.

While Mma Ramotswe was signing the letters, Mma Makutsi called the number. ‘Is Rra Ranta there, please?’ she asked. She spoke in a low voice and Mma Ramotswe did not hear her.

‘He is at work at the university,’ said a woman’s voice. ‘I am his maid.’

‘I’m sorry, Mma, but I have to phone him at work. Can you give me the number?’

She wrote the number on a piece of paper. Then she made another telephone call and again wrote something on the paper.

‘Mma Ramotswe,’ she said when she was finished, ‘Oswald Ranta is living here in Gaborone. He teaches at the university. His secretary says he comes in at eight o’clock every morning.’

Mma Ramotswe smiled. ‘You are very clever. How did you find all this out?’

‘I looked in the telephone book. Then I called to find out the rest.’

‘That was very good detective work.’

‘I am happy that you think so. I want to be a detective.’ Mma Ramotswe thought about her secretary. She was intelligent and a good worker. Why not give her a promotion and make her happy? They could buy an answering machine to answer the telephone.

‘I will give you a promotion,’ said Mma Ramotswe. ‘You will be an assistant detective. Starting tomorrow.’

Mma Makutsi stood up. She opened her mouth to speak but no words came out. The emotion was too great.

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