Knight & Deigh started life as a retelling of The Orphans, from the point of view of the second lead character, Hannice Knight. It, too, is partly set in the rural Tanzania I remember from the early 1980s, but some of the technologies used are much more recent. To that extent, it is anachronistic. Don’t forget, though; it is fictional, made up, lies. All of it.
Hannice Knight had run the African operation of his father’s global business for many years, when a freak accident at home left him unable to walk. Together with physiotherapist Sophie Deigh, he tries to bring into his life the excitement and adventure he missed in his formative years, due to the need to be tied to the business.
A number of adventures and activities follow including scuba-diving, sky-diving, power-boating and camping, and a half-brother he never knew about; but even these can’t lift Hannice’s spirits.
What, or who can? Will the developing closeness between Hannice and Sophie come to anything, and what of the rumoured advances in medical technology?
Beginning on 12 February 2017, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one scene each Sunday.
The full list of scenes so far published is here
Knight & Deigh. Chapter One, scene two: First setback.
While Max was out doing whatever she had to do the next day, I tried to set up a special first evening for her. It was to be a memorable welcome to the country.
I booked us both on the late afternoon flight to Arusha, and organised a vehicle and driver to take us to one of the restaurants on the rim of Ngorongoro. Best game in northern Tanzania. Just as I was putting the finishing touches to it, all the blasted Air Traffic boys walked out. Something to do with a pay dispute. Why today, of all days? Ruined a chap’s plans. Not acceptable behaviour in any language. Even booked two rooms in one of the lodges, so we wouldn’t have to face coming back with a belly-full and a skin-full.
When Max returned, I told her what I had planned, and why I was so annoyed that we couldn’t do it.
“We’ll stay at home and eat here, then?” she suggested.
“Told Kanene to take the evening off before I knew about the strike. Apart from that, Max, if Hannice Knight says he is going to take a lady out, Hannice Knight takes a lady out. Booked us a table at the best seafood restaurant in Dar-es-Salaam. Booked a taxi, as well. Wouldn’t want to drive back, late at night and the worse for wear, through some of the neighbourhoods in that area.”
“What would I do without you, Hannice? It has been a hell of a day,” she said. “I’m supposed to be backing TanzCap away from the Jaxson deal, but the local directors aren’t at all keen on doing that. I’ve asked them for proposals by tomorrow evening, so I’ll stay here for the day, if that’s okay with you, and catch up on some research – and some rest.”
The food at the seafood restaurant on the harbour was well up to standard and the evening passed quickly. We were back and in our beds before midnight, after a pleasant, relaxed evening.
Six o’clock the following morning I was awakened by a call from my chaps on the gate. A couple of men had come looking for Max. The fact that they had got past my gate told me they were on some kind of official business. Their IDs confirmed this. I knocked on Max’s bedroom door and she invited me in.
I poked my head around the door. “Better get dressed,” I said. “Two immigration chaps downstairs looking for you. Your visa okay?”
“I have a B2 visa. I’m only here for meetings.”
“Talk to these guys; I’ll have my lawyer on standby, just in case.”
Max dressed and came down to face two burly-looking, uniformed African men seated on the sofa.
“Good morning, gentlemen. How can I help you?” she asked sweetly.
“Wewe ni Maxine Matham, mwenyekiti wa TanzCap Ltd?” one of the men asked in the kind of gruff voice one expects to hear from a petty official who doesn’t realise he’s a petty official. Putting a uniform on some people is like putting a teenager in a Porsche; they end up with more power than they can sensibly handle.
“What?” she asked.
I translated, “You are Maxine Matham, chairman of TanzCap Ltd?”
“Yes, I am she.”
He then said in Kiswahili, “I am arresting you for working in the United Republic of Tanzania without a proper visa.”
He handed Max an arrest sheet; a document detailing, in English and in Kiswahili, her rights as a person under arrest. The other man stepped around behind her, and placed handcuffs on her wrists.
“What do you mean, under arrest?” she asked, “I have a visa that lets me attend business meetings, and that’s what I’m here for.”
“We have a warrant to arrest you and deliver you to an immigration tribunal, and that is what we are here for. Please don’t resist, or we will have to use force. And we don’t want to do that.” He could speak English, after all.
Max went off with the two men. I immediately called Dick Branson, my solicitor, hoping that he could pull something out of the bag.