Devure Range

By carter mavhiza
carter mavhiza's stories

Boyman stumbled down the stairs and thought his lost office keys would be found but the security guard told him, a woman in a yellow jacket had picked them off the offices claiming Boyman had sent her to get a copy of the keys.

“I never send anyone,” Boyman said, grunting with anger.

“Well, that’s what she told me – her name – she said – is Devure Range,” the guard replied.

Boyman pulled up his trouser belt and licked his office’s pen. He is the manager of Tiko Tiko, the biggest travel boutique in Gaborone, Botswana, and a mysterious woman had traveled off with his keys without his knowing. “Sounds strange – who is Devure Range – the mysterious woman in a yellow jacket?” he said to himself. 

Boyman arrived home, with a sullied face, and ate his supper quickly wondering about the woman in the yellow jacket who mysteriously picked up his office keys and vanished into thin air. “A bird took away my office keys,” Boyman told his wife of his own panic that his office is now locked, and if the keys are not found. The keys are special keys – Boyman knows – they can only be sourced from the USA on special orders that queue for up to eight months. 

“Must be a special bird that stole your keys,” his wife said, pouring okra and beef for his evening meal.

Boyman greased his fingers through the meal, eating in a distracted way, the status of his office keys and the identity of the mysterious woman who snatched him troubling him. “I should have known better not to leave my office door open!” he hallucinated.

His wife kept to her dishes, unamused by his frustrations.

It was in the morning when Boyman had spent hours milling in the company’s kitchen without access to his plushy manager’s office that a mysterious letter was picked from the flower bed and brought to him.

“It’s addressed to you and the dispatcher of the letter slides it into flowers,” the office’s doorman told Boyman.

“There are my keys inside the envelope?” Boyman brightened his eyes, snatching the letter from the doorman.

“Open it,” replied the doorman.

The letter was stuffed inside an envelope made of bright foil paper and it was weighted as if something valuable apart from the paper was also included inside the envelope.

“To Boyman – who misses his American-made office keys – 6 pm tonight Gaborone City hotel. Yours Devure Range” said the one sentence scribbled across the letter. 

Klaar! screamed Boyman in anger as he stomped the letter into the ground. Devure Range – what manner of a plain mysterious and stupid name is that for a woman – asked Boyman to himself. Things were getting hot at Boyman’s workplace. His keys were specially designed and imported from the USA and if they were not returned in two weeks’ time, the company’s board of directors would let him go from his lucrative manager’s job. 

“I have to find Devure Range woman!” Boyman hurriedly told the doorman.

“And your precious keys,” replied the office doorman. 

Boyman knew Gaborone City hotel, an establishment in the red-light district of the city. Who was she going to see there? What if my wife sees me there – or workmates? Who is this Devure Range woman, a secret spy, a robber, a prankster? He wondered, chewed gum, fearful that if his office keys were not returned tonight, he might be out of the best job of his life tomorrow, and knowing the temper of his wife, he could well be on the street too if his job goes southwards.

The flowers lining Gaborone City Hotel were being watered by a lazy-looking old man when Boyman arrived to meet Devure Range, the mysterious woman he didn’t know and whom he was sure was who she said she is in the letter.

“$5 a short time,” a bevy of night ladies working the streets solicited him for sex in the bushes across the avenue. Boyman was heaving his shoulders in, afraid to give in to their offers, get captured by a secret camera, and be on the front page of the Gaborone Sun newspaper tomorrow. Yet – what if the ladies of the night knew Devure Range – he asked himself. 

“Hello, is it me you’re looking for?” a slim lady in suede shoes, and shiny leather jacket and a miniskirt approached Boyman.

“I don’t have money for a quickie – and who are you?” Boyman whispered.

“Don’t look surprised,” she said, whisking off Boyman’s left arm into the air before gently dropping it down. 

“You’re Devure Range? Damn it!” said Boyman.

“The keys are safe,” she replied, pumping her chest with a light first to show she was in charge.

“Christ, give back my damn office keys,” he said.

“Don’t even think of the police – the police are with me,” the woman told her plainly. She lit an e-cigarette, sulked a mint flavor sweet, and brought her eyelashes onto Boyman’s nose. “Remember Primrose – that woman.”

Boyman was stunned. Boyman was a veteran of Gaborone’s anti-colonial guerilla war against the French which concluded 20 years ago. Primrose was a fling, a fellow guerilla whom Boyman impregnated during the war, denied responsibility and paid her off to go away to Jaru a country 7000 miles away, and start a new life with whatever would become of the baby when born.

“You can’t be Primrose at your age,” Boyman told her. 

“Listen  – she never went away – and I am the baby born soon after you paid her,” she told him.

Boyman’s collar draped with night sweat. “I’m a family man, you can’t barge into my life!”

She squeezed his balls with her purse and pushed him slightly against a wall and taped on his cheek. “You keep quiet about me, the keys never return and you lose that fancy job of yours. You tell your damn wife about me – and the keys could be back on your desk tomorrow. Either way, the poison is yours. Choose well, Boyman,” she said and stepped into the hotel’s lobby. 


21 March, 2023