I did not resemble any monster anymore.
The second shower was colder than the first but it was worth it. I scrubbed my face so hard that no remnants of mud left a trace of dirt.
I went back outside, not to continue the clearing work, but to stand near the fence in case the two children came back. I wanted to assure them that while I might not possess the handsomest of faces around, I could pass on as a gentleman.
How could I project the persona? I was arguing with myself when a motorcycle braked to a halt a few meters away where I stood.
“Good morning!” greeted the young man sitting atop his machine.
“Yes?” I replied with a quick nod.
“Do you know this Baby?” he mentioned the surname.
“Do you see that house?” I pointed to an old hut near the big mango tree. “She lives there.”
“I am doing a credit investigation,” he divulged. “She applied for a loan.”
“She can pay you back,” I assured him. “She owned a large tract of land by the river.”
“I have to check her first myself,” he explained, showing how green he was for the job. Almost everyone knew her to be good with her credits.
“Suit yourself,” I said, without elaborating. I was more concerned on how to remove the wrong image I impressed on the two children.
Almost half an hour later, the children were not back. With power still out, I had to contend myself watching clouds above.
The credit investigator appeared once more. When he stopped by, I thought he wanted to thank me for the information I gave him about my neighbor.
“You forgot to tell me, sir, that she is old.”
“So what’s the problem? She is capable of paying.”
“My impression was that she’s young considering she is named Baby.”
“And?” I asked, knowing fully well how men usually take advantage of their position to lure women to be their girlfriends.
“She’s a grandmother,” he spat out the word as if it was an obscene term.
I was not able to keep myself from laughing. Frankly, it was a local joke around which she herself helped popularized as a self-depreciating jest.
“You can now report back to the office that she is Baby Grandma.” I quipped as I started to hum to the tune of Call Me Maybe.
He sped away disappointed.