Chapter 1 Mr. Sponsor
I was greeted by the cool organized grass and flowers that led to a makeshift path to the front gate of house, thirty four ,Karen Estate, a house built for kings, so broad and tall, five bed rooms, a kitchen and classic washrooms, despite knocking for several minutes, no one answered, I leaned on the front wall of the house, I was not in a hurry since this was the last house in this suburb I was to collect garbage from ,I remembered my single room in Fuata Nyayo slums, I almost shed tears as I recalled the imaginative mansions we all share in the world of poverty.
My mkokoteni (a cart pulled by hand) was already full and my day had paid off well, I wasn’t worried leaving my cart outside the gates of this estate, it was very hard to see street boys in these rich men houses, these areas were forbidden for people like us, only the lost, mad, drug or daring guys themselves here. You had no business around here unless you were a lost critically insane person, like me, and you always ended up beaten or insulted by the security guards and they did it with pride enthusiasm. But one thing I knew, anywhere you are, there are one thousand places you are not.
The creak of the hinges which sounded like they hadn’t been oiled for long got my attention back, ‘‘I told you not to lean on my walls again you dirty scoundrel,” a short black man with a protruding belly barked at me loudly, I jumped backwards as I apologized, why did I always forget his warnings, I think I was just ignorant, but I was used to these rich people, most of the suburbs I visited, I received all types of insults, and sometimes slaps, but I had learned my way through all odds in this hustle, just apologize and move on, but one thing I knew ,you can’t outrun your shadow.
‘‘Why are you shouting babes?,” a soft voice made the man turn around as a young lady emerged and began kissing his flabby cheeks, she was a tall, slender, beautiful lady, her skin was of golden brown, her eyes were like droplets of the sky, her smile like the curve of the quarter moon on clear blue sky with stars, she always made me have hopes of a good life ,she was like the good dreams I was dreaming, she was like the good life that was snatched from me by those who were supposed to protect it, this alone motivated me to continue with my plans of the future, ‘‘it’s this nut headed waste collector who never listens, he keeps leaning on the walls and you know the kind of parasites they carry around”, he shouted as he stared at me with his huge round red and revealing eyes, he just wanted to show her how lucky she was to have him, ‘‘don’t be rude to him babes,” she said as she leaned and kissed him. One thing knew, you don’t need to wake sleeping dogs if you don’t let them sleep.
‘‘Just give him the dustbin I got to spray the compound again”, he said as he went inside the house ,Sophie, as I had come to know her name, remained there still clad in a white nightgown, she sighed as she stared at me apologetically and mercifully, ‘‘hello, did you do what I asked you to do?,” she asked as she moved menacingly towards me, her curves were visible since the morning sun was illuminating through her white silk nightgown, I was speechless for a moment, I was seventeen and I had never been with a woman but my instinct were clear, whatever lay down that gown was great, she had asked me to find her a house help and I had one as ready as a soldier ready for mission.
‘‘Yes madam, I found one and she will be coming tomorrow, I will bring her myself,” I told her, ‘‘thank you so much and am sorry for my husband’s sentiments,” she turned and moved back in the house, shaking her hips side and side, she came back with the dustbin ,the odor of the contents in the dustbin was worse, rotten kitchen stuff used sanitary towels, used protection rubbers, rotten eggs, and other stuff, but one thing I knew, if it stinks bad enough dogs will follow it,
I put the contents in my sack and as I turned to go, she gave me a one thousand shillings ,I tried to decline but she insisted, I took and emptied the contents of the dustbin and left as her husband emerged with a spraying container. I had learned not to show your problems to these rich people, they would take advantage of you in many ways, some boys like Kamau, Kasyoka and Mbalu were new in town running from their homes for God knows what, only they knew the troubles they had ran from, they had met a rich man in Kileleshwa who had washed them with all goods, despite Master Zinka’s warnings,the boys had moved to live at the rich man’s servant quarters.
They were so happy they visited us occasionally and brought us gifts like new clothes and shoes, every time master Zinka asked them what job they did at the rich man’s house, they would say gardening and avoid the topic quickly, we, the rest of the group would exchange looks to show each other that we knew better, ‘‘who the hell treats a gardener like his own child in Nairobi?,” Master Zinka would ask, the large scar on his forehead would get buried under his sorrowful expression of wonder, ‘‘sons of Babylon, sons of Babylon,” he would say and continue rolling his special bhang splints, I knew he was very high on bhang when he used the name Babylon.
After one month the three boy came to wish us goodbye, ‘‘we have landed a job in Mombasa, we will be travelling tomorrow,” Kamau told us as excited as a child whose mother had been to the market for a long day, we wished them journey masses as we had gotten used to their naivety , after two weeks as I collected for used plastic bottles, I stumbled upon a daily nation paper, the head story was thrilling, “THREE KILLED IN WHAT IS BELIEVED TO BE RITUAL SACRIFICE,” their pictures were posted on the front page, the police asking for families to come forward and identify their loved ones since they had no identification, the rich man had lured them to homosexuality and being a trend mostly practiced by occultist, he had lured them to his wrecked paths, and they, just like a cow leads to the slaughter house expecting to meet a surprise green land they had obliged without question, their candles of life went off silently and nobody paid for it.
The rich man’s house had a new owner, the other one was never seen, we had only known him as Mr. Sajur, he was an Indian, no one could dare telling the robots, police, anything, we hated them, and who could be so high to go near any police station anyway, you would be hit like a sack in which a snake had been caught, ‘‘no one talks to the robots, (the name we called the police) we have our own problems,!” Master Zinka had warned us, so many street children suffered such misfortunes, some varnished without a trace, some were lured to act pornographic videos, especially girls, after being drugged with dangerous substances like heroin and cocaine, leaving some without memories or dying from overuse, those beautiful suburbs, which some mistook hell for heaven, but I knew better, it was the city were the night looked like the day but the things that were done in the night were far more horrendous.
But Sophie, I had come to like her, she was just a kind hearted woman, she thought I was just a normal street boy, but I knew her more, she was a student at Nairobi University, she was doing a degree in commerce, her real name was Faith Ciku, she was twenty three years old and she came from Embu, her mother had died when she was only ten years old, she never knew her father and this man was not her husband, his name was Mr. Peter Pombe, he had two daughters and one son, Rose Mumbi, Clare Muthoni and James Mwangi, his wife was a nurse at Matter hospital, her name was Beatrice Wanjiru Pombe, Mr. Peter’s real house was at Hurlingam estate, house number thirty three hundred and forty two, this girl was using him to pay her bills and of course the good life, she was living in a luxurious house, driving a Nissan sedan and spoiling her friends with all niceties, she had a brother but she last so him when she was nine years old, her friends thought she had a part time job as an accountant at a new Chase bank branch, she had even taken them there since she had a friend there who was actually the manager.
But I knew more, this man was the second sponsor, when Mr. Peter was with his family or had travelled to Embu, his rural home, this man was the head of house number thirty four Karen estate, his name was Mr. Rashid, if not so, she organized a party and invited her fellow students, they would get high on marijuana and drink like fish, I was actually at the parties but as a student, I had friends whom I used to sell high grade marijuana they made sure I was invited at the parties, so at the party I was the supplier of marijuana, I would make the cookies and the shisha.
I would be clad very smartly, remove the black ink from my front teeth, this was a disguise to make me look like I was missing the front teeth, I would also remove the dreadlock weave from my head and let my slimy black hair impress even Sophie herself, one day she actually asked me why I looked so familiar, ‘‘people sometimes have a resemblance,” I had told her and continued with my business, making everyone as high as a kite, most of the girls threw themselves at me, but Master Zinka had taught me a lesson, a woman is the fall of all heroes and wise men, they are all sisters of Delilah, just stay focused,’’ he had told me Master Zinka was a simple man, he laid no claim to wisdom, he said wisdom was for prophets and politicians.
I am sure you are wondering why all this disguise and spying, well, let me take you back to where it all began I was thirteen years old ,my life was awesome my father was a road engineer working with Nyoro construction company and my mother was a teacher at Kirega girls high school, we had a beautiful home at a small place in Embu called Kimende village,my father was very rich man, he had fifteen resident homes in Embu, Nyeri and Nairobi, he also had many businesses all around the country, I was the second born of the three children Mr. Mwaniki ,my father, had, my elder sister, Njeri, was sixteen by then and my younger brother, Njoroge ,was ten, sour family was the role model of all those who dreamed of having families of their own.
Njoroge and I attended St. Peters Academy, it was the most prestigious school around Embu, I was in class six by then, my brother was in class three ,Njeri was in form one at Alliance girls’ high school in Nairobi, we never missed any visiting day at her school, my mum would prepare delicious chicken and chapatti, our father would drive us to the big city where we would be so exited peeking from the windows of his white hummer ,KBD 345H, a majestic super car which was one of the many cars my father owned, after visiting our sister he would take us to Nairobi national park were we would enjoy viewing the big five and other wild animals, he had brought me a digital camera so I would take as many photos as I could, I still have them, I knew one thing, history can be written on the most ignored object in the world, like stone.
Our uncle, my father’s step-brother and his only sibling, was never happy, my father gave him whatever he needed, he had opened him two spare part shops in Nairobi and Embu, but he always started quarrels over small land boundaries, his mother, our step grandmother and the only surviving paternal grandparent, was the perpetrator of all this, despite my father building her a large house with a perimeter wall, she never ceased to insult my mother, calling my own mother a witch was the most frustrating words I ever endured, she said my mother had bewitched our father not to do anything to help his relative, seriously!, after all he had done to them, my father was supporting her son and her as well.
When people ignored her accusation she was heard shouting in the farms, ‘‘you can’t kill me you and your witch wife, so you want to sacrifice my son and I to your cult group so that you can take our land, our God is protecting us you will die,” we had learned to ignore her, ``people behave like children when they grow old,” my father used to tell us.
One day as we came from visiting my sister, we were all tired but joyful from the experience we had in the big city, I was taking photos through the window as my young brother snored loudly on my right side I was sitting on back left, father had promised me that he would take me to a driving school when I got eighteen, I always wanted to drive, I admired the way he drove, his masculine hands grapping the steering, a satisfying expression on his face as he operated the big car owned by very few in Kenya,
There was this mini bus which had followed us from Embu Town, as I had learned from the movies ,we had a tail, when came to pass Uthiru marked but by now I could tell our tail was getting too close and uncomfortable, I tried to warn my father about it but he simply ignored me telling me to stop watching too much CIA and FBI movies, my father never drove fast, ‘‘if you want to overtake why don’t you just do it”, my father said angrily as he slammed the horns continuously, he slowed down to let the mini bus pass, it was a very big mistake, the car overtook us and then right turned in front of us, it closed our path directly, by the time my father realized what was happening, two men in black Kimonos and black masks emerged from the mini bus quickly, they were armed in big black guns, shattering the front widow of our vehicle, ‘‘lie down,” was my mother’s last words, guns started firing without warning, blood was splattering all over, we could do nothing but scream, after less than a minute, the guns went silent and then I had the mini bus speed off, my brother was no longer screaming, he lay there a hole on his forehead, it took me sometimes before my mind could register what had just happened, my parents lay there in front of me, filled with lead, their bullet penetrated bodies were nothing less of a horror movie, he car seats were covered in blood and so was I.
I had voices from outside, at first I couldn’t register what was going on, my ears were as If they were filled with water, the echo of the guns still rang inside my mind, I felt as if I was floating in an endless haze, ‘‘call the police”, I had a woman shouting from outside, but mostly she sounded as if she was shouting from my mind, I felt my camera still grasped in my hands, it was covered in blood, my ring figure was on the capture button, the camera was still running I tried to lift myself up when I felt a sharp pain in my left arm, I was shot on my lower arm, I hadn’t felt any pain until now.
I had sirens wailing from a distance, I put my camera inside my bag as the sirens approached closer, I saw a blurred figure opening the door, too many movement fading slowly, and I was out, don’t know for how long but when I woke up I was on a bed, in a room that was painted in white, the bed sheets were blue so were the clothes I was wearing then I saw a beautiful lady come towards the bed I was lying on, my instincts made me rise up and scream trying to stop her from getting any closer, she was wearing a white coat, and a short black skirt, ‘‘how are you feeling ?,” she asked, making me feel a bit comfortable, ‘‘where am I, where are my parents, who are you?,” I asked continuously as I tried to lift myself up, a sharp pain stuck my arm like lightning, ‘‘ouch,” I cried as she held me back softly, ‘‘try to relax please you are hurt,” I could see the pity in her eyes, now reality was revealing itself, I remembered everything, the doctor came and examined me for a while and assured me everything would be just fine.
Two police officers came and asked me questions, they mostly inquired about what I saw, but I told them I saw nothing, instead of crying I was just angry, I just wanted to get those murderers and cut them into pieces, in fact during all that ordeal I only cried when Njeri came to visit me on the third day, she was completely broken, she wept all the time, I tried to calm her down to no avail, our step grandmother and uncle came to see me too, I could see some sparks of joy concealed in their eyes, you know that situation when people feel sorry for you just because it’s necessary, I could see that, I was discharged from the hospital and we buried our parents and little brother Njoroge after two weeks, it was a black Saturday May 6th 2011.
People came from all over Kenya for my father was a prominent man, two bulls were slaughtered but my sister and I couldn’t eat, our mother’s family and friends were there too, it was the biggest and saddest ceremony I have ever attended, everyone trying to console and show me how much they understood’’, ‘‘how would they understand?,” I wondered, Our parents and brother had been killed in cold blood and nothing was taken from them, who decides to kill people and disappear just like that, the news were all over the media houses from NTV to Kameme fm. ‘‘PROMINENT ENGINEER MUDERED WITH HIS WIFE AND SON IN COLD BLOOD,ONE CHILD SURVIVED THE ATTACK,POLICE INVESTIGATING,”
Everything has an end, and this was it, our parent’s and young brother’s sun had set, their candles did not go off slowly as nature dictates, but they were blown out without remorse, leaving charred pieces without the promise of been rekindled, after one week of mourning we had to move on with our lives, we had grown so thin for lack of appetite, Njeri’s eyes looked as if they were pieces of bad tomato that had been applied were her real eyes were supposed to be, but eventually we came to face the reality of death, they were never going to come back, but pastor Ezekiel promised us that since they were good Christians we will meet with them in heaven, that worked for Njeri, but for me, I had already made my mind.
Our family lawyer came to read the will of our father, it was a crystal clear lie, I could see it in his eyes, the guilty and shame, he couldn’t face us, all our relatives were there, ‘‘the wish of Mr.Richard Mwaniki,” he began, ‘‘in case of my death, all my property will be managed by my wife Mrs. Roselyna Mwaniki, in case of her passing all the houses and lands will be shared between my sons, Benard Kimaru and Stephen Njoroge equally, all the businesses will be given to my daughter Linet Njeri,” he cleared his throat as he adjusted his glasses, I saw him steal a glance at my uncle, there was tension and I could see my uncle was nervous, he was not relaxed at all, It seemed like there were thorns on his chair.
‘‘In case they are still young,” he continued but this time he sounded unsure, ‘‘my step brother Mr. Joseph Kimathi will take care of everything until they come of age,” there were murmurs in the sitting room, everyone knew very well my father could never leave anything to his step brother the lawyer handed everything to our step uncle and left hurriedly, my aunts followed him and I had a confrontation outside, well, there was nothing we could do, everyone went back to making myself obedient to him, I was no one’s son but my father`s, . At this point I realized that God had not made himself known to me, so why bother pleasing him, he had actually left his faithful servant, my father and mother, perish in a pure act of evil, we were now total orphans.
My sister went back to school and I as well, people were always staring at me and whispering to each other, my step uncle and step grandmother left to the city in excuse of managing my father’s businesses ,he left his wife, a small daughter and a son never to be seen or heard of again, his phone switched off and not even a little trace, good thing my sister and I were studying under a Sanlam child Insurance policy, we were able to finish form four, I had passed good in my class eight exams and now joined Starehe Boys’ High school were I also passed with flying colors, our aunts and uncles from our mother’s sides provided our basic needs, after form four we had nothing else to do, no one of our relatives was capable of seeing us through university, we tried sponsorships but to no avail.
We were unable to further our studies ,my sister went to stay in Nairobi with my dad’s aunt, her name was Fatuma and she used to brew illegal alcohol, busaa, she was a very notorious woman, I still don’t know how she got a Swahili name since she was Gikuyu, my sister came for me and we went to stay with our father’s aunt, helping her with her business, it was just after two months when I met Master Zinka, he taught me how to survive in the city, ‘‘there is no God for poor people, it’s a lie, you just need to walk, walk with no hopes of heaven or promised land, just walk with faith,” that how he made me a street boy. I would supply marijuana around the city disguising as a waste collector, we used to make a lot of money especially from campus students, they used to call me Bush Doctor, for they knew what the medicine I brought them did to their little frayed minds, it used to knock them down, and they loved that we used to add petroleum to the stuff to make it more strong, I don’t know how Master Zinka knew all these but he had a lot of experiences and all questions were left for physician.
My mind was clear enough, I was going to take Njeri, my sister, to work for Sophie, my plans were ready, I had worked so hard to help her get a job especially were life would be better, I passed at Master Zinka’s base to give him his money, his base was behind a garage at Kenya Institute of Mass communication, I passed through the garage were a group of students was idling, of course they were waiting for the Bush Doctor, some of them were a bit nervous I knew they were first years who had joined the institute drink and get high system, I could see the fear in their eyes, something in their minds telling them , ‘‘ this is a bad idea don’t do it, you will get mad, what if you get caught and your parents find out, you will lose your education, just get out of here, this peddler looks freaky,” but the power of a multitude always wins.
Aje ras, tupige kinusu stone hapo, (hi rasta, give us a half stone) the masculine and dark one said, his name was Stoppa, I gave them their stuff, hey buda changamkia madorare, dunga mganga chake aende,” (hey man get busy with the money, hand the herbalist his own money) he said to one of the first years, the slim one with a soft light skin, his pinkish lips were prove enough that he was just beginning to use drugs, he fished a one thousand note from a big bundle in his wallet.
I knew he was rich kid, in a few months he will be seeking for me without fear, and his father will start reducing the pocket money due to his bad grades, he will be frayed by my medicine, for I am the Bush Doctor, he will disagree with his father and have too much wisdom in a while, he will see his father’s teachings as slavery and believes of the old Babylon, he will wonder why he has become so wise, he will say to himself, ‘‘why have I been so blind, the truth is so clear now”, he will get high all the time, he will read the bible and understand it so clear, he will listen to reggae music and understand what Joseph Hill and Bob Marley have been trying to tell him all this while, that how wisdom without knowledge get people lost.
It was like that to the rich kids, they would come as innocents who had always been protected by their parents, now they had all the freedom to themselves, no one to tell them when or what to do, the stupid would soon fill the night clubs, waking with hangovers, an excuse of skipping classes, some girls would be pregnant before they could master how many guys they slept with while drunk, I was always around watching, they never saw me, I even danced with them at club Pickolina , club Office or Tribeka when I went to make marijuana shisha, I told them that I was studying at Railways Training Institute.
One stone of bhang was the size of a tissue paper roll, it cost one thousand shillings, half stone was sold at five hundred shillings, I got my money and moved on, I had learned to put a tough face to scare them, sometimes they gave me a tip, they thought I needed some glue, the glue bottle in my mouth was filled with sweet juice only, I knew from Stoppa’s appetite for bhang , he would be waiting there in three days to come, but his mind was strong, he was a Luo , people who fed well were never affected by my medicine, in fact Stoppa was always leading in the film production class, his father was with the army, Stoppa had a way of controlling the other students to submission, he had slept with so many girls mostly first years ,but this was his last year in college, he used to tell me about the girls when we met at club Office, he used to know me as Kim, I pulled my cart to Master Zinka’s base, it was a hard task but I had learned to be patient, I was always careful for I knew one thing, gravity only works in your favor when you are asleep.
I found Master Zinka at his usual place, the dumpsite was behind a garage ,the Nairobi river passed through here, he used to sit between some wild banana trees, making rolls of bhang all day, there was only one sack remaining, a sign of good business, he had about twenty agents, including me, the rules were simple, get dirty get paid, be clean you get caught, but in me he had faith, we shared so much of the past, his father had abandoned him with his mother when he was nine years old, his mother died of blood pressure, poor, lonely and heart broken, but Zinka had sworn to kill his father if he ever saw him again.
He used to give us ten percent of what we sold, when high schools closed or opened, business was very good, I used to clad in my old school uniform and go to a selling spree, the students always found us, no one would doubt me, the school bag I carried contained a few books and rolls of bhang, I made more than thirty thousand on days like this, some would want me to buy them alcohol since they were scared of being caught, I was well known and no one would dare asking me questions unless they were drunk, I would double the prize for each spirit ,brandy, gin or vodka ,I never stole from them, I always brought them whatever they sent me, Master Zinka had taught me the importance of loyalty, Today was not a bad day, I had made fifteen thousand shillings.
‘‘Hey Doctor, what up you look warn out”, he greeted me ,``long day master,” I answered, we never talked much, I handed him the cash and left, I passed at Master Zinka’s house at Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums, alias Kayandee, it was made of old iron sheets, I changed to my good clothes, removed my dreadlock wig and went to my house, trust me this was just the change room, Master Zinka had a four bedroom house at Kileleshwa, he had a very beautiful wife and a son, he had a car, a pro-box, his wife thought he worked at the SGR station, that what we had to do to survive, live in shadows ,I had hired a single room at Fuata Nyayo, it was only three thousand per month, I had one hundred thousand shillings in my Equity bank account, this business was awesome ,it was better than stealing.
I remembered how my friends who had turned to robbery had died, their bodies filled with lead, I recall how Ibra had all the life he wanted, a flat screen T.V., a car and a so good furnished house, though these robbers lived in iron sheet houses to hide from curiosity, inside their houses were paradise, but now Ibra was no more, found shot six times in the chest his eyes missing, that how the rest suffered Bencyno, Juma Nature, Loki, Alvo and Mabling, all shot by that blood thirsty robot called Masai, all he was good at was extra judicial murders, but now he is facing the consequences, he was caught for murdering a lawyer, his client and their driver he will be in for long time, the boys had a chance to reform but he never gave it to them, my house was the last on the second floor, number 016.
It was a single room with a small washroom, the room had few items inside, a T.V., radio, a fridge, sofa set, table, carpet and a bed, I took a shower changed to blue jean trousers, a white t-shirt and a black hood, I put on my black boots, combed my hair and brushed my teeth thoroughly to remove the black ink from my front teeth, I looked myself at the mirror and smiled, I knew I was good looking, I was only avoiding the girls to complete my mission, after two days I will be devouring them with all the energy I have been saving.
I called my sister, she told me she was at aunt Fatuma’s , I took a motorbike to Kayole, I paid two hundred shillings, I hated aunt Fatuma’s place, it was filled with drunks and prostitutes yelling sentiments of blasphemy at anyone, ‘‘aki ya mungu leeo ni kukunywaaa, kijana ya Faa..tu.. imefikaa,boss mwenyewee,” (I swear today we will drink, Fatuma’s son is here the boss himself) Kanini the oldest prostate shouted as she tried to stand up, most of them had known me when I used to live there, the room I used to live in was now filled with sits and tables, people were sitting there drinking, although the houses here were made of mud, they were plastered and decorated well, you could hardly notice when inside, I don’t know aunt Fatuma’s history but she was hard working, she owned fifteen houses and more were being built with concrete, she had two sons who were working with the government, her husband had died long time ago and she had held to the business tight making sure children got the best education, they didn’t fail her.
‘‘My brother Kim, it was Njeri’s soft voice as she rushed towards me, jumped on me and hugged me tightly, I missed you,” ‘‘me too sister, what has aunt Fatuma being feeding you, you have grown too big,” I said, ‘‘what are you too conspiring about?”, it was aunt Fatuma who cut me with her ever serious tone, ``hello aunty”, I greeted her as I bowed, ‘‘welcome my son,” she parted my head, ‘‘life seems to be well for, you have forgotten us,” she said as she ushered me in her house, it was large inside filled with large couches and all kind of households, only her sponsors were allowed to sit in here, she had crates of beer for them, one sponsor with a large tummy was snoring loudly on the couch.
These were those guys from rural areas who had sold their lands, well, aunt Fatuma had good spending tactics for them as long as they never went broke, but they always did, when they started to drink on credit ,she would throw them out like old dogs, unable to bark again, she was still a beautiful lady despite her age, her round white eyes, tiny sickle shaped lips, and tall body with perfect curves made everyone’s eyes stay glued to her, she had adapted to the life of Swahili community, making herself attractive, after applying a few make ups, her chocolate skin would turn bright making her look like an Arab, all she had nothing to lose, she was over forty five and she was also a human being, we all have needs.
I had studied the minds of drunk people, if it was a lady selling no matter how ugly she was, the first four bottles for those who use beer, they would be ordering her around in pride, but from the fifth beer, she would be called, ‘‘my dear,” the ladies were smart, this is where they began to put on that big smile, then they would be bought two bottles of which they will drink none, instead they would keep the money, by the ninth bottle, the pride sponsor would be following the lady all around, they would start quarreling with their friends over the lady, this is where the ladies take advantage, doubling the bills, by the tenth bottle the guy will be dozing and the club closing, the lady will throw them out without care.
The guy who sits at the corner with a gin or vodka and a large thermos of hot water and lemons, silently scrawling his phone or filling puzzles in a gazette, sipping his bitter companion slowly, is the one who takes the lady home, and mostly they are from western Kenya, you will see him getting kissed the next day, no one needs to tell you who she slept with, you will be frustrated, broke, and a heavy hangover, mostly you will have lost your phone that how pride comes before a fall, that why I only take four bottles or buy a take away and go home to download my troubles.
We charted for long, talked about our problems and blessings, I told aunt Fatuma I was going to take my sister with me, she was more than happy, I knew Njeri had blocked Fatuma’s freedom for long, but I was thank full that things had gone well, my sister was still well behaved despite living in this forsaken place, the only thing that had changed was her attitude, it’s not easy to handle drunks, aunt Fatuma gave me three pilsner beers and I gulped them down as my sister prepared herself, I bought everyone a glass as we left, it was only twenty bob per glass of the illegal booze.
They cheered as if I had saved them from an impending doom, even those who were lying down flat wanted more, some were vomiting still holding their glasses, ‘‘what kind of game does the devil play?, what does he gain by tricking these shallow minds to cause them bring harm to themselves?, if he actually fell from the sky, he should be building a weapon to take his place back in heaven, not to trick mere humans to death, and for what?,” I wondered to myself, only one answer came, the devil must be the dumbest of all God’s creation, ‘‘umetubebea kamrembo buda,” (you have taken our beauty dude) a drunk shouted as aunt Fatuma pushed him out of the way, she saw us out, I gave her five thousand shillings as a show of appreciation for taking care of my sister.
‘‘Kim,” she called me back, she handed me a folded nylon paper secretly, ‘‘all the best my son,” then she hurried back to her house, my sister inquired what she had told me, I told her she just wanted my phone number, I could see doubt concealed in her eyes, aunt Fatuma and I had hidden so many secretes from her, we arrived in my house around seven thirty, I went out and bought some chips and chicken for supper, we ate and drank some juice, I told her what she was supposed to do, I narrated the whole plan to her ,she was angry at first and declined because I had not told her before, ‘‘why now?,” she screamed, It took me hours to convince her but she eventually cooled down and we slept, I took the couch and she took the bed.
It was eight in the morning, a very cold July first Friday morning, here I was with my sister outside house 34 Karen estate, ‘‘what wrong with you?,” the big belly was barking again, ‘‘how long do I have to warn you not to lean on that wall?,” I had forgotten again, he furiously hurried to hit me when he was interrupted by Sophie’s soft voice, ‘‘hey babes stop that, can’t you see we have a guest?,” she pointed at Njeri, Mr. Peter hadn’t noticed her yet, Njeri was clenching her knuckles so hard I could hear them, she was fighting not to do something crazy, I had warned her not to ruin her job, the guy was just a pig.
He retreated to the door, Sophie put her hands around his belly, she was in full control of Mr. Peter, ‘‘who is she darling?,” he asked softly, ‘‘she is my house help, I told you I needed one since the exams are around the corner, the waste collector found me one”, she explained, ``you let this street boy find you a house help?,” he asked, ‘‘aki woye, (oh my) he is a good guy and I was disparate, just let her help me until I finish my exams”, she pleaded as she pecked him on the balloon like cheeks, it was disgusting, ‘‘hello what’s your name and where do you come from?,” she asked as she came closer to Njeri, ‘‘my name is Mwende and I kamu flom Kitui kounty,” (my name is Mwende and I come from Kitui ) Njeri answered, I saw Sophie smile, she was content with this one, a stupid girl from rural areas won’t bother her, I was fascinated for my sister’s quick learning, I almost laughed, all she had to do was maintain that rural Kamba accent and react like one.
She was welcomed inside the house, Sophie brought the dustbin outside, she gave me three thousand just like we had agreed, she thanked me continuously as if I had healed her of cancer, I left and continued with my duties as usual, it was five thirty when I got to Master Zinka’s place, I made ten thousand that day I had too many things to do, I slept heavily waiting for the pay day, on Saturday I prepared myself as usual, but today I would only pick waste from house 304 Karen.
It was Njeri who brought the dustbin, we pretended not to know each other, as I left, I had Sophie call me from the first floor front window, ‘‘the house help is very good, thank you,” I turned to look but she was pulled by a large black hand from behind, I knew that was the master bedroom, I left direct to Master Zinka’s, basements he was not there so I called him, he told me to meet him at the change room, I went direct there, I saw his car parked outside, three guys were standing outside, from the way they were clad, I knew they were our guys, they were clad in kimonos and army boots, tight jeans and black hats, from the way they rolled their eyes I knew they were armed, you know that confidence when you feel like you have power over everything but no one else knows, only you and your buddies, you look at people directly trying to scare them but you end up looking like a goat which is trying to read, that’s how these guys looked like, you will know if you ever carried an illegal weapon, Master Zinka came outside as I approached, he was clad in a black suit, and a cowboy hat, he ushered us in, good thing with the change room is that it was situated at the backside of Mukuru slums, only thugs lived around here, so everyone minded their business.
He introduced us, I learned the names of the guys, the tall and thin was called Slim Thug, the short and heavy built was Nyundo (Hummer), and the silent dread locked was Rasta vikapu, he was actually carrying a basket, I don’t know what it contained but I had heard he had an obsession with baskets, we agreed on our plan A and B, Nyundo was the driver, he took the car for cleaning, Master gave me a gun, a cowboy colt, I went to my house to prepare for the hour, the hour I had sacrificed all the joys of this world for, I was ready and I had nothing to fear or loose, only one call was going to make us move, just like the cobra waits patiently for the unsuspecting rat.
At around 9 pm, I went at a local wines and spirit just opposite our apartment, I bought a half bottle of Kibao vodka and gulped it all in one sweep, I needed some motivation after all and it really worked, I knew the hour was around the corner, I had not changed from my disguise, I wanted to surprise my enemies, I was the last to be picked by Nyundo, we drove and parked across the street just outside Karen estate, we sat in the car silently waiting for the call, the phone rang at 10.15pm, everything was clear.
I could feel the tension in Njeri’s voice on the phone, ``let’s move,” I ordered the driver in a vodka inspired confidence, we were now facing the estate’s gate, the guards came forward indicating us to roll our windows down, Slim and Vikapu wasted no time, they cocked their guns as they alighted the car, masks already on their faces, ‘‘get down!,” Slim shouted as he pointed the muzzle to the heavy built guard, I could see the Wells Fargo logos on the guard’s night jackets, Vikapu swept him down like a feather, I had heard that these guys were street fighters, now I believed, the big guard was already down as he cried, ‘‘eh fwana sina sita, mnatakeko nini fwana?,” (‘‘hey Mr. I don’t have a problem, what do you want Mr.?”) I knew he was a Luyha from his ascent, they were tied and thrown in the boot of the car like sacks of potatoes, Slim opened the gate and we drove in as if we owned the estate, we went direct to house 304, my sister had already opened the gate.
Nyundo sped in as if he had seen a tsunami behind the car, Master Zinka and I were the first to alight, Njeri was there sweating in nervousness but when she saw me, she sighed in relief, Slim and Vikapu ordered the guards out, took their phones and locked them in the servant quarters, they then entered the car, they drove off to house 204 Hurligam estate, their job was to bring the occupants to house 34 Karen estate.
My sister and I entered the house, it was very well furnished inside, expensive couches, curtains, tables and electrical devices, I had no time for anything fantastic, Master Zinka was left to take care of the outside, Mr.Peter and Sophie were lying on the couch completely out, two glasses of juice were on the table half empty, I did not waste time, I bound them with the help of Njeri, both hands and legs, aunt Fatuma had told me it would take two hours for the powder’s effect to subdue when taken, that stuff wrapped in nylon paper which she had given me when I went to pick Neri, so there were still time for us to prepare an audience, by now only aunt Fatuma and my sister knew about the plan, Master Zinka was in for a big surprise, he thought it was an ordinary robbery .
I had the gates open, roaring engines, went off, doors slammed open, and I heard voices approaching the front door, I opened it as I was met by Mrs. Peter completely freaked out, she held her three children in front of her, ‘‘get in woman,” Slim was in charge, Rasta Vikapu never spoke much, he was a man of more action than words, his hands did the talking and by the look on Mrs. Peter’s right eye, you could tell his hands had not been quiet, I ushered her to sit with her kids, I tried to make everything look ok, until she noticed her husband and yelled, ‘‘what have you done to him?”, the children started crying, ‘‘shut up!,” Slim shouted at them, I ordered Slim to take them upstairs and Vikapu to go watch the guards and tell Zinka to come in, off they went as Mrs. Peter screamed, “nooo don’t take my babies away please I will do anything”.
‘‘Calm down Mrs. Peter, your kids will be fine, now tell me, were did your husband tell you he was going a month ago?,” I asked as I moved around her, ‘‘he said he was going for a business trip in Dubai, what’s going on is he dead and who is that lady sitting with him?,” she struggled to fight her shock, ‘‘wait a minute you are the waste collector,” her mouth was wide open as she stared at me in shock, ``I will answer all your questions, I am the waste guy, your husband is not dead and that lady is his mistress, ‘‘ bring some cold water,” I told Njeri who was still confused, ‘‘don’t worry Mrs. Peter, we have a long night ahead you will know everything that’s going on,” I assured her.
Njeri brought the water and I splashed it on both Mr. Peter and Sophie, they opened their eyes, tried to stand up and fell to the floor, I gave them time to come into terms with the situation, ‘‘what’s going on, let me go, oh my God what are you doing, I will scream!,” it was Sophie who understood the situation first, ‘‘calm down Sophie, no one is going to get hurt, unless you scream of course,” I said as I helped her up to the seat, I also helped Mr. Peter up, `you dirty little piece of shit, you think you will get away with this, you think you can rob me, I knew you were a snake, you brought that little whore here to drunk us,” Mr. Peter said as he groaned in vain, Njeri kicked him hard in the chin, I wished I was the one who did that, but I had gotten used to his insults, ‘‘Mr. Peter or whatever you call yourself, you need to comprehend with the situation here, first you don’t use vile language when your family is around, second you are the piece of shit now,” he was searching blindly around when his eyes fell on his wife, ‘‘oh dear are you hurt are you ok?”, he was really messed up.
All Mrs. Peter could do was sob silently, ‘‘can someone tell me what’s going on here,” Sophie was impatient, ‘‘you have been sleeping with my husband you witch, my husband how could you lie to me all these time I loved you, I sired you children and all you could do is lie to me for this little child?,” I allowed them to catch up as I took a beer from the fridge, I opened it and gulped it down to completion, I then took out my gun from my waist and cocked it, my sister was staring at me in surprise, ‘‘don’t worry big sister I was prepared, time for the main business, the rules are simple, you do what I say or somebody gets hurt,” I said in confident, I felt so powerful with the gun on my hand.
‘‘But first let begin with the introductions, Mrs. Peter,your husband’s real name is not Peter Pombe and he does not come from Tanzania, his name is Josep Kimathi, and he hails from Embu county a place called Kimende, he has a wife and two kids, a boy and a girl,” Mr. Peter ‘s eyes were wide open in disbelief, he couldn’t come to terms with the fact that the disguise he had bought with a lot money was finally exposed.
‘‘Who are you?,” listen wife, this lunatic is lying, someone is paying him to blackmail me I couldn’t hold the urge I had been holding for almost all eternity to kick him, ‘‘I said no talking!,” I shouted as I kicked him so hard on his big belly, everyone was quiet, ‘‘good, lets continue, the girl here is not Sophie, her real name is Faith Ciku, she is not a tycoon’s daughter ,she is just a student and she happens to come from Embu too, the same place as you Mr. Peter, am sure your daughter is the same age as Sophie by now”, Sophie couldn’t help but cry, she was shocked how a common waste collector knew her so well, big and famous people couldn’t even sense her disguise, ‘‘well, you all know Mrs. Peter and she is just the audience, well, it’s time to introduce myself, but mine is a bit physical so if you will excuse me for a minute,” I said as I left towards the bathroom, I removed the fake dreadlocks, cleaned the ink from my teeth and removed the dirty overall, I was like suspense behind theater curtains.
‘‘Kim?, oh my God! it has been you all these time.. oh my God I can’t believe it!, what are you doing Kim let me go,” Sophie was in complete disbelief, she knew both Kim and the garbage guy like two different people, I had always pitied her for I knew what was coming for her was awful ``you two are not the only masters of disguise, the problem is that you are not scared because you think you have everything to cover any loose ends, that the mistake, people who are not scared don’t know how to hide” I told them .
I inserted my hand in my pockets and removed an envelope full of photos, photos I had saved since the murder of my beloved parents and little brother, I also had photos I had taken of my step uncle and his family during family come together parties which my father loved to organize, the family he had left, these when the nurse had given me the camera after I had woken up at Embu general hospital, the camera had been damaged, it had been socked in my parent’s blood so I took the memory card out, when I produced the photos later, there were photos of my uncle getting out of the killers’ car, the other photo showed him peeping through the windows of the car, this was because I had set my camera on time capture mode, making it take photos automatically in the set time durations, they were not clear due to the broken glass but his face was clear, I had hidden the photos, I didn’t want to involve the police, I wanted to take revenge myself.
I gave the photos to my sister, she was angry, ‘‘you kept this from me all this years, you didn’t want me to know who killed my parents,” she cried as she hit my chest hard, ‘‘I wanted to show you in real sister, I wanted you to face him direct,” ‘‘shoot him now!”, she cried as I tried to calm her down, she was angry she jumped at Joseph as she hit him hysterically, I subdued her and she hugged me still weeping, “one step at a time sister,” I told her, I didn’t want her losing it now, we were just beginning.
I gave the photos to Mrs. Peter who just expressed her feelings with her mouth, wide open in disbelief, I gave her the photos of Mr. Peter with his first family, she just wept, I took the photos to my uncle, I showed him one after the other, he couldn’t believe it, he was like person who was facing a ghost, nowhere to go, I saw the truth sink in his mind, he was facing his niece and nephew, the same people he had murdered their parents and took away their inheritance, he had gone to Tanzania, bought a new identity and came to Kenya as a foreign business man, but he was not wise enough, he had published his mother’s photo announcing her burial at Lang’ata cemetery, that how I had followed him from the burial until now, aunt Fatuma was a good planner and she had helped me to this point, a secrete we had kept until now, I showed Sophie the photos in the same manner, ‘‘I can’t believe I have been living with a murderer “she cried.
‘‘Njeri, go to their bedroom and bring the suitcase,” I ordered my sister and she didn’t hesitate, ‘‘no wait what do you want Kim, I am your uncle and I am protecting your father’s wishes, let me lose and we can discuss this, now you are a grown up,” he tried to show understanding, ‘‘I know what’s going on your mind uncle, you were always giving out much about your feelings since I was a kid, the weakest trait you inherited from your mother, you are wondering how you have been so blind, you wish you knew, you could have smashed me silent like a dog with rabies, but thanks for your daughter Faith Ciku Kimathi”, they were shocked , ‘‘oh!, You didn’t know?,” he was confused as the truth sank clearly in his mind, next time check the IDs of people you sleep with,”
Sophie collapsed immediately, my uncle yelled, ‘‘no it can’t be, no no nooooo!,” he cried like a baby, this made me feel so good, Njeri brought the suitcase, ‘‘ what is the code?,” I asked my uncle in fury, ‘‘please don’t do this am sorry please,” I didn’t mind I just fired hitting him on his left thigh, he howled loudly, ‘‘I have your kids here, if you don’t say it I will take one after another,” I snarled at him, I was filling like a I was a mafia but I knew deep in my heart that I couldn’t hurt the kids, ‘‘please don’t hurt my kids please,” ‘‘shut up!,” it was my sister who silenced my uncle’s wife, ‘‘ok, ok, I will say it,” he obliged, I knew I had broken him, ‘‘its 9905”, he muttered weakly as Njeri opened the suitcase, it was full of bundles of a thousand notes, under the money there were large envelopes, I perused them picking the ones that interested me, some were business permits for his new investments, the rest were my father’s, I took all that belonged to my father and the rest I gave to his, his wife.
My business was done here as Sophie came back from her sleep, she tried to understand what was going on, I let her free, I sent Njeri to bring Master Zinka inside, when he came I simply said, ‘‘I am sorry master I knew too late to let you know that’s your sister Ciku and your fath..” I didn’t finish, he punched me so hard I saw little shining stars floating in the air, everyone gasped in as if they fell the pain, he did not say a word, he had already recognized his father, ‘‘sister come here, I have missed you so long,” he held Sophie in a long tight embrace, ‘‘she was just sobbing and muttering, ‘‘I have been sleeping with my father, I have bee..,” she couldn’t come into terms of knowing that her sponsor was actually her real father, and the brother she thought was dead was actually holding her’s
‘‘Well father, how have you been, long time since I saw you, did you miss me father?,” Master mocked his father in pride as he moved around, he was exited, he had wished for this day and here it was, but Master Zinka was smart, he knew how to control his inner feelings, ‘‘of course my son I missed you and your mother and..,” ‘‘and you slept with my sister, your own daughter!,” he was angry, Zinka’s real name was Daniel Kinuthia Kimathi, aunt Fatuma had introduced me to him, she had known him since he was young and she thought he could be of use on this day, Zinka always told me he was looking for his father who had left him and his mother long time ago, I had decided to stay as low as an envelope, ‘‘come on father the pain of my mother still haunts me, today, her sorrows will be your tears,” his anger was clear, he was about to do the worst.
Just kill the bastard, I want my children,” my uncle’s wife said, “dady, dady, dady, they cried as their mother took them outside, “that not your dady,” she snarled at them, don’t leave me here please baby”, no one heard his cries.
We all left uncle Joseph with his son and daughter, Nyundo left with Slim, Vikapu and my uncle’s family, I waited outside with my sister, all we could hear were screams, after about half an hour, they came out, Master Zinka took his sister’s car and off we drove, I heard a fire alarm and when I looked back what I saw at house 34 was a thick smoke coming from inside, the following day the news were all over, ONE BUSSINES MAN FEARED DEAD BY FIRE AT KAREN ESTATE HOUSE 34, ARSONIST INVOLVED AS TWO GUARDS FOUND BOUND AND RESCUED, INVESTIGATIONS GOING ON, life went on as normal, Ciku was broken and became a drunk but her brother found her a good rehabilitation center, she recovered and finished her degree, she is now a bank manager.
Aunt Fatuma now owns a large night club in town, I made sure of that, my sister went back to school and she now runs father’s businesses, she lives in Runda, she is married with one daughter she named her after our mother, I have a wife and a son, his name is Richard Mwaniki, I live in Hurlingam close to house 204, I still see my uncle’s wife and children, they know am their step cousin, their mother visits me and she runs her late husband’s businesses, was I not fair enough?, we had our parents’ and little brother’s death anniversary last month, Ciku, Master Zinka, my uncle’s second family, and our relatives attended, no one talks about that night, we don’t know what happened inside that house but we know it was horrible, Nyundo, Slim and Vikapu after giving them one million shillings as we had agreed, I never saw them again, after all they lived in shadows, my life is good I have avenged my parents and brother, our lineage will continue, I have lived like a feather in a rich man’s hat and I have realized it helps a lot, life goes on without the sponsors.