Traitors! That’s what they are. Get it from me my friend, you can never be friends with a cop. They have no frigging idea how to be loyal, the back stabbers. Gosh! I need to catch my breath. Been running fort the past five minutes and were it not for my swift racers, I would be hugging a fellow suspect in the back of a police landcruiser right now.
And to think Wanjohi, Ngai… Earlier in the day, I got a squad in this here route 105 Kikuyu matatu. I prefer to drive but as my profession dictates, whatever comes you take. So when the vacancy for the chief finance officer (makanga to you and other foreigners) opened up, I took it. This particular mat, driven by a mad man called Mwas, is new and able to cruise at speeds slightly faster than a slow moving jet. In it, Mwas is also able to pull stunts that would cut the lifespan of ordinary drivers by a very immediate margin. But Mwas is no ordinary driver.
However, it is neither flying low nor his acrobatics on the road that got me in trouble with Boinnet’s boys. Let me tell you the story. The day was panning into a smoldering success, especially after one passenger forgot his Sh500 change. I saw him alight in a hurry but also forgot to remember that I had his change. The sign of the cross I drew when the mat pulled off was just a prayer for better memory, for both of us.
Two hours later, I had a sparkling bunch of ‘silver’ in one pocket, a packet of fags in another and several pieces of Big-G original in another. On my arm was a bottle of Coca Cola, the big one, a tiny hole drilled on the cap. I was ready to face the world. I have been facing the world, until some minutes ago.
The tingling happiness of the twigs from Meru mixed with the flying sensation of the illegal stuff from Siaya I had inhaled was growing steadily. My mat was full to capacity and both myself and Mwas were sure of making the nine k the owner required, quite ahead of schedule.
The only problem I was grappling with was a huge shortage of loose money. That, and a stupid grin I could not wipe from my kisser. I was grinning like an idiot and it was driving somer customers crazy. Then the devil attacked. At Kinoo, we found a swarm of cops hunting for someone —or something. Wanjohi was among them. Now, let me tell you about Wanjohi.
He is a guy I have known for several years now. In fact, we met before he joined Kiganjo and became a cop. We ferried bananas from lorries into the Marigiti market in Nairobi’s downtown together. Back-breaking work, I must add, but it gave us enough to get our throats thoroughly watered, or rather glazed by the portent illegal liquids, in the evenings.
While I was trying to figure out my friend in uniform, his colleague offered to disintegrate the note for me.
One day, a baby rat emerged from the huge bunch of bananas on Wanjohi’s back and crawled through his shirt and down out via his trousers. The screams that the bugger let out cleared the market instantly as everyone scampered to safety, unsure what the bleat was going on. I, for starters, was retrieved under a stack of cabbages where I had dived when the siren blasted. Out of panic from the extreme fear he has for rodents, Wanjohi lit from the market like a stung puppy, never to be seen there again.
It is also what made him realise he could run and so when the next cop recruitment came along, he raced his way to Kiganjo. We’ve been buddies and so when I saw him at Kinoo, I made the split decision to get change from him. He must have collected a substantial amount during the day, so I reckoned. Brandishing a thousand bob, I approached him and demanded he dismantles the note into tiny units, preferably fifties.
Shock on me, Wanjohi flashed a bland cop-look and ignored me. While I was trying to figure out my friend in uniform, his colleague offered to disintegrate the note for me. Perhaps it was the khat clogging my system, or it could be the illegals I had smoked earlier, but my thinker absolutely ignored the warning bells ringing and I handed over the dough to him, the silly grin even larger. “Toka hapa, kwenda…” I thought I heard the officer say that but as I said, I was too happy to entertain negativity so I ignored that and dug into my pocket for a fag.
The cop had put the note in his pocket and started to walk away. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if, as he handed over the change, he could also light the fag for me. He looked at me, looked at the cigarette on my mouth and his face changed into an expression of disbelief and silent win. “Nini iko kwa mdomo gichana…?” the cop asked. “Ni fegi afande…” I started as I pulled the roll from my mouth. It was a crisp roll of weed. Then it hit me how screwed I was.
Thinking quick as flash, I knocked the white cap off the officer and as he bent to collect it from the ground, I dug my hand into his shirt pocket, came out with my thousand bob note and activated my racers. Mwas narrowly missed running over my ankle as I flew over the concrete barrier onto the other side of Waiyaki Way and disappeared into the sprawl that is Kinoo.
I have been running ever since and I know I must find a way to reunite with my driver before he is skinned by the passengers. Wanjohi, well, I will pay back in kind when we hook up for drinks later, that I will… If any of you has Mpesa, could you please send 3k to Mwas and I see to it I refund when we meet, thank you.