Aidipi bumped into a woman who shoved him away. A car honked furiously but his chin remained on his chest. He was too tired and hungry and overwhelmed to care. He had done so much which put him in a far worse footing than when he left the camp. His father was so wrong; sometimes there is no way. He had certainly never been pushed hard enough.
‘Hey!’ someone yelled. ‘Hey, I am talking to you!’
Aidipi looked up. The driver’s face was almost covered in dark goggles. ‘Come here!’
Aidipi approached the car timidly.
‘Do you have a death wish or something?’
‘I am sorry.’
‘You are new here.’
Relieved to find a listening ear Aidipi recounted his ordeal as fast as fatigue and hunger would allow. The man opened the passenger door and told him to hop in. The two drove to a hotel where the man ordered a soda for himself and food for Aidipi. As he devoured a chicken leg Aidipi put his predicaments aside. It was days since he ate a proper meal. Finished, he regarded the Good Samaritan who was studying the photograph. The expensive-looking watch, necklaces, the golden rings, the silver NY stuck on his cap said it loud; here is a man of means.
‘Is he familiar?’ Aidipi asked hopefully.
The man smiled revealing a golden tooth. ‘I can ask around. It is too late to act now though.’
‘How soon can he be found? My mother and sister are in bad shape.’
‘I will do the best I can.’
Just when Aidipi was thinking it was a hopeless quest! ‘Thank you.’
‘Don’t mention it. They call me Donga.’
Donga stopped outside a blue gate after a brief drive. He entered the building and emerged a while later with a boy about Aidipi’s age. He beckoned on Aidipi who joined them
‘Lastborn will host you for the night,’ Donga said. ‘Remember, good visitors are deaf and blind.’
Lastborn led the way inside.
Furniture in the room consisted of two plastic stools, a threadbare, cushion-less jumbo sofa and a three-by-six bed which took most of the room. Some clothes hung from a line that ran the length of the bed. Bob Marley was smiling off the wall next to a stalled clock. Nothing to Smile About by Morgan Heritage was blasting from under the bed. His host rocked his head to the music, a Swahili-English dictionary in his hand. A giant cockroach stared at Aidipi from behind the stove before it retreated to its hideout.
The door flew open and two boys walked in. The one in knickerbockers and a pair of sandals had a thicket for hair. But for a scar on his left chick the second boy was handsome. His Kangol cap sat on his scalp like an iron sheet. The patches and fraying aside his denim jeans looked new.
‘Meet Uncle Sailo,’ said the first boy, ‘and Uncle Kasee. What do they call you?’
‘Let him be,’ Lastborn said.
‘Are you his lost brother?’ the first boy said massaging his scar.
‘Donga said let him stay the night so let him stay the night, okay?’
The mention of Donga’s name effectively turned the newcomers’ attention to a game of cards. Their Sheng was so deep they could have been speaking Greek. The two smoked, chewed miraa and quarrelled. Aidipi was thirsty for a cigarette but he dared not ask for one.
The door burst open and in came a swarthy, diminutive and cheaper version of Donga. An arsenal of necklaces and crucifixes dangled from his neck. Each finger had a ring. Aidipi yelled because he was blandishing a dagger. Eight eyes bore into him.
‘Who is he?’ the newcomer asked.
‘Nobody,’ Sailo said. ‘Mr. Nobody, meet Uncle Katuai.’
‘I need back-up,’ Katuai said. ‘Zion Boys just mugged Wasiwasi.’
‘Where?’ Sailo asked.
‘Phase Two! We should chop them up like kale.’
Lastborn was still buried in his dictionary.
‘Lastborn, let’s move,’ Katuai said.
‘Because Wasiwasi has picked a fight he can’t see through yet again?’ Lastborn said. ‘I am done putting my life on the line for people who don’t value theirs.’
‘Who do you think you are?’ Katuai said. ‘Your hour of need is coming.’
Katuai, Sailo and Kasee rushed out. A while later Lastborn walked out. Now Aidipi knew why Donga demanded he play deaf and mute. These boys were probably into something illegal.