There are times you look up and you wonder if anyone is watching. If anyone is at all listening. Can anyone hear me or are my words just echoing?
It’s been five years since your last stable income job. You’re unemployed and blood thirsty looking for a stable job. You’ve hustled, grinded, hustled even more but everything you touch turns into ash.
It’s a curse. It’s the economy. 40% unemployment rate. Thieves in power suits. The reasons keep coming in the thousands but nothing seems to make sense for you.
If it’s a curse, the kesha’s and deliverance services you’ve attended must have surely broken it. If it’s the economy, why are there still people being employed? If it’s the unemployment rate, well you can’t think of a counter argument so you chill.
You’re not like “the youth of today”. You sell eggs and smokies at bus station before dust dances with the wind. During the day, you write online articles for any website that will buy. Gossip, politics, sports, technology anything goes on your table. You sell peanuts, sweets and scratch cards in the afternoon. In the evening, you hit eggs and smokies again.
Your people think you make a lot of money but money disappears from your pocket like mist. Transport, more supplies, tithe, mom’s upkeep, your baby mama’s upkeep, food, rent, electricity and water eat it all up. You don’t even watch TV anymore. Who has the money to pay a monthly subscription to listen to sweet lies and see the tatters of a nation because money is sweeter than the gift of life?
Your best friend, Collo, shows up at your doorstep in tattered shorts, no shirt and socks smelling of rotten tomatoes, eggs and stale bean soup after a week of going missing. His eyes are like empty polished marble cabinets, and his once smooth laid back hair is wretched and mattered with dust, water and ashes. He looks frail and his skin is pale ashy. If you took a bit of water to wipe it off, it would probably come out in a myriad of flakes.
You don’t hesitate to let him in. He might have been robbed, kidnapped or worse, a target of an assassination. Your mind wanders off but you come back to the present. He’s seated at the edge of your only loveseat.
“What happened Collo? You look out of it bro” You ask.
He doesn’t answer. He stares.
At first, you think he’s staring at you but he’s not. It’s the wall behind you. Is he watching the wall?
You ask him a second time. He doesn’t respond.
The third time, he shakes his head twice in disbelief. Then, slams his fist in his palm.
“Arrgh!! No No. This can’t happen to me!! No”
He stands up in jack speed and begins pacing the room like a possessed man on a mission.
Now, you’ve seen your best friend angry. Five levels of mad if there was any but not this.
He pulls his hair and for a second, you think he’ll pull it all out. But, he jumps and punches the wall next to him. Collo is all muscle and his one muscular arm is the circumference of both of yours. The hit sends tremors to your roofing sheets house and you silently wonder if mabati roofing tiles are really that strong enough.
You walk up to him to calm him down but when he turns, he looks at you with this blood thirsty, furious red eyes you wonder if you’re the prey.
“Collo! Collo bro! It’s Isaac. Calm down. Tell me what happened”
He looks at you for a while then jots to reality. You release your breath.
“Isaac, I am finished! I am finished! ” He says then punches the wall again. His fists draw blood.
“What do you mean?”
“Bro, I am nothing anymore on this earth! Nothing!” He raises his arms in exasperation, lowers them and pulls at his hair before he begins pacing again.
You pause. Is collo broke? Impossible. He must be joking with you. That’s the joke of the century. It’s like purple monkeys invasion to Africa. Wasn’t he running for Member of Parliament this year? Wasn’t he the one who bought 3000 branded leso’s for women in Kibera?
Your mind keeps racing and you stand rooted at the same spot.
Collo continues, “Bro, remember I told you I was going to finish this guy Mambo with that expose on Jumala TV?”
“He got wind of the news I was planning to expose him and he paid off the news editor and journalist. I’ve tried going to other media stations but they won’t take it. It’s too risky”
“It’s like this man is some god on earth. No one wants to stand up against him. No one wants to expose his shady dealings or the way he murdered his first wife and killed thousands of kids with his lead construction deal!” He continues.
He slams his fist against his palm then sits down.
You sit slowly and listen keener than a beaver.
“That Friday, we met with the boys at Bustani- he got in the loop with Kanini, that ka side chic from the party’s headquarters, where I was and they kidnapped me in the parking lot”
“Bustani parking lot? Bro, didn’t we leave Bustani at the same time, around 11 pm?”
“No, I stayed behind. When I entered my car and started the engine, a man was in the back and put a knife to my throat. We drove till Kenyatta and some men got in. They took me to the back, blindfolded me and I passed out”
“When I woke up, I was tied and I had this smelly sock gagged in my mouth. I tried to shout but I couldn’t even hear the sound of my own voice. Two men came to check on me then Mambo came.”
He sighs then hesitates before slumping his shoulders.
“I’ve done some crappy isht in my past Isaac. He found it all out and he’ll leak it out tomorrow if I don’t drop out of the nomination race”
You’re stunned. Collo doing some crappy isht? The guy is holier than a holy Joe. Well, except maybe for the Kanini story.
“What crappy isht?”
“I cut off some mama’s husbands to pay my fees. It was a clean job and it was the only way. I thought no one would find out”
“Cut off like?”
“No trace on earth” He answers.
Your eyes open wide and for a minute, everything stops. Your mind goes blank. What makes a man go to that extent of pulling the trigger, heck slashing another man’s throat for money?
A heaviness of a kind sits on your chest, going deeper and deeper, searing through the illusion.
“I need your help” he continues.
Two years later; the memory of that conversation, that night and Collo haunts you as you sit in isolation on the cold cemented floor with a bucket for a toilet.
3204509. That’s your new identity in the maximum security prison. Isn’t it funny how life flips like a light switch? Maybe lacking a stable income job wasn’t a problem. You survived anyway or maybe this is how you became easy prey to illusions of friendship.
The guard’s torch passes over your cell and your cell lights up like a merry Christmas tree. Then, it all goes black and you look up towards the ceiling for the first time in two years.
Is there anyone really listening up there? Can anyone hear me? You whisper to the silence. Darkness has a pulse to it, only now you don’t hear the beat.
What do you see?
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