JERK

I don’t like eavesdropping. But I have heard alot of things that I wasn’t supposed to, by mistake of course. I was just at the wrong place at the right time often, I guess. I have heard mean and hurtful things and also compliments, but mostly the negative. I mean there’s some kind of a saying that goes like, listeners never hear good of themselves. That person must have had quite an experience.

“Wanna dance?”, a voice interrupts my train of thought. I shake my head and turn back to my drink. I drown it at a go and push the glass to the bar tender. I don’t like waiting. Maybe that’s why I always sat at the counter. Or maybe I didn’t want my drink spiked while I was seated somewhere in a booth unknowingly. Or maybe it’s cause I saw the ogly eyes the bar tender gave me. One can never be too sure.

I have been drinking steadily for the past few hours. Unfortunately I am as far as one can be from getting drunk, which was my exact intention. I didn’t notice the drink in front of me until the guy, Harris, or so his tag said cleared his throat. In a fluid movement I emptied the glass again feeling the burn all the way to the pit of my stomach. I shoved the glass towards him motioning for a refill. I saw the question in his eyes and hardened my gaze just as he opened his mouth. People say my eyes are scary. I know. But they aren’t. But cross me and you’ll see the difference real fast. His eyes widened slightly and he closed his mouth. I nodded towards the glass and looked away.

I wasn’t in the mood for twenty questions with Mr pretty eyes here. Wait,, did I just say that? I might actually be drunk afterall, I mused and chuckled slightly. He raised his head to look at me questioningly but I ignored him and focused on a random spot on the ceiling. As I waited, a beep alerted me that I had a new message. Curiousity got the better of me and I got my phone out. I unlocked it and my breath caught. I guess I wasn’t drunk after all. I wasn’t supposed to notice my wallpaper otherwise.

The words I had heard, okay eavesdropped on earlier floated around my mind as if on cue.
“…… she meant nothing to me Brit. I swear on my life. You have always been it for me. Just believe me baby. I love you and you know that. Bianca just helped me pass time…” Of course I should have run away at top speed after hearing that but the sadist in me made sure I was rooted to the spot. ” ……. She’s nothing like you baby. You’re beautiful, intelligent, sexy, kind, thoughtful, caring and sweet. She has nothing on you. It was just convenient at the time, I was mad at you for leaving. But I now realize it was a mistake. Please forgive me?…. “

I sprinted to the door colliding with Mrs Kalo at the door nearly knocking her down.” I wasn’t here”, I gritted out and ducked, leaving her astonished. I guess even the sadist in me had heard enough. After a couple of minutes of mindless walking around and nearly getting runned over while crossing, I ended up in Traveller’s Tavern. Not that I would have ended up anywhere else though, honestly. It had the perfect atmosphere for a pity part and I made sure not to pick any acquaintances during all my visits. I went there when I needed to be alone, which might translate into alot of times if you know me.

Did I mention that today is my birthday? No? Oh am so sorry. People say I tend to leave out the important details out of my conversations. But am a firm believer in telling people what I feel they need to know. Of course I don’t say this out loud. God help me but I can’t stand offended people and the gasp of I thought we were friends? Don’t friends tell each other everything? I have my own definition of everything too, but I don’t say that either. I don’t need a lecture from anybody. Am good with my principles and definitions.

So incase you still don’t know who I am, you need to read better. I hope that did not sound rude, but my name is Bianca, not Ms Politeness. Yeah, Bianca, Bryant’s 7 month joke. His name sounds bitter in my mouth. Can we call him Jerk? It’s not like I need your permission anyway. So here’s the story. Am not telling you because I want to, but only so I can hear your apologies. Am in a pity party for heaven’s sake. And I think more is needed than me and my drink. Come along for the ride. I must however tell you that I don’t like being interrupted .

I didn’t know Jerk till my last year of high school. It was my teachers fault actually. The class had flopped a partnered project so she decided to switch up partners to apparently enhance team work. Am not sure how that worked though because the second test was worse performed than the previous one. But I’ll make a point of asking her. It’s not nice to assume things. Anyway, back to Jerk, he was my science lab partner. It was quite an adjustment seeing my best friend Ray had been my partner since my first year of high school. No one else could stand my sharp sarcasm and I liked it that way.

The fact that Jerk was always brooding didn’t help matters. He wasn’t rude or anything. He was just seriously out of it. I could have left him to sulk into the next century and do the project by myself but my grade was on the line here. Mrs science teacher had said she would deduct 50 points from the overall mark if she learnt that there wasn’t cooperation from both partners. So on the first day, after realizing he wasn’t following what I was writing, I asked him what his deal was.

Of course not in those words. Am not as mean as I sound. Okay, maybe I am, but that’s besides the point. He just looked at me like I was a ghost and opened his mouth. He closed it after a while. He did this for quite a while. I figured out he was trying to find out if his jawbone still worked. I mean, excuse me, but he did that for three minutes and forty six seconds. Yes, I was counting. Then he simply said “she left”. I wanted to laugh so hard that the teacher seated in the front with her headphones plugged in probably playing loud music would hear me. I really wanted to. But it wouldn’t do good to scare him off even before we were started on the project. I happened to scare people off alot even without trying. So actually making an effort to was taking it too far, I chastised myself.

It was so hard not to. I almost laughed. Almost. But instead I bit my lower lips so hard till the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth. A while later, the impulse had lessened and I was able to ask him about her. Turns out that he had been in a three year relationship with a certain Britney who just called it quits on him and moved schools. I pitied him, even though I still wanted to laugh at him. But he was so down cast that I made it my duty to cheer him up. Several jokes and pokes later we were able to get over with the introductory part of the project.

After that the bell rang and I bid him goodbye. Instead of walking away he followed me to my next class, History. Shrugging I walked to the front and got my books out. History was always my favorite. Something intriguing about the past. After a few minutes of waiting for the teacher going through that days lesson, I heard the seat beside me being pulled. Nobody ever sat there. I knew because I had sat at the front since the beginning of the year. I spied Jerk and raised my eye brow. “The boys at the back know about Britney and I. They are teasing me”, he whispered apologetically. I shrugged and turned to my book as the teacher walked in. As the day progressed I realized we had all classes together. Wierd, because I hadn’t seen him before, not like I knew anybody else in my class apart from Ray though.

To cut short the chase, we become friends and slowly the friendship turned into a relationship, we had been together steadily for seven months. Until today that is. I think I should correct that to, I had been together with myself for the past seven months. After all I meant nothing to him, so we technically weren’t together, Right? I just read too much in his friendly gestures and made assumptions. “Oh brain, how’d you fool me for seven good months? Could have been a mother in those months bro?”,, I whispered and laughed again bitterly.

To be continued…

THE REAL.

“Hello”, I start the conversation weirdly. To say am nervous is an understatement. My hands are cold, as it happens any time am uncomfortable. Am painfully aware of the fact as his hand jerks from mine during the brief handshake. He motions for me to sit and I don’t waste time in dropping to the proffered chair. My kness were starting to get a little weak back there and I was breathless. A fine sheen of perspiration covers my forehead and nose and it takes everything inside me to stop myself from dabbing at it.

Am starting to regret offering to do this interview. What was I thinking? I slowly concentrate on slow deep breaths to calm myself down. “You’re nervous”. It’s not a question. It’s simply a statement, said with an air of authority at that, brooking no argument whatsoever. I nod as I take out my pen and notebook. I clear my throat and decide to get over and done with it. I look at him and swallow, his low pulled hood and dark glasses topped with a type of mask I can’t identify doesn’t make things easier. I look at my watch. I have wasted eight good minutes on my nerves. It is time to wear the big girl boots now.

“So Mr…”. I let the sentence hang expecting him to give his name so that I could continue. “Anonymous”. My eyes widen in shock and suspicion but I continue. “You called The Daily Press exactly two hours ago and said you had exclusive information on the death of the former police boss Mr Daniel, may his soul rest in peace, that would be of public interest. With me is a dictaphone for recording purposes. It has been altered with to change your voice so you mantain your anonymity. I will also be writing things I deem of interest like names and figures. I have no cameras on me or weapons, you’re men made sure of that. I suggest we get the show rolling”, I finished breathlessly.

He watched me for a long minute until I squirmed in my seat. I turned on the dictaphone and put my notepad and pen on the ready. He cleared his throat.

Mr Daniel Okoth did not commit suicide, as alleged. Being such a tough police boss, he has earned the admiration of many and rubbed many others the wrong way. Unfortunately, those who bumped shoulders with him are very powerful people in the government and society, even now as we speak. In the course of his work, the late Daniel stumbled on very high profile information linking three top government officials to money laundering, corruption, drug trafficking, tax evasion and gross abuse of office in one of his superior’s office. Being highly trained he discreetly took pictures of the incriminating documents and kept quiet. The information however greatly bothered him so he decided to delve into his own personal investigations. I guess the officials hadn’t bothered to cover their tracks well seeing they had connections in the force. So he landed a goldmine of important evidence enough to destroy the three and his bosses. Armed with that he naively confronted his bosses with the information. They were mortified and tried to buy him too, but he would hear none of it. He walked out on them, the biggest mistake of his life. Within seconds calls were made and a price was put on his head. Unknown to them, Daniel had made several copies of the evidence he had amassed and sent them to friends he could trust in the force and the legal world. On his way home he was ambushed but his quick driving skills saved his life. Getting home, it is assumed that he relayed the dire situation to his family who immediately flew out of the country with help from friends. He did not run though. He is quoted telling his friend that he wouldn’t run like a coward as the rule of law was trampled on. He would fight to the bitter end.
I know two days ago he was publicly denounced as a traitor for allegedly pulling a gun on the head of state and stripped of all his power. I wish to bring to light the fact that there was a scuffle at the police headquarters due to an attempted prison break, which also coincided with the head of state’s impromptu visit. Pulling out a gun was a necessary measure but at no specific time was the gun aimed at the president. Nevertheless, what happened happened. Mr Daniel was immediately detained without a warrant and taken to a cell. It is here that he allegedly committed suicide.
He did not commit suicide. He was murdered. In cold blood. The life was tortured out him to reveal his confidants but he chose to die with the secret. The body displayed to the public is not his body. His real body is currently in a private morgue under post mortem analysis after a friend helped smuggle it out of an interrogation underground warehouse in the prison grounds. Though the analysis is not done, the primary reason for his death is two clean bullets through the head. Apart from that his body is littered with knife wounds and broken bones. Together with this information is a series of mug shots showing his arrest, a short clip of his torture and detailed images of the injuries on his body. Mr Daniel did not commit suicide. He was murdered. And we shall get justice for him, with or without the non existent law’s backing.”

“Who is we?”, I ask. He simply keeps quiet . Seeing that he has no plans to answer, I switch off the dictaphone.
“We are Anonymous”, he said unexpectedly. I open my mouth to say something and then close it again like a fish. I am lost for words . This is too much information to process. My brain goes to autopilot mode and I finish scribbling furiously and stand up robotically. I secure the note pad, a brown envelope he had handed over containing photographic evidence and the dictaphone in a hidden pocket of my knee length trench coat hastily, uncomfortable under his watchful gaze.

“We shall meet again. Make sure that your name doesn’t appear anywhere on the broadcast. I trust this was only between you and Malcom.” he says and gets up from his chair and walks out of the room without waiting for my answer. Malcom is my boss and mentor. This was his call but he couldn’t do it because of the discretion the assignment requires. Anybody can recognize him anywhere and identify him in a line up. That’s why he had to send me. My thoughts are interrupted by footsteps. I turn around to see the same guards who walked me in blindfolded.

I steel myself as they approach. One of them stands in front of me and motions that he wants to put the blindfold on. I nod slightly and soon I am blind and as defenseless as a sitting duck. I am gently pushed forward, a guiding hand on my back and suddenly I am airborne. I panic as I feel all the blood rushing from my face. I am placed in a moving contraption with wheels as I fight to have my breath back. I assume that it was a stretcher from the make and let them do their thing. It is their turf after all. They call the shots. I lose count of the endless twists and turns we make and instead concentrate on calming my erratic heart. A heart attack is definitely not on the menu today.

The only indication that we are already outside is a gentle breeze. I am put down and the walk continues for a while. Suddenly we stop . I am gripped with fear and trepidation. What now? The blind fold is removed from my eyes as I squint from the sudden bright light. With a jolt I turn to find myself alone. Not a soul in sight. As my eyes grow accustomed to the light I noticed that I was a few steps The Daily Press’ offices. I break into a run willing myself to reach Malcolm’s office without passing out. My mind is still on overdrive and my body is adrenaline pumped.
I am confused, scared and shocked. But most of all, a battle is brewing inside me. A fire fueled by the cry for justice. A fire whose flames I can not douse, even with the knowledge that I would get burn. Not like I try to. A battle I know I can’t afford to lose.

To be continued…

DELAYED JUSTICE.

Time and again since independence, many people have lost their lives in the hands of the police force. Police brutality is a very grim reality many Kenyans are well familiar with and have had to deal with.

Rather than protecting the lives of the ordinary citizens, the police force has been utilized to oppress, silence and even in some cases exterminate people. The irony of this is the motto of the force is ‘Utumishi kwa wote’, which basically translates to service to or for all? In this case the all seems to be limited to the powerful few.

How many people have disappeared in police custody under mysterious circumstances? How many people have gone missing after allegedly being picked up by law enforcement officers? How many cases have been filed against the said law enforcers? How many times has the IPOA called out police for excessive use of force in handling suspects which often led to injuries and in some cases loss of lives?

Doesn’t the constitution clearly state that any person is presumed innocent until proven guilty? Does one forfeit the right to life by merely being a suspect? Is the freedom from any kind of torture non existent? Then why do we claim to be an independent country with a constitution made by us for us? Where is the democracy we so boast of? Where’s the freedom of speech? Aren’t activists arrested left right and center for speaking out against most of these issues?

When will the family of Carlington Maina get closure for the untimely death of their son, a promising young man, in the hands of the police? Are we safe to enjoy the last rays of the sinking sun in our balconies if a thirteen year old life is cut short, like a rose, with all its youthful dreams and aspirations?

How is a man forced to spend a night, out in the cold with the coffin bearing the body of his dead wife, despite carrying the necessary documentation to allow him passage to afford his late spouse her last last respects decently? How does someone drop him kilometers from his home at 2:00am in the morning without a care and drive away with an intact conscience?

Why on earth does one decide to evict people out of nowhere in the middle of a pandemic without any prior plans of resettlement in action, despite the existence of court orders barring the same move? What is so appealing about adding more suffering to an already impoverished population?

There’s too much to point out, there are too many wrong things going on. Where did we go wrong? Where did we cross the fine line between being human and thoughtless animals? When did we become such a sick society that nothing moves us?

When will the slow wheels of justice turn, that those wronged might be avenged? For how long must we cry out for justice? For how long must we fight to be heard? Who will speak for the voiceless? When will we fight the yokes of oppression that threaten to choke the life out of us?

Delayed justice, is justice denied. Someone once said justice is better served hot, otherwise it will be just ice, to sooth the burn, but not heal the scars. When will this change that we so desire happen?

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