Thief A, Jesus or Thief B

There was a huge blast. Like a bomb. The women screamed. The lights immediately went out.  An electricity transformer, in Pyrethrum Estate, had just gone out. See, the Kenya Power and Darkness Company doesn’t have to tell us a damn thing. And, most of the time, they don’t. Except maybe for power interruptions. Let’s throw them a bone…

Well, there had been no planned power outages. And no statements were released. No explanations. Nothing. Hell! They can even bump up their prices any time they want to. Y’all will keep yapping on twitter but we’ll still need them. That’s the beauty of a monopoly.

It’s been a week now. Still, nothing! The poor folks of Pyrethrum estate can’t take it no more. Ati transforming lives? They can’t take the slogans no more. Nĩgutee! But one man’s trash, that’s another man’s come up. While the folks uptown bitched about the electricity, vijana wa Rhonda Viwandani saw an opportunity. She was in a bikini; one of those that let the buns and those things around the front hangout. She couldn’t be resisted. I’m still talking about the opportunity here, folks.

The name of the opportunity was Nyamakoroto. Not Nyamakoroto Plaza or Nyamakoroto Towers. Just Nyamakoroto. Plain and simple. It’s a pretty odd name for a building but it’s got the Biashara Street DTB Bank Branch and a few more stores on its ground floor, so we’ll let that pass, for now. A plan was hatched. Not much of a plan because we all know how creative the boys can be with their burglary. The plan was simple. To destroy. To steal. And to kill. Because they had little else to do. They carried guns too. Big guns. Guns that spat out 9mm rounds. And they hoped like hell they wouldn’t have to use them. They were the Taliban. A vicious gang from the West. 

“Maze leo Kevo amekwamiwa!” Kevo was a Jack of all trades. He was in on the plan, of course, and he sold a few other items. Let’s just say the law had its ways and Kevo had his own ways too, but his ways had just turned up a little empty this time. 

“Na maCID wamemwagwa Rhonda kama wote…siunajua vijana walibanja apa Nyamakoroto juzi…” It was retribution. The robbery had gone off as planned. Thanks to good old brute force. And the cops were embarrassed. They had to make a show.

But a few faces appeared skeptical. Ati CID? I mean, that’s a bit…cuckoo, don’t you think? 

“Haiya! Kuna mathe flani amevaa hadi apron ya soko lakini ni Karao…” Dennis went on. Rumor had it that he’d once been a member of Taliban. How he made it out? My guess is as good as yours. But he’d been hood all his life. If he told me cops were in town, I’d believe him.

“But msiwe na shaka…Machanda (cops) wakikam base sahii hakuna mtu watabeba…”

“Kwanini?” Somebody spat out. 

Awkward pause. 

“We si unajua tu Yout…Youtman akikam utamjua tu…Ni mtu ako na wasiwasi…Anakaa tu kupimia…Trust me, akuna msee ka huyo hapa …” Dennis said, taking a look around. 

Well, he’d painted quite a picture for us. Here was a man, who’d once been a petty thief, then a not-so-petty thief, then a gang member with the oaths, the tattoos, and all. A man who’d come out of a few mob justices alive and had the scars to show for it. A man who had nothing left to prove unless he had to prove it in court. A man who had once looked at a long stretch in jail. He had no conscience. No guilt. He felt no shame. Such a man does get caught once in a while. Sometimes alive; sometimes with a few bullet holes. Either way, nobody misses him. Let’s call him Thief A.

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Thief B is a little bit more sophisticated. And way, way smarter. 

Cookies and coffee. Why the hell not? It was a long day and I could use some coffee. And some cookies. And a muffin. Yes! A muffin. Man, I loved my job! I had just stretched my feet on the sofa and spread the day’s paper, ready for a crunchy bite off one of the cookies, when he showed up. It had to wait. Besides his father drove a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser V8. And he would take it for a spin sometime, when his father let him. Maybe I could learn something from these folks. 

He saw the headlines. Witness testifies ‘how governor stole money and shared it out’ 

“Sasa hawa watu wanasumbulia nini Governor?” I looked at him straight in the eye, hoping he would go on. 

“Iyo si kuiba, iyo ni kupiga deal…Hakuna mtu amenyonga hapo…we ukibahatika kuingia mahali…we kula!” He did go on. 

I could tell he was kinda hopping I would agree. Or nod. Or say something. Anything. I was silent. And for good reason. His father was an aide to a ‘senior government official’. Wonderful people, these ‘credible news sources’, but they won’t tell you any names. Please feel free to speculate and cuss all you want but they won’t get themselves killed just so that you can get something to talk about. Why should it be their asses on the line? Well, small town gossip always found a way to come up with a theory of its own. They pinned every scandal they ever heard of on his father. The Maize scandal? Yes. The Dam Scandal? He was born in the Rift Valley, so he must be in on it. The arms deal scandal? Hell yeah! He loves guns. Good old juicy village gossip. 

Yes, Thief B does get caught once in a while too but he is not the type to be bundled in a police car or get shot at. 

If we crucified Jesus, with the two thieves, today, I wonder who Christ will take with him to paradise. Will it be Thief A or Thief B? 

For me, Kafa Ngoma njùe (better the devil  you know than the angel you don’t)! 

Feel free to leave your comments at the comment section below

More great articles by Douglas Mwangi:

  1. The President’s Ear. Click here to read.
  2. Why we do what we do. Click here to read.
  3. Jobs are sexist too. Click here to read.

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