He absently kicked a small stone off his path as he walked absent-mindedly, along Mama Ngina Drive. Hassan had gone off to Malindi on one of Mahamri’s trucks. He was being groomed to take over the family haulage business in future, but for now, Hassan was a turn boy. His Uncle Mahamri had a harem of daughters but no son. All his wives had failed to bear him a suitable heir. It was therefore up to Hassan, a second born son from the third wife of his father (Sheikh Mahmoud), to take over Mahamri’s long distance transport business.
KK had fled Nairobi, after a run in with one of mum’s goons when Uncle Dan decided to leave the powder business to his right hand man, Ngure and pursue the business of getting elephant and rhino bits to impotent old men in the Far, Far East. Poaching was big business but so was the sale of the precious commodity snatched from the hapless creatures that roamed God’s green earth. Now Ngure was a different boss altogether; where Uncle Dan was suave, sophisticated, Ngure was about as smooth as a piece of high quality sandpaper.
He set them tough, unattainable targets and beat them like one of the djembe drums that KK had read about in the old scraps of books he found in mum’s kitchen; that Roselita used to light the jiko with early in the morning.
Before Nairobi, KK had lived in Eldoret with his lovely, sweet mum who worked herself to the bone to make sure he had it better than she ever could have. She was determined that he would soar like an eagle in life while she scratched and pecked on the surface below to make sure he ate and lived comfortably enough. This picture of determination and grit soon shattered into shards like a brittle mirror, once they encountered the local area chief, Kipambii. Kipambii’s lascivious gaze soon settled upon his mother’s girlish figure and angelic smile and before long, KK found himself on the streets, enjoying full board accommodation in alleyways and corrupt cul-de-sacs all over the town. Eventually, he had to leave Eldoret and seek greener pasture in the city in the sun, not knowing the grass is always greener where you water it.
And now, here he was, in the coastal city of Mombasa. A week ago, he’d played football on the beach with Hassan and the others as Anita and Maryam watched. Then the girls just vanished into thin air. They had been too preoccupied with the ball to notice but later, Mama Israel a mhogo seller had told them the girls got into a strange dark coloured SUV that drove just before their game ended.
“Dig!”. That bark shook KK out of his reverie and he scrambled to protect himself from the subsequent blows the man with the lightning bolt shaped scar on his right cheek was about to rain down on him. With his hands shielding his face, KK peeped at his friend Hassan. His poor, poor friend was dying of dehydration. His eyes had sunk into his sockets and his dry lips were cracked and bleeding. His once verdant and luxurious locks were matted and dry and his feet were almost paper white.
What had he dragged his friends into?
This is the fourth post in the SweatShop Chronicles. Click on the links below to read the other posts in chronological order: