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The Plight of Kitengela Bar Owners

The author loves writing and learning from his seniors. He has written several short stories. Besides, he is a teacher.

All is not Well.......

As I lie here in my new home six feet under, I'm still regretting why I fell prey to your trap. I vividly remember the day you told me that I would be safe if I gave you two- thousand shillings every day. You would ensure that your boss would not come to clobber and flog my customers, or even arrest them. My business would flourish. I would be filthy rich someday. Your empty promises were too good to be true.

I'm not alive but my spirit is out to haunt those who murdered me in a cold blood. Peace will never thrive in your lives. I'm talking about those who conspired with the boys in blue to terminate my life. Someone may order me to withdraw my statement but should I say I'm ready for any eventuality? No one can kill a ghost! I have never heard of someone who has ever murdered a corpse. Had I known that the happenings of that day would lead to my untimely demise, I wouldn't have ventured into that business (operating a restaurant).

Friends, that's a risky business especially if you are not from a royal family.

Let me stop beating about the bush. It all started when my friend who lives in Kitengela town( a town in Kajiado county, located a few kilometres from Nairobi) called me. I was then living in kaspul Kabodo. The call lasted for about three hours or so. Back in my village, I was doing very well. Being the only person owning a mini-supermarket, many customers thronged in my shop. Consequently, I got a lot of profit.

At first, I didn't want to leave my shop. But after the officer persuaded me for some time, I made up my mind to leave for Kitengela. Only a fool who cannot change his mind. Even though my parents didn't buy the idea( relocation of my business to Kitengela) I gave them a cold shoulder. I don't know why my friend decided to send me fare but all in all, I found myself in this town full of grey dust.

Unlike in my village, there were no birds to chirp, goats to bleat, or even bulls to bellow in this big town. All I could see were busy people, some rushing while others whiling away the time leaning their backs against the dirty walls. On alighting Rembo Shuttle, I found the officer waiting for me. He was from my village but I knew little about him. He was so tall and had a protuberant stomach. He was a man of few words for he only commended on my beautiful yellow dress. My cherubic face and my slender body? Maybe, a story for another day.

The officer put me up in his house the first week. I enjoyed my time there. I was still young and I found life fulfilling. What do you expect from a lass aged twenty-two? The following week, the officer and I strolled through the streets of Kitengela. We were looking for a good place to locate a bar. We walked from one shop to another chitchatting. I was over the moon being with a person with a title OC...

We sauntered here and there until we came across a house written 'Arusha Meat Den'. My boon companion talked to some people outside the house. Their filthy caps and aprons were rather disgusting. The only thing I admired was how they addressed my friend. "Officer! Yes sir! He was given a brown envelope and without further ado, we left. Being new in town, I had a hard time crossing Namanga Road but the officer came in handy.

On reaching Kyang'ombe, my friend showed me a big empty room. That's where I would open my new 'shop'. We checked every corner and found that we were good to go.

This business was good, especially on weekends. People from all walks of life would crowd there requesting to be served various drinks. I called them esteemed customers and in return, they loved me. I employed a couple of workers to help me run the business. My profit was good. The officer would come in the evening in the company of his colleagues and ask for some drinks. I didn't want them to pay but they insisted that I should accept the money or I incur losses. I would accept it reluctantly. Very late at night, I would board the officer's car and leave for his mansion.

I was innocent and ignorant at the same time. My conscience neither told me that he had a wife nor children. What if he was a family man? How would his wife treat me if she found me in her house? But this man was wise. He had made sure that nothing was there that could raise any suspicion in the house.

Before I prepared supper, I would first take a bath. As as soon as I was done, I would lie on his lap looking straight in his eyes wearing a broad smile. He would smile too. Without dilly-dallying, I would prepare a sumptuous supper. The middle-aged man with a girl would have their meal watching their favourite movie, 'Game of Thrones. Many a time, I would pretend to sleep on the sofa looking for his attention. He would carry me to the bedroom and our long lovely night would start. For me, nothing mattered in life as long as I had a protector, a boyfriend, and a person to lean on in desperate times. I loved the way he treated me, especially at night. He would call me a beautiful teen as he told me that I deserved tender care. I would wake up the following day and go straight to the washroom.

I would admire my slim body. My brown complexion was really attractive. What bothered me was pregnancy. I did not want to give birth.

All was well until all hell broke loose one evening. After living with the officer for a couple of months, he was transferred to Mandera. That spelled doom to me. I was on my own. But before he left, he promised to cooperate.

Things changed drastically. His colleagues started raiding my premises every day. They would batter my customers and maim them. As if that is not enough, they would take all the money I had from the sales of the day. This went on for some time until I felt like giving up. I called Vetro(my friend) and promised to talk to his colleagues. I think this only worsened the situation for I was arrested and forced to pay Ksh.100000 or be arraigned in the court of law. I cooperated. Remember, I used my savings!

Time went by! I had lost many customers because of the brutality of the officers. I was operating on losses.
Things were becoming worse and worse every day. I was compelled by the situation to close my bar indefinitely to travel to Mandera to seek advice from Vetro. No sooner had I reached there than I called him. To my utter dismay, it was answered by a woman. I fell with a thud and almost passed out. I requested the lady to help me know where my friend was but my pleas landed on deaf ears. She even threatened to murder me if ever made the mistake of calling her again.

I had to travel back to Kitengela. I arrived there precisely at 8.00 pm The deserted streets of the town told me that all was not well. Even at Jupiter House, the business was not as usual.
The world seemed to be unfair to me. What had I done to deserve all this? Since the departure of my friend, I had relocated to Noonkopir because that area has affordable rooms. The only problem was security! The very night, I wanted to go to my house to rest but something told me I should first go and check my premises.

The night was creepy. As I had sustained a wound on my ankle when I tried to save one of my customers from the officer's heavy beating, I hobbled to Kyang'ombe. Upon reaching, I was taken aback to see the wide-open gates of my bar. Near the gates were two tall men dressed in black. Their AK-47 guns hung above their waists. "We have been sent to collect the monthly dues." One of them said. "Yes, hundred thousand for this month," the other one added. Before I could say anything, I was led away in handcuffs. I was thrown into a car and the driver drove to an unknown destination.
Due to hunger, I lost consciousness. I don't know what happened after that but I later found myself in the world of no return. In my new home, I hear people saying that I was shot severally in the head by my assailants. They had been sent by their boss because I did not honour our agreement. But what agreement?
Whoever killed me is still unknown to me. But someone might say I'm very thick! It is so easy to guess. I fear they might come for my corpse and kill it further.

But for how long will these people continue oppressing us? You will never know peace. You follow your bosses' orders blindly. You kill innocent citizens but depression will not spare you. I'm here to haunt you! Shame on you!


kitengela

© 2022 JEREMIAH MWANIKI KILUNDA

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