Celebrating East African Writing!
(Dark rain clouds gather overhead. Heavy gusts of wind sweep over the abandoned container depot hurling dust and sundry debris into the faces of the two men seated on an old, oil-plastered workman’s bench, gawking nervously on yesterday’s edition of the Daily Nation. Headline: Embattled Transport Minister Finally Shown the Door. A fat lonely raindrop splashes on the page they are reading, firing a warning shot)
‘Sam, it is a catastrophe…The minister was key to our operation. All is lost now!’
‘Relax Mr. Ochweya; we can still pull it off. I know this guy at KRA…maybe we can bribe him.’
‘I doubt it. You know how things are nowadays; there are vigorous processes for these things …even if he was amenable to a bribe, we would still face other officers at KRA, we can’t buy off a whole department!’
(Mr. Ochweya shifts nervously: a big, burly man with a large oval face wearing a brown checked shirt and matching khaki trousers with brown Safari Boots and a cap. There are dark patches of perspiration underneath his armpits and on the huge expanse of his back, and his dark face is contorted in worry.
His bespectacled counterpart is an efficient man used to solving difficult problems. He and the ousted minister were such close friends that the minister would regularly seek his counsel on various issues. He has just arrived to Mombasa from China on a KQ flight to check on the shipment he negotiated last week. Things are not going as planned –transporting the shipment to Nairobi is going to present some issues what with the Minister gone. The sacking has caught them both flatfooted.)
‘I agree with you Mr Ochweya, but as it stands we have very little in terms of alternatives…Mr Shah is anxious that the goods get to Nairobi tonight as a matter of urgency. We might lose out on great business here, as well as a customer of long standing who trusts us to deliver. We just cannot back down now!’
‘I still think we cut our losses and run. As we speak, word on the street is that there is a look out for the goods. KRA officials are sniffing about my downtown office waiting for my return. The public is clamoring for heads to roll. Trouble is surely afoot!’
(They simultaneously look over their shoulders at the white truck packed behind them. The driver lurks somewhere within his cabin listening to the radio and awaiting further instructions. He is oblivious of the container’s contents.)
‘Alright, Mr Ochweya. We no longer can waste time here. Let us get away right now!
What about the driver?’
‘Who cares? He does not know who we are. Besides, he can take care of himself…’
(As a clap of thunder rumbles, the two slink away into the shadows behind empty wooden crates. A lone siren sounds in the distance, getting louder and louder. From the driver’s cabin, an anxious-looking face peeps out of the window. Then the rain suddenly starts to pour…)
©Eddy Ngeta 2010
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