Celebrating East African Writing!
‘So it says the process should take how long?’
‘A week at least.’
‘And where shall we keep them in the meantime?’
‘Look around Kamau!’ Said Juma impatiently, gesturing at the empty containers scattered around the yard.
‘We can pick any container and put them inside.’
‘But what if someone finds them?’
‘How will they find them eh?’ said Juma thrusting the paper at his business partner. “You and I are the owners of this yard; we just pick one container put the debes in, lock it and keep the keys. Then after one week…..’ He shrugged.
‘I don’t know how you can be so….. casual about this.’ Kamau said shifting his bulk on the rough bench they were sitting on.
‘Look.’ Juma said leaning towards him, his eyes growing large and animated behind his glasses. ‘We did what we had to do.’
Kamau looked away and smoothed over the paper over his fleshy thigh. Caustic soda, the heading read. The solution to their problem. He had a sudden mad instinct to laugh at the inadvertent pun and quickly bit his lip.
‘It’s going to rain soon’ he said glancing at the two plastic containers and rising from the bench. ‘I’m going to tell one of the casuals to put the debes -‘
‘Are you mad?’ hissed Juma, grabbing Kamau’s hand and yanking him down. ‘We have to do this ourselves, no one else can get involved.’
‘You… you’re right. Of c… course.’ Muttered Kamau.
‘And we can’t do it now, we have to wait until it’s dark, otherwise people will start asking questions’ said Juma between clenched teeth.
‘I can’t believe I have to explain this to you’ he said, rising from his seat and pacing so rapidly that his coat flapped about in the wind.
‘We should have let them…’ Kamau blurted out his voice breaking. ‘We should have just let them take the things’. And then he burst unashamedly into tears and buried his face in his large hands.
Juma stopped pacing and turned to look at his business partner and best friend of fifteen years; he walked back to the bench and put his arm around his friend’s heaving shoulders.
‘I know buddy’ he said softly. ‘But it’s too late for should haves. You know?’
They had caught two workers in the act of stealing electrical goods from a newly arrived container from Dubai. In the ensuing confrontation- just a little after working hours – when the yard was empty of other people, it had turned ugly. In ten minutes the workers – pummelled into unconsciousness by their angry bosses had slipped quietly into death.
‘This is the only way. They were unarmed.’ Said Juma. ‘We could rot in prison’.
They had decided on acid, had manoeuvred the corpses in to the blue plastic containers placed innocuously a foot away.
They watched silently. Even now the evidence was eroding away.
The saying is wrong you know. It’s not always dust to dust.
©Christine Yienya 2010
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