He was shivering in the cold, hurling his arms across his body. This was a different day for him. He raised his leg to step on his lit cigarette which had helped to keep his mind clear.
He was no smoker but on this day no speech of lung cancer would motivate him not to smoke, nothing.
The mouth of the alley where he stood was dark but thanks to the liquor store which had light illuminating the whole area, he could clearly see the road. Rioki was his name, aged 25 years old but looked like a 45 year man who had no love and interest for the young hip music-kapuka, dance hall, dance or techno music that always charged his mood whenever he got to a club. This was a different day for him. The thought of what he was about to do made him tremble and this time he felt as though he had wet his pants twice but no it was his body reacting to the thoughts in his mind. He saw one matatu approach the stage and fear gripped him, he felt his muscles tighten, he thought of walking up to the stage and stopping the matatu but he just stood there rooted to the ground like a tree that needed a bulldozer to be uprooted. He wanted to turn away but Bosco’s words echoed in his mind. Bosco was his mentor.
‘You can do this! Your tiny body and your innocent face will not sell you during your mission!’
He could feel his muscles relax and opening up as though he was gearing for a boxing match. He needed to feel charged, energetic and confident. Staring at the liquor store, he yearned for some kibao vodka, just to gulp a whole bottle. But yet again Bosco’s words echoed in his mind.
‘You need to do this sober Rioki, remember you are doing this for your family and your future!’
Rioki’s thoughts then flashed back to his 12 year old sister who had dropped out of school to go wash clothes for the rich community in the suburb that was next to their village.
His HIV positive mother who was becoming weak day by day and needed ARV’s to improve her condition and of course his gambling behavior that needed his financial support. Yes he needed to do this tonight. He felt motivated by his problems and a sense of confidence rushed through his body. He had to complete this mission successfully.
‘I can do this! I will do this!’ he told himself as he unfolded his hands from his body. That’s when he felt it. The block in his pants, cold as ice. He shivered again. He had used it before but not in a one man mission. Rioki then remembered a story his mother would tell him and his siblings, the story of David.
‘Didn’t David kill Goliath using a sling? In front of an army? A young boy who used to take care of cows and goats, a mere shepherd? I think I am better built than that David!’ He assured himself as he took out his last cigarette. Lit it and inhaled the smoke deeply. The orange glow of the cigarette lowered its level from the mouth to the waits. He loved the rush it gave him. He then dropped it on the ground the orange glow hit the ground setting off a spark. Rioki then saw a bus approaching and he squashed the cigarette as he quickly rushed towards the stage. After all, the entire mission according to Bosco was a 5 minutes affair.
‘Unaenda Rongai?’ (Are you going to Rongai ) he asked
‘Eeehhh Buda chap chap Ingia!’ (yes hurry up enter) the conductor said as he hit the door of the bus-a sign to tell the driver to continue with the journey.
Rioki walked to the middle of the bus where there was only one seat and he could feel eyes staring at him. Did they know his mission? Was the block in his pants bulging too much?
He calculated the distance just as Bosco had told him. In his head he sang along the song blasting from the radio in the bus as he did a walk into his pants to grab the block and do the impossible. A one man mission. He touched it, felt how cold it was. Rioki then drew it slowly from his pants and put it under his jacket. He moved a bit on his seat as he prepared to stand. Then everything stopped. He froze. A woman sited in the backseat screamed.
‘Akona bunduki wooii!’( he has a gun woi)
What was she talking about? Had she known what he was about to do? He slowly turned behind and that’s when he saw him.
A dreadlocked dark skinned man in his late twenties wearing a black T-shirt and brown pants. Eyes red as though they were sucking blood from his veins. Rioki suddenly ill, a feeble feeling hit him his heart pounded.
‘Toeni simu na pesa. Na tusisumbuane ama nitakuwekelea moja mara that!’ the goliath roared. (Remove your money and phones. And let us not play around or I will kill you)
‘Weeee mbona unzubaa nikama hujaskia kile nimesema! Ni wewe naongelesha KUBAAAFF!!’ ( why are you behaving as though you have not heard me? I am talking to you! Stupid!)
That’s when Rioki felt a solid slap land on his neck, his head span and his ears buzzed. That is when his block fell from his jacket and rattled ominously to the goliath’s legs.
‘Unafanya nini na gun?? Wazeiya chekini hii fala!!’ the goliath said. (What are you doing with a gun? Hey check this out)
This is when Rioki realized that this goliath had his own army of five men. He was not there on a one man mission like he was. One of the soldiers walked towards Rioki and picked the gun from the floor of the bus and pointed it to Rioki. He was big haired, stoop-shouldered, wearing a rough demined shirt, his eyes bore into Rioki. They were hungry to pounce, hungry to kill.
‘Hii haikua mission yako buda!!’ (This was not your mission) With those words he shot Rioki twice in the stomach and once in the head.
Other passenger’s screamed, women cried and some called out to their God. But no one would save Rioki, he was gone. The only thing that would have saved him from this was his choice of mission. He was no lazy lad, but just one who took an easy path. Our choices define us, they define our destiny.