CRIME DOES NOT PAY
Crime has become the most notorious cause of death to the youth struggling to meet their daily needs and wants. In whatever we do we should always remember that nothing comes easy, in one way or another we have to grind our sweat to get the desires of our heart. There is no decency in defeat however that does no grant you the pleasure to stay down every time you fall, you need to recollect yourself and rise up to your feet for you to get whatever you missed in the first place.
We have to ask ourselves does the end justify the means or should another person bleed for us to achieve our need?
Education is the key to all successful livelihoods and prosperity, however what happens if the education system has become so expensive and left only for the rich who can afford?
It is one sunny Friday afternoon in the outskirts of Nairobi city, the day
Little girls play the famous shredded tube rubber known as ”bladder ” on the veranda, while the skimming young lads stare lustily as the young princesses jump their tiny ”titties ” in the air. For a fact, this day is blessed by the Superior Being; everyone goes about their business, so many boyfriends, children I grew up with come to pick me to go to our usual meeting place ”Ram Squad Base ”.
This was our place where we performed minor felonies, this included, and roughing up individuals just to see them running and bleeding like chicken fleeing a slaughter. In numbers we had confidence after all we are fifteen teenage boys. Woe unto whoever crossed our path, for we rammed them head on. As young men, we reserved fear for our parents and our Creator, though most of our families consisted of orphans, guardians and single parents. Regardless of our diverse backgrounds, tribe and cultures, we were brothers.
Being that we attend school during the day, we meet up every evening. Usually at my home, as it is convenient for all, we have a boys room where we were able to fit perfectly. I would not call us criminals we fought for fun and the wars we fought ended swiftly and with sweet celebration. Our supreme victory left them with the dub Ram squad to remember what hit them.
There are not many gangs around, in fact there are three. One is Mad Lion consisting of street urchins, B3, a criminalized group that steal and wound their victims who feared the third set, US. A few weeks ago, we were confronted by the Mad Lion in our den, after earlier cornering two of our members and bruised them. I had just arrived from school when I saw a crowd gathered and I instantly knew something was amiss. The Mad Lion had come with weapons that consisted of rusted knives, broken bottles, etc. to show their might. This day would seal our fate as a crew. We chased them all over the neighborhood, beat them up and they fled back to their slums with blood stained clothes and broken limb. This was a stern warning to everyone, rumors spread like wild fire and we got publicity. Now no crew or anyone could mess with us, even the police force cannot contain us because they have no information about us. When they conduct a raid, they come to search for cold adults not knowing that we were right under their noses. It was like they are chasing their shadows. The big boys would not rat us out since we are only violent but not criminals. This went on as the years passed by. No one can stop us or tell us anything irrelevant to our being. We have been left to be little demons that rake havoc everywhere we set foot.
We are Church goers, for that matter I guess it is why we never end up casualties to our reckless behaviors. We love and fear our God so much that every Sunday you can never miss us in Church attending the services. We do music, recite poems, skits and narrate Bible verses both in our teenage classes and right before the main congregation, yes we are bold enough to face the magnitude with no fear. Who so ever shows fear standing in front of people becomes our laughing stock of the week and pranks made on him just to pay for his disappointment to the team.
There times we are not allowed to perform our music in church since some of the tracks we use are considered circular yet the lyrics are of gospel kind. This fueled heated reactions within my crew, though we are not all performing artists. It brought rage that ended up some church authorities fell victims to our brutal ways. These so called saints turned wild on us that we could not perform at any church concert within the locality. Rumors is spreading so fast of our violent nature and that ”Ram squad ” is no longer a gospel group.
An iron sharpens an iron and we are only trying to blend in the righteous society, since it is the foundation and background of most of our families. We are only allowed to attend church but not to partake on any activity, this is making many of us to break loose from church. Gods son came for sinners from all walks of life but how comes these humans are denying us the chance to get straight with the paradise ways? No track is circular or gospel until lyrics are written on it.
Sometimes I blame this phase of life for the wrong things that later transpires in our day to day living. Not all apples in the same basket are rotten, you have to pick and peel them to separate the best from the worst ones. To church we are not all rebels, some of us still keep the good faith for instance my family tree consisted of church goers so I had no objection to deviate from the root.
As we are passing by these beautiful girls, I can clearly recall this gorgeous one who claims to have crush on me. We are still friends and her suggestion is that we take this relationship to another higher level. I am happy that I have a crew and at the same time a beautiful girlfriend in the same neighborhood, call it all under one roof. Even though my buddy claims that I stole his chic, I am yet to get interims with his accusation.
No sooner than we passed my girlfriends home than we reached Deliverance church Kayoles gate. ”Hey lets go inside and help in cleaning ”, I requested my crew,
”Yes, let us go do some work ”, replied Albert.
For sure we are entering the gates and heading straight to the teens classes since there is where most of us are at right now. The classes are already wash and clean however the main church is still under construction and a lot of cleaning activity is on from scrubbing the unwanted plastered cement, pushing benches and arranging chairs from one corner to the other. Immediately after joining in is when I realized that we too were caught up in the Sunday service preparations. Water, brooms, mop sticks, dusters, soaps and our hands are all intertwined to clean the house of the Lord. Two hours later the church is clean and ready for the Sunday services so we have to leave.
We are now heading to our notorious base; they say once bitten twice shy however this does not apply to us. A fortnight we were chased by policemen from this same hideout yet it did not bother us nor tickle our nerves. It has become a game of chase and hide, while the police are away we play.
Maxwell and I have different agendas so we are going to Maxwells home.
We entered the house then he took his home bank tin, smashes it open and empties every coin inside,
”I feel like getting drunk today, I feel like drinking this Friday out ”, he claims staring directly into my eyes.
”Hehe ”, I am laughing at him because it always never ends up well with him when he is drunk.
”Let us first go pick green leaves to chew (Mugoka) ”, he continues with his hearts desires.
We are the first two from the gang to ever taste these green leaves. On reaching Saba Saba stage the only joint where this narcotic is found, we find members also known as kart steamers ready with theirs. Two filled black polythene bags is enough for me and Max, some chewing gums then again we hit the road. We made some food stops along the way to satisfy the rumbling of our intestines.
Time on the other hand is running out, to where? I really do not know and for sure it is not on our side neither are we.
After filling the tummies were filled, chewing started and Max is suggesting that we leave his home since his mother is about to return from work. We are heading for my home because by now our friends have arrived from their whereabouts,
Reaching my block, my mother is at the main gate, she says hi to Max then we pass her. It is like she wants to tell us more but do not know the perfect way to say it.
The prior night a friend of ours came home with a brand new phone Samsung C100 the first polyphonic phone to ever come to be. This is a device for the rich and us seeing it, it tickled our nerves and led us to greed of wanting the same or more superior.
”Lets go hustling, we might get lucky than I got yesterday with the phone, we might get more goodies ” said Enoch master in pool table by this time.
Meanwhile the stimulant effect is taking its course reaping back and forth
”Yes lets go get ours ” claimed Max and Humphrey. Once again we are passing my mother at the same gate, this time eye contacts were established between me and her and it took quite long to break it. In secret it is like she is asking me where am I off to but I cannot hear her cautious cry. Finally, she breaks the code of silence ”Where are you off to? ” the million-dollar question popped the air.
”We are just strolling the neighborhood ” reluctantly I reply not knowing what I am getting myself into. I wish I knew like I now know. However, hey experience the best teacher. We are leaving her at the gate yet my thoughts are really tormenting me.
Donnex has come into the picture as we are just about to exit the estate via Mwangaza road, step by step and breathe after breath we brought the dawn nearer and nearer.
”Let us start with Umoja2 Ma
yanja road ” claimed Donnex. ”Yes, good idea Humphrey and Enoch supported the motion.
Max and I are just joy riding on the trip so our opinion is only ”yes ” for that matter. These fields were scarcely populated by then now Nasra gardens and Sosian estate. These are bare lands consisting of Maasai manyattas in the previous decades there have been conflicts of interest on these two lands. I remember a certain time on our way to school we met beheadings and body mutilation. One can only imagine the psychological trauma subjected to a 13 to 15-year-old.
If my parents were that super rich, I would have sued Nasra gardens to compensate me with millions of shillings for introducing social injustice to us minors but hey this is Africa, home tuff for corruption. This was and is a horrible place to cross in the odd hours of the night. However harsher violence is usually felt and seen every time a house is built on either these two lands. People armed with crude pangas, bows and arrows are the usual sight of the gardens and all their rouge memories are forced into my mind in a 5minute walk through these fields.
yanja road by now is still a dream yet to come true, the contractors dug lengthy stretches and left them unattended to, thus stagnant waters have since filled them which during the that gave us a free swimming pool infested with frogs and toads.
At the intersection of Ma
yanja road and Outtering road, a rat race sprint erupted. We are that fast and still could not qualify for Kenyan 100meters. I am hearing jingling of keys and heavy footsteps coming towards us, quickly we are dashing into the night only after a short while to realize that we are being chase by our imaginations.
We have taken the turn and heading towards Umoja Mtindwa stage, passing by Stella area peeping through Jam recue club, we can hear loud music from a distance which hurriedly carrys our febrile legs and since we all love music, we can be seen dancing and chanting to the ongoing songs. They say music is food to the soul yeas you ask me. You can tell that people have come out in large numbers just to drink and dance the Friday out.
We too are not left out of the picture, ”Zina shika ”, Max claimed. ”Yeah zina runda mbaya ”, Humphrey affirmed with much excitement on his face. My heart is pounding hard for the chase we just encounter, I am trying to wonder who that might be and could it be the police giving us warning signs? Many questions are lingering my thoughts with no certain answer. Maybe they are ghosts from our previous victims. ”haha ” I am laughing these thoughts as we are passing by the house we used to reside in when I was still a toddler dangling with my mothers cloths.
It is around 2130hrs, we are past the Jehovahs Witness chapel bend just before leaving the last building containing a barber shop which is playing some old school hip-hop music, we dancing our ass out and officially stopped to listen to these jams. I wish we could stand here forever and ever.
Looking back on the road towards Umoja Mosque from this corner and the two adjacent Peter Kibukosya and Busara both Primary schools, there are no cars on the road for it is late and no bright street lights seen.
The road is clear no buildings alongside we can easily see the whole road stretch.
There is this middle aged man walking his way from work holding in his left arm a huge Uchumi supermarket polythene paper bag. A minute later after he passed us we started trailing him into the night as the darkness swallowed us whole. I am seeing Humphrey taking a fake pee so this man can get into his right position. I too take turn towards the bushes to see what is about to go down. On crossing the dividing road Max removes a crystal gleaming kitchen knife for sure it shines in the night. Enoch is on the other side of the road walking alone. Donnex and Humphrey are 5steps ahead of me and 2steps apart, things are playing out in slow motion.
We have placed ourselves in perfect position for our prey is in the middle of us unaware of the danger he has just paused himself to. Anyone as sharp as the police can immediately know that our flanked position is about to harm this man, maybe he thinks that it is still early and that is why he is seeing people walking home.
He cannot realize that the people he is walking with are of the same group and it was a tactic to trap victims into the human pentagon web. I think he is tired of the days hustle and he is trying to get home to his family or a recently separated home that ended with a divorce settlement plan. ”Haha ” Let me laugh Im still alive and kicking.
This week has been tiresome and nothing relaxes the body like a Friday weekend shopping, by the looks of things this guy seems tired trying to keep his steady slow steps in accord with his body rhythm.
This is it kid now you have your chance to get raw, two steps passed the third bump Max pounced on our victim demanding ”Toa yote leo ” (Remove everything today).
Time is moving fast, Donnex and Humphrey are grabbing this man from every different angle. Letting loose his shopping bag, Maxwell takes a threatening swing of his knife towards the mans throat. He screams in pain I cannot see whether he has been stabbed or it is just a fake cry.
I am frozen on my feet contemplating what is really going down, it is now or never grab the cheddar or die a beggar. I wish I surrender but hey Im not the victim instead the victimizer. A strong blow to the right rib from Donnex is heavy enough compelling our victim to raise his both arms, ”Do not kill me please ” he pleads for his dearly which is now flashing in front of his eyes.
Enoch on the other side of the road is indecisive whether to cross the road to come on this side flowing with milk and honey. Is this what is to happen on this journey I embarked on? Questions are popping my mind over and over again. What have I made myself with for my life? I am dinning with thieves yet I am blinded enough not to realize my company.
Show me your friends I tell you who you really are fitted firmly on this situation at hand. Do not ever judge a book by the cover before reading through the pages to get the content. I was never born a thief and I refuse to be one not any more, whether stealing for fun as we did back then or just for the show we could really take yours.
I will always refuse to walk down that memory lane. In the middle of confusion, I can vividly see arms fighting and struggling to set base at the soft hollow bumps on his throat. Finally, mission accomplished, he is standing straight and motionless and his eyelids stuck open only taking sharp winks as he tries to gasp for heavy breathes. Frightened and stunned he cannot make any sound because he knows that we mean business. The arm across his neck is strong enough sending him to a weaker posture. His trembling feet gave way from the knees. ”He is going down ” I told myself standing two steps away from the actual crime scene. The shocking truth is that I have not gotten a chance even to touch the flesh of this person yet we are in the same team,
Donnex is still firmly stuck on the victims neck like the cheetahs on the antelopes. He cannot take any struggling further; he falls to the ground knees first a clear indication that air circulation from the nostril to the lungs is cut short temporarily. His bodys normal breathing activity is adjourned.
Six arms curl him all over camping especially around his pockets, maneuvering and ransacking his clothes empty. I can see everything clear in 3D, he is 6.3feet and around 75kgs of mass. Wearing a kaki black trouser with brown leather jacket, whatever these arms are picking back and forth do no really matter at the end of the loot what matters that I have a price cut.
I am a partner in crime and an accomplice in the mug heist, no sooner his knees reached the ground then a loud blast conquered the dark silent night. It is so loud for a moment we are all paused in confusion.
”Simameni hapo ” (freeze) are the words that can be heard in this dark from the unrecognized company, the second shot dominated the air, ”tat, tat, ta-ta bang, bang ” the air is filled with thundering blinding lights from our front. It is our worst nightmare, the police and this time round they are firing their blazing guns at us. ”Nasema simameni hapo ” (I say freeze) a deep voice echoed through the dark and found its way into our ears.
Everything slow motion, time has frozen still and starring at us in pity since the prophecy that prophesies, ”A thief gets lucky 40times ”, has just been fulfilled. Immediately the police force is deployed into our mission and stuck to our case like glue pointing his weapon of choice straight at us. This night seems the longest I have ever lived my entire life time, He is standing in the middle of Donnex, Max and Humphrey however his aim is pointed straight to my face. He is on our path to freedom and blocked it leaving us no option but to run towards the chiefs camp. Wait a minute, gunshot with chiefs camp means more police officer narrowing our chances of survival. So we have to navigate backwards because going forth is disaster in the waiting. I am seeing Enoch half way crossing the road which he doesn finish across, instead he continues on the on the other path but now with fast steady steps proceeding innocently towards the chiefs camp. The way he is walking gives an impression that we are not of the same company and step by step he is swallowed with the night.
I have to confuse this policeman because literally he is in my flight path. Confusion everywhere even the already settled dust tainted the night air, this car with its headlights fully on made it possibly vivid that one can find a needle in this night. I pushed Donnex and Humphrey to the left and right respectively, indeed and for a fact I have manipulated death.
As swift as an eagle we hit the runway as our fable trembling legs can carry us to safety not knowing that we have opened hells gate and in for its furry. By pushing my friends sideways, I clearly mixed the policeman making him take a lower aim with his pistol. Then rat-tat-tat followed, he has hit my left knee just above the joint. I just have to charge him off my way because he means to stop us by all means necessary, even if it is by killing us.
”Nani anaye ibiwa ” (who is being robed?) asked another police officer alighting from the illuminated car. ”Mimi ni mimi ” (it is me, it is me) both Max and the victim claimed at the same time heading towards the police.
Wrong move Max, I told myself. I guess things are so loud that Max cannot comprehend or coupe with, which might be why, he is quitting and surrendering to the authorities.
Losing his balance, he opened the runway, I shoulder charged passed him to my left side as I gained momentum. I am seeing sparkling flashy lights as my left leg is lagging me behind. I have felt something enter my knee because of the sudden force that pushed my leg backwards. I can hear my heart pondering so deeply that for a moment I knew my day has come.
For many years we have been dreading this day with our precious heart, we have always been thinking that we are special and that we can never sacrum to such mistakes as getting shot dead in the streets or lynched by mob is the justice of this uncouth society. As for me bullets are meant for my favorite rapper and Hollywood to be precise. I have been raised humble however the curves of my neighborhood have curbed me into this young violent feller.
Finally, I have broken free leaving the officer staggering to his feet, trying to maintain his balance from the body charge I inflicted on his around 85kg body weight. Max has taken to the drivers side while the victim to the opposite. I can see four doors of the saloon car opening as we vanished into the darker part of the lonely stretch opposite Visa place then Site.
The occupants from this car are heavily built in physic with big bellies. They are also joining into the chase to calm this madness. Shots fired shots fired but they are not calling for backup as they are supposed to, it is like they have things under control and do not need assistance from anyone.
As I enter deeply into the darker side of this unlit street the policeman struggles up to his feet and resumed the chase. Dropping the empty magazine then loading a new one, he is really determined to drop us.
I can hear him cocking his tool sending slugs into the chamber then freely squeezing the trigger.
The government of the day is only three months old and that the law of shoot to kill is a month away to be implemented. Meaning the order of the day is shot to wound or to disable, I guess this is why this policeman is a trigger happy fellah. I can tell where the missing slugs are landing since they are just bouncing off my feet then into the school fence of Peter Kibukosya Primary School. If only the forensic can carry out the search of missing bullets, then this would make a perfect place for head start. The air is filled with loud noise. I have been temporarily deaf for the past twenty minutes running for safety. I am caught up wishing I was the famous athlete David Rudisha in this particular moment to run as fast as lighting to avoid the hot slugs aimed at me.
Donnex and Humphrey are footballers and part of their training is sprinting as a paramount element of their physical fitness session, meaning they are fast runners.
They have taken to their heels leaving me nothing but ten and five steps gap respectively, they are much steady with their running that no one wants to be overtaken by the other.
The policeman still keeps to the chase because his promotion and pay rise generates from stopping crooks like us, however we cannot give him that pleasure.
The jingling of the keys from his belt indicates and signals my ears that the rat race is not stopping any time soon. His heavy breathing is making the hair at the back of my neck stand straight, I cannot afford to look behind since it will slow me down or break my rhythm I am also afraid of tripping over and falling to the ground. Running is now becoming my favorite sport at the moment indeed this policeman is eager to stop us.
It is so loud I can tell you for free, cartridge after cartridge I hear them hitting the road empty, every part of my body is dripping and I feel my cloths socking in sweat. My spinal cord has stretched its limits for the first time ever in my lifetime the capacity of my body to handle pressure has been tested fully. I cannot barge or give in; I still have some running in me to try my level best and as much as possible to save my dear threatened life.
Slowly the jingling started to fade away as I totally got blinded by the bright sparks and loud bangs behind me.
He squeezed, squeezed and squeezed until he could squeeze no further because once again he was out of bullets to fire at us. He stops to change the magazine thinking that our time will wait for him, we have to completely vanish from his grasp of thoughts. Darkness has fallen on me to be the leader and example to them but still the followed their wicked dying ways and affairs.
Experience is the best teacher served raw however if we only learn from the main course of the experience. It should never be debatable whether firsthand experience or others experiences vary in weight. I have gone through rough and hard times so that you can make a decisive wise decision with no doubt. You also go through life`s sheet so that I can see good from bad.
The richest and valuable lesson from all the bad lessons is a two-way traffic, let us face it.
If I die of stealing or you watch mob justice lynching me to death for stealing gold watch or even water melon the fruit, 1. Will you think of stealing any more in that judgmental thought of yours? 2. Will you decide that stealing is bad? I doubt it and as well doubt your thoughts but this is the other way round, if someone dies, he dies in the struggle not from the struggle.
All these seem irrelevant to the law enforcers, whether born bad or influenced bad does not matter. Their duty is to serve and protect the general public but clearly they sent their message right home, Crime does not pay. You may sell oranges besides the streets; vend cloths to earn the daily little or no pay wages rather than end up in the vents of the same streets but with open skull and brains licking off the opening of your head because the justice has been served unjustly.
Strides after strides I am gaining more grounds which is relaxing my thoughts, further more we are now entering a highly residential area of umoja2 from the duo primary schools.
This is the point I realized from the frying pan into the fire, I escaped bullets and found the mob.
Eventually the policeman was no more as we evaporated into the cold chilly night, I saw him varnishing into the darkness. I do not know for a fact whether he stopped to reload the weapon or he was exhausted from the sprint he encountered abruptly and unauthorized.
I escaped the first wave with my life balancing in my arms not dropping it to the thorn for that I was sure.
I felt my trouser shaking, shaking and continuously shaking, immediately I lowered both my hands and as I landed them at the back of my thighs, where the shaking activity was actively taking place. As I pressed the brown material on my flesh I felt a slight and steady force pushing my hands away.
Whoever is not taught by his/her mother will be schooled by the universe but hey how would have my mama taught me while she was in hospital confined to bed riding where ever she felt like going.
That was the moment I realized I really needed a mothers touch in my life. The critical moment in life is the adolescent stage where guidance and canceling plays a key role in a teenager.
I held back the force and lifted my hands to see what wetness flooded my palms.
”Nime Pewa ” … Im hit, Im hit I claimed to Donnex and Humphrey as we are approaching the mob that has already gathered facing the only main entrance to Umoja2 from sight place, between Busara and Peter Kibukosya Primary Schools. They have been drawn wit