The spacing of entering was thin. It looked like a line was formed, with people entering in. It was no choosing who, it was a mixture of people. The employed, the unemployed, students and those with families all were heading there. It was a place that united them, brought them back to the course of life, where survival was instinct and to quench that feeling was universal.
His time came, he was inside the place. It had no name to it. It was just that, a place. Being a loyal customer, she greeted him.
“My guy, you guy, you good?”
“All is well,” he answered.
“What do I get you today?”
“The normal and add a pinch of peppers, the strong ones.”
“Just chill, right away.”
Immediately after that conversation she went to doing her thing while he sat down. Business on this end was booming, all looks well, if you observed from the people that were inside there. For they were many, that however should not eclipse you from the reality. The truth was that not all was good. The quantity kept on reducing as days go by. Nobody complained, everybody knew, tough times required hard measures. Now the charcoal, sometimes the materials to be used were expensive, it was always this and that. Everyday a rise of something, petrol, kerosene, diesel also was a contributor.
Talks filled the place, groups of people who knew each other used to come together there. He heard a match being talked about and he remembered that that was the yesterday’s night. Arsenal was playing with Manchester United at Emirates. He was a gooner, but oh my, home was not peaceful. It was dire, complaints every time.
“You are leaving little monies nowadays.”
“Understand the times, it is not easy.”
“Why did you get me pregnant then with a new born?”
He usually kept quiet, after all the newborn was God’s plans, how was that related to him. It was why he did not get time to watch the game, he wanted to sleep, to relax from everything that was happening with his wife.
He removed his phone and went to the browser to know how his team performed the other night. It was not bad, it was a draw and they were still on top of the table.
It was moments before the lady placed a plate on his table. It was Pilau and salad and an empty glass.
“Wow you got my name right, Mama Niria,” Kinjo said.
“Of course, I cannot forget a loyal customer. I really appreciate you coming back here.”
“You are welcome.”
Mama Niria was the owner of the restaurant with no name to it.
Ten minutes later, after lunch, Kinjo was back at his station, the stage, that was where his livelihood was.
“I hope nobody had surpassed me on the line, you do know I was next before I went for lunch.”
“Now what did you expect us to do if a client came? We would ask the next in line to take them where they wanted to go,” one said.
“Of course,” another agreed with the first one, “but since you are here now, the throne is yours, you can claim the person or people that came here.”
It was at the market where Kinjo was stationed at.
It did not take long before a man and a lady came and wanted to use their services of the transport. They were directly taken to Kinjo whom they agreed the price to pay among themselves. When all that was sorted, the lady and the gentleman boarded.
Kinjo observed that whom he was carrying were couples for immediately when they were in, they held hands though each was busy with their phone. The gentleman was on a phone call. Kinjo was not the snoopy type so he always distracted his mind from the conversations that went inside his tuktuk.
“Hard time,” said the gentleman.
Kinjo got the cue and responded, “Yes indeed.”
“This Russian-Ukraine conflict is messing us.”
“Maybe it is about our leaders, whom that we have, they are not working hard enough,” Kinjo added.
“That might be true.”
While eyes on the road, Kinjo noticed a hand being raised, signaling for them to stop. He obliged, it was a man in uniform after all.
The man in blue checked at the front mirror of the tuktuk and checked for the stickers glued there.
“I have one problem with you, the insurance has expired today.”
“But today has not ended yet, it is still valid.”
The passengers also stated their opinion in agreement with Kinjo before the police shushed them.
“Maybe we can talk, officer,” said Kinjo.
Kinjo walked with the police a distance not far away but enough for their the conversation not to be heard. The passengers remained observers. It was sort of an engagement that occurred between Kinjo and the officer, with the constant body movements of the officer showing reluctance, something was removed from Kinjo’s pocket but nothing, it was not a success.
It was moments before both Kinjo and the officer returned back to the tuktuk. It was the police who announced the bad news.
“I am so sorry, your money will be refunded, but I need to take this tuktuk to the police station, the driver is so rude and we cannot understand terms of release.”
“But officer, we are late to where we are going, we are in a hurry as it is…”
“No buts buts out.”
“Let me make a phone call first,” said the gentleman.
The police allowed that. The gentleman was on a call, before he read out the name written on the badge of the police officer and numbers therein.
“Somebody wants to talk to you,” the gentleman said.
“How does that concern me? Just get out.”
The gentleman put the phone on speaker.
“As you just heard, the police does not want to talk to you,” the gentleman said.
“Do you know who you are talking to?” asked the other on the phone call.
“So who cares who you are?”
“Manners officer. Respect your elders…”
It took two minutes before the officer stood at attention saluting every now and then and saying, “Yes sir, yes sir,”
“Should I offer you security to where you are going?” asked the police after the phone call ended.
“No, we are alright,” answered the gentleman.
“What was that?” asked Kinjo when they were back on the road.
“You wouldn’t want to know.”
The radio to the tuktuk played the song- Journey masses by Gilo band.
Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash