Life on the Fast Track – 11

Track 11 – What does a Snitch look like?

Back at his garage, Danny filled out release forms on a Mitsubishi Pajero SUV and handed the keys back to the woman who had brought it in.

“Come again, Mrs. Mueni,” he said, watching her get into the driver’s seat with a wide smile and drive off.

Happy customers, Danny thought.  He worked on impressing women like Mrs. Mueni.  She had a strong presence in the community, and all the women in her chamas ended up at his garage for service.

Stretching his arms up, to ease tense muscles, Danny turned back to the main floor of the garage and frowned.  His gaze moving from one mechanic to another.  The garage ran with the help of three major mechanics.

Danny respected all three guys, knew their families, their circumstances.  He would hate to imagine one of them was working for Anderson.

Dropping his arms, Danny glanced at the young man to his closest left.  His name was Teron Kitonyi.  Teron was fresh out of high school.  He had a head for mechanics.  Problem was, academics gave him hell.  Danny had offered him jobs on and off during his last two years of high school.  He hadn’t hesitated when Teron came seeking a place at the garage after his final exams.  Danny considered the kid an apprentice with a bright future ahead.

Next to Teron, working on rear shock absorbers on a two-seater, was Steven.  The man was over forty, had been a mechanic all his life.  Steven was a hard worker, didn’t complain, more like he didn’t talk much, but Danny liked the guy.  He was dependable.

Danny turned at the sound of the undercoating spray gun coming to life.

Auto-Ford-Phoenix-n-Fire-5
Photo Courtesy of paz.co.za

Holding it was Karie.  The man was a genius with paint and bodywork.  Karie loved to get a car looking good again.  He was fun to work with, fun to hang with, and a great friend.

Danny sighed, his mood plummeting.  This was Anderson’s fault, forcing him to suspect his crew, and turning him into a paranoid fool.

“Danny,” Jimmy called from the garage office, pulling him out of his thoughts.

“What’s up?” Danny asked, entering their main office and closing the door.

Jimmy held out the office phone.

“Anderson for you,” Jimmy said, when Danny took it with a frown.

Bringing the handset to his ear, Danny bit back a curse.

“Yes.”

“I hear you’re cutting me out,” Anderson said in greeting.

“From who?” Danny asked, stepping up to the door glass to look out into the main floor.  All his mechanics were busy working, none of them looked at him with interest.  Still his paranoia grew.

“Your sister is a firecracker,” Anderson said, making Danny close his eyes in exasperation.  “She doesn’t beat around the bush.”

Teresa was going to be the end of him.

“Leave my family out of this,” Danny warned.  “If you have issues, they are with me.  If you want to talk, you know where to find me.”

“Come on Danny.  I don’t want trouble either.  I just want to know why you want to cut me out of a good thing.”

“Call it protecting my interests.  Teresa is a large part of those interests,” Danny said.  “Do you have a problem?”

Silence greeted him and for a second, Danny thought the call disconnected.

Then Anderson sighed.

“Nope.”

“Good.  Let’s end it there,” Danny ended the call and met Jimmy’s gaze.  “Get someone to hang out at Terry’s place twenty-four/seven.”

“I can do it,” Jimmy said, a frown creasing his forehead.

“I need you free, and here at the garage,” Danny said.  “Maybe we can ask the guys from the dry cleaner next to her shop.  You’re buddies with them, right?”

Jimmy nodded.  “Good idea.  This is getting serious, Danny.  We need to deal with Anderson.”

“He hasn’t really done anything, yet,” Danny said, scratching his jaw.  “I’m going to meet the Sumani Chicks, Nic Mugera and Mikhail tonight.  Maybe one of them will have a plan.”

Danny placed the phone back on the desk and sat on the closest chair.  A meeting with the round table meant he wouldn’t get to see Jasmine tonight.

“Do me a favor,” Danny said, looking at Jimmy.  “Get Terry to go sleep over Jazz’s house.  Just in case.”

“Worried Anderson might try something?” Jimmy asked.

“I know he will,” Danny sighed.  “Shit this is going to be a mess.  We need to catch that snitch fast.”

“We will,” Jimmy said, his tone hard.  “Soon enough, then we can put that good for nothing out of our lives.”

***

Thanks for reading…To be continued!

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The Girl with the Golden Smile – 2

Prompt: mail.google.com2

Use “Chocolate Cupcakes” in your 1,000 word story this time.

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 2

Wewe,” Nicholas said when he got out of his car. “Do you have a death wish?”

The woman in the rain didn’t speak. Her face was bruised, and there was blood on her pink blouse. Nicholas frowned, peering into the dark trees on each side of the road.

Had she been mugged?

Lord, was she a decoy?

He’d heard stories of hijackers making a plot to deceive unsuspecting drivers.

“Help me,” she said, before his paranoia could take root.

Nicholas cursed when she started to fall and he reached out to catch her before she hit the muddy ground.

“What the hell are you doing?” Nicholas asked as he drove through the rain.

His clothes were soaked and muddy thanks to the passed out woman in the passenger seat. Instead of driving back to the main road, and a hospital, he was headed to the villa, against his better judgment.

Shaking his head, Nicholas decided it was the rain. The thunder, the mud, the fucking non-visibility…he’d never been happier to see the shadow of a house as he was when he saw looming dark gates ahead.

Nicholas stopped his car, running out in the rain to go open the gates. His loafers slid on the grass, he ran back to the car, double soaked. This night was turning into a shit fest.

Thirty minutes later, Nicholas sat on an old armchair, watching the strange woman he’d saved. He’d found an old faded red blanket in a closet, and covered her with it. She was beautiful, in a rustic sort of way. He was used to women who valued looks: high-end style, down to fake eyelashes. It was interesting to have saved a woman who looked like she didn’t know what lip gloss was. She shivered under the blanket, and gave a soft sigh.

The bruise on her left cheek shone in the light.

His phone buzzed, and he reached for it like it was a lifeline.

“What am I reading?” his best friend asked. “You have a woman in that old creaky house? How is that a bad thing?”

“She jumped out of nowhere, in the rain,” Nicholas said. “She looks beat up. She has a bruise on her cheek.”

“Why didn’t you drive to the hospital?” Eli asked.

“It’s raining.” Nicholas thought that excuse sounded hollow, but it was the truth. He didn’t want to drive in that mess outside. “You’re a doctor, advise me what to do.”

“Ah ha,” Eli said with a chuckle. “You’ve always been impulsive. This falls under shit Nick would do.”

“Stop making fun of me. What do I do now? It’s almost ten o’clock at night.”

Eli sighed on the other end. “I guess you keep her overnight. I’ll drive out there in the morning and check on her if you like.”

“Would you?” Nicholas asked. “You’re the best, Eli.”

“You’ll owe me.”

“Yeah, add it to my tab.” Nicholas sighed. “What do I need to do? She’s shivering.”

“Keep her dry and warm.” Eli laughed. “That shouldn’t be too hard.”

Nicholas ended the call and dropped his cell phone on the table. He hoped Eli was right about keeping the woman dry.

That was all he could do for her, he thought.

Getting up, Nicholas stretched his arms above his head, the muscles on his shoulders protesting. He was tired. The day was too long already. He dropped his hands and looked around the old house. The electricity was on, thank goodness for that. Despite the complication on the couch, he’d managed to purchase a damn good looking house.
Nicholas decided everything would be fine after a shower and a good night’s sleep.

****

Nalia woke with a start. It was the chirping birds. The last time she’d heard chirping birds, she’d been in her mother’s house in the country. Nostalgia filled her, and she lay still staring at the unfamiliar ceiling.

Clutching the thin blanket over her, Nalia winced at the familiar sting on her left cheek. Malik’s gift last night when she’d tried to explain why there was no meat in his plate. The bastard was obsessed with meat. He didn’t taste anything else, but meat. Nalia sat up to escape her anger.

She’d lost her mind last night.

Crazy, she thought.

She’d taken the stew she’d been cooking and flung it at Malik in anger. When he’d screamed in shock, she’d run outside in Art 5the pouring rain and started running.
Right into the angry man with the black pickup truck, Nalia remembered, swinging her feet to the ground.

Nalia shook her head, and rubbed her eyes. She sighed and got up, looking around the elegant living room. It looked straight out of the movies, nice neat chairs, wide windows, everything seemed so…expensive.

Straight out of her dreams, Nalia sighed.

Her gaze dropped to her stained shirt, and her muddy jeans and bare feet. She was seriously out of place. Her insanity had taken her down a rabbit hole she didn’t quite understand.

Smelling her shirt, she decided to wander, and find out if the elegant house had a place to clean up before she met her rescuer.

****

The sweet scent of baking cake woke Nicholas. His stomach rumbled; reminding him he’d skipped dinner in lieu of travel. He’d eaten one sandwich before he’d gotten on the road. He threw off the sweater he’d used as a blanket and got out of bed.

His clothes were dry and wrinkled. He needed to get his suitcase from the car.
Remembering the woman he’d rescued in the pouring rain, Nicholas left the bedroom and followed the scent of baking. His stomach felt empty, it was humbling, the need to run into the kitchen and get a bite of whatever smelled that good.

He paused in the entrance to the kitchen at the sight that greeted him. Chocolate cupcakes on the counter, the source of the scent, they looked welcoming. Nicholas grinned and walked to the counter, reaching for a cupcake. He stopped when the woman he’d saved last night straightened, closing the electric oven, she was holding a fresh batch of chocolate cupcakes.

She held back a gasp, and he stared at her clean, freshly scrubbed face. A slow smile tugged her lips and she held out the cupcakes she held.

“Morning,” she said. “I’m Nalia. I hope you like chocolate.”

***

The Girl with the Golden Smile 1

****

Read other EA Friday Feature Posts:

The Birthday Killer

You’ll Hear from Me

EA Friday Feature Week #4 Prompt

The EA Friday Feature:

Friday Feature1

Write a story of only 1,000 words using the prompt given.  Post it on your blog on Fridays and share the posts of fellow bloggers participating in the feature.

Participating Bloggers:

  1. Nilichoandika
  2. Flashes of Vice
  3. Children of Destiny Books
  4. Love in Nairobi

Week #4

mail.google.com2

Use “Chocolate Cupcakes” in your 1,000 word story this time.

The story is due on Friday, 28th August, 2015. 

This is an open entry Feature.  If you’d like to participate, simply write the 1,000 word story using the prompt, and leave a comment on this post to let us know to share your story.

Week #3 EA Friday Feature Responses

1. Father’s Love

2. The Man in the Rain

3. The Girl with the Golden Smile-1

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 1

Friday Feature1Prompt:

Rain, Rain, Rain: mail.google.com

The Girl with the Golden Smile

Thunder rumbled, dark clouds rolled in, large drops of rain drummed the iron sheet roof.
Nalia wondered if the creator was starting a band. The drops kept falling in fierce beats on the roof, like a doomsday rhythm.

She kept chopping onions, her eyes stinging. Tears slid down her cheeks.

Nalia wasn’t sure where the tears from the onions juice and the ones caused by sorrow met and melded.
Wiping her arm over her cheeks she finished chopping the onions and put them in the cooking pot. Adding oil, she turned on the fire on the gas cooker and banged the pot on the stand.

No one could hear the noise anyway.

Taking a wooden cooking spoon from a drawer, her gaze lingered over the chopped vegetables laid out in bowls on the counter. Carrots, potatoes, green pepper, cilantro and tomatoes…she sighed.

There was no meat today.

He wasn’t going to be happy.

Nalia shrugged a short elegant movement of her slender shoulders. Yet, instead of relief, a heavy weight settled in her stomach.

Malik liked his meat.

The onions started sizzling in the pot and she stirred them, her gaze barely seeing the browning onions. Her thoughts were on her husband, Malik Kanda. They married early.  She’d been eighteen, Malik twenty.

Children really, none of them had known much about life then.

Seven years going and Malik had turned into a stranger. He’d grown distrustful, edgy and over-ambitious.

It was his new job, Nalia thought.

The one he’d gotten a year ago.

Malik was managing a construction company for her uncle. The job paid good money. Her uncle had told her Malik was paid almost sixty thousand shillings every month. Twice the amount he’d gotten before.  She’d been happy for Malik then, thinking their home would grow, benefit from the good fortune.  But no, their lives were deteriorating. The money had gone to Malik’s head, making him prideful. He paid for nothing in the house.

Nalia sighed and started adding vegetables to the onions. The peppers first, then the tomatoes, followed by the carrots and potatoes.

“What to do?” she asked the sizzling vegetables.

Reaching for a container of mixed spices, Nalia sprinkled the right amount over the mix in the cooking pot.
Her thoughts returned to her latest dilemma.  Malik’s indifference to the well-being of their house worried her. He never had money to contribute to their expenses, yet he wanted to eat and sleep in comfort. He wanted neat clothes in his closet, good food and a clean house.

Her funds were stretched.

She was a primary school teacher. She taught English in class six at the local primary school. Her salary was a quarter of what Malik made. Yet she paid rent, the house bills, water and electricity as well as bought food for the house.
The end of the month was pure hell. She could barely afford things in the house yet Malik’s standards had to be met.
Covering the stew, Nalia picked up the plates and spoons she’d set aside earlier. She went to their small living room and started setting the small table they used for dinner.

There was no meat today.

Nalia’s hand shook as she placed a spoon on Malik’s plate.

Thunder rumbled in the distance and she pressed a hand to her chest.  She didn’t want a beating tonight, but the harder it rained, the more the rain rapped on the roof, the faster her hopes vanished.

Malik’s bad temper thrived on nights like these…rainy nights when no one would hear her scream.

The front door opened and she froze, her gaze flying to the man entering the house. He was soaking wet.
Malik slammed the door closed and Nalia’s heart squeezed tight in her chest. The moment his dark gaze settled on her, her blood ran cold.

****

“Damn it.”

Nicholas slapped the steering wheel and peered out the windshield of his car. He couldn’t see in the thick rain. For a moment he wondered if pulling over was better. At least then, he’d be sure of not taking a wrong turn.
The wipers on his black Isuzu pickup worked overtime, trying to keep the windshield clear.

The clock on the dashboard said it was almost nine o’clock in the evening. The map on his phone said he had thirty more minutes before he would arrive at the Villa Matiga. The sixty year old house he’d bought from a retiring expatriate. He wanted to renovate the villa and put it up for rent. His third jaunt into the real estate industry. So far, he hadn’t gone wrong, but this late night trips were murder.

“I should have started out earlier,” he murmured.

He was a lawyer by profession and worked for a successful law firm in the city of Nairobi. The pay was good the lifestyle exhausting, but he was happy. At thirty-two, his life was on the right track.  To a point, he thought when he remembered his girlfriend had gotten married a week ago to one of his wealthy clients.

The bitch, he thought.

She’d strung him a long for three whole years while she worked hard to hook a bigger fish. She was now a Runda estate housewife. Nicholas couldn’t help hoping she got fat and ugly soon. He cursed under his breath.

She’d turned him into a bitter bastard.

He drove over a bump too fast. The map on his phone said he needed to make a right turn soon, but where?  Peering outside, he frowned when all he saw were trees and bushes.

Great, Villa Martiga had to exist in the middle of nowhere.

Well, it wasn’t really nowhere; the Ngong area was turning into a prestigious area to live.

He braked hard when the dirt road he was supposed to take appeared to the right.  Thank God there were no vehicles behind him. He was driving like a maniac tonight. Taking the right turn, excitement swept through him and he pressed the gas pedal harder, eager for warmth.  A dark shadow streaked onto the road, and he hit the brakes in panic, afraid he was going to hit the woman ahead.

Read other EA Friday Feature Entries;

  1. Father’s Love
  2. The Man in the Rain

EA Friday Feature – Prompt Week #3

The EA Friday Feature:

Friday Feature1Write a story of only 1,000 words using the prompt given.  Post it on your blog on Fridays and share the posts of fellow bloggers participating in the feature.

Participating Bloggers:

  1. Nilichoandika
  2. Flashes of Vice
  3. Children of Destiny Books
  4. Love in Nairobi

Week #3 Prompt:

mail.google.com

Rain, Rain, Rain….be inspired by the rain…

The story is due on Friday, 21st August, 2015. 

This is an open entry Feature.  If you’d like to participate, simply write the 1,000 word story using the prompt, and leave a comment on this post to let us know to share your story.

Last week’s prompts responses:

  1. Sex on the beach
  2. My Favorite Place to Be
  3. It’s not all Strippers and Burritos my Friend
  4. The Changing Tide

The Changing Tide

Places:Friday Feature1

Beaches, Mountains, Forests or somewhere else you like…Write a story inspired by the place you like most.

The Changing Tide

Enya loved her hometown. She’d lived in the same stone ranch house all her life, with her mother and siblings: a nice three bedroom house that she loved to bits. Her hometown was situated in a semi-urban area, one could hardly call it Nairobi but it was; the roads were bad, the infrastructure unsexy, and any one bringing a Mercedes to this street was just inviting midnight visitors. You know, those late night callers who came to give the new Merc in town a spin while y’all slept.

Yes, her little world had once received those late night callers. She’d been eleven or twelve. She was jerked awake from a deep sleep to discover strangers prowling the house, taking the television, the radio, the cups, mugs, spoons and pots. She’d been scared, but her mother had put on a brave face through it, talking to those strangers so they wouldn’t hurt her children. Her mother had fought a big fight that night, with words, and cajoling…the memory was fading…but she couldn’t forget her mother’s valiant effort to keep her children safe that night. That week, that incident had been the talk of the town.

Enya doubted anyone would remember that incident now.

Gossip was like that in her hometown. Every week something new…the rumor mills were sleepless on Ndwaru Road. It was the one reliable intelligence source in the country. You just needed to know the right person to talk to. Find that person, and you’d never be out of the loop on the going-ons of the people living on this street.

Enya smiled. The trick was not to share the source. Peaceful living and all poke a beehive and the bees will sting you and all that…no, she’d never reveal her sources. But it was good to be in the know. Part of being in the community, one of the people…

pretty treeNow Enya stopped to purchase milk for the evening tea. Her gaze on the changing tides sweeping the street.

When she’d been young, she’d wished for more people living on Ndwaru Road. She remembered her home being isolated by forests and bushes, people hadn’t believed her family could bear to live so alone. Now, the place had changed. More people building, more people moving in. While this was a good thing, the isolation ended…the influx of the human population was taking away the charm of the street. The green was gone. The fresh air ended, replaced with trash, instances of sewer on the road and dirty water.

The neighbors were changing; no longer familiar faces from childhood. There was a time she’d walk on the path to her house and know who was coming toward her. Know where that person belonged, and if they were friend or foe.

These days, she just had no idea who was walking on that path anymore. Too many new people, one couldn’t keep up.

Enya sighed. It wasn’t a bad thing. In terms of growth, it was a good thing; she just wished the growth was happening in a moderate and elegant way. The street was changing, but she rather thought it a violent process. A clash of those who understood why moderation was needed in progress, and those who wanted a fast growth, a quick one…and in their haste, ended up with the trash, and dirty water on the road.

But she was digressing…..

Enya refused to think of these negative aspects of her home. This place she’d loved all her life. The good parts were that she remembered the familiar faces from her childhood. There was nothing more welcoming than having someone pick you out in the sea of new faces with a smile.

“Hello,” they’d say. “How are you? Greet your family.”

Small words, little words, but so full of connection, Enya understood while the conversation might not be longer, the recognition was all that mattered. It felt like she belonged.

Enya walked along the path to her house and smiled. A few days before she’d come home in the rain. She’d taken the bus from town, and it had gradually gotten dark on the way home. Her friend had worried for her.

“Are you sure you’re safe?” her friend asked.

Enya had smiled, and nodded. Getting off the bus, in the pouring rain, she’d crossed the street and felt relief as she walked along the familiar path.

Ah…I’m home, she’d thought. Once I’m here, I can’t get lost.

Like running a race and you reach that last stretch with no one able to catch up…the best feeling in the world.  Enya entered her gate, and smiled. Yes, the best part of this hometown was her home.

The old tree that grew by the gate, it was older than her and she was atleast thirty. The mango tree her grandmother hadIMG_0095 brought all the way from Nyeri, to come and plant it in their home. She’d been six years old…her grandmother was long gone now…but the tree remained. Every year, they ate mangoes and remembered their grandmother planting the tree.

The farm was where she’d played hide and seek when she’d been young. She’d also tried her hand in farming. She’d planted sixty cabbages once and all of them had died. She’d cried with disappointment, even though the season had been all wrong for cabbages.

This place where her father was buried, Enya visited his grave some days to talk about particularly bad days or very good days.

Enya paused beside a bush of lavender. She picked a branch and breathed in the scent. Before the lavender, there had been a tree growing there. When she and her siblings would do something bad, their mother would threaten to tie them to the tree and beat them on that tree. Not that their mother had ever done it but Enya had been glad when that tree was cut down. Enya smiled at the memory and entered the second gate.

Their house was lighted, her mother singing inside as she cooked dinner. Her siblings lost in their own activities. Enya stood outside and stared up at the sky. Despite the tides of change sweeping Ndwaru Road, this place would always hold a special place in her heart.

After all, it was home.

****

Please Check out other EA Friday Feature Stories:

It’s not all Strippers and Burritos my Friend

Sex on the Beach

My Favorite Place to Be

EA Friday Feature – Prompt Week #2

Friday Feature1

The EA Friday Feature:

Write a story of only 1,000 words using the prompt given.  Post it on your blog on Fridays and share the posts of fellow bloggers participating in the feature.

Participating Bloggers:

  1. Nilichoandika
  2. Flashes of Vice
  3. Children of Destiny Books
  4. Love in Nairobi

Week #2- Prompt is:

Places:

Beaches, Mountains, Forests or somewhere else you like…Write a story inspired by the place you like most.

The story is due on Friday, 14th August, 2015. 

This is an open entry Feature.  If you’d like to participate, simply write the 1,000 word story using the prompt, and leave a comment on this post to let us know to share your story.

Last week’s prompts responses:

  1. It Started with a Bump at the Busstop
  2. Holy Desire
  3. A Tail of Tissue Paper