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Tribulations of Mark: Part 4
In The Hands of Nairobi Con Men
Continued from part 3.
So many things had happened to him within a very short span. All these happenings had befuddled Mark’s mind. After being thrown out of Porcupines Inn, he had thought of what best to do.
What he realized was that he could not go back to the pub or wait outside for his wife lest he be attacked by Nairobi muggers. He made a decision to go back to their house … no his house and relax his tired mind and thoroughly abused body.
The Room Was Filled With Ominous Silence
Now he lay on the sofa massaging the aching parts of his body. He looked around their living room; it was so large and filled with ominous silence. He could hear the only sound of large well fed cockroaches ruffling papers and other items. Tonight, there will be no food for them and him. Since he married two years back, he had never done any cooking. His stomach rumbled with hunger with the thought of food, but he knew he would not cook.
Much Bitterness After The Betrayal
Lying on his back on the sofa staring at the ceiling, Mark had to fight with many weird thoughts that kept on crossing his mind. He decided not to think about her, but he found his mind slipping back to her. It was too much for him to fathom.
They had been together for three years, one in courtship and two in marriage. They had had their share of good times not to mention some few bad times, and everyone agreed they were a perfect couple. Mark had not seen the telltale signs of things going haywire.
So the biggest question he asked himself was why she had decided to betray him by being unfaithful. It was too much for him to comprehend. Slowly but with an increasing rate, his head started to throb, like demons were dancing and making merry inside.
When He Woke Up, His Neck Was As Stiff As A Ramrod
In less than three minutes the man was dead asleep, snoring and wheezing deeply like a sheep with asthma. There was no other sound except that of him and the occasional sound of roaches ruffling papers checking for something to take for supper. When he woke up with a start three hours later, his neck was as stiff as a ramrod.
He could not be able to turn it. The part of sofa where his head had been was wet with his saliva. With his white handkerchief, he wiped the saliva that was still on his left cheek. He struck dead a mosquito that was having a late supper on his leg. As he woke up, he turned a cockroach that happened to be at the wrong place and at the wrong time into past tense, crushing it beyond recognition.
The Pain Was Evident
It was time to sleep, but not before swallowing a pair of painkillers he found on the table. He moved to the bedroom, dragging his tired and thoroughly abused body. Many parts of his body where he had been attacked at Porcupines Inn were still arching, others, like the hand where he had been struck by the mugger had swollen. That made it painful to move or stretch his hand fully.
But of all, his heart was the part that had been badly affected. The pain was evident, it kept on boiling on the inside occasionally forming a lump on his throat. In such moments, Mark would close his eyes to prevent tears from rolling down freely. Again sleep overcame him and he disappeared to the world of dreams. Is it dreams or horrifying nightmares?
He Woke Up Feeling Tired And Disoriented
Every night must come to an end, and when morning came, Mark woke up still feeling tired and disoriented. One part of him was wishing he had remained in dreamland forever. The other part of his was confused, not knowing what it wanted. He took a hot shower to try and soothe his arching body.
After showering, he sat on the sofa staring at the 8” by 10” photo of his wife on the opposite wall. Her long black hair was falling onto her shoulders, her small charcoal black eyes twinkling as if someone was teasing her when the photo was being taken. Her ebony cheeks were standing out, with dimples on either side. She had gorgeous lips and whenever they were parted, one could see a beautiful set of milk white teeth.
He Ordered Fried Meat With Ugali
His stomach rumbled and he remembered that he had not eaten the previous night. He decided to go and eat in town as he shopped for a new phone.
One hour later, Mark landed in town. There were scads of people since it was a Saturday, they were singles, couples, families and even extended families moving about as if they were not sure where they were going.
He entered the first hotel that he came across after alighting. It was a long time since he had gone to a hotel. After briefly scrutinizing the menu, he ordered fried meat with ugali. Though it was early in the morning, there were still people eating like himself but the majority of them were taking tea.
Mark Sauntered Along Mfangano Street Window-shopping
Twenty minutes later, his stomach full to the brim and with a toothpick in his mouth, Mark sauntered along Mfangano Street window-shopping. There are many stalls that stock mobile phones, their accessories and airtime.
He stopped at one Mpesa shop to withdraw cash from his mobile phone, he explained his predicament but he was told he could not withdraw money at the moment before replacing his line.
The Price Was Not Pocket Friendly
He decided to do that later since he had enough money at the moment, so then he moved to the adjacent stall where he could see many phones on the display ranging from the simple Kambambe to the sophisticated and expensive phones. Quickly, like other window shoppers were doing, he scanned through the lines of well displayed phones checking the size, make and cost.
His eyes rested on a stylish Nokia X6 Black with the following features; touchscreen Smartphone with a compact design. Its star features include a superbly responsive capacitive touchscreen, 32GB of memory, an impressive 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, video calling, A-GPS, HSDPA, WiFi, a 3.5mm audio jack and outstanding battery performance. Available in Black or Pink. It was a good phone he had to agree but the price was not pocket friendly.
Half The Market Price
Just then as he gawked at another phone with lusting eyes, a well dressed young man came over to him and discretely showed him the same kind of phone he had been admiring. “How much do you have?” He asked slipping the phone away into his dirty jean trouser pocket his eyes roving all over Mark as if seizing him. Before Mark could answer, the young man suggested that they move to a better place as they discussed on the price.
Once they started moving, the lad fished out the phone and gave it to Mark. “You can test it.” He suggested.
Mark took the phone and looked at it carefully, he had heard of people being conned. “How much?” He asked.
The young man eyed him a sly smile playing on his lips. “Have you checked everything? It is genuine, the battery is okay, and everything is.” Then a moment later as he quickened his pace, he added, “half the market price.”
The Phone Was As Good As New
Mark could not believe it, the phone was as good as new. The deal was good. “It is okay,” he said. All this time they had not stopped and they crossed Ronald Ngara Street heading towards Luthuli Avenue. Just before reaching Luthuli Avenue, they branched walking along the deserted Sheikh Karume road.
“Give me the money and let me have the phone so that I can remove my SIM card.” The young man said.
The Deal Was Sealed Off
Within minutes the deal was sealed off. They parted ways and each went on his own direction. The young man had money and Mark had a phone he dreamt of. He went straight to an Mpesa agent to have his SIM card replaced. It was done and he was told to wait for about twenty minutes so that it could be activated. He was done for the day and he headed back to his home.
He Tried To Open it, But It Did Not Bulge
On arrival, Mark fished out his new phone and the SIM card, he was very eager to start using his new phone. He quickly turned it over the underside to remove the back cover so as to put the SIM card.
The cover was tight, he tried to jerk it out but it didn’t bulge. Because it was a new model he had never used, he decided to check carefully how the cover was supposed to be removed. Oddly, it seemed to be permanently glued together. He did not want to risk destroying his new prized phone, so he hurriedly moved out to look for a mobile phone technician. Just opposite his house there was one. It was open and overflowing with customers.
He Sneaked To The Counter
He excused himself and sneaked his way all the way to the counter. The thin faced technician was blowing hot air from SMD Rework Station to a dead phones’ motherboard, trying to revive it. “Yes what can I do for you?” he asked smiling with the prospect of making more money out of this new customer.
With care Mark passed over his new phone to the technician. “Can you open it for me so that I can insert my SIM card?” It was neither a question nor a request.
The thin faced technician took the phone, looked at it once and then at the owner, “Mzee hii umetoa wapi?” (man where have you gotten this one from?)
“I have just bought it in town today.” Replied Mark with some degree of arrogance. “Can’t you see it is new?”
“You have been conned. This is a dummy phone, the ones used for display.” The thin faced technician informed him returning the phone back.
He Began To Sweat
Mark felt his body begin to sweat. “But I tested it. Why don’t you open it and you will see it is okay?”
After realizing Mark would not bring any money, the technician had to dismiss him. He took the ‘phone’ and banged it down hard in front of Marks legs. It disintegrated into three pieces and then from the inside came out some Kenya Shillings coins. “I told you that you were conned. That is your Phone. But at lest the conman has given you back something small in return. The coins are yours you can pick them up.”
He Had Been Conned
There was a roar of laughter from the waiting customers. Mark could not believe that all this was happening. It was not possible that he had been fooled. And the money he had given to that young man! As he stormed out of the mobile repair shop he refused to accept that he had been conned.
© 2011 Patrick Kamau