I’m with Mr N and we’ve been riding in his car since he picked me from the shop where I was holed up, waiting for him. He is having trouble believing that Nabil was behind my kidnapping, despite all the evidence. He was the last person I was with that night, so who else could it be?
We drive in silence, both lost in our thoughts. Why is he defending Nabil? What do we really know about anyone, after all? You might do business with someone or have a drink with him or her occasionally, but how well can you really say you know anybody? Do all the killers on the streets of Nairobi have a sign on their forehead advertising what they do? They probably have regular friends just like the rest of us who have no clue who they really are.
I remember having drinks one day with a guy who I later read in our local dailies shot his wife. It was over something as trivial as her coming home half an hour after him. He asked her to leave their matrimonial home after a shouting match and she left to go sleep at her parent’s home. But as she tried to leave the compound, he shot her in the back of the head at close range. As she lay there dying, he refused those that were there to take her to hospital. What a nut job!
I always think back to the night I met him. The conversation we had was average, nothing to indicate you are conversing with a crazy person. How many such people do we meet everyday?
“Why don’t you call him?” I ask. “Tell him you haven’t heard from me and were wondering how it went the other night.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” he says thoughtfully. “I’m really sorry for what you’ve been through. I guess I haven’t been compassionate enough.”
Well, that much is true! But at least he’s agreed to interrogate Nabil. I’m grateful that we are finally on the same page. He opens the glove compartment and pulls out a hip flask. “Have a few shots of this, it will calm your nerves.”
I take a swig. It’s scotch. I take another swig. “Would you like some?” I ask, holding the hip flask towards him. He shakes his head.
“Is that a good idea, seeing as we’re going to a police station? Or should I be charged with drunk-driving on top of aiding and abetting kidnap?” he asks sarcastically.
I say nothing and take a long swig of the scotch. He’s being overly testy, considering I’m the one who went through this ordeal and not him. I thought we had squashed the beef? Be that as it may, I’m finally feeling safe. This is overwhelming for both of us and I need to be cognisant of that. He’s here and that’s all that matters. For a while, I have been feeling like I was falling for Mr N and right now, I’m happy to be near him. After going through what I just did, it’s good to know that he can take care of me. My feelings were clearly not misdirected. He slows down and signals his entry into a gas station.
“Give me a minute,” he says as he pulls up alongside a gas pump. He turns off the engine and steps out of the pick-up.
He walks round the vehicle and has a word with the attendant. I drink some more. I am feeling calmer now. The attendant fills the gas tank and checks the engine oil. Mr N meanwhile, is standing some distance away, talking on his phone. I guess he’s speaking with Nabil. Finally, we’ll get some answers.