In a tough situation, only tough men can come through for you. Having a group of toughies you can call in a situation is the best blessing a man can have. In my case, I have a team of straight-shooting, never-say-die, brave men who can kill and burry with no care about the law.
I summoned the men after the court case was adjourned for 9 months. Quickly, we formed a war council- ready to visit terror and horror on the men who had brokered the deal.
“We don’t know the woman, they declared. We know the men who brought her. They must produce the money in full, or be driven out of town and beheaded at the gates of the town.”
That’s how I found myself praying that the con-woman would never be found, for this would destroy my plot. She would never raise back my money, and would most likely end up in jail. If she surfaced, the brokers would breathe easy. Yet the case before the courts was between her and the state, I being a mere witness. The prosecution had told me that I could only sue her after the state found her culpable. But how do you sue someone in absentia?
The chair of the ‘war council’, a stocky, moustachioed man in his late thirties, is a no-nonsense, daredevil of a man.
The fear-stricken brokers hurdled in a bench, not knowing why we had summoned them. Just like the fateful day when the plot unraveled, they looked genuine but dejected.
The chairman cleared his throat rather loudly and menacingly looked around the room.
“I want all of you to look very keenly at all the men in this room,” He told the brokers.
“These are hardworking men, who never steal anybody’s sweat.” He went on.
“They support each other, like they supported daktari with the money that has now been lost. This is not a threat. Make sure you mark our faces well. We don’t fear the law. But, we don’t let anyone get away with injustice to one of our own.”
“I can show you my shoulders,” He said, unbuttoning his shirt.
“You will see huge scars. This should tell you I have carried the heaviest guns; AK47, G3, machine guns.
But in your case, it will not be the gun. I will employ the ax to cut someone’s head. I don’t fear the police or jail. I only fear God.”
His heavy tone, the firm face, menacing eyes and the finality with which he spoke made me cringe. I looked at the brokers. They were shaken.
The main broker, the old man lifted his finger, asking for a chance to speak.
“I have heard you, my sons. I’m a genuine broker who has sold houses, plots, and tracts of land. Never before have I fallen for a con. But I want to declare before you and God that I will pay back what has been stolen.
Any of us who got a coin from that deal will pay an equal sum. Afterwards, I will go to Zanzibar or Tanga, or Nigeria. I will not rest until that evil woman is transformed into a rat!”
The ten members of the council restrained laughter. We had agreed to wear stern faces and not show any traces of doubt, mercy or joy.
The three brokers agreed to pay equal sums. I heard the youngest of them say that he had three acres of land he could easily sell.
“The other one, a tailor in town, mourned that he couldn’t get the money. I have twelve acres near Isiolo which I can transfer to you,” He said to me.
“Mzee, daktari didn’t give you soil. He gave you money. You can steal, borrow or sell your liver, but all we want is money,” The chairman warned.
Only the chair spoke as we had earlier agreed. The rest of the group looked on with unyielding eyes as the drama unfolded.
“What about the fourth broker, the one who brought us this woman?” The old man asked.
“We don’t know him. We don’t go after people we have no business with. You are the ones to pay the money, and later look for your accomplice.” Came the curt response.
It was agreed that within 60 days, the three men would deposit a sum of four hundred thousand each into the group’s bank account, and bring the receipts to the group.
What if I don’t get the whole sum by then? The old tailor asked.
“You should have written your will because your head will be delivered to your family.” The chair wagged his finger as he told him with a blood-curdling finality.
“You can now go. You are free to report us to the police. In fact, we like being reported. We like going to jail.”
The three men shook hands with the group as they left the room. We burst out laughing when they had gone. We had managed to pull the first trick, and we hoped it would work. We had several tricks in the bag in case this did not work.
Later that evening, the detectives on my case called informing me that they had information that the woman was in Chuka and wanted to track and arrest her.
Could I facilitate the arrest?
I told him that I didn’t care whether they arrested her or not. After all, the case she had was against the state. And I told him that I was no longer interested in pursuing the case. He seemed puzzled and at a loss as he persuaded me to have her arrested so I could recover my money. I told him I had forgotten about the money and moved on.
I bumped on the lead broker negotiating the sale of his crisp clean Landrover, and I felt a twinge of pity for him. I knew he was frantically looking for money to pay back.
Sixty days came and went, and the war council gathered to meet the men. They trooped in one by one, handing in the receipts. The old tailor was the last to appear, and his receipt indicated he had deposited three hundred and fifty thousand. I looked at him with pity as he frantically begged to be given two more months to raise fifty thousand shillings.
I felt relieved as the money was transferred to me. By a strange, godly coincidence, the money came when my employer had stopped my pay for three months and I was struggling. Looking back, it was like I had saved the money for use on a rainy day.
I called the old tailor and offered him a reprieve for the fifty thousand shillings. I reflected on what could have been and thanked God for the lessons. The con-woman went on with her cunning ways, conning people, and I never picked any calls from the detectives. When the mention of the case came, I declined to stand as a witness, for by then, I was a resident in internal medicine in the busy Kenyatta National Hospital.
Paul Bundi Karau is a practicing medical doctor, formally with Kenyatta Hospital.