Bad news breaking
Lyrics: Loving you(M. Riperton R. Rudolph)
No one else can make me feel
The colors that you bring
Stay with me while we grow old
And we will live each day in springtime
There were times when Babu could be exceptionally irritating, Woolie thought, helplessly, and it was at times such as these. They were in Woolie’s small silver Nissan, crawling along Friday evening traffic, heading for the Haraka-Haraka Luxury Coach booking offices down town. Babu had suddenly remembered that he had an urgent package to send to his wife who lived on a small farm in the west country. He needed to get the parcel onto the overnight coach, which was scheduled to leave in thirty minutes. He cursed and swore, urging Woolie to drive faster, change lanes and undertake the matatus.
They arrived at the office with just moments to spare. The man at the counter smiled as he recognised Babu and processed his parcel double quick, assuring them that it would be with Mrs Babu by 8.00am the following morning. Babu tipped him generously and they drove back to South B. It was Babu’s turn to buy the beers.
The bar was becoming livelier by the minute as thirsty punters streamed in, their long faces betraying the pains of the past week. Babu and Woolie were seated on tall stools at the bar. Babu took a long sip from a most satisfactory pint of Guiness, smacking his lips in delight. Woolie had decided to sample the new lager that some genius at the brewery had named ‘Mteja’. He invited Babu to take a sip. The old man put the glass gingerly to his lips and took a slow, long draught of the new drink. He held it in his mouth for a moment before forcing it down his throat, his face wrinkled up in an expression of deep agony. He looked at Woolie and said, “Mteja by name, mteja by nature. That stuff is disgusting.” He reached for his Guiness and gulped it down in one go.
“So, Woolie, have you heard from Rubina?” Babu asked after a short pause. Woolie shook his head, as an alarm bell started ringing in his ear. Babu was doing his fishing thing.
“Wow”, Babu continued. She’s been gone over four weeks, now. Don’t say you don’t miss her.” He had a funny smile playing on his lips. Woolie felt the heat rise in his face. He said, “Please Babu – no talk of Rubina tonight, please. I’d prefer not to discuss her with you, at all. Just imagine what she’d think if she knew we talk about her. Me and you, that is. It’s not on. She’s near enough your adopted daughter. I cannot have this convo with you!”
“Pah! Don’t pretend you don’t miss her. I know I do.”, Babu said. “She is going to be in Nakuru for the next nine weeks or so. That sodding case she’s on is difficult and it’s going to take ages. How come you don’t even talk of going up there some weekend to see her? Surprise her.”
“Surprise her?”, Woolie asked. Babu looked at Woolie and shook his head slowly. He said “Stop being such a pussy cat. Go on. You can drive up there first thing tomorrow morning. Look, it’s Saturday, see? Spend the day with her. She’d like that.”
Babu was on a roll. He said to Woolie “ Kwanza ebu ask Cleveland there to bring us some spicy chicken wings when he comes over. I’m going outside to fire my ka- pipe. When I return I’ll show you what to do about Rubina. Faint heart never won fair lady, au siyo?”
The evening wore on without serious surprises or undue excitement for Woolie. The good people in the pub had been fed and watered. Their formerly long tired faces now shone with euphoria and optimism. A result of good beer, fried chicken wings and very loud music.
That evening there was a new girl singing at the karaoke. The punters swore that her voice was identical to the mating call of the evening nightingale and had captured the hearts of most of the single men in the house when she sang “Loving you is easy ’cause you’re beautiful….” She had sung for two hours straight and then had mysteriously disappeared, just before the clock struck midnight.
Lovin’ you I see your soul come shinin’ through
And every time that we oooooh
I’m more in love with you
La la la la la la la… do do do do do
By the time the taxi dropped Babu and Woolie off at Babu’s bungalow it had been agreed that the two of them would be driving to Nakuru first thing in the morning; Woolie to spend the day with Rubina and Babu ostensibly to visit an old pal from Njoro who was looking for a sleeping partner to invest in some new technology enterprise. Woolie had a strange, elated feeling as he thought about the journey they would be making in just a few hours. It would be nice to see Rubina after all this time. He had already said good night to Babu who was standing at the verandah smoking his pipe. He found a duvet and some cushions and made his bed on the sofa. He undressed jumped onto the sofa and fell asleep almost immediately, aided no doubt by the evening’s drinks and some very happy thoughts for the following day.
Woolie woke with a start. He felt like it had just been minutes ago that he had fallen asleep. It took him a few moments to gather his thoughts. He remembered now why he was sleeping in a strange sofa. The knocking at the door was getting louder, more insistent. He put on his shirt and trousers and went to the front door. Across the hall-way and down the corridor Babu’s deep snoring seemed to vibrate the walls of the small bungalow. The time on the wall clock was 06:30. He opened the door and was nearly felled to the ground by a very agitated Commander Ruby Mwekundu of Regional Crime who stormed in, heading straight for Babu’s sitting room.
“Where is Babu?” She demanded. “Why is his phone mteja?” Before Woolie could answer, Babu walked through into the sitting room looking all smart and tidy. He smiled at Ruby and said “This is a pleasant surprise, Commander.” He turned to Woolie, “Fetch us some tea, Woolie, There’s a good chap. The Commander has some urgent news for us.”
Ruby had a face like they had not seen before. She was angry, that was clear, but she was frightened too. She held her hands together to keep them steady and looked at Babu and said “ It is, I regret very bad news. I received this information just over half an hour ago, Babu and I have been trying to contact you on your phone. Rubina was attacked at around eight o’clock, yesterday evening on her way home from work. The attack took place less than 8oo metres from her Pa’s house in Sobea. The report says she was found lying unconscious having suffered terrible injuries and it is believed that the attackers (police believe there was more than one attacker due to the sheer number of injuries) had left her for dead.”
Babu had gone completely still and the commander continued, “Rubina is now at the general hospital in Sobea where she is in a critical but stable condition. She lost a lot of blood in the attack and the perpetrators cut her many times with knives on her arms, legs and back. They are keeping her under observation and have sedated her for the time being.”
The shock in Babu’s face was painful to watch. The commander shook her head and said, “I don’t think there is any doubt that it is Rubina. The police at the scene recovered some documents strewn around the area where the attack took place. They were able to identify her quite quickly and the OCS, a kind gentleman by the name of Makrahanish, placed a call to my office which was transferred to me. I have a car with a driver outside ready to take you to Sobea right away.”
The commander was looking at Woolie when she said “The hospital are giving her the best possible care and Makrahanish has assured me that they already have a huge man hunt under way. The monsters who have done this will not get very far.”
To be continued