A man of The Cloth (Stained Collar)

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Today is one of those days I curl under my blankets and then sleep. But before that, I’ll ask Njeri, my PA, to rub my back slowly and rock me softly to enter a zone of no return. Where tingling and laughter and smiles abide. I will take one smile, wear it, and then hold Njeri’s hand and drift swiftly to that zone. I know she will watch me as I slip from her world to mine. Unlike what my Missus would do, hate, She will reach for an extra shawl, and then wrap it up around my torso. On the bedside table, she will read a note-‘ we have a very loooong guest post on our blog today. Wake me up when they have finished reading it.’

Meet Andanje of andanjesarowiwa.blogspot.com

“God be with you,” I tell the woman sitting on the opposite side of the confession chamber. I mock the sign of the cross and sit in silence, resting my head on the wooding of my chair’s backrest. The fluorescent light from her side spatters shadows of minuscule crosses on my gown. I lazily pull the scarf from my neck and lump it amorphously. The sound of her heels grows faint with every step she takes. She is probably the last confession for the night, I hope. The wooden walls I am confined in give me plenty of thought. I rap my fingers against the wooding and sit there oblivious of the quickly fading time. It’s in the ballpark of 23:00 Hours. I have sleep to catch and a sermon to draft.

My name is Padre Crispin. Thirty years of age. I was born and raised in Kenya. I don’t know much about my ancestry and matters upcountry. Born of two parents but raised by a single parent, my mother fled her abusive relationship with me safely tucked in a leso on her back. That’s as much about my father as I know.

Life’s asperities drew me closer to religion, Catholicism to be precise. Our humble shack for a house had all impressions of Jesus drawn on vast glossy charts with biblical inscriptions on the bottoms. A rosary always hang down my neck like a kipande in the colonial 1920’s on a black man’s neck. Catechism was at my finger tips. I spent most of my childhood around church, assuming a role as an altar boy. To me it was just quite everything I ever had. Yes I had a social life with innocence to spend and questions to ask but life under the cloth had me by the leash.

I learnt in a Catholic high school where mass was just another lesson. Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays were days devoted to spirituality. Call it interests or mere coincidence, I went to university to study Theology. I spent years on the critical study of the nature of the divine, making comparisons among religious traditions, and defending religious traditions. It was not a smooth sailing as seems but I pulled it off. I later filed my candidature for priesthood and proceeded to Seminary School to complete graduate work. Sometimes I wished I’d just drop dead and quit the race. Luckily for me, my fighting spirit weathered the storm. Somehow I got a leeway and moved out of Kenya for Zambia and fell in love with Lusaka. Maybe it’s their ifishimu fya kusalula (fried caterpillars) or their nshima and ndiwo that kept me tethered. Either way I was hooked. I was in three years ordained as priest at Chelstone Catholic Church, the church I currently serve in. It has been three years since my ordination. I don’t have regrets to file. Just lessons to learn each day.

My collar feels tight. I pull it out and slot it in my bible. I steal a tad of energy from the humid air and make effort to stand up, pressing on my knees with my arms with aim of lifting my torso.

“Forgive you Padre for the sins you are about to commit,” says a voice from the adjacent side of the confession chamber.

My knees can’t sustain my weight. I fall back to my seat. The wooden structure engulfs the pitch. I can’t quite pick the voice. I adorn my scarf and gather the last bits of focus from the humid night air.

“I’m sorry son. What did you purpose to mean by that,” I ask struggling to hide my utter confusion.

“Are you deaf or are you trying psychiatry on me? You heard me!” He rants. Evidently vexed.

“Woah, woah. I think you need to…” I fake courage before a rude interruption bruises my already fragile ego.

“5th street. Midnight. Alone. Not a minute late.” He commands.

It’s sufficient to say he is not in a joking mood. My poker face is etched on my face. Shock is a restraint of what I feel right now. What the hell!

I have never been so shaken. My heart beats from my mouth. My chest heaving with tension. In my journey of priesthood never had I been taught how to handle such a hard head.

Before I notice he is already walking out. I run out after him with aim of reaching him but he is way ahead. His soles hit the marble floor with sync. The empty cathedral echoes the sound way up the dome. In a black coat that swings with his movement and a baseball cap, he is not a common figure around here.

“Wait!” I shout. “What is your name!” I proceed.

What in the world does this man thinking he is?!

It’s like he’s deaf, or maybe I didn’t shout enough. He swings the large wooden door open and out he goes, not even caring to turn around. A slight wind whirls it’s way in with the gradually receding door and almost blows off the candles set around the pedestal bearing a distraught Mary. She looks at me with quite a tone of confusion or, say, pity? A strange presence hovers the room. I can feel the hairs at the back of my neck rise. I notice my scarf is hanging lose on one shoulder, I place it back on either shoulder and backpedal a few steps before turning around and flinging the rare door open. It’s like a scene from the exorcist movies I have seen before except this time, I’m the hunted. I don’t believe in premonitions but I have my doubts this time.

My conscience isn’t clear. I haven’t heard of such an instance in the past but judging by how he talked, it would blow back in my face real bad if I don’t act. I would have a skull with brains for a face. Eyes, maybe?

“Hey Padre, is our meeting on? I thought it wise …” Prompts Padre Martin. Often simply Martin.

I cut him short with my non verbal cue – A hand in the air illustrating a ‘it’s not time to talk’ scenario sending his speech dying out like a radio on spent batteries.

I have an abode in the church compound. In the Catholic faith it’s any parishioner’s prerogative to live within the compound of the church he serves. I make for my house and ascend the fleet of stairs with haste to my room. It’s around 23:15 hours. The drive to 5th street is about forty minutes, factoring in traffic and other vagaries. I have just minutes to spare. I set my bible besides the lamp shed of my bed and undo my watch. “The scarf can stay too,” I soliloquy. I pick the car keys and make for the door and as I turn the latch I can’t resist the feeling of going back for my watch. I budge. In a dither, I am negotiating my way into the rather busy Chelston Green Road.

My mouth wells with saliva. Insomuch as I have never borne the wish to have a gun, today, an MPMG would do just the job. Since my memory serves me, I have found security in my church and faith. Apparently, I feel like I could cling my faith on a gun. I’m beginning to doubt just about everything I teach my vast congregations on Sundays. I am going to a place I don’t know with just hope. My glowing rosary dangles from my mirror on the windshield. If only it could cure my anxiety. My hands firmly cringing the steering. My nerves jangled.

From a vantage point, I see the city down below, luminous with a persistent yellow. At some point, I feel like taking a U-Turn and not just giving a shit what that moron thinks he is trying to drag me into but my eyes stick, transfixed to the front. I fake a warrior’s calm and drive downhill looking at a clock I can’t even read. The street lights set a flicker on my watch. It’s roughly fifteen minutes shy of midnight.

5th Street is an open space in the concrete jungle with pews arranged in a semicircular pattern with jacaranda trees strewn around the establishment. It’s more or less similar to the famous jobless corner sandwiched between Ken-Com and Hilton Hotel at my home city – Nairobi, Kenya. Lusaka is quite similar to Nairobi in matters traffic and this one park. However, the people here are more friendlier, but this one. He’s a literal bitter pill.

I reach my destination just in time. I alight and take a deep breath, raking in courage from the chilled air of the mid night. My breath billows up the cold air in a mist. I pocket my hands in my jacket and walk on in search of probably a baseball cap. A car negotiating a corner floods the establishment with light, I use it as a vantage. He sits behind a tree on the far end of the perfect semicircle. I walk that direction and sit right next to him. He just sits there transfixed taking the last puff of his cigarette and tossing the brown bit on the pavement. I look straight ahead but gradually steal a glance at him with my eyeballs. I turn them so hard they ache, I feel like they may succumb to pressure and flip inwards. I stop with the look and sit there like a dog, awaiting orders.

He is such an icebox! Shoot!

His breath doesn’t even go up in a mist.

“What I love about an M9 Beretta is its efficiency.” He cocks his black pistol and in a flash pushes it hard against my temple. It’s like a scene from Liam Neeson’s Taken-3. The cold barrel makes my butt clench. He pushes it so hard I gradually lean on the opposite direction. My urine letdown is about to be involuntary. I haven’t been so scared in my life. My whole life flashes ahead on my closed eyes. From my first crush to attending my Father’s burial. The light they always talk about at the other side is already visible. I’m walking towards it.

He continues, “This piece if art is so neat it doesn’t leave a trace of life. Just one bullet and your christian brains spatter all over this bench. Another thing, I never have to ask for permission from anyone to use it. Funny enough today, it’s you who will give me the permission. You try anything stupid, and you will be yet another statistic. Make a choice…Padre.” Mockingly.

By now my head is almost touching the wooden sitting surface. This guy is a pro. He even proceeds to light yet another cigarette with the gun right against my head. My temple hurts. I can’t even control my breathing. He withdraws the gun from my face and tucks it in his belt. My nose is almost running. I fight to stay put. It’s never been harder.

He crosses his leg over the other and pats my shoulder. He has quite a grip. He is maybe a soldier or a farmer. They’re the people I know with such a grip. He almost shatters my shoulder blade.

“The funny thing about men is how masculine they pretend to be in front of other people. Catch them at their vulnerable point and see how feeble they get.” He says with a chuckle. Blowing smoke to the chilled night air. “They beg you like a god. They can literally worship you just to spare their ego. Do you need a tissue maybe? Awww! You feel like crying? Do you want your mommy? A breast to suckle on maybe? Fucking diapers for a change in case you soil your expensive pants? Now listen to me real good. I’m going to make this real easy for you like the sucking you desperately need. You will comply with everything I ask you to if you want to oversee future confessions in that boring ‘mint’ if yours. Okay?!”

“Okay,” I say. I swallow saliva and gather a rather elusive composure.

“I heard that religion is what prevents the rich from getting killed by the poor. Do you believe in that shit?” He asks.

“Yes… No… I mean, yes” I blurt.

“Yes or no?!” He bellows.

“Yes!” I answer.

“Do you know me, Padre?” He keeps saying ‘Padre’ in a funny mock and I feel agitated but I can’t dare complain.

“I do now.” I reply.

“What’s my fucking name?” He prods.

“I… I don’t know,” I reply.

“Then what’s with the big head Mumbo-Jumbo? Stop acting bright Padre. This ain’t that lot of hellbent believers you ‘preach’ to every Sunday. This is your ticket to seeing tomorrow dangling right up your head. It’s you to make the jump.” He slides down his seat.

What do you want? I’ll give you everything, just let me…” I try to sound as desperate as possible.

“I want you to be up straight with me. This is not how you preach in that shithole of yours. Do you preach whilst begging and almost wetting your pants?” Some saliva escapes his mouth and lands on my cheeks. “Get your act together and let’s have a serious talk you dumb fuck! These people!” He shakes his head. This guy is breathing fire. I assume his lungs are probably in embers. “Do you know why you don’t know me?”

He stands up and points his Beretta at my car, a sign he wants us to leave. We sit in the car and I await instructions. He goes round the passenger door and at that moment I’m tempted to just drive off but I am too confused to turn on the ignition. I look at my rosary and sigh.

“Take us to the nearest coffee shop. Nothing stupid boy. Oh, Padre. Nothing stupid ,” he speaks.

I ignite my car and back up. I am soon driving in the city headed to my favourite coffee shop in Makeni Mall. The Cake Bar & Patisserie is still open. We go in and get two coffee mugs, definitely on my bill. 30 Kwacha digs quite a hole in my pocket but it’s not time for that. I just thank God I am not dead. We walk back to the car, faking an all perfect situation.

“Enjoy,” he tells me. We sit silently in the car as we take in the first few sips. I like the aroma and the taste. At least my sense of taste and smell didn’t dump me punitively like my manhood did. *** “The reason you don’t know me,” he starts, ” is that you just don’t want to. People like us are trash to you. We are the kind you preach to the upper echelon families to avoid at all costs. Now you sit here vulnerable, breathing from your ears wishing you could avoid me at all costs. How practical could your sermon be.”

I’m totally confused right now.

“Umunandi, I still don’t get what this has got to do with me,” I gently prompt with a fake Zambian accent , kin not to ruin the hard sought calm.

“Then… Sit… And… Listen.” He hisses. “Don’t give me that bright kid shit. This is not kindergarten. You think I can come all this way to play insolo with you? And my name is Chilufya. Definitely not your umunandi. We both know that. I’m simply the sole reason you might live to see tomorrow. Now, are you willing to lose that reason?”

“No.” I mutter and curse under my breath. This guy is just being difficult. I feel like just losing it and getting my two at the back of my head, but I recall it’s weeks shy of my mother’s birthday. It would be a sick way to mark 58. Maybe a little calm could save the ship.

High up in Mfulira,” goes Chilufya, “near the border with Congo, rests my mother on her death bed, locked in her own brain. I am here in the city working menial jobs, having to suck the unmentionables just to eke a living and spare money to send to her…”

“I’m sorry man. I’m so…” I’m stopped right there.

“Fuck you and your sick sorry. You are just saying it because you haven’t been this close to a gun. I wonder what you stupid morons are ever sorry about. All you care about is a name for yourselves and saggy pockets. Look at you acting like a dying sloth on a tree. Do you know how bad it is to watch your mother lie on a bed with locked in syndrome and diabetes struggling to press the pillow over her nose and mouth?! Do you?!” Chilufya.

I can feel his pain. He seems like a man who can do anything for his mother. Killing me is evidently not something he needs to battle his conscience over. I can’t even sip my coffee anymore. I’m deadpan at my seat. Staring at the mall entrance. I have never been more appreciative of the simple things life gives us like a healthy mother, a good nights sleep that I desperately need and a bit of upper hand in just about anything in life.

“I am a young man but I apparently look like a fifty-year-old because my back is against the wall just to get my feet on the ground. Funny enough, the thought of spirituality comes to my head.” He chuckles. “I chart my way to Chelstone Church with hope that I can find all the help I need. What do I find?! Dumb ass trash. It’s like removing one’s shoes at a tiled veranda only to walk into a house with an earthen floor. You guys just broke my spirit.”

Chilufya speaks more out of honesty than anger. This feels exactly like the confession chamber, except there’s a gun involved. Let’s just say it’s more of judgement day.

“You men of the cloth walk and talk with so much sanctity yet you are a rot. Do you know that a person like me can’t quite say anything in front of that hell bound congregation of yours?” Pause. “Well of course you do. Because you are the ones that make it that way. You are the forces behind that shit. The rubber stamp.”

He picks his coffee and takes one huge gulp. Probably the remnant was getting cold. He places back his mug and wipes his face, I don’t know what of. Maybe just to feel better of himself.

“I’m sorry.” I speak curtly.

“Are you? Are you sorry cause I am making you or cause you truly know what shit you do up there? You fake a heavenly ascent and proceed to even take our women up your rooms. You churlish morons. You aren’t sorry till I say you are boy!”

He is losing it. There is plenty of truth in what he’s saying. I for one never tuned women to my music but I know it happens. I just want to know what I did to him that has him waving his M9 in my car.

“A month ago, I walk into Chelstone Church and the ushers by the door give me some annoying deadpan look and punitively point me the back pews. I recoil from one of the men’s grip with an effort of going further to the front but he pulls me back and still asks me to sit behind. I don’t want to cause a fracas, so I sit on the cold pew and watch as more appealing people go right to the ‘altar’ (moking a quotes sign). Appalling folk like me are given pews so cold our bums chill. I egg on and stay calm. Some prick called Martin gives the word of the day. Something about delayed gratification. I must say he has a knack for the scripture. Two hours down the line, we are asked to give offering. They start with the deep-pocketed before coming to us with darned pockets. I, still acting spiritual. After Mass, I run to him and he is evidently not interested. Probably my dressing killed his first impression of me and buried it right on site. Throwing caution to the wind, I persuasively give him a plethora of my predicaments including my dying mother and all. He says he will do something about it and come the next Sunday, he would help me. I am excited that help is on her way to my rescue. Problem is, she isn’t as beautiful and warm as I expected.” Pause. “Come next Sunday I feign joy, knowing what to expect. I in my same old jeans and T-shirt, sit at the back where my kind belongs. I sing to every tune and clear my conscience to invoke God’s presence. Same old prick Martin comes and delivers his boring sermon. I wait for him to speak of my predicament in front of the church but the idiot doesn’t. I even make a foolish stunt of faking a call of nature so that he spots me and remembers but the idiot, behind his expensive spectacles can’t see me. You charlatans!”

Chilufya is evidently in pain. I am now getting wind of where the story is headed. I’m afraid it’s not as good.

“I after Mass, again, run to him with despondency. Still weak, meek and vulnerable. I remind him of what we talked. I am like a fly to him. He wads me off with sick non-verbal cues and shady ‘we shall look into it by next Sunday’ talk. I wish to make him swallow that gown he wears but just walk away. From a distance I see him smile his teeth out. It’s like he doesn’t have emotions. One minute he smiles the next, he’s the true definition of gloom. He holds his bible at chest position with the cliche priestly fashion. I so wish to go right back and punch him right in his throat. It’s just not the place. My head sinks between my collar bones. My heart hanging dead within my chest. He is arguably the meanest person I’ve had to deal with in my entire miserable life. Fuck him!” Chilufya.

He opens the door and stands outside for a few. He is probably crying or something. My chest is heavy. I sure am not him but I feel his sadness. Being pushed to gun point, he must have been really hurt. He comes back into the car.

“Fifteen million right now or I pop a cap in your thick skull!” Chilufya. My nerves jangle.

“What?! I can’t do that right now man!” I speak.

“That’s how sorry you can get. So I assume you’re just saying you can’t get sorry at all. Aye?” Chilufya. “Padre Martin then transfers his dork thinking to you. You, in fact, escalated the crisis EXPONENTIALLY! You fucking call for a fundraiser for some rich family who want to take their child abroad for stupid further studies. Who does that! Who do you take us for? Does them giving more make you slaves? You are under their leash…”

“I didn’t know…” I interject. I’m distressed. I am agitated to get over with.

“What do you know man?! What do you fucking know?! Let me get finished!” Chilufya. Enraged.

My mind is racing like a NASCAR on the track. 15 million Kwacha? Who am I? Fucking Colombia’s Pablo Escobar? Or Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote? Do I resemble Angola’s José Eduardo dos Santos? I’m not even a parody of Kenya’s Chris Kirubi. I am fucked. So bad!

It’s 03:27 hours by the watch on my car’s dash. I can’t stand the wait for morning, whether dead or alive. This has been enough of hell already.

I’m starting to lose my cool, maybe due to the uncertainty or disorientation. I’m just tired. I might as well help him point the gun down my throat. He has had enough of fun already.

Who does he think he is anyway. These poor people just use anything to get to you.

“I didn’t choose it to happen that way! I was told that you seemed a con. What did you want me to do? Swim oceans for you? We work with protocol and I was just doing my job. Whatever sick game that went between you and Padre Martin was not on my side to pick…” My fingers are shaking. My pulse is skyrocketing.

“Well, you did when you announced that crap for a fundraiser. Fifteen Million or your brains all over this polished dash. Is this car even yours? Or you borrowed it like your manhood?” Chilufya.

He draws his M9 and right at my temple presses the barrel hard. I thought I wanted to die right now but I don’t. He pushes so hard the gun that I gradually move towards the window.

“Now, listen and listen real good. Call whoever you will and wire the money in sixty,” he commands fishing his pocket and removing a crunched paper, probably bearing the account number. I take it but can’t even read it. I hold it in my hand and gently close my eyes. I know I don’t have that kind if money. I am contemplating repenting cause it’s probably my last day.

“I… I’m not sure I can raise that money. Please! Just let me think of another way of helping you.” I beseech.

“Twenty seconds. Make a call.” He says and starts counting.

I fumble with my phone but can’t even find a number. I am disoriented.

4!, 3!, 2!, 1! and “chuck” goes the trigger. I could swear I feel my pants getting wet. My system is almost failing. My pulse is astronomical. My nose runs. Tears roll involuntarily from my eyes. I have never been this scared. I am crying like a baby and I sound hideous.

“The next one is a real bullet. Just don’t make me use it on you. Now GET ME THE MONEY! And stop crying. You’re a fake piece of shit. You’re doing it to make me pity you when you never have pity for anyone. And this is not a loo. Moron!” Chilufya.

He leaves the car and stands by the door. I see him fishing his pocket and I am just about certain he’s putting bullets in the action compartment. This shit is getting out of hand.

Martin is my first call. “Hey, I am in a mess. I need 15Million Kwacha immediately otherwise, you will bury me without a head! Call whoever whatever. And wire it to… to… 0474…0155…6315…90.” I hang up immediately. I am in no position to take excuses.

Approaching ‘Z’ on my contact list tells me how I need to change the people I roll with. Soon a call from Martin comes in and I hastily pick my phone.

It’s 04:00 Hours.

“The church’s coffers can only drain 10 million. My hands are tied.” Padre Martin.

“Brother. Do whatever you can to top it up. I’m desperate. Sell that car or whatever man. I need that money in full. Thirty minutes tops!” I command. Chilufya comes back to the car.

“It’s hard to grow when you’re pushed to your knees, I lived, I am an overcomer, I’m a moron, probably worse. Which one sounds nice on a gravestone? Better yet YOUR gravestone? You know, it’s funny how life turns out. One time you’re eating bacon, the next you’re about to be made bacon. Tomorrow, will the man typing the eulogy write of how the deceased lived a life of honour or that of a shit fuck?! We are sitting here as two men. Who do you think deserves a good eulogy. Who do you think deserves to die with their head intact?” Chilufya.

“I’m working on it. I am at ten million. Just a bit more of time. Please.” I speak.

“Drive,” Chulifya. Deadpan.

I back up my car and just drive. Destination, oblivion.

“I’m getting you the money, please. Just a bit of time. Nobody has to die. Not today. Please. Not ever. I share in your predicament. I’m sorry it had to go this way,” me, heartily.

“Fuck your pity. 5th Street. Work on your confession already if the money isn’t wired in fifteen.” Chilufya.

I drive down the road, haltingly. It’s minutes shy of 05:00 hours. I take a right and take a drag to the kerb at 5th street. He alights and from the outside, asks me to follow him. I alight and we go back to where we sat earlier. The seat is way colder than it first felt. He does something with his gun and slides it to my side. He lights a cigarette and takes in a huge first puff and gives it to me. I shake my head. I don’t smoke. I know the Beretta is loaded this time and a slight mess will have the news outlets making money.

“Have you used a gun before?” Chilufya.

“No.” I reply.

“Neither have you smoked. The recoil velocity makes your body reel backwards with some vibration. It takes plenty of getting used to. Having aim shouldn’t be a problem to you. The closer the target the cleaner the shot. Pick it up.” Chilufya.

“Umm. Why?!” I, scared.

“Pick it the fuck up! Bastard!” He commands.

I pick it up reluctantly. It feels heavier than it looks. I wield a gun in my hand and have never felt so rogue. He roughly pulls my hand and holds the barrel right against his temple.

“If it clocks 05:10 you shall pull the trigger otherwise I shall kill you myself.” Chilufya.

“I haven’t killed anyone before. I’m sorry man. I can’t do this.” I plea.

“If you don’t want, send the money. You are behaving like you haven’t killed yet that’s what you do on a weekly basis in that church of yours. You break hearts, kill dreams and hopes. You are the mass murderers. You deserve solitary confinement in the depths of hell. Now, you will give me one to the head or get few to the chest. The choice is yours.” Chilufya.

Soon my phone vibrates and a text from Martin reads that the money has been wired in full but I have explanations to make. The hell. I don’t bother with the rest. The account as later confirmed was opened by one Nsonyi Chola. Probably his wife who lived in Lusaka’s Misisi Slum. She had three children and worked menial jobs. It was discovered it was his wife. The mother had already died early before the time she was traced. I assume her death instigated his animosity. He just needed a place to unleash his terror. He found quite an easy target.

“Here’s the text message. As you said full amount all settled!” I say with a mixed feeling of relief and anger that he had what he wanted and I could get my life back.

He looks at the text and isn’t as excited. At this point, I don’t know what he wants. Fuck him! I wish he knew how less of a shit I give right now! I slide the gun back to him and rub my eyes. I am not myself. I just want a bed and a week of therapy to overcome this mess I sank in.

“I have one last thing. Let’s go back to the car.” He says. I walk reluctantly to my Toyota Prius and I now have the guts to put on my stereo. After all. He has what he wanted.

“Are you a good man?” He asks.

“I guess,” I respond, calmly.

“So they will believe you when you say I did it myself…” Chilufya with a calm voice.

“What? Did what? What do you mean?” I ask, puzzled.

“I am a nobody. They will believe you anyway. Poor people don’t have a say in this country.” He speaks. Lifting his gun by his right hand. “There wasn’t a chance I was walking out if this alive. How far do you think id go with 15 million Kwacha?! Why else would I carry a gun?! So just do your fucking job. Just tell them what you saw.”

“Wait! Wait! Wait!” And pwah! Goes the gun. The loud stinging sound hurts my ears. I recoil to my side and curl up. My face feels wet, probable spattered with blood. My heart is beating from my mouth. I am screaming like a little girl. Blood stains my dash and shield. I haven’t been this close to a dead body, let alone seen a body go on a fit as life leaves it. His body sits perfectly with his gun dropped by my hand break. The left side window is crimson with blood. The smell isn’t appealing. I leave the car and stand right there by my door, holding my hands in the air. I lean on my door and gradually glide down to a squat. My body shakes like a leaf. If this is what it takes to serve, I’d rather quit. A crowd of street children and night guards who probably heard the shot is growing by the second. In my car, my stained rosary dangles.

Kericho isn’t far a place in Kenya. I would rather go and help my mother farm. Whatever happens from now onwards, quitting priesthood is in the itinerary.

Cheers, let’s hook up on Weno.

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