Written by Okumu Kenneth 

When the gateman asked where I was headed, I stood and burst into laughter. I didn’t want to, but making do with a little laughter early in the morning was too therapeutic to turn down considering that I had lots of work to do in the office. And you know what work does? It siphons happiness away from you better than a mosquito could ever siphon blood. I hate working. Okay, let me rephrase; I hate working for people. Why? Because you’re left at their mercy. You get dialed like a mobile phone because you need the money and they have it. It is the same money that someone will borrow from you and then fail to pay up. Some people need a pat on the back…with a hammer! Disgusting folks.

After a little prodding, the gateman still insisted that I produce some sought of documentation to prove that I actually work at the place. At that point, it stopped getting funny and began to get fascinating. I was like, “Dude, I understand that you see a lot of people often, but I’ve been coming here for two weeks now. You should know people nincompoop.” Of course I didn’t say those words out loud because I care about my dental formula. I really do.

It so happened that a colleague passed by a few minutes after the hitch and told the gateman to literally sought himself. I let myself off as I watched him bite and swallow his humble pie. So good a sight and feeling. I even had to adjust my walking style a bit; added a little bounce to my legs. Some of these things don’t happen too often. And when they do; you have to make the most out of them. It gave me a bossy feeling. The feeling that…’you know what folks, you can’t tell me nothing.’

“What was with the gateman?” She asked as we walked towards the office. “Suits thing,” I responded almost immediately. “Oh, right. You look good,” she retorted. “I always do,” I shot back. I was still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the gateman, two weeks later, couldn’t recognize me. He was too stubborn until the bolt from the blue statement from my colleague woke him up from his slumber. His nasty facials showed that it had caught him flat footed.  Whatever it is that he was trying to achieve had backfired right on his face.

“Next time I might decide to show up in shorts and rugged shirts just to piss him off,” I joked. “Small boy, try that out. You know who else you’ll piss off? You guessed right; the boss.” And we laughed as we entered the office. That day, everyone was raving about how good I looked in a suit and how people in suits look classy. All that talk made me quite uncomfortable. I couldn’t do my work well because I would be interrupted by people who’d come to my desk and tell me a lot of nothing. “You know what guys. Thieves nowadays hide their crooked ways by putting on suits,” I said. It was a statement out of nowhere really. I said that, oblivious of the fact that I’d be witnessing a robbery incident by two men in suits. A testament that indeed, I was having premonitions.

I left the office quite early and had a chit-chat with the gateman on my way out. We laughed about the earlier incident after which he promised that it’d never happen again. I left after telling him that if it ever happened again, then I’d sue the shit out of him. I’m not sure he understood though. It was a subtle way of saying that I’d smash his face.

I left because I was fed up. I was fed up with people making jokes about me and my classy blue suit. My one and only suit. I told them to suit themselves! I wasn’t having any more of it. I was supposed to don it in peace but they made me feel uncomfortable. And so I decided to leave without giving an actual toss about what the boss would say. It donned on me later on that perhaps, just perhaps, I had made a mistake. The lady victim noticed that she’d been played when it was too late. As I write this, the incident as it was, appears next to my eyelids. The execution too perfect for my liking.

Outside the gate, I saw a lady carrying a laptop bag. She was walking with style; swishing her ample endowments for anyone who cared to look. Or perhaps it was just her normal walking style. I couldn’t care less. I was enjoying every second and minute of it. Too bad the bus stop was close by. Granted, I’d have pushed it farther. When we finally met at the bus stop, I stood next to her, not for anything, but to admire her smooth skin.

As the driver of the KBS lurched the brake pedal, I was right next to her. My plan was to seat next to her, hoping that is, that she’d choose to seat where there were two empty seats. She’d go first and then I’d follow. But you know, it is hope that kills. She chose to seat next to him. The guy who had a mustache. Whose suit looked more expensive than mine. The guy whose phone was twice as big as mine. The guy who turned out to be more than it met the eye. The thief. The mastermind. The orchestrator. Methinks, wherever she is, she wishes that she hadn’t taken that seat. It didn’t occur to her as well that she had killed my heart. No, hope had killed my heart.

Maybe it was the cologne. Ever since I was told that my natural scent was good enough, I stopped wearing one. I would have saved her the agony of losing her laptop if I had talked to her a little earlier, I thought. I began cursing myself. When you like someone, it is normal for you to feel awful about something that wasn’t entirely within your control. That is how I felt. I felt like I had failed her. The hip-swishing lady who I had admired from afar and up-close. But now it was gone. The sight of her distraught face made my heart melt. It was like her mood was rubbing off and getting into my system. Christ! I never liked it. That wasn’t just remorse. It was something deep.

The two men, both in suits, one with a moustache and the other one with a long beard. They looked classy. They smelled good. They’d sat next to each other but immediately we were aboard, the man with the long beard shifted. And the victim lady fell for it. I don’t think she noticed though. If she had, she’d have smelt malice. Maybe she did but the good-looking guy toyed with her mind. Is there anything that confuses a lady more than a good-looking man?

The lady went straight and sat next to the man with a mustache without giving it a second thought. I sat two seats away, just to pay enough attention. When we were seated, the driver lurched the gas pedal and almost immediately afterwards, the tout came collecting bus fare. Hurlinghum is a ten minute drive away from town, that’s why I reckon the tout was in a hurry to collect the money. After he was done I heard the sound of a coin. It had dropped. Or rather, it had been dropped. By who? You guessed right; the man next to the victim lady. The moustache man. The one in a suit.

The moustache man asked the lady to help him search for the coin. She’d held her laptop bag tightly until then. So she let loose and decided to lend a helping hand. The man never looked suspicious anyway. There wasn’t cause for alarm. That is probably what the lady was thinking. A few seconds into the search, I saw the moustache ache man lifting a bag and handing it over to the man with the beard. It was happening so fast that I was losing track. Not so long after, the man with the beard signaled the tout to tell the driver to drop him in the next bus stop. All this happened in less than two minutes. Two frigging minutes! When the beard man was off, that’s when the lady noticed that her bag was missing.

I saw her giving the mustache man a quizzical look, asking him if he’d seen the bag. Of course he denied. I’m not sure anyone else had noticed the theft. It had happened so fast. The only guy who had alighted was the beard man so everyone inside the bus drew a conclusion that he was the one who had stolen the bag. The moustache ache man alighted almost immediately afterwards.

So yeah. The laptop was gone. Gone to the black market. Someone’s probably using it as I write this. A commodity of theft. Thieves are not your ordinary rugged-looking folks like it used to be. They’ve employed craft. They wear suits to hide their craft and crooked ways. The next time you hear a drop of a coin, don’t bother because there’s no crying over spilt milk.

These are the thieves in suits!



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