With just a duvet to fend off mosquitoes and the late night cold, Alex had taken his turn on the couch lightheartedly. Ever since his break up two months ago, his dejected brother Ely had been hesitant to catch a rebound; but when he finally came home with a snack, Alex was quick to decamped the bedroom for the refugees’ lair.
About 2 am, Alex was startled by the rattling of the front door. First he thought it was Jasper—the neighbor’s dog—hosting a shindig on the wrong porch again, but as he looked longer and more intently, something in the glass door curtain caught his attention. “Already?” he whispered, as he slipped his legs out of the duvet to creep for the door. The silhouette he was looking at was more humanoid than doggy.
For the two months he had spent in this humble neighborhood, the limited interaction there had been between Alex and the neighbors was dominated by anecdotes of robbery and mugging; tales that had disciplined the residents to lock themselves up as early as the birds returned home. It is these intriguing stories that stirred his curiosity to confirm, or better yet, get an attempted-robbery-anecdote of his own.
But as he approached the door, just before he attempted to draw the curtain, the door opened towards him.
“Fuck!” he exclaimed as he fell back on the carpet, the thugs were in. Two of them, one; short and stout—like a pig’s balls—, held a dim torch and a thick stick. The other, relatively taller and skinnier; wore a hooded jumper with a pair of pliers in one hand and a stick in the other.
“Nyamanza nyamanza,” commanded the mini-man brandishing his club.
As he staggered his boxers-draped-ass off the carpet, scowling at the man who had no gun, knife, or even an iron bar but just a stick. Alex wondered, Are these the men who are going to rob me?
“Me I don’t speak Swahili,” he sneered.
“Quiet on carpet,” encored the hooded chicken in safety pined English.
“What is happening?” Ely also startled out of sleep in the other room and tried to open up to see what’s going on.
“Robbers, don’t open your door!” Alex shouted.
Whoosh! The mini-man swiped the club. Alex saved his head but sustained a severe bruise on the hand that fended off the blow.
“Why you tellingi him not openi? I telo you shut up lie downi.” He fought with the language as he vented his frustration into multiple hits aimed at Alex’s ankles.
Certainly, Alex knew everything in the living room—the T.V, DVD player, his wallet, phone and computer—wouldn’t survive the night the moment that door opened in his face.
But behind the other door was a brand new Dell XPS 5800 with a state of the art AOC monitor 12.9mm thin and an 18.5”W LED panel, it was their most revered asset.
Though it belonged to Ely, Alex idolized it for it for its blazing Intel Core i5 processor and the Ultra-High Dynamic Contrast Ratio monitor. These two features took Need for Speed and Grand Theft Auto to another level, there was no way these bastards were getting their hands on this “baby”.
After a couple of rage filled minutes of being flogged, Alex thought;
so that’s it? Two goons who know how to break a padlock can just walk in with sticks and take everything I’ve toiled for? Fuck NO!
“Ely,” he dared to summon, “come let’s take these bastards on, it’s just two of them brandishing sticks.”
Not that he was a prize fighter, hardly; the last time Alex had been involved in a fist fight was fifteen years back behind a primary school dorm; one that he lost in under a minute when the first and only blow in the punch-up smashed his chapped lips to a pulp.
But now, the cumulative anger of being flogged by the pygmy had purged him of all fear and he was ready for whatever—or so he thought.
“Sticks? Leeta ejambiya eyo!” Ordered the pygmy.
Out of nowhere, two other thugs leaped onto the porch. One of them lunged in waving a panga while the other stayed to play sentry, just in case anyone dared to violate the neighborhood’s unwritten rule of “every resident for themselves and God for us all”.
Poorer of hope but freer of some illusions, Alex realized this was not a fight he would dare to test his assumed fighting skills in, the introduction of a lethal weapon meant that the scoffing remarks would have to be replaced with supplications. Nothing in this room was worth dying for.
Hands clutched on the bedroom door knob, Alex pleaded with the panga menacing chap for mercy. “Take everything you want but let me just go to the other room.” He knew lying on the carpet or squatting in the corner as suggested by the hooded chicken was not an option. Going by the rate at which things were being carried out of the house, Alex knew it wouldn’t be long before the emptiness of the room resonated every foot stump; that moment wasn’t to find him stuck with these brutes, lest they resort to mutilating him as a way of coercing Ely to open up the door.
That door, behind which Ely trembled, freakin’ scared for his brother. Though he knew there was nothing much he could do to help, the cowardice of locking himself in hiding with a girl he barely loved was eating him away. Even the sight of her frantically yelping her lungs out; “get me out of here, I don’t want to die,” when his younger brother was being mutilated in the other room infuriated him the more.
But when the perfect opportunity came; just when the three thugs were busy grappling for the wallet and phone; Alex squealed “open open”, upon which screams Ely deftly snapped the door open by just a narrow gap for his brother to limp in, before slamming it on the miniature trying to squeeze his way through with his club.
Flopping against the door, Alex was covered in bruises and could barely stand. He knew the robbers couldn’t break through to the bedroom, but he felt dejection that he had been deprived of every electronic gadget he had dibs on in the house. Like his days in high school, all his surviving belongings could now fit in one suitcase.
However; despite the pain, anger, and misery. Alex felt like a hero for the short-lived display of bravery, fighting for their baby, and most importantly; selflessly embracing all the flogging that was meant for all the inhabitants including his brother and his booty-call.