Gus and the Nairobi Money Maker
He had done enough for the day and was sleeping at Jeevanjee gardens waiting for five o’clock to start the walk home which was five kilometers from Jeevanjee gardens. Despite working for the whole day the fella knew that he would get no pay; nobody would pay job seekers. That made him laugh at a preacher who always said that it was out of sweat that we should eat.
It was a scorching one hour to five and the grass was tired of him lying on it and was hard on him. He stood and walked towards a group of people who were listening to a street political analyst. The man was slightly balding and had a mustachio. He had also invested heavily in his dressing. From time to time after a few sentences, he would adjust his huge old school spectacles. He had to spend the one hour in the park even though what the slightly balding man was talking about was not interesting to him. If he chose not to listen to him, he would listen to a preacher whose voice was cutting through the garden. He did not like park preachers. He always accused them of defrauding desperate and innocent people, among them job seekers like him.
He couldn’t afford to lose the loose five hundred shilling notes that were in his back pocket through a pickpocket so he stood at the back of the crowd and from time to time looked back for a suspicious character.
By five thirty Gus decided to start the walk home. He cut the town through Tom Mboya Street then to Muthurwa market than to Jogoo road. He joined a procession for Kenyan citizens all in a hurry. He laughed at the speed in which he was walking. He also remembered the way kids at the apartment where he lived with his childless sister and husband reacted to his arrival, “how was work?” they would ask. He would pick one or two of them and raise them in the air. That way the innocent kids forgot about their question.
It was in those thoughts that a man suddenly appeared before him. “Can I talk to you for a while?” The man started standing right in front of him. He looked at the slightly balding man; he was worth listening to besides he looked familiar only that he didn’t remember where he had seen him. He moved to a roadside shade and the man followed.
“Why can’t we talk in private? Here everyone can see us I mean listen to us.” Curious about what the man was to tell him Gus followed him sheepishly. There was a lawn like ground where they made themselves comfortable.
The gentleman extracted a small machine from his bag I need a note from you, just any note. Gus dug deep in to his pocket, extracted one hundred shillings notes, chose the oldest and gave it to the man. The man opened a flap on the top of the machine, poured some liquid on it, placed the note on top and replaced the flap. After a few minutes, he pulled a clean one hundred note from the bottom opening of the machine and handed it to Gus who lifted it up to against the light of the setting sun just to confirm that it was real note. Indeed it was.
“Where’s the original one,” a curious Gus asked. The man opened the flap and gave it to him, dry like a bone.
“Because of time, go check if that note is a good note. If so come with other notes that must be original and let us meet tomorrow at this place. Please do not come with anyone; I choose who to help and who to leave alone.”
“A phone number or any contact,” asked Gus.
“No, just keep time and we'll meet.” Responded the slightly balding man.
By four the next evening, Gus was at the spot where they had agreed armed with all that he had saved in his entire Nairobi life. After about one hour the man appeared. For privacy propose, the man requested Gus to move to a guest room which he had paid just across the road and together they crossed the road.
Before the man could place his paraphernalia on the table, Gus had already arranged his notes on the table.
“Let’s agree on one thing, we shall duplicate the cash, and whichever amount well get, you will share an amount of your choice to me”
“I got no problem with that,” Gus responded loving the deal, after all, that was free money. At some point he felt like abandoning the deal but the openness at which the man was executing it made him hold on.
The man carefully placed the notes on the top of the machine, poured some liquid, replaced the flap and then sat patiently on the bed. The silence was so loud in the room.
Gus broke the silence, “why don’t we take a walk, I mean guys may think that we could be up to something nasty, just the two of us in here.”
Without a word, the two walked out crossed the road into a nearby bar. The now new friends talked about many topics business being the most dominant; the capital was coming. After about one hour the man requested Gus to go and check on the machine’s progress. He cautioned him against taking any of the produced notes.
The obedient Gus crossed the road and shot up the staircase into the room. The room had its usual quietness. He stepped back just to confirm the room number. No window was open but the machine plus the money it was to duplicate was absent. He dashed out and like a madman crossed the road to report to the balding man that someone had stolen his machine.
The man was nowhere in the bar. This made his madness degree to rise even higher leading him to the police station. At the gate, he met with his old friend. He shyly poured all his story to him.
“Right now the police are looking for a lead towards arresting such conmen. You aren’t the first person to encounter that person. If you walk to the occurrence desk they will either interrogate you like the conman himself or if you are lucky they’ll ask you to inform them if you see the man,’ informed the friend.
“I have been here in Nairobi for long. This is where the avaricious meets the greedy,” concluded the friend.