Beating The Odds – Episode 8
© Brian Ngoma
Kani’s eyes were everywhere, he was alert to each and every step in the store. Mostly, his attention was on the security guard in front of him. Observing him carefully, he could tell he had hurt himself too and was trying so hard to hide the pain.
The security guard stepped towards him and said, “Easy boy, there is no where to run to, don’t fight it.”
“What has the boy done?” an onlooker asked.
“He’s working with some shoplifters, this is the closest we have got to catching them,” the security guard responded keeping his eyes on Kani.
“But he’s just a boy!” another woman shouted from the crowd. “Maybe you have him mistaken for someone.”
“No, the people he came with run away.”
While the people were asking the security guard questions, Kani had already figured out his way out. The security guard was now close to him. He was stunned because the boy didn’t move an inch. His stare made him somehow nervous. He could see the determination in his eyes. If he knew better, he would have anticipated what happened next.
Within a meter away from the security guard, Kani dashed off not in an opposite direction but towards the guard. The guard also charged forward in what seemed like a faceoff. What surprised the guard was the grin on Kani’s face. It was like he had mentally calculated his escape and inwardly knew he would be successful. Unexpectedly, the security guard saw Kani taking off like a plane in the air and landed on his right shoulder. Still confused, he was kicked with a right foot in the skull falling in the ice cream freezer with a bang. Kani easily and cautiously touched down and took off without looking back. Everyone could’nt understand what had just happened. The boy was gone.
“Did he jump that high?” a woman asked her mouth gaped.
“Yes he did,” a man answered. “Someone check the guard.”
Everyone run to the guards aid who was squealing in pain with his head buried deep in the freezer. He also couldn’t understand what had just happened. “He’s escaped?” he asked as he was pulled out of the freezer.
“Yes,” the shop attendant answered. “Who is that boy?”
Everyone was mesmerized. Kani never stopped running till he reached the dust road that led to his house. It was a long distance. Whilst walking, he kept wondering why he was left. Perhaps they knew he would make it or they planned on leaving him. He had no where to go, Veronica and Greg were his only family, he had to return home; the only home he knew. Before he could even reach the house, he found Greg’s car parked on the road side. As soon as Veronica saw him, she ran to him and hugged him.
“I told you he is a tough one,” Greg emerged from the woods.
“We didn’t plan on leaving you Kani sorry, Greg here said you’d make it that’s the reason you have found us here waiting for you,” Veronica said.
Kani didn’t say a word but he had that grin the security guard saw. Veronica and Greg saw it too and looked at each other. “What is it Kani?” Veronica asked.
She got worried. “My boy what’s wrong?”
“I loved it,” he exclaimed. “You should have seen the security guards face when i jumped over him. It was like a movie. I bet everyone in the store was amazed by what i did,” he smiled. “When are we doing it again?”
Greg smiled and said. “Soon son very soon. Let’s get going now. Tell me more about what happened,”
Kani started narrating what happened to Greg while Veronica watched them. She carefully looked at him and could see a blood stain on his shirt. She walked to him and checked it. He turned around and asked what she was doing.
“We are going to the hospital,” she said grabbing his hand and led him to the car.
“Baby what is it now?” Greg asked irritated dropping his shoulders.
“We are not discussing this,” she answered. “Kani get in,” she opened the door.
Kani looked back at Greg who had a bewildered and annoyed face.
“Kani get in now!” she shouted. “Greg take us to the clinic.”
He had no option but to take them to the clinic. They were all silent all lost in their thoughts. Greg was astonished by Kani’s escape. Who could have managed to pull that off? Not even him could have managed. He knew he had the right kid and couldn’t wait for more of what the kid had to offer. Veronica was worried about Kani but she couldn’t show it because it would seem like pretense. What kind of guardian would let a kid do abominable acts of crime? Kani on the other hand was still at the store in his mind. He couldn’t still believe how he had escaped the store and he enjoyed it. All the exercises at the house were finally paying off. He wanted more of it, he felt alive and all his worries seemed to have vanished.
“Kani!” Veronica called him. “We are here.”
“Let me park the car, you will find me waiting, don’t take long,” Greg said.
Kani and Veronica went into the clinic. Luckily there was no cue. They just had to acquire a book and see a doctor. They found him lazying around in his seat and he was glad to see them. Been a private clinic, not many people went there, they opted for government institutions because it was expensive.
After warmly welcoming them, he asked. “How may i help you?”
“It’s my son, he has a wound that I’d like to have checked,” Veronica motioned Kani to take off his shirt.
He did as told rolling his eyes. The wound was nothing, it was just a scratch and Veronica was making a big deal out of it. The doctor stood up and checked it. “What happened?” he asked.
“He fell from a tree,” She answered quickly.
“Ohh he’s a climber?”
“I bet he is.”
“It’s nothing serioue, it’s just some bruises but I’ll give you some pain killers. Ensure you wash it so that it won’t get infected,” he looked at Kani. “I have never seen you around,” to Veronica he asked. “New around these areas?”
“No we just don’t get sick regularly,” she smirked.
“Ohh i see. I think that’s about it.”
Veronica and Kani left the doctors office and walked back to the car where they found Greg dosing. Upon hearing them, , he woke up and asked. “So?”
“Nothing serious, let’s leave it’s pretty late now,” she answered and checked the time, it was 19:51.
Veronica sat in the backseat together with Kani who was awfully quiet. As Greg drove the car, they passed the shopping complex they had earlier hit and Kani’s eyes brightened.
“You have the nerve to drive through here again,” Veronica said.
“It’s late, no one can even know it’s us,” he said proudly looking at Kani’s face in the rear view mirror. He had deliberately planned to pass through the complex to see the boys reaction and seeing the beam on his face, he well knew the boy was ready for another job. “Kani, how are you holding up back there?”
“I’m well all things considered,” he answered.
“Where did you learn the” all things considered”?” he laughed.
“Read it in a book.”
“Hungry?” Veronica interrupted looking at Kani.
“Greg pull over there we grab something to eat,” she said.
“Hell no!” he objected. “We are not pulling up anywhere other than home!” he yelled.
“But you passed through that shopping complex and now you are chickening out. Kani wants to eat and I’m hungry too.”
“It’s okay I’ll eat from home,” Kani said.
“Be quiet love, he’s getting us the food,” she looked at Greg. “Baby we are hungry please.”
Greg was pissed as he turned the car at the eatery a kilometer away from the shopping complex they had stolen from. He told them it wasn’t a good idea to get off the three of them. He asked what they wanted. He left the car, bought the food and got back. He indignantly passed the food to Veronica and Kani and stepped on the gas.
“Aww now don’t be angry,” she mocked him. “Thank you,” she said. “You are a good father and husband. Isn’t he?” she looked at Kani. “Say thanks to your father now love.”
Kani smiled and said, “Thanks.”
Driving into the yard, Greg spotted a car while Veronica and Kani were busy laughing and talking in the back. “There’s a car here babe,” he whispered.
“What?” she looked closer and spotted it too. “That’s a police car,” she nervously said.
“Kani hide,” Greg said with urgency in his voice.
Kani quickly got down. Luckily only one light was on at the house. The tree house couldn’t be seen with all the darkness. Greg slowly drove the car to the parking space. Him and Veronica got off the car and saw two well built gentleman standing by the police car not too far from where they had parked. “Don’t be nervous,” he told Veronica as they walked side by side to the gentlemen.
“Good evening,” Greg extended his arm and greeted the gentlemen. “How may we help you.”
“Sorry for the inconvenience, I’m detective Boadi and this is my colleague.”
Greg and Veronica managed to keep expressionless faces.
“We are investigating a case relating to a series of shoplifting around these areas so we are doing a door to door check,” Detective Boadi said.
“Oh is that so?” Greg said. “You are more than welcome to search our house.”
“What time did you leave the house today?” the detective asked.
“Around 2 in the afternoon, why?” Veronica asked.
“There was a hit just nearby and information we have is that a man and a woman is involved. There is also a young boy, do you happen to live with another person here?”
“No we are just the two of us,” Greg answered. “We were at the clinic, my wife hasn’t been feeling too well lately.”
“So you haven’t been home since 2pm?”
“No sir,” Veronica responded.
“Do you mind if we check the car?” Boadi asked.
Greg felt his body become flaccid. Veronica on the other hand started sweating and she couldn’t feel her legs. The detective couldn’t see their reactions because the place was dark, though he was suspicious of their silence. “Did you hear me?” he asked.
“Of course detective,” Greg answered with a shaky voice. “This way,” he led them while looking at Veronica. He had thought of ways on how to get out of this but only came to one; killing the detectives but with what? He’s handgun was in the house and he couldn’t get to it in time. “Would you mind a cup of coffee?” he asked the detectives as he reached the car. “My wife makes the best coffee.”
Veronica looked at him surprised. She never drank coffee but she had to play along. “Yes, it doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare,” she said edgy.
“Perhaps another time, kindly open the trunk for us,” Boadi turned on his flashlight.
Greg’s heart was beating as fast as a hare. As he inserted the key into the trunk lid key hole, his hands were shaking and sweating profusely the key slid off his hands and dropped to the ground.
“Everything fine?” the detective asked.
Greg chuckled nervously and responded. “All good.”
He was thinking of what to grab first once he opened the trunk so that he could hit the detective. He knew Veronica would have his back. There was no way this was going to be the end of them. No way.
“Hurry we don’t have all day!” Boadi was getting impatient.
Greg picked up the key and opened the trunk and to his surprise, there was nothing but a tyre in the trunk. He astoundingly looked at Veronica who was equally shocked but they couldn’t show it to the detectives. The detectives asked to check the interior of the car and only found two opened packages of food. They didn’t ask to check the house or the surrounding areas. Obviously someone had tipped them to check the car. They apologized for the inconvenience they had caused and drove out of the compound.
“Kani!” Veronica called.
The house was still locked and she knew he couldn’t have entered but at this point, everything seems possible to Kani. She checked the backyard and couldn’t find him.
“Up there,” Greg pointed at the tree house. “I’m sure he’s there.”
They climbed up the tree house, switched on the light and as assumed, found him sited eating his food while two bags of the stolen merchandise were on his feet. Greg and Veronica looked at each other
“They are gone?” Kani asked.
“Yes,” Veronica answered walking to him. “How did you…”
“How did i remove the things from the car?” he laughed. “That was simple.”
Greg stood in the corner looking at him. He had never seen anyone like this boy. He was daunted at the same time gratified; he would be a great accessory, He thought. The boy’s swiftness stunned him. How the hell did he quickly get out of the car, removed the bags and climbed the tree house unnoticed? He propped his chin on his hand warily looking at the renegade he was creating.
To be continued