(Continued from Miranda III)
Deborah can see death quite literally. Miranda has a crazed-out look in her eyes, and Deborah knows that in a split-second she will press the trigger. She instinctively knows that this woman is beyond reasoning, so telling her that her relationship with Jacob is over will not help. Only a desperate measure can save her. She estimates the distance between her and Miranda, and then dives forward, lunging at the woman. She is fortunate; she dives a microsecond before Miranda fires, and knocks the latter off the ground almost at the same time as the first bullet flies beyond where her head would have been and embeds itself on a wooden door. The second bullet hits the concrete roof and ricochets to the floor, missing Miranda by inches.
Deborah knocks the gun off the hand of the surprised Miranda and then slaps her twice. Miranda responds by kneeing Deborah in the stomach. But Deborah anticipates the move and tightens her stomach muscles, which reduces the impact of the blow. Deborah springs up quickly, pulling up Miranda in the process. Miranda is kicking and thrashing, but she doesn’t really stand a chance. This is not a cat fight between to novices; this is a fight between a professional and a novice. Deborah is surprisingly strong for her slender body, and her movements are swift and agile. She hoists Miranda up and pulls her hand behind her in an unnatural position. She does all this while screaming at the top of her lungs.
Deborah is a former police officer. When she scored a B- in KCSE sixteen years ago, she knew that her future was doomed if she was not proactive. At the time, the University cut off point for government sponsored students was a B+. Her family was poor so she knew that being a self-sponsored university student or a student at a private university was out of question. Even middle-level colleges were out of her reach. The only option that was within her reach, although her parents would struggle with that too, would be to join a polytechnic and study dressmaking. Deborah had seen the tailors and dressmakers in her village and the local market centre; they were just as poor as her parents.
When Kenya Police announced a recruitment drive, Deborah jumped at it. Many discouraged her citing the poor pay that police officers receive, but Deborah had a plan. She knew that she could manage whatever little pay she received and take herself to school. When she joined the police service, she was attached to the General Service Unit and that is where she received paramilitary training, including hand-to-hand combat. Within the police service, she established herself as one of the finest, and she quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a Chief Inspector of Police at the age of 30. She left the National Police Service a year later. By that time, she already had a Bachelor’s of Law degree (LL.B) and a Master’s of Law degree (LL.M).
She had never really wanted to be a police officer, so when she saw an advertisement in a local NGO for the position of a program officer, she applied. She got the job, and that is where she has been working for the last three years. But even though she has had a desk job for years now, she keeps herself in shape through regular exercises. That is why Miranda stands no chance against her in close combat. Deborah is screaming because she wants witnesses; she wants neighbors to come and see the intruder in her house, just in case Miranda decides to twist the story later. She will also need help in getting Miranda to the police station, because she doesn’t want the matter to end here.
She wonders why nobody is coming to her rescue. Then she remembers: the gunshots. Nobody will willingly get into a fight where guns are involved.
“Stop struggling Miranda, otherwise I will break your hands,” she says forcefully. Miranda complies reluctantly. Deborah walks to the door and opens it.
“I have caught a thief in my house, please someone help me call the police!” she shouts.
The response is instantaneous. The estate, which had fallen into deathly silence after the gunshot, suddenly comes alive. Deborah kicks the gun under a sofa so that her neighbors do not take it. Her next door neighbor, William, is the first to arrive. He is a beefy young man who has been making passes at Deborah since he moved into the estate two years ago.
“I have called the station. My colleagues are on the way.”
“I am a police officer.”
“I have never seen you in uniform.”
“That is probably because I am a detective. I work for the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.”
He says it in a manner that leaves no doubt that he thinks detectives are superior to other police officers.
“Great, thanks a lot. Now I want you to control the neighbors until your colleagues arrive. We need to keep the scene of crime intact.”
Corporal Bernard Kinya and his colleague Police Constable Amos are the one who respond to the call. The Corporal recognizes Miranda immediately he arrives, and with that he senses an opportunity to make some cash. He is one of the goons that Old Joe hires from time to time to bully his rivals, and the tycoon pays well. After retrieving the gun from under the chair, Kinya officially arrests Miranda and escorts her to the police van.
“You don’t have to come to the police station right away, Madam,” he tells Deborah. “You can just come tomorrow morning to make your statement. Just ask for Sergeant Banda and you will get assistance.”
“Thank you Afande,” Deborah says with a touch of gratitude. She is dead tired and the idea of going to a police station right now is not appealing at all. “Which police station should I report to?”
“Kabete Police Station. It is less than two kilometres from here.”
Deborah heaves herself onto the couch and sighs heavily. She wonders what she has gotten herself into. What would drive a woman to pursue her husband’s lover with a gun? Who is this man Jacob?
“You are the daughter of Old Joe, aren’t you?” Corporal Kinya asks Miranda. They are sitting in the interrogation room, just the two of them.
“Yes, how did you know that?”
“You probably think that I am dumb because I am a cop, but we cops are some of the smartest people on this planet. We know things that you can’t imagine. Just sit tight, I want to talk to your father and see if he is willing to get you out of here.”
Miranda does not argue. The cop steps out and makes the call. Half an hour later, Old Joe is at the station. He finds the Corporal and Miranda waiting for him at the car park.
“Thank you Corporal for the initiative,” he tells the police officer. “Thank you for calling me. I think we have an understanding on the general outline of our agreement. I want this hushed up. There shouldn’t be any record of my daughter’s arrest anywhere. None of your colleagues should say a word about it. In fact, the fewer that get to know about it, the better.”
“Yes sir. It shall be done.”
“I also want you to hush up that woman’s neighbors. Bribe them, bully them, threaten them. Do what you have to do. If you need money, just give me a call. But it has to be done tonight.”
“Yes sir. I will do as you ask.”
“Great. Here is the money to get you started. If you need more, just say the word. But ensure you do the job, because I don’t take failure too kindly. I think by now you know that.”
“Don’t worry sir. It shall be done.”
“Do you mind telling me what that was all about?” Old Joe asks his daughter furiously when they get to Waiyaki Way. “Why would you go fighting people with guns when you know the government is fighting me? You are giving Immaculate free ammunition to attack me.”
“I am sorry papa, that was not my intention. I have a plan to help us get out of our financial mess, but there was a hiccup today and I sort of lost it.”
“What is the plan?”
Miranda tells him her plan, omitting the part where she wants to overthrow him from the family business.
“It is a brilliant plan,” Old Joe admits. “But confronting that girl with a gun was stupid. You could have come to me for help. I would have sent a thug or two to get rid of the woman.”
“I didn’t think you would approve of me supporting the Deputy President.”
“I am apolitical, my dear daughter. I only work with politicians to advance my financial interests. What you are proposing is brilliant because it will enable us to have a leg in both the Deputy President’s camp and in the Governor’s camp. We will be safe irrespective of who takes the day. But you have to sound like you have completely broken ranks with me. The politicians are not stupid. If they suspect we are playing them we are done.”
“So you will help me?”
“Of course. I still have friends. Records of insurance premium payments will be made tomorrow and backdated. All documents will be in place. Tonight I want you to fly to Uganda. Records will show you have been there since three days ago.”
“How will that help?”
“If someone mentions tonight’s incident, it will be easy to deny if you are not in the country. Besides, your husband will die in a road accident in Kampala, the day after tomorrow. And you will be in the car with him, although you will only suffer minor bruises. The story will be that you were vacationing there as you often do.”
“How will Jacob get there?”
“I have ways, my dear. He will be kidnapped, drugged and smuggled across the border; piece of cake.”
“That girl Deborah will make a lot of noise, and it might come back to haunt us.”
“No, she won’t. She will be kidnapped tomorrow morning as she goes to work, and no one will ever see her again.”
“Of course. She will be killed and cremated, and her ashes scattered in the sea. I make people disappear often, Miranda. If you hope to take over the family business one day you have to make peace with the ugly side of the business. But then again, am I not preaching to the choir? After all, we are here because you tried to shoot someone,” Old Joe says with a smile.
“Thank you, papa. Indeed I have a lot to learn.”
“I have been in this game for thirty years sweetheart. I know how it is played. Stick close to me, and you will learn with time.”
(This is the last free part of the story. To read more and find out what became of Jacob and Deborah, follow the instructions to purchase your copy for only Kshs. 100).
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