You know how on some days everything seems to go wrong. It’s like all the evil forces in the universe are allied and have their eyes turned on you. One big evil eye you just can’t seem to shake off. On days like that, you go with the flow and hope it ends soon. Trying to fight back only worsens your plight.
On the day on which the events in this story transpired, KK [ our soon to be victim] had come over to my house really early in the morning. He had been accepted into PRESEC and wanted my help in going to town to buy a pair of khaki trousers.
Before I go on, a little something about KK. He is a brash young boy who always thinks he is the smartest person in the room. A little small for his age and with a mouth that is just asking to be smacked. He is the kind of friend who will egg you on in a fight and be the first to taunt you when you lose. That is our KK. A little devil if there ever was one.
Leaving my house, KK was in high spirits. In his head he was the guy now. Trousers pulled low, shirt tucked behind huge belt buckle and walking with a pimp. He looked like he could take on the world.
Our intention was to go first to the Kaneshie market . If we didn’t get khakis to our liking, we would continue on to Kantamanto [Kant] to try our luck.
Kaneshie was a bust. We couldn’t get anything KK liked. So “Kant” it was.
Finding a Kant bound trotro was easy. Getting on board is where the problem lay. It’s like all the people in Accra who are headed to Kant converge at Kaneshie. To get into the trotro, we had to push, heave and swim the human tide. KK being small, wiggled his way on board and pulled me in after him.
Traffic being what it is in Accra, we got to Accra Central almost two hours later. It was with no hitches though. With some difficulty [everyone seemed to have come to town], we managed to get to Kant.
Try as we could, we couldn’t find anything KK liked. In our efforts to find one, we ended up at the railway side. This side is a bit secluded and has just a few vegetable sellers and porters standing around. Realizing we couldn’t get a khaki from here, we decided to turn around. That’s when one of the guys hailed us.
He asked what we were looking for, telling him khakis, he proceeded to direct us to where we could find some. Before we left him though, he asked if we were interested in buying a phone. KK’s eyes lit up at the mention of a phone. This was 2005 and mobile phones weren’t that common. Seeing KK’s enthusiasm, Porter brought the phone out of his pocket. It was a Sony Ericsson slim phone [yes it was called a slim phone]. It was sleek as hell and lived up to its name. Came with a blue screen and all.
Porter spun a story about being broke and needing some quick cash to sort some debtors. He said he will let us have it for 80 Cedis. KK haggled with him till he agreed to take 10 Cedis. While KK had been haggling with the porter, the vegetable sellers around had been making signs at me to come over. Porter seeing that, told me these women didn’t want him to make money and always tried to sabotage him. I ignored them after that.
With the price agreed upon, KK made to pocket the phone. Porter asked him to give it back so he could put it in something for us. His reason being, there were thieves and pick pockets around. “Them see p3, them go rob you”, he said. Taking the phone, he wrapped it in a newspaper and afterwards put it in a red polythene.
After KK paid with his khaki money and 2 Cedis borrowed [he insisted it be a loan and that I have no shares in the phone] from me.
With the red polythene in hand and all thoughts of the khaki forgotten, we left before Porter could change his mind.
At the trotro station, we waited till there was an empty trotro and went to sit at the back. In an excited voice KK asked me to cover the window on my side while he used his body to block the view on his side. With shaking hands he took the phone out of its wrappings. No woman handled her new born with more care.
A pity it was all wasted though. The slim phone had turned into a slim soap. Slim Ameen soap to be precise. Much as we would have loved to go back and confront porter, we knew he would be long gone. Seeing the soap, I realized the women had been trying to warn us. Throughout the ride back, KK didn’t utter a word. Not even when the elderly gentleman sitting next to him elbowed him in a bid to get him to make more room for his bags [he had quite a couple].
Getting down from the bus KK screamed. Turning around, I saw his trousers askew and pulled almost to his armpit. KK was staring daggers at the older gentleman who had been sitting next to us.
Apparently the man, not liking how KK’s trousers were riding low, had pulled them up as he got down. That sudden motion had startled him and he almost fell, hence the scream. Everyone in the trotro was looking at him now. All the other passengers were older women. Their looks seemed to dare KK to say something. Muttering under his breath, he allowed me to pull him away.
Being in a foul mood, he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going and bumped into someone. “W’agyimi anaa?” That was KK’s reaction. Turning around, I knew he had gone too far.
You see, KK was wearing Camo trousers. The “someone” he had bumped into was in full army regalia. This being Ghana, where soldiers beat innocent civilians for wearing anything with a shade of green. KK was screwed.
Whether he had forgotten he was wearing Camo or just didn’t care, I couldn’t tell. He kept on verbally abusing the soldier. The slap, though I was expecting it, took me by surprise. KK didn’t fall. His head didn’t even move. He just froze. You could tell the slap was resounding deep within him.
The trotro we had gotten down from wasn’t far behind. The women who had stared him down earlier had seen everything. With KK still in shock, one of them shouted:
“oh oh obiba oo”,
and that’s when the tears started.
KK could stomach it all. Thieves, swindlers, slaps, even unruly old men but not pity.
I did take my 2 cedis later though. It was a loan.