Penny shifted her wide hips toward me as if she wanted to push me off the seat. Startled, I reflexively looked at her face and our eyes met. Just what she wanted. Her moist soft lips parted into a wide satisfied smile to reveal a set of perfect teeth. Her eyes were so full of disarming warmth and open excitement that I found myself smiling back.
I felt a flush of embarrassment and looked down at the place where our hips were touching as if to see what the problem was. I wanted to stop this intimate eye-talk and avoid other passengers staring at us. She also looked down with satisfaction then looked back at me, loving the way I could do nothing about her little joke and enjoying what she saw as my mild irritation. She was quite a piece of work, I thought as I nudged her with my shoulder to break our eye-contact and she slapped my left thigh softly in mock retaliation, leaving her hand to linger on it for a few seconds as if waiting for me to hit back. Any discerning passenger could see the chemistry going on here and could tell we were lovers and today it was going to go down. I could see the blood throbbing in her temple and I resisted the urge to allow my eyes to wander down her neck. She was as hot as they come. She was young and she was ready.
Public displays of affection weren't my thing. She knew that and that very idea turned her on. I wrestled my eyes away from her and clamped them on the road ahead. She made my blood rush and made me feel needy and vulnerable even as I resisted that. I had dedicated my life to minimizing my needs and I had succeeded I didn’t want to need or want someone else. That is why I had decided it was time to give our feelings expression and hopefully that would give them closure, hopefully exterminate them and leave me calm, collected and in control. I liked her. A lot. I think I did. I felt her eyes on me but I ignored them.
The mat hurtled toward town and Penny swayed with it, bumping into me whenever swayed in my direction. I pushed open my window and looked at the Mombasa road traffic as it crawled towards town. There were twelve passengers in the mat. The driver was a gruff man with thick muscular arms and a firm potbelly. His phone kept ringing and he kept barking words into it in Kikuyu and sometimes he broke into a raspy belly-laugh when the conversation tickled him. There was a woman sitting in front of us in a huge Afro wig. She sat quietly and didn’t move much, as if to avoid her make-up and hair-do from being messed by movement. Her hefty handbag was conspicuously parked in the seat next to her. It was big enough to contain a crate of beer. She occasionally pulled a hand-held mirror and adjusted something on her appearance through her reflection. Two chattering college girls sat behind us and kept talking about their teachers and exams and how they were preparing about the upcoming Management Accounting test.
There was a young woman sitting next to my girlfriend Penny. She wore tight faded jeans, a v-top red TShirt and had a handbag at her lap. She shifted as she felt my gaze on her. She had shaved her eyebrows to thin slits and had some purple eye shadow that didn’t match anything she was wearing. She had some gold-plated rings on her fingers and the cutex on her nails were falling off. She gave me a quick glance and turned away, as if in disgust. The look. This girl had attitude, I thought. Two guys in suits sat behind the driver. One read the days paper as if he was going to do an exam based on the contents of that paper. The other one sat next to him languidly, looking at the traffic as if wondering what it was doing there. He occasionally stuck his index finger in his nostril, twisted it round and round then dragged it out to hold the contents it had fished before his eyes for scrutiny. Then he would rub the fluff furiously between his fingers and flick the output away.
There was a hefty woman sitting next to the driver. She had black hair piece and was in a pink blouse with flower patterns. To reduce the suffocation of the small space that is the driver’s compartment, she draped one of her arms atop the passenger’s seat to give her armpits some air. Her ample breasts spilled on the thin guy sitting next to her. Next to her was a thin, wispy guy with a hungry look. He had a battered baseball cap on and he looked irritated and his facial expression looked like he was about to spit. His weather-beaten face indicated either a past skin problem or experienced great suffering in a hostile place. Suffering that was indelibly etched on his face. That woman’s expansive armpits probably didn’t give the most refreshing fragrance, I thought.
Penny was a banker. She had been two years on her present job and was still enjoying her youth and her money. She still lived with her parents. Her dad was a possessive control freak who owned several companies and her mum was suffering the onset of Alzheimers disease. We met when Penny accompanied her friend to the station and I was assigned the case her friend had. At the time, I was working in CIO – Criminal Investigations Office. Her friend was a prima-donna drama queen who had poured acid on a mpango-wa-kando she had found her boyfriend with. In return, her boyfriend beat her to pulp and eloped with the klande. As soon as she could pop an eye open from beneath her bandaged face, Penny's friend had limped from the hospital to record a statement at the police station, with a distraught Penny, her lawyer and a private nurse in tow.
We never found the guy. The klande's bone-deep acid burns were more injurious than the beating Penny's friend got, which were just superficial wounds from a blunt object. We let the case grow cold and moved onto other more important matters.
Meanwhile Penny got a liking for me and we met a few times then had coffee a number of times and she was surprised that we cops are normal and are educated and are young and go out and can have fun. She was sure she could hook me up with her uncle the GM of the bank to work in the forensics and investigations division. But I didn’t want to owe her and I didn’t want to make my move yet, career wise. I liked where I was: a good boss, an average station that allowed me to read my books and pursue my education and other personal interests which we will come to later.
I was taking her to my place. I was off duty and she had asked for a sick-off from work that morning. We both knew what would happen when we reached my place. We had not discussed anything about the future of what we were starting and where we wanted the door we were about to open to lead to. I liked the no-strings-attached nature of our interaction. We had accepted that we wanted each other and had agreed to give ourselves to each other. The sexual tension had built up to a point where it had to be released. We had tacitly agreed to have no pressure about commitment. That bridge would be crossed when we reached there. If we ever did. I was a just cop from a humble family with Kiganjo training getting paid shit for a salary. She was a graduate with an uncle who was a bank GM with a future as bright as the sun and means. She left her sparkling BMW car in the bank’s parking lot because she didn’t want to risk her dad finding it missing and trying to trace her. Plus, being in a matatu with me, a young cop, made her feel naughty and tough at the same time. I cut a good physique, was single, a good conversationalist, a good dresser and good-looking. No, I am not blowing any trumpet. She was young, hot, intelligent, wild, unrestrained, loaded with cash, freedom and churning hormones. I liked her but a future with her was not in the cards for me.
I looked at her blouse, which was tight at the front with youthful tumescence and my eyes crawled instinctively to her cleavage. I felt a rush of hormones churn in my loins. Blood rushed in me as my pulse quickened. You are just horny mister asshole, show some respect. I told myself, disgusted at myself and trying to downplay the immensity of what was happening inside me. I was getting dizzy. Without doing anything, she broke down all the emotional barriers I had erected over the years and had come rushing into my being like raging floodwater sweeping away discipline, self-control, renunciation of earthly pleasures and all the Tao-Te-Ching and zen garbage I had soaked up, away. I was so helplessly drawn to her. She had soft, spotless skin and her bone-structure was perfect. The way she held onto the seat in front of her and how she sat with her spine straight and her head balanced gracefully on her neck indicated a youthful poise and a strong core. Her stomach was flat and her wide hips emerged beneath her thin waist to claim her womanhood. She was practically oozing sex. And I was a melting, bumbling, helpless idiot. If I was told to find my head and hold it with my hands at that instant, I could not have pulled it off. She was in a miniskirt and I had to wrench my eyes from going down in that direction. This was madness. I shook my head to clear it and looked away.
And as I did this, I saw it.
An untrained eye could not have identified what it was. The way it pulled the handbag to one side and the way its tip gleamed was unmistakable. It gleamed like the nose of a concealed snake, a concealed black mamba.
My training kicked in. I looked away quickly before she could see that I had seen it. In the corner of my eye, I saw Mrs. faded jeans snatch up her handbag and look around to see whether anyone had seen her concealed weapon. It was the muzzle of a pistol. A double-barreled machine pistol. I could make out the shape of the magazine chamber in the handbag from the corner of my eye. This was no toy gun that some incompetent, ill-equipped thugs use. Mrs Faded jeans played casual and reached for her lip balm from her hand bag and started applying it to her lips as her eyes darted from one end of the mat to the other, surveying her oblivious victims. Mr. newspaper-exam glanced at his watch and raised his head from the paper and glanced directly at her without any wasted motion. Their eyes met in recognition. He also looked back at the last seat at the back behind us. I heard someone shift where he looked. I couldn’t look to see who it was as it would give away my awareness of their furtive communication.
Then it dawned on me like a hammer: we were about to be carjacked!
I ignored the cold feeling at the back of my neck and my thudding heart and casually smiled at Penny and held her hand tenderly and told her she had nice nails as I reached for my revolver which I had tucked in the waist of my jeans trousers just above my right back pocket.
As I did so, I knew that whatever would unfold next, I wasn't going to get laid today. I winced in pain at the thought as my fingers wrapped around my gun. Fuck this shit, I thought as I did a quick threat assessment.
**To be continued**