At 7am this morning, I was standing somewhere on Ng’ong road waiting for a shuttle. I had my black “he’s-probably-a-murderer” trenchcoat on and my laptop in it’s bag hanging on my shoulders. I leaned against one of the corners of the bus stop as I ran through the million and two things I needed to do before noon. Then this suspicious individual with alternating missing teeth decided to stand next to me. He was a peculiar looking fellow; clearly homeless or destitute but he’d dressed like a regular jua kali worker. Yes, there is a difference between chokora attire and jua kali attire. His hair looked like a bad idea. The type where if it was presented as an option – even at a hobo fashion show – someone’d go “That’s….probably not what you should do.” It was headed in too many directions and it seemed like it would never untangle. Ever. He was staring at me salivating and I began to feel more insulted than I was nervous. See, I’m a sizeable guy. Put it this way, I wouldn’t mug me. But this clown here must’ve been feeling really frisky.
Now, there are 3 or so little bus stop shelter-type-things. One of them is empty with seating and all. Mine has seating but it also has me in it. The third one had a few miscellaneous gents that I would soon meet. I’m leaning against the far post of mine, scheming. He could have stood in a million other places; why he chose 3 inches behind me was no mystery.
I thought ‘What if I turn around and punch him and it turns out he’s just an overly friendly guy?’ An evil sneer slithered across my face and I turned around and basically lifted this dude up against the framework of the bus stop.
While I was on a little bit of an adrenaline high, I was also hoping I hadn’t over reacted. So I let Smelly McPherson down and as he began squirming away – dropping this screw driver that he was clenching onto – another 2 dubious gents appeared. My neighbors from the next little bus stop shed.
Can you say “Oh sh*t.”?
Apparently I can. And I did. These 2 new screwdriver wielding bozos decided that that was not the response they wanted to hear from me.
A ninja friend and I once argued with me about whether, in combat, the element of surprise supersedes the having of a weapon. I said that weapons always win. She said otherwise. So, out of sheer humility and lack of option, I tried “otherwise”.
I swung my laptop bag relatively carelessly in a circle, forcing them to give me a few feet of clearance, and then began Usain-Bolting my way towards the nearby taxi drivers. Some of them had seen what happened but all had decided not to do a damn thing.
I stood there chatting with the cabbies on mob-justice ethics and regulations as I waited for the thugs to walk away. I patted myself down to make sure I hadn’t dropped anything then I did the mandatory body scan to make sure I hadn’t been accidentally shanked. Minus a few scratches on my hand, I was OK. As if on cue, my bus arrived at that very moment. I jogged in and hobbled to a seat in the back.
There, I began pondering. Whatever happened to ‘Mob justice’? I mean, when you see a thug thugging, aren’t you meant to go forth and kick ass? Especially if you’re hands are free. Those cab guys were real asswipes. Further, where the Hell is security when you need them? I get harassed for standing outside some Estate’s gate for too long, but Supermarket watchmen can’t be bothered to come help a brother when he’s outnumbered?
But what really bugged me was neither of these. What I couldn’t figure out is when it became OK to rob dudes in the morning. Isn’t there a code of conduct for thugs out there that states “Thou shalt not mug in broad daylight”? I could’ve sworn this was the common understanding.
Well, apparently not, in this fair gritty city.