“That is all, my Lord.”
He said as he slowly grabbed his papers and neatly folded them into his black briefcase. He locked it and walked towards where I was seated. He gave me a nod and a faint smile. He placed the briefcase on the table in front of me and took a seat. From his facial expressions, I could see the confidence beaming from him. Despite that, my body could not resist the urge of slightly trembling: because in the next few minutes, my fate in this life was going to be decided. It was a matter of life and death.
Then he coughed two times as he arranged some papers in front of him.
We all looked up towards the bench, where the grey-haired judge was seated. He adjusted his spectacles using his left hand as he placed the papers closer to his eyes. He cleared his throat.
I swallowed a huge gulp of saliva from my mouth as I waited for the final judgment from him. I looked at my lawyer who was seated next to me.
“Don’t worry, we won this case man,” He whispered.
“Order in the court!” The judge spoke at last. The murmurs on the courtroom slowly descended into dead silence. I looked behind me and saw my family: my parents and two siblings who were seated together looking at me with reassuring eyes. My older brother raised his thumb at me and I did the same. That was our greetings sign since we were little.
It’s quite funny how crucial moments like these make one recall all his life within seconds and appreciating the good times while regretting the bad ones. Well that was happening to me at that time.
Some of my close friends from college were present. I nodded at them and they nodded back. I looked at the far end of the courtroom and I was met with deadly stares. Stares from the family of the late Mrs. Morgan. Particularly her husband and her daughter. They stared at me as their faces displayed pure anger and loathe towards me. I then turned and faced the judge, who immediately began speaking.
“After thorough analysis of evidence and hearings both lawyers, the judge finds Mr. Wilson guilty for the murder of Mrs. Morgan on the 12th of October 2018. You are hereby sentenced to ten years in prison and six months community service after the completion of your term.”
“What! No! My son is innocent! He isn’t capable of murder!”
My mother, who was calmly seated suddenly erupted and lashed at the judge. She stood up and was about to charge at him when my father held her by the shoulder.
I stood up shocked and about to burst into tears.
I was going to jail.
“I didn’t do it! I told you it was the man with a black cap! He sold the phone to me! Can’t you understand I’m telling you the truth!” I yelled at the top of my voice as I failed to hold back tears from my eyes. I was both sad and angry. I was about to bear the consequences for an act I had no hand in it.
A quite unfair world indeed.
I looked at my lawyer, who was surprised as well. He rushed towards the judge as he was leaving the premise in attempt to persuade him.
“Please my Lord, grant him bail,” He spoke to the judge.
“There is no bail for murder lawyer Kimani. The evidence was found in his house two days after the murder,” The judge spoke as he headed out of the courtroom via the front door, which was right behind the seat. His face was hopeless. I could not believe that I was going to jail. The courtroom burst into shouts as my friends and family were harshly against my sentencing.
I shifted my eyes at the back of the courtroom where Mrs. Morgan’s family was seated. They were calm. Her husband calmly got up and as he left, he looked at me and showed a wide smile. He held her daughter’s hand as they left the courtroom with their lawyer, who was overjoyed he had won the case.
The courtroom was filled with chaos as my parents came and hugged me tightly. I was in tears. For the first time in centuries. My path in this life was abruptly changed.
All for a crime I did not commit. There was no way I could have a killed a person.
All this was due to one single thing:
A black iPhone X.
That was the root cause led to these series of unfortunate events in my life.
A black, sleek, legendary phone.
A police officer came to where I was and removed a pair of handcuffs from his pocket. As protocol, if found guilty, one was escorted out of the courtroom in cuffs: like a certified criminal. A societal disgrace. I raised my hands towards the police officer who cuffed them and led me out of the courtroom towards the neatly parked police car. My father wrapped his sweater around my head as we went outside. I could hear the endless snaps of cameras and murmuring, a clear indication that the press were anxiously waiting for the court session to end. I was led into the back of the vehicle and entered the police car. I removed the sweater and my family were seated next to me, with their faces dull and full of sadness.
And all this was caused by the events that happened three months ago.
THREE MONTHS AGO
“Wasee nadai phone maze! Yenye niko nayo imebeat mbaya!”
I said to my friends as we maneuvered our way past the busy crowds of people. It was on a Tuesday, and as it had been our culture since we joined college, Pizza Inn was the order of the day. It was where we looked forward to go to every single Tuesday. We usually arrived a few hours past noon in order to secure ourselves seats before the human traffic began filling the little spaces in the Inn.
“Pizza ya leo ilikua poa!” One of my friends uttered as we left the establishment to go to our respective homes.
We all nodded in agreement, as I caressed my full belly while softly belching. It was indeed delicious. We lazily walked along the pathways as our stories became more and more interesting.
“You should try and get an iPhone bruh,” one of them said as we roared into laughter.
“That’s a good idea man, I’ll get one very soon,” I answered sarcastically as we continued laughing. It was five o’clock in the evening and people were jetting back from their places of work and heading home. We meandered across the streets like slithering snakes dodging people from all directions. We crossed the busy roads and we were heading for the matatu stage.
Then we heard a loud burst.
I trembled as we looked back to see a bus swaying and eventually falling sideways on the road. Its back tire had burst, making it lose balance. People began rushing towards the bus. So did we. We reached where it had rolled. We looked through the broken windows but luckily, no one was injured as far as we could tell. They began moving out of the bus through the upper side until all of them were safe away from the bus. They dusted off their clothes and faces, took their belongings were on their way: as though they had not faced death a few moments later.
“Let’s get out of here guys,” one of my friends said as a tow truck came and towed the bus away. The County government workers immediately began sweeping the road and collecting the shattered parts of the bus. Within a few minutes, it was business as usual. The long, endless traffic started to seamlessly flow past the blocked road and soon, the traffic flow returned to normal.
We continued walking as we talked about how we were going to sit tomorrow since we were going to sit for an exam: one of the hardest.
“Tutaketi tu venye tuko. Mimi mbele, Brayo na John katikati then wewe apo nyuma,” said Peter, one of my friends; the most talkative one among us. “Formation” was what we called it. And it had worked miraculously the previous times. This time was no difference.
Business as usual.
We burst out into laughter as he explained into details the happenings of the next day. The night was slowly crawling in as we neared the stage. The streets lights simultaneously brightened the roads and pathways and soon after, a slight drizzle started pouring on us.
That was when I saw it.
Leaning at the extreme corners of the street was a short tall, slender man wearing a black t-shirt and blue ripped jeans with open shoes. I stared at him and we immediately made eye contact. He then started looking down and towards me repeatedly, clearly signaling me to look down. I shifted my eyes and then saw it.
In his hands was a shiny, golden object, which was clearly seen from far. He waved it with his left hand towards me. A large black cap was hanging from his head with the front part slightly lower than normal.
A master of disguise.
“Hey guys, come check this out,” I signaled my friends who were cluelessly walking in front of me.
“What is it,” they as I pointed the man to them.
“It seems it’s a phone. Let’s go take a look,” Peter said as he led the way.
“Are you sure guys? What if he’s a con and some thief?”
“Don’t worry Brian; just a look won’t kill you, “Peter said as his curiosity heightened above average.
We crossed the busy road and headed to where he was standing. He looked at us while smiling as we approached him. He stood upright, looked both sides and slowly walked towards us. He then shook his head towards the left side, and then entered into a dark alley. We followed him and took a left turn towards the dark alley. The fresh city air suddenly changed into a pale, pungent stench as we approached the alley. The whole path was littered with all sorts of rubbish, making it unpassable.
He greeted us with a deep, hoarse voice as we fist-bumped each other. We all greeted him, with our minds rather horrified by this encounter. He slowly removed the shiny object and showed it to us.
It was a golden, sleek phone. He handed it to me and I keenly observed it. The bitten apple logo was majestically visible at the back of the phone. It was an iPhone X. The latest one in the market at that time.
“That’s an iPhone bro, one of its kind. There’s only twenty of them in the country,” He said as he switched it on for us.
It was a legitimate phone. Period.
We were expecting to see some funny-looking logo pop out of the screen leading to us bursting into laughter for him taking us as fools: but it did not. The screen lit up in white as the logo faded in and out in some few seconds. My friends gathered around me as I began operating it.
“It’s a real one bro,” Peter said as he took it from my hand. It was indeed sleek. He passed it around my friends who were all eager to have it in their hands.
“How much for the phone,” I asked. I took deep silent breaths as I waited for his reply. There was no way such a phone could cost less than fifty thousand, considering the fact that it was priced at one hundred thousand in the market. He placed his hands on his chin and began rubbing his beard. Then he spoke…
“Well, you know this is an iPhone right?” He said. We knew what he would say next was an unimaginable sum of money which we campus students were in no chance capable of having. He then cleared his throat and spoke again.
“ Najua nyinyi ni mavijana…So just give me five thousand and the phone is yours.”
My mind was in shock. We looked at each other in surprise and confusion. We were expecting ten times more than that. It seemed Lady Luck was on our side. Just some few minutes ago we were talking about that phone, now it was about to be mine. Without hesitation or second thought, I dipped my hands into my pocket and came out with some notes. I counted them and they were four thousand five hundred in total.
“I have 4500 man,” I said as I held the cash openly in my palms for him to see. He stared at the money for a while.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to…”
Before Brian could finish speaking, he stretched his hands towards the cash and took it. He handed the phone’s charger to me.
“Goodbye guys. Pleasure doing business,” He said as he fist- bumped all of us again. He smiled at us: a short half-smile to be specific. He wore his black cap and vanished into the streets amongst the busy pedestrians.
And just like that, he was gone.
I now had an iPhone. I looked at it with excitement, as I could not wait to officially use it. I dipped it into my left pocket and we got out of the dark alley. The fresh breath entered our noses and we felt freed and relieved. The horrendous smell was worth it. We boarded a matatu back to our homes and few minutes later, we had arrived.
We soon parted ways with my friends and immediately I got home, I removed my sim card form my previous phone and placed it into the new phone. I switched on and began using it.
No need to waste time.
I began adjusting the phone’s settings to my region’s specifications and language since they were all in French. It must have come from France, I thought. I filled in all my details and signed up. When everything was set, I placed it next to my bed as it charged. I was happy. Not happy, satisfied. Satisfied was the word. It was around 9PM and I began feeling sleepy. Some minutes later, sleep took hold of me and I was dead asleep.
I was woken up by loud knocks on my door.
I opened my eyes confused as I heavily blinked. I looked at the time in my iPhone and it was almost twelve midnight. It must be one of my friends, I thought as the loud knocks persisted .I got up from my bed and removed the charger from the phone, which was fully charged. I lazily walked towards the door and peeped through the window. There were two police cars parked outside and on my doorstep were three suited men continuously knocking on the door.
What are uniformed men doing in my door at this time of the night? I wondered.
“How can I help you?” I asked them as I opened the door.
They stared at me as one of them held the door wide open.
“Where’s your national ID. Can we see it?” One of them spoke as he sternly stared at me. I took out my ID and gave it to them. He took it and keenly looked at it. He then passed it to his colleague who looked at it. They then stared at each other while nodding.
“We’ve got him,” One of them spoke as they looked at me with fiery eyes. I stood there confused.
“Excuse me I…,”
Before I could even finish a sentence, I felt a tight grip on left arm. I found myself pinned to the ground, my stomach on the floor. My hands were placed on my head while on of them began emptying my pockets. My shirt was torn as they brutally frisked me from head to toe.
“He is not armed,” He said as he took some documents from my pockets.
“You are arrested for the murder of Mrs. Morgan and robbery with violence. The phone you stole from her has been tracked to this exact location. We are from the DCI.”
“Wait…What phone?” I asked as I lay in the ground, breathing in the brown dust on the ground. One of the men entered my house and went straight to where my bed was. He took the iPhone from the bedside and came with it outside.
“Here’s Mrs. Morgan’s phone Sir,” He said as he showed it to his colleague. He took it and keenly observed it.
“So you are the one who robs people and leaves them for dead. We have finally caught up with you. We could have ended you right now were it not for the orders from above you worthless piece of s@#t!” He yelled as he pulled me back up from the ground. He removed a pair of handcuffs from his pocket and tightly cuffed my hands.
“This is a misunderstanding…” I yelled as they led me away from my home. I looked around and saw my neighbors’ lights were all on while they were peeping through the windows witnessing the drama unfold. To them, they had been living with a criminal all along.
But not anymore.
I was manhandled into the awaiting police car and it immediately drove off.
To God-knows- where.