A thief called Bluebird is what this story is about. But before I begin telling you about Bluebird, I will first need to tell you about a different thief, and his friend. The story takes us 22 years back in time. To a Mega Sugar Scandal that brought down with it several boys of seven green in Peace Academy.
(I will use pseudo names here not to reveal the real names of those ninjas, simply for their safety and not to incriminate them in case DCI receives this new information. I do not want anyone of them behind bars)
The pioneer group and the subsequent classes remember it so well; How a group of boys gained access to the school store and took possession of sugar. Tons of it.
Teacher X had summoned a boy from Kilimanjaro to the TQ, and we all thought it was because of noisemaking. Because teachers could do that for fun, especially when they had reserves of energy they badly wanted to release. However, we came to realize later on that Teacher X had received visitors he did not expect. Having nothing to offer them, he saw a way of mitigating the situation. Ninja style.
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That is how Malone came into the picture. Teacher X had caught him practicing martial arts in the dormitory severally. Warned him even more times. Who was Malone to listen though?
“I have warned you time again to stop practicing martial arts in the dormitory. Twice, I have walked away without punishing you. Now, I want you to do me one in return. In my house is a good number of in laws. I have nothing to offer them because they just came, no notice. You’ll go into the school store through the dormitory and get me something to make them. Understood?”
“Sawa mwalimu,” was what Malone said before going into the school store and returning with a jug of sugar, rice, onions and tomatoes for Teacher X. Malone saved the day .
That act, however, only opened a pandora’s box. A number of boys who were up to witness the act decided to ape it the next day. And the days that followed. You would go in and find another on his way out, pockets and hands overflowing with supplies. Mostly, sugar. I know people who would turn their porridge into honey. They would sweeten it so much, that the porridge would begin turning brown.
They would scale the wall at night when everyone was asleep and during games time when everyone was in the field. I remember this ninja who would go to the field with one shoe, realize he had one shoe and would then have to run back to the dorm to get the “other one”. It was a trick that worked every time.
Once when I had ran out of my Math exercise book and had to get a new one from the book store, I overheard the store keeper complaining about how sugar was getting used up so fast. She was talking to the Deputy Headteacher whose office happened to be next to the book store.
“I will go ask the catteress about it during lunch. Ama it’s the rats again?”replied the Deputy.
It was rats alright. Rats that had developed a sweet tooth. Rats that would be heard coughing and sneezing from the store during the cold season. Those that were versed well with martial arts-martial rartists. And rats that invented the one-shoe-trick.
Malone’s box was always full of sugar. He became the local sugar peddler. And he was good at it. You would trade pieces of meat(which were offered during supper on Monday,Wednesday and Friday) for spoonfools of sugar. He would accept cash too. A natural made entrepreneur he was. I would be disappointed if I found out that Malone is not a successful business man right now.
Is it obvious that I was one of the thieves? Because I was; for a good reason though. Have you never met a woman who inspires you to love? Until your every sense is filled with her? You inhale her. And you taste her. You see your unborn children in her eyes and know that your heart has at last found a home. Your life begins with her, and without her it must surely end.
Well, those are mostly lines from Don Juan DeMarco, but that is how Bluebird made me feel. This beatiful thief called Bluebird had stolen the one organ in my body that was most coveted;my heart. Which is why I made up my mind to go on an acrobatic heist so as to impress her with two cups of sugar. You should have seen her face when I presented it to her. Priceless!
I lied to her that I brought goodies from home every opening date. “Back at home, we own several retail stores. In fact, I will see to it that I bring you sea food next time I am home.You like sea food?”
“Yes!!” said she, with a shrill voice unable to hide excitement.
Bluebird would beep a smile at me in class once in a while. My made up tales moved her, and I found that really reassuring. I loved it. Love was in the air and I could hear cow bells ringing in my head as I picked the flock back at home to take to hers, in exchange for this little woman my heart was beginning to beat for.
Everything was going so well until one of the big mouthed boys decided to snitch on us. He was one of the school prefects. The gang swore to give that whistle blower really good blows in the next closing day.
After the school administration knew about our attrocities, we were made to appear in front of a commission of inquiry. The commission comprised the Manager and Director of the school, the headteacher, his deputy and quite a number of teachers.(Including Teacher X)
Facing them was so embarrassing. Admitting to the guilt was more embarrassing though. I honestly thought that I would attract less judgment since I had willingly pleaded guilty for scaling the wall only once. Just one time. For a little PR directed at impressing my Bluebird and maybe a little finger licking for myself. But I never engaged in making my porridge honey. As it happens, I don’t like honey. I chew bees sometimes though. You know, for medicinal purporses.
Teacher X was quiet most of the time possibly praying for his chicken not to come roost at home. Luckily it did not- we were thieves, not snitches. The commission after deep inquiry and interrogation, came up with a list of four ninja thieves to bear the greatest responsibility. I was among them.
On the day of judgement, we received a HELL of a beating called “Mass caining”. All teachers and I mean all, (including Teacher X) gave us a thorough beating. My back and legs had bumps from the caning for about a week. The black marks those bumps left lingered for a while. We were also scrapped from the list of pupils going on the next Kisumu tour, despite having paid. On the bright side, Teacher X never gave us a mark lower than thirty out of forty in our compositions.
Bluebird put the pieces together. She then completely ceased talking to me. She sent me nary a success card during KCPE. Yet I got her a card that must have been the largest one she received. It did not ring or sing, but it had a huge drawing of a bear on it’s cover. It stood out and I was certain she was going to love it.
I planted it in her locker next to her dictionary, a spot I thought she wouldn’t miss. She didn’t flinch. Second chances were unheard of where she came from. I hope wherever she is now; time has made her understand that even though we never really owned a chain of retail stores, I bore the greatest responsibility for her sake. I got my hands dirty. For her. And it was the truest expression of adoration.
Wherever you are, Bluebird, I hope life is treating you well. And hey, I know a good sea food place.
PS; This post was first published by Towett in the existing whatsapp group of Peace Academy.