By David Tumusiime, Uganda:
Had he dropped his wallet? This couldn't be his wallet! That was his first thought when he opened it, saw no money in it. Flipped it closed to check for the China Hugo Boss logo on the side. Then opened it again. There was no money in this wallet! The blankness was too much.
This is when the boda boda rider by the stage, waiting for him, paid more attention, drawn by his alarm – trying to decide if he should wheel his bike around back to his stage and leave this man to his search seizures.
Before he could though, the man laid a hand on his wrist and asked him if he wanted to make 10,000 shillings instead of 2,000 shillings. If yes, chase after that taxi with me! Explaining as he jumped on the back of the boda, “That conductor has robbed me! He has my money. Don't let him get away!”
In the taxi, the more attentive passengers were wondering why their conductor had stopped haranguing them for his money: the fare. No sooner had the taxi Citroen DS bumped into the last pothole out of the park than he had begun to ask passengers to pay up. Insistently. Now he was suddenly quiet. But the driver knew his conductor. Kept checking on him through his rear view mirror. The conductor, though, was not in the taxi anymore.
He had shut his window and was rocking himself into his dreams, the world after this last trip. Deciding what he would do with the money the passenger had left him with. More money than they had made all day.
He had been on a winning streak and he was sure he could quadruple this money if he bet that Bayern Munich would shock everyone by beating Lionel Messi's Barcelona FC. The winnings would be real money! The conductor had plans for this money.
He was so lost in thought he did not notice the bike bearing down on them with two men on it. He was so lost in thought, it was his driver who heard the call for ku-stage and gravelled onto the side of the road.
At the back of the boda drawing to the side of the taxi, the man knew he would get his money back. He had to. There was a silver Solex padlock on his door, waiting for him. His landlord had informed him he would not be able to sleep in his one room unless he paid his rent this time: “Nkooye your lies.” His rent was in this conductor's palm.
Before he had hopped off the boda, he was shouting at the conductor, “Give me my balance for the 50, 000 shillings I gave you! Give me my balance!”
The conductor's eyes reddened with rage and his knuckles knotted the money in his hand: he was not giving it up.
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