Flirting with a Grenade…

…the bus conductor wet his pants. When the man removed the pin from the grenade, they all knew it was all over”

She thought nothing of the bulge around the man’s midsection. It looked like a normal potbelly, well not so normal, but a potbelly nonetheless. Her thoughts were elsewhere, in a very distant place. So preoccupied was she with her thoughts that she did not notice the bead of sweat slowly streaming down the man’s brow. Neither did she notice the slight tremor in his hands. The constant rubbing of his sweaty palms on his trousers was something she would later wish she had observed more keenly.  All she took in was his long beard.

The man shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His eyes darted from left to right, surveying his environment. Despite his best efforts, his hands would not stop quivering. The prospect of probable martyrdom was not entirely relishing. He thought of his children. His two beautiful daughters. He remembered how they had kissed him goodbye, with no inkling whatsoever that it may be the last time they did so. His beautiful wife Sarah. The scent of her perfume still lingered on his cheek where she had kissed him. Sacrifices had to be made.

Off days did not come often. The police officer would use his free time optimally. He had left his gun at home, no need to carry that heavy thing around. What could possibly go wrong on this bright sunny day? Seated in the bus he leaned his head back and enjoyed the slow music coming off the ancient speakers. He was on his way to meet up some friends for ‘Nyama choma’ and imbibe the frothy liquid. Nothing would ruin his day, nothing.

The old bus ambled on at a snail pace. The traffic jam was one of epic proportions. It seems to take minutes before the bus inched forward. The man was more relaxed now, the girl was still lost in thought, and the police officer was craving for a cold drink. The rest of passengers were minding their own business, some were talking loudly on their phones, some infants were crying incessantly, and a disheveled old man was fronting as a preacher and reading verses from a tattered bible. No one had an idea that they were probably minutes away from being reunited with their ancestors.

It all happened so quickly. One second there was peace, the next there was total pandemonium. The man suddenly rose and removed his shirt. Strapped onto his hairy stomach were sticks of a mean looking nature held together by wires. Most people did not immediately know what those were but the grenade in his hand left no room for doubt on his intentions. Screams rent the air, babies wailed, men squirmed in their seats and the bus conductor wet his pants. When the man removed the pin from the grenade, they all knew it was all over.

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