At the end of a very long day for me, this man who introduces himself as a father to a dead generation slumps on the passenger seat in my taxi and wonders where he went wrong as a parent.
Last week, he bought his 24-year-old son a motorbike to use as a bodaboda because the young man had turned into a man. And a man needs a source of income. His son had nagged him for a while about getting one so on his 24th birthday, he made his dreams of being a bodaboda operator come true.
The excited young man shared the good news with his best friend who then requested to take the bike out for a spin. The young man, so as not to seem stingy, obliged. The friend took the bike out for a ride and accidentally crashed it at the gate of a police station.
The police, being there to serve and protect and all that other sweet stuff, attempted to arrest the best friend.
But since he is a terrible friend, he feigned a limp and requested to go to the hospital for a checkup leaving the bike behind as collateral for his release. And that is how he left the bike in the station and bolted.
The police then had no choice but to arrest the bike's owner; the old man's son. They arraigned him in court, read him a million charges and remanded him because bail was an unaffordable option for him. His father bailed him out with some money he had loaned from a friend but on their way home, the young man asked to be excused because he had to see a man about a dog. Now, often when I use this phrase, people ask "He wanted to buy a dog?"
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to break the fourth wall and explain that when one says they want to see a man about a dog, they means that they are going somewhere to do something which they'd rather not tell you because it is none of your business. They are just being polite. You're welcome.
So the father and the son part ways. And the father knows the facts of his son's case as outlined above and is confident that his son's legal problems will go away. In the words of the good old Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., faith is taking a step forward without seeing the rest of the staircase. And I am paraphrasing here.
So the father has faith that the system will acquit his innocent son. And he tries hard not to regret buying the motorbike. But the son walks into a shop and uses his last dime to purchase rat poison. And he makes himself a nice concoction of the poison, lifts it to his mouth, takes a large gulp, likes it, and shoots the rest down his gullet. He figures it is better to be six feet under than pay for the crimes of another.
And now the devastated father wonders where he went wrong as a parent.
As I drive him from City Mortuary to his home in Kawangware, I can't help but feel sorry for him. Still I am slightly disturbed. Aren't there are so many people who have been wrongly accused of far more heinous crimes and still forego the rat poison route? I feel like there is more to the story. But the weary soul I am taking home won't take comfort in my words.
So I drive him home in silence, because for some reason, his deceased son makes me very angry. When our baby is born, Jen (my fiancé) and I will sit him or her (but let's just assume it's a boy so I don't have to write 'him or her' in every sentence) down and explain that the world doesn't owe him anything. It is up to him to fight and not walk around acting like a victim. Nobody likes victims. And I know more than a few people who like taking advantage of victims as opposed to helping them.