Kill the Competition!

“Maliiiiii!” Njoroge called out on that gloomy Tuesday morning! Maaallliii!” he got more aggressive projecting his voice, someone had to hear him today. Day after day, neighbourood after neighbourhood, no one had any goods to trade. Busines shad slowed down, people weren’t trading their goods anymore, primarily because people had nothing to give out.

“MAliiii” Njoroge went on. Now slightly angered by what was beginning to look like another unfruitful day. The plastic water jerrican and gaudy orange plastic wares he was hoping to trade now seemed to overwhelm him in weight. He yelled once again with all his might “Maaaalliiii” and fell to the ground in a pile. He sat on the soil and played with it muttering to himself.

Njoroge had been in this business of barter trading for a decade, and over the years he began to see a steady decline. He was also aware that the quality of plastics he traded was generally inferior and that was also another reason why people didn’t trade much anymore. Then what other alternative did he have for income? The clothes and old shoes and electronics he got he would trade as scrap to indutrsy who would pay him. He had’t received money worth his while in months, 4 months two weeks. Njoroge was desperate.

As Njoroge sat on the soil by a concerete apartment wall, Njoroge heard a turn of a key and was engulfed by the musky scent of cologne. A man no older than 25 yers old emerged in a form fiting shirt and ripped jeans with headphones on. Njoroge sighed as he watched the young man walk away barely noticing him. He heard another gate open as people emerged to go about their business.

This went on for an hour, the weather slowly began to warm up and Njoroge began to feel hungry, the wafting scent of different foods being prepared for lunch got his stomach grumbling. Njoroge had no money in his pocket. Today was his only chance to get a meal to feed himself.

“Mali!” “Mali!” It was the competition inching near, Njoroge stood up and dusted himself, there was no way that someone else would take his chance of earning away from him today! “Maaaallliii!” Njoroge yelled.

“Mali!” The other barter trader responded.

“Maaaaaliiiii” Njoroge roared. That was followed by a loud grumble in his tummy that Njoroge tried to hold back by clasping his tummy.

“Mali!” The other trader responded and in a flash of a moment they stood face to face. Njoroge stared at the man straight in the eye seething, no one was going to take what was rightfully his. The other chap gave Njoroge a rather soft look of concern.

“Njoro! Ni mimi, Macha?” the man said.

“Macha?”  Njoroge was so confused who was this who seemed to know him.

“Macharia wa Maina?”  The man responded.

Njoroge’s stare warmed and his countenance fell, it counldn’t be. It couldn’t be, Njoroge saw this man die in his arms. It couldn’t be.


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