- Matoro and Sylvester, amused at the spectacle, giggled.
- Kiai moved towards them and grabbed them by the collar.
- He was bigger than them and my two friends shrank back in fear.
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“Buda nitawapiga mkiwa wote wawili (I will beat both of you),” Kiai threatened as he moved towards my friends.
That boy could throw a punch and we all feared him for that. He had earned a reputation of being the ‘iron fist’, the pupil nobody liked to fight because he would always win. And nobody wanted to be on ‘wanted’ list.
But on this particular day, my friends and I pocked the bear...and he was not pleased.
We were playing ‘faya’, a mischievous game we played using our school ties as a catapult and small pieces of orange peel as ammunition against other pupils. Hitting them with the orange peels was naughty, but we cherished their reactions.
My friends – Sylvester and Matoro – and I had just returned to class after lunch break, and the 30 minutes' prep time before the teacher came to class was our ‘mischief time’. I was seated at my desk at the back, while my friends a few rows ahead but diagonally opposite me.
I decided to try and hit them with my orange peels.
“Ouch, ouch!!” Kiai bellowed. I was aiming at Matoro but I accidentally hit Kiai the iron fist. I wanted to apologise but since no one had seen me, I kept quiet.
But Kiai stood up, visibly angry, demanding: “Jitambulishe mapema mapema (Own up now).”
Matoro and Sylvester, amused at the spectacle, giggled. Kiai moved towards them and grabbed them by the collar.
He was bigger than them and my two friends shrank back in fear.
Thwack! Thwack!! He slapped Sylvester twice.
Despite being beaten up, my friends did not sell me out. We had an unwritten cardinal rule against snitching. But seeing them helpless made me own up.
“Ni mimi (It was me),” I said in a meek, trembling voice.
“Pole brathe nilikuwa na-aim Matoro (I'm sorry. I was aiming at Matoro, not you),” I added, more courageously.
I promised to do his dirty errands for a week if he would let it go.