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Mara Crossing. Morning. At curtain rise, Kim has just finished telling Bwana Forodha
about the Chalbi. He taps at his boot with his stick, turns and points off stage left.

BWANA FORODHA. I have a Landrover, just like yours, behind my house . Shall we

He continues poking in their luggage and consulting his clipboard. Very near despair, he
stops to wipe sweat off his face and his hatband. He shakes his head, as he regards Kim

KIM. You said you’d believe anything I told you.

BWANA FORODHA. I am a Government man, Mama Ruben.

KIM. So you lie?

BWANA FORODHA. I cannot tell a lie.

He replaces his hat on his head and sets it squarely.


He is pointing at a large, wooden crate inscribed with the logo SDRI.

KIM. San Diego Research Institute.

BWANA FORODHA. What is in the box?

RUBEN. Scientific equipment.

BWANA FORODHA. More scientific equipment?  And here?

RUBEN. More.

( thinking out loud ) In my long and illustrious career at Mara,
where, admittedly, more wildebeest crosses the border than people, I have apprehended
all sorts of bad people.  From poachers to diamond smugglers, from thieves to
gunrunners, I have met them all.  I have been lied and told numerous tall tales by people
who consider themselves smarter than a customs man; total strangers with criminal minds
bent on cheating my Government of its rightful duty.  I catch them all in the end when they
get so entangled in their own lies they can’t find their way out again.  But, in all my years
of catching liars and thieves, I have never come across such.

He scratches his head, smiles at Kim.

BWANA FORODHA. Mama Ruben, you haven’t told me everything, have you?

She ignores him. He turns to her husband.

BWANA FORODHA.  Before the new road took them to Namanga, travellers passed
through here in big numbers.  Some came wearing masks, innocent faces and insincere
smiles, pretending to be my friends and patriots while all the time trying to deceive me and
avoid paying Government duty. Sometimes they came carrying coffins full of contraband
radios and watches and said there was nothing of interest to my Government; that the
coffins contained only the remains of their cousin Athumani who had died in Nairobi, which
they were taking back to Tabora for burial. You see, half clever stories, like that.
Sometimes the coffins turned out to be full of textiles, blankets and such like.  Sometimes
they were full of sugar, and rice or motorcar spare parts. Everything came through here
disguised as something it was not. Sometimes an old car passed here on the way to
Nairobi for the weekend only to speed back the next day with new tyres, new carburettor,
gearbox, fuel pump, alternator, radiator, suspension and seats, engine - in fact a new car
inside the old body. And no matter how often I caught them, they came back, again and
again, never getting tired of trying to make a monkey out of Bwana Customs. ( wistfully )
But  no one ever tried this before.

He glances from Ruben to Kim, expecting them to confess or say something in their own
defence. They just look at each other, each expecting the other to speak, but in the end
both say nothing. Bwana Forodha scratches his head, sighs wearily and turns to Ruben

BWANA FORODHA. Tell me, Bwana Ruben, whose baby is it?  Really?

RUBEN. Really?  For the hundredth, millionth time?  This is my wife’s baby.

Kim looks up sharply.

BWANA FORODHA. Your wife’s baby?

RUBEN. And mine.


RUBEN. With me.


RUBEN. It’s our baby, okay?  Our baby.

Bwana Forodha looks from one to the other, tries to understand them. He whips the
swagger stick back under his left arm and reaches into his pocket for their passports.

BWANA FORODHA. I find no baby in your passports.

RUBEN. That’s because it was born last night.

BWANA FORODHA. Last night?

RUBEN. Last night.

Bwana Forodha thinks about it for a moment, picked up his clipboard and starts writing.

(almost to himself ). I had hoped that you might change your story
now that I am closing in on you. ( write ) Born last night.  By your wife?

RUBEN. By my wife.

BWANA FORODHA. By this wife?

RUBEN. I have only one wife.

Bwana Forodha nods and scribbles it down.

BWANA FORODHA. Mind you one wife is quite enough for a poor man.

RUBEN. I’m not a poor man.

BWANA FORODHA. You are a rich man then?

RUBEN. I’m not rich.

BWANA FORODHA ( writing ). Not rich, not poor.

RUBEN. Does it matter?

Bwana Forodha considers.

BWANA FORODHA ( shakes his head ).  No, not at all. Rich or poor, big or small, good or  
bad, everyone must pay customs duty.

He glances at Kim, standing back and out of it, holding the baby like a tedious burden. It
is clear her arms are not familiar with babies.

BWANA FORODHA. Go rest in your motorcar, Mama Ruben.  Your man and I can sort out
this problem together, man-to-man.

She does not seem to hear him.

BWANA FORODHA. Bwana Ruben.  You are a man like me, you can tell me the truth.  
Where did your wife get the baby?

RUBEN. At the Bush Hospital.

BWANA FORODHA. At the Bush Hos …Who delivered it?

RUBEN. A matron..

BWANA FORODHA. And where is this MATRON now?

RUBEN. I don’t know.  Back at the hospital, I suppose.

BWANA FORODHA. At the Bush Hospital?

RUBEN. At the Bush Hospital.

BWANA FORODHA. And where, exactly, is this … Bush Hospital?
RUBEN. In the bush?

Bwana Forodha frowns, shakes his head at Ruben.

RUBEN. I don’t know.  Somewhere in the bush; I have no idea exactly where.

BWANA FORODHA. You were not there when the baby was born?

RUBEN. I was there.  But we were lost.  Why don’t you just finish your damned inspection
so we can pay whatever you think your Government is owed and get on our way?

BWANA FORODHA. I am trying, Bwana Ruben.

He pokes at the luggage with his stick, turns.

BWANA FORODHA. Can you show me this … Bush Hospital on a map?

RUBEN. It’s not on our map.

BWANA FORODHA. Not on your map?  How did you find it then?

RUBEN. We weren’t looking for it.  I told you we were lost.

KIM. You were lost.

Bwana Forodha looks from one to the other.

RUBEN ( explains ). I was driving.

Bwana Forodha nods and resumes searching.

BWANA FORODHA ( loudly as he searches ). I have met all sorts of strange people
before, but I have never seen a husband and wife gang. The way they work, one moment
together and the next apart, baffles me. Either they have not been in smuggling business
long or they are more cunning than I thought.
( turns ) All right.  Come with me.

He leads Ruben to the customs office, throws the door open and ushers him inside.


HM Books cover of Blood Brothers by Meja Mwangi
HM Productions Intl.                                                                                           All Rights Reserved
copyright 2008 by HM Entertainment Inc.
Blood Brothers
A humorous encounter of
cultures, egos and pathos.

- The Reader
Book Code:  BB  
KSh. 250

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