Gathabai arrived in style; he wore a suit we had never seen before, complete with a brief case that gleamed on the foggy light that poured through the windows into the courtroom. Everyone turned and I heard a murmur run through the right side of the chamber. He stepped regally, with flair of an important intruder towards where astounded Mrs. Ruto edged on the bench. She reluctantly gave him space still mesmerizing on the unexpected transformation.
The magistrate coughed. A mixture of confusion, expectation and fear was written all over his face.
Kenja had stopped chewing, and his mouth stayed open, eyes following Gathabai from the door to where he had sat. He craned his neck to get a glimpse on the brief case; he shoved Katana to pave way for him to sit near Gathabai. Katana ignored him because he was smiling at the whole drama that Gathabai had brought to court. He placed a hand over his mouth to conceal his un-brushed set of teeth and laughed silently. Koech too was in such a reverie that he exposed the gap between his two long front teeth in awe. Jaguar had buried his head under his knees in shame and regret the moment he had seen Gathabai walk in.
But he did not come alone. Grace was behind him, graceful as always with that terse, bewitching smile on her face. Tall and elegant, she took a step and time paused for everyone in the courtroom. She did not look sideways but appeared determined. She had not entered the chamber by mistake because she knew where she was to sit. The perfume she wore wafted through the room to Magistrate Munga who lowered his spectacles for a more eye-witness testimony of the beauty in front of the beholders. He had stopped scribbling on his notebook as Grace’s body was intriguing from the silky blue dress she wore, tracing every visible organ worth watching on her body. Her bracelets jingled as she walked to the front of my side’s row, and then sat where Gathabai had prepared a sitting place on the bench.
Surprisingly, the case’s verdict was out in my favor. Gathabai kept wiping imaginary dust from his suit and occasionally turned here and there.
The drama devastated the claimants. Omondi hooked a finger to loosen his collar, wiped his brow then wiggled in his seat. I watched him comically as his bally, wet eyes protruded several time from the sockets, and I thought that each wipe he made on his brow was a secret scheme to punch them back into place. Gregory, the newest driver in Omondi’s company could not hide his excitement as he ogled at Grace right across him on the front bench. He lost track of everything going around him, and I thought for a moment that he would switch sides only to sit beside Grace and have a chat. Murmurs were still buzzing on Omondi’s side from drivers who occasionally looked at Grace, whispered on each other and then point at me. Everyone assumed that someone high up the power tree had interest in the case.
One man, Rende, the oldest member of the company, sat behind everyone in the court room patiently. He appeared unmoved by anything until I caught his full glance watching me. He twitched his face, winked an eye then shook his head. He looked at me then to Omondi and rested his eyes on Magistrate Munga, then shook his head again. He heaved his shoulders and made a disappointed curve on his mouth.
I did not follow what he was saying.
Magistrate Munga hammered the gavel rudely.
Magoko was the first witness. He walked into the court with the usual swing of self-importance. His wedge shaped head wiggled above his body non-rhythmically; he was a man of people and man of the day.
Omondi’s lawyer started cross examination immediately Magoko reached the witness stand.