“Did you hear that?” John asked with a fearful look in his eyes.
“Hear what?” Chris said. “Is there something wrong with the car?”
Then they heard it together. It was coming from the backseat.
The cries of an infant.
John’s hands tightened around the steering wheel. “Tell me that isn’t a baby in the backseat.”
Chris slowly turned around.
Sure enough, there was an infant neatly strapped to the backseat. It stopped crying the instant its eyes met Chris’. Next to the child was a large Mickey Mouse bag with the business ending of a Feeding-Bottle sticking out.
The child actually smiled at him and waved her …his….its hands.
“Chris..?” He could hear the rising anger in John’s voice. He had no idea what to say or do.
“Yeah,…yeah!” He said. “There’s a baby in the backseat.
There was silence in the car.
“Chris..?” Chris knew too well what John’s rising rage sounded like. ” did you just say there’s a…baby in the backseat?”
He was silent.
“Oh crap!” John said suddenly.
“Relax, it’s just a baby.”
“Police!” John whispered.
Sure enough, they were slowly approaching a Police Check point.
“Just be cool,” Chris said putting on his seat belt.
“John, Just relax we—.”
“Unless you recently had a stroke, do you realise we’re in a stolen vehicle, with Ak47s under our seats and….oh! a baby in the backseat?”
“So it’s my fault there’s a baby in the car?”
“Ofcourse it’s your fault,” John snapped. “Weren’t you supposed to check for stuff like that before we stole it?”
“I might’ve had more time to check if you weren’t busy threatening the woman with your gun!”
“IT WAS AN ARMED ROBBERY, THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!”
“Don’t yell at me, John,” Chris stabbed the air between them with a finger. “Maybe if you hadn’t been firing shots in the air this wouldn’t have happened.”
They were three cars away from the checkpoint.
Chris rolled his eyes. ” There you go yelling again!”
“You’re going to put this on me?”
“The woman was screaming, people were running, shots were being fired…was I supposed to turn to the frightened woman and go, ‘Hey, do you have a baby in the backseat? We’re just wondering since we’re such considerate armed robbers?’..”
“This isn’t a joke,” John said. “We could go to prison. And trust me you wouldn’t last a day in jail.”
“Ok, can we turn the car around?”
“Oh, so now you want to run, Mr Effeminate?”
“Stop calling me that!”
The baby started crying.
“Good afternoon,” the police man said. In the heat of their verbal dispute they hadn’t noticed they’d reached the check point.
Chris was whimpering and muttering something under his breath.
“What is wrong with this one?” The weather beaten face of the Policeman said. He was standing by John’s window.
“Em…he’s….he’s purging,” John said before he could stop himself.
The Cop’s eyes went from Chris, to John, to the baby then back to Chris again.
“I-don’t -want-to-go-to-prison-I-don’t -want-to-go-to-prison.” Chris kept on muttering.
“Prison ke?” The Policeman exclaimed. “Wetin happen, you thief?”
“He…ate something very bad, he needs to use the toilet ….that’s why we’re rushing home.”
“Oya, do weekend for us before you go,” The Police man said simply. “If not dis shit you go shit am here!”
Between himself and Chris he was fairly certain their current financial holdings amounted to Zero. And judging from the Hyena-like gaze of the policeman, he doubted a simple, “We don’t have money. Sorry!” Would cut it.
There came farting sounds from the backseat. A stench like rotten eggs filled the car.
The Policeman’s face contorted into a a mask of disgust. “Tufiakwa!….bros rat die inside ya belle?”
John was speechless.
“Biko, go hospital,” the policeman said covering his nose. “Or go see native doctor….wetin dey do u no normal.” He waved for them to move on.
Three minutes later, the car’s interior smelled like foul latrine.
“This is all your fault!” John said covering his nose.
Chris rolled his eyes. “Now you’re over flogging the issue.”
“How are we going to sell this car with a baby in the back seat?”
“Don’t ask me, you’re supposed to be the brains of this operation!”
“Mr Austine isn’t going to like this!”
“Do you know how to change diapers?” Chris asked softly.
“NO, JOHN…I DON’T!”
The baby started crying again.
“See what you’ve done? You’ve made it cry…..I think we should feed it.”
Chris seemed too shocked to speak.
The baby’s cries were louder.
“We’ve got to do something Chris!”
“Do you perceive the stink coming from there? I’m not going any where near that thing.”
“So you can point a gun at another human being but you’re scared of a baby?”
“Baby’s aren’t human. Ask any nursing mother!”
Twenty minutes later,they arrived at their destination, an abandoned factory just outside the city. The structure was surrounded by bushes for miles.
The two got out of the car and stared cautiously into the now silent backseat.
“Is it dead?” John asked.
“How the hell should I know?”
“You’re the one who mentioned nursing mothers I assumed—-.”
“Chris take your time,” John pointed at him. “I can only tolerate so much from you today.”
“Na simple question I just as—.”
A hot slap from Chris cut him off.
“Talk again!” John said coming closer. “I say talk again!”
Chris held the side of his face and cowered by the car door. He’d gotten the message.
“Wada fugg is all d noise?” Came a familiar voice from behind them.
They turned around to see a short pott-bellied man, flanked by two muscular boys.
“Mr Austine,” John forced a smile. “We’ve brought the car as we agreed.”
Mr Austine rubbed his hands together with delight. “Very kood.” He and his goons inspected the car.
“I’m konna pay you kuys cash!”
Chris had straightened up and exchanged fearful looks with John as the inspection continued.
Then Mr Austine’s eyes went to the backseat. “MY KOOD KOD!”
Everyone else jumped at Mr Austine’s outburst. His two goons rushed to his side.
“WADDA FUGG IS DIS???” He was pointing inside the car.
“Mr Austine,” John said taking a Step forward. “…I can explain—!”
One of the goons suddenly blocked his path. John stared at the boy’s enormous biceps and gulped.
“I wanna buy a car not a daycare Modda-fugga!”
“Please, Mr Austine—.”
“I DON DIGGIT!” Mr Austine said waving a hand and walking away. “Dis sheet is fugg-up!”
“…Sir,” John said desperately. “We’ll remove the baby and—-.”
“Da sheet haf fugg-up d whole arrayn-men!”
“..so…so you wont buy the car because there’s a baby inside?”
Mr Austine paused and turned around. “Do I look like a Daycare Mudda-fugga?”
John turned to Chris. “He’s leaving, aren’t you going to say anything?”
“Oh! NOW I can talk?”
Mr Austine and his boys were leaving.
“Really??” John snapped. “You want to bring that up now?”
Five minutes later, they were alone with the car.
“We are sooo screwed!” John had his hands on his head.
Baby was making weird sounds that sounded like giggling.
“Well, at least we know the baby’s alive.” Chris said softly.
“Don’t make me hit you again.”
Sound of a phone ringing.
The two stared at each other.
“Don’t look at me, It’s not my phone,” Chris said.
“Then where’s it coming from?”
They both moved towards the back of the car. The phone was right next to the baby. The instant the child saw their faces, it started smiling again. The smell from the inside was foul.
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