The Predators of Dr. Mat Atu


The bass line from deep jungle beats fills the air in your head. The “ee ee ooo ahh ahhh” of the generic Hollywood monkey starts to frantically screech away in the distance. Your senses are heightened. Awareness accentuated by pints of adrenaline. You’re ready for anything. Large concrete trees with metal branches and glass leaves stand tall and stretch all around you. The rustling of dry paper, the cackle of dead twigs, the howl of the banshee wind and the murmur of the wildebeest-like crowd surrounds you. Engulfs you. You can smell the lingering scent of dust, sweat and…kuku porno?

The jungle of Nairobi city centre.

The predators come alive with the early dawn. Nature, inversed. They come out in their droves with their yellow stripes making other creatures cower in tangible fear. They hunt in packs until they see their prey. Then it becomes survival of the craftiest. These predators rule the streets without empathy, without fear, probably without insurance and with one purpose only. To eat. They’re always hungry. Always looking for their next meal.

We hear the primal roar of their blaring contemporary music even before we see them. The anticipation breeds in droplets of temple sweat. The twenty shillings in your hand digs into your sweaty palm. Ostentatious designs painted on their dented hides flatter like dominant males in nature looking to court their females or fight away their adversaries. Over time they’ve evolved and they’ve developed special powers. If you look directly at them you may be hypnotized and drawn into the tractor beam of their gritty charm. And once they consume you, once you’re in their uncomfortably warm and moist bellies, you must pay and squeeze your way out. This is where that twenty shillings embedded in your palm comes in handy. Once you’re out again, you’ll want to breathe deep and suck in as much untainted oxygen as you can. I implore you, don’t. Because once they pass you, they fart out silky, black clouds of excreted exhaust fumes.

The predators, they have a symbiotic species attached to them which screamingly seduce their prey into their clutches. These symbionts are commonly known as the Makanga. They’re tiny in stature but massively industrious, street savvy creatures who swim their way around the psychology of the human mind. They have to, that’s how they ensnare their daily victims.

The predators are many. Legend has it that their brains and eyes were carelessly constructed in the depths of a dingy laboratory by a mad scientist who was obsessed with breaking the road safety rules and regulations. They say, in hushed whispers, that inspired by Dr. Frankenstein, he spent his entire life in pursuit of perfecting this predator of the streets and that this bent little old man, they called him Dr. Mat Atu, harnessed such genius and mechanical ability that his creature would rule the rough pathways of the vast jungles of Nairobi forever. No one knows where he went or if he’s even alive. Some say that his creation consumed him when he couldn’t afford to pay the fare. Others say that the hunters assassinated him and that his head hangs as a trophy in their offices.

The hunters lethargically stand with their guns. Their bellies, full of bribes, poking out of their blue uniforms. They’re always on the look out for the predators. Overlapping, rule breaking, music blaring. All the misdemeanours they look to falsely penalize. They stand in the glaring heat of the Nairobi jungle just waiting. Always waiting. Patience is the mark of a good hunter. But the predators are hardly ever caught because four wheels are better than two legs. The hunters go hungry while the predators feast. It’s that hunger that leads to corruption.

As the day turns to night, the predators scurry away into their habitats. Safety in numbers. A few of them linger around. The diseased ones. The broken down ones. The ones alienated from daytime community. The ones that would be caught too easily by the hunters during the daytime. These maimed creatures scour the streets for unsuspecting victims. They move as much as they physically can before retreating or dying out on the roads.

Then Nairobi nights become quiet. Silence ensues. You can breathe once again. The Hollywood monkey is tranquilized for some time. Or it’s too busy playing with its vitaminized faeces. The jungle beats fade into swirls of mild thought. In my head the thoughts are purple. The predators are far away and you can sleep the sleep of the safe. The jungle collapses into slumber.

Rest well because tomorrow the hunt begins again.

Shamit is Kenyan born and bred and happens to be just a guy who likes to write and he’ll somehow change the world someday. Follow him on twitter @just_sham_it or continue to read some of his work HERE

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