He stared at Uche who was lying lifeless at the bottom of the cab trunk.
“I guess your hustle paid off” he said “you eventually found peace”
He looked and he thought about it for a while, then he decided he had to get rid of the body. This, he knew, was not because of any particular love of his for burying the dead. As far as he was concerned, the dead could shift well enough for themselves.
The truth was that he needed the cab; and the body in the boot was an inconvenience. As he rummaged through, it occurred to him that he was getting his fingerprints all over a bullet-filled corpse. It did not bother him. Even if it would have, he knew that where Uche was going, fingerprints did not matter very much and neither did teeth.
He soon found what he was looking for: the keys to the car. They were done in a bunch with a lot of others and the bunch was clipped to a key holder that bore a picture of Jesus Christ.
“What would you have done?” he asked the picture, looking at it as he held the keys in his palm.
He undid the bunch and then placed the empty keyholder back into Uche’s pocket. He looked at Uche’s face. It was bloodied. The mouth was partially open with the tongue sticking out a little. He reached out his finger and pushed the tongue back within, and then he used his thumb to stretch the edges of Uche’s lips to form a smile.
“Send him my love” he said. He slammed the boot shut.
He drove the only way he knew how: with both hands on the steering wheel, a wheel Uche had steered not very long ago. There; even the leather was still warm to his touch. He could easily picture Uche in his mind. Uche drove in his own way, placing a hand on the wheel and leaving the other to hang out through the window as he drummed a popular beat into the front door with his palm and knuckles, whilst talking animatedly.
“Boy oh boy!” Uche might say “I ga-ata ncha? You gats to survive. You gats to hustle, ighotala?”
Uche would not look at him directly as he spoke, preferring to keep his eye on the road whilst simultaneously drumming whatever beat that caught his fancy. That was if his free hand was not clutching a bottle of small stout as it might have on occasion. Uche did this to, as he would say, “keep himself alert”. It seemed that the police at the checkpoints they would often pass did not share the same sentiments, and also it would appear that Uche was aware of this, because he would scramble to hide the bottle upon sighting any of them.
“Nothing to declare, officer” he would say with a straight face.
Then he would smile and take another swig when they were out of sight of the policemen.
“Mmm” Uche might also add, in reference to their earlier discussion “No padi for jungle. No dulling… I taa ncha, I gbuo ncha”
Uche would nod to himself in agreement. He might then begin to hum a tune in accompaniment to his drumming, or he would shake the bottle of stout in his hand a little bit, by way of checking it for fullness.