Kunta, popularly called, had been the ultimate biker for a very long time now. Winning all races, although he sometimes won through intimidation. Kunta had some powerful people behind him, who make sure that he wins every competition he competes in. These people go to any length to see him win matches. And this was because of the type of people who bet in his favor.
They were people who hated losing and would do drastic things if they did.
I had never been in a bike race with Kunta before because I had just come into town. But the moment I got to the bike base, Rob, who became my first acquaintance, told me not to race against Kunta, as he was pointing everyone one out to me.
“And that’s is Jade, Kunta’s girlfriend.” I wondered why that was important.
Kunta does not even race often too. His participation seems to be by reselection, from the type of race, the location and even the people who race against him. Those people usually follow certain instructions given to them. Make sure he wins, and make sure you lose.
On the day of my first race since I got to town, I saw how big a sports mountain biking was compared to where I came from. We used to do it out there more because we loved it, but here it was a huge sport that made a lot of money for the organizers, the bettors, and the bike racers.
A large number of people were everywhere, singing and screaming at the top of their lungs, urging their favorite sportsmen to go on.
I must say I expected a better challenge from the other bikers. If not for anything but for the fact that they had been racing on this mountain way before I came around.
But one thing I realized was that the route here was easier to ride on. And the mountain was not as steep as over there. So that gave me the belief that I might have an edge.
I had taken the time to ride through the route a couple of times. I knew it like the back of my hand now.
The race started. Rob had told me the spot to watch out for; a lot of newbies make the mistake of not jumping it and getting slipped and crashed into the mountainside.
I didn’t start the race well. The others had the edge of a start over me, and I expected that because they had been doing this for a long time. But I caught up with them and took over on the third route. Skipping a small mountain instead of going around. It was a tough thing to do, but I was used to it from before.
I bet most of the bettors must have bet against me because only a few seem to be cheering me on when I took over the first place.
It became my first win of many to come in the future. And more people seemed to have noticed my ability, and they started placing bets on me to win races for them.
Since I get paid doing what I enjoyed doing, which was winning. I had no problem winning money for total strangers too.
One day I was at the stadium watching a dog race. My bet was on the dog with the number 3 tag, and the poor thing wasn’t doing too well. A man wearing an old wine color suit walked up to me and told me I had been chosen to race against Kunta.
“You have earned lot of people’s trust and respect, they will be placing their bets on you.”
“Is that what makes me qualified?” I asked him.
“Yes, you will be winning a lot of money for us.”
“How is that?”
“You will lose against Kunta, so all the bets against him comes to us.”
“Sorry man, I don’t play the losing game for anybody,” I said.
“You might want to consider what we can do to you if you don’t play according to our book.”
“Is that a threat?” My eyes already changing.
“Call it any name you like, dear boy.”
“If you people believe in Kunta, why don’t you give him a fair shot?”
“You could call it insurance. Plus we all don’t like losing.”
He turned and walked away before I could repay him.
At that very moment, I knew my time in town was coming to an end. I had thought I was going to be staying for a long time here. I was just starting to enjoy myself.
“What a loser,” I said of the dog on whom I had placed my bet. “I hope you haven’t been intimidated too.”
I went to the base and asked Rob when Kunta will be racing next.
“Tuesday, I heard you will be racing against him. I told you not to.”
“They didn’t give me much of a choice.”
“So you won’t be losing the race?”
I hate that Rob could read my mind.
“You bet your ass.”
“I guess I will be making a lot of money off you,” he grinned with admiration.
“But you have to be careful, and these are very dangerous people. They might try to carry out a foul play on you.”
“I have a plan,” I said
I thanked him for being such a good friend in the short time we had known each other.
He understood that I was skipping town. Two things were not part of my life: trouble and losing. And not even because of intimidation.
On the Tuesday I saw strange looking faces amidst the spectators and officials from the very start. But I had my plans too.
Rob was waiting for me at the outskirt of the town, and he was tired of the whole shady races too and ready to skip town. His bet will be taken care of by a boy he trusts.
It turned out that Kunta was not my match after all, and I won the race quite easily. And before they knew it, I was off on my bike and making good my escape.