Celebrating East African Writing!
Wafula lived with his wife in a single bed-roomed apartment in the sprawling Dandora area of Nairobi. Wafula was a civil servant and worked as an accounts clerk in the Ministry of Finance building on Harambee Avenue, Nairobi. Nafula was an entrepreneur and ran a small retail goods kiosk in Dandora. Nafula usually made trips to Nairobi town to procure goods from wholesale stores for her kiosk. She would then transport the goods to her kiosk using a bicycle, a handcart, and sometimes matatu (public transport vehicles.)
Though Wafula was proud of her entrepreneurial spirit, he had grave reservations about the way his wife conducted herself in public. You see, Nafula was lean and athletic and had participated in various sporting activities when in high school. Sometimes she did things that embarrassed him. He even had to hide from the neighbours recently, after another embarrassing stunt by his overzealous wife. The neighbours would laugh at Wafula and cheekily whisper amongst themselves when he passed by.
It was in their fourth year of marriage that Wafula finally acknowledged the fact that his wife was a scoundrel, a rascal, an accident waiting to happen. “What did I get myself into?” he perennially asked himself.
Though they’d tried fertility treatment, his wife had refused to get pregnant. Their doctor had done tests on Nafula and concluded that she was too acidic for him. Her acidity annihilated his ‘soldiers’, thus restricting them from reaching the eggs and fertilizing them.
On hearing this distressing information, Wafula had thought up a home-made solution to his wife’s acidity. He had recommended she douche with warm water before they got intimate. But alas, Wafula’s prudent home-made remedy failed to work. His wife didn’t get pregnant.
Wafula was deeply disappointed by the thought of not having a child, though he never told his wife. The typical African man’s option of acquiring a second wife didn’t occur to him since he had vowed in front of a church, before God and his gathered family on their wedding day, that he’d love and cherish his sole wife, Nafula, through good times and bad times, till death do them part.
Wafula was also frustrated at his work place. Though he’d worked as an accountant for five years at the Ministry of Finance, he had never been promoted nor ever gotten the much needed salary increase. Younger, more educated employees of the Ministry had already been promoted and various workmates spoke of increments on their pay slips.
Wafula was also weary of his boss’s reaction when the boss found out that he hadn’t completed the financial report for a parastatal organisation which the Ministry of Finance was auditing. Wafula had been given two weeks to prepare the report and the deadline for submitting it to the boss was the present day. Wafula was a depressed and demoralized man. These powerful, chaotic, overwhelming emotions needed a release.
Then that Friday afternoon at about 2:00 P.M. when Wafula was walking back to his office after eating lunch at a restaurant, he received a call on his mobile phone. The caller was a neighbour who lived on the same apartment building as Wafula.
“Your wife, Nafula, was seen a few minutes ago being chased by a couple of dogs,” the neighbour said with amusement in her voice.
When Wafula heard this, he stopped on the sidewalk of Harambee Avenue and clasped the mobile phone tightly on his ear. He visualized the whole story.
“Dogs!” Wafula exclaimed in bewilderment. “Why was my wife being chased by dogs?”
“Well,” said the neighbour excitedly. “Your wife had locked her kiosk and gone to the butchery shop to buy meat. The pick-up van which brings fresh meat was parked right outside the butchery and everyone in the neighbourhood knows that this is the best time to buy fresh meat.”
And so Nafula listened to the story.
Nafula had bought a kilo of beef and was returning home when a couple of stray dogs started stalking her. The dogs were growling and sniffing at the paper bag that Nafula was carrying. Nafula began to run away from the dogs. She didn’t want them to steal her kilo of fresh beef. The dogs began to run after her, barking loudly and cruelly.
Nafula ran like lightning, taking sharp corners and jumping over obstacles on her path. She seemed like a rugby player in a pitch clutching a ball – which in this case was the paper bag of meat – under her arm and ducking and side-stepping the pursuing opposition. But the dogs were determined to snatch the kilo of fresh ruddy meat from poor Nafula.
Finally one of the dogs, a big white tailless dog named Saddam, managed to catch up with Nafula and trip her. Nafula lost her footing and fell to the ground. Saddam snatched the kilo of meat, which Nafula was planning to cook for supper, and triumphantly ran away with it towards the vast Dandora dumpsite.
Valiantly, Nafula hopped to her feet and chased after the evil Saddam, the other dogs running after her barking loudly. Everyone in the neighbourhood came out of their houses to witness the shocking fracas. There were multitudes of people on the balconies of high-rise buildings and others lining the streets, all of them cheering and hollering.
At a certain point Nafula came across a construction site where there were lots of stones lying around. Nafula picked up a large stone and catapulted it forcefully towards the retreating white dog. The stone landed viciously on the back of Saddam’s head and he passed out. The kilo of meat he was carrying between his teeth fell to the ground. On seeing that their leader had fallen unconscious, the other dogs fled into the vast dumpsite.
Nafula saw this and dashed to the spot where Saddam was lying and picked up the kilo of fresh meat. The polythene bag wrapping was still intact and the meat was thus not contaminated by the incapacitated dog’s saliva. Nafula took the meat back home
Baffled, Wafula stared lengthily at the screen of the mobile phone handset. The more he thought about what he’d just heard, the more incensed and aggravated he became. Cumulatively, his wife’s acts of mischief had pushed him to the edge of insanity. In fury Wafula walked to the side of the pavement where there was a line of mature trees. He climbed one of the trees and sat on a thick branch. The branch was at least twenty feet from the ground…
This story is part of a longer short story. If you like it so far, and would like to read the rest of it, vote below.
© Denis Kabi 2009
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