Celebrating East African Writing!
Written by Abu Amirah.
Wamae was many things, a jack of all trades but master of none. A village elder, husband, father, grandfather, bench warmer at the local Muratina [local brew] den, dairy farmer and unbeknownst to others, he aspired to be a night runner. Yes, he found the idea of running naked in the dead of the night an act of inexplicable hedonistic delight and intrigue. Currently, though, there was no opening in the night running profession which for some funny reason had maintained an extensive list of prominent alumni.
He sat on a rock right outside his gate sniffing tobacco and sneezing like a Billy goat on flu. His wife passed by and sneered at him; she always claimed that Wamae was good for nothing. He in turn detested her activities which largely included regular Chamaa meetings with a bunch of other women who together formed the Nyakinyua women’s group. He detested them all in spite of the fact that the very cup he sipped his morning tea from was a product of Nyakinyua’s activities.
That particular morning was a little different though; he was expecting a visitor from the big city. Visitors from the big city always carried loads of money with them, and he knew this particular one would give him something based on their history.
Power Saw, a well known lumberjack in the village passed by, probably heading to chop down some trees, illegally. He was a huge man; rumour had it that he could cut down a tree with just a machete faster than someone with a power saw. Wamae did not like him much; he never gave him anything, not even a few shillings to buy tobacco!
He cursed under his breath. This was the last voice he wanted to hear.
“Patooo!” she called again running to catch up with him.
It was Matilda. They had literally grown up together by virtue of their mothers being bosom pals. Luck had propelled him to the city many years back while Matilda had remained in the village.
“Matilda?” he pretended to be all surprised as he turned around to look at her.
She rushed and hugged him. They had history, both of them and much as he had tried to delete it, it still remained there like a sick lapdog wanting to be patted yet no one was willing to do so.
“You have been so lost, look at you, all dressed up like a real city boy!” he did not like the way she called him boy, reminded him of that day, years back when…..
“And you have put on some weight too,” she added. He wished he could throw some compliments her way but he had none in mind.
“And don’t you just look amazing,” he faked a smile, “I see the village hasn’t treated you badly!” This was a complete lie. Matilda had grown huge, no actually, she had ballooned! The Matilda he was in love with back then was much slimmer, very easy to explore and carry. Now if he was to do some exploring, not that he was planning to but just in case, he would need a map to do so.
“Hey, we should hook up sometime, do some catching up.” She said this while winking, as if to remind him about that day when…..
“Yeah. Sure. Excellent idea.” He said, i will give you a call.
“Are you on Twitter?” she asked.
He hesitated a moment.
“Umm. Well, we could say i am, why?”
“Excellent!” she exclaimed, “follow me on @Matildadimples.” She moved closer to him, took his phone and wrote her Twitter address.
Patrick noticed she was dangerously close to him. He could see her chest heaving as she breathed, smelt the powder she had generously applied on her face. The dimples were a permanent feature of her flawless face. Damn this girl was cute, he mused, rangi ya pesa. She smelt fresh, fresh like a million bucks straight from Central Bank.
He felt his manhood nod in anticipation.
If only the inevitable had not happened way back then he would have hugged her and made her his. But he knew that incidence was the elephant in the room and nothing would happen so long as it was there. Besides, he convinced himself, there was no way a beautiful girl like Matilda would still be single; the size of that butt indicated that yes, indeed there was someone doing some serious maintenance.
Yet, as she was busy typing on his phone, he found the courage to float the query;
“So, you got married or something?”
“Hahahaaa!” she laughed revealing a set of milk white teeth, “What do you think? Take a guess!” And just like that she walked away and left him hanging, wondering whether that was a challenge to hunt and gather or to keep off.
This time, the big boy south shook his head, probably because Patrick’s brain had shifted from North to South and was an inch away from making a stupid decision.
By the end of the week, Matilda, thanks to her “people skills” had managed to spread the word that Patrick was around and that she was following him on Twitter.
Wamae ran into him at the shopping centre and led him to a nearby kiosk that sold bone soup and boiled goat head.
“Haha, look at you!” Wamae said as he patted Patrick’s chest,” you have become a real man now i see!”
“Well, human beings grow up at some point in their lives, don’t they?”
“Indeed they do. Come, let’s have some soup together,” Wamae led him into the joint and took the liberty of ordering two boiled goat tongues cut into small pieces, some kachumbari and two cups of soup.
“So,” began Wamae as he munched away on the pieces, “I hear you are already on to BIG things, huh?”
“What big things?” he asked nonchalantly wishing time would go quicker, he never liked Wamae that much, the man was always out to make a buck or two, starting with that fateful day when….
“Matilda!” this he whispered as if it was some kind of a top secret, “rumour has it that you are whisking her back to the city with you!”
“What the…” he was surprised, “says who?”
“The entire village,” he sipped his soup, “I didn’t know you still had hots for her even after that incidence in my fence when….”
“Stop it!” Patrick hissed, “Whatever happened, happened, no need to rub it in!”
“I mean, am just saying that maybe you decided to finish what you started.” Wamae took a few more bites. “You need to know one thing though.”
“What?” Patrick queried.
“That perhaps you will not see the end of today.”
“Reason being?” he managed to take a sip of his soup
“Power Saw will have your liver for dinner.”
“Why would he do so?”
“Well,” Wamae said, “you put your hand in his cookie jar and stole his cookie.”
“Am lost, Sir. Am not certain i follow you.”
“Is that right?” he wiped his lips with the sleeve of his jacket, “you do not follow me but rumour has it that you have been following Matilda somewhere.”
“Goodness, not these crap again. And what does following Matilda on Twitter have to do with Power…….” he paused a bit as he connected the dots.
“There you go,” Wamae said as he cleared the pieces of tongue, “Matilda is Power Saw’s cookie!”
“Aauuuuuwuuuuuu…..wooooooiiii!” The sound of the women screaming jolted Wamae causing him to almost fall off his seat. He figured it was coming from two homesteads away, probably Power Saw’s or Kimani’s. Kimani was not one to rouse trouble but Power Saw was quite a character.
Patrick almost ran him over speeding through his gate as if a bunch of Hyenas were after him. He was panting hard.
“Wait, wait!” Wamae shouted, “Hold it right there, what’s wrong with you?”
“He wants to kill me!” Patrick said between breaths.
“Power Saw,” looking back as if he was close by, “he is coming this way with a double edged slasher, help me, please help me.”
Wamae looked him over and smiled, “I think you deserve to have your balls slashed!”
“Oh, come on, sir, you can’t do this. You do not want my blood on your hands!” he pleaded.
Power Saw was approaching fast; they could hear him just around the corner.
“Ok, city boy, i will help you, but nothing is for free.”
“Whatever you want sir, the beast is almost here, please. Where do i hide?”
“How much money do you have on you?” Wamae queried.
“Sorry, that will not do. I need ten thousand, fari fari [on the spot] or else i will drag you out of here and Power saw can slash your cowardly balls!”
“Okay, okay. I will Mpesa you the rest right away.”
“Now we are talking!” he grabbed the money and directed Patrick to hide in the toilet, just in the nick of time as an enraged Power Saw appeared at the gate.
“Am looking for that boy who came from the city, i saw him come this way!” He boomed.
“I heard he committed the unthinkable,” said Wamae, “I know how we will find him!”
Patrick bust into a spontaneous silent prayer in the toilet.