The day was cool, because I was on off. I had woken up very early as usual although I wasn’t in a hurry. That was around ten o’clock, having slept until my backbone was somehow aching. This shouldn’t give somebody a legal ground of perceiving this gentleman as a lazy chap. Be sure that she is the type of lady who not only cannot tolerate but will never date such kind of men.
Anyway, I woke up quite early, at half past ten because I had slept somehow early the previous day, that was a few minutes to four in the morning. I had talked to her for around fifty minutes until my ‘okoa jahazi’ was exhausted, then watched Donald Duck and Tom and Jerry. I can’t really figure out what we were deliberating upon for such a period of time, but somebody decided to call them ‘sweet nothings’ and I fully concur. Otherwise, ladies, how can a gentleman promise to take you out to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yet he is only surviving on fried groundnuts and borehole water for breakfast, lunch and supper at that moment?
At the same time, the idea of repaying the‘okoa jahazi’ debt soon wasn’t in my mind. Infact, I was looking forward to see Mr. Bob Collymore inbox me that he needed his money back lest he ‘besieges’ my line that I wouldn’t access another okoa jahazi in future. After all, I was used to such threats and I had also accumulated a number of coke crowns, also called vipekee from Kinuthia’s Coca-Cola depo. They would promote me with 15 MB bundles and some free texts to chat with her before I got the money to call her. So, my prayer was that nobody would come to discover such a well of oil because definitely, the likes of Kinuthia could decide to sell both the beverage and the‘vipekee’ after realizing that they were loaded with data bundles!
Normally, when a man has empty pockets, I mean when he is temporarily bankrupt, he’ll opt to remain indoors and execute his mandates. I was therefore thinking of either doing some ‘googling’ using my neighbour’s unsecured WiFi , watch television, listen to gospel music and read the good book. I could also read an old newspaper or access the current paper online to find out how some cabinet secretaries in the government were vandalizing public funds. I therefore decided to leave the comfort of my bed to first of all do my empty, rumbling stomach a favour. I had planned to prepare a heavy meal to constitute both breakfast and lunch. Supper would sort itself out, and considering the fact that her sister had packed some three kilograms of groundnuts in my bag when we had paid her a visit a month ago, I was better off than most bachelors in the city. Besides the fried cuisine, I would have visited Tony at 2300 hours, the exact time he eats supper, to savour some vegetables in the name of kales. We feast on such ‘rabbit’s cuisine’ just to deceive our stomachs and convince ourselves that vegetables are good for health than red meat and other manufactured foods. This”for health philosophy” only works when men are broke. That’s how a Nairobi bachelor lives. Bother not to advise me to marry because I am already planning to do so sooner than you’d expect.
I found three of her missed calls that morning. For your information, we are not used to calling each other twenty-five times in a day like Tony, who can get nineteen missed calls from his girlfriend, Shiko, if he forgets to check his phone for one full hour! In contrast, my strawberry only calls once and assumes that I am busy building the nation or issuing statements in business meetings, after which I always call back when I find her missed call. If I find two missed calls from her, there will surely be something urgent that she probably wanted us to talk about. But this time round, I got a total of three of her missed calls! Waah!
On dialing my phone to call back, a useless lady received my call even before I was done with dialing with a; ”…Sorry. You have insufficient credit to make this call. Please top up…” I angrily pressed the red icon on my phone! Nkt. Had I asked her about the condition of my account? She was to beware that it was my phone and I was the only one entitled to know how much credit I had. Anyway, this useless lady once again decided to embarass me double twice with a text message reading ; ”Please pay your okoa jahazi balance of KSh. 249.1 by today. If not, you risk being blacklisted…” I didn’t read the whole message. I popped down the pull down menu and selected ‘delete sms ‘. I don’t entertain such broke ladies from Safaricom. She should know people. Infact, didn’t she realize that I was a booked handsome guy, a millionaire-in-waiting and planning to pay a ticket for my strawberry for a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by the end of the Elnino rains?
Anyway, that lady still managed to remind me that I had no credit so I had to manually find Tony for me to access his phone and call that sweet strawberry.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. I didn’t expect a visitor at that time except Tony. So I didn’t bother to even say ‘karibu’. Infact, it looked like an answered prayer because I really needed his phone. So I jokingly retotted ; “I need your phone more than I need you. Harakisha ikam. ”
In a moment, my body went numb after I saw the figure that popped into my palace!
She had knocked the door, ‘welcomed’ herself in and found this millionaire-to-be in a half-nude mode, meditating on the groundfloor of my double decker with my legs struggling to balance on three pillow cases decked together. Chisos! Mako mako! I felt like running away!
She had earlier informed me about a weekend challenge she had taken her students to participate and call upon the Lord in Nakuru. Having reminded me about it the previous day, I definitely knew that she was in Nakuru but I didn’t expect her to travel to Nairobi! I thought she was also broke, infact broker than myself because the Teachers Service Commission had decided to use the money meant to pay them to engage them in the tug of war of ‘can’t pay, won’t pay’, instead of disbursing it into their accounts. Mayiwee!
Kumbe the missed calls were meant to inform me that she was in town coming to see me. Having travelled to Nakuru for that weekend challenge, she had also seen it fit to ‘alshabaab’ two birds with one stone by paying his popcorn (that’s how my name is saved in her phonebook) a visit, too! But why didn’t she send me a text message… ?
I was yet to have a shower, and I always heat the water while brushing my teeth before splashing it over my body. Mama Alice didn’t teach me to smile about with cold water especially in the morning!
My strawberry was also used to enjoying a warm hug from me, and I knew it, but with the idea blinking in my upstairs that I had eaten ‘omena’ the previous night and my armpits were well exposed in a white vest she had gifted me, I hesitated for a moment. I then refrained and stretched my upper right limb to fist bump her. She cooperated by bumping my knuckles and jokingly reciprocated with a ; ‘Hii ni ya ku avoid ebola… “ and a smile. Wow! That smile and mellow voice seemed to sooth my heart. I will not mention of the cute, royal-blue dress the princess had, a silver-white pair of heels, a lovely hairdo and …
She asked for something to eat after she had made a short prayer and sank herself in the couch. She wasn’t used to sitting on my double decker bed. She requested for a warm beverage, probably some tea or cocoa while looking in my seemingly dilapidated kitchen. I gave a sigh of relief because she didn’t ask for a vanilla yoghurt or ice cream! More oftenly, she came while accompanied with an Uchumi paper bag full of ‘girly’ paraphenalia like chips and yorghurt lying adjacent to a clutchbag and a scarf. She would also buy me a pair or two of socks but this time round, when I needed them most because all my pairs of socks were torn and dirty, she intentionally forgot to buy them due to the condition of her pockets. This is where the drama
There was a power blackout. I was to visit the bathroom immediately but with no power, that means I had to have a tète-a-tète with ice cold water. I couldn’t remember the last time I had had a cold shower. I thought of boiling water using my expensive gas but I was dumbstruck! The gas was over!
On opening the taps to brush my teeth in the bathroom, instead of splashing out as usual, some drops of water came out followed by a noise indicating that the water pipe was empty. The water pump couldn’t work without power. We were consuming water directly from the borehole because the reservoir was being painted thus couldn’t store that precious compound for us to use.
At the same time, my pairs of socks had scattered under the bed because I didn’t expect any ‘big person ‘ to pay me a visit on such a day. I was also yet to spread my bed and luckily, the only utensil that was dirty was the sufuria I had fried some groundnuts with.
She had always asked me to do a few things which I had never done, yet through the phone I had assured her that I had done exactly as she had said. For instance, she had informed me to buy a duster instead of using my old green shirt to clean my palace. She had also reminded me several times to throw away my old faded t-shirts I cherished. I was also to purchase cooking oil and not fat to do the cooking (another consequence of dating a chemist). I was to buy a dustbin and a bright coloured towel and dispose off my old navy blue towel- all which I had never done but had assured her through the phone that I had done. She Indeed caught me pants down!
I had not done laundry for three weeks and dirty clothes had piled on the corner of my palace, otherwise called a bedsitter. I was contemplating of boosting our nation’s economy by providing a job to a citizen to do the washing. Unfortunately, the condition of my pocket was wanting thus the idea wasn’t sustainable.
I didn’t have clean clothes for her to choose for me the ones that colour-matched. Worst of all, there was no water for me to clean my wash-and-wear polyester shirt and wear it instantly!
It also dawned on me that I had soaked a mixture of beans and maize in the jug on the sink until they had germinated! The trash I had accumulated in a polythene bag had become a breeding ground for the red-eyed Drosophilla melanogaster.
There was dust on the cupboard and I am yet to fathom why I always procrastinated doing thorough cleanliness in my palace until that inauspicious day!
I hadn’t fetched water for emergency use because we had been having constant flow of water day and night. Consequently, without water in such a self-contained house, calls could not be made in the room number eight lest the house becomes worse than a den of pigs! Therefore, I had to practice how to work against nature by withholding my bladder not to leak, hoping that she would also reciprocate.
She had some money thus offered to buy me lunch (I presume her sixth sense scanned the environment and decoded that things had fallen apart and her popcorn was no longer at ease ). Luckily, I found an old trouser stuffed in my college bag and suffocated myself in. I realized that I was indeed grown because it was really trying to force my waist to commit suicide. It had forcibly handcuffed my… oh my… until i felt like there was an airlock in the carburetor.
The trousers would indeed burst if I would try to bend to pick anything on the floor. It’s as if everything had decided to gang up and exercise a well-timed mutiny against me!
Anyway, I had no other way out other than embracing the mantra; ‘mwanaume ni ujanja, efforts achia wasee wa rugby.” This is because it also dawned on me that when you’re broke and the strawberry is in town, that is exactly when your creditors will embarass you before her. These guys who collect garbage came to solicit money from this bankrupt guy because I had forfeited paying them for two months. Mama Mboga also called me ten times (because I was ignoring her calls) on the pretext that her daughter was at home for school fees thus she wanted me to clear that debt of 210 Kenyan dollars. At the same time, King’ori was calling to enquire If I would reduce the drachma I owed him by a thousand shillings. I had literally jumped into a furnace hotter than that which Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego experienced by betting that Arsenal would thrash a small division two team, which I can’t even remember its name. We were on form and had recently thrashed mighty Bayern Munich thus daring him with a 2000 Kenyan dollars bet seemed to be a good business to me! I ignored his calls. Infact my strawberry would have raised eyebrows why I wasn’t picking such calls but as you know, ujanja ni muhimu. I had switched it on silent mode and put off the screen light. So even if one could call a thousand and one times, the strawberry couldn’t have known about it. Our caretaker whom we call ‘Ras’ because he believes he is a Rastafarian was also on my door for me to clear my water bill. I do use the prepaid electricity system. It has also conspired against me and was blinking red by then, denoting that the tokens had been digested and it was hungry once again.
The only relief I got while we were walking towards the gate was when we met our neighbor’s kid singing a certain song. The good old memories made us to laugh thus easing the tension that was almost bursting out in me. She was happily singing this song we were taught by teacher Mary almost three decades ago; ” Father Abraham, ameni sans, amenisansoo father Abraha, I am manove, and so are you soo let us praise the Lord… ”
Amazingly, she reached home that night and called back saying that she really enjoyed her time in my palace. Don’t you think somebody was fooling another? No wonder the good book concludes that it’s only love that can overlook such misfortunes. Otherwise, an impeachment motion would certainly be cooking after such a video had ‘leaked’ to her. If it were ‘mulamwa’ who had paid me that visit… I give up thinking!
So, ladies, next time you plan to pay a surprise visit to your popcorn’s palace, am appealing to you on behalf of able men like me, tafadhali, let them know about it even if their phones are off! Otherwise, don’t say that I never told you about it when its too late !!