On the last day of his miserable life,he told us that he would die rich.That he had a deal.An auspicious bargain that would save his ass for the rest of his life.We doubted him.
“Aba kalaa ka Kathemba iruarii katuria untu,”Kabukuthe couldn’t hold his mockery remark.
It was 2004,and notable events were taking place all over the world.
Arsenal had won the EPL title unbeaten,and Julia Roberts won the people’s choice award.Wangari Mathai won the Nobel price,and president Kibaki declared food crisis a National disaster.
In this “era”,Sundays were glorified in my village.It was the only day of the week that boys found it necessary to take baths,wear their best outfits and wander around the miniature market places.In fact,it’s the only day of the week you would see people like kina Kiogora in shoes.
“Kwa Nana”-a show room made of rusty mabatis was always crowded with young boys till 6pm,after which they were chased away for the horny adults to watch what they called “Sinema ya masaa”.Unlike the other movies,”Sinema ya masaa’s” cover was never placed on the board in the entrance!The audio volume was almost in mute that you could hardly hear from outside.None of them talked about their favorite actors as we ranted of Chang Chang (Jackie Chan),chausniga( Schwarzenegger),Bruce lee…
Girls and a few boys,those with unexploited gay genes,crowded at Kabichia’s place for the photo session.A black and white picture went for 20bob while the colored one was 25bob.The 5bob difference might be insignificant to you,because you never seen the 5bob andazi from “Sabasaba” hotel.
Gacheke-the salonist was famous among the school girls.She had the magic of making their hair look awesome.My sister used to call it hair straightening.In those days,there were no blow dryer’s.So,A metallic rod would be heated over a kerosine stove and then passed over the head when hot.The resulting smoke from the hair would make you appreciate the weaves you now criticize!
Then,there were “cool” guys.Those who would ride their excessively washed bikes to the nearby playgrounds,park them under the mango tree as they silently sat in groups chewing miraa.Occasionally sipping from 500mls of fanta to cool down their throat.I liked these chaps:Their comic arguments.The unending idiotic stories.The way they talked in low tones as if undertaking a secret oath,their laughter merely a grin.It was exasperating listening to them.
Kabukuthe,my cousin,was one of them,and he occasionally dragged me to the “base” as they used to call it.I would sit beside him,pick a few “sticks” of the stimulant and occasionally strain to drink his fanta through the tiny hole drilled on the bottle top.
“mwiyi miraa ii ukuirutana tha ii waremwa utanika ukamia,”a random guy from the group would say to me.And I would wonder the science behind miraa chewing and my foreskin.
In the evening,after the sadist darkness had gobbled up the sun’s light,I would follow kabukuthe and his friend Murithi in his cottage.He had fixed the radio speaker in a cylindrical container to amplify the music.Miraa chewing and music is as inseparable as Siamese twins.Reggae is what defines the chewers.It touches their souls.And you didn’t have to understand the lyrics.No.music is rhythm.Its flow.Lyrics are a mere words.Or how else am I supposed to explain Kabukuthe,a class 2 dropout,who have a problem in spelling his own christian name,closing his eyes and raising hands in the air to a Lucky Dube hit?
It’s in this hovel Murithi mentioned about his kick ass deal.Kabukuthe made fun of it.We laughed.But still,there was a feeling.A feeling that things were not on a safe side.There was something malevolent in the way he said it.You would feel it hanging in the air menacingly.His strained voice.Like a dyeing husband in the hospital bed,explaining to his wife that he has a kid outside the wedlock.
He was true to his words.He disappeared the following day.No one knew of his whereabouts.There were contrasting roamers.Some said he had turned into a street boy.Others said he had been kidnapped by destitute mamaa in search of a companion.There were those who said he had teamed up with a dangerous gang in town.Si you know people talk.
Kabuku and I never talked about it.We knew that he was safe.We knew that he had a deal and he would come back rich.We knew he would never forget about us.Although we sometimes wondered why he never elaborated about the deal or at least tell us that he was leaving,but it made no difference.Nothing would about him would change.He wouldn’t avoid “the base” on Sundays.He wouldn’t quit making fun of those females with a small behind.He was our Murithi.Our own Murithi!
Unfortunately,he never came back.He only appeared,after a month.A month which had done quite a remarkable change on him:He had gained some weight that his male features stretched impressively.His cheeks now looked full,His arms broader and chest wider.He no longer wore that white trousers whose original color I bet was blue.Boy,he looked cool,fashionable and all grown.
He never came to base anymore.He mostly came home on Mondays and vanish on Wednesday till the Monday of the next week.He made an honorable task of building her mum a house,demolishing the round,grass thatched thing from the homestead.He married a yellow yellow woman with a ass that commanded attention.Beautiful woman.A dream woman for every masturbating teenager.
On his last trip to wherever he went to pick his fortunes,he bought a car.A 14 seats PSV Nissan.The car his brother would later sell and disappear with his beloved wife to the coast.
In the evening,Kalulu-the bodaboda guy drops him to the stage where he takes a Nairobi ‘mat‘ He says he works in Nairobi.His wife is never comfortable in these night travels.”wewe na safari zako za usiku siku moja utakukutwa kwa mitaro bila nguo,”she innocently joke over the phone, when he calls to say that he has got into the mat.She doesn’t know that he won’t go past Meru town,that the people he works with calls him a sniper for his accuracy with the gun.She doesn’t know that she is a true definition of a woman living a lie.
Murithi was killed the in the dawn of the following day in the hands of the mob after an attempted theft.His wife wondered whether she would moan his death or pity herself for being such a dunderhead.His stories warmed up “kwa Mwontune‘ as the older gents gathered for a tin of maroa.And when the Starlites,You’re the wanted man popped up from the radio as we silently chewed miraa,kabukuthe closed his eyes and said that he dedicate the song to the “deal” which robbed away our Murithi.