“You know how you make adult long-term goals in your invisible vision board,say by twenty-seven, I must have a ride of my own and a msupa to ride it with? Well, most times, life is just looking at you, a huge godfather hat on its head, skillfully tilted at an 80’s angle, preventing you from looking at his eyes. However, you will not miss the evil smirk on his lips. I am twenty-seven now. The only car I seem to ride well is Asphalt 360, and the single way I will be making money is if I start a church. “
“A church huh?” I ask, feigning interest.
“Yeah. And I will want James Mwangi in my church. That guy is filthy rich. A helipad was built in the church he goes to. He literally flies to church. However, he will just be bait for Muhoho. You know what they say about birds of the same feather flocking together, right? Now imagine them being part of my flock,and me getting a tenth of all that Brookside remunerates per month. I will then get all the cars I want at twenty-seven.”
He is seated directly opposite me. Let’s call him Cheru. The guy is so tall, he could hunt geese with a rake. Which means that because the table isn’t that long, his feet are sprawled out wide under the table, taking up all the space. My feet, on the other hand, are like fish out of water, wondering how much is too much for them into the acute angle formed by his legs.
We are having nyama choma in some place near my locality that does it amazingly.The spot is Kilimanjaro; built on the highest place in town,synonymous to the mountain we are all acquainted with. They let their meat burn crispy. Their kachumbari is the kicker, known to have a lot of pepper. I remember the first time I came to this place. How the nyama choma guy warned about the hotness of the kachumbari. And I told him, “Aaah, my friend. Kwani how do you see me? I eat pepper with tea in my home. Worry about filling your stomach, and I will worry about mine.”
Three minutes in, my forehead was sweating as I summed up all my will to suppress a cough that was threating to question my table manners. I suspect a peper seed had wandered off to the wrong tube. The hoodlums I had come with were busy digging into the choma ribs, oblivious of my teary eyes and duel with dignity. In this case,I was losing. A moan escaped from my throat.
One of them immediately turned to find my left eye shedding tears profusely. And sniffing, embarrassingly. Consequently, he raised his finger to signal the choma boy – who wasn’t doing a good job hiding his glee – and have him bring water to the table. I took a big gulp, hoping it would mitigate the hot situation. But then no man can stop a cough whose time has come. It was a series of them. Each breaking out with ounces of energy from my body. It did not even cease after taking several glasses of water.
I coughed so hard, everyone stopped eating to look at me pressing my handkerchief onto my eyes and momentarily blowing my nose. Pity was written all over their eyes. I was only grateful that I had remembered to carry a handkerchief.
“Then I want to become the lead usher in your church,” I say, mischievously.
“You know what lead ushers do? They are in charge of the offerings and tithes.”
He looks at me straight in the eyes and wafts one of his 9 pm dark fingers (his words, not mine) in the air. Then says, “You underestimate me, Mercy. It will be one of those fancy boxes with a lock and key. I will assemble the keys to all the boxes and guard them with my life.”
Pablo,the pew and us…
“Fine, you know what I want to be when I’m twenty-seven, Cheru. I will become a drug lord. Like Pablo Escobar. As a result, I will know so many powerful people. I will be damn rich. My name will preceed me and anytime it is mentioned, people will quiver. Money will knock down doors for me.
Furthermore, I will have one of those fancy cabins located in the woods away from the face of humanity and civilization. When I am angry I will say things like, “I welcome you into my home, Cheru. And what do you do. You disapoint me. And bring shame upon my name.” Then a firearm will go off. And all the birds perched in the nearby trees will be seen flying away simultaneosly.
Whenever it gets cold, my kids will go to the safes underground ,fetch loads of money and set it ablaze in the chimney for us to get warmth.”
“Like Pablo Escobar?” he asks, smiling and nodding.
“Like Pablo Escobar. My skin will glisten and glow from literally basking in money. I will smell of it too. My entire family will. “
“Aha… and you know what would be best for you? If you invited me to your church.”
“Haa! Right. So, a faithful drug lord? Wouldn’t that be a little cynical?”
“Look who’s calling the kettle black.”
ALSO BY AUTHOR: BABY.
a shot at dignity.
For a moment I look at his plate. He’s almost done,while I’m halfway in.I was taking my time, slowly buying it to reclaim my dignity,with the Choma guy in sight. I can’t deny that I wanted to have a face off with him. I wanted him to witness my small win; how I had gobbled down morsels of kachumbari. That I could handle my pepper. I wanted him to validate me. To award me, even. But the Choma guy wasn’t in. And no amount of rubbernecking could make him miraculously appear from the smoky kitchen from whence the sizzling nyama choma emerged in all its glory.
“Anyway, I think you are doing a great job.”
” Aaah. My blog? Thank you. You should particularly read the next one.”
“Okay, what will it be about?”
“Twenty-seven, huh. I can’t wait to read it.”