Patricia lived along 1st Parklands Avenue, a walking distance from Westlands CBD. One Saturday, she decided to walk to Tuskys Supermarket which happened to be next to the main Matatu stage from Kangemi towards Nairobi town.
By the way, I have found no one to tell me the complete story about the fall of Tuskys!! Once it was a very strong corporate brand in Kenya; a brand that we identified quality and excellence with… eer…Tuskys mambo yote. What happened? I wonder if clients with loyalty points can come together and institute a class action on these falling supermarkets? I am asking because I had accumulated quite some points both from Nakumatt and Tuskys. Considering that these points could buy things in these supermarkets, I bet we can find a court to consider loyal customers as having a legitimate claim, or am I being greedy?
Is it just me, or do you guys also hope that someday someone will be kind enough to share with us the story of Tuskys, and maybe Nakumatt? But I bet it involves greed, yes greed… that green-eyed monster that causes some children to kill parents so they may hasten the process of inheritance. The one that causes brother to kill brother, that they may inherit it all alone. The same one that causes wives to plan for husbands’ murder, that they may get the insurance compensation and take over family property. Yes… that Greed.
I reckon it as a short, sleazy, slimy green monster with big protruding eyes and a black long bifurcated tongue that propagates by mitosis. When the old victim dies, a parent greed monster divides to produce two identical daughters. I suspect that once born they are assigned to newborn babies as cacodemons and they grow by eating food which is the number of times that one falls to their malfeasant suggestions.
ALSO READ; CROSSFIRE.
Anybody can be stolen from, robbed and pickpocketed but to be conned is a different thing. Not everyone can be conned, rather it is only those that host this sleazy green demon. Only the greedy are conned and a story has never been told where someone devoid of greed has fallen victim to any ruse of a con artist. A story usually spans in front of a target promising an amazing opportunity; much like a fish hook is clothed in a worm.
This stage of the con game is called the hook. Organized con artists have people called singers that vouch for the credibility of the opportunity, each telling of their personal successes and or the credibility of the grifter. Some people will ignore the opportunity and yet others listening to the green devil will grab on to it like it is God’s providence. The con artists have a name for such a person, a ‘Sucker’ or a ‘Gull’ the latter is from the word gullible. Once the fish thinks that it has grabbed the worm the truth on the grifters’ side is that the hook has grabbed the fish. As a matter of fact, even before pulling the line; the fisherman can call his wife saying, “Honey, weka maji ya ugali kwa moto, leo tunakula samaki.”
Somewhere along Mpaka Road, the road connecting 1st Avenue Parklands to Westlands CBD; slightly past Holiday Inn Hotel’s main gate, a white Toyota Premio pulled over and a smartly dressed middle-aged gentleman alighted and began talking to her in meek sounding fluent Christianese. “Bwana asifiwe dada?” he said to which Patricia replied, “Amen.”
“Kwa majina mimi ninaitwa Prophet Mutua, mkaazi wa Jiji la Nakuru kule Rift Valley. Naomba unielekeze jinsi ambavyo nitafika hospitali ya Aga Khan kwasababu iko mgonjwa kule ambaye mwenyezi Mungu amenituma kwake na ningependa nifikishe ujumbe wake bila ya kuchelewa. Alafu niweze kurudi Nakuru leo.”
Before Patricia began to proffer the directions, a sophisticated looking lady walking from the opposite direction seemingly recognized the man of God.
With excitement, she went on to say, “You are Prophet Mutua of Miracles Galore International Ministries, Nakuru?” without even allowing him to answer she opened her purse and pulled out 10,000 shillings and handed it to him. “Accept this little thanksgiving offering. You may not remember me but I came to your church two months ago in a desolate state. My business was falling and my house was being auctioned. My children had been dismissed Braeburn School for lack of school fees. The centre wasn’t holding anymore and things were literally falling apart. But you saw me in the crowd and you pointed at me saying that the Lord is doing a new thing and is engineering a turnaround. It is well, you said.
That Monday, a Japanese debtor that had disappeared from the radar suddenly re-appeared. He paid the debt the he owed me; over 12 million shillings with interest and gave an even bigger order to my company. Everything is back to normal now and in fact, demand for our products has never been as high as it currently is. Receive this small token of thanksgiving as I plan to visit your church with a proper offering.”
The man of God removed a clean white handkerchief and asked the lady to put the money there. Subsequently, he wrapped the money and told the lady to go 50 meters away and pray for the money. She looked at her watch and muttered, “I still have some time” and then she took the money and went to pray. Patricia also got back to giving directions. The man of God kept on clarifying just so he got the directions correctly. Shortly, the lady returned with the handkerchief and attempted to hand it back to the prophet. Instead of receiving it, he told her to open it and upon doing so, she discovered that the money had significantly multiplied.
“The Spirit of God says that He has seen your heart and will multiply you in all ways, now the money that you have is 100,000 shillings; go in peace.” “Amen Prophet” the lady said as she paced on towards the Hotel putting her windfall in the handbag.
The prophet turned back to Patricia and said, “While we were talking with that lady, the Lord clarified the directions. Once again thank you. I desire that you too receive the blessings that the Lord is pouring out at this moment through the hands of his servant. After all Genesis 18:3 says: My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:” “Yes”, Patricia respond and in the words of a wise writer, yours faithfully, I’ll say what must have been in the heart of the prophet, “Honey, weka maji ya Ugali kwa moto, ninakuja na samaki.”
The next phase after the hook comes the boiler room operation, which is usually handled by an inside guy. This is the high-pressure sales speech that causes the gull to invest his or her money while the window of opportunity is still open lest it closes and is forever missed. Novices don’t do this, only the experienced con-artist run the boiler room operation.
“How much money do you have on you right now?” asked the prophet. “Six thousand Shillings only,” she replied.
“No that won’t do. You need good money so that you can reap a bumper harvest. How much do you have at home?” he asked, with a sense of seriousness.
“Two thousand!” came the reply.
“How about in your bank?”
“At the bank I have about 30 or 32 thousand,” Patricia said.
“Do you have your ATM card with you?” asked the man of God.
“Yes,” Patricia replied.
He asked her to get in the car so he could drive her to the ATM for very fast withdrawal. Shortly after that, they were at the ATM and she quickly made the transaction. She then took the 32,000 shillings that the machine coughed out and adding it with her 6,000 she gave to the prophet. The prophet took the money with a clean white handkerchief and began praying for it in unrecognizable tongues: until the veins in his neck became visible. After that, he handed to Patricia the white handkerchief along with its contents whilst asking her to go 50 meters away. The instructions were to tell God all the financial problems she wanted Him to meet. That the money she would be receiving was to the extent of her stated needs.
Patricia went fifty meters and started praying. She must have prayed for her business growth, new stock, rent, school fees for her daughter, a car, a house and God only knows what else. Then about ten minutes later, Patricia returned to the place where the Prophet’s car was packed but neither the prophet nor his car was anywhere to be seen. For a moment, she thought the chariots of fire had done its thing yet again. Then she unfolded the handkerchief only to find newspaper cuttings to the size of money. It was then that Patricia realized that her rent was gone.
PS; In the next few weeks we will continue with this Kugongwa series, you will meet words like, fixer, enforcer, inside-man, boiler room, mark, singer and others. Hopefully, they will be explained and where they are not then you will infer meaning from the context clues. My hope is that you will learn to always look a gift horse in the mouth, that whatever seems too good to be true is certainly so. Lastly, remember to be honest because an honest man can never be grifted.