The high pitch of the siren as the ambulance it’s way to the hotel could be heard from a distance. It came to a grand stop at the hotel and two people carrying a stretcher got out and ran to the room where my friend lay looking lifeless. They yanked him on the stretcher and hauled him to the waiting van. The siren came to life again as I sat next to my friend Kīmiti urging him to hold on to dear life. Soon we arrived at the emergency room where he was examined and put on a drip. I however was instructed to get a P3 report at the police station so that he could get further medical care. I hurried towards the police station and found the hotel supervisor already there. After thorough grilling we were let go and I was given the much needed P3 form. I exhaled as I walked out and bid the hotel’s supervisor goodbye. Then as I was walked towards the hospital a thought struck me. How about testing that old adage of, ‘gūikia ihiga borithi’ throwing a stone in the police station. Immediately, as if the devil on my shoulders had command, I spotted a stone. I took it stone, aimed like David did the skull of Goliath and released it with all the potential energy within me. Then I ran as fast as my legs could carry me and by the time I reached Jamii hospital, I was out of breath. I handed over the P3 to the nurse and dropped on the seat to catch my breath. I breathed in and out several times until my lungs regained their normal functionality. Then I let out a cacophonic laugh. I laughed and laughed like a child being tickled until the psychiatry nurse came to check on me. He didn’t stop me from laughing he just sat there with me and held my hand. That’s when I heard it, that song my friend used to love so much and often loved to sing when he had imbibed one too many. ‘Ndahunyūkīte ngiuma kwa Waing’a…’ At first I hadn’t given it much thought until I realised that it’s Kīmiti who was actually singing it as he began to come out of his rice induced haze. Tears of joy streamed on my cheeks, I could have lost my friend. It’s like I’d suddenly acquired bipolar disorder. And by the way Waing’a was a medicineman, not the devil. To be continued… #StillTheChronicler.
It turns out that cabbie Charlo didn’t have much up his sleeve. He had spent a better part of the day staring at the folks at Marūa town that he decided to be our tour guide. First he took us to Pork city where we ate mouth watering ribs with plenty of irio and ugali. Then he took us to a new joint in Karīndūndū where an upcoming artist was playing live mūgithi. With full bellies and drinks on the table we sipped and chatted while tapping our feet on the floor to the music. As the music continued vibrating people started streaming to the dancehall to you know shake a leg. I asked Kīmiti to join me on the dancehall but he declined by way of shaking his head. I left him and hit the dancefloor ready to let the music do it’s therapy to the days ordeal. I swayed to the beat and lost myself in its fragrance. You may ask if music has fragrance and I’ll tell you yes she does. I think music is a woman 😉 As the song came to an end and the opening chords to another began, I turned to look in Kīmiti’s direction and found out that a fine damsel had occupied my seat and was eagerly chatting with him. He seemed too mesmerized by her artificial beauty and the contents of what he was imbibing didn’t help either. I continued to dance and lost track of time until my feet began to ache. That’s when I looked towards the table we’d occupied and found neither Kīmiti nor the damsel. I walked outside and realised it was pitch dark and that I couldn’t even know the direction of the hotel. I tried to call Kīmiti but he didn’t pick. I called Charlo who informed me that he had dropped him off and the damsel at the hotel and that he’d already left Karatina. I asked the guard for directions to my hotel but he informed me that it was risky to walk at that time of the night. He contacted another cabbie who dropped me off at the hotel. I opened my room and hit the bed almost snoring immediately. I was woken up at ten in the morning by a knock by the cleaning lady who informed me that it was past check out time. I rushed to the toilet and after relieving myself I ran some cold water on my face and walked out to look for Kīmiti. I found another cleaning lady outside his door who informed me that she’d been knocking on the door for like twenty minutes but noone was opening. I took my phone and called Kīmiti but the phone went to voicemail. We knocked harder but nothing, we couldn’t hear any movement. I panicked and knocked hysterically, then the cleaning lady took off and came back with a copy of the key accompanied by the supervisor. Upon opening the door we found Kīmiti sprawled on the bed unconscious. We tried to wake him up but he didn’t. I took his wrist and checked for a pulse. Thank God he was still alive. That’s when it suddenly hit me, my friend had been riced, ‘ mchele pap.’ To be continued #StillTheChronicler.
We rolled the windows and each jumped from their side. Fortunately of unfortunately the mud was knee deep and when we lifted our legs the shoes were left in the mud. I almost cry remembering those boots that I’d only recently bought online and I could count the times I’d worn them on one hand. We looked at the circumstances surrounding us sighed and decided that it’d be better to trudge on foot to wherever we’d find the nearest signs of civilization. Our phones batteries were draining from playing music and we decided to put them off to a save the little charge left so that when we get to an area with coverage we can S.O.S for help. We trudged on and on trying to comfort ourselves with that Kamba saying, ‘no vaa,’ Let me tell you Maina we walked, the exercise helping to keep our bodies warm. Then from a distance we heard the trains whistle. We looked at each other high fived and then we realised we were a long distance from the sound. It’s us those, we ran through the thickets and the marshy areas, Omanyala could not hold a record to us. We managed to reach the tracks just as the train was passing and we chased it and climbed on the last carriage/ tail you know the one that removes smoke. That smoke blew on us that by the time we reached Gatung’ang’a station we looked like smoke itself. We jumped off and scurried for safety before the train came to a halt, we didn’t want to be arrested for a felony. At least here we could find some tea and mandazis to warm our bodies. ‘What an ordeal that was,’ my friend Kīmiti finally said as the old lady went to get our order. This was after demanding we pay first because from the look of things we looked like apes that had just recently evolved into men. She even scrutinized our rear view to make sure that we didn’t have tails. The tea and the black mandazis which had been cooked from severally recycled cooking oil, or maybe transformer oil tasted like milk and honey. Hunger makes you think everything is yummy, right 😉 We gave mama Mbūi as we came to know her, a tip and she even managed to organise a taxi to come from Marūa and ferry us to Karatina. Charlo was even willing to give us the grand tour of the Mau Mau caves aka Ngurunga Cia Karība but we’d been through too much for one day. Upon reaching Karatina Charlo booked rooms for us and only when he had the keys in his hands did he give the clear to come out of the taxi and join him. Remember we still looked like neanderthal creatures. Ooh my that hot shower seemed like the best thing to have happened to me since I came to this world. Thank God for people like Charlo who even went to Mathai supermarket and bought us a change of clothes and shoes. By the time the manager got wind of aliens lurking in the hotel we were dressed to the nines and heading for a scrumptious dinner. The guard even apologised for the misunderstanding. Tomorrow we’d worry about the Chevrolet and the cabbages, but today we’ll dance the night away and stare at the Colorado skies. And by the way Charlo, you should be a stylist. To be continued… Song of the day, ‘The good ol’ ear & h by Roger Whittaker’ #StillTheChronicler.
The great thing about Njaanuary is people are pretty non judgemental. Or maybe they too are wallowing in their own misery that they can’t look at you under their noses. For example you are allowed to not only have a bad hair day, but also a bad hair month because people seem to understand that money is somewhere in the outskirts of the city and no sooner do you seem to get near it than it disappears and zooms further like a mirage. My friend and I decided to put our business acumen into high gear and capitalize on the Njaanuary poverty. You know that hypocritical craving for cabbages and everything vegetarian coupled with claims of not wanting anything meaty near you cause it’s making you nauseous. Yeah pregnancy signs are all over. So we asked around and found a willing seller in a remote village on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. It’s us those in the wee hours of the morning. You know with the first cock, ‘ngūkū ya mbere’ and bundle ourselves in his brand new pickup. It’s not brand new but a vintage Chevrolet that has seen better days. It’s new to him though and since I don’t want to bruise his ego I go with the ‘brand new’ title. Furthermore it also has a fresh coat of mustard yellow paint perfectly mixed by Mūthokinju paints, so again there’s that. It’s us those negotiating those bends like a new river creating its own course and within no time we arrive at the farm to find the overzealous workers have already downed half the farm. We count and tally both cabbages and money and the chirping of the phone signifies a closed deal. We are ready to cruise off but the owner tells us of a new road being constructed. Well construction hasn’t began yet but there’s been a lot of digging happening and on a sunny day like this it will be nywee except for the dust. I being the , ‘opposed to change type,’ try to convince my friend that it’s better to use the tried and true route but my friend is this spontaneous, highly spirited being who wants to live life to its fullest, explore new frontiers and have fun while at it. I can’t argue with him so we take to the new route and it’s us those enjoying the mountainside breeze mixed with the dust. We are listening to country roads take me home by John Denver singing at the top of our voices not a care in the world. Marikiti here we come. Kanairo guys, here comes būthi 😉 and we’ll be smiling all the way to the bank. Someone says it always rains in the mountains, and I add when it rains it pours. My granny said, ‘igūrū na mūka ūrī ihū matimenyagīrwo.’ And just like that, pitter patter raindrops. Visibility becomes an issue and we have to stop. I’m beginning to think that I’m seeing those cats and dogs. After what seemed like hours and hours of torrential downpour, the rainbow and voila what a sight. Our moods lightened for a while only to be dulled by the sudden realisation that our doors couldn’t unlock. We were stuck way deep in the mud with no sign of civilization ahead. Ooh Lord is this how you planned our dust to go back to dust🤔 A moment to ponder. To be continued #StillTheChronicler.
He didn’t look take long before spotting a container in the corner labelled diesel. He picked it out and went to refuel the mower. He was too deep in concentration to notice Njoro walking towards him in his high gait, jaba in his mouth and a cigar hanging between his middle and forefinger, a cool set of earphones in his ears. He was shaking his head back and forth probably listening to some hip hop or gangsta music. He reached where Kīrīmi was bending pouring the fuel and talked loudly probably because of the high volume of the music surprising Kīrīmi causing him to drop the jerrycan and accidentally spill the contents while stepping on Njoro’s foot which in turn caused him to drop his cigar and boom a blast. They both scampered to safety but the fire was spreading fast which got Kīrīmi to think quick. He spotted the bedsheets which were hanging on the laundry lines and ran as fast as his legs could carry him. He grabbed three and covered the fire choking it and thank goodness not much of the fuel was left and the fire died down. Thank God for cotton, now if they were polyester 🤔 He was glad for the wind too which was blowing away from the mower otherwise more damage would have been inflicted. For now only a dark blotch on the grass and the smell of gasoline smoke lurked in the air. Njoro looked at Kīrīmi stunned at how composed he was and just how swiftly he put out the fire. He had been about to reach the gate and call the fire department when he looked back and saw Kīrīmi running with the bedsheets and thought, ‘what an idiot, does this one want to die on me ooh.’ Just then the fire died down and he looked at him in awe and asked, ‘just how did you manage to do that?’ Kīrīmi exhaled deeply then said, ‘lets just say I used to play superman in ‘Lois and Clarke,’ in the previous world’ 😉 I also work well under pressure. Now if only he was in an interview room 🤔 To be continued. #StillTheChronicler.
Kīrīmi scurried towards the gate feeling guilty about dozing off in the lounge. He didn’t want to appear like a lazy bone relying on strangers to feed him, or like those vultures who wait for lions to hunt only to circle and hover around the carcass until the lions loose their appetite and abandon the kill. Upon reaching the gate he spoke to the gateman whom he came to learn that his name was Njoro. Njoro was tall enough to hover over him and with a condescending tone said, ‘its bout time you got useful around here, this is not a refugee camp.’ Kīrīmi sighed and took a deep breath, he’d learnt that this technique really worked when someone was trying to rile you up and a sudden outburst would only take things further south. He exhaled and followed Njoro who motioned him towards the workshop. He explained to him the nitty gritties of operating the lawn mower and soon the engine was purring and shaking Kīrīmi’s hands like a leaf on a windy fall evening. After adjusting to the shake and the angular velocity, he was able to control the machine well and admire how it’s fine blades now played with the green dewy grass. He found himself whistling to, ‘take a message to Mary, but don’t tell her where I am.’ He was glad he didn’t have a Mary at the moment because he too wouldn’t want her to know where he was. The purr of the engine and the smell of the freshly cut grass had him absorbed in the moment he almost closed his eyes and waltzed the day away. He was a son of the soil and the smell took him back in time to when he’d take a book and camp under a fig tree next to the Likii river. He’d read chapters and chapters of Jeffrey Archer’s and Robert Ludlum’s thrillers only being brought to reality by an occasional fig hitting his head. He’d munch on the fig and thank nature for existing for the betterment of others. He’d somehow feel inspired like sir Isaac Newton when that apple hit him and voila the first law of motion was documented. Without further drifting of his mind, he’d go back to reading and would only stop when the pangs of hunger took preeminence. He’d then pull his fishing hook from its usual place look for a good fishing spot and once he’d caught plenty a fish he’d then light a fire and roast them. Only after his tummy was full and he was belching would he take a swim in the cool waters and head back home. The sudden stop of the engine brought him back to reality and he realised that the fuel must be over. He scurried to the workshop to look at the various containers and see if there was any fuel… To be continued. #StillTheChronicler.
There are things that are possible in this out continent that may not be possible anywhere else e.g a cold Uber ferrying four passengers plus the driver or should I say rider? Another possible thing is three girls hanging out at a joint ordering the choicest brandys and fine spirits, expecting Brayo and his cool gang to come and foot the bill. When neither Brayo nor his crew appears they end up in a police cell because between them and poverty they only have KES 380/=. Probably they arrived hurled in one nduthi, their throats dry after Brayo’s promises. Leo nitawaharibu. I imagine their poor relatives had to form an emergency what’s app group to come up with the 13K urgently needed. That reminds me of that, ‘need 2K urgently.’ If you are reading this and you have that 2K urgently send me because my this Njaanuary 🤔 I’m almost converting that Christmas song to, ‘ On the 6th day of Njaanuary my true love gave to me, 6 cabbages, 5 sukuma wikis, 4 cucumbers, 3 tomatoes, 2 hohos and a kīwaru in gathubu…… Better sing a veggie tune instead, because it’s a veggie Njaanuary. And it’s only 6th, siku za Njaanuary ni arobaini, 34 more to go. Niī ngwīyūmīrīria tondu wa kairītu to wa kahīī 😂 my granny so said. Strawberries take me to Feb to a month short and sweet, love in the air 🤣 Happy new year. #StillTheChronicler.
Kīrīmi was still dreaming when the shrill voice of the alarm woke him up. Something seemed to throb in his grey matter but he knew that a cup of coffee would tone it down. He attributed it to the fall during the ngeta ordeal. Everyone else seemed to be engrossed in their own business either freshening up and preparing for the day or making their beds or engrossed in their phones. They knew that once they hit the streets it’d be incommunicado till evening. Kīmani traipsed into the room in high gait seemingly lost in the message he was replying to while smirking. It seemed like he was held in awe by some damsel and almost knocked his foot on the bed which brought him to his senses. ‘There you are,’ he motioned to Kīrīmi, ‘come and have breakfast with me as we chat.’ Kīrīmi followed him to the kitchen counter where an espresso machine was brewing coffee. They waited for it to finish brewing in silence while filling their plates with a little of everything available on the dining table. What an awesome day to start the morning, ‘Kīrīmi thought to himself, ‘yeah, even more delicious than Kawīra’s chicken. ‘Now Kawīra if you were here, you’d see your life,’ he muttered to himself amidst an ear to ear smile. They sat and ate in silence and after clearing the plates, they sat at the lounge and Kīmani gave him instructions for the day. He’d be assigned someone who’d show him how to mow the grass and trim the bouvganvillea fence. With that he ushered him outside and took him to the gateman who as he came to understand was his trainer and companion for the day. He noted that the engine of the coaster that had brought them yesterday was already running and the driver was stretching and yawning outside as he waited for his passengers to board. It was still dark so Kīmani urged him to get back in the lounge and start on his chores once the sun arose. Soon enough the bus left an Kīrīmi dozed off on the couch only to be woken up by the sun rays streaking through the transparent blinds.
The old man started rambling on and on about the current state of the economy. Kīng’ori had learnt to listen to him not one to interrupt him unless he asked a question. Their friendship was so seamless, ‘the you talk I listen kind of friendship,’ and my had Kīng’ori become such a good listener. Having listened to staffroom tales his whole life and also having to listen to mothers recount about their irresponsible partner’s behaviours and how it was transitioning into truancy among their children was his daily cup of coffee ever since he became the discipline master. So the old geezer rambled on and on until Mr. Kīng’ori pointed at his cold cup of tea which he sipped in one gulp ‘kugia ngūkū) and continued on with his political stories which revolved around politics, empty promises and the evergrowing cost of living. He then shook his head and seemed to remember the reason for his visit, ‘May I borrow your phone,’ he said. Mr. Kīng’ori scurried into the living room while limping as the stool had done it’s damage on the gluteus maximus. He was feeling ‘njingiri’ but managed the short walk and handed the phone to his friend. The old geezer took the phone, his smile showing the lost front teeth he had lost in a bar brawl once upon a time when his life had taken a downhill turn and he had sought refuge in imbibing one too many. Funny how one silly decision can leave a permanent mark in your life. He removed a piece of paper from his trouser pocket and pressed the dial pad. His son who was studying economics at the University of Nairobi picked on the third ring and they exchanged pleasantries and talked a bit about how each was faring. Then the old man cleared his throat and breathed heavily the creases on his forehead now all too elaborate. He then proceeded to hit the nail on the head and relayed the breaking news, ‘ the daughter of Kīmiti came home last evening and told us that she is pregnant for you, We gave her the keys to your Cube and we are planning to visit her parents tomorrow to inform them of their daughter’s whereabout. As a matter of fact I want to ask Mr. Kīng’ori here to accompany me. I just wanted to let you know that you’ll be coming home to a wife and a baby on the way. Otherwise continue studying hard, we’ll take good care of your wife. And just like that the young man got himself a wife, (kienyeji promax/ jikokoa) The old man handed back the phone to Kīng’ori and thanked him. He rose up, released one Kayusuf and then sighed heavily. ‘So I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?’ With that he scurried back home hoping that the heavily pregnant nimbus clouds would hold on until he reached home. ‘That’s two pregnant,’ he said to himself as he approached his compound.
To be continued. #StillTheChronicler. #HappyNewYear2023.
So that time of the year has come, don’t worr, it’s just the beginning. After asking Mary so many questions like, ‘Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you?’ First of all let’s give Mary a break because when Angel Gabriel appeared to her this is exactly what he said to her; “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. 31 You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus. 32 He will be a great man and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever, and his kingdom will never end.” So yes Mary knew, that’s why she said to them at Cana of Galilee, ”Do whatever he tells you.” So yes after bothering Mary for a while, skinning goats, sheep and chicken, even pigs,downing kiumbuthūki like we are on a mission to rid the world of all liquor 🥃 here goes nothing. The new year comes with responsibilities aplenty. Fare to go back to Kanairo may already be an issue since the chicken which could have been sold is already circulating inside you. But you could hitch a ride to the land of opportunities. The caretaker will have put two padlocks on your door because you ditched last months rent. But thanks to Mr. Cabbage, the one and only, ‘ndari ya Mūtama’ I guess this is the one who should bear the slogan, ‘Made of more.’ You’ll be really helpful once we usher the new year.😉 #Happy new year pals. #StillTheChronicler.