It all begun with this stout character with tens of huge bangles up his left arm. For five bob you got a ring and a chance to win one of a number of items on the ground. There was toilet soap, a nangos the size of walkie-talkie and notes of different denominations each stuck on a piece of wood. You collected the prize on which the ring fit.
The look of the thousand shillings note was enough to make my blood boil. Wisdom told me that as I waited for the gods of Angukia Chapa, Sportspesa and their relatives to remember me I could angukia thou. A quick addition, division and subtraction told me that with a note that has three zeroes I could join the club of haves for a couple of days. The possibility was enough to persuade some shillings to demand a transfer from my pocket into that of the stout fellow.
As I received five rings I told myself that it was Solomonly to peg my hopes of becoming a Bill Gates on some wires and my kamari skills instead of giving that task to a man who was not in the mood to kick the ball in the net because he was kicked out by his wife the previous night.
Back in the day I was the undisputed kamari champion in my neighbourhood. However, the magic must have gone stale at some point because I was on the fourth ring with nothing to show for my effort. The last ring can safe a man, I consoled myself. I summoned the gods of Rutui River, closed one eye and threw the ring. The ring kissed the note, bounced and landed on the ground creating a fence around an egg.
My first reaction was to allege rigging. Then I considered demanding to investigate the fellows system. Of course it was a fraud as the guy had designed the whole thing in a way that a ring required the services of a hammer (not the vehicle) to form a fence around a sensible prize.
The fellow was a mind reader as he began flexing his biceps as if to tell me that he was the IEBC, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. As you already know I am a vessel of very brave blood and I decided to show him that where I come from free, fair and transparent stand for something. Wisdom jumped in and told me that it would be stupid to kill or be killed because of thou when millions in jackpots were begging to be won. Wisdom won over my warrior blood and that is why I received the egg smiling like a tenderpreneur receiving a cheque for supplying air.
I started home I wondered why Pythagoras, my teacher back in the day, loved to hear us argue about what came first, the hen or the egg. Did it matter or was it an 8-4-4 way of manufacturing conflict?
Telling myself that yaliyo dwele si pite I began whistling aya no marurumi which is Kiandutian for ‘this is a sign of major things’. I had this feeling in my blood, flesh and bones that Lotto would not remain ndoto for long.
By the time I got to my keja I had decided that I had a reason to be a proud Kenya because I was the rightful owner of the mother of a chicken, or the offspring of a chicken whatever the case maybe. I had also decided that yai boilo was the better option since yai fry attracted extra costs like cooking fat. Within ten minutes the egg had become yai boilo.
I had just prepared the yai boilo when the knock came and before I could say ‘mwenyewe ametoka’ Kisangau’s head popped at the door.
“I need some salt.”
Kisangau rarely borrows anything; he needs it. I wanted him gone soonest so I handed him the whole packet with instructions to return it once he was done. Still, Kisangau lingered with his eyes riveted on the steaming boilo. Before I could tell him it was too small for two grownups he started to cry.
Now when a man whose hair is threatening to turn grew sheds a tear I become very worried. When he wails I feel like crying. That is why I surrendered my hard-won boilo. However, Kisangau remained as immobile as KICC. He produced an egg from his pocket and compared the two.
‘Yaani wamusee, unaweza ndo hivo?’ Kisangau asked. ‘Wewe ndio sababu mimi ni mlala hoi!’
Kisangau was accusing me of hijacking wealth as it headed for his door. He did not stop there. He did wathi wa mukamba and released a shrill war cry that reverberated throughout Mathare.
Now if there is one thing Mathare people love to see is someone with whom they can practice what Machete does on TV. Before anyone could say ‘thari four bee’ carpenters, hoteliers, shopkeepers and idlers had become a very terrifying Recce Squad armed with rungus and pangas. Someone shouted that the neck was his to cut whereas another said roasting me was the better option. Now, when people book to chop your neck and discuss the best way to cut your live wire your mind goes bananas and your mouth becomes very active. I dared the clean one among them to cast the first stone. I invited them to look at me carefully and see whether my biceps were products of stolen eggs. Of course I was wasting valuable saliva because all they wanted was some material to hit, cut or roast. A rungu landed against my skull and a fist rammed against my stomach before a gun roared. I did the only Solomonly act under the circumstances: I fainted.
I came from limbo to find myself face to face with a man in blue and I decided to faint again. A heavy boot landed against my bottom and wisdom told me I would rather look Mr. Death in the eye when he came for me.
Evidently the man in blue had some Solomon blood in him. He ordered that we open every door to see what room the hen chose to be her maternity. ‘What if the hen is not near labour?’ someone wondered. The man in blue looked at it like he was the midwife of all midwives and declared it was close.
As we waited for the hen to decide whether or not Wizard should join the fellows at Kamiti I prayed to the gods of predators to send a hawk to strike and have the hen for supper.
The hen lingered outside my room before it entered. Kisangau was about to shout ‘Kingei!’ when it emerged, cackled some more and headed straight for Oti’s house. When it emerged ten minutes later its cackling left no doubt that it had just left Pumwani. The man in blue escorted Oti inside the house from where they emerged with fifteen eggs that had been under bed. Oti swore with his ancestors that he last tasted an egg in a dream months ago. I don’t know why the Recce Squad bought his story, maybe it was his eyes that had resembled king-size eggs, or the thought of a man eating yai boilo in a dream.
Ladies and gentlemen, maybe the elections were stolen and if they were I swear all I had to do with it was to cast a single vote. The damn thing probably ended in the ‘rejected’ basket. Could the answer be under someone’s bed? We need someone with Solomon blood to find out, not everyone becoming the Recce Squad.