So, I said I would be with you for Christmas, telling stories. But then I said it too loudly, the people at London Distillers heard me and made that evil laugh.
Anyway, where were we?
I had borrowed and returned Mama Flo’s scripts, and I was suspicious the MB had spotted me wandering. That no questions were raised was keeping me in a state of suspense. The environment around the home was that of ‘kutegana.’ I could feel the MB’s eyes on me wherever I went. Also, I was sure that The Rose was deliberately trying to put me in temptation.
But who am I? I had enough experience of how these things work. I handled that with ingenuity only bettered by Jesus Christ when the devil took him for a walk on top of the temple.
It was the Rose who snapped first.
Seeing that I was not messing up, she decided to throw me some bait. Two days on, she came home in an uncharacteristically foul mood, rummaged a little through her stuff, then ordered. “Mugambi, I cannot find my drama scripts, been looking for them all week. Could you please rush to Rosa’s and borrow her’s for me? Tell her I want to just make a copy then send them back.”
I felt like laughing out loud. How could she play such a predictable card! But I dared not show the slightest of incisors because I knew this case could go to trial at any point.
I think I have seen your scripts somewhere, have you checked the pig’s room? (We had this culture of oddly naming stuff in our home, the pig’s room was an incomplete bathroom where we used to store pig feed). I had set out to find those scripts that very evening after returning from Mama Flo’s because I knew this moment would come. It was not too difficult a task because I have always known my mum’s formula for losing stuff.
Bad loss for TR
You could hear the grumble of loss as she sent me to fetch the said scripts. She was hurting from her disastrous loss, because how else could she bring up my trip of lies to Mama Flo’s. She let that slip at that moment, but I could tell tensions were even higher.
Another lesson life has taught me is to stay calm when you are walking a tightrope. In such moments when TR was in such a foul mood, there was a high likelihood of getting drawn into it. She would send you to fetch a cooking pan and once you return she sends you to fetch a serving spoon, then she would ask for cooking fat then you would say ‘Aaaai mamu’ and she would bring up a totally different story. Like how you had started sagging trousers or how you were making noise in church a month ago. So I always won by staying calm- helps to date, by the way.
For all the ease there was in skipping TR’s traps, there was equal difficulty skipping the MB’s.
This because the old chimp did not even set traps for you. Rather, he just gave you that one look that put the fear of God in you then left you to fuck yourself up. Also, the MB worked in a Tag Team. While other mothers usually just reported you for mistakes done, fathers dished out discipline on the spot. And once word got to the MB that you had received a beating from some adult, you were always in for a second trial.
The MB’s brother, Njuki, alias Sting, used to tell it blatantly ‘Níngúringa úgambe ta cia njesi thigúkúú.’ This loosely translates to ‘the beating I’ll give you, you will produce a sound like that of Salvation army drums during Christmas.’ If you have watched a Salvation Army parade, you know that is not a little beating given to that bass drum. Add the Christmas enthusiasm to that, and you will agree with me Sting should have been brought in for murder threats, aye?
My day of self-destruction came on Christmas Eve.
We lived on one compound as an extended family where a lot was done communally. Especially during Christmas, we had one family cooking a lot of chapatis, another a lot of stew and so on.
The preparations began on the 24th evening and went on through the night, with a lot of movements from kitchen X to kitchen Y. As such, the monitoring went a little low, and the rules were a bit relaxed- or so I thought. And it is in that vein that I got roped in by Nyuki & Co into one of the evilest plans of all time.
I was not even part of the plan. I just noticed that they were sipping something as they cooked chapo and enquired what that was. Rather than answer me directly, they just shot back. Want some?
I said no, but then I was informed that that was the true measure of manhood, forget circumcision. So I took a sip. It was quite sour, so at first, I thought it was Maringo. Maringo is a by-product of that traditional porridge, gruel, and I don’t like it.
So after the first taste, I said no, I don’t want it.
But then I was reminded my manhood was at stake. So I closed my eyes and swallowed the half glass of my first Múratina. Almost.
Because before I could finish up, I sensed there was someone behind me.
You know how they say alcohol impairs judgment? Ati sijui don’t drive and sijui what? THEY LIE!
After looking at The MB’s ‘Hali ya anger,’ I decided it was wiser to sleep with the cows- not like that, silly- rather than show up in the house. Before he could decide whether to grab me or slap me, I had whizzed past him. In between his feet and operating my foot machinery perfectly towards the coffee plantation.
I could hear him barking for me but I knew that was nyet. That Christmas night as I slept in the manger, I whispered two words. That should be documented as the first known usage of the two words that came to become national lingo years later: #KesiBaadae.
PS: The pic used here was originally used in a story of a man who actually evicted a baby from a manger and went to sleep in it. You can read that story HERE.