The past few weeks have been very tough for me. As the country mourned the death of Bob Collymore, a man I only saw once (remember the day I went all the way to Safaricom headquarters in Nairobi thinking I had won a pickup), I was mourning the parting of ways with Akinyi, my beloved car, to Kimani the scrap man, even though I was paid is some crisp new currency notes.
I was also dealing with my usual Bensouda drama at school, while at the same time working on the London trip.
During all this, I was also trying to be a good son to my father and mother, a better father to Branton and Sospeter and the best husband Mwisho wa Lami and its environs has ever seen.
So much that I forgot there was the Africa Cup of Nations Finals going on. In fact, I would never have known so until Nyayo called me two weeks ago asking me “Game tanaonea wapi?” I asked him which game he was talking about.
He told me that we were supposed to beat Senegal that day. I did not know, mainly because; besides the things I was chasing in my life, Sospeter broke my TV about four months ago, and so we have been living in darkness — literally.
I told Nyayo I did not have a TV, and that day, we went to watch the match in Mr Lutta’s home. You all know about Lutta’s home. Nyayo only made it there because I went with him. Lutta’s is not a good place to watch a match. Lutta is a tough and mean man, with a wife who is tougher and meaner.
They don’t easily welcome guests. And while there watching a match, you do so under some strict rules. Not noise, no celebration, no useless jokes, you quietly sit in your chair without moving or changing positions at all.
It was a difficult experience, especially during the first half during which Kenya played well and the goal keeper even saved a penalty. All this time, Nyayo and I had to keep quiet as if we were watching weather news. During the match, Lutta’s wife brought tea. Only one cup of tea for Lutta. Lutta just took it without saying a word!
Kenya lost, and as we walked home Nyayo convinced me to get a TV we make money from the venture. “Unakosaje TV wakati wa AFCON?” he wondered. “Hii ni pesa umekalia, Dre.”
I thought about buying a new TV but decided that no one would be interested in AFCON with Kenya bundled out.
“Sasa ndio mpira umeanza,” said Nyayo, and enumerated some of them. “Cameroon Vs Nigeria, South Africa Vs Egypt, Ghana Vs Tunisia”. Those are the hot games that many will pay to watch on a good TV. A good one costs about Sh15,000.
So last Saturday, together with Nyayo, we went to Kisumu to buy a new TV. “Nitakupeleka pale nilipeleka Kizito akanunua TV,” said Nyayo. Kizito is a perennial MP candidate who is usually a common feature here in Mwisho wa Lami six month before every elections, and after losing, he disappears for another five years!
Upon arriving in Kisumu, we decided to first take care of the bodies that toil every day. “Tukishanunua TV hatuweza kwenda hoteli kukula.” So we took a boda to a place whose name I can’t remember well, but I think it was called Lwang’ini. The place has many fish hotels, and the owners literally fought for us.
There is fish, and then there is Lwangini fish. They brought us ugali for each of us and then one huge fish to share. I have never seen such a huge fish. We attacked it from all directions and digested it down with soda. Nyayo took Coke while I imbibed my all-time favourite: Stoney Madiaba.
After paying, we dragged ourselves to the main town and walked into a few shops that sold TVs. I did not like wat I saw in the first shops, but I liked the TV in the fourth shop. A Muhindi shop. The TV had a price tag of Sh23,000. I activated my bargaining mode.
In Mwisho wa Lami, one of the ways we bargain is by telling the seller our problems, and saying you that have a funeral is always a sure way of getting good discounts.
We settled on Sh16,500. Although it was above my budget of Sh 15,000, I could afford it — I had money. I sent him Sh10,000 via Mpesa and the rest in fresh crisp, new currency notes. From the stash Kimani the scrap man had given me.
Shah, for that was his name, ushered us to a different room from where we waited for the TV to be packed.
As there was soda in that room, I didn’t mind staying there for long.
But an hour later, we were sill waiting. I asked Shah what was causing the delay, but he skilfully calmed me down. We kept waiting.
A few minutes later, he came with two other men. “Hii pesa ulitoa wapi?” one of them asked, in an accent that betrayed the fact that he was a policeman. I told him that I had withdrawn it from an ATM.
“Hakuna ATM inatoa pesa fake!” shouted the bigger of the two men. “Wewe unadanganya watu na pesa fake?” Before I could say Kimani, they had handcuffed Nyayo and I together. Nyayo quickly defended himself.
“Mimi mambo ya pesa sijui,” he said. “Nilikuwa tu namsindikiza.”
They released him, then handcuffed me to the chair. Nyayo has hated policemen all his life, and he disappeared within seconds of being uncuffed. I don’t know where to.
They handcuffed me to the chair, which clearly meant that they had no plan to take me to the police station but wanted us to clear the matter there. I had to admit that I had received the money from Kimani.
We tried calling Kimani to find out where he had got the money from. Kimani was unreachable.
It was a long day with the police, and I had to give them Sh2,000 to be released — or rather to be uncuffed. They accepted the same money that Kimani had given me.
Shah, on his part, refused to give me a slightly smaller TV, and he declined to return to me the so-called fake money.
I left Kisumu, not knowing whether the money was fake or not. In the meantime, Kimani has been totally unreachable ever since the day he went away with my beloved Akinyi. And he still has my money.