By Albert Nyakundi Amenya aka The Banana Peddler
Before I wish you a Happy New Year, growing up as a young man in Gesangero Village in Kisii County in early eighties, our elders used to advise us a lot. During our days, children used to obey their parents but today, it is parents who obey their children. What a hell of a generation!!
When it was time for me to face the knifeman, my late grandfather Mzee Michweya told me something that has never faded off my mind.
“You see my boy, you are about to become an adult. Someday, you will seek a wife and raise children. But there is one thing I want you to keep in mind; trust no woman except your mother. Trust not even your wife. You see, my boy, there is a big difference between a mother and a wife. After getting heavy, a MOTHER helps bring us into this world crying but the WIFE comes in to ensure we continue crying forever” My friend, that was one piercing arrow of advice that left me astounded.
That same evening, I overheard my grandmamma tell my female cousins:
“My children, if you are beautiful, and have a brain and a vagina, you can rock the world”
Honestly, as I grew up, I never saw sense in grandpa and grandma’s words until recently when I stopped over in Kisii town on my way to the village.
After a 5-hour drive snaking through the traffic jam in Nairobi. I arrived in Kisii town late in the evening. The sun had retired to his resting place – only God knows where – and the moon had taken her place as darkness began to engulf the small but third busiest city in the country.
It was a raw drizzling evening but still a bee hive of activity. I pulled over at Mashauri fueling station to find something to eat before proceeding to the village. My stomach was not at peace. It was the case of a hungry wolf fixed to no place. I grabbed some corned and went back to the car. I delayed in the car as I devoured my meal. I decided to speed off.
No sooner had I started the car, than I saw an incoming call. The caller was not on my contact’s list thusly I did not know his identity. Thanks to technology. I immediately switched on my data to enable true caller pick the identity of the caller. But since “A watched pot never boils” true caller took ages to show the identity. I decided to pick it before the caller gives up. A man with a deep, husky voice answered.
“Vipi Banana Peddler, na si umenifichia white buda? Kwani ulilostia wapi?” The voice rang a bell in my mind but I could not trace it anywhere in my memory. I kept responding so as to try and trace the voice to someone and at the same time, espying the screen to see if true caller has responded.
Alas! True caller responded. It was Morientez Kabora aka Koech Omondi, one of my old friends. Time had passed without us phoning each other. Coincidentally, he told me he was in Kisii town.
You know, Kisii is made up of beautiful highlands so it was slightly frosty but well lit. The orange glow of beautiful streetlamps rendered darkness a stranger in the heart of the beautiful town. Tilting my head skyward, I could clearly see a constellation of stars strikingly dotted on the black canvas that was stretched thinly above and the transitory moonlight. The warped, twisted shapes that the stars formed against the blackness welcomed me to Gusii Land after 10 solid years. Man! Things were different when I left. The eerie lulu of the beautiful Kisii night has never escaped my memory.
Traders were lucratively engaged in money making activities. I am informed that since the white man left, Kisii town is the only 24-hour economy in Kenya.
Koech asked me to meet him at club Bela Vista, one of Kisii’s most unexcelled night clubs – according to slay queens. Although I didn’t know the club’s location, I hesitantly accepted. Luckily, a man in his late forties emerged from nowhere. I decided seek to direction to Club Bela Vista. From a distance, I heard someone call him Masombe. Whatever the name meant in Ekegusii was none of my business.
Masombe was evidently stinking. He was well built, around 5 feet and 2 inches tall. He maintained some stinking scary grubby dreadlock-like hair. He is one of the dirtiest men I have never met in my life. The byproduct of his bodily condition was ferried within a short time and delivered into my sensitive nostrils. The clothes that covered his crocodile-like skin were irreparably dilapidated with their original color faded beyond recognition.
I watched him keenly with a sympathizer’s eye as he disgustingly lifted up his index finger and dipped it inside his left nostril. He violently squeezed it for approximately 25 seconds and pulled it out. I wanted not to see any of it, but my eyes were glued there. I forcefully found myself studying every step of his activities with some unnatural interest. Upon pulling out his finger from the nose, I realized that it contained some fatty greasy product that was semi solid and semi liquid respectively. The solid part stuck to his finger while the liquidy one flickeringly stretched downwardly.
His thumb finger fetched the hanging liquid as it merged with the index holding the go damn product firmly and they both squeezed it gently. The man rolled the fingers like four times clockwise and two times anticlockwise, repeatedly. I disconsolately sat there totally sickened with nowhere to run to. As he kept rolling the product from his nostril, it eventually turned ball-like and less sticky.
Only God knows what he was up to. All this while, the man looked at me but never said a word. He looked at the product in his fingers and looked at me. He suddenly threw it into his mouth and started sucking it noisily. I remember him nodding with pleasure. I felt disgusted given the fact that I had just prepared eaten. After enjoying his “meal”, what followed was the worst. The man took his right hand middle finger and pressed hard his upper right nostril until it was completely closed. His thumb finger supported the chin from the lower chin. The left nostril was wide open. He took a deep breath and blew the open nostril with force and speed.
The fact that I was left shocked with the whole incident, left my mouth wide open with a pulled face. When Mr. Masombe blew his nose, I just felt a sudden cold in my forehead. In fact, I felt some cold salty foreign stuff in my mouth although I was not sure because it was already mixed up with my own. In fact, I had unintentionally swallowed some.
When the guy blew, he was facing me. Although he was approximately three metres away, it is the force which he blew with that mattered. It was humanely impossible to shove aside the disgust. Immediately after that short but thrilling incident, my I confirmed that my Kisii tour had commenced with ruin. To make matters worse, he used his hands as a handkerchief to wipe dry the remaining stuff inside and around the nose.
Afterwards, he rubbed his hands together so as to ensure everything dries. By that time, I had spat a drum of saliva. As if that was not enough, the man moved closer to me and stretched his hand for handshake and initiated a conversation:
“Hapari yako mae purata”
“Gichana yangu, gari yako ni maritati. Inaonekana wewe ni mgeni haba Kisii onaenda gwapi nigosindigise?”
“Hapana. Nilikua natafuta ile kilabu inaitwa Bela vista. Kuna mtu tunafaa tukutane na yeye huko Lakini najua huko. Usijali”
“Ah! Hata miminirikua naenda huko hata sasa nemefurai kwa sababu otanipereka”
“Hapana, wewe enda tu sababu kuna mtu bado nangojea hapa ndio nie…”
By the time I finished my last statement, he was already inside the car. I had no option but to ride with him. There was a moment of silence as we rode. The dirty sweat that oozed through his body pores disturbed the worms in my stomach. The guy was endlessly farting like hell. Given the foods he ate all day. The atmosphere in my car was like that of a house whose sewer has gone on strike.
Usually, the distance from Mashauri to Bela Vista is less than a kilometre but my friend; it was the longest journey in my life. I dropped my guest but he still had the audacity to solicit for some payment. Damn!
I got to Bela Vista a few minutes to nine. There were a handful of customers at the time. People were trickling in. Koech was Koech was not at the club when I entered. I sat on an empty table but in a strategic position where my host could spot me because we agreed to meet there.
I was at the table alone. After two minutes, a group of eight beautiful girls entered. Three of them shared my table without even my permission. What a height of discourteousness! Truthfully, they were strikingly cute that even a serious man of God would be tempted. But Among the three, there is this particular one that I found myself strongly drawn to.
In her mid twenties, with a slimly voluptuous and provocative figure, this girl had an exotic look, Gray, sloe glittering eyes, high cheekbones and soft, glittering honey coloured-hair that was elegantly simple. Her teeth were strategically arranged with a beautiful diastema. From the look of her shapely face, her seductive eyes told a secret story. Her inevitably kissable lips rendered me helpless temporarily. Her curvaceous body and velvety skin made her strikingly attractive. I have a feeling that God was showing off while creating her. Nature had taken care of the rest. I wouldn’t control myself.
“What an amazingly beautiful girl! What’s your adorable name sweetheart?” I politely singled her out.
“My name is Chosibini” She proudly responded.
“Excuse me?” I protested. “Are you kidding me? Chosi-what? For crying out loud, do you by any chance mean Josephine?”
She looked at me curiously and shrugged in affirmation. “Yes. Tat is my name” She foolishly answered after hesitating a moment.
I looked at her, puzzled. “What the hell?” each of her words was a sharp knife.
“Itabidi naende hivi nikuom” I murmured to myself. The other girls looked at me thoughtfully.
Initially I thought she was acting. Sadly, she was not. Although she was a village girl, she was elegantly attired like a city girl. Her dress code did not corroborate her pathetic village accent.
Albeit I found her accent a disadvantage, I remembered senior writer Silas Silas Gisiora Nyanchwani warning me against making fun of someone who speaks broken English because it means they know another language better. Another thing that gave her away was the teargas-like perfume she sprayed. I successfully managed to eschew three serious sets of sneeze but the fourth one was unpreventable. That was none of my business nevertheless. I suddenly lost interest in her.
As I sat there engrossed in a torrent of questions, somebody nudged my elbow. It was Koech Omondi. He had arrived earlier and had also watched everything that transpired.
“Bro those are slay queens. Forget about them. They are here for Shisha”
“What? What the hell is that?”
“Relax. You’ll see it”
I wanted to visit the ‘gents’ but Koech sat me down “Oh! I overheard your conversation. Aha! I know Josephine. She grew up in the village although her sisters are abroad. They send her money and clothes. She appears unsophisticated in terms of accent but she is one of the most intelligent girls around”
“mmh! I see bro. you might have a point there. What about the other ladies?”
“Oh! They are good too although I don’t know much about the one in a bare chest. But they are decent girls. If you meet them during the day, you cannot believe that they are the same girls you are seeing here”
Koech was an overweight with a shinny baldhead, an overweight with an athletic build and dark eyes. He was a soft spoken man in his mid-thirties. He had the reputation of having slept with the most beautiful girls in Kisii and Nyamira County because he spoke to ladies with a deep conviction.
As we discoursed with my host trying to catch up, a big pot was delivered at our table. I sat there ostensibly as I watched as everything transpired. Those girls were smoking that thing like hell. There is this one whose teeth were arranged like a cemetery. She inhaled, exhaled by and emitted smoke from both the mouth and nostrils like my former high school chimney. She blew the smoke towards my direction.
The smoke was entirely wafted to my face although I did not feel its effect or flavor. I found myself engulfed in a cloud of smoke whose content I don’t know. I wanted to take exception openly but Koech calmed me down. Other tables too were a bee hive of activity. Girls were smoking Shisha and dispatching smoke like the old steamed locomotive. My goodness! The world has come to an end.
That is when I realized that Kenyans like the night because it enables them to do the things the son would never allow them to do when he is out. Night time is always the time when demons residing within Kenyans come out to play; brings out the worst in them. My thoughts silently burned into smoke as they wandered through the endless night.
For a moment, I was at a loss of words. I tried to call the Kisii spokesperson Daktari Onyinkwa Onyakundi for clarification but he was not reachable.
My phone blinked, indicating that I had a message. When I opened, it read:
“BOSS, UKO WAPI? MASAA YENYE ULIKOMBOA GARI IMEISHA. LETA GARI HAPA KISII LAW COURTS PLUS ILE BALANCE ILIBAKI” I decided to go back to sell my Bananas and leave the Kisii Shisha Queens alone.
HAPPY NEW YEAR