His face shows that he died a very shocked man. It is now 8am.
Sit back and I will tell you why Kimani is lying dead in a trench right in the middle of Africa‘s largest slum.
Yesterday at 8 am. Valentine’s day.
Kimani got to work a very happy man. It was Valentine’s day and his wife was finally coming home. He had missed her dearly and after six months the least he could do was wait a few more hours till she showed up. He greeted his boss happily as he passed to collect his scooter and begin the day’s deliveries. Among his first assignments on the log was a letter to deliver to a Mr. Shah in Westlands and another one to a Udi Djembe at lodging house in Eastleigh, 1st Avenue. This would be an interesting day. The lodging at 1st avenue was famous for infidelity escapades. It is where old men and women took their ‘sidekicks’ for ‘meetings’.
And so off scooted a happy Kimani to Mr. Shah in Westlands. On his carrier was Shah’s letter and Udi’s huge-heavy-suspicious package. On his way, he stopped at the supermarket to buy a present for his wife. A red and white teddy bear with the inscriptions ‘I Love You’ embroidered in the little animal’s shirt. He only had 200 shillings to spare and so this bear was top of the range. It was the first time he was going to buy his wife such an expensive gift. Now he only had one more item to buy. Flowers. The colorful plastic flowers. All his adult life, Kimani had always wondered why you’d buy a woman you love flowers that would wither in a day. Plastic ones were cheaper and long lasting. One could even wash them if they got dirty!
He found Mr. Shah’s address easily but was disappointed when no one answered the bell. he knew what it meant; he’d be forced to come back later. That was going to ruin his plans. Kimani decided to go round the house to the back of the house assuming that Mr. Shah would probably be in one of the inner rooms. There he was on the patio with a group of suspicious looking characters. It looked like they were in an argument but they all went quiet when they saw him. Kimani introduced himself as the delivery ‘guy’ and proceeded to hand the letter to Mr. Shah; evidently the only asian in the group. On opening the letter, Mr. Shah’s face turned into a red and angry knot.
“The letter is blank!” He cried. ” Where is the letter you were supposed to deliver?” Now the attention was on Kimani.
“That’s what I was given to deliver to you” whispered Kimani in a scared voice, “Is there any problem?”
Mr. Shah now rightfully refered to as ‘The Shah’ ordered one of his mean looking goons to accompany Kimani back to the parcel collection point to sort out the ‘issue’ and make sure they come back with the ‘letter’. Now Kimani was really scared. He’d done everything just as his work log had stated and now this? He couldn’t understand. Before they left the compound, Kimani requested the Shah to allow him to deliver the Eastleigh parcel enroute to the office. He obliged. So off went Kimani to Eastleigh, behind him was the goon following in a dark tinted car.
When he reached the lodging house, Kimani untied the parcel and proceeded up the stairs. It was heavy. Hanging in the air was the heavy distinctive smell of sex and damp-unhygienic-space.
“This must be the most vile whorehouse in all of the city” said Kimani to himself as he reached the fourth floor. He knocked lightly on the door assuming his client would be in the middle of business. It took a long minute before the door was answered. What followed will never be understood clearly. There standing naked in the door was Kimani’s wife! In the confusion that followed, Kimani dropped the parcel, breaking it and spilling the content therein. A white powdery substance. He slapped his wife the same time a heavy fist shot out from within the house and caught him in the temple. Ude Djembe. A huge beast of a man with the bloodiest eyes he had ever seen. Kimani ran down the stairs in terror and shot out of the building screaming with Udi and the goon hot on his heels.
Later one witnesses would tell the police that it must have been a drug deal had gone sour, while another swore that Kimani had been found with another man’s wife. Rumour, heresay and confusion.
It is now 8am.
It is raining and onlookers in the sprawling Mathare slums are puzzled why a man tied by rope on a scooter, is lying dead in a trench. It is even more peculiar that his face is still twisted in shock. One couple in particular (seemigly in love) can’t seem to piece together why the dead man is still clutching on to a teddy bear. I personally think God made rigormortis to freeze one’s final moment in death so the living can learn from it.
Kimani’s wife could not live with the fact that he was poor and couldn’t buy her nice things. Her plan was to dissappear, make enough money then go back to Kimani and make his life better. Now she can’t live with herself. That is why she is hanging from the ceiling of room 4G of Gituamba lodging in Eastleigh’s 1st Avenue, dead by suicide.
Love is denied expresion by poverty – Wallace D. Wattles
No one knows what was supposed to be in Mr. Shah’s letter. No one has an idea who Udi Djembe is, or why a box full of cocaine was to be delivered to him. All that, doesn’t matter. It’s the dead delivery man and his dead unfaithful wife that matter.
This story is dedicated to my sister and partner in crime Marcie Mugendi whom I love to death. She says I’m a good story teller. Well here’s a story for you little sister.
By Michael Ngigi
What are the biggest lies you can tell yourself [forever] in a relationship? I know if given a chance to list them, one could fill up a dozen toilet rolls with these hoaxes that we can’t seem to detach ourselves from. Before I deliver my thesis, a comprehensive disclaimer is key.
The opinions herein are based on things narrated to me and not experience. Some are also based on observation. I write this on behalf of a group of men and women who are looking for answers.
If you were struck by lightning while walking along street x on the same spot twice within one week, would you use that street again? What are the chances that you can be slapped by a mad man 5 times in the same market over a period of a week? Ok, let me move closer home. Banging your finger five times with a hammer while trying to drive in a nail should give you one clear message. STOP IT! You’re not cut out for this. Try something else! One could easily say, it’s common sense that such an unlucky person lacks. Well, it’s easier said than done.
Meet Shiku. At 21 years she looks a bit too mature for her age. Worry lines are beginning to show. In her eyes, a fire, slowly dying is evident. She is beautiful and homely. You know the kind of girl any man’s mother would wish for? She is a snob. The good kind. Many a man she has turned down because she is faithful to Mark, who happens to ‘love’ her very much [in her words]. They have been going out for three years now. She talks about him nonstop.
To the trained eye, too much flowery talk is an indicator of a huge underlying problem.
You see, Mark is violent. Hardly any argument in the last two years, has ended without a fight. Wrong word. A beating. Last Friday he assaulted Shiku, causing injury to her internal organs. She spent a night at the hospital on heavy pain killers and therapy. On Monday, he sent Shiku a bouquet of yellow flowers at her office with a note written “I’m sorry it’ll never happen again”. She read the note and cried. Her tears were not tears of pain. They were tears of love and joy.
She ‘knows’ that one day Mark will change. She knows he loves her and that it’s always her fault that she is beaten. She still lives with her parents. No wonder it is always a task lying to them where all those black eyes come from. Sad, is all I can say. Well she could survive a few more months till they get married, eye suppose.
In a place not far away from our ‘star’ couple. We meet another interesting couple. Justin and Maria. They are in love. They meet for coffee almost daily after work. During the day they send each other nice love notes on phone and internet. According to Justin, this is it. Lately, he has noticed a slight change in his girlfriend. She is too happy, too loving and a bit too caring. He likes it, but he doesn’t feel comfortable. He wants to raise the issue but is afraid it would lead to fight… and possibly a break up.
“I’ll give it more time” he says to himself. If he only knew…
Maria has been through this before. I mean, the love thing and everything that comes with it. She has a condition that is still yet to be documented in medical journals. She gets bored easily. She thinks highly of Justin. He seems a nice guy and is quite interesting too. However, there’s something missing. She can’t put a finger on it but she knows it exists.
Unknown to Justin, she also likes this other guy who we will name Jack (like in a porn movie hehe!). He is mysterious, exciting and fun to hang out with. She is undergoing a mixture of emotions that she can’t explain. You see three weeks ago, they [Maria and Jack] went for this friends’ reunion in Ngong and there happened to be lot of alcohol to be consumed. They got hopelessly wasted and ended up at his place. As nature would want it, they ended up in bed. The sex was great.
Now Maria feels terrible. Two weeks ago Jack called her up for a ‘hang out’ at the new club in Westlands. Again, they ended up at his place. She doesn’t know him well but can’t help falling for his magnetic effect. She knows Jack is not they serious type. So she feels guilty and ends up being overly nice to Justin. She hates the mess she’s in. She’s in some serious trouble. No, Justin is.
Enter Justin. By now he is sure something is up. He is a business man so he understands the law of mitigation. It is obvious that he is in a sinking ship. He has the option to cut his losses and run. He has been a player before so he knows the situation he’s in. He gave up that life because he had finally found rest in this amazing girlfriend of his. However, he chooses to wait for the worst to happen. He tries to convince himself that Maria is just undergoing some changes in her life and that she’ll come around soon.
“Things could change eye suppose” he mutters to himself as he smokes his joint in the toilet at his workplace.
It is obvious that over speeding is dangerous yet we do it. Women know a violent man even before they date him but they assume. Men know a wandering eye yet they propose to be there for her for life. All in all. I think human beings have got to be the most ignorant lot. We never learn. We could die holding on to that sinking ship all the while ignoring the buoy that constantly floats by. A race that embraces harm and hurt even though it lies inviting in plain sight. But we could live like this eye suppose.