I love avocados. Especially the oily kind, they go with everything: a hot meal, bread, fruit salad—hell, they’d even go with a black trouser. But not a pipe because only people who have given up on life wear pipes.
It’s an avocado season and they’re everywhere now. Green and inviting: begging you to squeeze them, take them home and eat them with something like Githeri with a lot of tomatoes, onions, coriander (dania for our challenged friends) and a cube of rocyo. Please don’t flood the broth with water in the name of stew like my mom does.
Have I turned into an avocado whisperer? No; this brouhaha is courtesy of a matatu incident that happened earlier in the week. There are places in Kenya where you get undiluted and unadulterated data: the barbershop, kiosk and our matatus are a few of those places.
I’m seated in this matatu minding my own business, stealing glances at this girl seated across me with short dark hair, eyes like a sunny day and these big sweet lips that can give you diabetes. She turns, looks my way and smiles a wide and assured smile and my heart does a jig till I realize she’s smiling at her phone. She must be reading something funny, something that is adding more vocabulary to her jacket I think to myself and grin because she’s probably chatting some vagabond who is texting her words like “legit,” “Yass” and “its lit.” And yet, somehow managing to get her smitten. I’m in my flurry of thoughts when out of nowhere a middle aged woman in a kitenge skirt and crooked headgear starts shouting in broken English on her phone.
“You told to-day”
“I have left Avocado shop.”
“I’m in matatu coming”
“I have borrowed transport money.”
“So you trying to play my head?”
[Storming out of the matatu]
“You’re the blarry-fakin Indian with the money!”
“Stay with your money!”
Everybody is laughing during and after the interlude. I’m laughing too because it’s funny.
Most of us would say she was in the wrong, because a woman with an avocado shop screaming blarry-fakin Indian is always in the wrong. A PHD therapist who probably irons his jeans in the 7th floor of some building would tell you she didn’t have any emotional intelligence because if she did she would have carried herself with a little bit of decorum and rescheduled her meeting with the blarry-fakin Indian to a later date.
But I imagine the blarry-fakin Indian has been sending her on a wild goose chase. I can imagine her working for the brigand and not being paid all her dues. Getting taken round in circles till she says enough is enough and decides to meet this blarry-fakin Indian; leaving her avocado shop which is a mat on the side of a dusty road somewhere in Kawangware with her son Boi manning it. Boi who is too old to be sucking his thumb but he sucks it anyway and it has now turned into a slippery pale white.
The morning she is scheduled to meet the blarry-fakin Indian mama Boi only has fifty bob which she uses to buy mandazi and uji for her five hungry children because like many houses the dad is nowhere to help her pull the weight. I imagine her knocking on mama Pricilla’s door, her neighbor who pushes her clothes on the line because she thinks she’s better than her just because her husband is a watchman at Safaricom and they’re the only ones in the kijiji who own a TV.
Mama Boi swallows her pride and knocks on mama Pricilla’s door with a lump lodged in her throat. She sees it’s her from the edge of her cream curtains which were once white and lets her knock a little bit longer before she opens the door.
“What do you want?” She barks in a voice dripping with contempt.
“Heh, mama Pricilla just hallos.”
She tries to catch up with mama Pricilla’s English in vain because nobody can catch up with the English of a woman whose husband works as a watchman at Safaricom.
“Say what you want quickly, I’m very busy.”
Busy watching Niger movies, soap Operas and Jane the Virgin; busy assassinating her IQ.
“Need 200 mama Pricilla I have-appointment with Indian I worked for.”
“How is that my problem?”
“I’ll pay back-interest, 250 promise.”
Mama Pricilla smiles because deep down she’s a trifling woman who doesn’t mind exploiting another human being even if they’re down in the trenches.
“Are you sure, ama itakua kisirani ya kuvurutania pesa?”
That is as far as the English of a woman whose husband works as a watchman at Safaricom goes.
“Sure, sure, swear-God.”
Mama Pricilla goes deep inside her bra and removes a wrinkled 200 bob and throws it at her and she catches it mid-air before it hits the ground.
Mama Pricilla neighs and gets back to her IQ butchering TV shows.
Mama Boi rashes to the shop to buy unga, kunde and cooking oil for lunch after which she’s left with 100 bob which in her mind she will use for fare to industrial area where the blarry-fakin Indian with the money will pay her, her remaining dues of 2,000 bob. She will then have enough to pay mama Pricilla her 250 bob and further rub it in by buying quarter mbuzi and new batteries for her radio and tune in to Ramogi full blast for the entire night but alas the blarry-fakin Indian plays hard ball and she now has to play hide and seek with her nemesis because the prospect of facing her sends cold fingers creeping down her spine.
At that moment my nerves get all a-fray and I feel heartsick for the woman in the kitenge skirt and crooked headgear and direct my anger at the blarry-fakin Indian.
We’ve all had a blarry-fakin Indian in our lives. Someone says they will pay you, your dues on such and such a day but when that day comes they don’t show up. Worse still they don’t realize they’ve screwed you over because maybe you had borrowed money to stay afloat and you were hoping to settle your bill with their payment but they don’t see that because all they’re thinking about is themselves. And because they’re as dumb as a set of sofa cushions they go ahead and add salt to injury by saying something annoying like;
“Boss salo bado, nipe time.”
“Mwezi iko kwa corner.”
“Wacha nijipange, hii wiki haitaisha.”
“Wacha nikununulie chupa moja tusahao hii maneno.”
Trying to get your money starts feeling like catching rain with your fingers and it makes you mad and you want to throw avocados at them. But don’t, make guacamole with the avocados and throw the seeds at them instead, that will hurt more. Blarry-fakin Indians!
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