We’re outside Carrefour. I’m in black Vans, grey khakis and my mom’s brown mink coat which she got tired of dragging around because it’s the weight of a Toyota IST. I’m wearing it bummed out thinking, Oh God, no girl will look at me in this thing but then I stare at my reflection and I sort of resemble that musician Fat Joe, except with hair and no fat. My big sister is holding her phone and a bag from LC Waikiki. My mom is darting her eyes around wondering where my other sister is and this chap in a red t-shirt comes out of nowhere and bumps into my sister. She winces and gets stiff. We notice and as soon, — (please allow me to use this High School tagline) no sooner are our eyes on him than he bolts. My mom raises an amused eyebrow then says in a deadpan way, that he could have stolen my sisters phone if it wasn’t for the look I have that resembles that of a policeman. And we burst out laughing trying to imagine which part of Kenya police wear mink coats. We want to see these cops with a fashion sense, where do they hang out, do they slay everyday on Snapchat?
The rest of the journey home we keep making small jokes;
‘Hey, you would think that guy would get out of our way seeing that we’re in the company of a cop.’
‘Oh, this country doesn’t respect cops anymore, not a single soul has come up to thank me for protecting the nation.’
We laugh before I realize that I have nothing to put up on this blog on Wednesday and I get gloomy, but smile, a knowing smile after a solution comes to me. Mink-coat wearing cops think on their feet. My plan is brilliant. I’m to go on my Facebook page and get into spiel about how exhausted I am. Being a cop is hard work. All those fifty bobs I have to collect from good Kenyans on a daily basis, and God knows this ten kilogram coat I have to wear doesn’t make it any easier. Then I decide that the plan is maybe too smart and needs a bit of dumbing down. I need to tie up the year, wish my sexy friends a happy new year and thank them for holding my hand, regardless of how fatigued I’m feeling, so here goes.
I wrote a book this year, find it here. My thinking was, it would be just another book that collected dust on the online bookshelf. Come on, we’re barely two years old. But then it went live and all these M-Pesa texts started coming in and I started hyperventilating, thinking, God, is there a typo in there somewhere? Is it wholesome enough? Will my sexy friends get their money’s worth? I gathered the little courage I had and started sending it and all this great feedback started trickling in. There was a point I got out of the house and started running then I stopped and had a long, sonorous scream and even now I still get a hit of dopamine from those weekly M-pesa texts. So thank you, for the support. I am dropping another book next year and this one is going to be published, for all the readers who have been asking for hard copies. Be on the lookout for that.
Speaking of books, there are a few that stood out for me this year. I read about four books a month. A few are disappointing, some of them are average but there are those that stand out: Us by David Nicholls was one of them. It’s about a family of three. The woman, Connie a frustrated wife and artist wants a divorce but the man, Douglas feels it’s not over yet so he plans this extravagant trip around Europe to try and get close to his wife and son. Well, it’s all downhill from there. The next one is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. You might want to read a bit of background on this one before you pick it up. It’s not an easy read but once it picks up it feels like nirvana, it gives you the motion of cuddling a new flame.
Questions for Ada by Ijeoma was also a good read. I come from a family of sisters and that has influenced the content I consume and the content I produce. It’s no small wonder that a huge portion of my readers are of the fairer sex. (Hi, Venus, how are you today, here is some chocolate for you, for being here) Ijeoma is someone you want to read if you’re a woman who wants to be empowered or a man who wants to understand women. No, actually you can’t understand them. If you’re a man you pick this to get a tiny splinter of who the woman is and to be a better man for the ladies around you.
Best Articles of 2017
All the articles that make it to this blog are articles that I’m always really excited about. They start as hurriedly scribbled notes on my phone. Then I feed them, change their diapers and cloth them and before long a small flame ignites and soon grows into a raging inferno. In more ways than one they are all dear to me but there are some that are after my heart. Those that come from an overflow of inspiration and emotion: Our Streets of Despair, 35 Years Apart, The Artist, Tipsy Conversations and To My Little Sister are some of the pieces that took a lot of emotional energy to ink. I remember I got the idea for the letter to my sister, piece while I was in town in the dark of night. I was a wreck. I leaned on a building along Kimathi Street and sobbed and later teared up some more while I was penning it. That’s the problem with writing. You relieve everything. If it was funny you laugh, if it was sad, well, you cry. Everything you feel while reading me I feel while writing.
Speaking of my small sister we had a chat while outside Carrefour:
“You’re really getting old,” she told me with her eyebrows creased.
“I will start getting old when I’m thirty five. Twenty seven is a good age for a policeman. Aren’t you aging too, you’re twenty five now, eh?” I said in such a vacant way that she no longer thought I was kidding.
“No, I’m young, I’m twenty two.”
“See, you’re still a child. You don’t know how the world works yet. You don’t know that life can get tough, that you can go to bed when everything seems okay and wake up and it’s all falling to pieces.” Her mouth fell open forming an O’
“Nooo, I’m old, I know things.” She said belligerently.
“Not in front of a cop in a mink coat, you don’t.” She laughed faintly. I just hope she remembers that dating a boy that can make her laugh is crucial and not just making her laugh with terrible jokes but seasoned ones like the ones his brother has.
Laugh At My Pain
The carnal part in me overflowed and I found myself on Tinder. Come on, stop judging me, look, it was over the election period and everything was tortoise slow. I’m swiping right when I match with this girl. Let’s call her Katy. Early twenties. Beautiful, brown almond eyes, soft skin. A body like a statue of Brenda Wairimu. We get to chatting and Katy tells me she’s dying to meet me, she’s even going to spend the night but here’s the catch, she doesn’t have fare. I tell her to get a taxi and I will pay once she gets here but no, Katy doesn’t want that. She gets kittenish about why she prefers cash instead of taking an Uber. Talks about, bundle money being scarce, gets into glib that she wants to buy ice cream on her way.
Deep down I know she’s being snide. I know I’m about to be scammed. But I think I wanted to be ripped off by this beautiful thing. I’m skeptical about sending the cash till she shares her Instagram (follow me). Big beautiful eyes, just enough lipstick and a touch of gloss that makes her lips look sensual. Well dressed, isn’t afraid of wearing dresses and showing off her yellow legs, I like that in a woman. And the photos she has, they speak of a well-adjusted human being with unflappable character. But then again here she was in my inbox asking for money so she could come and sleepover. Even I should have been scared, but no, I ploughed on, full steam ahead.
I punched her number into M-Pesa but cancelled the transaction after a mans name popped on the screen. I called her, she had a sweet voice, like a bird singing in the morning. She said I shouldn’t be worried, she’s in college so her number is registered in her brother’s name. I got on the phone again and sent the cash and let’s just say I’m still waiting for her to get here. I wanted to report her but then it would have voiced my naivety and naked lechery. Plus she’s probably a catfish impersonating some poor girl. I got sad for a bit but then I got over my banal sorrow. I needed that lesson. I needed to be reminded that I live in Nairobi where people are wired to fleece you from the only buck you have. A city where a lot glows but on close inspection its brass not gold.
Katy, oh, Katy, she might be stuck out there in the big bad city still trying to find her way to my place. That’s why she has blueticked all my WhatsApp messages and forwarded my calls to voicemail. If you find her stranded, give me a heads up and I will show up in my mink coat and save the day.
Happy New Year, it has been an absolute pleasure. I couldn’t have asked for a better audience. See you back here on the 10th of January 2018.
Love this article? You will love my book even more, find it here. We don’t (yet) have the budget to buy space on prime time TV or full page ads in the Daily Nation, so your shares are what help us get discovered. Feel free to whisper us to a friend and leave a comment.
I like to think of myself as a reader who writes, a Pan-African who thinks with the tips of his fingers, but when I'm not molesting the keyboard I'm usually destroying yogurt (not Frusion) or staring into the vastness of space.