Leaving work: Yesterday was a long day, It was a few minutes after 8 p.m. and I was feeling maxed out. I switched off my laptop and threw it inside my rag sack, rushed to the elevator, spent a moment thinking how many dirty and spoilt fingers had pressed the downward button that day. The thought disgusted me-then I pressed it. Inside the elevator I sang, I pulled a couple of moves then pressed the ‘G’ button and began to descend. A lonely way down, just the way I like it. Got down, lift opened, got out, put on my hoodie, put on my earphones, pocketed and walked towards Prestige. On the way I remembered stories of people mugged, killed and done to all the other evils in the stare of darkness. Luckily, I got to Prestige-short distance from the office-safely.
At the Stage: I always admire the bus stop, not for anything fancy, but for all funny characters you find there. There was the sausage guy who was seated a couple of meters from his stand, he was chewing on a piece of mahindi choma, (roasted maize) then there was the ‘jaza jaza’ (those guys who help filling matatus for a few coins), one of them had shades, another had cud bumped inside his mouth, with traces of green oozing out. There were two matatu’s that were full to near capacity which is not near half full in the conductors’ eyes. I like seating at the front so I held back from both matatus.
The Bus: A KBS bus pulled up and the jaza jaza started what they do best. I hesitated to get in as I’m not a fan of big cars. Eventually, I got in. Probably from the conductor looping “gari ya mwisho”(last car) over and over again. I stood at the isle and glanced over where to seat, I finally decided on the left side. I chose a seat not occupied and made myself comfortable, as comfortable as it gets anyway. This gorgeous lady came and sat next to me, obviously because I was charming (more than half the seats were not occupied). I looked at her and smiled, she smiled back but her eyes were full of tire, probably from a long day’s work. The bus got tired of waiting and began the journey. Destination, Kawangware.
The Ride: No sooner had the bus left the stage, than a pungent rotting-literally- smell filled the bus’ atmosphere. You could smell the disgust off people’s noses as they rushed to open the windows, some guy behind me loudly said, “nani amebeba paka imekufa? Hii uchawi itatumaliza jameni!” (Who’s carried a dead cat with them? Witchcraft will surely kill us!)
I gave out a giggle remembering a story I’d read a while back of a plane that had to land because someone had decided to play ‘honey hunter’ 30,000 feet off the ground. No, this wasn’t funny, but the writer of the article while referring to the first person on the plane to tweet about the incidence was hillarious “‘does he not know he who smelt it dealt it,’” The giggle must’ve suggested something else to the lady seated next to me since she gave me a suspicious look.
The Paranoia: Wait! Did she think I had the dead cat? Did she think I dealt in black magic and witchcraft? It’s true what they say about beauty and brains not going together (An exemption to every lady I personally know). Why would anyone think I have black magic? The closest thing to black is my skin complexion. And witchcraft! Witchcraft! I know nothing of it apart from charming ladies-and that one guy who made a pass at me (YUCK!), and she was busy thinking I had a dead cat in my rag sack. How dare she think of me in that sense!? Who gave her the right to think of me and a dead cat and rotting stink in the same thought!? It’s these pretty girls who carry dead cats! (Again, an exemption to every lady I know personally).
Natural Gases: I was irked, no, Infuriated that this lady had the audacity! Just then, I felt an urge to release some natural gases. Damn farts have no manners, appearing when least needed. I could’ve farted as the stench would’ve sunk in the rotting one. But was it worth the risk? What if it was loud? Everyone would have thought it was me the whole time.
“Kijana umebeba paka imekufa kwa tumbo?” (Young man, do you have a dead cat lodged up in your stomach?) Guy behind me.
“Hawa vijana wa siku hizi watafanya chochote kupata hela” (Lads nowadays will do anything for wealth) some lady from Coast with impeccable Swahili.
“Sasa mbona anaharibu hewa kwa basi?” (Why are you spoiling the air in the bus) lady holding a kid almost at the back.
“Huyu mutu ashukishwe gari!” (He should be thrown off the car) An old man with his walking stick in hand.
“Inaonekana ni kama tunaenda mochary!” (It looks like we’re headed to a morgue!) Some thirty something year old guy who thinks he’s witty.
I imagined these conversations in my mind and clinched all my muscles together. I couldn’t risk farting, it would tarnish my name. No, I didn’t know any of these people. The chance of us meeting again was slim to zero, that one of them recognizing me was even less.
But I still couldn’t risk some guy starting a rumor that he heard me fart and carry a dead a cat whilst I’m receiving my Oscar. Or my name running for weeks on end on the ever so popping gossip websites and newspapers-this is still around the time I’m receiving the Oscar.
The Relief: The bus neared Kawangware, we encountered a few minute’s of traffic here and there. This only made it worse. But finally, we had arrived, I was in a rush to get off from the God-forsaken bus, but I couldn’t risk being the first to leave, otherwise it would be suspicious. Furthermore, the lady was in my way, what if she let me pass and the trigger went off as I was squeezing myself between her knees and the seat in front? She’d definitely start a gossip site when I’m receiving my Oscar.
I gave her time to recollect herself, get up and walk out, then I rushed out.
Never felt the relief of being in fresh air again but now that I was in the open air area, I could release all the gases, and I did. The feeling wasn’t that relieving either.
I walked to the next matatu, took a seat at the driver’s and enjoyed the rest of my journey home.
No Dead Cat! When I got home, I looked through my bag and sure, there was no dead cat, no black magic or witchcraft paraphernalia and no stench! Phewks!
If you’re beautiful and you see me avoiding you, please, just know I have my reasons.