Remember, ardent reader, I published TOM JAMES a month ago. For the motive of facilitating extensive comprehension on the part of the reader, I allowed I’d share with him–and her, all that arose in that extent preceding the publication. And so promising, I initiated these unfinished chronicles: chronicles of a new writer. I endeavor to issue them every week, all considerations uniform, more or less. As you peruse, reverent reader, remember, in this my story world, in this setting—anything goes.
The Chronicles_Of_A_New_Writer_07 continues on the succeeding paragraph.
The bus I boarded to town from Kawangware terminated at Railway Station at around 11:30 a.m. This place, this Railway bus stop, I remembered from my first visit to Nairobi a week earlier. Deep into the station, I alighted. Here, the citizens: girls and boys, and mothers and men, goers and comers, milled about. Those roaring buses and matatus arrived through one entrance of the station and exited, plenty passengers having boarded, through another, uniting with Haile Selassie avenue at a roundabout. You spotted hawkers too. They publicized their merchandise all over the place. And the glamorous girls, a-trudging on their stilettos, proceeded every which way; whenever they happened by you, their fragrance followed. I (Taifa Mkenya) am allergic to perfumes. I swear. Anyway, as I stated, citizens thronged this place. Boys, some in jumpers and t-shirts of all colors, some in hoods and loafers, and others with backpacks a-sticking on their angled backs, moved about, in and out of those buses, a-looking engrossed.
Reader, I mentioned in previous recounts that tales abounded, of muggers and swindlers, who would, by some mystical ability, detect a newbie in the city. My person, the being of Taifa Mkenya, dreaded these muggers. Thus, my hand, a-clutching my phone (this phone Fred handed me), stayed in my right trouser pocket. And in my left sock, I’d stuffed a 500 shillings note, sheltered in my shoe. My wallet, in back pocket of my trouser, I wouldn’t trust. Anybody, any girl or boy or woman or man or hawker or tout or preacher or beggar or street boy, who exhibited a disposition I distrusted (of moth-eaten cloths, ragged hair, rusty eyes, threatening eyes, singed lips, inky lips, and so on, I would shun.
Alex Matano, this kindred spirit, whom Anne Mogendi, Eve Apondi and I would meet today, had texted me minutes before, and instructed, that I and the two girls should meet him at Jivanjee Gardens. Where this garden situated, I didn’t know (I texted Alex for further directions). Anyway, I left the station, progressed past the roundabout there at Railway station, and fused into Moi Avenue, together with other citizens, all the while a-gripping my phone in my pocket, and avoiding faces. This Saturday, this Moi Avenue Street crammed persons so. You wondered where all those countless citizens went. And what they undertook in this Nairobi. Anyway, citizens must labor, to construct a life. Some businesses remained open this day. Shops, restaurants, electronics outlets and so forth, discharged such services as the citizens demanded.
Propelling myself through shoulders and frames of fellow citizens, I scurried along the left side of this street, on the pavement. Safaricom shop, Peach Restaurant, Kencom Building, and other structures I spotted. Archives, on my right, I spotted too. Up the slim slope I hastened, farther and farther. Crossing several intersections, I noted Tuskys Beba Beba, Kenyatta Avenue indication, Biashara Street, Njugu Lane, just as Alex had quoted in his text I would. Toward the accurate direction, I headed, I knew. Two minutes later, more or less, however, Alex he called me:
“Yap,” I said.
“Umefika wapi?” where have you reached?
“I have just crossed Biashara Street, I thin—”
“Ah? You followed Moi Avenue?”
“Mnh? You were walking, or you took a motor cycle?”
“On which side?”
“On which side of the road?”
“Mnh! How have we missed you? Anne, Eve and I decided to come for you! An—”
“—and we followed the same side as yo—”
“Oh, where are you now?”
He cleared his voice:
“Mnh…we are…no, do this. Come here at Kencom, we’ll wait for you there, mnh.”
I turned. How did I miss them, did I stare more on the pavement as I walked than I should have? Anyway, I raced, re-crossed the intersection of Moi and Kenyatta avenues and found them a-sitting on a general bench, at that Kencom stage he said.
Reader, was Anne beatific. This Anne Mogendi. When she spotted me, she rose and clasped me double-quick. What a taut embrace! She wore an extended blue frock and flat black slip-ons. A silvery rosary dangled upon her slim neck. Her hair, she blow-dried this time (in college, she donned wigs all the time), and secured it backwards with an arc of a band. Ah, Anne, slim and tall girl, taller than I, a girl from Kericho, mother of one, as I had stated in the first recount, I think. She said, in a small voice:
“Mambo!” how are things?
“Poa sana! Za masiku?” So good! (I can’t translate the second statement, but it means something like tell me about all these days! I don’t know). Beside her, Eve waited, for a hug too. I dislike hugs, reader, just as much as I hate fuel fumes emitted from vehicle exhausts, which stifle my inhalation, and provoke an infinite, sheepish sneezing scene. Anyway, her body and mine joined. Extra weight, she’d added, I felt. Did I tell you she, this Eve Apondi, and Alex, dated in college? Yes. She said, in a sharp and pleasant voice, “You look older! God,” and I said:
“A man must grow.”
With Alex, our shoulders knocked. “How is you brother?” I said.
“All right bro,” he said. He’d grown lighter complexion. A coat, he had, and a new rolex watch as well. His height hadn’t altered as I could see.
All of us agreed to visit Steers, this joint where citizens munch steak and mutton and chubby chicken, on Wabera Street. The three of them, walked faster than I; I’d to hasten to catch up. We went along City-Hall Way, and they showed me Hilton Hotel. After some time, Anne she paired with me. And I asked her how she did. She said:
“Not bad. You know, you have to hustle.”
“Yap.” I said.
“Though sometimes it is not very easy. You know, with my kid and all…”
“Yap. I understand.”
“Jobwise…I’d say, it’s quite manageable. But it’s my maid who stresses me mostl—”
“By the way, she’s my fifth, I—”
“Where did the others go?”
“You know dealing with maids is hectic. Sometimes they mistreat my daughter—they don’t feed or wash her, they don’t follow instructions, ah!”
“Yap, I see. Where do you get them, here in the city? I think you’d find better ones from the village. I can request my uncle to hunt for one from Maili Tisa if you—”
“Ah, thanks, but the one I have now actually came from Eldoret, she’s called Chebet, I hope she’ll be good.”
“Yap, how long has she been with you?”
“One week now.”
We got to that Steers place, at length. Then after we perched, and an aroma of roasting and frying flesh welcomed us, a waiter in white came to pick our orders. Alex he said he’d drink Tusker in the meantime. Eve she allowed she’d take some other alcoholic drink I don’t recall. Anne, mango juice, and I selected to drink Alvaro. Around, some young citizens—boys and girls (in this my story world, boys and girls mean young women and young men, the young adults) consumed drinks and chomped steak and ugali and French fries and kachumbari.
By and by, our drinks arrived, a-standing in glasses and bottles. And the waiter she distributed them according to how we sat: Eve Apondi, opposite me, Alex and Anne, opposite each, around this table covered with a Tusker overlay. Alex he instructed the waiter to prepare goat meat for four, with ugali for the men and fries for the girls. Meantime, Eve she began:
“Taifa, long time!”
“Yap, long indeed,” I said.
“I see, you’ve been in Nairobi for how long?”
“A week now. Hehe.”
“Ok, how do you find it?”
“I’m catching up—”
“Where do you stay?” Anne she said, a-tapping my left arm.
“Kawangware. I live with a friend,” I said; Eve she twitched her eyebrows.
“Anyway,” I said, a-turning to Eve, “how is everything?”
“Yap,” I said, a-nodding.
“I just hustle my days away,” she said.
“You know Eve writes online articles?” Alex said to me.
“Yap,” I said, “how is it by the way?” a-facing this Eve.
“Ahmn…good! Good, actually. So long as you have a laptop and internet, you’re good to go.”
“And, how much do they pay you? How do you get paid in the first place?” I said. I needed to learn this way of a-making money.
“Through PayPal, but you need to have an account first. You can just google ‘odesk’ or ‘freelance’.”
This crucial information I retained in my memory: odesk. Freelance. PayPal.
“What about you,” Anne, now she asked me.
“Oh, so far nothing,” I began, “I had applied for some jobs but I haven’t received any replies.” I said.
“You need to start hustling,” she said, “anything, you know, anything to keep you busy.”
“There…is…no…hurry,” Alex, he said, his face a-glowing, and his eyes a-lulling.
“You say that because you mother will get you a job at the ministry!” Anne, she elbowed Alex.
“Nooo…maisha ni mosmos,” no, life is to be taken slowly.
“If you say so. But, me, I will continue with my job until I get a better one—”
“Where do you work?” I asked this Anne.
“In X supermarket.” (Name withheld)
This our conversation continued. By the hour that goat meat walked to our table in salted pieces, I’d recounted to these friends my first week experience under Fred’s hospitality back in Kawangware. Moreover, I opened up about my folks back in Maili Tisa. In sum, we experienced a fine moment. When I left for Kawangware, I permitted I’d discover more about these writing jobs Eve talked about. And Eve she said, she’d invite us to her place in Umoja estate.
#To be continued…
A week goes and languages grow; my stories so.
[The typer of these words is a breaker of English. Creator of words. Attempter of waggish things. Marveler of nature. Enjoyer of life. Lover of strangers. Taster of cultures. Author of Tom James. Editor. Snap-shooter. Storyteller. Future husband. Teacher. Learner. Soon a traveler]