If you want to be successful in any partnership you must learn to take credit when things succeed and to blame others when things go wrong. So far, converting some of Naftaly’s unoccupied rental units into night lodgings was turning out to be a success unlike my last venture – soccer betting.
And so when I was not within Cousin Mesh’s earshot, I would tell everyone who cared to listen that it had been my original idea. I had now turned to sleeping with my fingers crossed hoping the day I would have to blame him would never come.
This is despite the fact that Cousin Mesh was doing all the work. Since we couldn’t ‘borrow’ tenants’ carpets hanging on the clothes line every day, Cousin Mesh had sourced for what passed for beddings. To avoid changing customer’s minds when they saw how dirty they were, we ensured the rooms were always poorly lit at the time of booking them in.
We also made sure that the lodgers left at dawn when it was still dark.
It also fell upon Cousin Mesh to do all the selling. This basically consisted of him hanging around the popular lodgings in the area and luring potential customers our way. Our biggest worry was the landlord, as we had to keep him in the dark. This was not hard as the landlord was an early sleeper and a late riser.
Things, however, took a different turn one morning when it turned out that one of the lodgers we had booked in the previous night, Afellow we nicknamed Ng’ombe because he was wearing a faded ng’ombe barbed wire promotional tee-shirt, had no money.
And he had no mobile phone! Or even good shoes worth confiscating... How could we have overlooked that? This is how businesses are ruined - when the owners cease being shallow and superficial and no longer judge people by appearances!
Given our Christian upbringing this meant we could only do one thing with the guy – make him an example to others with similar intentions! We promptly pushing him back into the room and gave him a phone to make one phone call to whoever he thought could rescue him.
After that Cousin Mesh left and I went back to my hovel to get some sleep. It did not take long before I heard some noises outside the flats. I went out to investigate. Outside there was a crowd pointing at the house we had locked in Ng’ombe.
“Imagine kuna watu wameshikana kwa zile nyumba,” somebody in the crowd said. I uttered an insult and told them to go attend a political rally or something because they were so idle. But they only got more curious and accused me of being a party pooper. This only attracted more attention and the crowd just grew bigger.
Eager to see a ‘stuck’ couple with their own eyes, they now demanded that I open the door.
Pleased I had a chance to prove them wrong I obliged. The moment I opened the door, Ng’ombe shot out and ran past me before I could say doping. I was about to turn and give chase when I heard a familiar voice. “Nini inaendelea Jack!” the voice thundered. It was the landlord. I exactly knew what to do.
“I’m feeling a bit dizzy...” I started before promptly dropping on the ground, pretending to be convulsing. This was not the time to run away from my problems – it was the time to faint!