As I walked along a narrow pathway one afternoon, I came face to face with a man who, upon looking at me, suddenly stopped in his tracks and begun praising my beauty, singing and dancing, and blocking my way while at it.
He performed for me like I were a respected dignitary who had just landed at the airport to a welcoming team of paid traditional dancers. I couldn’t blame the man, though. I am well aware of the power of my beauty.
Many a man have come before him and sung to me about it. Anyone would argue that the said hymns were nothing but strong complaints about the crumbs in my unkempt hair, or the disgusting, yellowish crusts in the corners of my eyes, or the previous week’s menu adorning my yellow, decaying teeth. But I’m learning not to care about what jealous naysayers think.
Even though a certified dermatologist would confirm that my skin closely resembles an old, worn-out, crocodile-skin handbag, the enthralled stranger prancing in front of me only saw the best in me as he likened my skin to that of (Ugandan socialite) Zari’s after a spa treatment. I, nevertheless, was flattered.
He admired my breasts too, saying that their firmness, their size, and the way they hung underneath my blouse reminded him of his blind, 90-year-old grandmother.
I felt shy and a little embarrassed by his charm and attentions that I considered asking him to stop, but sometimes you just have to accept what you are, and so I let him finish mooning over me.
The smitten gentleman thought that I was the woman of his dreams and he was not ashamed to let me know what he felt for me and the plans he had for us.
The few people who passed by slowed down and stared quizzically as if wondering what a Zari-like me was doing with a rough diamond like him, who was wearing nothing but a skirt.
His skirt was a small, tattered, synthetic sack that had been tied around his waist using a rope. His small, dark, dirty buttocks were partly exposed and he looked like he had a skin condition caused by dirt, while his hair and his extremities looked like they lived in a bag of cement.
I compared his sense of fashion, speech, and mannerisms with their commonness and differences and deduced that he looked, spoke, and behaved exactly like a common mad man, but I did not want to judge him by his looks.
Besides, whenever he would sway and shake to my name, Zari, a nickname he would call me lovingly, his revealing skirt would flap, showing his privates, and I could see the possibility of a long future ahead.
Eventually, as the energy in his presentation died down, and as I was now trying to determine on which side to pass, he turned his attention to something he was holding all along.
It was wrapped inside a green polythene bag, and as he unwrapped it, he mentioned that it was a beautiful gift for a beautiful woman like me.
It was too late to run. He splattered a wet, malodorous mound of nauseating faeces on the left side of my head that he must have defecated right before our meeting, probably after a heavy meal of boiled eggs that caused him indigestion.
The mad man was now laughing uncontrollably. He took me for a fool, just like Wesonga did his neighbours one Christmas. Lazy and wretched, he had nothing to eat while others feasted, but that did not discourage him.
After food had been prepared in the nearest boma, he paid them a visit and told them about his lost chicken. The plucked feathers he had seen outside looked exactly like those of his missing chicken, he lied.
“Fowls look alike,” he was told. “No one is eating until I confirm that it is indeed not my chicken,” Wesonga insisted. He demanded that he sample the exhibit on the table and taste for evidence.
The neighbours found it unreasonable but they wanted to prove their innocence, and so they let him. The hungry man peeked into the serving bowl and salivated at the protein – it had been prepared well.
The stew was thick and dark, and from the size of the drumsticks, it must have been a giant jogoo. Wesonga helped himself to a big piece of the spicy exhibit and took a bite.
After he was done sucking and licking the bone, he nodded and agreed that it wasn’t his chicken, although it tasted like it.
“Wacha basi niangalie kwa kina Truphosa,” he said, leaving for the next house. Needless to say, every festive season his neighbours sing “... fungeni milango, anakuja!”
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