Mabunde

Growing up in the double 0’s, we all played police and robber, we’d all look for long curvy sticks to use as guns. We obviously didn’t call them glocks, choppers or any other fancy words, mabunde was the name. Honestly, that was the last time I ever thought I’d encounter mabundes.

A couple of years down the line and I find myself in yet another predicament.

Sometimes I feel like my life is scripted. I always live in the thin and narrow.

It was those days you decide to declare a break from the Nairobi half-life, yet the universe decides otherwise. It’s as if my absence will cause a catastrophe if I quit the nightlife. I was just finishing up my plate of fries when suddenly, a close friend from high school decides to turn up.

 What are the chances?  

This is how it went down; the love of my life starts ringing, it’s nothing fancy. It actually reminds me of how guys say when they bag a kienyeji, “peace of mind”.

I never moved on from my last sweetheart, I vividly recall how she was stolen from me in the streets of Nairobi.

 I let my kienyeji sing my favourite tune, Kwa Ceiling by Kaiga; the song is a banger; before I pick up. This is a habit I picked up so that I would not look idle most of the time. My kienyeji has issues btw, I must put her on loudspeaker before we converse, I guess she’s insecure.

“Hezy I’m around meet me at D’s place I wanna say hi”

Well, I guess this is where it all started.

I wear my signature jacket, it’s well known as combato ya Hezy. You wouldn’t dare wear it and walk the streets in peace. Everyone would be like, “Kwani Hezy amekuachia combato leo?”

I don’t forget my jeans, it ain’t Hezy without a pair of old school jeans. I need you to do a time skip loop to till I’m at D’s.

I haven’t told you who called, I’m usually forgetful at times. I sometimes feel like I’m an old guy stuffed in a young body. Oh well, let’s call him V since we already have a D.

V had said he was just gonna say hi. I guess old age caught up to me since the last time I checked hi wasn’t Morgan. In my days hi was even hello. They say in Rome do as the Romans for me I did Morgan, lots and lots of Morgan, no homo. It was afternoon when I went, and it was now night. V had already said plenty of HI’s, I had to go home.

I start my long trek back home. The thing with my neighbourhood is that during the daytime its like Bikini Bottom but at night it magically turns into Gotham. Gotham without The Batman. The alley is darker than Michael Blackson or rather under the bed. Kenyan as I am, I’m not afraid of monsters or anything, I fear man. Why man? Man can piga you tisa.

Tisa is a technique that robbers use in Kenya. They approach you from the back and hit…. No, they strangle you from the back, probably you’ll feel something on your back a bunde, knife or even…. You get the point.

I am not ready to lose my kienyeji, not yet. It would scare me for life.

I’m halfway on my way home. It was all going well. I live another day with kienyeji, I think.

“Oya!”

That is what I hear. Do you remember in primary when you used to write a cold shiver ran down my spine in compositions or jasho jembamba shenanigans? They were all understatements. It doesn’t work like that. Honestly speaking, in a race of muscles, my ass won against my heart. Man, I flexed my buns so hard I guess that’s what made my heart skip a beat. I started to scan the area. Two guys with something in their hands.

I wasn’t ready to lose my kienyeji not today. I knew I was fast but what surprised me was that I could apply movie knowledge while running. I don’t know if you remember the movie Apocalypto. In the final third of the movie, guys run in a zig-zag motion to avoid being struck by spears. I was born for the scene. Imagine yourself standing on a balcony and seeing a guy running in a zig-zag motion while ducking occasionally.

After running for like ten minutes my Hezy sense stopped tingling. I called for reinforcements. Reinforcements? Not really, I just wanted us to be many, I wouldn’t allow my mom to be the only sad Mom. The gang is usually around so they hurry up.

“majamaa mabunde walai, kuna maninja wako na mabunde”

This is all I could say. The gang and I went home thanking the Lord for another day.

“walai nmeacha”

Another story they said but this were words of redemption from me.

I proved 50 cent right gangsters do get religious when they bleed.

The next day I decide to get a clean shave as an act of atonement. The gang is with me to witness the sacred act. We go to Pato’s shop. The catch was to get to Pato’s we had to use the same alley, talk about PTSD.

We reach at Pato’s and there’s quite a line. This guy is the only classical barber I know. In my time a barbershop wasn’t a barbershop without reggae music and those pictures at the back of guys with funky haircuts. One thing we didn’t know is if it was the barber who couldn’t do those cuts or was it our heads that couldn’t accommodate those haircuts. We’ll never know.

Pato plays Lingala in his shop so it’s usually good vibes. On my turn, I head to the seat ready to turn over a new leaf. This was the moment that changed everything.

I was about to tell him to do a buzz cut before he cracked out laughing. His laugh was so loud that it echoed. I had no problem with the laugh but with how Kenyans laugh. Kenyans laugh while hitting your back or shoulder like really hard. This guy had huge hands man. One day I saw him holding a tennis ball. At the second glance, it was a basketball. Imagine the pain I was going through.

“ Hezy nakuita jana unatoka mbio”

This was not even the worst part. I came to realize it wasn’t mabundes it was shaving machines, Pato had just closed his shop late with his partner and they were carrying the faulty machines back home to get them fixed.

We had gone for a ceremony and since the atonement failed, the gang demanded for inauguration.

Hezy MABUNDE.

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