13 of 21
It has been disconcerting seeing our fathers arrive in the house earlier than chicken to avoid whipping. We used to think adults are brave, but they are cowards and fear whips. In fact, Timina and I are braver because we don’t cry while being caned, and the boys don’t even flinch, except Lumbasi of course, who screams like a little girl. Since this madness of getting home before night fall, our fathers are mad dogs barking at anything we do, even our breathing, farting or our mere existence makes them detonate with rage, sending shrapnel of abuses and beatings. Everything is suffering: the cats, the dogs, the chickens, utensils, our mothers, us… Sifuna tells us his father threw a jug and stool at his mother because the drinking water was not cold enough as if his mother was the pot.
Majimbo is asking us why adults can’t simply beat the few officers and stay out late. A man with thirty two teeth and has a family coming home early is an abomination, he says.
But they have guns and our fathers don’t have anything, Timina reasons.
But how can one’s father beat another person’s father? With or without a gun, you cannot beat a fellow man, Majimbo says.
Police are not just men, they are heroes. They are commandos. Don’t you see in movies men beating men? Sifuna says. I will be a policeman one day. I have decided I don’t want to be president, he says with a wide smile.
The adults should give those police poison or release dogs to maul them. They will only shoot few dogs. Imagine all the dogs in this village? Majimbo says.
We nod in agreement and marvel at his bright thoughts. The men’s early arrival has disrupted our lives. The sweetest games, besides playing under the hot sun, in playing under the cover of darkness. In darkness, we play serious games: we play robbers and police and bury the dead robbers, we play tribal clashes, we play prostitute and truck drivers, we play ogres and preys. We scream, wail, cry, shout and by the time our mothers come out to call us, we are sweating profusely from fear and running.
We are standing next to the giant anthill that only becomes active in April when it bursts with termites. Wekesa is not saying much because earlier on, some adults passed us and said Wekesa’s foot was getting worse and maybe it might be amputated. He has been fighting tears since then. And I wonder why he can’t just cry. We won’t laugh at him. We feel sad for him and we can’t imagine having a one-legged friend, like a mushroom.
We come up with a list and plan to float the ideas to our fathers so that they don’t come home early:
1. Give the officers sodas or water and lace them with poison and let them die (who doesn’t know police are greedy)
2. Release all the dogs in the village and command them to attack the officers.
3. Round-up and beat the officers (Aren’t our fathers men like them? Didn’t they face the knife?)
4. Bribe the officers with bags of maize, sacks of potatoes and buckets of termites (who doesn’t know police are greedy)
5. Lumbasi’s father’s truck to crash the officers. (RIP)
#QuarantineStories #VillageLife #13of21