Ancient Constitution

Monday, July 13, 2015
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ANCIENT CONSTITUTION

Maili Nne residents had dreamt and imagined of many things. Things like being kidnapped by aliens, waking up and finding themselves dead or in a place called heaven, or even growing old in two seconds. But this one was not just strange, not abnormal... There is no word in English, Swahili or Sheng' slang that could explain it.

A man about twenty-eight was... dead by the road? Flying like a bat? Growing a tail? Uh-uh! The man's hands had been glued on a supermarket's door. It was not a supermarket actually since one required about fifty such things to come up with a supermarket. Let us call it a self-selection point though to the inhabitants it was Jora Supermarket. I was writing about some man glued on a door, I know. Now, his hands seemed one with the door. He was not able to move anything else apart from his head. From his dressing one could easily identify him as a thief... No, that is for lack of words like 'thug' or 'robber'. In fact, the eye-witness accounts claimed that he had a knife in the right pocket of his pair of trousers and a machete in the left pocket. How a machete can fit in a pocket! That must be a new invention. But he was a thug; no debates.

I must have forgotten to tell you that this happened around nine in the morning. And from the look of things, the man must have keshad there. If you allow me, let the characters in the story carry on.

"Isn't this Kipuu?" a child of school age identified the thief.

"He is," a woman whom many knew as Mama Ben confirmed.

"These people have been breaking into our shops each night," cried Kinyozi who did not own a shop. "Let us burn him; wapi tyre?"

Though good, his suggestion to put the poor thing aflame came too late. Two administration police officers from Chief Rukia's camp had arrived at the scene. Maybe to protect the man.

"We cannot burn him with all the askaris," a frail young girl said to the multitude that had come to witness this tenth wonder of the world.

People had come from as far as Maili Tisa, Sango and Baharini. Some had trekked three and a half miles from Huruma. All estates had been represented well. One wondered whether an MP was giving out money on a campaign rally. But the phenomenon was worth it. Businesses had stopped and pupils who were at the scene justified that school was not as important as the scenario.

"He must have been bewitched," Mama Ben said.

People agreed

"We have seen Jora eating herbs on several occasions," one said. " He even performs a traditional jig before opening the supermarket."

"But why do you think he has not opened it yet? He is the earliest riser around," an ocean of a man asked.

"Nobody would dare move near Kipuu. Maybe Jora's magic has worked so well he fears coming over to witness his powers at work," another said.

"True!" Mama Ben. "You see, even the askaris are afraid to move near him. They fear magic!"

"Who doesn't fear magic?" the ocean of a man asked. "Don't you remember the daughter of Nyawera? She was bewitched in that her thing grew on her forehead! Magic is bad."

"How sad! Did they reverse the situation?"

"They did but two white goats had to be brought to cleanse her and her family to avoid the repeat of the same. And there is this occasion when two thieves were made to eat grass after..."

"I don't believe in fairies and magic," a child shouted. "This is just a hoax!"

"Hoax my foot!" rebuked an elder. "Go to school, foolish brat! You look like a hoax!"

A few minutes later Jora, the owner of the self-selection point, arrived. A short man in a blue shirt and black pair of trousers. He was not amazed as everyone else. The thug by the door was a clear indication that his medicine had worked. Kipuu tried to save himself but the demon in the door could not let go. Trying to escape was like hurling stones at the moon. Or stopping the sun from going westwards. So he waited to see what Jora would do to him.

Jora did not say a word. He moved close to the captive, grinned like a bobcat and patted Kipuu's left shoulder. Abracadabra! Hocus-pocus! Kipuu was freed. That simple. But not so simple since only Jora knew what to do and how.

"Don't harm him," said Jora on top of his voice. "I'm sure he has set a good example to other thieves around and anyone wishing to be caught as him should try and see!"

Would you?

*****

"I need to see Jora privately," said Mama Ben.

"Why?" asked her husband.

"You saw what he did last Tuesday. Since then we've not heard of any case of robbery."

"Yeah, sure. Go buy some magic from him. We also need protection."

*****

"Here," Jora said handing a bundle of notes to Kipuu. "You made my day... you were the right cast for the script!"

"Hahaha!" Kipuu. "I never thought you had lots of brains, Jora. You never cease to amaze me."

"Now I'm very sure they are going to believe and follow the ancient constitution. I have made their fears come true!"

"How I wish they knew it was but a trick."

"Ah! Let them continue believing in those ancient things as we prosper. By the way, I'm shifting you to my other supermarket in Nakuru. I want you to manage it."

"Wow! I'm so thankful!"

"You're welcome. I thought you'd chicken out when you saw the AP."

"No, they too fear magic."

"Abracadabra!"

"Hocus-pocus!"

*****


Adapted from
Man of the Cloth and Other Stories
An Anthology of Short Stories
by Brady Kenya
©2014
First Edition

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