Man Of The Cloth

Monday, August 03, 2015
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MAN OF THE CLOTH

The number of believers in Fire and Sulphur Apostolic Church could not be matched. It was even said that some members had to stand outside in case they came late for all the seats in the three-storeyed church would have been occupied with a pair sharing one seat. Some would report to church before day-break so as to secure the front seats. Yet still, they found others already seated at the front. The church was huge in girth and number. Rumours had it that it could swallow all the grand churches in Nairobi yet still feel hungry. Each Sunday was a crusade. Churches around were losing members each day as the members said Fire and Sulphur Apostolic Church preached the truest gospel. That theirs was pure and concentrated wine.

Tongues were spoken at this revered church. Only those who spoke them understood what they implied. Individually. Since everyone was busy speaking in strange Hebrew, minced with Greek and covered up in Tamil then wrapped in Japanese, nobody had time to translate the same. But what fascinated the believers had nothing to do with the peculiar tongues that had no specific vowel or alphabet. It had nothing to do with the shocking miracles that even their messiah could not dare perform. It had nothing to do with the multiple answering of prayers or such. Even the believers knew not what magnet attracted them to the holy church. They just found their cars taking them to the church each Sunday. Was it the talented man of the cloth who talked and even sneezed biblically? The man whom spoke Bible you could almost think he was born saying ‘in the beginning …’? Who could quote any book, any verse, any chapter, anytime? Could it have been the white preachers who came at the end of every month? Or the preachers of the day who were only seen on television by the Christians from the congregations? Nobody had a clue. Even the man who pastored the church was not aware. The spirit had not told him yet.

Fire and Sulphur Apostolic Church grew in flame, fame and as some suggested, in spirit. Lives were changed and emotions transformed. No biblical witchcraft, read miracle, could not be exercised at the church. Everything was possible to their god and all the other gods in other churches feared the god of this particular church. They even had foreseen the collapsing of a building in the city. Two buildings collapsed instead. Were they not powerful! One prophecy; double fulfilment. Someone tell your neighbour “double-double!"

The church would forever remain a force to reckon with. The green lawns, green cypress trees, palms, flowers with every colour on earth and the hall that stood majestically at the far end of the three-acre grounds told it all. That indeed FSA was a force. There was a tarmac path metres away from the half-acre car-park at the beautiful gate. The path gently meandered from the car-park towards the entrance of the Everest of a church. The hall was embellished with marble and glasses that glistered with all purity and holiness. A gate of a door was wide open to welcome anyone interested in fellowshipping in the church. All these and more formed the church called FSA.

Affluence was the tongue there! Otherwise why one would set aside a whole half-acre carpark? And a little bird chirped that the half-acre carpark was but mediocre work. It was too tiny to exhaust all the cars that tried to squeeze in it. Some cars were left outside the church compound for one reason—there needed not arise a conflict between two saints on who parked where when and how.

And when the writer says cars, he means cars and not the usual cars. The likes of Ferrari. They were not bought on loan as we all dream to do. People have money out there and a million cannot satisfy them as breakfast. A million? Only a million? That is a joke that will not be taken kindly. A million won't even reach the stomach. A million is peanuts!

Offering sessions in this particular church were like harambee fundraisers. Billions and billions poured into the church account. So the usual ten bob would take me and you straight to hell. There, they gave and when I write ‘gave’ I mean GAVE. Offering baskets were a thing of the past. The bank account was one large offering basket so when one was ‘touched’ they gave to the church what belonged to the church. A digital church it was and each day members of the church received word of encouragement through text. Nothing comes for free. An SMS cost fifty shillings and one had ten of them weekly. What is ten times fifty times four times twelve? Quickly get a calculator.

★★★★★

“What was wrong, Kate?” asked Mimo.

“Wrong, where? How?”

“You kept crossing and uncrossing your legs throughout the sermon. Ha-ha!”

“Ha-ha-ha!”

Mimo knew what was up. The two sassy girls, each aged thirty-five, were on a mission. The conversation took place in their Ferrari; which was the latest in the market. Its price could milk all the bank accounts of the wealthiest men in South Africa but to them, it was a mere cent.

“Don’t you see things have changed, m’lady?” Kate gave a clue which she needed not to give. “And these times the good ones have been taken away. And the handsome ones have not been born; we can’t wait for them. What do we do?”

“Hunt the hunter!” both chorused as the expensive baby glided on the tarmac. They giggled in a girlish manner… I told you the thirty-five-year-olds were girls!

“No wonder we sit at the front,” Kate observed. “And as I see, my poison is working slowly but effectively.”

“Remember when you let everything loose this morning?”

“Yeah, ha-ha, the eyes were like ‘I can’t help sinning!' ”

“Ho-ho-ho! And I bet you had nothing on but the minidress.”

True. Kate never bothered with the inner components. She went commando. Panties were a waste of time to her. And that morning the man of the cloth must have repented profusely during and after the sermon. Actually, no sane man with flesh and blood would fail to say Kate was … no words, really. From her head to her toes; she almost made every man admit Cleopatra had resurrected. What else?

How do you explain chubby cheeks, burning eyes and a nicely-shaped nose? Wait! The chest and hips that made her look like a well-fed number 8. The well-endowed rear that gyrated whenever she made a move. Especially when the Kotekote song was sung. This made the choir leader, who was a man, repeat the nimezunguka part very many times. For the sake of seeing her … Gosh! I’m I seriously writing this? To inject more bad thoughts in everyone’s brains, Kate never bothered with the inner things. I wrote that, right? I know, but I can’t stop sinning.

So that morning the married man with only one wife and two children was in a total spiritual mess. Kate and her friend Mimo came to church armed with every seductive paraphernalia. The two could make the Christian devil admit he has sinned. Not the pastor; the devil. They walked with homicidal chemicals and placed them on the pews in front. Even the prayer session was too hot and the prayers failed to go past the ceiling.

During the usual moment of speaking in tongues, everyone was asked to talk to their gods before an usher finalized the devotion time. Kate’s cat-eyes were on the pastor as he too was engaged in speaking in tongues … oh! Waterfalls. However, the body overcame the spirit and he managed to give Kate a glance. Oh! Kate seized the rare opportunity and provocatively bit her wonderful lower lip and winked at the little handsome thing on the dias that holy hour. The eyes of the poor pastor raced down the lady seated at the front. Mount Zion! Jericho! She pulled up her lingerie … and where on her body was her hand going!? Omega-alpha! The spirit left. Nobody knew that the devil had carefully crept in the heaven the saints were in; chanting their prayers for above their voices. The knees of the man of the cloth wobbled. Satan had just sent his angel to torment him.

“Did he say a word?” asked Mimo who back then was pretending to pray though she stole a few glances at the two. She did not want to spoil the gazelle they would both gorge on.

“He just shook his head and went on to pray with eyes wide open. I also pretended to be in spirit but I knew the young man was a gonna! Prayer sessions have never been as sweet.”

They laughed on reaching their home in Runda.

“But I’m … I can’t find a way of bringing our supper home, Mimo!”

“Kate, don’t worry. Fishermen use bait to get even the most ferocious piranha.”

★★★★★

God
Protect me ‘thou’ from the fangs of
The serpent
Let me ‘thou thee’ not be like Adam
Or ‘thine’ David ‘thy’ who stole
Another man’s ‘thee’ wife
God
And ‘thou knoweth’ my wife
She is ‘thine’ a dead log!
Oh, forgive me, God
For abusing her in ‘thine’ eyes of mercy
But ‘thou’ father ‘protecteth’ me
I am weakened

Pastor Nyikuli laughed hysterically at his silly prayer. He knew he was joking. Though recently his wife had borrowed eyes from the eagle, she was just but wasting her time. He was invincible. Look. She was not doing enough to pamper his ego. All the tactics would not help her. Mama Kanisa was not her class; yet the marriage had lasted twelve good years. Despite the renovation she had undergone, Mama Kanisa was too old to be appetizing. And what was with her new type of pajamas? Baseball cap, baggy sweatpants, a ‘promotional’ t-shirt … omph! She still expected him to call her ‘sexy’? Not Nyikuli.

But the female shepherd could not let go! Her eagle eyes hovered over him like he was covered in darkness and the eyes were his torches. Even in the washrooms they were there. Had she not made Nyawera leave the church claiming that Nyawera was evil? That Nyawera was not a good woman. She wanted the pastor! Had Mama Kanisa not torn into her many times, both physically and spiritually, over this? She, Mama Kanisa, quoted a verse that said that the church had a divine obligation to excommunicate them from the congregation. She did in accordance with the scriptures. Almost all single ladies left the church with Nyawera and fully embraced atheism. Only two remained and you know their names. What? You also don’t know them? Well, the spirit has not told me to tell.

★★★★★

“Oh, welcome, pastor. Karibu sana, mtumishi," said Kate in a voice that suggested wrongly that she had been from slumber.

“Thank you very much, but before I sit, please tell me your problems as I want us to sanctify this house.”

“We have a lot of them,” said Mimo with a sorry voice.

“My father who art in heaven seeth no difficulty in answering any prayer.”

“We have been having problems with water, electricity and the man who does repairs has failed to come despite having been paid two months ago. Also pray for the potholes on our roads,” Mimo sang the nursery rhyme innocently. She was still thirty-five.

“And things also walk on the roof. There has been an old woman laughing hysterically over the fence for a whole year now. All these happen at night… and oh! My laptops keep hanging,” Kate helped Mimo undress their naked problems.

Pastor said the shanderema and plunged himself in beseeching the issues. The ladies gave many ‘amens’ till the last word in the one hour prayer. That it to utilize approximation. Otherwise the prayer took two hours minus one minute!

“Oh, let us prepare you something, pastor,” Mimo offered after the novel of a prayer.

“No-no-no-no! I am okay,” that is what visitors pretend to say even when their nozzles look like a donkey coat covered with dry soil.

“Pastor, you cannot leave like that. At least a cup of coffee,” you have to be persistent as Kate was.

The two hurriedly darted into the kitchen without a ‘yes’ from the holy man seated on the leather seat. A bible held tightly by his chest. The door ajar.

What came out of the kitchen was not what had gone inside. Thee-thou-thy-thine! A snake? Two dragons with an alien? A goat wearing a scary mask? Not really. Two beautiful angels each dressed in a flaming red bikini, flashing immaculate smiles and a huge bottle of Napoleon. Pastor stood up to make a move but Johnnie Walker! His fly betrayed him. The other sphere of him had just seen double blessings. Remember the double collapsing of buildings? What was he to do? Pray not to fall into the sweet temptation that he had one leg in?

★★★★★

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

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