Kleptomaniac Jimmy sees fire out of charcoal
By Muiruri Gathu
His severe body burns had relatively healed two weeks after sustaining them in the accident where a ninety kilogram sack full of charcoal had caught fire on his shoulders. Nevertheless, Jimmy the bad boy was still financially crippled owing to the fact that his boss who offered him mjengo chores was yet to jet back from his business dealings in Dubai.
Yet he had financial obligations to meet in particular attending to his wife and child’s welfare as well as oiling his throat with either his favourite crescent gin or keg beer. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that he was now marking two weeks of alcohol fasting or starvation and also because his wife was threatening to walk out on him for neglecting them.
Tina would always threaten: ‘’Yeah, It is true you are sick but we can’t eat or live on your sickness. “Nii ndingitura na mundu utari mbia. Thina uyu niukiririe njano. Bullshit,’’ she would thunder to the crestfallen Bad Boy who was unable to voice any defence his natural bullying and misogynist trait notwithstanding.
This served as a wakeup call to him to do something to ameliorate the dire situation lest his uncompromising wife followed her serious threats and demands to their logical conclusion which was too embarrassing for him to contemplate let alone to bear.
Although he was so full of trepidation whenever the thought of going to Mzee John’s charcoal den crossed his small mind, the plight of the moment proved too much and going back to the charcoal wizard’s empire became all inevitable.
Just like in the first instance of his kleptomaniac sequence, he armed himself with the tools of the job and rushed into the bush where the charcoal den was. In twenty or so minutes, he was through with the preliminaries of uncovering the charcoal but he had to ‘eat njaro’ for some time for the red-hot charcoal to cool down and turn into a serene, amicable and amiable black colour.
He then threw himself into stuffing the charcoal into the ninety kilogram sacks with sheer enthusiasm and great determination. He threw himself into the job at hand like one who had been possessed.
A scared dog running away
Note this was in the middle of a very quiet and dark night that held a vague sense of terror for Bad Boy Jimmy. Only the whine of a million, million insects particularly crickets pierced through the darkness and calmness of this fussy night. Yet he soldiered on for as earlier mentioned the sequel of the alternative, that is, not doing it, would be unforgiving and unbearable to say the least.
He calculated that five sacks were enough and subsequently embarked on the demanding task of taking his loot home. As he did so, he was extremely cautious. Now and then he would push himself into the hedges and thicket along his path home to dodge what he would think or judge was an oncoming person or somebody behind him. But largely, there were no such threats. It would be either a scared dog running away or just the flapping of trees and other kinds of vegetation. Yet he was taking no chance and would even hide to avoid fireflies which he mistook for human beings with torches either approaching or behind him whenever he turned back.
Nevertheless, he managed to carry all his spoils home and hid them in one of the unused rooms of his timber built magnificent home. In fact the house had been stone-lifted from the foundation to at least three feet above the ground.
This was in sharp contrast with everything associated with the Bad Boy for aside from the house everything else in his miserable and dull life was a complete mess. But credit for this excellent house went to his father in law who had extended this kind gesture to his daughter out of concern of the welfare of his daughter and his grandchild after he and his wife failed in their relentless effort to dissuade Tina from marrying the trouble and recklessness that was Jimmy. Needless to say that love proved too much blind.
Then out of nowhere and all over sudden, great terror and state of helplessness engulfed bad boy Jimmy’s hamlet. Cries of fire, fire, help, help, uuuuiii, uuuuiii, were all over in the wee hours of the early morning in this hitherto calm neighbourhood. Once again a mean piece of charcoal had handsomely paid homage to Bad Boy’s kleptomania. Neighbours tried their best to put out the fire to no avail albeit they managed to rescue the Jimmys from the inferno.
At last they gave up. Some uttered something to the extent: ‘’Ona ikihia mwene niotaga. Gutire itathekagwo’’ and decided to cool themselves from the violent fire. Sadists uttered: ‘’From a magnificent home to a magnificent fire and lastly some ugly and dull ash.’’
As for Mzee John, he first rushed to his charcoal den and confirmed his worst fears. He then rushed to Jimmy’s compound and spoke to the gathered crowd now canvassing and consulting in low tones. He cleared his throat and said: ‘’No sympathies from me please and I instead take consolation that justice has not only been done, but has surely been seen to be done.’’
He went further: ‘’I have been vindicated that no thief of my charcoal will fail to be caught or get off scot free,’’ he remarked and left hurriedly to his house to thank his Creator.