I wish to whisper a confession, for the sake of my physical and financial security, that I am not a football maniac, or fan.
You see, why adult men and some women should take leave of their senses and by extension mouths on account of a ball being kicked into a goal, has always escaped my comprehension. I highly doubt the stability of the mental faculties of a man who bets his whole worth on earth, including his wife, for some, because of a score in a game.
Now, the World Cup craze, the crème de la crème, the best of the best, of football has taken the world, or rather, men, hostage. Every hot-blooded and headed man from Happy Valley has taken leave from his wife and children to go and watch the World Cup at Happy Valley. And for the coming one month, wives have the rare privilege of controlling the remote controls of the family TV.
For Mrembo and I, this is our turn to eat. As our people this side of Kenya say, the coffee is red, red ripe. Our businesses are both complementary and supplementary to each other. That, in simple language, means that the two exist better side by side and mine adds value to hers—her customers get home in one piece in my Concorde, the weather and terrain tested and proven Volkswagen Beetle. I pick the customers after Mrembo is done with them for the day.
And that is the only relationship there is between Mrembo and yours truly. But that does not stop the rumour mills of Happy Valley countryside from feeding Queen with Juicy stories about my supposed hobnobbing with Mrembo. The truth, and nothing but the truth, is that theirs is a product of fertile imaginations, but I digress.
So, when World Cup started last Sunday, Mrembo and I celebrated the start of the season of harvest. And as you obviously know, wives started mourning as their husbands left home for Happy Valley. At Happy Valley, everyone, despite their obvious geo-political ignorance, became football analysts. Mrembo’s became an avenue to not only hilariously bring out the men’s ignorance but also their verbal viscosity.
“Qatar is in Doha. The country is ‘fire’ in football. They will show Equator dust,” said Mhesh. “Hey! You are already showing us dust. First, between Qatar and Doha, which is the country and which is the capital city? Secondly, is it called Equator or Ecuador?” Chairman challenged. “Whatever the name, the hosts will take the Cup,” said Mhesh.
“What can people living in a desert do to people living around the Equator? Equator will flatten them like nothing,” said Chairman, Mrembo’s power behind the throne. “Every time I see the Qatars (sic), I remember our girls. They will pay for every one of our girls that they have killed,” he concluded.
“You people do not know what you are saying. That desert is full of oil. It is the richest country in the world,” said Kimunya, a retired government officer.
“Oil does not make good footballers. They will be shown dust in their own country,” said Chairman.
“Qatar has bought all the best players from European premier league. Money is everything in football,” said Kimunya.
“How can they have money yet I hear there is no taking of beer? What is football without beer like?” asked Mrembo. “What is the need of having money if one cannot use the same to buy oneself a man’s drink? A man with money should have the freedom to use it the best way he knows how.”
“Football is a poor man’s game. Rich people have no place in football,” shouted Omosh from a crowded corner.
That is the kind of serious ignorance coupled with empty braggadocio that has dominated the talk at Happy Valley Grills. It is a gladiatorial contest where the more money one has and the louder one is, the better.
But for Mrembo and I, the World Cup is a godsend. It has opened huge financial doors. The World Cup fanatics watch it from Happy Valley and I deliver them home, or wherever else that they intend to go. And so far, life is good for me and I am sure I shall get enough money to revive my Queen’s supermarket.
There are two things that I am sure about. The first is that wives of football fanatics are free from the domestic terrorists for a whole month. The second one is that as long as the World Cup is on, my coffee is red, red ripe. Long live World Cup.
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