Our people say that when the cat goes away, the rat takes over. As you very well know, my taxi business, which is nocturnal in nature, keeps me away from the palace for the better part of the day. In my absence, Queen has not only been my natural but also the very suitable replacement as the deputy head at the palace.
Things have worked so well for us, despite the fact that Queen has been calling me an absent and failed husband and father. What matters to me, however, is not the number of hours I spend at the palace but the quality of my presence there. And anyone with good eyes can see what transformation has taken place on Queen and the palace courtesy of my handiwork, but that is a story for another day.
That status had served us just fine until recently, when Queen decided to give me competition in being absent from the palace. To arrest the fast falling fortunes of her Slopes Supermarket, she decided to be the first one out and last one in at home. And since that day, things have never been the same for all the inhabitants of the palace. If you remember my telling you the other day, Makena took over the running of the palace with zeal to an extent of almost dictating to us when, where and how to sleep. As I told you in the missive then, it was just a matter of time before Queen rose up to reclaim her territorial boundaries.
Now, you certainly know Makena, our long serving CPA (comptroller of palace affairs). If she could earn the moniker comptroller when Queen was present at the palace, what do you expect from her now that Queen is away in her supermarket? To properly act as the queen of the palace, she has been inviting her long-time boyfriend, Omosh, to come and ‘live’ at the palace.
And because things can happen, and they do happen, they happened at the palace. And were it not for my rapid response, some people would have lost their lives. For whatever reason, Queen went back to the palace when she was least expected. I do not know what she saw but my fertile imagination tells me that the two lovebirds were eating life with careless abandon. The sight must have blinded Queen. When she regained her eyesight, she lost her sanity and Makena and her partner in sweet crime saw darkness at midday.
“So you allowed this mannerless man of yours to come here and show my children bad manners?” Queen asked me when I picked her call. “My house will not be converted to Sodom and Gomorrah by your dirty men! My house is not an extension of that evil valley of yours!” she thundered.
Before I could ask her what she was talking about, she made the ominous pronouncement “Someone will die!” and hung up the phone.
I know my Queen’s sensibilities towards what she calls satanic situationships. She can go to any length to defend her position as the diocesan secretary of the mothers’ union. I therefore did not take her threats lightly and I jumped behind the wheels of my dear Passat, alias, Airbus. In its new mechanical health, I was at the palace in 10 minutes. Queen was standing at the door of the sitting room with a panga. “My house is not a lodging!” she shouted.
“Boss, I just passed by to bring the boys the old tyres they have been asking from me, please understand,” Omosh pleaded.
“Ni kweli, Uncle Omosh alituletea hizi taya tunaendesha,” said the firstborn son. And with those simple words from Queen’s favourite son and the family critic, she just left without a word.
I opened the door from outside and when Omosh was very sure that Queen was far from the house, he dashed out for dear life. “Asante boss,” he said as he started his motorcycle and rode away. I went back to work, or simply to Happy Valley. On arrival, Mrembo told me that Omosh had passed by, paid four full ones for me, and left, seemingly in a hurry.
Later that evening as I enjoyed Omosh’s forced generosity, I received an SMS from him, “Asante boss. Sisi tungekwisha kabisaaa.”
Immediately after that, I received another from Makena, “Thanks boss. Tafadhali nisaidie kuhakikisha sijafutwa kazi. I am soooo worried.”
I did not reply to either of them.
Nothing has happened to Makena so far and I am not expecting Queen to do anything at this time when she has to spend maximum time at the supermarket. But I am sure the two lovers will never attempt to hold their rendezvous at the palace again. Although they have been telling anyone who cares to listen how I am sat on by Queen, I am sure by now they have changed the narrative.
Wainaina Karanja lives in Nyandarua County. He is a teacher of English and writes stories to portray the reality of countryside life in Kenya as well as offer entertainment. [email protected]