Smelly Doppleganger

Good Lord! It is 11.20pm, I swore to myself that I would be in bed by ten showered and cosy. Here I am typing away wondering what in the world I am going to write about. My back hurts, it has been such a long day and it seems like it is going to get longer.

I haven’t written to you in a long time so maybe I should fill you in on what has been going on with me the last couple of months. It has been a rough year, for some reason people don’t seem to want to pay, so I have been doing this dance with my landlord, the debt is building. Any cheque I get now goes straight in to clearing that mess.

You know the last time we spoke I told you that at times, more often than not, I feel that I have experienced more pain and disaster since I set foot in this country right? I don’t hate it, I just feel like things weren’t meant to work out for me. OK, maybe I am exaggerating but you know where I coming from? We have had this conversation a gazillion times.

Anyway, so a few days ago I was walking in the CBD minding my own business when out of nowhere my eyes began to sting, heck if you have been in the Nairobi CBD around the “commoners” streets you know what that means. The city council officers are around with the cops; the tag team of civilian harassment.

I got caught up in the melee of teargas, coughing, screaming, sacks tossed on peoples backs running with their wares leaving a trail of where they were headed. I did what I did, I stood still coughing, to avoid being confused for a hawker or loiterer or whatever crappy charge they like to slap people with.

But alas! Everyone within a meter radius of the melee was whisked in a smelly council van and charged for loitering. I shouldn’t have been surprised, it is January after all, the dossers needed early year bribes to get them through the month. Well a crappy pay of US $150 can’t even sort out rent and meals.

Anyway so there I was awaiting to be charged and this really smelly beggar walks up to me and calls me by ALL my names. Yeah! The names that are a document in itself, I was stunned. Who was he? He called me by ALL my names again. I spoke to him in Luo and he nodded. His stench was choking me. I asked him who he was and as usual, miros, he was offended.

And in the midst of his reprimand, when he waved his hand I froze. I knew those hands any day. And it scared me senseless. There was no way, 20 odd years, later that that smelly man would be my dad. He looked like a skinny spitting image of my father. I am still confused trying to wrap my head around him. How could this man look like my father, know me by my name know and ask for every one of my close relatives. I was so confused.

I was charged and paid my fine of 1,000 shillings for loitering in the council court, but I am still baffled how that man looked like my father’s doppelganger. How? What in the world is going on?


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