Do you guys know Moses? The only right answer to this question is yes. Not the biblical chap who holds the world record for the longest road trip ever. Leave alone that one. I mean the other Moses. If you have ever read anything more than a text message, then you know Moses. Better yet, if you have ever written anything more than a text message, you most definitely know my boy Moses. Moses Kilolo. I like to call him Musa, when he is not listening. For the sake of this introduction, we will call him Musa. Because dude does not even read this blog. Except of course when I write about visiting Liddos and then all of a sudden, his antennae go up.
The thing about Musa is that I do not consider him my friend. Sure, I know the Kao songs he bursts into when there is too much blood in his Tusker circulatory system, but then sometimes when I sit alone and think about some of the things he does, I shake my head at the people I call friend. Listen, all my friends know that nobody calls me before 9am, unless they are dying in which case also, it is too late and there is really nothing I can do about it. So a few weeks ago I buzzed his phone concerning this amazing book tour that he and Jalada peeps are putting together – they are doing an East African tour from Nairobi – Kisumu – Busia – Kampala – Goa -Kigali – Arusha, then all the way back to Nairobi. Of course I was interested. But ondiek did not answer. He decided to call back the following day in the middle of the night bana. You know that kamoment when you have just started sleeping and the sleep is entering delicious, you can even feel a good dream coming (ahem!) and then all of a sudden bzzzzzz bzzzz bzzzzzz bzzzzzzzzzzz.
I woke up in a hurry thinking there was some sort of emergency, a life or death situation, that needed my immediate attention. Something like, I don’t know, some anonymous person just blessed me 100 ngwanyez I had not been expecting. Kumbe it is this product of Mwingi’s humus returning a call at 8am. EIGHT IN THE MORNING! Yaani this call was sooooooo important it had to be returned at midnight? Where is your shame, Musa? Why would you call me during the wee hours of the morning like that? Even Jaber woke up, eyes heavier Waiguru’s purse, mumbling angrily ati “Who is that calling you at this time of the night?”
For people who work late like me, morning starts at 9am. That is the time witches park their broomsticks. Do you know the other person who does not understand this concept? David Mabiria – my tech guy. He is the one who is constantly checking under the bonnet of this website. He is also my partner at the kiosk. You know what this Keroka-germinated son of man does? He sends me a message at midday, at about 11.30pm, saying ati he has just locked an interview for us. Elated, I ask him. “When?”
“Tomorrow. Citizen TV’s Power Breakfast Show. We need to be there at 7am.”
“Si for a bookstore interview? They have a tech innovation segment that features people like us.”
He must have thought I was asking what we were going to do.
“I have told you, it is for the breakfast show.”
“That is not a breakfast show. That is a midnight snack show. Who is the nightrunner hosting it?”
Of course! These Kano people have always been joma galagala malich.
Lakini you see, the bookstore is a do or die situation for me. It is my first born. A baby I am still trying to teach how to stand on its own two feet. And if that means that I will have to wake up at 6 am so that I can be at Citizen TV studios by 7 am, then sawa. I will do it.
And I did.
Only to be called William Magunga by the lady at the reception. Not her fault, by the way. That is all on David. After three years of friendship, three years of sorting my website and 376 days of business partnership, David of Arimathea has refused to acknowledge that there is an ’s’ in Williams. Or that my name is Magunga Williams. Magunga first, then Williams second.
Anyway, Madam Receptionist says that our segment starts in an hour, so we have to murder time at the cafe across the road. When we get there, the restaurant is not yet open officially, but there is a cleaner forming sweeping lines from the little lakes of alcohol from the previous night. He switches on the TV as we wait for our tea to be brought, and sure as hell, Willis Raburu and Joey Muthengi are live on set with some chef, teaching people how to make donuts. For a moment there, I wonder who ever wakes up at 7 am to learn how to make donuts – or worse still, who will be watching TV at 8 am to listen to some half toothed twenty-akia ni ang’o drone on and on about his online bookstore for African writers. Surely, si at that time night runners are sprinkling Best Regards at the end of client emails? Kose?
In between akina Willis teaching people how to make donuts, and some political panel discussing Donald Trump, I doze off once in a while.
David wakes me to say that our time is up. He is talking on his phone with a friend of his who is also coming to the show. Kumbe, we were two teams coming to talk to Willis about our love affairs with tech. We meet David’s friend at the entrance of Citizen TV carrying something inside a yellow PIL paperbag. I want to ask him what it is, but I am too sleepy. Sleepy and conscious about whether my breath has gone bad while I dozed off. This time, Madam Receptionist leads us into the studio control room. We walk inside, David trying to whisper something inside my ear. Inside, there are two people sitting in front of sijui how many screens, even though there are others that are showing KTN (that is cheating, right?) Behind them, on a platform, is another jamaa in a messianic white shirt and orange tie. If I had met him somewhere else, you’d have to chop off your little finger to convince me he is not an ODM aspirant for MCA. But since I did not, I will say the truth and admit he was the chief producer of that show. The big man who decides which guest gets to go on air.
Look, I do not know why this guy assumed that I was the head of this delegation. It must have been because I was wearing this brown Nigerian kaftan that I stole from my brother. (Stole is a strong word. Last borns cannot steal from their siblings. I merely borrowed it from him in 2014 when he was not paying attention and then forgot to remember to return it.) That cloth looks good on me, and that is why I wore it to the TV appearance. Plus what else says ‘seller of African books’ more than a man in a kitenge?
Let us assume one of the producers saw me in that attire and imagined that I was the oga. So he came up to me and said, “Look, you are the one who is going to speak more, sawa?”
“OK, we are going live in ten, we should mic you.”
“OK. So where is the chicken?” he asked.
This is where he lost me.
“The chicken, where is it?”
OK, why does this man think I came here with chicken? Or is chicken like code for something at Citizen TV? Because were this IEBC, I would understand in no uncertain terms what chicken meant. So I stared back at him in shock. Surely, do I look like I sell chicken? Oh shit! This Afrocinema kaftan was a fail – Chicken Man was not what I was going for when I wore it. Kumbe it made me look like a jagweno? Embarrassed, I turn to David and ask him what the hell is going on, and why am I being asked for gweno?
“Oh no no no no no! We are not the chicken people. We are the guys for the bookstore. This guy,” he turned and pointed at his friend who was carrying that big yellow paperbag, “is the chicken guy.”
I looked at the paperbag again. Then at David’s friend, trying to gauge whether he has ever served me at Sonford.
The dude goes over to the guy and asked, “Did you bring it?” and aki I swear my eyes swelled in anticipation, waiting to see this chicken that has been brought on TV as a technological advancement. An iChicken, ladies and gentlemen, and I was going to be among the first people to witness it live live.
David’s friend said. “No.”
“What do you mean?” the junior producer asked.
“My friend who has the chicken thing is on his way,”
“ Ako wapi?”
“ Tulikuwa na yeye. He is just here on Dennis Pritt in a taxi.”
“Kwani you did not come pamoja?”
“Hapana, me nilishuka nikapanda nduthi.” Aki when he turned his tongue to speak full on Kiswahili, his thick Murang’a accent came out with the spit. But that was not my concern at the moment. Me what I wanted to know was 1.) so if what he is carrying is not the chicken thing, then what is it and why is it here? and 2.) So he shukad from the taxi to climb a bodaboda so that he could be here on time, and then left his friend in traffic with the chicken thing that was supposed to be on the show?
The show was supposed to be on in a few. In my head I am thinking, then it will just be me and David talking about the kiosk. The ODM looking producer joined in and asked for the number of the other jamaa who had the chicken thing. By this time, we had no established that tech showcase was not actually a chicken chicken, but a revolutionary something that does something with chicken. Still very intriguing, and I wanted to see it.
Mr. Producer-In-Chief calls the dude with the laser-vision chicken to ask where he is and puts the dude on loud speaker. “Me niko hapa Hilton,” is what we heard. Unless they moved, Hilton is in the CBD, but our friend here could have sworn on his ancestors’ afterlife that they were together in a taxi just a few minutes ago on Dennis Pritt road in Kilimani.
Amidst the mayhem, the producer-in-chief turns to me and David and asks, “So you are the guys with gumboots?”
And at this point me I am now completely confused. What with the way these producers are pinning me with inventions I have never heard of? Ama I am the one who underestimates my capabilities?
“No. We are the guys with the online bookstore for African books.” David says.
At this point, I felt like a gate crasher to a party that was not going to happen because the guy who was to bring alcohol hadn’t shown up. Everyone at this ka-bash does not know me, so they assume that I am the guy who supposed to bring the booze. Where the hell is the booze, Magunga!!!!
Yeah, I had wasted my sleep waking up, is what I gathered. That is when it hit me that before going for the interview, I had caused a storm about it on social media. Because who ever goes on TV and does not brag about it? Nobody goes on TV to be humble, the same way no dude ever goes to the gym for six pack abs just to date one girl. I had to announce it. If I do not make proper use of such opportunities, I am an embarrassment to the entire Karuoth Clan. A pathetic oxymoron that should just go back to Alego to pull himself in the chest of the village of Rabar Market. My Facebook post was awake with early birds who were waiting to see me on TV. I did not know what to say to them. Like honestly, how do you explain all this?
On the way back home, David tried to explain what happened. The TV chaps do not know how to source for techprenuers. They outsource this job to person A who they know knows his way around these things – the jamaa with all the contacts. This person A belongs to a WhatsApp group for techies where David and his friends are also members. Person A goes there, announces that there is a slot for TV interview. Guys apply, he picks and then takes to his contact at the TV station. Contact then forwards this to the big producer who then gives them a nod. Person A is then the one who goes back and tell these techies to show up.
In this our case, the chicken and the gumboots guys are the ones who won that tender. But the gumboots guy couldn’t make it – he responded late. So Person A is in need of an urgent replacement for the gumboots guy, and David wins that slot. That is why he notified me at 11.00pm. Kumbe this change did not reach the producer.
In other words, TV production is Algebra in disguise. Find X. 20 marks.
I am not saying this is what happened. I am saying this what David must’ve told me. Perhaps I got it all wrong. God knows, I was too annoyed to even listen.
Of course we did not go live. I left as soon as the producer asked me about gumboots. This was last Thursday. When your morning is ruined like that, everything else is ruined. It does not matter whether you listen to Mungu Pekee many times how, it won’t change shit. So on that day, my blog went offline. Same to the bookstore. And when the bookstore is down, that is PRECISELY the time when EVERYONE wanted to order for books. Then client got furious because I had not approached her campaign properly. And with the website down, I could not access the blog to edit. Then my hosts said someone must have tried to hack me, or my website was eating too much space. Then Kasichana came to cook for me pilau and I was a terrible host in a foul mood. Then that day my devils followed me to the premier for KatiKati at Prestige Cinemas. After the movie, we stood at the parking booth trying to pay for parking and that machine refused my money – kept spitting it out the way God said he would do to lukewarm people. This week, I have missed meetings, I have gwarod Jaber’s car and did a good one on the bumper, she has swollen for me in the house, I tried to write and words refused, got into a fight with another client about payment, a premio cut me off on Valley Road – angry, I shouted and hooted and showed the finger to the driver, only to find out when he rolled his window that he is a profusely apologetic old reverend. I insulted a man of the cloth bwana.
To cap off this clusterfuck, the worst thing happened yesterday. We were at June Gachui’s event hapo Kenya National Theatre.Then there was this band clash, you see? Boy band versus Girl band. Then this jamaa on a electric guitar started playing Martin Luther….Omera, I jumped on to my feet shouting BLACK!. As I cheered for melanin, my phone fell and broke. Just imagine bana. My Samsung A8 is now as gone Duale’s hairline. So now I am mteja.
There is a jachien on my tail. I can even smell the vapours of hell around me, constantly sending all kinds of ill luck my way. Small small here, my nudes will leak themselves into the interwebs.
When I try to think where this devil picked me up, my mind takes me back to that Thursday morning. I should have slept. There is a reason why my blood does not like early mornings. That is when Lucifer’s minions prowl upon the earth, looking for someone to devour – someone to steal, kill and destroy.
As we drove back home from Citizen TV studios that morning, I asked David, just out of curiosity; “This ondiek with the boots. What exactly do his gumboots do?”
“They generate electricity when you walk.”
Good for him.
Lakini mimi I’d prefer gumboots that generate WiFi when I sleep.