I do not remember how it came to be that I no longer had the buttons on my school shorts. I just did not have them anymore, and there was no way I was telling Karua that I had spoiled my newly bought school uniform. Not if I wanted her sitting opposite two burly police officers in Kondele Police Station, being interrogated for murder.
“Tell us again, how did it happen.”
“I don’t know how it happened. It all happened so fast.”
“We dusted your son’s cheeks, Mrs. Karua, and found several traces of your fingerprints. Preliminary reports say that he suffered excess trauma on the left cheek.”
“I have told you all I have to say. I think I will call my lawyer now.”
“There is no need for that, unless you are guilty.”
“Well, I have told you. He came home from school that evening and said that he had spoiled his shorts. Shorts I bought just a week ago. So I slapped him.”
Then she would be tried and convicted for manslaughter, with her right hand as Exhibit A- and the press would label her a child killer. But still, I wouldn’t have new school shorts. So what’s the point?
I decided to solve it myself. I took cellotape, wrapped it around my shorts and went to school. During break time, my class teacher noticed my unusual belt, and called me aside. This was St. Andrews Boarding and Day Primary School in Kisumu. She had my brother Deogratias summoned from Class 4 Red to her class, and started asking him questions.
“Are your parents around?”
“Are they getting a divorce?”
“What is a divorce?”
“Uhm, like is your father cheating on your mother and now they have to separate?”
“I know what a divorce is jaber, that was lost sarcasm. Anyway, they are not getting a divorce. Ichieni?”
“How about finances?”
“Well, my dad is a taxman and my mom is an administrator at Maseno University.”
“So everything is fine at home?”
“Yes. Excuse me, where are you going with this line of questioning?”
She lifted my cardigan “Then how would you explain this?”
Deogratias looked at me, embarrassed. Through his eyes I could read the disappointment and thoughts floating around his head. Him asking God why He had to be the one with a moron for a small brother, and God stealing a line from Spiderman “Son, with great gifts come great responsibility.”
They tried to organize for one of the boarding pupils to loan me a pair of shorts, but there was nobody willing. So my genius class teacher got me a leso that I tied around my waist, as she sewed buttons on my shorts.
I pleaded with Deo not to sell me out to Karua. I explained to him that it was for our own good – otherwise we would be those kids who visit their mums in prison every weekend. But he wouldn’t listen.
As soon as Karua got home, his mouth began running.
You see, Deo was always the snitch sibling. The kind who cannot keep a secret chini ya maji. When Nimrod used to record episodes of The Beat for his girlfriends using Karua’s video cassettes, Deo would report to Karua the second she got home. When my sister Regina sneaked out at night after supper to go dancing at Club Kimwa, he was the one that showed Karua which window she crawled back in with. And while I was easily bribed with roadside chips and samosas to shut my hole, Deo wore his integrity like an expensive suit.
But not to me. That day he must have had enough of me. He must have felt like something had to be done before my situation got out of hand. He usually covered for me during life threatening situations – like when I broke Karua’s flower vase, visitor plates, or when I lost my pencil for the eighth time that week. And as life went by, he made my bed for a week when I joined Form One. Sent me money when I was broke in campus. And now, as a grown bachelor, he still brings me food; rabbit meat.
I do not know how to cook rabbit meat. It just sits inside my fridge, gathering ice.
The meat is from his rabbit farm in Embakasi. I am not sure it is a good idea to write about this, because he might not be filing his tax returns – and by God, I hope there is no kanjo who reads my blog.
About his rabbit farm. He started it after campus, from which he graduated with a First Class in Bachelor of Commerce, Finance Major (Accounting Minor). He is also a CPA (K)- he read for his CPAs alone, self taught from Section 2 to Section 6. I also tried doing these CPAs back when I thought education is about filling your head and piling documents. I only got to Section 3 where I stalled because of this hideous course called Financial Reporting.
Naturally, given his brilliant academic record, my mother imagined that he was going to end up in a swanky office somewhere where she would have to book an appointment to see him. Karua craves that kind of thing. Even though we all know she would rather skin a dolphin than set up an appointment to speak to her son. She would just show up and harass the wits out of that secretary.
As it turns out, Deo and I have this uncanny ability to spike my mother’s blood pressure. He said no. That he would use his knowledge to run his own business. She gets mad as a meat axe every time she sees her son, a First Class alumnus of Strathmore University, slashing her compound in Madaraka Estate for vegetation that he uses as bedding for his rabbits.
It must be a curse, she says. There is no way two of her brightest children would lose their way like that. We were supposed to be the normal ones. By now, Deo should be a banker somewhere, or a Financial Analyst, and I should be appearing on TV alongside Ahmednassir, talking endlessly- spewing sections of the Constitution to citizens who simply do not care a hang about it.
For two years, Deo has been slaving away to give his Meat The Rabbit firm its legs. The first year, after rearing about thirty, his farm was raided. By rats. What the rats did was that they climbed up the hatches and attacked the rabbits. They were young rabbits, barely seven months old. These rats pounced on the poor things, and literally sucked their brains out. Like vampires. The following morning Deo woke up for find almost two dozen of his rabbits lying in blood, with holes on their heads.
If there was a time when he would have given up on this business, this was it. But he didn’t. He started over. Just like he did with CPA, he taught himself how to breed rabbits. From YouTube and Google.
According to Deo, he now has pure and cross breeds of Californian, New Zealand and Flemish Giant rabbits. To me, they are just rabbits. Very fat rabbits. The fat that needs to watch its weight. Which is kind of funny because rabbits do not eat sirloin steak from Kaldis and then wash it down with Tusker. They eat vegetables, right?
I once saw him breeding a Californian and a Flemish Giant. Now, Flemish Giants are the male and they are huge. So to me I expected it to have a little more character when mating with the California lady. You know, like take a little time with foreplay. But that beast just mounted the little Miss Thing from the States, pumped for a couple of minutes, then they both let out these primal shrieking sounds. Mr. Flemish was probably asking Ms. California in a thick Belgian accent Who’s Your Daddy! And her screaming Oh Flem. Where did you learn to do that? And Mr. Flemish asking Just answer the damn questiooon! WHO IS YOUR PAPA!
Then Mr. Flemish fell on his back, panting hysterically, feeling good about himself.
Half an hour later, it was back on. Stroking Ms America here with those rapid shafts he is born to deliver. It was nice to put a performance to the idiom “sexing like bunnies.” I felt proud of him. My nigger!
I can just imagine the Kiwi bunny complaining to the two to keep the lid on their lovemaking. “Good on ya Flem. But keep it down, will ya mate. My kid’s asleep- I don’t want him hearing your blah’dy groans.”
This past week, on my birthday no less, Deo got a ka-deal with some restaurant in town. It is his first gig. It is a try out. He sent them samples of his produce so that they see how it is received. If it works well, he will be delivering his bunny meat to them.
Perhaps then Karua will understand why her First Class son is always covered in fur, sometimes reeking of bunny piss. It’s called Ukulima Biashara. Agriculture does have a place in our current society. Chaps at CropNuts make sure of it. Most people think that you need to go to shagz in order to be a farmer. Well, that is not entirely true. Another lie is that farmers are washamba. That is idiotic. And even if they are, it’s irrelevant because their hands feed us. Without them we starve, wither and die. That is why on the eighth day of creation, God looked down at his paradise and realized that it needed a caretaker. So He made a farmer.
My fingers are crossed for Deo. I hope he gets the gig. Then he will grow big and fast enough to use stuff like Farm inputs directory to connect him with other suppliers, and grow even bigger. Perhaps he might get that swanky office Karua wishes for after all.
Meanwhile, I have rabbit meat in my fridge. Anyone with recipes?