It is the chilly season and as is the norm, Harold’s visitors can barely expect a warm welcome. He had many of them at the end last week, as villagers came to seek permission to watch the finals of the Euro 2020 at his church, Harold Assembly of Holy Associates (HAHA), where we have the village’s only TV.
There was wild protestation when he refused fans into his church, saying that the role of fans should be to make a hot place cool and that no one wanted the church colder than it already was. It was sweet justice when the team he was supporting, England, lost.
The Met Department last week and announced there would be unprecedented cold in Gitegi for at least two months. In case you did not know, Gitegi was colonised by Greenland, with the colonialists introducing winter to our gullible bunch of collaborators.
We are yet to extricate ourselves from their ways and until we amend our constitution, this biting cold will be upon us. But as the euphoria that came with Italy winning the Euro and Argentina finally winning Lionel Messi the Copa America swept through the village, wives and girlfriends started disappearing in the July mist.
Harold has not yet recovered from Sue’s unexpected disappearance to Naivasha three weekends ago during the Safari Rally. On Wednesday, on the day we usually have prayers, he went to Sue’s to understand what had taken her to a town where international and local hyenas had gathered for a weekend of partying and debauchery, and to also have a swig of his favourite muratina. To his disappointment, Sue was nowhere to be found.
I had anticipated that Harold confronting Sue would lead to an argument that might boil over into a fight, and so had written him a poem on a wee piece of paper that he would give her just in case she caused trouble. “You rock, and when you melt in my concern, then you can boil over and erupt, and you will remain as hot as always because you are my lava.”
Harold did not get a chance to use my poetic masterclass. Sue was gone! When he came back dejected, I reminded him that this disappearance is a universal problem and that the only reason Sue had disappeared was that the mist was too heavy to see her. “I see,” he said, and I disputed. He could not see, and all because the mist, both mental and atmospheric, could not allow him.
In the cold weather, Harold himself has been receiving prayer requests from dejected congregants, some asking to just have warmth from the heavens in their houses while the rest complain that their spouses have gone cold on them and have mastered the disappearing act.
Some have been appalled to hear him invoke the presence of the Holy Ghost in his prayers and cannot believe that he is not the reason why their spouses are ghosting them.
But what do you do when it is the barber’s turn to have his hair shorn and there is no one else quite as skilled as the barber himself to carry out the job?
We could not put up those “WANTED” posters; no one would see them in the mist. Plus, we did not need to. Everyone in the village knows Sue and knows where she belongs. Persons of goodwill would blow her cover once they saw her.
Harold stopped sneaking into the church as the Euros came to a close and his efforts were concentrated on looking for Sue.
It was also baffling that all her customers at the watering hole were nowhere to be seen even during peak hours. As far as we knew, there had not been complaints even from some of the most famous addicts in the village. As Sue had disappeared, so had they.
We started pursuing the drunks with an aim of establishing where Sue might be. When nothing seemed to be working, I developed an idea for Harold. Why not go to church and pray that the search gets successful, or that Sue miraculously resurfaces?
To church went Harold, and in the church was the solution. There, seated in front of the TV, with a fire lit to warm them, and the offertory basket full of the coins they had paid her as a fee for binge-watching and wining, was Sue and her customers, who we had missed in the mist.
Harold could not do anything about sheep that were seeking warmth and comfort in the house of their father, especially not when they, upon seeing him, broke into song and dance.
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