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Mum’s the word

By Joseph Maina | March 30th 2014

By Joseph Maina

Last week was the comptroller’s turn to receive chama money, and for her dream of buying fancy utensils to finally came true. Even before the ink had dried on her cheque, she was pushing a trolley-load of utensils at the supermarket. Among her new acquisitions was a big, pricey flask, reserved for important occasions.

Like I have told you before, I have a few things in common with King Midas, which is to say I like to touch things in my house. The problem is that most things I touch turn into trouble.

On this particular day, I caught myself toying with the precious flask in my comptroller’s absence. Alas! It didn’t take long before the treasured thermos slipped from my wobbly fingers, and KABOOM!

I don’t need to tell you how mortified I was. Remember that moron who lit a cigarette next to a fuel tanker in Sach Ang'wan? I felt like him.

To forestall further trouble, I hastily assembled my mboys, little Tiffany and the housegirl for an impromptu Kamukunji, during which I swore them to silence.

“Not a word to your mother,” I warned, praying the comptroller would not notice the absence of her precious gem, which I planned to replace once I got some money.

In the meantime, I needed everyone to keep their mouth shut. Well, that didn’t happen. Over dinner that evening, it became clear that someone had let the proverbial cat out of the bag.

Baba Jim,” the comptroller started sternly, while training her fiery eyeballs in my general direction. “Ulifanya nini na kibuyu yangu?

“Er, which flask, dear?” I stammered, feigning ignorance.

“You know what I’m talking about,” she pressed, ignoring the thin bead of sweat trickling down my brow.

To my delight, her phone rang just then and she excused herself to answer it. I badly wanted to know the Judas Iscariot in the room.

Naturally, my prime suspect was Tiffany. As you know, I am king in my five-year-old angel’s world, and she adores me to bits. But Tiffany can easily switch from daddy’s goody-goody sycophant to whistleblower when I do something kooky. Her little mouth goes into autopilot mode without notice, opening one Pandora’s box after another. Many are the times she has landed me in trouble without knowing it.

Then we have my mboys, whom I confronted as soon as the comptroller was out of earshot.

“Who sold me out?” I barked in my Kiganjo tone.

It is during such times that I wish Norton could invent a special antivirus that would help parents, teachers and police officers to pick out liars.

Haki Daddy sio mimi nilikukinda,” Russell piped, while making a sign of the cross on his forehead.

Jimmy’s defence was more hysterical. “Walahi Daddy mimi siwezi kukuseti,” he declared, with all the mechanical sincerity of a Kenya Police recruit taking the oath during a passing out parade.

The lads then sat back and pelted me with blank stares, which was not surprising. You see, my mboys would never own up to their mistakes even if you waved a court order in their faces.

To be fair though, flasks do not fall within Jimmy’s sphere of interest, as all he cares about is loud music, movies and the occasional heavy meal. Still, one can never tell with that boy, as he can be terribly secretive. Sometimes, I think even his right hand does not know what the left one is doing. I don’t trust Jimmy, and I trust his younger brother even less.


And then there is our housegirl, Maggy, aka Miss Mboch, aka the deejay who spins our plates and related disks in the kitchen.  Experience has taught me that Maggy is a walking tabloid magazine, which is to say I should not have trusted her in the first place. When it comes to keeping secrets, the girl is rich with disappointment.

Happily, the matter was resolved after I promised to replace the flask later this month. Still, I wanted to know whose big mouth had landed me in this mess. I know Mama Jimmy does not own a crystal ball, so everyone remains a prime suspect. Meanwhile, Baba Jimmy will no longer trust anyone in his hacienda.

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