State Performer

1

You receive a call that the Group CEO of this big company you work for will be in the country tomorrow. He is scheduled to chair a board meeting before addressing a planned media briefing in the afternoon. Both events will be held at kempinski.

This is supposed to be good news. You are the assistant PR guy at the company and your boss runs to you whenever he needs something done urgently. You have however just started your leave, it’s a weekend and this call means there is work to be done. There is therefore nothing good in such a call.

Your boss requests you to suspend your leave (na ilianza tu jana). He asks you to ensure that company banners and other branding materials are well set up at kempinski before the meeting tomorrow in the morning. He uses that soft tone that tells you how he really needs you to pull this one through. He trusts you but still needs you to assure him that you will do it. Kind of like when a lady asks, “…do you really love me?” I gatchu you!” you say and he hangs up.

It’s a red letter blue sky Saturday afternoon. Manchester united is playing Chelsea at 5pm. I visit my family in Limuru with the intention that David (my brother, a Chelsea fan) and I will watch the match together. This is going to be a game of might so we have to wrestle through every minute of the mouthwatering clash together. It’s said that in sports, a derby is better enjoyed when rivals are watching together. Moreover, this match brings more excitement than a derby does.

Tension builds up every minute an advert plays on Super-sport. But two hours before kickoff, the call comes. My boss needs me to do this huge favor as he calls it.

“Bro! Inabidi nifike tao!” I tell David

Hahaha! Acha ufala! Kalisha gwado uone vile tunawanyehea mabao!” He responds sarcastically. I almost want to slap him but I try to hold myself together.

Kuna vile boss wangu anadai I urgently sort out some things in the office.” I tell him

Mwambie uko leave! You can always sort them out ukirudi job!”

“Hehe what part of urgently don’t you understand?”

“Buda! najua umeingiza maji ukaona ujitoe you go watch this game kwa baesa!” David says as he laughs. I Smile and leave without responding.

To handle some people, you at times need to operate at a higher level than them. You have to create an office in your head, make yourself the boss and offer them office assistant or secretary jobs. That way, you always have control over them. Take David for instance. My leaving left him thinking that I had preferred to watch the game in a bar. Such people who always have an idea or a plan of the things I want to do (and there are many people like him out there), I would create an office in my head and make them my secretaries. They can always check my diary and update me whenever I forget to do something. “Mbai, leo huendi luu?” they can ask me when they notice I need to help myself or they can even tell me “call bae umgotee! Mwambie you have missed her!” When someone heads a department in my head, I will at least keep reminding myself that I am the boss and I can shut them or fire them whenever they propose things I never planned or signed for.

I am busy trying to think about why I even picked that call in the first place and David decides to assume nahepa ni-watch game kwa bar! Do I even know a bar in town where I can watch a soccer match at peace? Maybe if I knew one, I would be there when my boss called. So he would have found me mteja or the place would be so noisy that I when he called I would be like “…niko kwa mat let me call you back shortly!” He would respond with an okay. And I would hang up and not call back until the next day. But haithuru!

I get to the stage and a matatu is already there. There are no nganyas in Kabuku, Limuru. We use the 14 sitter matatus and the specific route I go to has around four or five of them only.  Going to town (Nairobi) may be a ‘matatu waiting process at times.  The population that commutes to town from the area on a daily basis is low so if there happens to be more than one matatu at the stage, the touts will from time to time engage passengers in a tug of war. One tout can pull your hand towards the left, another can at the same time pull your bag (if you have any) towards the right and your head on the other side can end up in the matatu at the center. At times, people are literary carried into a matatu. Luckily for me, there was only one matatu and I ended up on the front seat.

It was the only seat left and this tout kept calling me to take it as if he was to get an award if I obliged. “Mbai! Mbai! Tunataka mtu mmoja! Mtu mmoja tu Mbai! Ata kama hauna shugli tao kuja tu uende! Imebaki kiti yako pekee!”

I held the knob at the door (ile hukua hapo juu enye mtu hushikilia especially akiwa kwa gari ya wenyewe), put my right foot in the matatu and catapulted my behind towards the seat. I felt like a boss. You know that feeling when you get to the stage, board a matatu and immediately the journey starts? Like they were just waiting for you! The tout closes the door from outside and the matatu starts moving.  I stretch my legs to fit the space at the front, look at my shoes as though to ensure they are clean and as my head turn up to look forward, my eyes meet her legs. Brown! Spotless! No stretch marks! Not hairy! Just nice brown beautiful legs! And while we men don’t always attach nice brown beautiful legs to women with curves, I somehow felt the owner of these legs must have a body like rolling hills made of smooth skin.

I smile, turn my head to look at her and Boom! There she was looking back at me. I felt my balls twitch. I wanted to look down, stretch my hand and scratch but no! For the first time in my life, it felt like a woman was creating an office in her head, coming up with a ‘matatu-stocker position’ and hiring me as the head of the department. I felt stupid. Stupid for having picked that call in the first place. A few minutes ago, someone thought I was escaping to go watch the big match in a bar and now here I am here feeling like a brat in the presence of the most beautiful lady I have met around Kabuku! I wonder if David felt the same thing I am feeling when I created an office for him in my head earlier.

Men find strength in fighting difficulties. But I am not just a man. I am a man men can look up to! In Kamba land, (and I am not a Kao) the name Mbai means clan. That means if men find strength in fighting difficulties; imagine what the clan in me finds in facing the difficulties of telling a beautiful girl “I wasn’t staring, admiring and falling for your nice brown beautiful legs!”

Huyu madam ni mrembo sana!” the driver pointed out. He must have noticed boy child was on a frying pan. The girl with nice brown beautiful legs smiled and looked at the driver. She appreciated the compliment. In that instant, I felt relieved.

Kwanza miguu zake!” I said pointing at her legs. She wore a black skirt the length of her knees so you could see every piece of her skin between her hills and slightly above her knees.

“Ziko na nini?” she asked with a creepy smile. You know how you creatively compliment a Nairobi lady and she acts as though it’s the first time she is getting that compliment? (ati ndio usisitize!)

I wanted to tell her how naeza mwaga ice cream on top of her nice brown beautiful legs and how I would lick it from there but we had just met! The driver had helped us kill off the tension and there was no office or department being created in her head anymore. My time as the head, matatu stocker, had come to an end. In front of me was an opportunity to add a girl with nice brown beautiful legs to my list of beautiful friends. She would be the first beautiful friend with beautiful legs. Most beautiful girls are not always walking on beautiful legs and not all beautiful legs carry beautiful girls. This one was both. I come from the school that teaches how beautiful legs carry a lot of beautiful goodies, bottom to top and vice versa.

It took around 45 minutes to get to town, from Kabuku. Within that time, an office had been created and destroyed, new friendship had sparked up laughter and best of all, a man had learned that the nice brown beautiful legs carried the head, mind and heart of a powerful actress. We parted ways when we got to town. I had this meeting that I needed to go set up and she had to go do whatever it is that ladies with nice brown beautiful legs do when they come to town. I wasn’t thinking about the football match anymore or wishing my boss hadn’t called. In fact, I was getting tempted to call him and say something like “…hey boss, thanks for asking me to come do this…!” they say that everything happens for a reason and for every negative thing, there are many positives.

And while we did exchange contacts with the lady with nice brown beautiful legs, we hardly talk. We haven’t met in a long time either as none of us frequents Kabuku. At times, like now when memories of her cross my mind like they are doing now, I just laugh (hehe!) Like seriously, I just laugh memories of her for no good reason. Especially considering the circumstances under which we met!

People come into our lives for a reason for sure but is it still a valid reason when you meet someone who constantly acts to imaginary people? Naomi is a state performer I swear. The last time we spoke I was like “…tell me something crazy about yourself!” She thought for a while then said “…Mbai, you know at times when I feel like am walking aimlessly in town, I will just pretend I am on a phone call!”

Naomi argues that someone is always watching every little thing you do so when your opportunity to shine comes; you’ve got to take it. I wonder how many phone calls we will witness when Naomi takes to the big stage on 7th April for The Lady in Red

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