A little old shed
The abomination would be it was his son’s thingira, but the old man was lost for care. Besides, Mahoya had grown out of his man- house and was back in the main house since Nyina Sami left, now three months.
It was a matter of convenience and comfort for his only son; eating from his mother’s kitchen and sleeping in the spare room of the main house.
His wife Nyina Mahoya had after all made a granary adjacent to the thingira and this somehow consoled the old man that the shed was no longer hallowed ground with a dark space inside it. The hoard of stuff it contained and its stuffiness did little to deter the old man’s Sunday night rendezvous.
The tinned roofing was a dirty brown colour and the sheaths of tin where the overlapping cheap metal had once been woven gaped with uneven edges of serrated crooked patterns where missing flattened bottle tops and nails had once passed, leaving a light brown hue against the chocolate brown.
But the shed had been a respectable coming of age house and had even boasted a somewhat demure electric light installation aided by an old car battery courtesy of Mahoya’s best friend.
Kamwangi was a whiz kid and an above average handyman. That he fitted the village Chief’s wife’s broiler- chicken pen lighting system was so impressive that the Chief sponsored him for a two year electrical course at a mid level college in Nyeri town.
But the ingenious handiwork of Kamwangi had been the brunt of Mahoya’s wife’s fury. It was the day she packed her belongings, and a few things which were not hers, that would extinguish any rebuttals. She strapped little Sami on her back, and took a bulging black bag with her.
It wasn’t a fancy bag; the zip had malfunctioned and with one of her crotchet sofa pieces serving as a covering – the gitambara corners neatly tucked where the zipper ought to have closed.
That same day, Mahoya’s return in the dead of night was marked by some loud and bitter cursing of the thieving ways of his wife. His old car battery was missing and so was the wiring system of his thingira. Mahoya had sworn to have his dowry installment back and his man- house’s lighting system back on.
Now the old man’s initial feelings of guilt had since worn off, perhaps with time and repeated action. He had entered into an oblivious state of routine that quietly and fittingly had become a weekly ritual that all began the day he walked home with Mama Njeri, and it was the first time in the old man’s recollection, he ever spoke to the woman.
It had rained heavily on the material night and it was way past ten, Mahoya’s ingrained time to start onward home.
NjeriJo Wines and Spirits, was aptly… if not inappropriately named, just like any other drinking den at Mutero market, after its owner followed by the ‘wines and spirits,’ ‘bar’ or ‘pub’ tag depending on what type of alcohol was sold there.
NjeriJo was a Makuti joint with several Christmas tree lights (from before) wound round its thatching. It was the newest lure with a contrived name that happened to sound better than the ones that backfired which included the likes of BenRose Day & Night Bar, Davestar Bar and Josemaria Pub and PetJam (Petronilla and James) Wines and Spirits.
But it was in such dens that Rwathia’s unbridled underbelly, an unparallel dawn of his new drinking habit, was eventually born.