Guy in a white T
- October 18, 2018
AFTER spending the final day of the year swallowing unchristian liquids and losing his girlfriend, the squat, chubby fellow with a rogue beard staggered into the church, a gigantic face of Tupac Shakur grinning lopsidedly from his oversize, white T-Shirt.
He stopped close to the doorway where he clung onto the last bench, wobbling like a water balloon in an earthquake.
A large patch on top of his head that was devoid of hair glittered the Christmas lights strung around the Church walls like an upturned disco bulb.
It was hard to tell what had struck him harder; the bright lighting or decibels of praise and worship from the fervent crusaders. The New Year was just an hour old, but it was already drowning from the sweat of animated kesha-goers. Nothing short of a catastrophe could stop that much passion, so it seemed.
Yet, the plump bloke in a white T did.
Not that his vision was to begin the new year with an appointment at the pastors. Nope! His dreams had not sweetened to the point of wishing deliverance from the bitter liquid or –his sinful ways.
His mission for the night was to regain custody of his supposed girl, Stella, who he seemed certain was lost among the found flock worshipping in wild abandon. And he was determined to take her home.
Presently, the stout guest started forward, stumbling awkwardly on his fluid legs. His arms floundered in the air wildly as he desperately fought off some invisible rope that was dragging him to the left. The Crusaders at the back scurried between the benches to avoid getting smothered by the run-away boozer.
His trajectory was arrested by a kindred bench on which he crashed, heaving from exertion and relief. His bloodshot eyes surveyed the holy space around him for a while, his right hand immersed in a furious scratch inside his checked trousers.
All over sudden, he engaged his yapper and offloaded a “Steeella…” so loud and heavy the flock was stumped into instant silence. Every neck swivelled, craning to establish the source of a disruption of such magnificence.
I bet most churches facing a similar predicament would focus every available ray of prayer on the lost sheep.
“The prodigal son has been directed home by God, so let’s all pray…” the pastor would most likely declare, and lead the faithful into a series of “Thank-you-Jesuses”, “shindwes” and frenzied “Shagalabagala….brrrrrcaaashates”.
They would probably succeed in confusing a confession out of the prodigal son’s foggy brain, which would be followed by an acceptance of salvation. And in all alcoholic sense, poor bugger would bawl inconsolably after realising how close he had been to eternal damnation.
A prayer partner would be sought for him pronto, who he would instantly love with all his heart and insist they call each other ‘brother’. After hugging every shoulder into a mess of tears, drool and mucus, he would stagger home, the gospel tunes belting from his mouth only interrupted by the occasional burp and road-side stops to relieve an overworked bladder.
Bugger would wake up the following morning hangover like a monkey on weed, with a vague recollection of the sacred vows of the night before. The memories may become clearer with every refill of the muratina mug –or never at all. He would probably never step in that church again. That’s how the ideal situation would work out, but on this New Year’s Eve, the situation was far from ideal.
And that’s because chubby Mr Steella had made a catastrophic miscalculation in the choice of church in which to take his drunken shenanigans. The faithful were regular Christians, so they weren’t the problem. The pastor, being a regular clergy, was also not the issue. Mutongoria was!
Now, Mutongoria was not a pastor. He was not even the confounded chairman. He was a doctor; a medical officer of the white coats, syringes and stethoscopes kind. In him, the villagers confided on different ailments that befell them, including embarrassing ones like the pesky Gonorrhoea and impotence.
Because Mutongoria was too serious and learned a man to whisper in people’s ears, he was a safe haven for their “dirty little secrets”. But that was also not Mr Stella’s undoing.
His misfortune lay in Mutongoria’s personality. Baba Kawira, as he was also referred to on account of his first-born daughter, was a fearful control freak and a ruthless disciplinarian.
He was the self-appointed bouncer during keshas. He patrolled the church grounds, his three-battery torch washing over the dewy glass like a floodlight and bringing many a teenagers’ unchristian intentions to a scampering, sometimes painful end.
He was not towering as height goes, but his heavyset build relayed the strength of a buffalo. His temper was as equally infamous.
And sadly for Mr Stella, Mutongoria didn’t seem to regard prayer that highly as a remedy for booze-induced bad manners. Still, he should have recognised the warning signs, especially the blaze in Mutongoria’s eyes. No one missed it. Probably the bright lighting was still blinding him. Or Stella’s boyfriend was too drunk to care –or both.
In a rare show of restraint, Mutongoria, approaching from the altar ordered the miscreant to leave the House of God immediately and very silently, otherwise he would dig his teeth from the nearby coffee plantation.
Baba Kawira was chewing on his lower lip. Everyone knew that was a dreadful sign. Bloodshed is what almost always followed that nibbling –unless the offending ‘thing’ wasn’t living.
But Mr Stella was relentless. His quest for Stella was unstoppable.
“Steeeellah…Steeeelllah…” The slurred roar reverberated through the dead-silent church like a drum roll in a cave. Mr Stella paused to stick a crumpled stump of cigarette in his mouth then shoved it back in his pocket when he couldn’t find a lighter.
ALSO READ: Let men drink when still boys…
The isle had magically cleared of frenzied worshippers, who shoved and squeezed between the rows of brown benches as the two antagonists closed the gap between them.
There was a gasp as Mr Stella stumbled on an imaginary log and stumbled forward clumsily. Just as it seemed gravity was certain to triumph, the back of yet another bench went to his rescue, onto which he hang panting in relief.
“Nataka…burp…bibi yangu…burp…,” he started, an index finger wiggling at the advancing dynamite of charged testosterone.
He then tilted his head at an angle calculated for volume and unleashed the majestic power of his gifted vocals, “Steeeeellah…”
A few benches away, Mutongoria snapped.
In an instant, the shine of aluminium flashed through the air as the spinning projectile hurtled towards the inebriate. The torch slammed into the defiant kisser like a rock against glass and disintegrated. The Eveready batteries cluttered to the concrete floor and each struck for the nearest bench as Mutongoria closed the few steps to his quarry.
Stella’s suitor stood in frozen shock, his bloodied mouth open in bewildered amazement. He was the only one surprised by the outcome of his decisions.
Suddenly, his eyes popped wide open, then he let out a sickeningly guttural groan; like someone had kicked him in the nuts. But that was because Baba Kawira had just smashed a cowboy boot into the romantic’s baby makers.
Mr Stella sunk to his knees clutching at his testis with both hands. He was a man in spectacular discomfort. Sweat ran down his contorted face in torrents. The demons must be struggling to abandon his poor soul, I thought.
Before he could say “exorcise”, however, the fellow was back on his feet, half-walking, half-running towards the door. Mutongoria’s hand was buried inside the bloke’s shirt and whatever part of his chubby body he was holding, bugger had become a puppet.
By the time they disappeared into the darkness of the night, Mr Stella was soberer than the guy leading praise and worship.
Mutongoria reappeared 20 minutes later and resumed his patrols. But he didn’t have to. The shirt on him might have been fresh, and the torch in his hand new.
But everyone knew everything else about him was unchanged. And that seemed to have cured all the lust any amorous youths may have been stocking.
It was, perhaps, the loneliest half of a kesha night, the church grounds ever had…