Our house is now a den of thieves

A stint in hell ensues when Makini dares question household budget

In Summary

• Who needs luxuries when vermin are eating us out of home?


In life, there are certain signs – omens, really – that forebode imminent events. A drawn bow is a sign that an arrow is about to fly through the air. If you are Wa Mutua (the old man from my village who was quite easily 300 years old), you felt the rain in your bones. And bones never lied. And if your spouse squares up to you with her arms akimbo, you better be prepared for a stint in hell.

“Makini,” my wife Sgt Sophia says in a voice that spells trouble, “I can’t run a house like this.”

“What’s the matter, dear?” I say, hoping to bring down the temperature.

“We have nothing. Nothing! We’re practically broke.”

“I don’t understand. We have everything we need. I’ve brought in shopping like twice this week already. Which reminds me… Just how much are we eating? We have to be gluttons to go through food this quick.”

She shakes her head. “It’s not just food. We’re running out of stuff like very fast. All your boxer shorts have holes in them and I’m down to my last bra.”

Shocked, I say, “What? Boxer shorts?”

“Shirts, too. Vests, jackets, jeans... Holes everywhere. I’ve tried mending them but you’d look like you’re wearing a quilt. You need to step up with your providing.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Oh, don’t play stupid with me, Makini. When I took over this house, I found not even a lick of salt. Whoever was here before me must have raided the coffers before leaving.”

“What are you talking about? There was no one before you. It’s always been you and you found my house in working order. I know I had enough boxer shorts.”

She rolls her eyes so much I fear they might disappear inside her head forever. “Look, husband, it’s time you tightened your belt. Things have to change around here. I can’t be a wife in a failing house.”

“But…” Running out of ammo, I pick up one of the victim shirts. “I mean, before we rush into anything, shouldn’t we find the cause of the problem and fix it?”

Her arms go back akimbo. “Is that so? And what are we supposed to do in the meantime? The unga you brought yesterday has vanished. Unless you don’t plan on eating anymore…”

“Wait!” I hold up the shirt. “I recognise these tears.”

“You do?” It’s more of an accusation than surprise.

“The big ones are rat bites, and the small ones were made by cockroaches. Godzilla roaches by the look of it.”

Sophia makes a face as if I just claimed credit for discovering penicillin. “You don’t say. Are you suggesting I should go discuss this with vermin?”

I blink several times like the idiot I’m about to sound like. “Uhm… Vermin? Who’s that?”

“Roaches and rats, stupid. You’re saying they’re responsible for the state of our existence.”

“All I’m saying is, now that we’ve discovered what the problem is, shouldn’t we first deal with it before bringing in new stuff? If I bring in more unga, the blasted rats will just have away with it, won’t they? And your bras. I don’t fancy buying new underwear for famine.”

“It’s vermin, silly. Famine is what’s going to happen if you don’t resupply the kitchen. And taking care of the rats won’t solve my other needs.”

“Your other needs?”

“Like my nails and that Sh10,000 wig I’ve always wanted.”

“Look, dear, how about we first see to our immediate needs before we cater to luxuries, huh?”

“What did you just say?”

She picks up a bucket of water and chases me out of the house.

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