This is a story about a sour old sow with a large head and very short, thick legs. I call her Stumpy but her name might actually be anything from Abhorra to Loathy.
I mean, I could tell, the first nanosecond I saw her, that I would not agree with the thing that she was. I could feel it in the blood of my bones, my thumbs pricked ominously, that something wicked this way was approaching.
I am sure that if a man like me, with my complete dearth of paternal experience, could find her evil so obvious, her actual parents, that pair of marabou storks that shit on cars from atop the mango tree on the Ew’Omusawo Stage, must have been overwhelmed by this sense when they came upon the task of giving her a name.
Let me start at the beginning.
I had some light shopping to do on Monday evening, so I turned into a supermarket at the Kireka Trading Centre. If you have been to this fabled “Kireka” of which I speak, then you will know the shop I mean.
First of all, let me digress from the tale to offer my sympathies to you if you have ever been to Kireka, the ugliest piece of real estate in Wakiso. I’m sorry you had to see that.
Said the actress to the bishop.
There is a supermarket in one of the more hideously cramped corners. It stands brown and yellow and lit up bright and audacious amidst the mildew and potholes. Because it is actually clean it tends to attract people like me: Yuppies, the likes of whom you normally find in Java’s drinking Lattemochachino frappes, which we sip silently, I should emphasise.
In Kireka the working class have chayi mukalu in wotelis and you can hear them slurp from the taxi that vrooms by playing Rasta Rob on Supa.
The owner of this supermarket is a genial old gentleman who usually engages me in an interesting chat about politics. He believes that because I work in the newspapers I should be conversant on the topic, and he’s right. I should.
I am, however, not. Because the newspapers are trying to ruin my mind and I have already lost enough of it, thank you very much. I cannot take any more damage. If I go any crazier, I will end up at Victoria’s house holding a boombox over my head. Victoria’s man will come out to put a stop to the whole thing, and I might have to defend myself, and there will be a whole mess because Rev, Deg, Phantom and Solomon King will be there. You know those are my boys and they have my back. Sleek and Streets will be taking bets while snapping pictures with their camera phones. Erique will use the kavuyo to burgle the house. You know how he bes.
What? You don’t get the boombox reference? I swear someone has GOT to get the boombox reference.
Anyway. The owner of the supermarket wasn’t there this evening. Instead of a pleasant, rewarding and informative chat with a local businessman, I was to instead share my evening with the foulest heifer in Kireka.
This is supposed to be the original uncut draft of the Bad Idea that ran in the Sunday Vision this past weekend, though I am sure you can tell by now that I am adding buchuuzi to it. This particular piece of spice is even more evident than the mentions of bloggers. For the paper I wrote “most disagreeable heifer in Kireka”. The original said “this stumpy bitch from Kireka.”
I noticed early that her head was suspiciously large—as if a taller person had loaned it to her. She had the demeanour of a primary school teacher. One of those women who are teaching your kids bad English.
These observations were fleeting at first, because I was in line behind a slow old lady, you know the type. I was waiting for tectonic shift to get her out of the way so I can have my purchases tallied when Stumpy The Big Head She-Barney-The-Dinosaur waddled up carrying two packets of milk.
My instincts told me not to trust her. Usually you expect adults to behave like grownups, but something, told me this was going to be one of those exceptions. I don’t know who it was that offered this warning. Probably wisdom. Probably the universe decided to throw me a bone. I swear, Karma has been having it in for me lately—she probably felt that kabambi deserves this break. So I got a flash of instinct telling me to that Stumpy was probably going to try to jump the queue.
You think I was just being paranoid. I was not. For as soon as the old lady moved an inch, even though my merchandise was already on the counter, The Red Stumpy Queen shouldered her milk onto the same counter in front of my bread and honked (she had a honky voice. Like a Boda horn) “How much is da milk.” Like that. A statement not a question. She wanted to grab the attention of the cashier before he noticed that there was someone before her.
Now, of course, it is the responsibility of said cashier to maintain the integrity of the queue, but he seemed to be wavering.
If you have been to Mweebale Supermarket, and I can name it here because this is not the shacked press, this is the free internet, then you will know the fellow. The stupid-looking one. No, not that one. The one who looks even more stupid. I don’t know why Mr Mulindwa fired all his good cashiers.
I spoke now, in a tone, saying “Don’t you think it’s better to attend to people in the order in which they arrive? You can answer her queries after you have taken care of me.”
You guys know me as a sweet and kind and gentle fellow. You have never heard that tone because I never use it on you. I love you guys.
Except Sleek and Streets and Erique. Those are snakes.
But don’t let the grinny face fool you. I have tones in my throat. Sarcastic bellows and snide growls and I am one of those people who can say, “Excuse me please” and make it sound just like “Nyoko!”
But the cashier, because he did not make the playoffs in the passable functional brainworks league, just googled his eyes under his bushy eyebrows from me to her.
Now the really audacious part. Stumpy With The Block Of Head spoke again. To me. And this is what she said. “I’m sorry. He didn’t see you because of me.”
Please grasp at your chest while reading this next part.
She said this, WHILE HANDING HIM THE MONEY FOR THE MILK.
I caused a small scene in response to this. I alluded strongly to the manners of schoolboys at the dining hall and how it ought to be distinct from the behavior of mature adults. The incompetent invertebrate of a cashier was still sitting there bewildered.
Stumpy only seemed to take umbrage. “I’ve said I’m sorry!” she spat, accusingly.
“Yes, but you are still trying to jump the queue!” It was exasperating. Really. You can’t expect a nicety to erase a crime, especially when you are still perpetrating said crime. It’s like you tell me my hair looks lovely and expect me to feel better about the fact that you are raping me.
So I raised a stink and dumped my merchandise on the counter and walked out to another supermarket across the road.