I spent Saturday at home, reading all the seven different newspapers that Pachikani and Mpachikeni could find by the road – the rascals even bought me a nine day old copy of some nondescript publication masquerading as a weekly!
It was my mistake to give them K50 and tell them “Get me all the papers”, by which I meant the Times of Zambia, the Daily Mail, the Post and the Daily Nation, which I always buy myself and bring home at the end of the day.
They bought seven including some publication my late grandfather, SokolokuMchimphako, would have gladly used to roll his weed and smoke it!
I am told he was one of the worst smokers of dagga the Drug Enforcement Commission would have spent all their time arresting and re-arresting him because he chain-smoked it like ordinary cigarettes, failure to which he would become so terribly irritable he could kick and bash anything within his reach except rocks of course.
His poor wife, my grandmother got unnecessarily hit once too often she decided to keep him well stocked at all times with the best quality of chamba lest he kick her on her backside, which would be somewhat lucky because he sometimes kicked her faint in the stomach!
Little wonder too that in the end he lost his senses and started laughing all his life at things which weren’t even funny.
He developed this permanent smile, which often graduated into loud raucous laughter at nothing in particular.
You and I would not find it funny when the he-goat is on heat and chases after its many ‘wives’ (are they called she-goats?) round and about the huts of the village.
Poor grand-dad Sokoloku would run after the goats and laugh and laugh and laugh.
He also laughed at women walking with bundles of firewood on their heads. He laughed at people passing by on the way to bury a dear departed at the village cemetery.
In the end, he was declared a write off after a witchdoctor had vainly attempted to cure him of his madness.
Can you imagine his relatives had the audacity to claim he had been bewitched into madness when he had inhaled so much brain-damaging dagga smoke it was inevitable that one day he would start thinking an egg looked funny.
Lucky weren’t they that he ceased kicking things and people and developed a more civilised habit of showing his madness by just laughing and laughing. Safe for all, for sure!
Surely the whole village would have had to relocate if in his madness he had chosen to beat them up!
Anyway, so much about grand-dad. I was reading one paper after another, choosing to ignore all stories about politicians, NGOs and the church.
They were outstanding in their levels of déjà vu and ceaseless quarrels and argumentation about virtually everything in the land.
They were at each other’s throats regarding the Constitution, the use of local languages in the instruction of beginners in school, the number of people employed in a particular year, the value of the Kwacha against other currencies, and so on and so forth.
There was always the possibility of sighting a panga-wielding lunatic in the centre-spreadsand, in the process, lose my appetite if I didn’t choose what not to read.
I tell you I hate pangas so much when I see one, I feel like eating lemon peels to treat the nausea that follows.
Ever imagined what goes through the head of anormal person when he brings a panga down on a human body, slicing it up, blood gashing out, an ugly piece of meat showing… argh!
So I read the papers rather sparingly. Even if I had wanted to concentrate, I doubt that I would have managed.
Our indefatigable neighbour, the gossip, Mrs VainesiMtolilo was in her terrible mood.
She was hell bent on letting us all know, those who could hear – which I doubt there were few as she made her voice loud enough to cause a few cockroaches to scamper – that they had bought sausages.
Even a bird took off into the skies each time she gave her instructions to her children what to do with the sausage which she wanted all of us to know they had bought and would be eating (I wonder at which meal).
“Tombiiiiouuuh!” she called out to one of her daughters. “Have you started preparing the sausage?”
Whatever answer she got from her daughter we didn’t hear but we heard her next instructions.
“Make sure you cook the sausage properly ka!” she said meaninglessly. “Your father doesn’t eat sausage which is badly cooked ka!
“The sausage must not burn all right? If that sausage burns, you will have to buy another sausage from your own money, did you hear?”
There was a lull in the ‘sausagic’ noises but after ten minutes, she was shouting again. “Have you put tomato and onion in the sausage? The sausage is smelling good so make sure you don’t become absent minded and spoil the sausage! It is your father who bought that sausage and he must eat good sausage do you hear me, Tombi?”
My wife, AmakePachikani, who usually hates loud music increased the volume on the radio, even if the song playing was one she said was meaningless and just a piece of solid noise.
I shook a bit to the rhythm as Slap Dee went crazy and pretty emotional about developing “Umutimawaba RATSA”!
“I think I should also develop mtimawaba RATSA and just go and cut that woman’s tongue out of her mouth,” I said.
“I just can’t stand that nonsensical thing you call VainesiMtolilo. What is this song she is singing ‘sausage, sausage, sausage’ all day?”
“She wants you to know that they have bought sausage and will have a hearty meal today,” responded my wife.
“Hell yeah,” I said a bit absent-mindedly. “I suppose they eat gaga every day? Or Mbeba (mice) perhaps!”
“Mbeba would be a delicacy in that house,” said AmakePachi. “Maybe cockroaches indeed.”
“Know what, Amake? When next you buy T-bone steak, go roast it outside, ok?”
“No. That wouldn’tbe right. We are Christians. I would rather give her some than show off.”
That’s my wife for you. I went back to the papers as I listened to Paddy Mukando and some funny guy on Radio Phoenix laughing their heads off as they discussed some crazythings from yesteryear.
They were a funny couple on Saturday morningsthose two. They reminded us of the disco days and the attires we used to wear, the wet look hair fashions, how we knocked and kicked all the rubbish bins senseless in the townships as part of New Year countdown and so on.
That was more soothing than hearing the word ‘sausage’ every ten seconds.
If someone had planned on giving me sausage and they sang so much about it before they gave it to me I would surely lose appetite and ask for something else.
Pachikani soon sauntered into the living room and without much ado asked his mother if she had had to become pregnant to give birth to them.
“Did you also become pregnant, with a big stomach to give birth to me and Mpachikeni?”
The mother was dumbfounded and looked at me obviously seeking some advice.
“All people are born like that, Pachi,” I advised. “A woman must become pregnant and then bear the children. It’s the same for all people.”
“So even you dad, you came from the stomach of… of…ambuya?” he asked beaming.
“Yes, I did.”
“But you are so big!”
“I was small when I came out. I was a baby. No one is born as big as I am. Not even as big as you. You were also tiny when you were born.”
“Is it true that for a woman to become pregnant, they do stupid things with a man?”
Creepers! What next from this little nut? Before we could answer he continued.
“Yeees, it’s true, I know!” he was laughing and pointing at his mother. “So even you mummy you were doing…”
“”Heeeey, shut up” I screamed at him and grabbed his mouth shut. “Get out of here! Go and play. Go and eat sausages with VainesiMtolilo. OUT! OOOOUUUT!”
My wife was shaking her head in disbelief. If I hadn’t stopped him, he would have accused his mother of I-don’t-know-what and I don’t know whatever other detail. I lost interest in the papers.
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