So, if you have spent all your money, you haven’t sinned against God; that’s little consolation though. Because you’ve sinned against a more powerful force, the children whom you promised to take to the Lunar Park today. Had you sinned against God, you know He would give you a chance to confess. All you needed to do was to go to a confessional and tell the good man there what you had done and He would instruct you to do so many Hail Maryies and postpone the punishment until Kingdom come.
But with the more powerful force now fidgeting in the lounge, there is no room for a good confession and doomsday is now. Going to the good man at church would not help in this instance because if you’re Catholic, the man would not understand because he knows nothing about children.
Yesterday you behaved like a king, man. On Friday the bosses gave you half-day off, feel like cursing them eh? You teamed up with the boys and caroused into the witching hour. The round was rather large wasn’t it, and none was drinking Eagle lager which goes a dollar for two. And you were not in the suburbs where you get them lagers US$3 for four. What we call pump price. You chose that wretched place in the middle of the city. US$3 a can! And there were all the six of you. The round came to US$18. We ain’t talking about Gono money here; we’re talking about the real Obama dollar. The one with that satanic eye on a pyramid.
Have you seen the satanic eye? It glares at you like a cyclop’s sending flashes of light right into your face. Let me not go into its symbolism lest I’m slapped with targeted sanctions by the bloody Yanks. They don’t want their symbols explained, and it’s not fun joining Robert Mugabe on the list.
The booze, man! The booze. It flowed throughout the night and in the small hours of the morning when you crawled home. I know what you are thinking right now! Next payday! But that will only be around January 24th earliest.
Tomorrow is Boxing Day, remember? What are you going to do with the kids? They will be angry, really angry because you didn’t take them to the Lunar Park. And, Good Gracious, Tuesday is a holiday too! Who gives these holidays so soon after Unity Day?
I know you’re missing the office. At the office everything is fine. You read the newspapers quietly in your office and someone brings you a cup of tea or coffee at 10 and then again mid-afternoon. There are no angry kids asking you to take them somewhere. You’re practiced on how to dodge the boss and how to make buns for lunch look really cool. Polony, French or garlic; lunch for a dollar!
Get out of bed now buddy, the kids are waiting. Don’t light a fag; you know the missus doesn’t like you smoking in the house, let alone in the bedroom. Don’t make matters more complicated than they already are. You know the missus is seething on behalf of the kids. She knows your whole story, for it’s a repeat of last year’s. You never learn eh, do you?
You have only two options. One, remember attack is the best form of defence. Get in there all worked up and look at everyone with a talking eye, an eye that says shut up or else. But remember the kiddies have been watching too much television; they won’t be easily taken in by that one. The alternative is that you feign illness. Crawl in there on all fours. There is no law that forbids a man from crawling in his own house. When they ask, tell them you suspect you have cancer, just to confound them call it pancreatic cancer — which you probably have — which they have never heard about. They will all begin to wail, “Daddy has cancer, daddy is going to die.” And, they will forget about the Lunar Park. Cool.
I tried it once and my youngest said not without concern, “But Dad, if you got cancer and we go to the Lunar Park, the big Ferris wheel will cure it. I saw it on TV.”
Don’t ask for food; that will worsen the missus’ mood. Keep on crawling until you reach the fridge. If by any chance there is a beer, don’t be tactless and dive for it. Pour yourself a glass of water instead and take a huge swig. Don’t jump up yet, even if the water has rehydrated you; remember you’ve pancreatic cancer.
Keep on crawling until you get into the yard. Right in the middle of it, dig up a small hollow and put 10 pebbles in it and ask the kids to play nhodo. Remember nhodo? You throw an eleventh pebble in the air and scoop out those in the hollow; you catch the flying pebble, throw it back in the air again and return the other pebbles minus one into the hollow, so on and so forth, until there is none left. Very exciting! And free. Why can’t the children of today understand such simple things as indigenous games? And who says on Christmas Day children should not play the good old butterscotch? “Am I? Am I? Are you (ara uru)?”
But the Kasekes! The Kasekes! Our equivalent of the Joneses. Their children are already filing into the car, they’re heading for the Lunar Park. Mrs Kaseke is throwing meaningful glances at the missus. You have always known there was something hugely wrong with this Mrs Kaseke. She cannot let a decent family play nhodo in peace!
If you expect the missus to walk over to the fence and tell Mrs Kaseke hubby has pancreatic cancer you got something coming. Never trust what the Americans say on their money. “In God we trust!” Right now you can’t trust Him. You’re abandoned!