Peeling Back The Mask of A Shoe Shiner

25 Jul

Dear Doris,

Baby please be aware that I have no idea who I am talking to. 4 different women wrote to me claiming to be you. When you left me I lost all hope of you ever writing or calling… Then there comes four of you… If it was you, just to be sure, tell me where we first made love. I know its only you, me and the guy who threw us out that train…

How are you my love?

I am typing this on my phone: I am on a matatu that’s missing a window, so I am waiting for my phone to be snatched by a random man from outside. But writing this letter is way more important than any phone… It is you I put before everything…

I know it has been a while since I wrote. And I am truly sorry for that my sweet.

Just from the matatu and I am at a shoe shiner’s booth. I have made it a habit – coming to this place because right across the road is a fast food shop. Thing is there is a woman who looks exactly like you at the shop and I can see her from where I sit when my shoes are done. Its weird, but this, for some reason, puts my wondering heart at peace.

Talking about shoe shiners…

I have a shoe shiner in Westlands that I go to every morning on my way to work and another one in town that I go to every other evening on my way home.
Thing is, I do not only go to these people to shine my shoes… I also go for an update on the news according to the ‘street’.

(Please be advised that I am on the move as I write this and I will update you as I move – I am at Dormans right now. Waiting for a friend of mine, @twezlie I had a table for myself… This random couple just unceremoniously joined me without my permission… I find this extremely crude and if this waitress was not as yellow as she is, I’d probably be on her neck right now!)

I carefully chose my 2 shoe shiners… I chose two cripples who shine shoes next to newspaper vendors… Why? These shoe shiners do not shine shoes every single hour of the day… Time spent ‘not shining’ shoes is, most of the time, spent reading the newspapers.

An additional feature: I chose cripples, who do not move around a lot… So it’s either shining shoes, wee wee break or reading the papers!

(I just moved to another table leaving the random couple talking about when its right to tell the parents)

The other day on my way to work like a normal day, I passed by my shoe guy!

So here is the scene: I am seated before this man. He has a piece of discoloured mattress on one hand and neutral shoe cream on the other. He is cleaning my shoes with the skill of a potter. Shoe polish and shoe cream now layered immaculately upon the leather on my shoes that I got from New Look – you would know what that is if you are used to shopping in the UK like I once did! The shoes were not expensive, in fact, not more than 35£. But still I love them!
Then the shoe shiner swiftly goes for one of his crutches, springs on his functioning leg and flees the scene.

This was quite confusing… The crippled woman selling sweets and cigarettes nearby also did the same… In my head, this was a ritual of some sort!

I am stuck here with white cream all over my shoes…

That’s when I felt the pat on my back.

The hand was heavy and the technique used uncultured and gore! The hand felt dirty and illegal! A man with no doubt!

I looked behind me to see a huge woman wearing a lab coat that was once white… Now it was the colour of sin and hard labour!

She was not smiling…

“Nyinyi ndio munasaidia hawa kufanya biashara haramu!?” She asked disgusted!

She was a dirty woman with unkempt hair and untied shoe laces… In my head her opinion and ideas did not really matter… It is not easy to take a dirty woman seriously!

I picked up the discoloured mattress and wiped off the goo off my shoes and got up from the stool I was sitting on.

She was taller and larger than me… That ladies and gentlemen is humongous!

“Ebu ingia kwa gari twende!” She continued!

That’s when I noticed the Nairobi City Council covered pick up behind her… Grey, old and sore to the eye!

“Sikujua!” That’s the only thing I could think of… This female Homo habilis was life threatening…

She held my arm and shoved me slightly towards the car – that looked like it was going to fall apart the second anyone touched it!

That shove is rated second, only after this one time my principal in high school shoved me into his office after he got word that I had been writing love letters to his wife – my english teacher! That story is here.


Something in my head tells me to make a run for it…

But something else told me this gigantic fauna could run faster than me…

Please be advised that the disabled traders are nowhere to be seen…

I am here negotiating for my freedom… No one is listening…

The woman is now throwing the shoe shiner’s tools of trade into a green polyhtene bag! A different guy was doing the same for the sweets and cigar on the other end…

Shit just got cray…

That’s when the guy shining my shoes comes to the NCC car and tells the huge woman, and I quote, “tafadhali mwache aende… Makosa ni yangu!”

My feelings were all over the place… This man came back! I had no idea whether to get mad at him for leaving me behind the first time (something tells me I would have escaped the dirty hand of the council, seeing I could run faster than him)

This was the moment… The huge woman was pushing the shoe shiner into the car… No one was concentrating on me…

I thought to myself… If two cripples could escape from these guys, what about myself…

I ran for it… I swear to God I have never run so fast in my life… I sprinted straight into Sarit Centre and into Uchumi right at the back where sandwiches are sold…

I had a power sandwich, removed my jacket and glasses and put them in my bag, untucked my shirt and undid my tie…

Then I walked to the road to take a matatu looking like i was from having sex in the bathroom with an illicit woman!

This post is for a friend I made today called Ever-Honest


Posted by on July 25, 2012 in near death


Tags: , , , , , ,

14 responses to “Peeling Back The Mask of A Shoe Shiner

  1. mmnjug

    July 26, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Hahahaha!! You faced a humongous kanju woman and lived to tell the tale?

  2. @QueenGathoni

    July 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

    hahaha, ‘Then I walked to the road to take a matatu looking like i was from having sex in the bathroom with an illicit woman!’ wait Ian, that sentence sounds like you have had sex in the bathroom with an illicit woman before…. Speaking from experience?

    • mydeardoris

      July 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      hahahah! I will not say anything without my lawyer

    • mmnjug

      July 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Tafazare Ian, jitetee ukiwa hapo ulipo…!! Where I come from, we say, you can only show someone a route to follow or the way to do something if you have followed the said route or done the deed before…. clearly, your description is very vivid……. ahem! Hahahaha!

  3. Mrs Zohan

    July 26, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Very funny….

  4. Eve

    July 26, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Hahahaha! Good one. See, you owe your freedom and (judging by the size of the NCC fauna) life to the Ever Honest crippled shoe shiner! That name is a way of life…

    • mydeardoris

      July 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      That man did need both legs to save my life… Now I have to go to Canada for a month 😀

      • Dave

        July 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

        Ati Canada??!?

        There is a guy who will peel of your face since you do not have a mask to hide into,Doris may never come back.

  5. breanne

    July 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Ian you are ridiculously funny. funny..wa

  6. Shae

    July 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    The disguise you pulled after, too many crime investigative shows you have watched.
    “Ian Bourne”

  7. sirjoe

    August 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    woooooooh hii ni kali am finding myself raeding it over n over again


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: