Mama Munee has just received a handsome allowance of Five hundred Kenya Shillings from her fat grim husband.This afternoon,she will walk cockily like she always does to go and treat herself.She will plait her hair,she must get a new leso and purchase a new brand new pair of black Ngoma Rubber Shoes.People must quiver and the red earth must shake in awe at her striking fashion statement as long as her husband works in Nairobi city.
There is only one salon in the entire village.No, calling it a salon would be exaggerating reality.That is just a pathetic polythene structure at the periphery of the village that blatantly stands along the miserable murram.
Inside it are scanty and crude equipment.There is only one mirror, cracked and misty.There are a few empty colourful cans of spray on a rotting aged cupboard, just for show.Shampoo?oh no,do not be silly.There are countless avocado trees heavy with ripe fruit, they will definitely fit the bill.
Njeri,Fulo and Wacu are the dedicated hairdressers in the 'building'.
Njeri is the maestro of the amusing rhythm of gossip.She is the alpha in the trio.Her thin lips have the four front discoloured teeth protruding.She is unable to shut her mouth completely.Her bony fingers are incredibly dexterous,they are competent enough to work almost at the same pace as the wagging of her tongue in conversations.Mama Munee secretly likes her best for this and perhaps she is secretly aware of this.
Fulo serves as the seconder to most of Njeri's stories.She is the shortest in stature and possesses famed light skin tone.Her myopic eyes are restless,keen into the details.She is the most hilarious in the trio,her impressions of people and events in the juiciest of stories are rib cracking. I suspect that she is the main attractor of customers for their business.
Wacu is the Duchess of Fake News.She strives to fit in so much that she finds herself in the sticky situation of having to prove the truth in her far fetched narrations to unimpressed audiences.She tries hard to outshine her partners in the art of gossip.Consequently,hurtful reproaches and sharp tongue-lashing are her portion from Njeri.During the minor shortages of gossip,she becomes the object of ridicule in her hearing.
However,the three are united in all matters concerning domestic affairs,they can write a detailed weekly magazine whose content is on such.
Mama Munee has arrived just when the three and two customers are giving dramatic laughter as conclusion to a peppery story about the new bride who was sent away by her husband in the light of day for her pathetic cooking skills.
Her presence is immediately recognised and revered,she is a major source of income.One of the customers who had been enduring a painful plait gives up her chair for 'Her Excellency'.Mama Munee occupies the vacated seat and Njeri gets to work on her forest of greying hair using an oily green comb.As she begins work afresh,she needs a fresh story to match with it.
"Mama Munee,"she calmly begins,"you are a prized customer and a woman of esteem. I cannot watch you get injustice and get played like a child in your own household."Fulo grunts in support."What do you mean?"Mama Munee snaps with curiosity."You know that women must help eachother.These men can be dogs,my sister,"a solidarity speech that is always Njeri's signature move.
"The other day I was coming late from my sister's marital home in Kyulu Hills.You know the overwhelming distance. I was taking hurried strides,that darkness was getting rather ungodly and we all know that even a young night is potent enough to cause a woman to draw her last breath. I made out a familiar figure from afar but brushed it off until I got closer and almost got paralyzed with shock,"the dramatic pause.
"Eh!What did you witness?come on,speak,"Mama Munee's eyes are balled out,she is engulfed in anxiety and curiosity."Heh heh,you will not believe what I saw!Mama Munee you are unknowingly sharing your rights with a raw and mere secondary school damsel!You should have seen how your man's arms were wrapped around her tiny waist! Woiyee!"she shakes her head slowly and clicks.
"Weee!why do you lie?"hisses Mama Munee viciously."I am not lying,khai,"Njeri swears.Fulo comes to her rescue,"It is not a lie.We are just trying to alert you.Wake up and smell the coffee. I have seen the two romancing in his corolla on a weekend in town at noon.Ask Mama Ciru who sells dagaa next to my stall on market days.If still in doubt, enquire further from Nyina Gathoni,the pastor's second wife.She has told them off before."
Mama Munee's chest is heaving with emotion."So this is the reason behind his recent disinterest and significant reduction in the cash he gives me,"she thinks out loud."And if you see the rascal that has posed such a hazardous threat to your well-being,you might collapse and die of heart failure,"Wacu has finally found a way to chip in."Evil prophetess of doom,back to sender!She will not die,God forbid!"she is harshly shushed by Njeri and rendered silent.
"Mama Munee,the wisdom of our people states that what nibbles on your skin resides in your clothing.Your man has been practising his philandery with the eldest daughter of your housemaid.That girl with very lean buttocks,the size of immature pumpkins growing in poor soil.The one with sagging breasts,you could think that she has been breastfeeding triplets."
"This is war!My territory shall not be invaded.When a tribe woman desires revenge even the most evil of ancient spirits come forth to be her apprentices!"she is making no effort to conceal the venom in her utterances."Yes!"they begin to fan her flames.By the time her plaits are done,she has sketched how she will ruin the youthful visage of the culprit.
The sun is burrying its golden rays in the horizon beyond and the sky is a powerful tinge of pink.Njeri is brisk in her movement to close the shanty.She is a single mother who must hurry to feed her sickly seven-year-old daughter.Fulo is on her way home,it is unwise for a beautiful spinster of her kind to travel in the dark.Wacu dreads the slaps and roars of her beastly husband who never tolerates her lateness and has the appetite of an ogre.
Tomorrow will be a new day and the three will show up for work.Other customers will come and the three 'Marriage counsellors' will attend to both their hair and marriage headaches.For now they must go and rest their lips.
Tell nobody about this,it should remain between us.I am done.Your head is now a perfect bald.All it needs is red ochre.