I, by virtue of my street credentials, have come to learn that the lower you are seated, the hotter it becomes. I don’t know, maybe it’s because you are closer to hell than heaven, or perhaps because everyone seems to be breathing down their regrets and diabetes and nostalgia on you.
But look at me, life in its infinite wisdom chose this to be my destiny, confined to the sidewalk- rain or shine; my hand outstretched begging for alms, keeping count of the coins falling into my Acrylic tin. I had another metallic one which made the sound of poverty every time a coin was dropped in it.
And believe me when I tell you, human beings are a mean lot. Is it so hard to help a man out? Like am seated here on the pavement in a well deserved position to accept the coins they get after buying their burgers and colas, and all I get is just one quick contemptuous glance.
A single glance only!
Has a glance ever saved anyone from malnutrition? No!
A glance is a comfort only reserved for ordinary beggars for God’s sake.
And I’m not just any other ordinary beggar, no I am not.
I have class.
I perform my begging trade with pride and integrity; not like some of those fake ass beggars who put on faux castes on their feet and coagulated ox blood on their bodies to make their situations compelling. These, my friend, are the reason why beggars like me will never ride horses!
I may not have turned out how my father, may he rest in peace, may have envisioned as an appropriate manner for his future son when he started courting my mother, whom I have no idea where she is, but I still rise every morning and show up at my place of work at the corner of the street.
And then as if the contemptuous look these people give me is not enough someone goes ahead and drops a single coin in my bowl.
One coin only!
People, this is totally inadequate especially in these turbulent times of global warming and credit crunches, expensive elections and gay rights, terrorism and drones.
This is my humble appeal to all good hearted people who enjoin the spirit of giving- Give!
Give us not just lonely coins but notes too. By Jolly, you don’t know how pleasant it feels when I touch a crispy one thousand shilling note with Jomo’s face on it, looking stoic and authoritative. I mean, not to say that I make that much money in a day, or that anyone has ever dropped such crispiness in my bowl, no. it’s just that after collecting for like a week or so I change the coins into a note just so I could feel how you guys feel when you touch it.
But I wonder, what do you guys really feel when you touch a crispy, smoking hot note from the bowels of Dela Rue? Uneasiness, dizziness maybe? Pressured, pleasured maybe?
I will tell you how I feel…
Crispy notes turn me on. I don’t know, might be the thought of what I could do with that money; I could walk into KFC and order breasts, chicken or otherwise. Or buy Atemi’s album and pay her to sing the Nyayo Philosophy for me; the lady who owns the shop where I ‘work’ keeps talking about Atemi.
Goodness, the things a beggar could do with a thousand shillings!!
Hey, I could buy a horse too though that would be oh so cliché of me!
And just so you know, if the alms allow I will be purchasing a machine where you can just swipe your card if you have no coins to spare. Good Idea,no?