FICTION : The Retired Officer

“The only thing that comes to us without effort is age” so it is said. Sakwa is an elderly retired man living on his pension. His five children are all married and living far from him. His wife died several years back and he now lives alone but not lonely.

“The only thing that comes to us without effort is age” so it is said. Sakwa is an elderly retired man living on his pension. His five children are all married and living far from him. His wife died several years back and he now lives alone but not lonely.

He, on a daily basis, wakes up early in the morning and strolls to a nearby shopping center to buy a copy of The New Times newspaper to catch up with the latest.

He without fail walks to Pili a renowned mnazi (traditional brew) seller from the center. He supports himself with a walking stick as he walks, sometimes teasing young children with it.

Pili readily serves him with mnazi and the old man slowly starts sipping the stuff as he puts on his spectacles to read his paper.

He sometimes reads loudly to Pili when there is something interesting. Or would laugh and mumble some words out of what he is reading. He has to be reminded to take breakfast otherwise mnazi means all to him.

From morning till evening and on a daily basis, he has to take mnazi. Come rain, come shine. He is fortunate because his children send money for his sustenance more often than not.

Pili really benefits from him because she often gets some handouts from him. She is literally his parasite.

At around 11 o’clock in the morning, other customers start piling in. Pili is always stocked with mnazi something that makes her attract clients. She is not crafty like some of her fellow traders who it is said add water to their mnazi brew.

The brew is not expensive and low class citizens find it pocket friendly. It is directly tapped from the palm tree and left for several days to ferment. Besides, it is said that this specific brew serves as an aphrodisiac.

By 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the place is flocked and noisy. Their noise can be heard several meters away. Patrons discuss current affairs, politics and love.

Some brag about how they are the unsurpassed lovers, and claim they are the best performers on earth! Thanks to mnazi! Whenever there is any kind of dispute, Sakwa being the oldest, comes in handy.

By evening, Pili’s place is filled to capacity and everyone is drunk. The pews are full and some sit on stones while others on the ground. No one is coherent and a joke drives everyone laughing on top of their voices. Sakwa by this time sings old traditional songs.

Some join him in the singing while others criticize him saying they are old fashioned. This does not deter him from continuing with his songs.

The gathering is a mixture of the old and young but their language is almost common. Thanks to the concoction.
Pili like any other person in the sitting is normally drunk.

How she manages to be drunk and run her business without losing money astonishes many. The slightest provocation from the inebriated customers is met by strong words from her. She sometimes uses vulgar language in her stupor to calm down the loud lot.

By 10 o’clock at night, Sakwa is normally intoxicated and ready to go home. He looks around for a woman to go and cook for him. Divorcees and single mothers or even widows are always available.

They frequent Pili’s place hunting for drunken men who would be willing to spend the night with them for a fee. Sakwa is normally generous to them and they love him. A fight among the women for the man is not uncommon at Pili’s place.

Sakwa though old, is feared by the villagers because he worked in the military before retirement. No one dares to cross him. Besides, one of his boys is in the military too and visits his father with military trucks. This makes the villagers dread Sakwa’s family.

Supporting himself with his walking stick, Sakwa struggles to stand up as he finds his way home. “The language of love needs no interpreter” it is said.

By this time, through eye contact and using traditional idioms, the woman of the night is sentient and follows the man.

They walk slowly to Sakwa’s place as they sing traditional love songs. She cooks for him, serve him and they spend the night together.

The day that follows, the same sequence of events is followed. Drinking mnazi, eating and women as he waits for that day when it will dawn somewhere else not on earth.

Ends

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