“Remember me?” the bird said, suddenly sending signals of recognition down my memory bank. As the voice started ringing a bell, the haze over her face started lifting too and images started coming to me. Yes, she sounded and looked familiar but I could not remember vividly where I met her and when.
For crying out loud, how did she expect me to remember each and every bird that I have hunted? I am not a microchip!
Well, we met during one of the few campaign rallies of the one and only Dr. Alivera Mukabaramba of PPC (I am sure you know why I chose to go to her rallies and not those of other candidates). Apparently she had been hired as a campaign officer but owing to the fact that there was not much to do at the rallies of this candidate, the bird was mostly standing and doing nothing but look at the few people who were gathered as they danced for their favourite candidate. I was among the people gathered during the rallies but I would not be dancing – I would be hunting. That is how I spotted the bird and decided to settle the limelight on her. Our eyes met on several occasions during the rallies but I could not make any move since I deemed it too early. I had to wait for the perfect moment.
That perfect moment came on the last day of her candidate’s campaigns after I pulled off a ballistic stunt that left her mesmerized. Yes, one way of sweeping a bird off her feet is to pull off a heroic stunt at a time of need – it may be for her benefit or the people around her. I did this spontaneously and as I had calculated, it worked like magic.
It was around mid-day and we were at a rally site in the Northern Province where she was in charge. The candidate was scheduled to arrive in about an hour’s time but to the bird’s frustration, there were only a few people; around twenty to be precise. Her frustrations could even show on her face. Apparently she was disappointed that she could not gather enough supporters to please her candidate and this would make her look like a failure.
From where I was standing, I could see her desperately trying to plead with passers-by to stop by the rally and ‘at least listen to a message from a mother ‘ but apparently most of them had listened to another message the previous day, since most of them were still dressed in T-shirts with Mzee Kijana’s picture.
My mind started racing and immediately a bulb lit in my head. There was a way of saving the day if one could be able to play on the psych of the people. If I managed to convince at least one hundred people to attend the rally, this would go down as the most attended rally since the rallies began. This would earn my target bird points and without doubt, the bird would feel indebted to me in one way or another.
I walked to where she was standing looking worried and whispered in her ear “lady, watch and learn”. Apparently she did not understand what I meant but in her state of frustration, she just looked at me with a mixture of indifference and confusion.
Having worked in the North for quite some time I knew that people here can do anything for a good drink of a local brew known as inturire which is made from banana juice and sorghum, but different from urwagwa. I gathered a few people around the campaign site and told them to go with me and show me where I could find the best inturire around.
I told them that I had just been instructed by the candidate to buy many gallons of the brew for an end of rally party which would take place immediately after the rally. I had a group of 15 people with me and as we walked to the ‘local brewery’ ‘my disciples’ passed on the word about the ‘party.’ This was exactly what I wanted. I encouraged them to inform as many people as possible because the ‘drink would be enough for everybody’ to drink until the next day. For maximum effect, I told them to ask people to eat enough food so that too much drinking would not stop them from working on their farms the next day. To cut a long story short, people streamed to the campaign si
te and by the time the candidate arrived, she was received by a jubilant crowd of about three hundred people – more than I had projected. It did not matter that some of them still had their Mzee Kijana T-shirts on.
Meanwhile, I had dodged the people I had taken on the ‘purchase mission’ and returned to the campaign site through an alternative route to watch the proceedings. My target bird was smiling from ear to ear. I told her to follow me before the rally was over, because I anticipated trouble if the people realized that they had been duped. After saving her skin, she would not have turned down my offer if I had asked her to follow me to hell. As we drove in my car towards town, I saw her steal glances at me several times but I thought that she was trying to figure out what heroes are made of. But before we could reach town, she popped the big question “remember me?” “Where?” Was all I could say because honestly, I had no clue who she was. As memories started unwinding in my head, she reminded me who she was and how and where we had met before.
Apparently she had been one of my many victims. I knew I was in trouble. But trouble was an understatement because she ordered me to drive back to the campaign site and leave her there because she did not want to have anything to do with me. She threatened to scream and accuse me of rape if I did not comply with her instructions.
Now I was between a rock and a hard place. Like a hijacked pilot, I turned the car around and drove towards the campaign site. When we arrived, the rally had just ended and the crowd was getting ready ‘for the party.’ Some were wondering loudly why they could not see any gourds around. I knew there would be more trouble for me. The bird would not allow my request to drop her and proceed. She wanted me to stick around until the candidate left. Finally I had to leave her with the company car and flee on foot. I have since been hiding because I was told that the bird had placed charges against me for misleading the population.