The fat kid on the hill

Not too long ago, I was snapped out of my lovely afternoon nap by my phone’s vibration. It was a text message, and it was from one of those jackpot games things. It’s legit. I know this because the number is short coded, and going by the number of texts they send, it could only be computer activated.

Usually I don’t mind this sort of thing, advertising and such. Just another person trying to make money in these capitalistic paths we tread. But I however have a bone to pick with this particular game. It’s called Mega Dollar. You may have heard of it. They have a silly tune in their adverts on TV and it doesn’t leave your head until two weeks later. And the texts they send to persuade you into investing your 50 bob are terribly unconvincing. Anyway, the first time they sent me a text, telling me how the whole thing works, I quickly replied and said, “No thanks.”

And this stupid reply must have angered someone over there because –in the blink of an eye- they were welcoming me to the game. “Karibu MEGA DOLLAR…top up your account blah blah blah…” And the next thing I knew they were sending these texts every day, sometimes twice or thrice a day. And it’s deeply annoying. I mean, I’d be timorously waiting an Mpesa message from someone who owes me money only to find that the buzz notification I felt in my pocket was nothing but a message saying: TUCHEZE TUSHINDE WOTE!

It can be especially disheartening when the only people that hit your inbox are Mega Dollar and your service provider, telling you they couldn’t renew your daily bundle.

I imagine the person I angered with my reply –the one that sits behind the computer- getting a really good kick out of sending me these messages. I imagine that, as soon as he hits send, he knows that wherever I am, I have seen that text and it has made me curse the day I first replied. I imagine him to be a lonely fellow who doesn’t put sugar in his tea and carries a lunch box to work. His job is to sit and watch numbers and codes floating on a screen and that must take a toll on him. So when he saw my reply, he got mad and decided to torture my soul as well. Safety in numbers.

Now, I’m aware that if I need these notifications to stop, there’s a text I can send, something with the word stop in upper case or some such thing. But I have a feeling that it won’t work. I have a feeling that, the lonely person will see how desperate I am and he will have a big laugh over it. He doesn’t get to have this much fun at the office, it’s been a bit slow lately, especially during these elections. So he will come up with the perfect way to finish me off. What he’ll do is, he will wait three days, and when I’m finally convinced that I won’t get any more texts, he will send a message saying: There was an error processing this request. Please try again.

I would have to change my number. And he will have won.

This is a plea. If there’s anyone out there who knows how I might solve this problem, help a brother.

I didn’t vote yesterday. Instead I stayed home and watched the first season of One Tree Hill. And I must say it really took me back. I never watched those initial seasons, and when they started showing on TV many years ago I didn’t bother because there was homework to rush through and video games to play. I was in class 4 or 5, right on the doorstep of puberty and eating everything I could get my hands on. At supper I usually stuffed my face with staggering amounts of food and wash it down with a glass of fermented milk. I loved me some maziwa lala.

What this meant was that I was getting fat at alarming rate, and before long I had become the butt of all weight jokes. In school girls made fun by rubbing my chubby cheeks with their soft hands and I hated every minute of it. I couldn’t run during games and I was just as useless at playing football because it took enormous effort for me to even lift a leg. Boy did they laugh.

We had a girl next door at the time. One year older than I was. Her name was Muthoni and I had the biggest crush on her. She was tall and skinny and her smile looked like the sun. She had kissed me a few times and then went on to be the object of my desire for most of my adolescence. She had brothers and sisters and they were all part of the gang that poked fun at my bulbous belly.

So one day, while we were playing House –and I was plotting how to get another kiss- she suddenly stood up and said she had to rush home. She didn’t want to miss the week’s episode of One Tree Hill. She disappeared faster than you can say kalongolo and I couldn’t believe she beat it on me. I really hated her at that point, but I decided to go and watch the show for myself, see what the noise was all about.

I didn’t understand much of what was happening. All I could see on the show was a bunch of boys playing basketball and some girls watching from the stands. And then the next minute one of the boys was making out with one of the girls and it was all very lovely. There was one scene in particular which I vividly remember. An athletic blond haired fellow with a calm face was sprinting across a basketball court. We were led to believe he was sad about something, and this was his way of venting. They said his name was Lucas Scott. And he had just given me a way to deal with my weight problem. After watching that episode I would be found out in the compound, doing some sprints.

Otherwise, did you vote?






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