It was a Sunday. I don’t remember everything clearly but I remember it was a Sunday. One of those Sundays we didn’t go to church. Maybe because the church was so far away and we’d spent the previous day picking, sorting and transporting tomatoes.
Tomatoes are hard work.
I lived on a farm. I think I’ve mentioned it before.
There was also no gas that day. Iliisha tukipika sembe… I don’t even like sembe (Shocking, I know). So there I was pepeta-ing that jiko like my life depended on it. Truth is that my life did depend on it because the way my dad was looking at me, good Lord, he would have murdered me. My dad, not the Lord. Then we’d read about it in one of Crazy Monday stories. “Man kills son over chicken”.
Is it chicken or chickens? English is weird.
The funny thing was (funny now, it was not funny then) that the jiko didn’t want to work. And after all that pepeta-ing I was surprised my biceps didn’t grow. But finally, to the glory of God, a spark became a flame.
Next thing was to find the largest sufuria in the world (because, as it says in the title, I killed all the chicken).
So how did I do it?
Well, children, this is how.
The chickens were free range. They were roaming about the compound looking for ants and grain and beetles (all that good stuff) before I happened.
See, as I said, the previous day we had sembe for supper. This means there was a sufuria somewhere with a lot of ukoko. We give this ukoko to the chicken. They love it. It’s like bacon.
Coincidentally, there was another sufuria outside, waaay out of reach. If a person can have a favourite sufuria, that was it for me. I’d been looking for it for a week when I found it on the roof of the chicken coop. It had all this white stuff, dried and crackled and caked in it. So, boy child thought, Si hii ni sembe? Better give it to these fowl creatures so that I can wash this thing and bring it inside where it belongs.
Boy child was wrong. It was not sembe.
It was poison.
Daddy dearest had concocted the stuff to kill a neighbour’s dog (maybe, I don’t recall. See line two of this post). Also, before we go on, sometimes the neighbour’s dogs just need to die. That’s life on a farm for you. Ruthless!
So after dad was done poisoning things, he put the sufuria where I had found it.
Me I didn’t know!
And the dumb chicken/s loved the stuff (which is how I knew it was food). So I left them there enjoying death and went to start on the dishes. Then the prized jogoo croaked. It dropped dead as I watched it through the kitchen window.
“Umm, dad,” I called out. “There’s something wrong with the poultry.” (Of course in Swahili because we’re on a farm/shamba not in Braeburn).
As dad went to check the jogoo out, and pronounce it dead like the super mega freaky coroner in Final Destination, others started dying.
Now, since this is meat (that we don’t know is poisoned yet) we decide to slaughter them all before they die because we can’t eat dead things. At this point, dad is super extra mad (and kind of reminds me of the super mega freaky coroner in Final Destination). Mom is freaking out and praying in tongues. My sister wasn’t around… Or was she? I don’t remember. My brothers were helping the culling.
Which brings me back to the uncooperative jiko.
But we’ve been through this so let’s move on.
The water was boiling and we’d defeathered like 12 birds so far when dad noticed that the flies that came in contact with the meat were dead. They were dropping like… well, flies.
Dad turned to (on) me and said, “What did you give them?” (Again, in Swahili because in as much as this wasn’t Visa Oshwal, it also wasn’t in the mucathas of Nyeri. I’m trying to tell you that we – the children of our father – do not understand Kikuyu).
“Nothing. Just some ukoko from yesterday and some I found on the roof over there.”
“Kwa ile sufuria ndogo?”
“What’s wrong with you? That was poison!” This in actual English. He yelled in English when he was mad and dammit he was mad. I was perplexed. How was I supposed to know that?! There was no label. No smell in the sufuria. It was dry ugali for all I knew.
He glared at me and mom stepped in and told her children to put the foul fowl on the wheelbarrow and throw them into a very deep pit at the edge of our property. The pit was supposed to be a well but no water ever came out of it. It was where we dumped dead animals. A graveyard for disappointing pets and livestock.
And dead neighbours’ dogs.
So we did as she said and we have never spoken about that event since.
I should add that it wasn’t that long ago. So I wasn’t like a child, I think I was in my fourth year of Uni. In my defence, I was studying computers and not poultry.
And that’s how all the chickens died and we didn’t even get to eat them.
We should have just gone to church.
In other news, the BAKE Awards happened. This Post is About came in third.
Thank you all for taking the time to vote. Maybe next time we’ll actually win, yes?
I’ll keep the nomination badge though because I’ve become used to it. In the words of Cardi B, “I like it like that.”🎶
Have a good week.