Picture this. A totally mundane day – ok, beautiful day filled with totally mundane activity; nothing to write home about. Sigh.
I wish something remotely interesting could happen right now. How about a scandal? Yeah…that would really jazz things up. Besides, a little scandal never hurt anyone, right?
Sadly, I see no scandal in my day’s agenda. My task is simple; swing by Sarit Center, buy a fridge guard. With all these KPLC power games, it’s only a matter of time before my precious gadgets get fried. Ok, maybe not precious, but certainly indispensable. Especially the fridge! I mean, you can only get away with boiling the thawed beef, but what about the sausages? Seriously, boiling sausages is where I draw the line!
Anyway, I get to Sarit, and in a few short minutes, I ‘m holding my brand new fridge guard. Cost me a tidy sum…last of the buffer between me and poverty. I peek inside my wallet and find only receipts and a fifty dollar bill. Now, this Benjamin has been burning a hole in my wallet for a while. How it came to be in my wallet? Long story. Not that long actually, I just don’t want to tell it.
Let’s just say I got it months ago, from a guy I had a blip of a relationship with. The money was supposed to pay for my taxi back home. I don’t know why, but that gesture really ticked me off. I mean, who gives a woman money after a date? If ever there was a definition of unromantic, I’d say this was it! Needless to say, it was downhill from that point.
So here I am in scarce January, carrying this fifty dollar bill in my wallet to…I don’t know, prove a point. I look back at all the receipts, sitting arrogantly where money should be. And just like that, my mind is made up. My point proving days are over; time to ditch this souvenir. Swap it and spend it already. Easy peasy.
I figure I’ll just pop in and out of KCB. I walk into the banking hall, and my spirits plummet. The bank is teeming as usual. I pick a ticket and tap my feet impatiently. “Ticket number 8004; please proceed to counter number 2.” I rise and walk, like I just got called up for the Nobel Prize.
“Can I do a forex?” I ask. “Sure.” He says.
So I take out the bill and slide it under the bullet proof glass. He picks it up and casually looks at it. “You’ll get KSHS 5,077.” He says.
“Ok.” I just want to be rid of it. I think to myself.
He looks at it again. Then he folds it and puts it back down. Ok, I’m officially nervous. I didn’t even look at that bill. Suddenly, I remember an irrelevant fact. Evan (Let’s call him Evan) is from somewhere in the West of Africa!
“Excuse me” He says, and walks away with the note in his hand.
Holy shit, I am screwed!
I pick up my phone. I’m shaking so hard, I can barely get the pattern right. My life flashes before my eyes. From tax payer to criminal, just like that! The seconds tick and the teller is nowhere to be seen. I start to wonder if I can make a run for the exit. I glance over my shoulder and see the chasm that stands between me and Liberty. It might as well be The Rift Valley.
So, I stand there waiting for two burly cops to show up and cuff me. There is a first time for everything, but damn it, does the first time I date a West African be the first time I have to contemplate running from the police? I’m not one to stereotype, I mean, I dated the guy, didn’t I? But the legend of the West, precedes the people of that colorful region.
I swear Evan, if you gave me counterfeit, I will make it my life’s mission to hunt you down! But before I hunt anyone down, I‘ll need my freedom…who knows how long I’ll be behind bars for this one?
Any minute now, the coppers will show up and I will suffer a dose of humiliation so grave, I’ll never be able to walk in the light again. I think about those matatu touts, being marched away in handcuffs in full glare of morning traffic. But they are touts; they are bound to get arrested for something – least of all that noise pollution they try to pass off as marketing! Besides, I’m certain I wouldn’t remember the face of a tout I saw getting arrested just yesterday. Lucky anonymous tout! But getting arrested in this banking hall will certainly get me on the evening news. Not exactly the way I planned to make my television debut!
So while I wait for my inevitable arrest, I start thinking about my defense.
I swear I didn’t know it was counterfeit!” Really?
“I have a paying job!” That never stopped anyone dealing in counterfeit.
“Ok, I need a lawyer.” Oh dear God.
After what feels like eternity, he returns with my future in his hands. “I needed to run it through the machine.” He says, handing over my Kenyattas.
“I was really starting to panic.” I confess with a nervous laugh. “No need to panic.” He says with a knowing look.
I wonder if they were all watching me squirm.
Anyway, I walk out of the bank, hands swinging beautifully in the air. Freedom never felt so free! I will never ever wish for a scandal again. Ok, let’s not be rush with harsh words like never. Let’s just say, I’ll be very specific, the next time I wish for scandal because getting frisky with a Prison Warder is not what I have in mind…
I sold currency and got more than currency in return;
Counterfeits may come in bills. But they also come in suits and dresses. Take a closer look.