Well, I’ve been slapped lots of times before, and also did a fair number, in kind. Closing days in primary school. Hell, at one time we had a slapping game that was all the rave in high school. Later, bar brawls and those hateful little slaps on the occasional teary break-up.
Who has been slapped by a Servant of God? A prophetess, no less?
A few things literally freeze when an unexpected slap finds its mark. The clock ticks by in utter slow motion – like in the dying moments of the villain in the movies. There’s no jerking back with an uppercut (or a half-empty Allsopps bottle) like you did in the pub brawl, defending your drunk mate. The mouth swings open, and eyes bulge.
Swallow on purpose, an accidentally hot potato.
At the moment, I did a flashback to a rare memory of a villager I knew, now in prison, serving life. This man – Swaleh – once did a slapping that made him a legend in my neighbourhood. He used to run a rather popular eatery in a tiny corridor in the outskirts of town. Nothing fancy, just a makeshift base with polythene for a shade. Everything on the menu went for a partly 50 bob.
Swaleh’s Food Joint was a success. His Achilles’ heel, though – a rather fearsome temper.
He had a nifty trick with a popular dish – Ugali. He wouldn’t cook a huge mass, like most hotels do. Rather, he would cook multiple smaller batches for his customers. Once the dish was ready, he would pick the hot sufuria from the charcoal jiko – bare hands – flip it into the air and catch the lump of the steaming ugali with his right hand. He would then return it into the sufuria, with the previously upper part being at the bottom. Then bake it some more.
Over the years, his right hand developed a scaly, leathery cover. The daily heat treatment took its toll. He didn’t mind, though, and neither did his clients. The smell of the baking, crusty ugali was awesome.
On the day of the legendary slap, one of his clients had defaulted on a weekly bill. As it happens with such eateries, a large part of the clientele is the casual laborers – who often get lunch through the week and clear the bill on the Saturday, pay day.
So, a guy skimps on his week’s debt. Later that night, Swaleh bumps into the guy at the local den, high as a kite. He asks about his money. The guy stutters something about Swaleh not minding his business.
The heat-treated right hand swings forth in a slap. It lands on the guy’s left cheek.
Well, the guy lost 3 teeth, and a complete loss of hearing. Then, also knocks out the guy next to the slapped guy.
The prophetess had me flashing back on Swaleh. But, in that moment, I had a tiny crisis. The Good Book advises heaven-aspirants to offer the other cheek into a slapping zone. Well, not me. In any case, someone had pinched my free Gideon’s Bible back in high school.
I instantly lashed out with my right hand, and caught the prophetess’ left cheek.
I suppose it must have really stung, for she jerked back rather too hard, tripped on her plaited skirts and landed on her backside. Cheesos!
In their rather odd ministry, I don’t know how slapping sessions usually went, but this caught them off-guard. I suppose they’d always met followers with a serious ambition to waltz through The Pearly Gates. The Prophetess hadn’t met anyone who didn’t turn the other cheek.
After a brief moment of confusion, the two gentlemen instantly cut off their prayers, and froze in their jumping frenzy. The tongues fizzle out. They grabbed the poor Prophetess by her arms and helped her rise.
They didn’t look at me again. They turned towards the gate. All I could hear was some faint mumbling.
“Mwanaume aina gani anapiga mwanamke hivo….?”
“Ile jehanamu inakungoja wacha tu….”
“Huezi toa sadaka ni kupiga nabii tu…. Shindwe!”
Well, the dog under the car curls up again, and goes back to sleep.
I absently gaze at the clear blue skies above. Not a single cloud floats by. I have some time before The Almighty sends a bolt of lightning my way, for striking His servant.
Side Note: Did you know there is a Booty Slapping Championship in Russia? No kidding.