I went shoplifting on the weekend. Ok, let me explain. I was out shopping for a cast iron griddle pan when I spotted this beautiful square glass dish exactly like one I have at home. However mine doesn’t have a cover anymore. A while back Imelda the housekeeper told me the cover shattered on the stone-floor when she was doing the washing up. I’d been looking for a similar piece but every shop I went they’d told me I couldn’t just buy a cover without the dish. Now seeing this possible replacement my deviant mind started ticking. I tried the glass lid on the griddle pan and it was a near-perfect fit. Because it’s not perfect it was meant to be! My life’s mantra. So I took the newly wedded set, griddle pan and glass cover to the till, I was so frightened of discovery I feared for the white shorts I was standing in. I can tell you though, Oakley Whisker shades in black do a splendid job of masking guilty eyes.
I said to the guy who took my 5999 shillings, ‘Sweet baby Jesus! Nairobi today is hotter than high noon in dusty Lokichogio in January or September.’ (Now go back and repeat it loudly without pausing; it’s just how some of us speak in Nairobi). The guy's smile waned, he did a half 'whatever' with his eyes and then told me he’d heard the same expression twice that day. Crucially he thought the griddle pan came with the glass cover. Then he handed me a receipt saying thanks-very-much and please come again.
So I stepped out of the shop onto the walkway swag in hand. I went past the shop that sells boots that say you know Africa but only announce you don’t when locals spot you wearing a pair out on safari. Each stride was getting me further from the tap on a shoulder. Now I was walking all manly-like, clenching ass-cheeks tighter than a married ex-rent boy who’s getting a massage from the wife. The chorus of shoplifter, shoplifter, shirtlifter! reached a crescendo inside my head, the shopping bag heavier and it wasn’t just the weight of the cast iron pan. Then the parking lot and my car came in view. I’ m getting away with it; I felt euphoric.
Thrill over, I turned and headed back to Kitchen Pride or Housewives’ Wares, I can’t remember which one it was this time but it wasn’t Uchumi or Nakumatt. I said to the man, ‘There’s been a mistake.’ Steady now. ‘This glass lid doesn’t come with the pan.’ He said thank you for your honesty and I felt good because it was the truth.