Osumi and the Cat

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So I have mentioned Katangi before, right? Since I am the filling in the sandwich (between two houses, one on top and one and the bottom) you must have also read about my noisy neighbours? They used to live opposite me but now live below me. Believe me, the noise levels have gone super low, HALLELUYA!

I’ll refer to the downstairs neighbours as the farmers. They actually live on a farm and this is their spare house near the city. So they only live near me during school days and move away to the farm during weekends and holidays. The farmers have two kids – both kids in primary school, a boy, 12 years old, who we will refer to as Dark Beauty and his younger sister, 9 years old, who we will refer to Singer. He is a cutie and all the girls in the estate find excuses to throw stuff over the gate and then scream out his name to come and bring them back their items. She sings in the shower. In a very sharp soprano. Very, very sharp. She has potential to be someone else’s noisy neighbour in the future….. And they live with their househelp, she who was being schooled by Millz the Boss.

Anyway, we are all governed by one Osumi. He makes the rules and we abide to them. He says rusa funguo (throw me the keys) because he has lost his set and we do it gladly. He calls to say manji itaisa muntu nikujiefaga (there will be no water, you need to plan for that) and we panic about how long there will be no water – thank goodness it has never been for more than half a day.

A few weeks ago, I was working from home – it had been a really long day. I had done more than 8 interviews and I had one more scheduled for about 8pm. As usual, Katangi went for his 5pm jog and was back by 7pm. On this particular night, I heard him leaving his house again. After a few minutes, I heard a cat mewing. For a second I thought I was at Mrs. Adrian’s place. Skinny catnaps (not dozing but actually kidnapping cats!) their neighbours cats till they get confused about who their real owner is. So many times you’ll find about half a dozen cats that we don’t actually own, roaming about their catdom, our yard. So I was at the Loft, and there was a cat mewing. That is very odd. There is no way a cat can just get into our compound without being let in by someone. So I went to my door and peeped out. I saw nothing. I went back to my desk and the mewing started again. This time I actually opened the door. Lo and behold. (hehehe, I have always wanted to use that expression!). There was a cat seated on the stairs leading up to Katangi’s house.

Hi kitty, kitty. Let me open the gate for you to leave.

So I went downstairs, the cat followed me down and I went on to open the gate. It went and hid behind some potted flowers. And started mewing again. All of a sudden, a hurricane burst out of Dark Beauty and Singer’s house. They came out with their househelp and were very excited to see the cat.

Is this your cat, I asked them.

No, it is not ours. We came back home and found it on my bed!, responded Singer

Dark Beauty said, We thought it was yours but wondered why we’d never heard it before

Okay, come back inside before your parents come back, said their househelp.

So I went back to trying to coax the cat into leaving the compound but it kept on hiding behind a plant.

Is Katangi at home?

I have no idea, I heard him leave just a few minutes ago…..

Okay, Dark Beauty, you are the man of the house now, get rid of that cat!

Okay, let me get a stick.

He actually goes into their house and comes out with a broom stick. He prods the cat and it moves on to the next plant. And goes round the entire compound, actually running past the open gate and back behind another plant! The cat then got tired and didn’t move even when prodded so hard it had to grip the ground with its paws!

I know cats hate water, come with some water and I will splash a bit on it.

So Dark Beauty goes off to get some water and I strike a conversation with their help.

So the cat was inside the house?

Yes, I was so scared, they are the ones who chased it out of the house.

Had you seen it before?

Before she could respond to my question, I heard a horrible sound. The sound of a whole bucket of water being poured on a cat.

Seriously. Dark Beauty poured the entire bucket of water he had carried on the cat. I had mentioned splashing some water on the cat, not drowning it. What do you think the reaction of the cat was? It didn’t move a single muscle. Yes. It didn’t move. This was turning out to be a Nollywood commercial.

I think we should call Osumi.

That’s a good idea, let me go get my phone.

I went up to my house and came back down stairs to find that the cat still hadn’t moved, it was totally wet and didn’t really care about being in that state.

As soon as I dialed Osumi’s number, I realised it was dark. Meaning it was after 6pm. Meaning that Osumi would be drunk. He is drunk EVERY SINGLE day after 6pm. So if you call him after 6pm, he will pick up the phone, blubber for about 1 minute then hang up on you. He will then call back very early the next day to find out whether you had actually called and whether you need any help.

Osumi picked up the call. And yes, he was drunk.

Hi. This is Njenva. We have a problem at the apartments.

What is the problem?

There is a cat that has…

A what?

A cat. That has come in and is disturbing us so….

Sorry. Who is this?

Njenva.

Njenva of B2?

Yes.

And you are calling because there is a cat?

Yes, a cat that is disturbing …..

Njenva?

Yes?

Of B2?

Yes.

Did you read your lease agreement with the landlord before you signed it?

Huh?

WAS THERE ANYTHING THERE ABOUT A CARETAKER DEALING WITH CATS?!

I was in shock. He had never raised his voice at me before. Then I took myself out of the situation and imagined how it would look like to someone else…. And nearly started laughing. Instead, I just hang up on him. He called back.

Njenva?

Yes.

Did you just call me?

Yes.

What is the problem?

There is a cat that….

SO I AM NOT HALLUCINATING. YOU HAVE ACTUALLY CALLED ME TO TALK ABOUT A CAT!?

Yes, and it…

SINCE WHEN DID I START DEALING WITH ANIMALS?

silence

DID YOU DISCUSS WITH YOUR LANDLORD AND COME TO AN AGREEMENT THAT I NOW DEAL WITH ANIMALS?

more silence

Did you seriously call me to discuss a cat?

Yes, the cat….

NEVER CALL ME AGAIN TO DISCUSS ANIMALS, DO YOU HEAR?

I just hang up. Seriously. He was shouting at me and I had eager and hopeful faces looking at me waiting for good news. Just as I was telling them that Osumi wasn’t going to come, my phone started ringing. It was Osumi calling.

Njenva, please stop hanging up on me.

Okay, stop shouting at me.

What is going on?

I have told you! There is a cat that is…..

YAANI UMENIWEKA MAHALI KAZI YANGU ITAKUA KUKIMBIZANA NA PAKA? USIWAHI NIPIGIA SIMU NA MAMBO YA WANYAMA TENA!

I hung up on him again.

He called again.

What!? What do you want. You have already told me that you aren’t coming to help us, why are you calling me?

I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE CLEAR ABOUT IT. I DON’T DEAL WITH CATS, DOGS, HORSES….

I hung up on him again.

My phone started ringing again and I just picked it up really upset.

WHAT?! I AM CLEAR ABOUT IT. I SHOULD NOT HAVE CALLED YOU ABOUT THE CAT. YOU WANT TO DRINK IN PEACE. I GOT IT! NOW YOU SHOULD ALSO LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

Good evening Njenva, this is Yohannes. We were to have an interview 15 minutes ago and I haven’t heard from you and you are not responding to my Skype messages…….

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