“Every man has his price, Reverend.” Muia
“I’m afraid you can’t afford mine.” He said.
Muia sighed, shook his head, and studied the
Reverend disdainfully, smirking and scoffing in
that infuriating way of his. He examined the
Reverend’s bald, grizzled head with its short,
spiny strands of grey; he sneered at his
furrowed, wrinkled forehead, and scorned his
fiery, passionate eyes…
“The Reverend!” he mocked. “The last beacon
of hope in a dark, lawless land! The Final
Crusader for truth through the shadow of
death, and the gloom of deception…” he
laughed mockingly, pouting contemptuously at
Muia’s jibes had no effect on the Reverend. He
smiled and got up, as if to show his smiling
guest that he had long overstayed his
“We are not yet quite done, reverend.” Muia
“I have nothing more to say. We have no
further business to conduct.”
“Ah, but we do, one minor trifle, shouldn’t take
more than a minute. Please, sit down.”
Njenga did so, his patience wearing thin and
his fuse shortening by the minute.
“I love a good story, do you?” Muia asked
affably, sitting back in his chair.
“Really, I have said I have no time for ¬–”
“No, no, this story is very interesting, and is of
paramount importance to our business
tonight. Allow me to begin.
“There was once a young man who was very
good in school. He also had a deep love for
all things spiritual, and determined to pursue
a career in Theology. I imagine you can
identify with such a young man.”
Njenga sat, exasperated, and did not answer.
“Well, I’m sure you can. Now, this young man
works hard in school, attains top marks, and
wins a scholarship to study in the United
States! Bravo! He is to be congratulated, isn’t
Muia chuckled to himself and continued;
“Well, four weary years of toil and study pass,
and our hero graduates with top honors.
Valedictorian. Summa c-m laude. Honors and
laurels galore. Well, surely this young man
must go out and celebrate!”
Njenga’s features hardened.
“Influenced, no doubt, by his friends, the
magnitude of the occasion and the almost
monastic nature of the previous four years, he
goes out to celebrate. Alcohol, a little
marijuana, and lots of girls; good times, eh?
For only one night, he promises himself, he’d
indulge in the Dionysian pleasures he’d spent
the past four years writing theses and papers
He chuckled once more, this time at the
dismayed and disbelieving expression on the
“Well, personally, I don’t blame him. I mean,
who better to warn you about the pit ahead
than he who has fallen into it before you? And,
after all, it was only that once. Our young hero
gets into several er, highly compromising
situations. But no worry – the next morning
all is repented and forgiven; just another dirty
little secret to be locked away in the recesses
of his bosom, to be interred with him in his
grave. He gives the valedictory. He comes
back to our dear country.
“But it’s not the same Kenya he left; no, it’s
changed. Corruption, greed and anarchy
everywhere! Vice trumps virtue at every turn!
He sets his mind to fight valiantly against all
this evil; from the pulpit, from newspaper
articles, from every medium he can…speaking
against rampant debauchery, corruption, sin.
Perhaps trying to atone for that one night.”
He reached down and put the briefcase on the
desk, and with a click of the case’s locks Rev.
Njenga’s heart broke.
“Sound familiar, Reverend? For it is no one’s
story but your own. How mistakes from our
past return to haunt us!”
Muia pulled out stacks of what proved to be
dozens of glossy, blown-up photographs, and
Njenga hid his face; he couldn’t bear to look
“Word of advice – if you’re going to go all out
‘just this once’, for God’s sake do it out of
range of the cameras… and why’d you let your
friend take pictures anyway? Wanted a
memento of the guilty pleasures you gave up?
He took one of the pictures and squinted at it,
“You don’t seem quite yourself, no, you look
positively…inebriated! I hope that’s a cigarette
you’re holding…but I don’t think it is…have to
hand it to you though, you have fine taste in
women, she is positively stunning…”
Almost against his will, Njenga found himself
staring at them, unable to look away. Muia
obligingly flipped through them for him to see,
like a sick, twisted slide show – a panorama
of the biggest mistake of his life; haunting
him, following him over an ocean, half a
continent and twenty-five years…picture after
picture, each more sordid than the last…
Njenga saw all of them, Muia lingering over
the more graphic ones, savouring the horror
and disgust on his face. He sat back with a
sigh of satisfaction, and the smirk was back in
place, looking like a man contemplating a job
“Every man has his price, Reverend.” Muia