A humourous fictional look at life in the ghetto. Cast positivity on hardship and hardship becomes sweet. (short story)

Stalls separated by two meters playing different music both at high volume, a seller shouting at his customer after he changed his mind after already paying for cooking oil in plastic phials.

There would be a charming preacher speaking of hope and riches that come to those who give. It’s funny how market preachers research so that when they shout the message is almost directed at you and you are so touched that you give some of your money in offerings in the dirty plates that aides circulate as the preacher prattles heavenly dogma.

“God saw what you did yesterday, he saw what you did to her, he heard what you said about him…if you know you have sinned raise up your arm and pray with me,” the preacher would say, attracting scores of people, most of whom did things the previous day.

 I would then shrug off the fantasies as I pass the boys with paraffin tubes on sticks on the corner and then suddenly a vast open space of relish sellers would face me.

“Makelele Crapao, cheap,” a Mackerel seller chants, “veges here, sire: these good with groundnuts and those with cooking oil,” another would say, “somba nyama apa!” another would chaunt and leave me wondering what kind of fish really tastes like meat.

I would then stand and realise that I hadn’t decided what to buy, leaving myself at the mercy of the coaxing and intimidating hawkers.

 I cannot buy the Mackerel because my sister claims she is allergic to them, not the cabbage because my brother says the sugar in it causes nausea when mixed with salt and the eggs are also out of bounds because they are for tea not dinner.

“Don’t pretend that you can’t hear because you can, go and buy relish before it gets dark and worse still before brother comes from work and finds no relish!” said my sister, still shouting and jostling me from my fantasy.

I pushed aside my novel, slipped my feet into my sister’s sandals and put the money into the tattered paper bag and closed the door behind me facing the gate handle, I carefully avoid it and I disappear towards the market.

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