Cables and Kings


I’m distracted. I’m standing next to a glass cabinet, staring in amazement at the contents. The door of the cabinet is locked. It has a golden keyhole and it opens up to rows of fine china – polished cups, blue-patterned design, tiny kettles and mugs. The thinnest utensils you’ve ever seen.

The price tags are profoundly trouser-troubling. And I wonder at the practicality of it all. Why would anyone want to drink tea from something like this, something that looks like it’ll break just by looking at it? How would you even hold it, assuming you have a KDF on one hand?

I look up at the man behind the desk and say, “Tell me, would you buy these cups?”

He looks up at me, eyebrows raised. “I wouldn’t. I don’t even touch them myself. The slightest pressure will break them.”

“Would your wife buy them?”

“Yeah, I guess. You know girls like that sort of thing, eh? To decorate.” He looks away, then adds, “I avoid them. They’re too brittle.”

His name is Newton. I ask Newton, “What do you do here?”

“I’m the fundi.”

He has a long, lean body and speaks in warm trendy undertones. Friendly chap. Bald. Big boots.

Newton’s trade is wood. He knows all about it. He can tell you which country a plank of wood comes from, and which one would make a better raft. He can show you the intricacies of the wood paneling and the science behind that small protruding metal on the side of your living room shelf. Newton is a man who knows his wares.

We are at Henry West Furniture along Mombasa Road; his office. After introductions, he asked if I wanted something to drink. “Tea? Coffee?”

“Coffee,” I say.

He disappears behind the shop. I hear the sloshing of a kitchen sink and the clank of utensils. But the rest of the shop is eerily silent. The heavily carpeted floor swallows every foot fall. A long oak desk sits at the reception – lamp-lit, piled with files and folders.

All around me is wood, shadows, towering pieces of furniture. There are smooth leather-cushioned sofas and shiny coffee tables. Elegant office chairs and cabinets, angular-curved knobs.

The room is dimly lit and filled with rich wood smells – the fresh tang of varnish and turpentine, mysterious and inviting. The light brown walls look like cocoa powder. The smells and the shadows lift my spirit, but only a little.

Ol’ Man is selling the Axela. Newton’s business partner placed a bid. We are here to wrap things up and hand over the keys. It’s a warm Saturday morning, and I can’t believe it has been six months since already.

The car was sexy and grey and sweet smelling. I grew attached to it. Push to start. Low comfy seats. Swift and foxy. It had the front end of a racer and an ass like the moon. A long red AUX cable snaked from the dashboard and I liked to crank up my playlist – plenty of reggae and Kings of Leon.

Sometimes I took the Axela with me to school. The attention was staggering. Heads turned and the guards saluted. Sometimes me and ex-girlfriend would sit and listen to Alternative Rock and make out, going at each other like animals, tinted windows to keep the rest of the world out.

And boy did I love to floor it. Empty roads were fodder for my need for speed. The overdrive button was my friend. The adrenaline saturated me to the core. There were times when, on the highway, blown sand would hit the windows and the fuel light would come on and I didn’t mind because I felt like I was flying.

But now all those moments are in a different past. One I aren’t a part. Who was that reckless boy? Why did the attention excite him so much? I feel like time has slipped from under me in drifts, and I’m only left with static and screeching memories.

And as I stand next to the fine china at Henry West Furniture, I remember the last Kings of Leon lyrics I heard in the Axela, on a Sunday, weeks back:

Drove a little slick car to tend bar
With the static on her brain
She’s a little burner, burner, gonna throw you to the flame
Little ticking time bomb, time bomb, gonna blow us all away


It’s a slow Sunday afternoon when I find myself parked on the shoulder of a road I’m not familiar with. My blinkers are on and I’m waiting to pick up a girl who, up to that point, I thought I had a thing for. Our phone conversation earlier had gone something like:


“Hi, Muthaka.” (I love it when she calls me that.)

“Hey, you!”

“I was wondering if we could go for another drive today.”

“What, like now?”

“Like maybe at 3.”

“There’s football bana. Besides, I don’t even have fuel money. Unless…”

“Yeah, okay. I’ll pay for fuel.”

“Why do you sound like that?”

Loud sigh. “It’s just…” Pause. “I’m… single now and I need to get out of the house for a while. I have a K.”

Turns out things with her boyfriend had gone tits up. She broke it off. She felt like he was taking her for granted. Two years worth of relationship had gone down to the pits; would I give her an ear to vent?

“Fine,” I say, “But make it 2. The match starts at 5.”


At about 2, I’m at the tail end of a row of parked cars, outside a roadside kiosk – bicycle repair man; kinyozi and butchery with clean white walls. It’s a hot day and the sky is bright and blue and the road is dusty. I sit in the car and thought about nothing.

Some guy gets into the car in front of mine (not a Toyota, incidentally) and drives away. And I’m suddenly looking at a long pair of legs. One hand is on her waist, akimbo. Her pants are tight against her body and her panty-line is showing. Geez, I wonder, did she go to church like that?

She’s facing the opposite direction, all glitter and gloss, right behind a white Mazda Axela. Her standing stance suggests impatience – she glances at her wristwatch and looks in every direction, like she’s unsettled.

I don’t know where to look. On one hand I’m driving this beauty with an ass like the moon and on the other is a faceless siren who’s teasing my attention with the fabric of her underwear.

I fancy she’s waiting for someone, and that it’s all getting under her skin; what with the sun and dust and all. She shifts her body weight to the other leg, then takes out her phone from her purse, dials and puts it against her ear for a few seconds. No answer, I imagine. The number you’re calling has been switched off. We have notified them… Samahani, mteja wa nambari uliopiga…

Meanwhile, I’m boiling in the car seat, waiting for a girl I have absolutely no chance with and who, up to that point, is still contemplating patching things up with the boyfriend. I can’t just drop in to her place with my fancy boots and hope to lasso her in. It doesn’t really work like that, not with this one, at least.

I know I don’t love her, though. This is a game I played for some stakes: I’d take her on random weekend drives and say things and listen to her. Now I’m gambling to get out of what is quickly beginning to feel like a friend zone.

From the butchery, a man emerges carrying a tin-foiled bag of meat. He’s tall and bulky, with a wild beard and a care-free walking style. He carries that meat like it’s nothing. His jacket zipper is open and he is coming around the Axela.

The faceless siren is already standing by the passenger door, just about to lose it.

The guy reaches into his pocket and the Mazda’s blinkers blink. They get in. Passenger door closes faster – and louder – than driver’s door. I wonder what will happen once they are alone. Certainly they wouldn’t be going at each other like animals. Would he apologize?

“Have you waited long? Sorry. That butcher was slow.”

“You’re sure it wasn’t that cashier chic you were chatting up?”

“Who? Oh her? No, she just wanted to know if I had a long AUX cable.” He’d chuckle at his own joke as the Axela climbs back onto the tarmac.

Or maybe she’d give him the silent treatment because she obviously isn’t in the mood for conversation.

Back at Henry West Furniture, Kings of Leon plays in my head yet again: She’s a little ticking time bomb, time bomb, gonna blow us all away.


Follow Mike on Instagram: Mike Muthaka

The Help
About Valentine’s Day

Comments (6)

  1. Ian

    you’ve left me in a state of so many questions. The suspense in this story is just too much. i need to know what happened with that faceless siren, where did you guys drive up to? did you smash? etc etc please finish the story chief the anxiety is frustrating!

    • Mike

      The faceless siren went with her man.
      I didn’t smash. I’m smack in the middle of the friendzone.
      I know. Frustrates me too…

  2. Ian

    Well can’t have everything now can you?

    • Mike

      It’s the way of the world…

  3. Queen 🐝

    First time here and I love it..

    • Mike

      Karibu sana, Queen 🐝
      Grab a seat

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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