THE ‘HELB’ CRAZE!!
‘Hey, have you got ‘ helb ’?’ Shem asked Reece.
‘No, have you?’ he asked him in response.
‘I haven’t received yet’
‘Does it mean some people have received ‘ helb ’ money?’ Reece asked in an appalled manner.
‘I was just asking because am actually tired of waiting’
‘Helb ’ is a certain amount of money that is loaned to some university students to help them with their campus needs.
Reece was a third year student who had been receiving ‘helb’ money since he was in first year. Since then, he had been used to writing his objectives of what to do with the helb money. This time around, he had a new mission. He had been circulating and exchanging his ladies in circles, playing the game and changing the cards in a professional unnoticed manner. He had been on top of the food chain in this type of game. He was cute and he knew how to ‘play the cards wisely’.
The next day, Reece and Shem met again at the gym. Reece was lifting the dumbbells when Shem got in exposing that great smile which made Reece drop the dumbbells on the floor.
‘Hey what’s up? I have never seen you happy like this before’ Reece told Shem. Shem kept smiling all through.
‘Hey, lemmi guess, is it helb?’ Reece asked, as he got closer to Shem. On response, Shem nodded to the affirmative. The money had just been deposited into their personal accounts. Reece could not hide his happiness. It was as if manna had just dropped down from heaven on a very dry season to him. Shem was acting normally and he wondered why his friend was so eager for the helb.
Therefore, that evening at around 8 pm at night, Shem walked to Reece’s hostel. He was welcomed and after exchanging some thoughts about how the day had been, he noticed there was a lady inside the room. It was the kind of room whereby it was divided with a curtain to keep the bedroom and living room issues quite hidden. Her name was Mildred. Shem knew her. He frowned for some time. He could not continue talking with Reece anymore until they got outside.
They walked to the field where they had used to meet since the first year. They sat on certain seats that were reserved for guests as they watched rugby.
‘What are you planning to do with your helb money?’ Reece asked Shem.
‘Well, am planning on buying some things that I had eyed for a long time’ Shem responded. ‘What about you?’
Reece gazed on the ground and nodded his head. ‘I want to enjoy’ he smiled as he continued. ‘I am going with Mildred at the coast tomorrow. You just met us packing our belongings’
‘Really? Do you know that lady? She isn’t those bitches you joke around with’ Shem responded. ‘You mess with her and you are in for it’
‘Does that mean that I don’t know how to take care of a lady? Or what are you implying?’ he asked Shem.
‘No, I just don’t want you to mess up like you have always done’ he responded.
They got back to their specific rooms at around 2am.
At his room, he counterchecked the money again and saw it was enough for Mildred and him. He
wanted to go at the coast and feel the breeze, laugh while running, enjoy the fantasies he always saw in movies and lastly, he felt great that he had Mildred to accompany him. He gazed at her as she slept inside the blankets. All he could see were the respirations, which made the blankets move up and down in response to her unfailing heartbeat. He walked slowly to the bed and slipped inside the blankets too.
They boarded a bus at around 6pm the next day. They were all dressed up somewhat unusual for them. When helb season comes around, comrades clad, enjoy and dine in very luxurious ways. Some of them just act differently as though they got all the money in the world. After several hours, they were on the sandy grounds of the coast. Reece was the man and Mildred was the lady. They had to have some meals first at a restaurant. As they ate, Reece ordered drinks to compliment the tasty meals. It is in these restaurants whereby customers recognize the part of the world you come from through your eating habits.
They walked to the beach, swam in the ocean, rolled on the sands, ate another meal on the speedboats, applied sand all over their bodies etc. Mildred enjoyed the company of Reece very much. That evening, they walked to the gazebos around the beach and were given a place to rest their bodies on. The place was so hot that they did not need blankets. They spend the night together on a ‘hanging bed’. It was so lovely. They felt like ‘small bosses’ who were ‘living life’ to the fullest in this ‘hardship-ed world.’
As days went on, they continued to visit places while enjoying like never before. It was on the fifth day of their c oast-fantasies, that Reece realized that the money had greatly reduced. They could not even manage fare back to campus. How on earth could this guy use money without even reasoning about their fare back home? That night, he did not sleep early. He kept looking at the ceiling of the grass-thatched gazebo on his hanging bed. Mildred was deep asleep close to him. She turned in her sleep and abruptly, she opened her eyes only to meet Reece in deep thought.
‘What’s up babe?’ she asked.
Reece hesitated at first to speak. He did not imagine what he was supposed to say to respond to that query. He opened his lips and tried to say some words that were not coming out.
‘I don’t have enough cash for our stay in this place’ he said as he held his head in that woebegone look.
‘Money? We can still go back tomorrow babe to save on the remaining cash.’ She responded holding his right hand.
‘I mean I do not have money; not even for transport.’ He responded.
Mildred was perplexed and shocked . ‘So, why did you bring me here in the first place?’ she got mad and jumped out of the ‘hanging bed’.
‘how could you continuously use that cash till it’s no more knowing very well we don’t have money for transport back home?’ she roared attracting a small gathering.
She slapped him senselessly and tucked her tongue soundly.
Reece looked at her and asked her, ‘do you have any cash?’
‘No, I don’t have any cash’ she responded.
‘I have been using my cash since we came. You mean you didn’t have any cash not even your emergency cash?’ he was surprised too.
She did not have any cash even for emergency. She knew Reece was the ‘pay bill’ in everything – even in emergency; Reece would just show up and act as the ‘pay bill’.
They now stared at each other like two confused kittens . Both of them were mad with the other. How could life have melted down to this?
‘Just the other day you were enticing me with your money; you don’t even know how to manage it’ she continued. ‘Is that even been a gentleman?’
‘How are we going to go back? Do some meager jobs?’ she asked him in a forcing as she held his chin and directed it towards her direction.
‘Look at me!’ she barked as drops of saliva fell on his face.
Two days later, Mildred had the cash to take her back. She engaged in two-one-night-stands and managed to get something. She did it with bitterness even if she knew it was a bad practice. She wondered what else had been left to ransack.
Reece did not want to call his friend Shem because he feared he would be the laughing stock of the entire semester and also the entire year. He also did not want to lose that respect and fame he had. He actually did not know how the cash had vanished. Secondly, she thought that Mildred had some cash. He could not imagine she had come on vacation without anything, not even some cash. 5 days later, he got a job as a waiter at a certain restaurant where he worked for a two weeks. Luckily, they were being paid weekly and this facilitated his exit within the first two weekly wages . He left the coast.
His helb money had ended drastically within 5 days. He could not believe what he was doing at the coast. He explained to Shem how a ‘foolish bigot’ he was. Shem could just smile with him as he explained how Mildred turned her ‘other side’ and gave him a real slap.
‘Bro, I always tell you to use your cash wisely.’ Shem tapped his friend’s shoulders as he informed him.
‘I have actually known the real lesson. Next time,
such mysterious episodes will be thoughts of the past . They will never happen again.’ He lamented bitterly.
That night, he ate supper at Shem’s hostel and later slept in his own room.
Regards :Mohamed Tokal Morowa is a second year student at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology pursuing a Bachelor in Business Administration With Information Technology (BBA WITH IT).
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