The day had been long and tiring, and I was surprised to be getting home roundabout the same time as Bruno, that earnestly comedic driver currently employed to convey my wife and children around town.
“Sir!” he said, to catch my attention after walking in my direction and stopping a respectful distance away.
I stopped offloading my car and turned towards him.
He took one careful step forward, put one hand onto his wrist, and then brought the second hand forward to hand me two crisp Ushs50,000 notes.
Bruno often surprises me by the way his mind works, so I never attempt to work out the meaning of his gestures, mumbled words or even those he delivers with the right elocution.
So I took nothing for granted and, before bringing my hand out to accept the cash offering, I had to ask: “What’s this?”
Bruno did not disappoint.
He responded with such finality and purpose that for a couple of seconds I suspected he had set it all up for this one priceless moment when he would have me in front of him, about to receive two Ushs50,000 notes and asking, “What’s this?”
Because he replied with a very straight, blank, clear face: “Money.”
I almost died, and to this day thank God that this had not happened while I was drinking a glass of water or chewing on some hard bits of food, because I would have choked and died.
Again, the man was absolutely CORRECT! “This” WAS money! He was 100% correct on that count; he was handing me money.
My question had not covered the full length of the information I wanted from him – such as what the money was for, where it was from, what they excepted in return, and so on and so forth.
I had only asked, “ What is this?”
My suspicion that he had done this on purpose in order to respond, “Money” however, was short-lived. Surely, I thought, he would have first started with, “My hands, sir!” then after I had pressed on a bit, moved to “Money!”
But again, this was Bruno, and his blank face sometimes suggested that there were vacancies available behind it.
This was one of those times.