Vigilante Kindness: Doing It Wrong

“Peter Paul Opok Road. That’s where the gallery moved to.”

“I do not know that road.”

“A road you don’t know? I never thought that would happen.” I poke Denis in the back.

“I will find out. We will go.” Denis speaks to some men building bed frames by the just moved sign hanging by the old studio/gallery. He returns a minute later. “Okay, I know.”

We speed to the back side of town, curling in between traffic and pedestrians along the muddy road. I’m going to miss riding on the back of motorcycles. I tip my face to the sky and let the sprinkling rain hit my cheeks.

My favorite artist, Omuny, is in residence and she has new pieces hanging all over the walls. She’s been busy since last summer. Behind the counter is a stack of paintings leaning against the wall.

“Are those for sale?”

“Yes. I just haven’t put them out yet.” Omuny motions me behind the counter and I flip thorough the stack.

imageThe moment I see it, I know it’s the one for my artist sister. Supporting a local artist is the perfect way to spend the rest of her Vigilante donation.

“I’ll take this one, please.” I hand it to Omuny who removes it from the frame and rolls it for me.

I carefully count out bills and I squeeze them tight in my hand. She hands me the painting and I shove the wad of bills in her hand, practically running out the door. I grab Denis’ sleeve and pull him out with me. “Quickly, quickly let’s go!” I can barely control my giggles.

We speed away and from the back of the boda I see Omuny hurrying out the door toward us.

“How much did you pay for that?” Denis calls back to me.


“Did you barter with her?” Denis wrinkles his brow.


“Did you pay the asking price?”

“It’s so much worse than you think.” I turn and wave at Omuny. She waves back and smiles.

“Tell me.” Denis is stern now.

“I paid her double!”

“You’re doing things all wrong.” He shakes his head at me, like he so often does.

“I know.” I can’t suppress my grin.

Back in my hotel room I unroll the painting. I take a snap and giggle at the thought of Omuny counting out the money and finding I’d paid double the asking price. I AM doing things all wrong this trip and my heart feels so completely right.