Showing posts with label Love & Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love & Life. Show all posts

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Dear Egla


I don’t know if I got the name right
She pronounced it like that, Sandra did
She called me in the middle of the night
Can I talk to Egla? She asked like you were asleep beside me

Did you bewitch Sandra dear Egla?
That she should call strangers in the wee hours
Asking to speak to you dear Egla? Did you?
What business do you do in those satanic hours?

I told her it was wrong number
She hang up apologetically, nice voice she had
I almost told her Egla was out a little

So I could buy time to tell I am single 

CLASSROOM CHRONICLES


And because a curvy woman has become the epitome of marketing, I want you to picture one, with curves in all right places. Picture her exquisitely sculptured body, a being God designed with particularly savory relish. Let’s move on a little deeper, picture a silhouette of her nakedness against the moon light. Do you see those boobs, that nicely shaped behind? Now implant that image in your living room. Picture her undressing sensually in front of you, touching her vital body parts in that ecstasy inducing allure. Picture her dropping the last piece of clothing as she glides towards you….now stop the imagination.

Now picture the two of you lying down close to each other, gazing into each other’s eyes, exhausted from pleasure. Picture yourself caressing whatever body part, that upon its flicker, heavens opens its doors. Picture seeing a tattoo of your name on that favorite body part of yours. Now let your mind wander to the seventeen years it took you to win her, to penetrate into formidable fortress. Picture the places she has taken you, without even hinting that she liked you; Mombasa, Maasai Mara, Kisumu, Kitale, Mombasa again, Mombasa one more time….

Get back to the real world. You are the six star Kibandaski, and a plate of steaming madondo commands your attention. Beside that plate, a brown envelope, which hold the most precious document in your entire existence-your degree certificate (the woman you pictured). Having tucked it in place where no vermin can reach, where a nuclear disaster won disfigure, you settle for the hearty meal, more in celebrations for the deadlines you did beat, the exams that you surprisingly passed without preparing for, and that research that your supervisor didn’t let you off the hook, (she could kiss your ass, you are sorry at that thought).

Even in its beauty, with curves in the places you like, a certificate is almost nothing because it prepares many for an ideal world, not the real world. There’s so much arse-licking in the real. Basically you have to take shit, you will be lucky to get a boss who won’t insult you because a woman rejected his advances or any stupid thing which you will only contemplate. A certificate will not insure your dreams. May be the only place it can get you is an interview room, answering questions from people who’ve been taking shit for decades and are hell bent on making you look like an academic wannabe, someone who moonlighted as a student, and most importantly enjoy seeing you getting whipped by the town, where they have mastered their way. In fact, a certificate is a mere assurance and with a keen eye, you’ll notice there’s an ‘ass’ in assurance.

**
For 17 odd years, I have chased this paper, trying all I can to be number one. No one told me much about education except to wake up and be number one. For 17 years, I toiled only to be told I actually didn’t have the power to read and write all that time, close to two decades. Isn’t that incredible? 17 years of mind breaking exams, only to learn dismayed, that I didn’t have the power to read and write.


Enter class room chronicles, a journey through the 17 years. 

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A BROKE MAN'S MUSING

A boy named Kelvin. An exotic name back then when it wasn’t fashionable at all to be called by your first name. It was one of the greatest insult, everybody guarded their first name (English name) jealously, like nuclear launch codes. Once your enemy (back then enemies were easy to make) got hold of it you were dead meat. It made you long for invisibility so much so that you even hated your own shadow. Kelvin was different, he had embraced his name like a badge of honour. He wasn’t Kalenjin, should have been a Luo or Luhya. Kelvin had a naturally goofy face, hips that were a little too pronounced for a boy, which naturally excused his lousy football skills; he kicked the ball like a girl. We never counted him in as one of the team members unless he volunteered to be the goalkeeper. We endlessly teased him, and eventually gave him a nick name, Embe Dodo.

Embe Dodo was unusually clean, different from his brother, who seemed to originate from a whole different planet where hygiene was frowned upon. Embe Dodo’s brother knew how to play football, but wasn’t very good in class. One time he mused about being number zero when we were about to close school. When he received his report book when school closed, I heard him exclaim ‘I knew it. I knew I would be number zero!!’ Looking back now I fail to fathom how someone can be number zero, but I still believe he was.

Unfortunately, by events which I couldn’t explain, I ended up being Embe Dodo’s desk mate. I ceased teasing him, called him respectably. That was back in primary school, class five, back when Kale’s were battling post-Moi depression, although soothed by Kibaki’s free education incentive. Before then parents rarely afforded 950 shillings which was school fees. It didn’t matter the number of kids a parent had, some six or seven yet the school was generous enough to allow those parents to pay only 950 shillings. I don’t know who came up with that idea, he must have inadvertently warmed his ass on something illegal. Kibaki injected life into the country. It seemed he even procured oxygen because the air felt fresher than usual.

Embe Dodo would tell me stories about the movies he had watched. I listened with glee, though without any intention of retaining what he told me. One time he went to the toilet and came back with a sad look on his face, you could think he had dropped his penis into the pit latrine. Teachers rarely came to class and we had plenty of time to make noise. With his sad face intact, coupled with his goofiness he spoke slowly.

“I am not going to eat honey anymore,” he told me.

“Why?” I asked.

“I saw a bee in the toilet,” he said. “I didn’t know honey is made from such dirty ingredients.”
I didn’t say a word. I was a little convinced. Embe Dodo knew much more than I did. We closed school and Embe Dodo never showed for the next term. His parents must have spotted greener pastures and found it fit to migrate accordingly. We never met again and even if we meet now I wouldn’t recognize him. I am tempted to think he is a casual labourer somewhere in Eldoret Town, either pushing carts and if he turned out successful he must be operating a boda boda.

Fast forward, a decade and a half later (damn time really moves), I recall Embe Dodo, in the wee hours of the night, a rare time when one can hear dogs howling in Nairobi. Nairobi dogs are little sophisticated, they don’t bark for long, not unlike village dogs which rent the night with long howls like they are ululating or worse still mourning a departed dog. They often scare me, those long howls. It makes the night pregnant with danger, a form that you only feel, impalpable. A decade ago I wouldn’t have imagined I would be a journalist or rather a journalism graduate, actively on the lookout for events of grave misfortune to humanity. If I had chanced upon the path I would take I would have dismissed it with a deep Kalenjin accent, ‘Waja mcheso!’ and that’s how life rolls and rolls and rolls, without stopping.

I am awake in the wee hours of the night, hours our high school principal christened satanic, not because I have to but because I am broke AF, wishing I could afford an embe dodo. A church mouse would sneer at me and even spit on me, and I wouldn’t raise a finger in protest. Its Tuesday, no Wednesday and the only tangible food my stomach has accommodated (have always misspelled this word) since Saturday has been two loaves of bread. Only two. I am like a scientific experiment, trying to prove that man can live on bread alone. And porridge in between. It’s not fun.

A thing about money I have learnt since, is that when you actually really need it, it’s never available. Another thing is that Jomo’s stern stare makes you think it will last forever, just like people have learnt to imagine about life. Especially a brand new note, the one that’s so stiff you can use to chop onions, only onions so that you can cry tears of joy. Damn, I miss holding Jomo’s face, give him a deep kiss. I don’t care if you think I am gay, to hell with that. Lastly, about money, contrary to the notion that ladies love money, she (see I am pro-punany) has been calling me, talking to me softly, asking how I am and even offering suggestions. She’s a different breed of ladies but among the types that think that as soon as you get a lil’ paper, you look for a yellow yellow. Such kinds of ladies hate to see their men make it. I think she loves a broke me.

The first lesson, about money disappearing into certain unreachable crevices, being broke finds you at your worst. You have debts everywhere. You find you’ve okoad jahazi in all your lines-safaricom, Airtel, orange, Yu. On top of it you have joined the list eminent personalities, of men and women inducted into CRB’s hall of fame. You remember how it started, just like a joke, with Safaricom messaging you that you are eligible for a 1000 bob loan. Being a skeptic you wanted to prove Bob’s men aren’t goofing around Michael Joseph Centre, scratching their balls and asking for nudes. It turns out they weren’t. Before you knew it you were making a contribution of 75 shillings every month to Safaricom. One time you decide to say fuck it Bob, do whatever the hell you want. A series of texts, first giving you a plan on how to pay the debt, then threatening that you’d be listed by CRB then a resigned one asking you to clear your name with CRB. All for a loan you never actually needed in the first place.

It’s not that I am completely broke. A couple of people out there are holding on to my money, some go way back to when they had a blind date and desperately needed some cash to please their objects of desire. Now these objects are the farthest things in their minds and probably they have moved on to five other boyfriends or even married. Others for jobs I did like a century back, only that I have been too preoccupied with shit to ask them for my money. And that’s how a nigger pays dearly complacency.

Upon close scrutiny of my assets, I gather that I have twenty bonga points, just enough to redeem for four SMSs. It’s here that I make a list of people who can bail me out, motivated by the thought of steaming ugali and matumbo at the Kwa Atieno’s Kibandaski.  Atieno’s matumbo is fried just the way I like it, plus she is a woman with ‘sura ya upole’ not like those braggart Luo ladies out there. Back to making the list. Just like Ocampo’s, I outlined six people, then whittled down to four, and after a trial, two escaped trial with replying my text by starting with the word ‘waaah’…a message like this never has good news. It will never come like ‘waaah, I’ve just received money by mistake and I have been wondering how to spend it.’ Instead it launches into a long winding excuse, often about how the sender hasn’t had breakfast and how he won’t have supper a week from now…shit like that.
With two messages remaining, I spend plenty of time crafting a message that won’t sound too desperate, just enough to make someone reach their pockets.  I make sure it doesn’t have any grammatical errors, cross check it twice before I hit send. Both messages are delivered instantly and I decide to take a walk around the house, to the kitchen open the fridge and promise it some company in a few minutes. I get back and I find one message replied. It said something about the end of the week.

The last one arrives shortly, a curt reply, ‘sina’ with space in front of it. I wonder why he didn’t begin the message at the margin. I am enraged by it, not the space but by the message. You see it was from a guy who works in place where he handles the money, not less than ten thousand in a single day, he told me and I don’t believe he can lie. He’s a good chap, never gambles, doesn’t drink, clueless about football, not a womanizer, I don’t know what interesting thing he does.  On top of it I am man who keeps my word. We’ve done business before and I was pretty sure my credit standing was pretty good.  He’d be the last guy to fail me but then he sends a message with space in front of it. So injurious to my pride.

My rage thaws and flows to things I did spend money one, things that were completely nonsensical. Once I gave a street kid 20 shillings, numerous times I did buy one Kao chic lunch who openly disrespected me, the bundles my phone had gobbled just to ensure I ogled at ladies with huge asses online. Luckily I didn’t regret the many vodka bottles that lined up in my closet. I can fondle them, fondly because they made conversations between me and my demons a little interesting, which wasn’t a bad thing at all.

‘ sina’ (note the space)didn’t get completely out of my mind. It kept sneaking back, through porous places I failed to seal. I cursed that word with its space in front of it. It sounded derogatory, every curve in the letters that make the word. And that space.  

A close scrutiny of the word revealed subtle engravings in it, which read ‘get your shit together’. I want to revenge on that guy, by parking a black Subaru Legacy, with fancy black rims just in front of his work place, where I will rev the monstrous engine three and half times and alight with a undetectable pride,  circumnavigate by baby and spank its dusty posterior just like those dudes do on blue movies. After the short performance, I will saunter into his place of work and engage him in a chit chat then tell him to approach me in case he is in a tight financial situation but first he must declare his friendship, just the same way Don Corleone demanded. Like Amerigo Bonasera.

Before departing, I will rev the engine three times again, then alight, open the bonnet and check something. I will go back and call him, telling him that the engine has a weird sound and ask him rev it for me so that I can put my ear close to it. I will ask him if he can detect the weird sound, which of course doesn’t exist. He will say no. But I will curtly tell him that it says, ‘FUCK YOU!’ with space in front of it.


Monday, 30 January 2017

Why I wouldn't want to date

Photo:Courtesy
She said I’d meet someone, she who would knock me off the apex of my loneliness or the craving of the same. For me it’s more about the craving to be alone, be reckless, sleep at whatever position I desire and most importantly lock the outside world from intruding into my sanctuary. Not so an exciting life but just worth the introvert in me.

A relationship has so much hassle in it. You won’t be able to repeat your socks, leave them wherever you want, sprawl dirty laundry however you feel. It has perks though, but with a price. The price is commitment and sometimes you pay with your own freedom. It constricts your life, fitting into a narrow prism of a woman’s mind, her stupid and nonsensical ideals, aimed at molding you into the man she wants. Shit, I don’t want that.

And her problems become your problems or at least expect you to be the super hero, chase after the villains and deliver her to a perceived heaven. Be it financial, emotional, physical (which you have to insist about her beauty every morning) and even political. She’ll tell you about all the problems she has had, what her mom has had, her father, brother, sister….pretty much everyone in the lineage of their family. When all has been said and done, you wonder what the F was it all about. Nothing changes.

Often, you must fit her into your schedule no matter how tight it is. You must check on her all the time. Woe unto you if you don’t. You aren't supposed to busy and more so broke. Where do you suppose money come from if we keep responding to your stupid texts? Then she goes to a broke guy with time in his hands, gets disappointed and leaps to the greener pastures, the octogenarian sponsors, staring at their graves.

Enter social media. She’ll ask why a certain girl keeps liking your mundane posts and photos. She’ll want to tell the entire world about how relationship is the best, the envy of everyone. She’ll advertise you, tagging you in everything she does. That’s the epitome of insecurity. We don’t need to be everywhere on social media. It’s a ‘keeping up with us’ kind of shit. Nobody has to know about how happy we are in the relationship, which, thankfully, research has disapproved, terming such kind of uncouth behaviour as that of a very unhappy couple seeking validation and approval from strangers online.


I love the peace of solitude. I love looking at my phone with pride, knowing there’s no girl in the entire world whom I am obligated to check from time to time. I love the peace that comes from not being involved in another’s problems. I love doing things the way I want it done, the way it pleases me. I love not the torment of being accused for something I haven’t done, just because she’s in love with me. Relationships just suck. Nothing but bunch of compounded problems. 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

THE DECEIT

Just as the world watched the greatest nation on earth inaugurate a racist, misogynistic, sexual predator and most importantly a braggart billionaire, Fiona too was inaugurating, or getting inaugurated into the cruel world of deceit, and worse, from the person who would be the last to abandon her. It’s during her hour of need that she’s thrown into an abyss of uncertainty and self-loathing. Her instincts are reduced to a single question; why me?

On the day she learnt that that her parents were no longer willing to pay her rent, she also learnt that her dear Eric was a dead beat father and a debt ravaged human mongrel. She had lent her entire savings to the man she trusted, the man she loved and the man she thought was overly and totally crazy about her. It’s not good to snoop around, it lets you into a treacherous trait of deceit from people you totally gave all your trust. The cover ups, the lies…damn the world.

She’s laid awake at nights the entire week, thinking and thinking about how all this could happen to her. Why does she attract bad guys? Why do they end up betraying her trust? These and many other questions walked briskly in her mind, with Trump-like carelessness and outright disregard to the virtue of trust and may be the biblical or whatever the phrase originated from, that we should treat people the way we wanted to be treated.

Sitting at Smothers Restaurant, Fiona would occasionally stare blankly, thought with intent and attention of a watch repair man, at nothing in particular. She’s pretty and has the potential of driving men crazy, a chauffeur without a car. But that isn’t a guarantee an upright man will walk into her life. Fiona sips her tea, it tastes salty. Her palate is rebelling against the tea. It’s here that she sees clearly the lies he often told, about having been bereaved, about his salary being delayed and how that sneaky bastard, whom she hates to admit that she deeply loves, could dupe her into digging into her savings, albeit little by little, until she depleted her coffers. After all, she thought, he’d get through tough times and they’d be happy together. That wasn’t to be.

Eric had had a major fight with Lisa, his baby mama, having spent the entire Christmas period with her. Fiona cringed at the thought of Eric spending her money buying diapers. The fight had made Lisa confiscate his phones as any woman would, when the man her man wasn’t providing for the kid, a three month old at that. Lisa had seen it all, alone. The cries the baby made at the time when was beginning to enjoy her sleep, a reprieve though temporary, from the thoughts that had eaten into beauty and weight. She no longer had the luxury of ‘pimping’ herself and she now looked like that gunia strapped on the back of a street man, collecting precious yet discarded materials. Lisa can’t remember the last she made her hair. She can’t remember the last time she looked beautiful. Motherhood eats into your time, your social life.

Lisa had gone through Eric’s phones and had found out about Fiona. She thought about how she was ‘eating’ her baby’s diaper money and most of all her man. As any woman would do, she had opted to call her to warn her or just to inform her of the man she was getting involved with. Lisa thought there’s no limit a man would go to if he can abandon his offspring. She informed Fiona of that, with the hope that Eric would see the light and man up to his responsibilities. But hope is a dangerous thing, it can kill a man for Fiona had no thought of breaking up with him. It’s also through that call from Lisa that she learned that Eric was/is a playboy, a man with who couldn’t keep protuberant tool under control, in the presence of a skirt. It’s also through the call that she learnt that Lisa fell pregnant accidentally, the usual crap. No one trips and falls on a dick, no, it takes consent. Lisa was just being reckless, hiding stupidity under the term ‘accident.’

It’s that call that informed Fiona the kind of man she was getting involved with. She was at crossroads. Her meager earnings as an intern wouldn’t sustain her. The rent would eat into her allowance leaving her with nothing. Her savings would have come in handy at times like this. She had gambled it with a man, although expecting the same amount back. It wasn’t too much a risk, was it? It’s not like those sport betting firms, at least she would have been assured of a profit or worse still lose everything. The worst is losing to man, her world, he pillar, her steady rock during storm and most of the man she immensely adored. She consoled herself that at least she isn’t pregnant with Eric’s baby, a playboy, in local terms an esteemed member of the infamous mafisi Sacco, though he’d be expelled once word got out that he had breached one among the many rules of this club of mongrels-borrowing money from a woman.

Fiona got out of Smothers Restaurant, and made her way to Koinange Street where she would dance part of her night away. It’s seven in the evening. Street lights give the city a serene look, a semblance of sunset. It’s somehow looked romantic. She crossed roads and streets, fearful that a reckless driver might knock her over. All she could think about was salsa. She loves salsa. It relieves her mind, makes her think clearly. She would forget about Eric for awhile, no, about the money she’d lose in the event Eric decides its worth more than the pussy he was getting. She would immerse herself in the steps, the swirling around and the kizomba music that played softly in that salsa only club. She regarded this place in the same manner a believer would to a church or the confession chamber. Here she’d find refuge.

As she descends down the stairs, into the basement, the location of her temporary refuge, Fiona’s mind can’t think of anything except how to recover her money, and possibly get back at Eric, mortally wounding is pride. She thinks of planting cameras in her bed sitter, to capture him on the throes of passion. She thinks of cheating on him on the same bed and making sure he knows about. With this thought, an easy one, because a pretty girl like her can never run short of admirers, who will be at her door upon a moment’s notice. But with all these men hovering around her she could afford to mess with this mongrel of a man in Eric.

She’s thinks of slashing his car tyres.  But then she doesn’t know if he truly won’t pay her money. He promised to at the end of the month, ten days to go. At midnight the dance was over. And she traced her way to her abode, and into her bed, that grew progressively colder every single day. She fell asleep too quickly, owing to the fatique. Last night she had left an event at 2 am in the morning, affording the fewest hours to sleep. She slept soundly.


WATCH OUT FOR PART II 

Friday, 13 January 2017

A WEED PEDDLER FOR A ROOMMATE

He wore a distant look on his face, silky smooth baby face, like he made it up every morning. From it I deduced that he was scared more by what he knew than what he didn’t. Had I not troubles  that bothered me, I would have walked up to him and asked him what was bothering him, except I had more things bothering me too.  You must be troubled by something if you crave solitude, right?  There were only two of us in the back yard of the hostel, communing with hanging lines and singing hymns that came with the wind, and the constant traffic that flowed along Lang’ata road. He didn’t even notice me, I’d learn later. He could have been high on something illegal. Later on we’d pass each other along the corridors, not ever occurring to us that pleasantries were meant for human beings. We didn’t notice each. His world was much busier than mine though.

Later on, we’d meet again as roommates. My name is Dan, he said. I told him mine. By bad luck a fresha had occupied his bed, and he gave an eviction notice, effective that very moment. The fresha tried to protest but he was resolute, and being a newbie he knew unconsciously that they were rules-rules that weren’t written but dished out randomly, like kanjos and policemen do. The only thing he was asked of was respect and obedience. Those two virtues can take you far. And so Dan had his bed. 

Dan. The Dans I have met before have been unruly; people who operate by the own rules. I didn’t expect any change since I am the type of person who concludes that all Dans are the same or anybody by any other name who has particularly unsavoury habits and traits. Call me the king of stereotypes, but trust I do not go about telling people all girls are the same. No, only those with particular names that are the same.

Anybody by the name Lucy strikes a cold chill down my spine. Not now but it used to. The first Lucy I met was actually a bully who loved to beat the crap out of children, for no reason at all. We were young then, and Lucy’s father owned a kiosk. If you were sent to buy something from the kiosk, you began crying in advance, maybe mother would pity you and send someone else. Sometimes she didn’t, almost all the time and that’s when you prayed that you don’t find Lucy lingering around the kiosk. I think she was mentally challenged. I’ll ask around one of these fine days.

Back to Dan, the baby faced man, slim and slightly tall; a Whiz Khalifa look alike- same height, same body and same mannerisms (hip hop junkie and weed smoker). He had a Creative hoofer that he jealously guarded like a kid would to his or her dolls. You didn’t touch it, you didn’t move it without his consent. Sometimes he would lend out to some of his friends, upon return he would whine about how people don’t know how to ‘protect’ people’s things. ‘You lend them in good faith, then they break it,’ he would curse, after he had repaired or feigned to. No one knew.

And just like every other kid brought in Nairobi by working parents, Dan had a penchant for night life. Every Friday he would plan with a few of his friends on their nocturnal get away, often a club in Westie. Once everything was settled, they’d contribute money, buy liquor (Smirnoff vodka) and a stash of weed. They’d call a few babes and agree their meeting point. They planned it meticulously, like soldiers planning an amphibious dawn attack on its enemies’ grounds. It worked, sometimes it didn’t. It turns out there was always one broke guy who depended on the rest once the party got started. There was always that one guy who passed out and didn’t have cab money. Thanks to God there’s Uber now. Dan and his crew don’t have to pay a lot.  Often Dan would come in the morning having lost his phone. A few days later he would buy another one, even more flashier, but then he would lose it a week later and the cycle continued until he learnt his lessons.

One very ungainly trait of his was laziness. Being in a hostel that had a 10 pm curfew in place meant that he had to plan in advance so that he can leave earlier than that. Almost all the times 10pm would find him still looking for clothes to wear. On one particular day, he left it late and was denied exit. The caretaker was resolute, stuck to rule like his job depended on it. So he hatched a plan, got a deep voiced guy around the hostel who acted his father and claimed they had an urgent family meeting in Karen. His ‘dad’ ordered his immediate release from the hostel claiming he has sent a taxi to pick him up. And that’s how he left proudly. He would later regale the story to me about how he had a date with a chick, had even bought liquor and everything, the only thing remaining was him availing his ass to the agreed destination.

He was one of the few people who never got along with others. His schedule was different from the rest, sleep during the day and stay up during the night, playing loud music the entire night. How he loved Whiz Khalifa music! In addition to these he was also a weed peddler, and had successfully managed to convert our room into a weed smoking joint. Every one smoked in that room, he claimed boastfully and if he gets caught all of us will go down. He had me buy cigarettes to even shit out, for when the axe fell, I wouldn’t want to have an excuse.

His stint as the upcoming Pablo Escobar didn’t last long. I don’t know what it is with drugs that once you in it you inevitably develop enemies around. Is it that your clients cant fathom your success or just have the feeling that they are being short changed?  First, he never used to attend lectures and his parents summoned him home one weekend for that matter. I think I heard him complain about not having chosen the course he was taking. It should have been one of his enemies who set him up.
One day, on a Friday, I got a rude shock. As I made my way into the hostel in the evening, I noticed luggage heaped near the reception. I remember wondering why someone would check so late or either leave the hostel so late in the evening. I made my way to the room and found it locked. It was normal with Dan, a smoker even though smoking and drinking were against the rules of the place (I don’t want use the word illegal). He loved locking himself in but on that evening frantic knocks yielded nothing.

A few minutes later he showed up distraught. He told me that our room had been cleared, and all our belongings taken to the reception. It turned out the luggage I had seen earlier belonged to us. It turns out that he had talked rudely to the manager after he was caught with a stash of weed. Apparently the manager knew exactly where he would find it. A brief quarrel between him and the manager ensued, in which he told him that his father is a lawyer and that he can defend him perfectly well. I am still baffled as to how the manager got the idea that he must clear the room and take the entire luggage to the reception. It’s not clear to me yet.

We grouped ourselves, having both received a briefing from the drug peddler and trouped to the office to claim our luggage, and he to defend himself. We were to claim we don’t know who the weed belonged but it was an open case when we got there. Everyone knew it belonged to him but we wanted to act like we didn’t to offer him the match needed solace. We knocked and entered the office. An old motherly lady, with creases around her face welcomed us uncharacteristically.  We sat there meekly, the same way errant children do, after breaking the family’s priced utensils. We had our rehearsed answers scripted by the drug peddler himself, Don Dan. We didn’t want to let him down, either by making the punishment less severe or making him avoid it entirely, an impossible feat one might say. Truth of the matter is we didn’t actually care. He had been a pain in the ass for far too long.

The old lady began interrogating us, excluding the drug peddler.

“Why didn’t you come for your luggage?” she asked.

“We didn’t know it belonged to us,” the other roommate answered.

“You never even bothered to ask where the room key is,” she asked trying to pin.

At this moment we knew it was a closed case. The jury had already delivered the verdict. She just wanted to toy with us, threaten us ‘because it was a serious case’ which could warrant the presence of law enforcement officers. It’s illegal, she had said, and it can attract a jail sentence of not less than ten years. We weren’t bothered by her threat of law enforcement. Weed was smoked casually almost everywhere. For us it was perfectly normal to find someone at the laundry puffing away the holy weed. Once you’d meet them, after a bout of the holy puff, arguing who would jump from the fourth floor without breaking a limb. And how philosophical they become. Suddenly they’d suggest ways of beating the system (rich kid felt screwed by the system) and how to make school fun.

Realisng that her threat failed to hit the intended target, she resorted to our parents.  I remember being visibly distressed. You know those fathers who you can’t argue with. Being associated with something as grave as bhang would have the same impact as being the owner. With him a small mistake isn’t small at all. If you get suspended from school, the best way to tell him was you’ve decided to unanimously abandon the pursuit of education. It would attract the same wrath. If he intended to kill you he would, no matter the misdemeanor.

And so I fidgeted uneasily on my chair, wishing to gain the courage to tell the old lady to claim that the bhang belonged to me. I think adults derive a certain devilish relish seeing a young man conquered, pushed against the wall to the point of doing whatever they willed. I could tell she loved it. She beamed like a young girl being approached by that guy she’s always admired. She asked numerous times whether she should call our parents. We both shook our heads. In turns out both of us had been involved in small misdemeanors in the past and she had had the front row seat in witnessing our parent’s unbridled wrath.

With us beaten, she finally turned her attention to the man of the day. He didn’t have the bullish and confident face he had before. He fidgeted anxiously as he claimed that someone might have left the weed in his locker, since, apparently, he leaves the door open.

She wasn’t interested in that narrative. She asked him what he told the manager when he found him with the weed. He resisted for a while and realized that she wasn’t going back on her quest. Finally he caved in and said feebly.

“I told him that my father is a lawyer and that he can defend me,” he said with his face staring at his shoes, the same way a man would beckon God above.

The old lady called his brother and instructed him to take him straight home. I never had a clue where their home was. I didn’t care for finally we could get rid of the man-vermin and finally live in peace. It turned out the manager had left with the key, ensuring that no one entered the room. That night, I slept in a store, fought with starved bedbugs and mosquitoes the entire night.

The next day the Dan was swiftly evicted, there being no case to answer as he did put himself. So many people were relieved by his swift exit, even those he owed money. At least he’s gone, one guy had lamented.

A few months later we’d meet near the damn hostel and he asked me if I still reside in the hostel. I  affirmed, and he let out a long sarcastic smile as he disappeared around the corner of the mall.




Sunday, 8 January 2017

A.B.C.D. [A BOYS CARAT DREAM]

It’s the last year of the century, 1999, to the uninitiated. As the sun sets that fine day, you drive the sheep to their shed, satisfied that you weren’t tempted to drive them early so that you could afford uninterrupted play. You remember the time you risked your mother’s ire by forcing the sheep into their shed in the afternoon and marveled that they've ‘entered by themselves.’ But that was you, being the kid that you were, you never saw the bigger picture. Somehow instant gratification was what drove your decisions.

On this day, a Thursday, it’s special in some way. It’s a market day and mother doesn’t usually go the market often. You think maybe she’s gone to buy fruits for the family or maybe vegetables, being January, the driest month in the region. It’s all you can think. At sunset she arrives with a baggage. Your siblings were the first to spot her and ran to her, helping her with the baggage even though they couldn’t manage to lift it off the ground. They try and try and finally give up.

Mother places the yellow paper, sits down and asks for a cup of water. In the mean time you and your siblings forage through the bag, claiming the goodies that came from the market. You fight over one thing until mother decides whom it belongs. If it wasn’t meant for you, you either sulk or go through the bag one more time; maybe you can find something meant for you. On this day you don’t find anything special for you. Instead mother rises from her chair, and dips her hand into the bag and fishes out a maroon sweater and then asks you unceremoniously to try it. It fits you perfectly, of course with plenty room for improvement. You look at yourself quite amazed for speech.

And that’s when it hits you. It dawns on you that you are finally beginning a chapter whose ending you don’t know. No one knows. You contemplate asking your mother why she’s punishing you, for the tales you’ve heard of school weren’t appealing. Teachers were bad, they beat people for no reason. There was no joy in school, except a ceaseless routine, day in day out. Go to school early enough, sit in class, break time at certain intervals and then lunch time.

The following day you accompany your mother to the trading centre. There you meet a tailor with a ‘bad leg,’ he has a walking pole, one that was fashioned out of a blamelessly straight tree. He takes your measurements. He engages your mother but you are too busy smelling the aroma of mandazi that rule the entire place. Back then a mandazi was everything. I think it was easy luring a kid those days. All you needed was a mandazi. How they packaged it in empty flour bags!! Shit you loved it more than anything else. Put it in your dairy, grown ass man, mandazi was your first love.

A week later the uniform arrives mysteriously. Mother didn’t leave home that day. She accosts you before you go to bed and orders you to try the uniform. A pair of dark blue shorts, a light blue shirt and a maroon pullover, there were no shoes. The shorts are tiny as hell, but you are tiny as well, just six years old. The next day the journey of schooling began. You and your brand new uniform, accompany your mother to the nearest school. Mother enters an office with you in tow, your name is scribbled down on an old tattered book by an old bespectacled man.

Kipchirchir Kiprop.

That’s your name. No fancy English name. Back then you hated that name that it was almost abusive, it was actually an expletive term to call someone by their English name. You guarded it like nuclear launch codes. Any moment someone discovered it you were doomed, just like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As far as you were concerned you didn’t want destruction. But then richer kids used their first names, the sons and daughters of athletes that lived within the precincts of the school. Of course this was a temporary arrangement before being  shipped to better schools.

After a few exchange of pleasantries, mother is instructed to take you to a classroom near the gate. There she talks with the teacher, and the leaves. You are scared shit of being alone. It dawns on you that the only place you were assured of security was being your mother. Now you are all alone in a sea of unfamiliarity. You want to cry but she assures that it will okay. At that moment your pour all your hatred on your mother and douse her with unspoken juvenile expletives.

The teacher turns out to be motherly as well and ushers you to a class full of kids. That’s when you realize you are the tallest among them all. You don’t remember but for once in your life you had to ‘borrow’ permission to shit. And there was a designated place to shit too. Back at home the bush came in handy, for the hole in the pit latrine looked huge. It looked like you could slip through it and die a slow painful death, corroded by feaces. The ‘borrowing of permission’ was the hardest part. Unfortunately there was no manual for that. Now, you wish you could tell people that you didn’t shit on your brand new uniform on the first day of school.

The saddest thing about school then was that you didn’t know the reason why you went to school. It felt like you went there to wait for holidays. Or get promoted to the next class after a year. Nevertheless you gave your best shot. You learnt how to hold a pen and scribble things down, though incomprehensible. It was deemed a good step towards progress.

Then came the singing. Endless singing. When you thought you were done, then came more singing. About alphabets, numbers, days of the week and months. The only singing you truly enoyed was the one before you went for lunch.

Naskia sauti, sauti ya mama
Sasa ni saa sita, sasa ni saa sita
Kwaheri mwalimu
Bye bye teacher
Mungu akipenda tutaonana kesho na tusome

********
A few years later you make friends who you played with, went home with for lunch. And as you grew, it became apparent that you didn’t deserve the kind of education offered in that school. Your parents begin head hunting for a new school, where you’d get quality education. But that wasn’t what was on your mind. It was a matter of affluence. Relatively rich homes didn’t keep their kids in day schools where they scored 200 marks. No, they aimed big. They take you to interviews in schools so far away from home, schools hidden in the bush that to reach you must board matatus, alight and board another before you get there. It seemed god was reading your mind for the interview was as hard as Wabukala’s next job.

When everything had been exhausted you went back to your school.

“Are you sure you are not transferring?” asked the teacher, a slightly bulky woman. She doesn’t want to enter you into the class register. She knows somehow, that your parents have already handed in a transfer request.

“I am not transferring,” you reply back. As far as you were concerned passing interviews were a mirage. Even if there was one in the offing, you were sure as hell that you would not be offered a place.

The next day you fail to show up for school. There’s an interview to attend. You don’t give so much thought about success. The last three amounted to nothing but failure. In your mind you’d be back to continue with the same people you’ve known all along, get your 200 marks and live an adulterated village life, a life without too many complications and ambitions. But on that day the gods were on your side. You passed the interview. All of a sudden, you were going to a new school, an academy, and most importantly a boarding school.

A new chapter began in 2005, six years after you began school. With new friends, new mode of teaching, and getting used to badly cooked food and doing your own laundry. In class a few were curious about how you used to perform in your former school.

“I was number two,” you blurt with a sense of triumph. You saw the disappointment in her face. It meant she has to be pushed further down the performance index the next time an exam was done. But then something nags her and she asks the marks you got.

“296,” you say with a sense of pride. Truth is that was the best performance ever in your entire upper primary education. A new comer had beaten you. She settles to her book assured that you are not an academic threat.

A short, slim man pops into the class room and hands you a 200 pages exercise book. There’s fear and reverence that abound the man. You later learnt that he was dressed in a pullover, a hand knit brown turtleneck one, that spoke of his foul mood. When you spotted him in it you watched how you breathed lest your violate one of his many unwritten rules. You would curse the day you were born, the one who bore you and the canal you passed. He was a Kisii by the way. You promise yourself to look for him one of these days, get to know him on a level you aren’t afraid of him.

Three days later, the slim man pops into the classroom with anger. Everybody in class stiffens up as he grabs you by the collar. A sigh of relief ripples through the classroom when you are picked and man handled like someone who just murdered a brother over a plate of ugali. The previous day, the class had been given a composition to write and apparently you had written nonsense.

“What is this?” he fumes, pointing at a single page of the nonsense you had managed to craft.
He flogs you with vengeance. Eight strokes fall on your buttocks. You don’t flinch or budge. The strokes fall one after the other, you don’t even bother to count, you classmates do it for you. You don’t shout, you don’t cry.  When he’s done he tears the page and orders you to rewrite the essay. You rise, dust yourself and you are greeted by something more than awe. They had never witnessed someone who would withstand the man’s wrath, without flinching. You stare at the page he just tore and slowly put it back into your locker desk. He never asks for it later on.

A year down the line, you score 400 marks. You can’t tell the joy that rippled through your being that day. Lagging behind for the better part of your infancy at the school, made you realize that everything is possible, of course with a few floggings here and there. Two more years and you manage decent marks that enabled you to join a secondary school, a provincial one, where you began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Good grades and your life was all but a guaranteed bliss. You had to surmount the challenge of chemistry and physics. There was no way you could defy the laws of physics because there was no chemistry between the two of you.

Thank god you emerged victorious at the end of the gruesome battle, drained but at least breathing. For the first time you breathe a sigh a relief, you dad’s money didn’t go to waste. Many times before you entertained the thoughts of how best he could have used the money he spent on your school fees. He could have visited every holiday destination around the world, or probably have bought a mansion at Beverly Hills Los Angeles, singing to Jay Z’s Forever Young. Attaining grades that ensured direct entry into university wiped all those thoughts away. For once he asked you what you wanted to do with your life (he never did before).

*******
The devil is always out there to rob people of their happiness. He just can’t stand the sight of people being happy, even for no reason or just for reaping what they sowed over the years.  Right now he’s waiting to rob you a chance for a job, a prospective lover, a dream you’ve held since you grew conscious of your surroundings. The devil is always there waiting for a chance to strike. And strangely the devil is sometimes hidden in us, within us, probing us to make decisions that are conducive for his growth and manifestation.

Before you have digested the results, your parents, having not gotten so used to your presence at for longer periods, decide that you need to do computer studies. Your father sends you to scout for a college within town and off you go, one fine morning. While in town, still prospecting, not actually prospecting but finding a way of writing a receipt to reflect the amount you've told him, and of course pocket the rest, he calls you and triumphantly announces change of plans.

“I have changed my mind. You will study a diploma course. I want you to help your sister out, “he says when you get into the car.

Just like that you find yourself doing a course in purchasing and supplies management. But this time round you are commuting from home to town, an hour work and another hour in a matatu. For a seven am class, you had to be up by 5 am lest you be late. That’s the earliest legal time you’ve had to wake, not forgetting the chilly mornings, plus morning dew.

Amid all the angst, the hating, the skiving of school and the eventual spanking, you decide to man up and complete the course. There you found love that you still doubt if it is, after that really bad let down from her part. After a year you had your diploma, something you couldn’t even celebrate. In it you lost the meaning of learning of education. But you had, it belonged to you and nobody else.

Enter university, the last phase of life. Here you take journalism, a roller coaster and the struggle to beat deadlines. The hardest part of university is deadlines. Nothing else. And worrying about exams and cats. It’s here that you finally taste the night life, the fable that had been narrated in high school and for once it hits you that it’s for those whose wallets are faint hearted. The night is prone to brawls from mean who, after taking three or four bottles decide that every man wants to snatch their woman, or because he sees himself as the undisputed heavy weight champion of the world.

*******
Officially you can sing Kanye West’s song Can’t Tell Me Nothing.
Class started two hours ago
O am I late?
Nooo, I already graduated

Suddenly you learn that there are no jobs. Nobody tells you this in university, you learnt to write a business plan though but for the purposes of examination. Right now you have no clue of what you wrote about.



And that’s your ABCD of life; A Boys Carat Dream

Saturday, 31 December 2016

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

The New Year is here. Just like Christmas it shall find me holed up in some god knows where. Apparently it’s already New Year, biblically. Got this news from a highly placed source who requested anonymity. And typically this New Year shit is already late by a few hours. Let’s make resolutions, right? 

I don’t belong to those New Year new me kind of folks. It’s outdated. It’s for people who are disillusioned about life. Why wait until one a number that has been constant in the calendar for a whole 365 days, changes? It’s just a subtle way of hoodwinking yourself. For me its same old me, same old shit, for another 365 days. Trust me I do expect different results, that’s how I’ve gotten results any way.

But here are some of my prayers for 2016.

Blessings to everybody who owes me money
I project a tough year ahead and I am already toughening up by asking God to bless every single soul out there who owes me money. And let it be enough that they don’t find it painful paying me back.

Let me have airtime when in deep shit

I won’t call you all the time, in fact I am not calling you at all except when I am in deep financial trouble. And times have been kind; I have seen few of those. But then 2017 is a different beast all together. On times such those let me have plenty of airtime to seek help from people we might have even talked the entire 2016. I won’t ambush you on the material day, rather I will start rehearsing a month early. I am the kind who knows what will happen ahead. If I suddenly start calling you regularly, even wishing you a good night, please start saving.

Let Man Utd finish ahead of Arsenal in league

Arsenal fans! These are so good at telling you how your team sucks. They are like a bunch of single guys who constantly tell you how your girlfriend is ugly, but contend dry spells like no one’s business. At least every night we look at a trophy. It’s better to have won a couple of times than to have not at all. Come May, it’s my prayer that we finish ahead of these noisy fellas.

I wish for sanity in people


I am among the many people out here who never quite understand why people do support the politicians they do. Why would you want someone’s meat so badly? Why don’t you just go and hunt your own, a fresh one? I wish that people are sane enough not to let their difference in choices come between them. After all we are all one, aren’t we?

Monday, 31 October 2016

TRUTHFUL VOICES WE IGNORE

Sometimes there are truthful voices we ignore. 
17th October, 2013. It’s was Sunday. It’s a wonder that you remember things that don’t really have much value depending on how you view it. Things that are tested in exams take so long to remember when you need to, but some events last forever. May be its time we give value to things that we don’t easily forget, more than them being mere memories.

On this day I was heading home from Nairobi. I had never been to Nairobi before and as fate would have I got selected to join this school inches from land marks that really identify Nairobi. My raw vie of Nairobi was one large concrete jungle, street after street. I was amazed to see trees and more so a park just beside the city. Marvels from a village boy that was me then.

I had been to every single place Nairobi, had to offer. The night life was something I had yearned. Blame it on these cool kids from considerably rich families. Looking back they weren’t really rich but confident. They grew up watching movies and TV, whichever come first. They told stories of clubbing and shit. And when we stepped into the city, having a taste of became an obsession, the first thing to check off our bucket list. First to Simmers Club, then a myriad of others before we got whisked out of one, at 3 a.m. Then the reality of being murdered by mongrel humans hit us as we strolled atop Thika Super Highway to Ngara. To top it we had to climb a wall back to the hostel considering the watchman had already slept. Then imagine doing that while high.

It dawn on me that night life wasn’t for those whose wallets were faint at heart. I had to redo my bucket list, strip off night life and replace it with something more interesting, something I didn’t manage to up to now. Still redoing my bucket list.

To truly bid bye to city, anybody from the rift will tell you North Rift Shuttle is the choice. Early that morning, I was at their offices ready to carry my city lessons back to my village. I booked the back right seat. I don’t remember if it was the only one remaining or I chose it out of my own volition. I realized it had been a mistake, later on when we had successfully navigated our way out of the congested city. Up to date I still wonder why there are so many people, moving unceasingly all the damn time.

You see I sat beside a couple. Judging from their dressing they weren’t that well off but weren’t struggling. The lady was in a long sleeved rd top and cheap jeans trouser, those that they sell by the roadside. She was happy, that I could tell. The man on the other hand was stone faced as if he had been forced into making the journey.


The lady kept receiving and making calls until her battery ran off. She asked for her man’s which he did without a second thought. The lady seemed to have a business that necessitated her instructions from time to time. Once a caller inquired where she was and triumphantly said she was being ‘taken out’.  There was a pride in the way she said it, like she had won a wager. It seemed the man was keen on taking the relationship to the next level.

Later the calls became scanty as the journey wore on. She’d lean on her man’s chest and ask those questions ladies ask, in a childlike awe. If there’s anything amazing is the way ladies ask questions. Like why is a zebra stripped? Beb si tutaenda Mombasa? The dude never smiled. He answered her questions nonchalantly, like he was absent and his body was inadvertently in a Matatu, travelling to god-knows-where with a lady it loved.

In truth I envied him. The lady was too much in love. In this day and age it’s rare to find ladies who truly love you. Like Chris Brown said, they ain’t loyal anymore. She would laugh in a sonorous way, teasing me at my corner. I couldn’t help but compare mine to theirs. There was this voice that seemed to tell me I wasn’t significant any more. I would ignore it, but it was incessant. Trouble with our hearts is they listen more to what it wants to hear. Right there it wanted to hear that it was deeply in love with her and she was too.

She’d meet me at Eldoret. For the first time in the relationship she never bothered to ask where I had reached. I didn’t too. I only called her when I alighted. The first call went answered. Second the same. The third time she answered in a very sleepy voice, that didn’t feign annoyance. I had ruined a Sunday afternoon siesta. I told her I was in town, just a few metres from where she resided. She had never allowed me into her house and I figured out may be she didn’t want me to the subject of gossip from her neighbours or she had another guy who had unrestricted access to her house. I had gotten over that and wasn’t hoping that she’d change her mind soon.

She promised she’d be out in a few minutes. The minutes turned into many. I contemplated leaving without seeing her but something told me to wait a few more minutes. Thirty minutes later she called. She emerged from the buildings lethargically, bound by something invisible. She walked like someone being led to the gallows. We greeted each other like strangers, without even a faked smile. No hugs.

She’d normally insist I stay for a while but on that particular day she let me go. She seemed to have dished her last shred of care. I had failed her numerously. She had earmarked her exit route and she’d do so at the earliest opportunity. Communication became scanty and when it did happen it seemed forced, her hurling insults then half hearted apologies, which she’d withdraw soon after or ask herself why she was apologizing.

In all honesty, there is always a voice that tells you a relationship isn’t right. I don’t know if its science but there exists an element called ether that links minds. Often times we are thinking of so many things at the same time to focus on what another person is thinking. Ever tried calling your significant other and she tells you she was about to or was texting you? That’s the power of minds. It communicates with another mind, and in the case of discomfort, the other mind will tell that your minds are no longer incompatible.

Don’t ignore that voice. Listen to it. Make your way out of relationships that don’t work.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

CHROME

Leila had just closed school. After a few exchange of pleasantries through text she asked when I’d be around so that I could buy her a drink. She said her favourite was Chrome. I wondered. Chrome!  Odd name for alcohol. I mean there’s Kenya Cane, Kenya King, Konyagi, Meakins [I can name almost all the brands of cheap liguor-I belong to this class]. Names weren’t yet exhausted to warrant someone naming a vodka Chrome. Like someone woke up one day with a stiff hung over from the other liquors and said, ‘I’m gonna make me a liquor and name it Chrome. I’m gonna make Chrome more than just a browser.’ Five years from now a deep voice will emanate from our speakers….when chrome was just a browser….

My interest was irked. Trouble is I hadn’t enough problems in my Problem Bank to make me visit the liquor store. Every time I felt the urge of communing with eagles I was always repulsed by the Problem Bank customer care. Sweetly she’d say, ‘You have insufficient problems, please find a woman and call back.’ That’s when I realized how it sucked to live without problems. The world would suck even more without problems. There’d be no politics and worst of all journalists would be jobless. Imagine a world like that! A world where people wake up, make love with only their wives, eat, pray and make love again [with their wives only-this is important]. The world would be so freaking boring.

Back to chrome.

So am heading home with my paps. The sound track to our silent conversations has always been Franco’s music. He has an album that he plays every single time I’ve been on that car with him. We drive reveling in our awkward silence. Franco belts his tunes. I used to hate such kind of music. Now I don’t, how else would I survive a six hour journey? We stop at Nakuru. He had some business to attend. He disappears and I spot a huge Chrome advert on a billboard. There was a dude dressed stylishly, with shoes that glowed around the edge of the sole. There were curvy colorful lines imposed on him but not enough to make him indistinguishable. The photo was taken while he was dancing to some hip hop music, I guess, because his hands were in the air and he stood on his toes. Below him was a fancy slogan I forgot to remember. The clear target of this drink was the young broke ass people. Just like me. RRP 180.

‘I’ll buy it one day’ I promised my liver.

We get home in the wee hours, the kind my high school principal used to call satanic hours. That was just one of the few punchlines he managed to pull. One day he claimed our parents were the poorest South of Sahara and north of Limpopo. If weren’t peaceful enough we’d have lynched his car [one of his]. Looking back our parents sure had to be. I mean if you can build a multi-million house immediately after purchasing a Toyota Rav 4, everybody had to be poor surely. I retrieve my bag from the car boot and prance about indulgently. There is something about the village; fresh air, no noise except dogs barking occasionally and cocks crowing-the air is generally serene.
Something about home. No matter how long you’ve been away everything will always seem normal. No matter how changes have taken place it will still be the same place you left a few years or months back. It will still be home.

I should meet Leila, I thought basking on a rock by the stream. I always check on this rock occasionally, but almost always, when I want to clear my mind. The gurgling stream offers the best beats as the birds sing recklessly up the trees. A few texts later we strike a deal. We’d meet the next day, a Sunday. As usual she says she doesn’t have fare. You get a cookie for guessing what I did. Bingo! You got it right.

Is it impatience or is it that girls drag themselves deliberately when they agree to meet you? Or it could be my own problem? She had promised to leave her place at 3.30, add another hour and she’d be there. At four I was there, spruced up. I called. She doesn’t pick. I call again. No answer. An hour later she calls. I rushed out from this dinghy movie place, where retards catch Dj Afro movies. I forced myself in, for time to move. I’d missed Dj Afro anyway, and that was enough an excuse. This is also the place we catch football. Here the roof is dust infested. Woe unto you if a belated Arsenal fan jumps in jubilation, worse still for a replay of goal. It’s not rare to find people celebrating a replay, especially when their team’s behind. I think they should ban replaying from different angles because many people here confuse for another goal.

Leila says she’d be leaving her place in an hour. That’s makes it two. Thinking of two grueling hours in a dinghy place, coupled with sweaty human beings, crammed in one place and the hotness of the place prompts me to ask what’s keeping her that long. I call her back immediately she hangs up. She picks up and barks.

‘I just told you I’ll be there in an hour….is it this money that you are desperate about. I can send them back…’ and she hangs up just like that. Without according me an opportunity of reply. Meager money. I couldn’t count the amount of money Sportpesa and African Spirits Limited have gobbled up-probably a thousand over.

Why would she be irked by a hundred shillings? Why would she even think I would be at a loss with a mere hundred shillings? Just because she wouldn’t be around wouldn’t mean I wouldn’t get where I was to go [apply your poetic knowledge or lack of it]

Just stay wherever you are, do whatever you are doing with whomever you are with, however you lie it. Got nothing to lose.  I text her and head to this pub. It doesn’t have a name now but three years ago it use to be called Metro Pub. It’s deserted. I count only two tables, with a huge space between them. Three high stools are around the counter, unoccupied. Kalenjin music pierces the air. I look around and notice a drunk light skinned girl cuddling or seemed an old rugged looking man. I don’t want guess his age, cheap liquor has a way of aging someone embarrassingly. May he’d just cleared his fourth form. The girl rises once the song changes. I didn’t even notice the change, but I know it was Chelele before as it is now. She dances around trying to move her rigid backside to this Chelele song.  Well, all Chelele songs are the same. And she has the guts to call herself Binti Osama! How would you allow to be killed by a non-entity? Oh, I guess your dad wasn’t there to protect you, blame it on Obama.
I
 order Chrome. This is where we make acquaintances with Chrome.  I hope you aren’t slow like the browser, thinks  I.

‘We only have this,’ a motherly waiter says plainly. Trouble with all the pubs around here is there aren’t any beautiful waiters. No even one. And the serve you in those coloured plastic cups. I see a green liquid inside.

‘Aren’t all supposed to be like this?’ I regretted saying this; probably I’d be thought as an amateur drunkard. Knowing I don’t know she’d be at liberty to charge me any amount. And that’s robbery considering the fact that I’ve emerged from Muthurwa’s unnamed pubs on my goddamn feet. Skilled drunkard!

‘Lemon flavoured, ‘ she says, devoid of any emotion. A rock would say the same words without altering anything.

Green, blue, yellow….whatever (Breaking Bad fans). I want to taste Chrome. I grab it and she demands cash. Like I just stumbled into the pub. I reach for my pocket and retrieve a two hundred shilling note. I hand it to her and she hands me a glass. For the first time I see a glass. Maybe first timers are served in glasses, like most homes do to visitors. Those reserved utensils, you know. I pour a little and gulp it down and waited. Nothing happened. I poured some more and gulped. Nothing happened. The music still sucked. The two lovebirds were still miserable. Me too. Leila is distant. Like she’s never existed. May this Chrome is as slow as the one am used to. I pour half the glass and gulped down.

Then, without notice everything turned beautiful. The music became the best sound one could ever hear. The ugly couple looks sexy. The motherly bartender looks sexy too. I want to rise and gyrate whatever I have. That would wait, I think.

Then she calls. Leila calls. I look at the phone and toss it aside. She calls again. Same procedure. She calls once more. Same procedure. She texts. I look at the text.

I’m sorry.

                  Doesn’t sound real.

I mean it.

                  You’d have texted immediately. Not three hours later

Just received the text now

                 I’ve haven’t seen yours too, will check them tomorrow. Good night.

More and more sorries come in. I’m sorry for her because I wasn’t even reading them. Minutes later, after clearing my drink, I summon a boda boda guy. Ten minutes I’m fumbling with the door lock, it isn’t actually a lock but a nail driven into the edge of the door and curled, just to keep the door in place but not for security.


Lights out.