Month: August 2016

The Editor

Editor

Fingers converse with the keyboard in little clicks like naughty pupils whispering in class after lunch. The clicks fill the room. He haunches over, hitting the buttons in the desperate rush to beat the deadline. It is 12.47. The news is supposed to be on at exactly one. So he fights, absentmindedly grabbing the cup and sips the tea. His eyes do not leave the monitor as if he is in a staring contest with the monitor.

This happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He seems to love every bit of it for he sticks to his seat as if he has been glued to it. The cover of his arm chair is faded at the arms and the sitting area while the others bought at the same time are still shimmering and dark.

He gobbles every story. Internalizes it, analyses the slant and the scripts and the words. He transforms intros into catchy leads. He replaces words with weighty ones that convey the message. He trims the script until all the rodents are out in the light and then gives that crucial nod. Otherwise the story will die.

This is his playground and he entertains no mediocre players. If you can’t, then retire and let the able ones work. Once it is on his desk, he skims through it and snaps his finger. And that is where all the trouble begins. That is where the illness begins and the story either battles out or perishes in the ordeal.

His voice is neither soft nor husky. It is however somehow heavy. His cheeks are bloated; perhaps from all the frowning at the poorly done stories. His back is stooped from all the hunching. He is always in a hurry but never to leave his center where stories meet their ultimate fate.

He never looses his temper except when he is irritated by mediocrity in a story, which happens all the time. When he is, he loses his words. He takes to dismantling it and rebuilding it into something worth of air. Then when he finally gets his voice back, he issues a stern warning.

When the heat is up and people are losing their heads, he always has his to bring people back to their selves. The heat never bends him. It just can’t reach up to his boiling point. He is like a father in the middle of fighting kids.

And then he never laughs unless he just has to. His laughter is so rare it could be valued alongside precious metals like diamonds. Even when finally the story flies into the viewer’s TV. Perhaps one day he will laugh so much everyone will be disgusted. But as for now, we will make do with the quest to put a smile on his face.

#thewordbrewer

Yesterday

Yesterday
Is two days before tomorrow,
The day after two days ago.
Haruki Murakami

yesterday

Tomorrow I will be looking back at today wondering what good I ever was in making the world a better place. Today I am looking back at yesterday like a character in Haruki’s Yesterday, and still miss the clear vision of those moments that really matter.

Back then I was so young and plump. Not certain about the elusive future. I peek back and all I can see is a large dark cloud of worry. My worry was justified for I am still chasing after that cloud barring me from having a view of my tomorrow.

Academics called, I heeded the call and struggled to put a finger on the far stretched grades that would open the creaking gates of a university education. That meant Helb loan to help offset monetary issues and, well, a better chance in the congested world out of a university.

I have been reading fervently in order to spell out any misfortune that might be waiting on my inclination and evade them. The books light up that candle of hope in my writing career. Offering a glimpse of what might be lying ahead. The light though is too frail to break the chains of darkness that is draped all over it.

Haruki’s character regretted for never having had time to record the lyrics spit out by his weird friend Gitaru in the wake of the strengthening of his growth rings. My memory seems to be lying that it is strong but I would not fall into such pit traps. As long as it is sharper than the focus of a magnifying lens, my memory will someday try to fail me. That is when I will drag it to the torture chambers and clip off its hazy edges.

Yesterday is indeed two days after tomorrow. But what does it hold? What key to what door does it hold to the sealed gates of tomorrow? I might have a clumpy past. It might be heart breaking. It can as well go on to be a riddle to be uncovered by a young brain. But of what use is it?

Governments use their yesterday wounds to heal tomorrows looming ones. Companies use their past to project their future prospects. What do I do with my yesterday? Do I sit back and wait until history repeats itself among my future generations so I can come back to try and alter the coarse course of it? Will I let them use time machines to travel back to me and enlighten me on the implications of my undeterred yesterday?

The idea of the power of the pen was once given unto me so that my yesterday may not perish but have an everlasting tomorrow, okay maybe. I may write about the politics of hatred changing shape daily in the current world. I may write about the romance of extravagance engulfing the young mind today. I may write about the Eurobond and saga in the same sentence. But I will also remember to hoist a portrait about my yesterday. So the colors of the painting may give a reflection of a better tomorrow.

#thewordbrewer

Shudder in the Shuttle

matatu

Martin stood by the roadside, waiting, and his luggage lay by his feet. It was a large grey suitcase that bulged from a plethora of content. Its zippers threatened to rip apart if the stretching became unbearable. Martin gazed up and down the road restlessly. He kept glanced at his smartphone that couldn’t stop purring from all the streams of Whatsapp messages beseeching for his attention.

The sun was high and sky luminous. Casting a look on to the road, Martin could see air dancing in the heat of the black tarmac. The cologne from his white t-shirt jumped off into his nostrils. At the grassy sides of the road, tethered sheep clasped under trees while panting so hard their bodies rocked back and forth like a bunch of leaves in a breeze.

Finally, a shuttle flashed the headlights at him and he waved. The matatu was already crammed but he boarded it anyway. He did not want to lose his cologne to the hot air. The girls too were getting restless. They kept pestering him to hurry. And he did, not because he was in love but because they were. He had shown them an imitation of love and they bought it. Since he coined the art, he always pretended to like so he could have the liberty to pull down the loose pants whenever he felt like it. Once satisfied he would take off like a rabbit rattled out of its hiding.

Despite his willingness to constrict himself into the rumbling vehicle, the conductor took the trouble to convince him that there was one more space. He nodded and was squeezed in the back among two men and a pregnant woman. He sat between a roughly dressed guy and the window.

Martin’s bare hands touched the man’s big ones and he could feel the sweat on his skin. It reminded him of the Dettol advert. The whole vehicle smelled of sweat, unwashed mouths and faint cologne. The window won’t open. It was stuck. And it made Martin feel stuck in a death trap.

His phone vibrated briefly in his pocket. He let out a grunt of disgust and struggled to retrieve it. The notification bar suggested that he takes back the grunt. It was Brian. The bastard was in the same vehicle with Martin, seated in the front by the driver.

From the miniature space in the corner, Martin struggled to keep up a chat with Brian who replied more swiftly. Every time Martin looked into the screen of his phone, the big man next to him peeped to read the messages. Martin hated him for it. He felt that the man was making his life impossible. What with all the sweat and squeezing and foully mouth and now this?

He wrote to Brian about it and looked out the window with disgust.

Brian replied with smiley faces and wrote that those are the kind of guys who never wash their underwear just like the one seated next to him in front. Martin smiled and stole a glance at the man before typing a reply. It occurred to him that all this while the man had been reading the messages!

Marred with shock, Martin looked up at the man and met feud beetroot eyes with white substances on their corners, a wrinkled face with a wait-and-see threat written all over it and saggy dark lips almost completely lost in a bush of unshaved beard. The bald in his head seemed to pulse like that of an infant.

Terrified, Martin pushed the phone into the pocket of his black jeans. And sat pretending not to have noticed the blunder. The breath of the man hit him hard and he could barely afford to hold his breath. He simply looked out the window at trees and people racing by in the opposite direction and wished he was one of them.

The shuttle made an entrance into a bustling matatu stage. Hawkers were shouting, callers were shouting, a pastor was shouting; all comfortably as if the world was at peace.

At his side, Martin could feel the solid frame of the man press him hard against the window. He wanted to alight swiftly once the shuttle stopped. Unfortunately, he had to wait for the conductor who had jumped off the matatu and melted into the crowd looking for change to come back and get his luggage for him from the boot. The heat became unbearable, both from outside and within. Sweat beads collected on his brow and he dared not wipe it away.

Martin alighted before the man. He walked behind the shuttle hoping a scene would erupt so he could escape his attention. Just as he was about to make a curve, he heard a husky voice calling out, commanding.

He froze. The thud on his chest could be heard a mile away. If he was to leave with all the bones of his body intact, he had to ignore the call. Perhaps pretend not to have heard anything but the bustle of the town. He walked on. Just then, the man’s grip was on his elbow. Martin envisioned himself sprawled on the dusty floor of the stage. He had recently read an article on Facebook about a growing trend of people becoming violent over the slightest of provocation. It had something to do with the ever tightening economy or joblessness.

The man dipped his big hand into his pocket and retrieved a mobile phone. Martin looked on engulfed in terror.

“Please, read for me this text. It’s from my wife.”

#thewordbrewer

Confession

wolf

When finally, you fall in love
But still my allure is lost on you
Promise not to let it fall
And break into bits
That reflect back sharp guilt inducing light
I so loathe.
Because the magnificence is found not in my erratic shape
Or the lazy ethereal glow
Or gentle twinkle beyond migrating dark clouds.
It’s not even in the muddled wolf howl
Nor is it in the splendor found in movies.
Go on embrace her in the orange of the evening
For I too fancy those silhouettes.
#thewordbrewer

Cuckolded

I am a little boy. Someone sat me in the heart of a circle of men and women in sparkling white wrappings around their heads. They are so white that I have to squint while looking up at their hazy faces foggy in the light. The bright sun enables the sparkling further. They are all engaged in a singing frenzy. Jumping and shouting so hard I can hear nothing beyond the ever rising crescendo. Some of them have rusty metallic rings the size of a compact disk and they are hitting them with small metallic rods to produce sharp piercing sounds. Some have leather drums slung across their shoulders. All these amount to a steady fast tune.

Suddenly everything stops for a while. Then without warning the ceaseless hitting of the drum resumes. A voice of a man shouting with a disgusting guttural voice joins it. Small voices of women struggle to harmonize the performance.

The scenario steadily fades away until it merges with sounds of dogs barking and growling fiercely. A bang on a wooden structure draws distinct lines between the singing angels and the happenings in the aroused dead of the night. Soon I am fully awake and staring at a gloomy room dotted with tiny balls of light.

Another bang, louder than its predecessor, raises the unanimous barking of more than a dozen dogs with two sounding much closer. A man’s angry voice follows.

I know from the face of it when people are fighting, from experience too, and I jump out of bed like a startled a man whose blurred picture is pinned to a tree with the words WANTED screaming at the top of his head.

“Open this damn door! I know you are in there. Open!”

Armed with nothing more than a torch, machete and Machete valor, I walk up to the angry man banging at my cousin’s door with so much vigor he almost breaks it down. He is a tall figure, medium built with a cap on. His voice borders on a shrill with lots of tenor on its edges. From the way he is speaking I can make out that he is drooling from burning fury.

Overhead the moon is gleaming hazily as if ashamed of the people under it. Streaks of light squeeze out through the crevices in the wall of the house under siege. Through them I can see the brown torn patch of the leather jacket worn by the angry man.

“Open this door or I will break it. Aren’t you done banging her? Open!”

I know my cousin is behind that cursed door. Scared to death. The man demands to smoke out his wife from under my cousin’s blankets. According to him, his are new and warmer than this devil’s. He exerts more vehemence into the bang until I beseech my cousin to burst it open, if he is sure to be alone like he kept stating from behind the closed door.

Confused from all the ruckus and allegations, I hand the man the spotlight and he rushes past my armed cousin into the bedroom. He gives an impression of a thirsty bull that has been let into the watering spot.

Moments later, followed by his broken anger, the man emerges flaccid with disappointment. However, he tries to veil it under more blunt outbursts. He moves to the face of my cousin. They stand while breathing into each other’s face like Sparta gladiators in an arena full of bewildered spectators. I clutch my machete tighter.

“Go ahead and chop me if you are man enough.” He shouts spraying my cousin’s face with saliva.

“Stand away from me man. Just keep off” My cousin retorts while pushing the man away.

“What are you gonna do? Fuck me like you fuck my wife?”

“Haven’t you searched the house already? Have you found her?”

I watch in silence. Waiting for something better to come out of it. The dogs long stopped barking and the whole world is stock silent save for the retorts and accusations. Although the man can’t produce his wife even from under the bed, he still feels her presence in that haunted house smelling of dirty socks and rotting kale.

Nothing happens despite my expectant expectations. It is only shirt pulling and pushing and insults. So much of a womanly fight. Tired and sleepy, I step in to separate the men who the closer they can come to putting up something worth their balls is blatant threats that result in nothing. Nada.

The angry man walks out wounded and defeated. He is clearly upset that he cannot find his wife with my cousin. The man he had pleaded with his heart into accepting to be laying around with his woman. He is clearly embittered that his wife is more than a cheat. In his sepulchral voice I can single out the loss.

“Go look for your whore woman elsewhere.”

“You started all these. You did. And I won’t ever forgive you for it.”

“Come again into my homestead banging on doors and I will paralyze you and still sue you for trespass.”

“I swear I will chop you into a thousand pieces and rot in jail.”

“Go fuck yourself. Foolish man who can’t satisfy a woman.”

“What do you really want from me? Isn’t fucking my wife an insult enough?”

And he walks back towards his combatant. My cousin rushes to him and delivers a hot slap across the angry man’s face. I hear a splitting sound like a slipper hitting a wall. The angry man is sent sprawling on dew laden grass. The angry man gets on his feet and in the gloom of the night I can barely see his figure heading for a counter blow and I swing into action.
I push my cousin away, block the fist and sweep the man’s feet off the wet ground. Collecting everything he came with and found at my cousin’s house; fury, pain, disappointment and bitterness, the angry man crawls and leaps into darkness. His fractured voice full of threats runs with him.
With little contentment, I stand and suddenly realize the icy breeze pinching my cheeks and gnawing my knees. My cousin is silent, perhaps inhaling the wave of pride brought in by my unwavering solidarity. The light pouring from the open door falls on part of his frame and he looks chopped in half. Then, stealthily, a big woman emerges from the back of the door.

I look at the time on my phone. It is 12.00.