These Bugs

sunset

He lost his job just when he needed one badly. What would he amount to? After all those fruitless years at the force? What would he say back at home, how’d everyone look at him? It then occurred to him how he had been boastful of his little job in the city, of his big ghost plans. He was staring at a possibility of being used as an excellent analogy to the mantra that you should be good to others while rising for you might need them when falling.

The thrill of arriving home like a prince was no more. How he had loved how they nearly worshipped him after he bought them cheap vodka. He loved to see them squirm at the burning drink in their chest and pretend not to be anything much while he sipped away his ice cold beer patting him on the chest like a comforting sponge. He enjoyed their drunken scuffles.

Suddenly his heart shuddered. Without a job he would soon end up being one of them. He hated to envision himself begging for twenty shillings from people who have jobs.

“Can I have mine?”

He tried to spell out their way of demanding and almost fainted. He said it so well as if he was seasoned. He loathed the reality so much that he was on the verge of breaking. The unity in hunger for cheap liquor that had killed many and rendered others permanently blind beckoned.

The city enticed him to stay on longer, just to look around for something to stick out. He chose to spend his last monies in the quest for another source of shield from the shame of his vulnerability. If he played his cards really well, no one would discover his new little secret.

With every sunset he trudged back into his rented apartment a little more disappointed. No job in sight. The harsh reality he had been wondering over was no more a mystery. The few connections he had made over the working years had disintegrated into nothingness. They were all too occupied. They had a life to live and an economy to live up to.

Since he left, all back doors had been sealed off. No one had the balls to risk jail terms and even worse execution. His boss, after they were caught, was arraigned in court and sentenced to death. Was he in a better bus, he would have rejoiced. Perhaps make a toast with a few friends.

The little savings eroded away like top soil on a farm with crops planted along the slope. The prices of commodities were unbelievable. He had never felt the strain of the economic belt when he had continuous stream of dirty money. Every time he boarded a matatu it felt like they were grinding the thin rope he was holding on to. And so he chose to walk like Jonny whom he had known to walk across the label of the bottle of his favorite drink all his drunken life.

Soon, house rent was due, then followed a string of exorbitant bills; water, electricity, food and trash collection. No matter how much he tried, the ends won’t just meet.

The reality of ending up in the lush aura of the village dawned. Shame was lying in wait to hop onto his shoulders like a monkey so he could carry it wherever he went. The wrath of hard hustle and abject poverty beckoned and then the landlord put a bigger lock on his door. Over his smaller one.

That evening he strolled across streets. Past desperate looking people huddled at the city square trying to bear the hunger cries of their young ones. He walked past shops with sale tags slung on the door. Past youth walking about, looking tired and in their hands holding brown envelops. And finally, with the money he had received from the sale of his phone, he entered an agro vet shop reeking of kinds of drugs.

He announced, with a smirk on his face, that he couldn’t sleep in the dead of the night for in his bed were bugs. They won’t let him sleep a tad. Only that he didn’t say which bugs. He parted with 200 shillings in exchange for the sachet. He would lick it in into his system, board a matatu heading home and wake up dead in the arms of his loving mother.
#thewordbrewer

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.

Stupor

silence pic

It is yet another grey evening. Sickening. Simple. Straight. We’d play music but there’s no energy to dance. We’d shout but we are devoid of a voice loud enough. We’d fall in love but there are no women in the bar to ignite flow with their heart shattering giggles. if they were there, their beauty would merge superstitiously with the sweetness of the hour.

And so we drink in silence. Shutting off the voices that try to drown our silence and serenity.

We sit cozy in the uncomfortable wooden chairs listening to the sound of silence. And air as it gathers and turns into wind that would whisper by our naked ears. We listen to the sound that the crisp cold beer makes as it drops down our throats leaving us euthanized. We listen but don’t learn. There’s nothing to learn anyway.

We are tempted to make calls but we are too strong for that. The caring voice of those who would pick the calls are just too much to handle. We want to drown in our drunkenness and in the morning only one person will wake. And sober as I would be, I won’t refer to myself as we.

Hotel Florence

pulse

…. continuation

His big round nose twitched. The gigantic dark lips pursed as if he wanted to speak or rather command. You avoided the red shot eyes and did not want to imagine the beefy round face with bushy beard.

“Talk to me sweetie.”

“I am not your swee-.”

You could not contain your anger. Your voice burst up amid the tranquil air of the room. Folks looked at your table briefly. The last words choked in the rage curbing your throat.

“Don’t you raise your voice on me boy. Here’s the deal, go think it over and meet me here tomorrow. You know what I expect eh? Now leave my table.”

The metamorphosis of his gentleness into harshness was concrete. You could feel its sharp edges from his cold voice.

You stood and walked. You felt his stare upon your back. A feeling compelled you to turn and say ‘yes’ but you receded. Each step you made was heavier than its precedent. Possibilities matched up and down your head. Your vision was clouded and you could not notice smile. You were now a slave to dilemma.

Turmoil took over you as you stepped out of Hotel Florence. The chill that greeted you reminded you of your woes, of the importance your job to your existence. The awry smell and the gloomy light spoke of an ugly future. You wanted no more tarmacing, no more unproductive interviews, no more lies of being made to work with only promise of pay in a month to come, no more issues with landlords who lock your door with their padlock when you fail to pay rent in time. You were done with suffering. Instantly, you made an about turn and walked back to meet your devil.

That night happened.

More tears well up in your eyes and soon it is going to rain. You are a lost man; lost in your own suffering. Are you even a man anymore? After Hotel Florence? Your future is as bleak as that of the white Rhino. Its control is no longer in your hands. You are bound to bondage.

Your heart is no longer beating to a rhythm you know. Your body long transformed into a pleasure instrument where the owner plays to a tune they please. Your feelings are a ruin where hope is simply a wish. You have been robbed of every little thing you could ever own.

Ndereba Khamali is your owner now. He decides when you breathe and when you hold your breath. He has strapped a collar around your neck and he now wants you to marry him. You want to laugh to this utterly ridiculous idea but you do not even own your mirth. His desire is to show the world where your fears have led you; that you are neither a man nor a woman or is it that you are another man’s woman? That you lie on a fellow man’s chest at night and stroke his beard.

He wants you to defy your customs, religion and orientation. He wants you to be the good example of bad influence of a foreign culture you do not even subscribe to. He wants you cast out of your society and community.

The hammer has fallen and your fate sealed. That morning after the night in Hotel Florence he had shown you something horrible, a thing that has since then haunted your nights and flawed your days.

Now you look at the bottle on the table with contempt. You do not even have a heart to pray. Tears are trickling down your cheeks uncontrollably. You have no eternity in your list anymore. All you have is darkness. Pitch darkness. And you are only counting.

By the time the hour clock moves, you will be no more. People will remember you as a coward who could not face life as it is. Not even one will dare see you as a victim. They will not mourn, they will not cry. But your mother will. The rest will unanimously bury you and their memories of you. Perhaps, Ndereba Khamali will have to bury the video too.

owl

Hotel Florence

owl

You stare at the wall clock. And hot tears well up in your eyes. The hour hand is short and thick. Its movement is a mystery you can’t uncover. It is gentle, sly and elusive. The minute hand is long and sharp as if made to pierce your fears. You can comprehend its movement but can you relate with it?

Then the second hand drifts by. Its clicks echoing in your head like it is an empty hall making you dizzy. You can’t stand it but at the same time you want it to move faster than it has always done. It has become your nightmare. A brutal reminder of how fast time is running out. Unable to contain its taunting movement, you shift your gaze to the frame of the clock; dark and round.

Your primary teacher once taught you about eternity. You were in standard three back then and she’d used a ring to demonstrate the tricky concept. The point was to use anything round to explain how eternity works, how it starts anywhere and ends nowhere. The clock frame now with its dark edges is taking you back into that classroom. It is forcing you to consider what you would rather avoid. Something you had forgotten. Something clearly out of your reach.

The couch is fast giving up its comfort. It is becoming hard and uncomfortably hot. You do not know how to shift your position. Your memory can neither remind you the same. It is busy taking you places you never wish to be.

The clock gradually drifts away until you lose its clear focus. It becomes a part of some fog. Or rather the fog swallows it. Your surrounding suddenly melts into nothingness. As if you only exist in a dream.

The high end hotel is where it all started. You had been invited for dinner. Lowly as you were, you could not refuse such a rare offer. You knew well how easy for a youth to become president than a man to be invited for free dinner. Excitement took the better of you. As you entered, you were thankful for not having turned down the invitation.

You were awed by the strange elegance of the interior of the hotel. You were only familiar with reflections of the city on the huge windows outside. It had never occurred to you that such a place ever existed. The red carpet running along the lounge and spreading in the restaurant, the white walls decorated with black and white photographs of people you did not recognize, the chandeliers flooding the room with neon light, the attendants dressed better than you and the potted plants.

You walked cautiously behind the pretty attendant who had introduced herself as Helen. Her gleaming hair was superstitiously dark and long. Her high stilettos elevated her a few inches high. She had thoroughly confused you in the way she spoke tenderly as if she knew you and wanted to be your girlfriend.

People sunk deep into their leather chairs. They conversed in low tones and jointly produced a fine hum. None of them shouted at the waiters. You saw a man with a potbelly snap his fingers and the waiter materialized to his service. Tall bottles stood on low round glass tables.

At the balcony, some other people dressed in suits and ties stood around tall tables covered with pure white cloth while they held their glasses. Most men inserted one hand in their trouser pocket. They did not laugh, they chuckled.

Then time came for you to join in the feast of classical music, wine, hushed talks and chuckles. You were intimidated by the environment. You felt out of place like a sheep amidst the wolves. You quickly sunk into your chair and fumbled around. It was hope that you were not going to embarrass yourself but most importantly, your guest.

A gentleman brought you a booklet written on the maroon cover ‘Hotel Florence’. You were confused. Nervously, you opened it and realized that it was a menu. You could not recognize a single thing in it. For the first time, you realized that there were so many types of tea. Even coffee. Your heart pounded. A time for embarrassment had come and you almost froze with fear.

Your partner read the trouble written on your face and offered to help. You were thankful for his kindness. You almost embraced him but then you had exposed you shortcomings to the person you always struggled to impress. Words departed from your lips. You conversed in ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.

“Stefan, do you know why you are here?”

“NO”.

“God! You damn hot.”

You went dumb. There was no response to that remark. To you, it did not even qualify to be a complement. You did not fancy the way he was looking at you.

“You are hot Stefan. I like you.”

You had to notice the emphasis placed on ‘I’ and ‘you’. You stared blankly, unable to comprehend the words. You did not want to believe what you thought the boss meant. You just could not.

“Stefan, do you like me?”

“No.”

The answer was firm. When you had left your house, you had not expected such a wayward twist in events. You felt conned. Your gaze swept across the room, the intricate tables, the whispering people and your gaze fell on a man leaning onto a fellow man for a kiss. You withdrew immediately in disbelief.

“Answer me Stefan. I know you do but I would love to hear it from your sweet lips.”

“Why are you doing this?”

Your voice was crispy. It was hollow and empty. It portrayed your fears and aired your dilemma.

You mumbled a prayer in your heart. The possibility of you losing your job was becoming as clear as the windows of Hotel Florence; so clear that it practically vanished. The blackmail as well was as real. You were clearly on the losing end. Each and every card you had did not matter. You threw it and you lost, you kept it and you would still lose.

The boss looked at you and you looked down like a girl. His gaze was heavy on you. You felt that he could see through you. Cold beads of perspiration collected on your brow and you prayed that he did not notice them.

pulse

… to be continued.

How to tell a story about a story

story

I sat alone long after I’d finished reading the short story feeling lost in the real world. Cheated. The outline had put my hopes higher than any flag in the land. It made me walk away into a sanctuary hoping never to come back. Away from the touch of human kind,away from bother and deep into a silent land where characters spoke in their muted conversations only accessible through written words.

                            *************

In the hiding, the only thing that brought humanity close to me was the sound of lorries grunting at the highway, murmuring at the burden of the red gravel weighing down upon it and the far away whimper of a child and the parachutes wobbling in the air like a group of rainbow color hunting eagles.

Cricket chirps were rampant, stealing away the short-lived stillness from the conversations between the birds. I could also hear a dove woo a mate in its deep husky grunt of lust.

I sat on a boulder, ready to lose myself to the read. I was easily a saint kneeling in the church waiting on God’s voice. My legs hanged out my balls to the pleasant lick of the evening sun. In a posture that my biology teacher would have readily discouraged and even pull your ear just to emphasize his stand. The wind blew gently and bananas danced amply as if imploring me to share the sweetness.

The intro was witty. It carried promises of worthwhile rewards if only you hold your calm. However, it warned whoever could not get past the common 148 characters on Twitter and even fewer on Whatsapp that are mostly abbreviations. The enticement in it roused my pleasure cells and they opened up like flowers’ bloom in anticipation of morning sun.

The writer gave me a maiden entrance into the world of his lead character and I was impressed. I smiled. I blessed the Lord for giving us good writers who never let us perish in the wake of plunging economy but give to us the opportunity to get lost in gripping stories. the thud in my chest softened and became steady, only fluctuating on hitting a bizarre line that deserves a reread.

I read on, gobbling even the mundane parts of the story. Letting myself sink into the appalling tentacles of the snappy sentences. With the thirst of a drunkard, I gulped down the suspenseful paragraphs. And the story, told from the heart and passion of a storyteller, drifted silently past my eyes.

The rhythm in the story edged away the one in my aura. I lost track of time and everything else. I geared to claiming my well deserved award. And when the time came,after all the patience,after all the thirst, after all the wait, my zeal was not for nothing.

For the twist in the story left me laughing at myself.

The story lingered on in my head for a very long time. I wished I’d been the one to tell it and still paint the picture without losing a single color. Or detail. Or crucial dot.