I hope his leg kisses the ragged stone and he wails like a woman in labor. I hope he breaks his toe and never gets to play again. I hope his long nail gets stuck in the charred leather. I hope he slams against the whitewashed wall while running blindly after the ball. I hope he loses his front teeth in the process.

But then I hesitate. These thoughts send a wave rippling across my bosom as if I am not justified to wish him well. I can feel my heart skip a beat. How will he walk to the classes that are miles away? Will the little limp accord him the exception of having to ride a bodaboda (motorbike) there? I realize I don’t care unless he has to stop that irregular thud.

The first encounter between the ball and the wall almost killed me with a stroke. That sudden loud bang that reechoed in my heart first and then rung back to my ears. My whole body twitched as if ready to take flight. But I am justified to react so after numerous bomb detonations that have broken legs, reduced to ashes and killed many with sorrow. Can’t a man die honorably these days?

And then it came again and again. This time it threatened to split me apart with loathe. Every time I went back into that word- naked and ready, bang! It pulled me away from the pool.

I’ve wanted to get into these waters of witty words that speak to the depth of my heart. All night I have dreamt of the letters in their intricate form, pregnant of meaning, floating into my sight and whetting my desire. All morning I have scorched my tongue in burning coffee while I thought of those sentences imprisoned in book pages. Waiting for their liberator. Even when the wind whirred through the half open window, I have been listening to the murmurs of those words in my head. And they have been sounding like a horde of ghosts planning an attack in the dark.

But just when I settle down to feast, I am stopped by that sudden bang. I hope they choke on their laughter. I hope they meet with words like arthritis, paralysis and malice. Those words that bring shutters to people’s hearts like they have mine. I hope they perish in a read like this that gets readers lamenting. I hope they swallow a shard of glass after their goddamn ball breaks a pane. Then, only then, will they learn the power of my pen.


I can hear their chuckles. I want to throw these words that have been living in this book, smelling of age and bondage, at them. If I can manage to hurl a handful and show them that walls too have feelings. That you can’t just get away by kicking the ball against a poor wall stripped of paint by weather. If I can make the wall talk and share the torments of its heart in the tranquil of the morning now lying in shambles. If I can turn these words into blades and deflate their bloated egos and the fucking ball. If…

They hit some more. And converse loudly of how harder they can kick. Of how loud they can make the wall moan. Of how deep they can sink my heart. Of how dark they can cast my hatred. Of how further they can place the words so I can’t use them.

I place my back against the window squarely. And hope the ball flies through the glass and drives a shard into my brains. I yearn to feel the warm blood traveling down my spine. Drenching my shirt. Painting it dark like the hatred seething in my heart.

I want to listen to their little moans of regret. The agitation in their scared scratchy voices while they deliberate desperately on what to do. I want to send them into uncertainty. And the bang will forever reverberate down their memory hall like it did my soul. It will haunt them each time they behold a ball. Or a wall. It will haunt them each time they see torn packets of MacCoffee. And then the smell will remind them some more.

For now, I will wait. That confused look in their eyes will be the last thing in my eyes when I drift into oblivion. They will shake me no more with their stupid bangs. Unless they slit their throats with the last shards of glass I couldn’t take.

May these words come true.



Hotel Florence


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?”


“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?”


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.


… to be continued.

summit of pleasure

the smell of coffee

the smell of coffee


Jen hurriedly tucked folders into the drawer while her computer hummed its shut down tune. She was already trembling from anticipation. A pen dropped down accidentally and she picked it quickly. Eagerness heaved in her chest. The more she thought, the more the yearning grew. As she pushed back the drawer, her mobile phone chirred angrily on the desk. She almost slammed against it the wall.

She rolled her eyes as she placed the phone over her ear. Her heart beat faster as it had always done when she was agitated.

“But sir it is late already.”

Of course not lousy swine. Jen did not dare say that out loud.

“No sir, but I have plans.”

She curled her lips while she listened vainly to the person on the other side.

“No sir.”

She lied.

At last, she was made to type some letters, send contract mails and contact a few clients. The clicks from the keyboard of her computer irritated her and she hit them wildly as if meting some kind of punishment. Jen was exasperated by the time she rose from her desk. She felt like rushing to the ugly boss and gouging out his big eyes. She sighed heavily.

Wisehierachy plaza stood defiantly behind Jen. Its gigantic glass windows glowed charmingly from the golden rays of the sun hitting them from a calculated angle. Jen stood by the road as people hurried by like a mob running away from a menace. She held herself from looking at the rectangular building behind her. The boss could be at the window intending to gesture her to come back once she made the terrible move.

Matatus and cars joined in a honking spree while stuck in the string of traffic jam she had watched grow from the same spot for the last four years. Jen was certain that a person, who was too lazy to use the footbridge, had been knocked off the road or too many cars had clogged the roundabout not far from where she was denting the smooth movement of the vehicles. She also was certain that it will move only and only if a traffic police officer appeared.
She breathed deeply and a smell of petrol mixed with rubber almost choked her. She coughed hysterically. A taxi driver waved at her but she knew what she wanted. In such motionless traffic, it was prudent to use a bodaboda or tuktuk. This, she had learnt over the years after she had had to miss her sessions due to crawling traffic.

Suddenly a tuktuk rumbled towards her and she hit it.

While the driver made dangerous maneuvers in between vehicles and on the sides of the road disorienting the crowds of pedestrians, Jen smiled at the back. A smile that was replicated in her heart. She twirled. Her inner thighs tinkled and she pressed them together tightly. The pearly eyes too clutched together as if in agreement. She spewed out a gust of air, reached into her clutch and fished out a small mirror. The driver peeped through the rear-view mirror just in time for the seductively smacked lips. A woman was heard cursing loudly. He had missed her by a second.

Jen smiled wryly. A sharp shrill cut her short. She lifted a canvas cloth serving as a window; an extension from the roof piece and in the middle of the road the woman they had missed was lying placidly, blood oozing from her mouth and nose. A bodaboda and its rider lay a few paces from her side by side. The rider was motionless. Passersby rushed to the scene like a group of vultures running towards a carcass. Nobody in the vehicles ahead of them alighted. Her driver did not even stop either.

After a few minutes of silent drive, Jen tucked black earphones deep into her ears. She let the song she loved wash away the horrifying scene from her memory. The ripple of the intense guitar strokes hit her head scattering the ghastliness like a lion roar does the antelopes grazing in the savannah.

Jen alighted, paid and without waiting for the change walked away swinging her hips like the girl in the song Uptight Skirt. The driver watched the wide hips in lust until she vanished. As he turned to go, he kissed the ass of a white range rover.

A waft of a strong coffee aroma welcomed Jen into her favorite Java. She felt gay right away. The smell gave her a pleasant sensation that she only got from this blessed place. She almost worshiped it, okay she kind of worshiped it. How else would you describe a woman who would rather miss her periods than the evening coffee sermons?

Jen looked around like she had always done. The maroon leather seats, the gleaming dark brown wooden table; brown like the coffee beans lying gingerly on a silver tray, the brown light bulb cover head hiding the fine white light overhead, the elegant waiters and waitresses in their brown and white clad and then the people. Seated in the ambience of the distant smooth music whose source could not be established. And lost in subdued conversations.

She knew her corner more than the contours of her face, everyone else as well did. In this peaceful spot, Jen bathe her lungs in the sweet smell of roasted coffee, had a view of the stagnant traffic jam and the busy streets and watched as the sun sunk away with the tentacles of its red rays desperately imploring her.

“Hello Jen, welcome.”

Jen flashed her killer smile. He smiled back.

“Hello Pat, make it a little stronger today please?”

“As you say, Jen”.

Jen loved how the tall dark waiter pronounced her name. It made her love the java more. Perhaps this was the charm that the java management used to imprison its clients. She felt so special every time her name was pronounced as if this was a tribe and she was a member.

While waiting, Jen pulled out a note book and placed it before her. The blank page stared back at her like an obstinate kid refusing to carry out its chores. She looked around with the hope of stumbling on an idea to no avail.


The brown cup of cappuccino was placed before her, the bottom of the cup thumping the table gently. All the small sounds around Jen melted away into nothingness. Her eyes shut involuntary. She found herself lying in a vast bed of dark coffee beans, grabbing some and tossing them up, laughing loudly and gyrating like a possessed human.

She held the cup delicately. Her arms brushed against her nipples and certainly her breasts were firm and tingly. She gasped. The coffee poured into her tongue and immediately burst into an immensely delicious taste emphasized by a faint bitter sensation. Jen swallowed and all the pores in her skin opened. As she sipped again and again, she lost herself in the pleasure. At some instance, she felt like driving her hand in between her legs.

This was the ultimate relish she was always searching for in the java. A summit of pleasure she could not have even from the sweetest of men. Each day was one more day of great evening coffee; a friend who never disappointed, a companion who dealt with her ruthlessly, a drink that knew her struggles and relieved her and definitely a perfect one to make her hectic days bearable. It was her stress portion.