Deep Down

People everywhere. Scattered like dry leaves on the ground during the dry season. Different ages, different genders going about their daily lives. An old lady walking slowly with an expensive purse tightly clenched between her armpits, looking around the goods neatly displayed on the sides of the pathways. Just an ordinary human being about her business. Or so she seems. In her mind, tons and tons of thoughts are hovering up, down; basically all over. With the decades she has graced this world, her levels of stress, anxiety, failures and mishaps are exceptional. She has seen it all. One might think by her expensive dressing, she is enjoying what life has to offer. Little do they know that she is wondering how life for her family will be in the next two years. Her mind can’t accept the fact that she will be no more in this world after recently being diagnosed with some type of cancer. No one knows: no one sees it but her. It is something that is locked deep down in the cave of her heart. She proceeds to a piece of scarf that catches her eye, takes it and gives it a closer look. She tries it around her neck: it fits perfectly and she smiles as she hands the hawker the cash. She places it in her purse and slowly walks away and disappears into the crowd. Meanwhile, a young man, probably my age mate, quickly walks past the same spot where the old woman purchased her scarf. Huge dreadlocks dangling on the head, ripped jeans, a Jamaican t-shirt and some pair of sneakers makes him look like an accomplished reggae artist. The way he bounces on the pathway like the whole world is his. Everyone compliments his sense of style. He smiles and keeps walking. Little do they know that deep down, behind that smile, lies another self: full of hopelessness and uncertainty of life. His big dreams of becoming an artist have been overshadowed by poverty back at home. Fake it till you make it they say. His mind wonders on where he could obtain some cash to at least land him into the studio. He smiles and winks as a pretty, well-dressed lady passes him, making the lady blush with shyness as she looks down. As she passes him, he turns back towards her direction. He slowly walks a few meters behind her, his right hand now tightly clenching a rusty, blunt dagger, ready to pounce on her unsuspecting prey…
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Hello there… How are you?
Are you doing fine?
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There you are. Somewhere along a busy pathway skillfully maneuvering your way through the oncoming and outgoing fleet of fellow human beings quickly crisscrossing you from front and back, while others bumping you without even looking back. And yet they say no hurry in Africa. Pure plain lies. Pure…plain…lies. The level of hurriedness existing in this beautiful continent of ours is quite enough to propel ourselves from third world to first world people. But somewhere in between we went wrong. Really wrong. I have no clue whatsoever so let’s just leave it at that.
So, as I was saying, you are busy walking along the pedestrian walkway in the middle of some overcrowded city, with your mind totally focused on your destination. You glance at your watch (your phone of course), knowing very well some strategically located muggers might have spotted you showcasing your piece of electronic to the masses. As quickly as you look at the time, you return it back into your pocket and proceed with your journey. Then out of nowhere, you feel a tight grip holding one of your arms. Stories of violent muggings have been scattered all over the media and immediately your mind locks into a conclusion that something not-so-interesting will be happening in that moment. You stop walking, put up the most serious of faces you have hidden behind that calm smile of yours, make a scary looking grin which makes your face look like someone who has just been released from prison after being unlawfully imprisoned and is eager to find the person behind his misfortunes. You quickly turn back with a venomous snake’s eyes ready to confront whoever is distracting you from heading to your destination. On turning back, instead of seeing some shaggy guy with some syringe filled with God-knows-what pointing at your stomach, you see him. You become surprised.
Three years down the line, you finally see that long lost friend of yours. Each one has his own destiny they say. Same earth, different paths. You exchange greetings, ask each other those questions at the begin of this masterpiece. Those few-lettered questions. Simple they may seem.
“I’m doing very well, and you?”

That is the answer everyone replies with.

“I’m ok”
You ask each other how you’ve been all this time. You all give each other the cliché’ response. You briefly narrate to each other how your lives have been in the last couple of years. You tell him how you currently work at a major firm somewhere in the city and your pay is one to make anyone look down upon himself. He in turn tells you how he is planning to fly to the United Arab Emirates since some suitable job opportunity has opened its wide doors for you. You all feel a sense of accomplishment with each other.
“We made it bro.”
You made it in this life. This crazy life. You two are a sense of hope and future for the masses. At least that’s how you view yourselves at that time. Two successful gentlemen who unknowingly meet up along the way.
Five minutes pass after the short narrations of each other’s stories and you bid each other goodbye. You proceed walking towards your destination while your friend walks the opposite direction towards his destination. Your mind is filled with questions. Endless unanswerable questions. What did you do wrong in this world? You have played your cards pretty well your whole life yet there are no visible outcomes to showcase your hard work. The guilt and burden of lying to your friend sets upon you. Faking your story to seek validation now seems to have been a huge mistake. Maybe I could have told him how jobless I was and how I’m struggling to settle the endless list of bills parading in front of my life. If only…maybe he could have offered me a solution…or maybe he could have just laughed at me and narrated to his colleagues how f#$@d up I was. Who knows? The destination you were busy heading to was a job interview you luckily came across as you were scrolling the Facebook page. Deep down you know your chances are almost nil of getting that job. You have no idea what or where to go to next after that.
Your long lost friend, whom you paved goodbye as he proceeded to his destination, confidently walks on the alleys, a display of one successful person. In his mind is an endless spiraling web of wild thoughts. He looks at his watch and realizes time is up. He must reach to that corner as soon as possible lest he faints in the middle of the road and begins convulsing like a person with epilepsy. He is in deep regrets. Regrets to the one who introduced him to the use of cocaine. His life has been miserable despite the confident gait he portrays in the streets. It had been 23 hours since his last dose and in one hour’s time he must inject himself the drug or he literally seizes to function as a normal human being. Deep down he knows he needs help but lacks the courage to seek it, since he risks becoming a laughing stock. He rushes to the only place where the drug is available at a cheap cost, somewhere in the dark, dirty paths of the city. The salary he gets, almost two-thirds goes to the drugs. United Arab Emirates. What a blunt lie! He is d not leaving this country any time soon. Just a chocolate topping underneath the burnt piece of cake. He places his hands in his pocket and feels the 5000 shillings in his pocket. All of which will be used to purchase the drug. The only money he has left. After which only God knows what he will do next.
As he is walking, a young pretty lady passes next to him as though he was standing. She seems to be in a hurry, he tells himself. He gazes at her as she crosses the road quickly and enters a supermarket. He goes on walking, only to feel a tight grip on his side. Looking behind, he sees a dreadlocked man wielding a blunt knife which he tightly presses on his side. The dreadlocked man looks at him with fiery eyes as he occasionally glances at the route in which the young lass used to head into the supermarket. He looks at the old rusty knife with blood stains, looks back at the dreadlocked man, imagines the only money he has in his pocket and instantly knows things have gone from zero to a hundred real quick.

Cheap Thrills

mtura1Thank the Almighty. Thank Him fully my fellow humans. I cannot begin to imagine how we would have been without it. The way He created us to his image and likeness; the way our bodies are organized in utmost complexity of which only He knows. But all these complexities, none can be able to match this thing I’m talking about here…The thing that without it, how would we humans be able to enjoy the pleasures of this lovely planet of ours? Located somewhere in these bodies of ours, they can be a great source of pleasure if given what it deserves. And Oh my goodness! If given what it deserves, the sufficient amount of course, it is simply magical. The way your eyes close in sheer happiness as the pleasure slowly cascades from its source, tingling your brain nerves, making you savor each and every lasting moment of that exhilarating experience. I’m taking about our beloved organs located inside our mouths, you evil minded pricks! All hail our taste buds. Yes, those tiny little bumpy things neatly arranged on top of our tongues. Those battalions of pleasure as I call them. The way they make your mouth wet when you give them a little dose of something sugary or anything that your body is totally and madly in love with. Their eruption with excitement when the food of your dreams is swimming all existing styles in your mouth. Everyone has their own different, weird desires and suppose if all of these desires, by God’s grace, I wonder how would the taste buds react. They would probably rupture with over-exposure due to pure sweetness.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s go back. Not really that back. A couple of years back, somewhere around 2012-2013, the time of my life when I was just a dumb, clueless high school student whose levels of hormones were levels never witness before in his entire life. He thought he was becoming a man. Little did that dumb boy know that the road to manness was one hell of a crooked, upside down, crazy, stressful, disillusioned journey. And he, was nowhere nearing the beginning of that journey. The time was around 9:00 AM. Moments before that, our school, which we hated dearly with all our hearts despite being forced to sing some ‘school anthem’ which went something like ‘I’m in the best school… .’Bla bla bla, was closed for the second term break which ran from august all the way to early September, when we were supposed to leave the comforts of our beloved beds and wave them goodbye for a very long, long time. To all who persevered the four year ‘sentence’ our beloved 8-4-4 system granted upon us, know that we celebrate you. You are heroes in this great country. Nyinyi  ni mashujaa I tell you.

Anyways, thirty minutes after the school shut its doors and each and every student went back to their homeland, we were now the small town located at the junction that leads to the legendary Machakos town. Makutano if you’ve heard of it. Just a few kilometers away from Nairobi , and thousands and thousands of miles away from the Indian ocean, it was where we, people at the sea level, would take our buses home; I have to say those buses were the s**t man! As comfortable as you were at home, so were you in those buses. Lucky for us, we made acquaintances with an old man who knew all the drivers and management team for those buses, so it wasn’t a hustle for us to secure a seat. As I said earlier, the time was 9:00 AM. And usually, under normal circumstances, the bus would arrive at around 11:00AM after which our journey would begin until sometime late in the evening, around 7 to 8, when we would finally say we have arrived home. Having secured seats for ourselves, and having more than two hours to spectacularly waste in this small town of Makutano, we decided to do what every boy-child could have done. Seek adventure. We started loitering around like street dogs, sight-seeing how our beloved country was faring on after being locked up for years. There was this particular street that we had been warned by some people, even our school had the list of all no-go zones in Machakos school environs, and this exact street was on the top of the chart. But hey! What other way to find out that something is bad without having at least tried it. After all, we weren’t in school. That’s how our naïve brains were functioning back in the days. No reasoning. Just going head on and jumping into dumb conclusions. After thorough consultations with our ‘educated’ brains (If only you knew how chemistry was shoved up our brains making us feel like we were Le Chatelier’s great grandchildren). We decided to head into the street. The beautiful well-arranged shops quickly changed into poorly built aluminum structures. The fresh air before changed into the stinking stench of some illicit brew. We passed by a group of elderly men sipping some weird substances as their eyes rolled unevenly like marbles on a glass container. We went further into the street and then we spotted it. The legendary dish of all times. The Almighty African sausage. Mtura yani. There it was, a few meters ahead of us, being skillfully prepared by a young man with a brown apron, which we could obviously tell it was once upon a time white as snow ,but after years of not spotting some water molecules , it had no otherwise but to adapt, improvise and overcome the harsh conditions it was surviving in. We walked towards him, yearning to have a slice of it. There were some few people gathered around him, conversing in mother tongue as they partook in the devouring of the delicacy. The moment he saw us coming towards him, he smiled as he waved at the other people to give us ,his ‘esteemed guests’, some space for us to indulge. We obliged as we formed a small curve around the man, observing how he turned then African sausage with his bare hands as if it wasn’t straight from the fire, placing it at the further end of the rusty wire being used as the cooking apparatus, ready to place another raw, long sausage into cookery.

‘’Hii ni yenu mabrathe,’’

He spoke as he quickly chopped it into equal pieces, then dipped his hand into the left pocket of the apron which came out with a pinch of salt. He evenly sprinkled the salt onto the African sausage as he simultaneously placed some chopped tomatoes mixed with lemon and some pepper besides it. He was a master of his art. The whole procedure made our mouths pour with saliva, yearning for a taste. Not wasting a single minute, we began munching the delicacy. Damn it was sweet! Not ‘sweet’ sweet, but it did something to your taste buds that made you want more and more of it. Simply magical. The hotness of the pepper made it hot: hot with sweetness. It was unexplainable. We munched and devoured it non-stop, with our mouths and hearts begging for more. I almost felt like licking my fingers. God bless the African sausage. One hour later, we went back to the bus station, our stomachs totally full. It was as though we were being starved to death back in school. The mission was accomplished. We discovered new territories and returned back with our stomachs completely full. We were even lucky enough to be awarded a whole African sausage by the man courtesy of us promoting him. What a way to begin the holiday. With blessings. It was finally 11:00 am and a few minutes passed when the bus finally arrived. The way we had eaten was enough to sustain us through the whole journey until we arrived in the shores of the Indian Ocean. We boarded the bus and comfortably sat as the journey soon began. With the blazing sun of the Eastern region at its full throttle, sleep was inevitable. I soon began sleepy and in no time, I was dead asleep.

What the @#$!

 

I woke up with a strange feeling in my stomach. Remember how your mother folded up and down the wheat flour when she was preparing chapati for you during the festive season? Imagine that happening to your beloved stomach. I grabbed my stomach in pain as I fumbled on my seat. I closed my eyes in pain as I felt the pain slithering form my stomach, going up to my heart, and back again into my stomach and even my small intestines. It was pure torture. I looked around to where my friends were seated, only to discover they were undergoing the same scenario, even worse than mine. I looked at my friend who was seated next to me as his eyes became watery and tears flown out of his face. I was engulfed with laughter but as I even thought of laughing, the pain in my stomach became more and more agonizing. You know how the cycle goes; after poor decisions comes the phase of regrets. I cursed at the man who sold to us, having massive regrets as to why we went to that place in the first time. My stomach rumbled endlessly as the woman seated next to me looked at me with a grin in his face. I looked outside and we were in the middle of nowhere; still some few hours to go before we reach a refreshing joint where I could run out of the bus like a mad person to the nearest washroom. Now the washroom was at the top of my agenda .To hell with the rest. There was no shortcut here. I had to wait until the bus stopped for me to head out. I looked at my watch and approximately two hours were remaining to reach the nearest stop.

Those were toughest, longest, most painful two hours ever. I got up of my seat, walked around the bus like a confused idiot, all this in the name of my stomach to at least have mercy on me. My friends were laughing at me, as though we weren’t sailing in the same boat. I went and sat down. Moments later I got up, pretend to yawn all in aim to calm my stomach. I swore in my ancestors name I would never dare taste the African sausage, ever, ever again. The torture I was enduring would have been unbearable for the common mwananchi. But to God be the glory: two hours later, the bus came to a stop. Even before the driver switched off the bus engine, we were out of the bus, rushing like gazelles being chased by predators, to the washrooms. Everyone in the bus watched in awe as we rushed out of the buses. Experience was delivered unto us in un imaginable ways.

 

 

Cheap Thrills.

 

The Longer Walk

fleet_55pax_inside_back

It’s funny. Quite funny how twelve whole months stream past you without any warning. Swoosh! From January all the way to December. Like nothing happened, seeming as though you were in a coma immediately the year began and somehow, by God’s amazing grace, as soon as the clock ticks 00:00 on the 31st of December, TWELVE whole months later, you mysteriously wake up from the coma, as clueless as you can possibly imagine. You look around, tried to get hold of all the information bumping, entering and leaving your brain. Then reality hits you. With a metallic rod. On your face. Twice. At the same exact place. And you realize that one whole year has vanished from your life. Just like that without any warning. The clock ticks 00:01. A new year has begun and with whatever vague memory you have of the previous year, you try to recollect together the scattered pieces of all the good, ‘positive’, life-building things and actions that you have done to at least propel your life to the next level you endlessly keep dreaming and fantasizing about. After scanning through the whole year, carefully trying to extract all the good stuff. Damn! That’s when it dawns on you that you ain’t s**t! The whole year you did nothing to be proud of, except tons and tons and tons and tons of really bad, shaming decisions, followed by a series of massive guilt and regret from which you are yet to recover due to the trauma it caused unto your life. As manly as you think you are, you bump your chest and begin motivating yourself that this year you will try as much as possible to be the best version of you. But hey! We all deserve second chances right! So, for the sake of moving forward, let this year, 2017….scratch that, 2018, be a year of zero procrastination (something which runs deep in my DNA) and let’s make it a year worth remembering.

So, shall we begin?

Seat number 19. The seat located at the left row. The left row and the exact center of any long-distance travelling bus. And it’s also located next to the window. That, ladies and gentlemen, has been among one of my favorite seats since I don’t know when. I have been travelling from my County on the coastal side of this great country of ours all the way to the green, misty highlands located somewhere in Machakos for four whole years in the name of attending high school. So I have proudly made more than twenty journeys (I hope this word exists somewhere in the minds of great English elites) to and from home to school.

Now on this particular journey, which took place around three years ago, I was heading to school. Those days when the SGR was barely some rumors. So there I was, seated on my favorite chair (seat number 19), wearing my perfectly ironed school uniform; I recalled how I ironed it four times continuously ,especially the school shirt, so that the line;you know that line which appears at the endings of each cloth when you iron; yes that one. I had to make sure it lasted as long as possible and what better way than to iron it until those nice straight lines form as thoroughly as possible. Let’s just say I was unbelievably clean. When deep down you where you are headed to you are going to declare a war between you and water, you must prepare yourself psychologically. And that I did my friends. I had, as always, prepared myself in all ways possible. I was calmly seated on that window seat, enjoying the breathtaking view of Mother Nature and all its glory. The bus was cruising smoothly; typical of all buses plying the Mombasa-Nairobi route. The well-spaced seats, tinted windows, the smooth sound of the engine making you feel as though you are gliding in high altitude. And not forgetting the free Wi-Fi; who doesn’t want to get hold of free Wi-Fi? Plus the surround system on the bus. And on top of it all, the loads of snacks you are given throughout the journey. Home away from home. That was the slogan of each of these buses. My eyes were ever outside the window, watching how the surroundings were slowly transforming from the flat areas of the coast to the hilly mountainous terrain. And as usual, I could feel how the air, which was softer and warmer as we left the coastal area, casually becoming thicker and breathing was quite different. You feel your head becoming heavier, but not for long since moments after your body adjusts to the changes and you’re good to go. We were now past the Tsavo National Park which blessed us with free views of some scattered giraffes, antelopes and some group of lions which found no better place to rest than a few meters next to the road. The speed of the bus made them vanish into the thick grasses nearby as their little cubs were left clueless near the road, wondering why their counterparts left them without any warning. We watched as the elder lions came back to where they were, grabbed the little cubs by their necks and disappeared with them into the thick grass along the road. Family is forever I guess.

Boom!!!

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…My head was leaning against the window, admiring God’s nature, when out of nowhere, we hear this loud blast which rips through the whole bus. I felt a sharp vibration through the glass, and I immediately lifted my head away from the window. The vibration ran through my head as I tried to get hold of what on earth had just happened. I blinked heavily as I looked around the bus. The cool and calmness of the bus was abruptly changed to a tense mood. Children who were dead asleep began wailing uncontrollably as their frightened mothers tried to calm them down, while they too were dead scared. Murmurs filled the bus as everyone was curious to know how things went from 0-100 real quick. ‘Shit!!’ The loud gasp came from the extreme front of the bus. On the right end from the bus in specific. It was the driver. I raised my head alongside other passengers to get a glimpse of the driver, only to see a large, blue truck, with its headlights brightly shinning on us, coming to our direction at defying speeds. I recall very well seeing the driver let go of the steering wheel and covering his face with both his arms. The large truck smashed our bus and I felt a large amount of force that tried to pull me out of my chair. I still have no idea how I had kept on my seatbelt. They literally stopped me from flying across the bus and I was intact on my chair. The screams and wails were deafening to hear. I tightly held on to the straps of the seat belt as I felt the bus overturn. My eyes slowly began to shut down and the wailings and screams which filled the bus began to fade away…

The morning bell rang at exactly 4AM and I lazily opened one eye first, then the next. As I woke up from my bed, I felt a sharp pain on my neck and it grew sorer as the days went by. I touched the bandage around my neck and it seemed to be peeling off. I placed my palm on the front part of my neck and I could feel a large scar running from one end of my neck to the other.

Three years down the line, the scar is still visible on my neck. Regardless of it growing smaller as time goes by, it’s still a clear reminder of how I was in a f*d up situation some time back.

The Long Walk

Let the water wash away your worries.
The sun is slowly setting towards the horizon. I remember the time. Memories never fade they say. They are just stored somewhere behind your already-filled brain, patiently waiting for just a single trigger and snap! The memory proudly slithers from the back of the brains, skillfully meandering through, up, down and round other memories without displacing them even by an inch. It slows down at the front of the brain, together with other memories which have the utmost priority in you. It makes you wonder :Are my getting my priorities wrong or what? But fear not, there’s a reason (it’s what most people say anyway) the memory has suddenly decided to grace you with its presence. So, shall we begin?

Ocean waves. The way they swish to and from the shoreline. A sight to behold. I was there. After the sun was done tormenting innocent civilians in Mtwapa with its brutal thermal energy, it was now time for it to set. It lay on the western side of us, me in particular, as I could feel it’s warm heat a soothing to my brown skin. I was walking….not walking the way my counterparts in the capital city walk when heading to work. That’s rushing for dear life. I was strolling. Lazily if I may add. Yes, I was lazily strolling along the shoreline. With my pair of shoes firmly held on my hands, the sensation of walking barefoot alongside the shoreline was just satisfying. Watching the waves originate from deep in the ocean. From far, you see some whitish substances parallel to each other, coming towards your direction. They slowly increase in size while getting closer and closer towards the shore. A few metres away, they roll together, making swishing sounds. Sounds that simulate peace and serenity into your soul. They roll hitting the ground with a soft force and finally spreading the shores with its blue, foamy waters. The water slithers across my feet as a rather high speed, then slowly cascades back, across my feet again, this time slower. The stress, headaches: all that has been causing problem to your life slowly fades away. It’s like some sort of therapy. A natural one. With each wave passing through your feet, you feel some sort of relief in you. You wonder if allow the worry and anxiety is really what there is on this beautiful planet of ours. Andrew the way the water is warm (courtesy of our beloved sun). It’s waves is enough to relieve you of your burden : now add the warmth of the water. Simply magical. And the sand, let me not even talk about it.

Now there I was, enjoying some free therapy. What a great day to end the day. By the sea shore. Admiring God’s creation at its finest. As usual, that time was the strolling period for many folks. Locals and foreigners streamed to the ocean to catch a glimpse of how the sun sets the ocean’s soul and it’s surrounding on fire. And who am I to be left out. And when you’re walking, there’s no need of looking where you are heading to. Most heads looked down:to the water swaying to and from your feet. That’s the position I was. A group of small fish who got unlucky and were displaced bt the waves quickly swam past my feet and I admired how they courageously swam towards the same waves that washed them ashore. I gazed as they slowly swam past the waves and further into the open ocean.
“Bump!”

You know that bumpy sound that originates when you unknowingly bump into some stranger. So it was heard. I felt a soft bump on my left shoulder and my eyesight immediately shifted from the waters below me to the person whom I just bumped into. An old, frail man was looking at me sternly. Damn. I could tell what was running in his mind. How the youth of today have become disrespectful to the society. Blah blah blah. I said a quick sorry plus a brief explanation of how I didn’t see him coming. His grinned face turned into a distant smile. With a small nod plus an ‘it’s okay ‘, the elderly man turned around and proceeded with his walk. I too continued my long walk to nowhere actually. I was determined to stop strolling once darkness was in my presence. For the night was dark and full of terror.

“Hey there! Stop”

“Yes you! The one with a blue t shirt!”

It was I. I turned around to see who was calling me. I saw a multitude of peole heading towards me. Not lazily strolling as it was the norm. They were rather stomping towards me. I could hear them murmuring as they slapped the water with their feet. I stopped and waited to witness what the fuss was all about. I had no single doubt in my mind, knowing very well the law-abiding citizen I was. They reached where I was and from their facial structures at that time, they were not happy citizens. Before I could even open my mouth to ask “Nini mbaya “,a bearded man raised his voice.

“So you are the ones we’ve been lookin for all this time. You are making this beach unsafe.”

I’ve never been more confused in my life I tell you. There I am, clueless as to what he’s saying . Before my brain loads, another bombshell is dripped. This time an elderly woman raises her voice.

“These thugs need to be burned. How can a young man like him steal from an old man!”

Wait a minute…..What! Now I’m more confused. The sounds of agreement from the crowd and their vigorous nodding further increases my confusion. I tell them that I didn’t steal anything from nobody. “But this old man says otherwise.” Another man speaks while stepping aside. Behind him, he was there. The old man who I had just bumped into.

What the fuck!

He looked at me. I looked back. Cluelessly in fact, while he smiled at me. I quickly spoke”Look guys, this man is a plain liar.” I explained to them the bumping event and how I didn’t even utter an insult to him. “I can even empty my pockets for you,” I said as I quickly dipped my hands into my pockets. I took out my phone which was on the left pocket and showed it to them. I took out the keys and some few notes which were on the right one.”See, I told you” I said as I looked at the old man whose plans had failed horribly.

“The back one “.Came a voice from the crowd. I quickly placed my hand into my back pockets. I felt a huge bulk in my pockets and took it out slowly. The crowd was in shock. In my hands was a golden wallet. I looked at it in wonder,my mouth wide open. I shiftedidn’t my glance to the old man. He nodded, smiling at me. All eyes lay on me as more and more people were streaming towards me. But why? I was asking myself all sorts of questions.

I felt a tight grip on my right hand. A well built man stood behind me, with his face a clear expression of death.

And The rest is history.

The Boy Child 

Hellooo! Can anybody hear me. Or am I talking to myself.

I think I finally have your attention now. There’s an issue. A really really serious issue that almost no one seems to care about at all.

Let me now quickly rewind back the sands of time and safely arrive at the 18th century. Oops, premature arrrival right there. Let’s go back, further back, to be the 16th century. Yes, right there. The 16th century. Somewhere in Africa. Those were the times when Africa was 90% rainforest with a few million people. Now those times the western government didn’t exist. We ruled ourselves through chiefs and kingdoms. But what a terrible time to be alive I tell you. The daily routine for your whole life would be : wake up, farm, go hunting the whole day, come back home, eat and finally sleep. And the cycle continues. And most important of all, protection was a paramount responsibility.How glorious was it for a male child to be born. The joy, the love,not forgetting how the community was hopeful of the future due to the male child. That was the future of each and every male species born during that time. How optimistic it seemed.

And then there were women. The female species. Their cycle was quite simple: Do the household chores and stuff, produce babies, produce babies, and finally produce babies. No say, no nothin. Just a silent, submissive species who no one gave even the slightest of priority. They were literally non existent. Just some children-producing machines, which never get worn out or break down. And the discipline they upheld, epic I tell you. The community at large was responsible for that if a female species decided to misbehave. So I could beat the crap out of your wife as I please if I see her doing ,not unlawful during those times, but uncultural things. As I said earlier, what a terrible time to be alive that was. But mainly for the female species. The male counterparts however,not quite sure if they were basking in glory or just thought that’s how things were supposed to be.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s flash forward the sands of time and boom! We land right back here. The lovely and amazing 21st century. The era of free thinkers and passion followers. But first, let’s take a detour and slowly cruise through the 40s and 50s, a time when the world was at war. Real war. It was a time when the whole of Europe was filled with posters and banners convincing all male child to join the army for the sake of protecting their motherland. It seemed as though the world would unceremoniously end. Just like that. Even we Africans joined in the war. With all we got by the way. And the turn up in their motherland, don’t even ask. European males showed up in large numbers to fight for their countries. With all they got. No wonder there were two World Wars because none was willing to give up.

Now, we were in the 21st century. I don’t even know where to start. I’m trying to think about what went wrong but I’ve not been successful. The era where the tables have turned 360 degrees. The boy child is doomed. Doomed!!!! Very soon we are going to be extinct. And you will miss us when we are gone I’m telling you. The word boy in boy child is slowly fading away with the winds. Women have become more and more superior through the ages and they officially have surpassed the male species hands down. Feminism huh. That’s what I hear it being called. Feminism. Not saying its a bad thing. You deserve it of course. Throughout history, this is the only time when women have almost equal rights with their male counterparts. But, with the 21 St century and all its glories and freedoms, What about us? What about the Boy Child. Have you focused too much on feminism and forgotten about us. Yes you have. The boy child has lost his touch. The level of manness has drastically reduced. It’s funny how a few decades ago, the boy child was busy fighting for their motherland. Now here in this futuristic 21st century, the boy child can weep all night simply because some girl gave her the legendary blue ticks. The boy child can cannot handle responsibility as it was back in the day. Instead of facing them, we run. And run we can. The ways through which the boy child runs away from problems, you will sympathize with them. Drugs and alcohol have become a major escape route from the pressures of society. We feel the need to relieve ourselves from what we term as problems but deep down we know we don’t have any problems. We just scared. Scared that what awaits us in the near future will be one hell of a burden. We all know it, but instead of making our lives straightforward,as of every man should , we shy away. We keep on being told that no one will help you in this life. You need to help yourself. Which is true, I basically agree with that. But come on, don’t you think a little help in choosing the right path would be appreciated? And that’s another problem. I have seen with my own pair of eyes how a family constantly keeps in touch and does all it can to ensure their girl child gets the support she so desires. The said girl child is active and has high hopes for the future.Meanwhile, in that same family, there is a boy child. Seated at the corner, with no clue what he is doing with his life. No one even bothers about him.”He’s a man, he’ll figure it out ” They say. How do you expect him to figure nothing out? When he becomes a nuisance to the society, the way the stories will change you will wonder if people really care about the boy child. The pressure the society puts on us is tremendous. In a good way since its supposed to mould us into proper men which the society can look up to. But in this generation, one can use another alternative to deal with all that. Being high. Higher than the stratosphere. Little dont we know that it’s only a temporary fix. The day after, the problems slowly crawl back to us again. And the cycle continues.

But there’s no time for blame game here. The fact is the boy child has been neglected in levels never seen before. We all know this and it’s as if we are waiting for the complete extinction of the boy child and maybe a new species will emerge from its ashes. A dumb species I presume. But before all that happens, let’s acknowledge the fact that the boy child needs help. Real quick, or else…

And as I was saying earlier how during the world wars people defended their countries, suppose, God forbid, a war breaks out in our motherland, with the levels of YOLO at superhuman levels, no one even imagines that one day we would leave this beautiful world behind: all the pleasures of life. Do you think how many boy children in this generation: my generation, will step forward? If not many who will form a battalion of verbal warriors on social media.

The issue can be discussed for days on end, but still…

Boy Child lives matter.

The Night is Still Dark

Where the fuck was I?  Oh yeah, I remember. Thank goodness my memory is sharper despite being defiled by substances which are known to screw up your mind for the night and leaves you agonizing in pain the morning after. Why do we still do it!  I wonder. Don’t  judge me lest you be judged my friend. 
The night was dark and full of terror. 

It still is. Darkness and terror like never before. It makes you have endless questions about how crazy the world is. The witnessing of an old frail woman being torched. So there I was, wondering whether to believe some shit like that existed or not. Then boom! Have you ever had one of those moments where out of nowhere, probably outer space or something, an idea crashlands into your brain, catastrophically displacing all your neatly-placed memories you had stored in there: the day you had your first kiss, the day you had you witnessed the first hand brutality of some infamous gang in your hood that made you fear darkness itself: among others. It was as if you unceremoniously erased the memory from your mind and out of options, it left. Only for it to go and re-organise itself for a major comeback: one hell of a comeback I tell you.  And Tarra! It comes back with all it has and you have nothing else to do but think about it. Giving it one more chance. Measuring whether it makes sense or you were just some idiot to throw it away. 

So, the year was, I think, somewhere around 2005 or 2006. Somewhere in between there. You know I’m aging as we speak. Not almost dying,  God forbid, but aging. Somewhere in Mtwapa, of course, the story begins. The afternoon sun was killing us.  I was not outside but the heat was unbearable and I could imagine how someone who was walking under that sun was feeling. We were five of us. Two ladies and the three of us gentlemen. Scratch that, there’s no way one can acquire such titles at such a tender age. So we were three boys and two girls. We were standing in front of a class of forty five. All eyes on us. Back then, shyness and fear were the order of the day. I was there. All thanks to a teacher I hated most in that primary school. I have no idea what was going on in her mind, but out of nowhere, she called five names and told them to come forward and I was one of them. We lazily walked forward and stood facing the rest of the class. We then looked at each other cluelessly, without a single idea what was happening. Being a back-bencher, all I could think of was her spotting me laughing or as we called it back In the days, noise making. “I want you to sing a song from your motherland “She spoke, with her rough voice that used to give me chills each time she spoke. Then our clueless minds became wise in an instant. We looked at each other and realised: Fuck!  We were all from the same tribe. All five of us. So that’s why she chose us. Face it, back then we were slow as fuck in everything. 

So, there we were. The Fucked Up Five. We looked at each other. Again and again. But really, my motherland is somewhere on the cold hills of Taita highlands, which at that moment was miles and miles away: so how the hell am I supposed to recall a song which I heard probably in mother’s womb. Seeing no hope in the other four, I remembered a fraction of some song I heard my uncle hym to while he was driving. I decided to take the chance. Either give it a chance or die trying. Just kidding, nothing like die trying. I was dead scared of her beatings. She was a brute when it came to discipline. Her slaps and kicks were my nightmare. I took a deep breath, close my eyes and cleared my throat silently. Kaende venye kataenda! I asserted myself. 

Then Shit happens. The floor slowly begins to shake. A slight movement but with lots and lots of vibration. I could feel it. The desks began vibrating at high speeds. Rumbling altogether and becoming more and more intense. I was..I don’t even know which state I was. I looked at the rest of the class and I was better off. The looks on their faces said it all. Never-before seen levels of fear was portrayed in their faces. Then came a loud scream. The type of scream that let’s you know you don’t know. Then another scream. And another one. Soon there were screams all over coming from one particular direction. The screams mixed with the rumbling of the ground seemed like we were in some war torn country. We all rushed outside to behold the sight of what was the main cause of all this. We left the teacher inside the class, speechless, or maybe in shock: but that’s her problem. None of us really noticed. We ran outside the gate of our school and from far, we saw them. A whole lot of them. Scores and scores of children: an endless stampede of children running towards our direction. Their uniform was recognisable by everyone. Shimo La Tewa Primary School. The whole town was brought to an abrupt standstill. Most of them were familiar faces. Everybody knows everybody in Mtwapa. So I spot one of my friends who was also running and signals him to come to where we were. He sees me and heads towards us. His heartbeat was tense. He breathed heavily as we tried to calm him the fuck down so he could give us the whole information. 

After narrating to us what he had witnessed at the school which led to everyone, even the teachers, run for safety, I was in fear. Fear that all had believed to be rumours and hearsay all along was the truth. Nothing but the truth. These supernatural shit is fucking real I tell you. 

For the night is dark and full of terror. 

The Night Is Dark

For the night is dark and full of terror. Where I’m from, somewhere along the shores of the Indian Ocean, you will never skip a single day in your life without hearing someone mumble about the supernatural. From the old, to the young, even to the extent of the unborn yapping about it. And the interesting thing about these happenings is that when someone says he saw a particular(Song of the year tight there by the way.Anyways let’s proceed before you forget all I’m saying.)thing, everybody else now miraculously gets the courage to speak his own similar story and before you know it, the topic is being discussed by every one, I mean every single person existing at the sea level. There was a time, some few years back,when out of nowhere some fisherman, or so I heard, came from the ocean with tales of how he witnessed ,with his own two eyes, a mermaid that swam quickly past their boat and disappeared into the depths of the ocean. I mean Really??? . From my point of view it was total bullshit. The way his news spread across the coast, the topic was on everyone’s mind. Now everyone was on high alert, hoping and praying to encounter one of those fucking creatures to back up the story. And by the way mind you the one with the original story is a full grown adult human being with a family and a dozen of children and he’s narrating his story to you while he’s scared as fuck. So you have no option but to believe what your brain tells you to believe. But for me, that’s just hearsay. Now to make things worse, months later, another story emerges, this time round of a young nigga, my age mate in particular. So as heard, the guy went for a swim by himself. The water was warm and shit, he was having the time of his life when from afar, he spotted a young girl, also swimming by himself. The hyena in him jumped into action and swam towards her. His goal was to swim underwater all the way towards the girl and startle her suddenly and boom!  Mission accomplished, they start chatting and the rest is history. The nigga takes his breath and dives into the water. Of course your eyes must be open in the water to know where you are going. He swims toward her and in the water begins to see her blurry shape. Then he decides, let me swim between her legs and come out the other side. His hyena mind is thinking at infinity level. As he approaches her, he sees no legs. He looks closely and the lower body is joined together and at the end is some sort of tail. He literally screams under water and his small bag of air in his mouth escapes out of the water. He says he just saw the tail flap a few times and the creature was miles away from him. And he has no fucking idea how he went back to land but what’s in his mind is that the ocean is a no go zone for him . His particular story trended without hashtags. It was viral verbally.  Those who will be lucky enough to come down here to the coast, ask around and the tale will be narrated, perhaps even better. 

Now let’s leave the mermaid crap aside for a moment. They are just imaginations from a bunch of high people. My opinion there. But there’s this story that up to date has given me endless migraines whether or not it is true. I personally have had some encounters here and there. These clean little pets we all love and cherish. Cats. They are warm and loving elsewhere, but here, they are the most feared. It has been reported thousands of times about how cats are some sort of possessed with evil spirits. Some say they saw some cats changing into humans. Especially the changing into human ones. Stories are told that during the daytime, you just see an ordinary human being doing his daily routine. As the night falls, while others are deep asleep, he becomes a cat and starts roaming the streets doing his part time job -haunting peole. Just recently, some fucked up incident occurs. And old woman was found lying naked in someone else’s compound early in the morning. Keep in mind that the compound was surrounded by a ten-foot wall, and on top of the wall, an electric fence was mounted on top. Now someone please explain to me, how the Fuck could a naked old woman have surpasses that wall and electric fence!!. I’ve used all logical means and shockingly, none prevails. In a community where supernatural issues are a common thing, the peole wasted no time. She was roughed up by the large mob that had gathered to witness and out of nowhere, a tyre flew from the crowd and landed right around her neck. In every one’s mind, a witch had been caught. I was there that fucked up day. Remember how I told you in the beginning that when such incidences happen people miraculously gather the courage to speak up, well they did. People spoke of how a cat had been giving them sleepless nights, crying in different voices,how she terrorised innocent children, among other horrifying things. She was unceremoniously burned right before our eyes, her screams and yells seeming like music to the joyous celebrations of the masses.

And  after her death, there was some sort of calm. The incident occurred a few miles from my home and people spoke of how relieved they were, how comfortable their sleep had become and how children who were once dead afraid of playing outside suddenly became playful. 

For the night is dark and full of terror.