The Life of a White Bird

I was about 10 when I left home, a sad day that was. I know it was for the best, however if I could turn back the hands of time I would. My parents seemed to be used to letting go, I am not surprised though: I was the seventh of a total of twelve. I was not their first and nor was I their last. I guess like they all say: “life goes on”, or was that a tupac song. I must say, leaving the house is quite an experience that I would not trade for anything in the world; not even my beautiful girls.
First day out of the house was the worst ever. It was worse than sharing a toilet with 6 brothers and 5 sisters. I couldn’t tell left from right, I had no friends and I had no idea of the whereabouts of my other brothers. I was all alone. Although I was used to being alone, this was a new type of lonely. I have never been the type to make friends. The only people I knew were my siblings and my parents. This was not entirely my fault though; I didn’t fit in with the others.
Let me not get too emotional as of yet, I’m not ready for it. After about 5 days of being out of the house I soon got a hang of things. I knew where and how to get food. I met a cool stranger, my first ever friend. Trevor is his name; he was and still is the best. He was the first person who embraced my appearance and did not judge me. Well I guess he understood because we had a similar yet different condition.
Trevor and I vowed to have each other’s backs no matter what happened. We believed that nothing would separate us; I guess we didn’t think we would ever get married. Together we were untouchable; in a weird way I found confidence in Trevor. Without him I was just as before; a shy loner. Trevor is a year older than me. That meant that he had an entire years experience being out in the “wild”.
“Hey Top, what’s for supper tonight” asks Trevor all the time. He was hungry all the time. “Top” was a nickname Trevor gave me the second we met. He is truly special to me. Being a loner as a young boy, I would be in the kitchen with my mother learning to cook. This came in handy living with a person who sees having 8 slices of bread with 6 fried eggs and bacon, as a starter or as he calls it an appetiser. Sometimes I think that he only stuck with me because I could feed him well, but I know we connected at a deeper level.
After six months of being out the house, Trevor and I decided to start travelling. I was at first not very open to moving to another town because it meant that I would be even further away from home. However Trevor managed to convince me to tag along his quest to explore the world. Starting over would be a problem for me, I thought. Trevor on the other hand seemed to have had it all figured out
“I’ll go with you Trev, only if you promise me we won’t be crossing any seas” I said just 2 days before we set out to explore. The great thing about this entire trip was that wherever we went we would have the best view of it all. It’s a bird thing. This trip helped me accept me for who I am and my abilities. We travelled on boats for most of the trip, yes I know I didn’t want to cross the seas but the second I got on board the first boat, I was hooked. I could always take the boat back if I ever wanted to go back home, Trevor reassured me all the time.
The first boat we were on was heading to Italy. The best thing Trevor and I enjoyed was the food; the pasta was exquisite. Trevor wanted to not only eat but also learn different languages as we went along. His ambition inspired me as well. Trevor was kind of a bully and a ladies’ man. He always found ways to convince me to do what he wanted, I didn’t mind because I had never dreamt of doing all the things we set out to do on this trip.
“We need mingle with the local Top. First we need to acquaint ourselves with the language” said the eager beaver, Trevor. The following day we set out to find a language school. I could read and write, but Trevor could only spell his name and that was it. He didn’t like it if I would write letters back home because he knew that all he could do was write his name. I had a secret quest; I wanted to make sure by the end of this trip Trevor would be able to read and write. It’s the least I could do after all that he has done for me.
We found the perfect school just off Milan; Lodi. Every morning at 8 am we would sit up on the window seal of the tourist classes. We learnt the basics the first two days. We learnt to say thank you; Grazie, and excuse me; Mi scusi. “Wow the food here is delicious, grazie” I would say that every evening when we would go get something to eat. After a week or so, Trevor and I could construct a few sentences. We were able to “mingle” now.
Trevor always loses focus when he sees beautiful girls passing by. “Focus Trev! We need to find our own place before we start approaching any girls” I said to him. I am always his voice of reason and I know how to get him to focus. “Look over there, there is a to-let sign” said Trevor. The place we found as bigger than the one we had back home; two bedrooms and a magnificent kitchen. The place didn’t come at a cheap price, but Trevor took care of it.
I don’t know where he got the money. Every time I would offer to pay, he would slap me and say “Top the only thing you have to do is make sure there is food on the kitchen counter for us”. I didn’t mind though because I loved to cook, it’s sort of therapeutic and it calmed me down every time I felt home-sick. However I still don’t know where he got the money. We had the same job back home and we got paid the same amount. I am very savvy with money but Trevor is the kind to spend money. He never runs out. This was a mystery.
One morning, Trevor got up before the sun came up. For him that was a first. He kept on walking up and down the room. I knew something was wrong but Trevor and I didn’t like to talk about what was bothering us. We made a deal that if there was something wrong and we wanted to talk, we would talk but neither of us was to ask until the other mentioned it.
He took his bag and put a brown folder in it and head out the door. It was still dark out, I tried to look out the window to see where he was going but he was long gone by the time I got to the window. It was a Saturday and neither of us were going to work. I was quite worried, for a second I thought that he had left for good. After six hours I decided to take a stroll outside. I was hoping to run into him and the local bar just 2 streets away; he was nowhere to be found.
I bought a few vegetables and headed back home to start cooking. I didn’t cook a lot because I was almost certain that he was not coming back. At around eight pm, he walked in. he was in a cheerful mood as compared to when he left this morning. He three bags in his hand. They all looked full to the maximum. He put them away and came into the kitchen. “Top if I didn’t love the ladies so much, I would marry you” he said while starring at the pots. “You are crazy Trev! Let me dish up for us” I said.
That night as we were eating I waited for him to say what it was that made him sweat like a pig in the morning. He said nothing at all. “What did you get up today?” he asked. I guess he was trying to get rid of the awkward silence at the table. “Nothing much, I just went to the bar and bought a few veggies” I responded.
The next morning he left early again but this time I knew why. I snooped around to try and find the bags. I found them but they were empty. I found a 100 dollar note in one. Could the bags have been filled with money? How was I to find out? I let it go for a while and forgot all about it.
“How about we hit the streets tomorrow night and explore the local bars here?” I have never suggested anything since we met, well at least not anything that we would both enjoy. Trevor was quite amazed and began to laugh to a point where he almost choked on his steak. “Sure thing Top, I guess you are getting into the Italian spirit” he said with a mouth full of broccoli.
I was proud of myself that night. For once I could be considered to be cool. I woke up super early; I wanted to write a letter home before Trevor woke up. I didn’t want to ruin his cheerful mood. I sat in the bathroom and wrote the letter. I always make it out to my mother; she is the only one that I was okay.
Dear mama
Mama I hope you are well. Trevor and I
are in Italy now. I am having the best
time of our lives. I wish you were here too.
Give my love to everyone back home, even
Love your 7th son
Boo-bear isn’t my real name. My mother gave me that nickname because I always wanted hugs just like a teddy bear. “You must really be excited for tonight!” Trevor said while banging on the door. “I had an upset tummy! I am excited but not to that extant” I said as I hid my notebook in my suitcase in the bathroom cupboard.
At 8 am we were at the window seal. Trevor wanted to learn a new phrase that would help him charm the ladies. We bought English to Italian translation manual. I helped him find the phrase he wanted. “I want to be able to say: you are beautiful” he said. I scanned through the book and we found it. “Its siete belle” I said when I found it.
Trevor practiced that phrase all day. “I think I’ve got it now” he said. I was concerned though, I wondered what he would do if the girl said something back. At round lunch time, we headed home to get something to eat and get some rest before our big night out in Italy. Any night out with Trevor is an epic one.
It’s strange how the next morning neither of us can remember a thing. I have never got why I could not remember what happened when we got to the bar. Trevor would always say that I passed out after a drink or two and he brought me back home and went back out. The rest was always a blur, he would say.
I think I might have given the impression that Trevor and I are together at all times. We may be working at the same place back home and we came on this trip together, but we are not always together. Some days, especially after a night out, Trevor would insist on staying in and I would head out and explore all on my own.
The Italians are a fascinating bunch. I would sit on the window seal of a young couple’s apartment. The apartment was perfectly furnished from the door mat to the living room lamps. The colours complemented each other exquisitely. Julian was the house keeper’s name. She had a very weird relationship with the man who seemed to be related to her.
At first I paid no attention to their endeavours, but then one day the paramedics had to be called in. from that day on I was hooked like those people who spend so much time watching television series over and over again. I wanted to see what would happen next. I was at that window seal so many times that I got used to their schedule.
Mr. Benedict was Julian’s employer. For about a week or so there seemed to be no Mrs. Benedict, until one day at around noon she appeared. She had long blonde hair. She reminded me of the characters in the stories that my mother made me read. She was pure perfection. I noticed that while she was around Julian only came once a week instead of every day from 8am until 5 pm.
There was something that was odd about their living arrangement. Mr. Benedict slept in what seemed to be the master bedroom and, the person whom I had thought was Mrs. Benedict, slept in the other room. I watched their apartment as though I was being paid to. On occasion Trevor would agree to head out with. Trevor would only tag along only if he knew that there is a football match that day.
“One day they will catch you on their window seal” mentioned Trevor. I was determined to see the season finale of this apartment and I wouldn’t budge. I would rather risk being caught than miss a single moment. “Don’t be silly Trev, I have been very careful. No one will ever notice me” I said. Trevor was ready to move on to the next city or else we would have to find employment before we ran out of food and money for rent.
Obviously I found a job just next to my favourite apartment. It wasn’t mush but it paid enough to help around at the apartment. Trevor found employment at his favourite sports bar. It seemed as though we would never leave Italy, I was ready to settle. We stayed in Italy for about two months, during this time I sat every day from 10 pm until early hours of the morning.
I felt like a little detective or that fly o the wall. I knew everything, I had their schedule all figured out. Trevor would bring me supper every night and sit next to me as I did my daily spying. “Tony honey?” that was the voice of an angel. I have never seen her before. She stood at the door with her tight red dress on and very high heels. “What do you want? You know you shouldn’t be here?” whispered Mr. Benedict.
Little did Mr. Benedict know that the Mrs was wide awake and was listening in to everything. “Stacie did you come all this way to just stand there and stare at me?” whispered Mr. Benedict again. “Well Tony, if you must know, I was kicked out of my apartment because you forgot to pay rent for over three months” said Stacie. At first, being little naïve me, I thought that Stacie was Mr. Benedict’s sister or step daughter or plain relative.
“I’ll call you in the morning and I will take care of it” whispered Mr. Benedict as he closed the door quietly. “Who were you talking to?” asked Mrs. Benedict. He stood there for ten seconds flat and didn’t move, not even an inch. “You are still up. It was nothing, I just heard a noise and thought something was wrong” said Mr. Benedict. “You must have not heard me clearly. Who were you talking to?” she repeated he question.
“It was Mr. Jackson from down the hall, he just got back home and was making a raucous” Mr. Benedict answered. She didn’t seem to believe his story. Mrs. Benedict walked away and went back to bed but this time she was in the master bedroom as well. “So you have forgiven me now?” said Mr. Benedict. “Forgiven you for what, you have denied all my accusation; even the ones where I had concrete evidence” said Mrs. Benedict. I left soon after, my eyes were beginning to itch and they were burning red.
The next day was my last day ever. Firstly it was because Trevor and I were leaving the next morning. Secondly it was because the Benedict family was moving out that day. I woke up bright and early that day. When I got there, Mrs. Benedict was loading what seemed to be a body into the boot of her car. The windows I sat at showed the living room floor, there was blood all over the floor. At first it looked like ketchup but then it was too thick to be ketchup.
I could not believe what I had just witnessed. It was like a scene from those crime investigation shows. “Trevor! Come quick please” I said on the phone. He took his time as usual. “Honey, this was for the best and you know it too” said Mrs. Benedict. “What was for the best?” I kept asking myself. Mr. Benedict looked quite melancholic as compared to his rude and egoistic self. They left in such a hurry. What or who -ever laid in that boot was still a mystery to me.
“Who died Top?” Trevor asked when he finally arrived. I was still in shock and didn’t say a word. Moments later we were off. “Where are we off to now?” I asked Trevor. He said it was a surprise, just like Italy was a surprise. All I knew about this place was that this was where we were to settle. This was where we would find all that we had been looking for or what I had been longing for my entire life.
Trevor had never been so nervous on a flight before. I felt coerced into asking if there was something bothering him but I didn’t. “We are almost there” said Trevor anxiously. Whenever he didn’t finish a sentence by saying my nickname I knew something was wrong. I didn’t say a word until we landed. When we landed, Trevor was still shaking. “Does that say OR Thambo Airport?” he asked. “Yes it does” I responded.
He calmed down a bit. We carried our bags to a hotel. “We need to find a more permanent place Top, these places are not that cheap” he said but this time with a little more enthusiasm. I didn’t unpack my bag because I knew this was not our final resting place. We headed down the elevator to the dining area. “The food here is…” before I could finish my sentence, Trevor stood up and went into the bar. He would always finish his mountain of food before I would.
Eventually when I finished my meal, I went into the bar to look for him. It’s not a mystery where I would find him. He was seated a table surrounded by bunch of women. “Hey Top! Ladies this man knows his way around the kitchen” he said to the ladies at the table. They were all certain that I was homosexual. “I’m off to bed Trev” I said to him. He ignored me and carried on chatting to the women.
The next day he was up before me. “Time is money and sleep is for the dead Top” he said as he shook me. He was an early bed and I liked to sleep in until late. “Where are off to now?” I asked Trevor. I always wake up quite cranky especially if I was woken up. “Well we need to find jobs and a more permanent place to stay” he responded. I for one was astonished, why would he want to settle here. It is not as fun as Italy was.
By the time we had found a place cheap enough for us, Trevor had become the towns favourites person. I don’t know how he does it. He is just so good with people, how does he do it? I guess his good looks put him above my average by far. I am just glad that him and I are friends, I get to get the rejects to be in my life because they think they are getting closer to being friends with him. A cool guy that Trevor of mine, supercool.
Amazingly where ever we go we veer struggle to get jobs, must be the magic hand of chance playing in our favour all the time. “Up so early Top” murmured Trevor as he got up from bed. “You know what they say Trev, the early bird catches the worm and plus it’s our first day on the job and I aim to impress” I said. Trevor starred at me and laughed. “You getting yourself all made up for Mr Rou” he said.
Mr Rou is our new boss. He is quite strict in how he likes his employees to dress and behave. We have always gotten jobs at places were the boss immediately becomes your buddy. They were quite lonely folk. Mr Rou is different, he has a wife, two children and a pet dog. I did my research, I figure that this will definitely impress Mr Rou even further.
I know people always prefer to interact with Trevor more than me, but Mr Rou liked him way too much if you ask me or any one for that matter. Mr Rou even said he prefers to call me Top as well, “just like Trevor calls you” those wee his exact words. I choose to brush people’s comments or judgements about me under a carpet so it doesn’t hurt me as much.
“Trev, how’s about you come for dinner at my place tonight? My wife makes the best lasagne” said Mr Rou. “hmm I’m not quite sure, I…” said Trevor. Right there, his response, is the reason we are great friends. “Please, you can bring Top along with you.” Mr Rou said as he put his arm around my shoulder. I was like a bargaining chip, I guess. “I guess we can come “ Trevor responded.
At this point I wondered if it had occurred to any of them that I might just have plans or better yet wouldn’t want to go to Mr Rou’s house. Anyway being the good fellow that I am I played along and accompanied Trevor to Mr Rous place. Not what I imagined, I though a well established man like him would have something a little more decent. I guess the cost of living is too high these days, even for the big boss himself. Mrs Rou is the most beautiful women I have ever set eyes on. She is the perfect shade, shape and height. I think I’m in love or maybe just attracted to her.
“Hello, come in come in!” she said as she welcomed us into her home. Although the house was old and not what you would expect from a big shot like Mr Rou, Mrs Rou made it look beautiful. “What a lovely home you have Mrs Rou” said the charmer, Trevor, as he softly kissed her hand. “Oh thank you, please just call me Evelyn” she said as she blushed like every other one night stand that Trevor has been with.
“Boys don’t just stand there drilling at my lovely wife, come in and join me for a drink or two before we sup” said Mr Rou sitting in the lounge area. Evelyn said something, neither myself nor Trevor could make out what she had said. I had a strong feeling that there was trouble in paradise. “Come tell me about your trip to Italy” Mr Rou requested very enthusiastically. What was thee to tell? Nothing really, just great food, great people and a little snippet of what could have been a murder.

To be continued….

Hell on a hill

The air was filled with excitement. It was a long weekend and most people were planning trips to the lake or recreational spots to unwind and have fun. At age 15, I was just so excited about the excitement and my nephews and I were running around sharing in everything from people just passing, carrying large water- melons or some lugging crates of beer and meat for their barbecues. It felt like Christmas, yet it was the first day in May. It was also the last month of Fall or Autumn as we know it. The weather was unusually warm, though windy. The hustle and bustle of the day continued well into the late afternoon and it suddenly died down. Everyone had gone to their respective lake trips or picnic areas and the township was quiet.

My nephews and I went back in the house to play “Karate Kid” moves. The two boys adored me, and they’d hang onto my every word. I loved telling stories. I used to be able to just make up a tale and tell it. They most especially loved the story of “Vera, the ghost lady”. I believed that story since it was an urban legend as I grew up. They were my older sister’s sons. Ronny, the older and Reggy, 6yrs old. He was younger by just a year and a half. Ronny was much closer to me. He’d shadow me in whatever chores I was given and he’d follow me everywhere. The house they lived in was their mother and their stepdad’s. It was an ordinary four-roomed house in a busy township in Soweto. Most people who lived on the same street knew one another. I was relatively new there as I had recently moved in at my sisters house to keep her boys company after school, during the day while my sister and her husband were at work.

On this bright sunny afternoon, my brother in law sent us on a errand. He used the train to work and his monthly train-stub had expired. He gave me the exact amount to go buy him another monthly stub at the train station, about three kilometers away. My nephew Ronny and I were excited because it’d give us the chance to take a nice long walk, watching people’s comings and goings along the way. We made it to the station, and bought the ticket. The long walk back suddenly didn’t seem so nice anymore because we were so tired and thirsty. Most times we had to keep jumping out of the way of a reckless driver or watch some very drunk people swearing their way through the streets of Soweto. I pocketed the stub and we started our trek back home. A few meters away from the station, we were walking on a gravel path in a very rocky part of the area. It had a nice view over the nearby neighborhood and was very quiet. Suddenly I hear my nephew cry out. I thought he might have stepped on something and I ignored him. Then it went eerily quiet and I turned around. A young man, probably in his early twenties was pulling my nephew by his arm and I could see he was hurting him. The guy stood there sneering at me with his bloodshot eyes and two missing front teeth. I asked him what he thought he was doing and demanded that he let go of my nephew. He asked me in the Zulu dialect what I was gonna do for him to let my nephew go. I was so naive for not understanding what he was getting at and I feebly answered that I’d say thank you to him. Someone behind me laughed out loud and there were three of his friends approaching. My nephew started crying and I was suddenly very scared. People were passing by and no one stopped to see what was going on. The guy behind me pushed something into my rib cage and ordered me to start walking. I resisted and begged him to let us go, but he kept laughing, then he whispered something in my ear. He told me his name was Themba and he was the leader of the gang in that area and everyone was scared of them. He showed me a pistol and told me killed many people and was wanted by the police, but even they couldn’t catch him. He then pointed the weapon at my nephew. I started screaming but he hit me so hard on the side of my head, I saw stars. The guy who had my nephew started slapping him around and I screamed at him to leave him alone. I begged them to let him go. He was just a little boy. My captor, Themba, started pushing me against a huge rock and told me to lift my skirt. I started crying even harder, because I was terrified. I’ve heard people talk about what men do to women once they lifted their skirts or take off their clothes and I had sworn that I’d rather die than ever do that. I heard my nephew cry again and this other guy threatened to use a weapon on him if I don’t hurry up. I cried and held on tightly to my skirts. The guy Themba slapped me dizzy and while I put my hands up to my face to ward off more slaps, his filthy, smelly, crusty hands found their way up my skirts and I felt my underwear rip. I started screaming, but he held his smelly hand over my mouth and nose, while with the other hand he unzipped his pants. I couldn’t breath and fought him with my free hands. I felt my neck twist at some stage and I must have lost consciousness. When I resurfaced, the guy who had my nephew captive was on top of me. My hands were held by the other two who had, until then, not said anything. They were laughing and pushing one another to have another “go” at me.

Somewhere during the confusion, I heard a dog bark. I saw a large Alsatian coming from behind the huge rock they’ve been keeping me. It barked viciously at them then a voice from behind the rock came. An older man came leeping from behind the rock and started shouting at them. The guys scattered around and the one who was still on top of me was pulled roughly by his neck. The scuffling brought the dog in a hurry and I could hear screaming. The dog must have sunk its teeth into one of them. The old man came to me and pulled down my skirt and fastened my shirt around me. Suddenly I remembered my nephew. I told the old man I was not alone. I heard whimpering a few steps away and my nephew was lying there, bleeding from his nose. Those thugs had really worked him over. I started crying again and when he saw me, he cried even louder. The old man asked us a lot of questions, but we (my nephew and I) were just too happy to see each other. We grabbed one another and started running. All the way home, I felt so sad. I felt bad for what had happened and my biggest relief was when I found the ticket stub still in my pocket. I wondered what I had done wrong for those men to do that to us. All the time we were running home, we never stopped or spoke to one another or anyone, although we kept looking over our shoulders. Once home, no one was around. My sister and her husband were out and I was even more relieved. I’m not sure how I was going to explain my torn shirt and underwear. I made sure the ticket stub was in a safe place where my brother in law would find it and I ran straight to the back of the house where there was an out-house. I filled a tub with cold water, added washing powder and some bleach and got inside. I sat in there for a long time, washing off the stench of those men. Trying to wash away everything that happened. I scrubbed myself so hard till my skin burned. I never cried while I did that. I took the clothes I was wearing and the underwear and dumped it in the dustbin. Afterwards, I flushed the water down the drain and every single memory of what happened that afternoon.

It all came back to me like a ton of bricks seventeen years later as I was taking a nap. It returned with such an overwhelming rush, I felt I was drowning. At first I thought I was dreaming, then it hit me. I was re-living every moment of that horrible day. For all those years I managed to carry on with my life. I got married, had a child, miscarriages and even managed to fall in love. I went to see a physiatrist who told me that I was able to lock away all the bad experiences at the back of my mind, and it was just waiting to come back out without warning. This experience had a life altering effect on my nephew, because he had to watch. I’m still filled with guilt for his ordeal at the age of seven. He never deserved to see something so cruel. We spoke about it once after it came back to me in a dream. He told me he never forgot and he always wondered how I could just carry on living my life as though nothing happened to me. Today, he is married and has a brilliant son. I pray daily that he is happy. My life changed at a few moments’ notice. Today, houses are built on that hill and the place is called Mountain-side. I can’t help staring at the very spot every time I drive past the place, on my way to visit relatives in Soweto.
Because I dared to dream bout what happened to me on a hill in Soweto on the first day of May, I live with a large wound in the pit of my stomach, and it does not allow me to trust or to love again. I am divorced now, and living with my son in our home.
I dream of finding the best of what this world has to offer me. I know I will find it. I live with hope, but also with the inability to forget.

The Worst Foul

The two young men walked leisurely along one of the busiest street in Nairobi. The city popularly referred to by most people as the – city in the sun. It was around nine in the morning. And it was their second week in the city, having come all the way from down coast.

Omari and Sudi had really enjoyed their stay, and had toured various places of interest since their arrival. Everything they saw to them was amazing. The people hurriedly walking to their destinations and somehow, minding their own business.

Unlike Lamu town, where they came from, Nairobi was absolutely different. They were overwhelmed by the many cars they saw, moving mostly along the three lane avenues. A sight they were not used to back home. This made them even have difficulties, when crossing the roads. For back home, the mode of transport they were used to, was mostly the mules carrying heavy luggage on their backs, striding on narrow streets.

“Oh, look at that car,” Omari said, looking at a sleek Mercedes car passing by. It was a very long one, and a rare one to find where they come from. It was the type usually used by presidents. His face, beaming with great joy, he slowly shook his head in amusement.

“This is wonderful,” his companion, Sudi said. “I’ve never seen this before. This is quite a rare car to me. This is great.”

They both stood to see it pass. It moved on slowly in the midst of the other vehicles. The traffic at that morning hour was so heavy. They watched it as it moved slowly, until it was out of sight. And they turned to go on with their walk.

“Let’s visit one of the markets today,” said Omari , putting his hands in his hip pockets. “I want to see how they are, and see what I can buy.”

“Aah, why can’t we go to the library,” said Sudi, “we can try the markets in our final days here.”

“What is there in the library?” queried Omari.

Sudi looked at him with a smile. “At least we can go and look around, see what magazines and books they have. I love libraries, you know.”

“Ooh,” Omari said with a jeering smile. “I see no point in your view. I don’t see why we should come all the way from Lamu, just to while our time in a library. You see, we are here on a real tour. Not to visit libraries.” He paused. “So far, I know we have visited places, in the one week we have been here. And we still have plenty of time.” He looked at his friend, who had been gazing down, as they walked along the pavements.

“I think libraries will be the last places to visit in our last days here. That is once we are through with all the other places.” Omari concluded.

Sudi did not see any use, arguing with him. Furthermore, it was him who financed almost everything in their tour. It was him, who took him as a companion in the tour to the lovely city. And he saw it wise to side with his suggestions, without any argument.

“Okay,” he said, patting him on his back, “you are the boss,” he smiled, facing him. “I have no objection, we can do as you wish.” He knew, as the people always say; the boss is always right.

They walked in silence for a moment. Crossing the wide roads and streets here and there. Everything they saw was beautiful, and they really liked it. They enjoyed everything. Indeed, this was the real city-in-the sun.

It was a relief to them, when they arrived at Muthurwa Market. They had really had a long walk, and they were tired and very thirsty. The market was jammed with people everywhere. Everyone looked busy doing something. They settled to a nearby kiosk to relax, and have some drinks.

“Hey, hey, hey, this place is far,” said Omari, sitting on a stool with a bottle of soda. They had both ordered the drinks to quench their thirst, and the kiosk owner had served them well.

They relaxed, sipping their drinks as they watched people going around the place. Muthurwa Market was a very big place, with all sorts of businesses. Most traders there, were small time people; in other words, they were the young and up-coming business people, starting with small businesses. They sold almost everything – farm produce, clothes, utensils, and many more merchandize. There were those who sold their wares in the kiosks, scattered everywhere. But most traders displayed their goods on pavements. Some were mobile, moving about with all types of assorted goods, selling them to people all around on their way.

“I think we can now move around, and see what the market has,” Omari said at last, paying their bill. They had relaxed enough and had gathered enough strength to move on.

They slowly left the kiosk, thanking the owner for his service. They moved on. The sun was now slowly taking over the chilly morning. But it was still cool and the two-some, seemed to be on their grounds, and very well relaxed, enjoying themselves. They were indeed so happy with what they saw in the market. Everything to them was so peculiar, and quite different to what they were used to back home in Lamu.

Soon they were at another kiosk, that sold mainly T-shirts, and men’s trousers. And Omari was really moved and attracted by a T-shirt, which was well placed there.

“Let’s have a look at these T-shirts,” he said to Sudi. There were an assorted type of T-shirts, very well arranged in order. “They look so nice to me.” They calmly moved on to the kiosk, and the owner welcomed them, with a very wide grin. He looked so friendly, cheerful, and no one could suspect him of anything.

“Oh, young men,” he said, “You are very much welcomed.” He stepped aside to let them in. He was a huge man, with a protruding belly, gentle and with much respect.

The kiosk was really big, and very well stocked. It had a variety of T-shirts, most carrying the names of big English Premier League soccer teams, well printed on them. And Omari was very much attracted with the red one, with the name of his favorite club —Manchester United. He really loved it, and it was of very good quality.

“How much is this?” he asked the owner.

“That goes for five hundred shillings,” he said, moving towards him, smiling.

“That’s too much,” Omari said, holding the T-shirt, and examining it closely, turning it on both side and feeling the texture with his fingers.

“Oh, my friend,” the owner said, “This is of very high quality .You can hardly get it anywhere, apart from me. This is imported stuff, not the locally made ones you find in most places. No one else here in this Market has this kind of stuff. This is original material, young man.”

“You see,” he continued, holding the other side of the T-shirt. “You can feel the quality yourself.”

“What is the last price?” Omari finally said, a grin on his face, absolutely satisfied with the stuff. It was really good.

“That’s the last price, young man .In fact, I reduced the price just recently, they used to go at eight hundred.”

Without hesitating, he took his wallet, and got the five hundred shilling note the seller had asked, and handed it to him. The man took the T-shirt from him, and immediately moved to an inner room, partitioned by a large curtain. “Let me go in and wrap it for you.” He said.

It took him some minutes to do so. He came back with a hard brown paper, neatly wrapped, and handed it to Omari.

“Here is your property, young man,” the seller said, jovially.

Omari was so much pleased with the man and his service, and took the well wrapped parcel from him. He didn’t even bother to look at what was wrapped. He confidently knew that what was wrapped in the paper was the T-shirt he had bought, and nothing else. He thanked him so much for his service, and they left.

They went on with their rounds in the city. It was now some hours after they had left the Market, and they decided to take a break. It was past noon.

“I think we can have some lunch somewhere,” said Omari, looking around to spot a cafeteria nearby. And as they walked, they spotted one across the road, and they hurriedly crossed towards it.

It was a fine cafe, and the waiters were busy serving people. They settled down at a table near the door, close to the cashier’s counter. And as they waited to be served, Omari decided to have a look at the T-shirt he had bought. He slowly and cautiously opened the tightly wrapped parcel. By that time, the waiter had turned up, and was waiting for them to give their orders.

Omari didn’t believe what he was seeing in that bundle. “What is this?” He said to himself. There in that bundle, was a bunch of green vegetables, and not the T-shirt he had bought.

“Ooh, my God!” he exclaimed a bit louder his eyes wide opened in disappointment. “Do clothes in Nairobi turn out to be vegetables .What is this?” He slowly removed them from the hard brown paper.

The people around the café, were all looking at him, wondering what could have happened to the young man. The waiter still stood, waiting to serve them. He himself couldn’t understand at that moment, what the young man was up to or what could have happened to him.

“What’s the problem young man?” he asked him, looking at the green stuff Omari was holding. His companion, Sudi watched with his mouth wide, disappointed and unable to understand what could have gone wrong .He couldn’t believe what he was seeing himself.

“I thought we bought a T-shirt,” Omari said, his mouth slowly shaking in shock.

“Of course we did,” Sudi replied, slowly shaking his head. “I can’t believe what I am seeing here.”

“What happened?” The waiter insisted.

“We have just come from the market at Muthurwa, where my colleague here, bought a T-shirt. But what we have here is unbelievable.” Sudi said, trying to explain the situation. “How come the seller gave us the vegetables?”

At that moment the waiter, going by his experience with life in the city, understood what had happened to the young man. He was a longtime resident in the city. Such occurrences were not new to him, and were very common. He understood that the young men were new in Nairobi. And the seller must have taken advantage of that fact.

“You seem to be new here in the city, are you?” he asked them to confirm that fact.

“Of course we are?” Omari replied, his hand still shaking with the green stuff. “We are here on tour… we are touring.”

The waiter and everybody in the café, felt sorry and pitied him a lot. They knew the boys must have fallen victims to the very notorious games of the city.

“You see, we happened to be at a market, when I saw a very nice T-shirt that attracted me so much,” Omari tried to explain the incident. “The man operating the kiosk was friendly, and welcoming. I didn’t expect him to do such a thing at all to me.” He paused and bitterly swallowed hard.

He continued, “I asked for the price and without bargaining much, I paid him five hundred shillings, he had asked for. He took the T-shirt from me, and entered an inner room, partitioned by a large sheet, telling me that he was going to look for a paper to wrap it for me.

“We waited for some minutes, and when he came back, the package was tightly and neatly wrapped. I never bothered to look at what was wrapped at that time, for I precisely knew it was the T-shirt I had bought —

“Young man,” an old man, seated next to them interrupted him, “That was the worst foul you made. This is Nairobi, you must remember that. Such happenings are common here. You only need to be cautious when dealing with people.”

“But the seller —” Omari tried to say something. But he didn’t know what he really wanted to say, for he was completely lost and buffled with what happened to him.

“Where do you come from, young man?” The old man inquired calmly, a feeling of pity all showing on his face.

“We are from Lamu,” he replied. “Down Coast. We are here on holiday This is our second week here.”

“Why didn’t you check the package when the seller handed it to you?” the waiter standing by, asked.

“Aah I trusted him, and I didn’t expect him to do anything silly like this.” He glanced at the bundle of vegetables he was still holding.

The waiter slowly shook his head, and again he really felt sorry for him. Other people around the cafe felt the same, having comprehended the nature of the problem he was already in.

Omari was now in deep thought, figuring what to do. He could hardly believe on what was happening to him. He sadly looked at the bunch of vegetables still held in his hand. Is this real? He thought to himself, shaking his head.

He abruptly said, “Sudi let’s get back to that market and see that stupid man again. He must give me back my money, or I get my T-shirt.” He almost stumbled as he tried to get up.

“Aha, my friend,” the waiter said, stunned, “Do not dare, young man. Don’t do that. It can be fatal.”

“Why?” Omari queried in bewilderment. “How can it be fatal? I must get my money back!” He yelled. “I can’t let it go just like that.” He was so bitter.

“As I’ve said, it could be fatal to do that .You may end up losing your own life, young man.” The waiter kept on saying.

“But how?” Omari wondered, his eyes wide opened. He just couldn’t understand, how his action of going to claim back his money from a rogue businessman, could be fatal. He was really confused, and in great anguish.

The old man, on seeing where the argument was heading, decided to be of some use to him. Much as he had so far known that the young man was new in the city, he thought it wise to explain to him about the situation he was in.

“You see, young man,” the old man said. “What this gentleman here is trying to say,” he glanced to the waiter’s direction, “is that you may go back there, and find yourself still in more problems than you are already in.” He paused, looking at him.

“You see,” he went on, “I can tell you a story of a certain man, who happened to be in the same situation just like you.”

“A man went to buy a trouser at a market. But as the seller tried to wrap the trouser for him, the man pardoned himself, and went to buy a cigarette at a shop, just across the street. When he came back, just in a couple of minutes, he found the trouser already wrapped in a paper by the seller. He paid the seller his amount, took his package and left.” Almost everybody in that café, listened to the old man.

“Hours later,” the old man continued, “the man returned and in a very furious mood.” He paused, “You see, here in the city, most thugs work in cahoots, with other people, and in particular those doing business like the ones you saw at the market you’ve just come from. The markets are full of them.

The old man went on. “The man came shouting that the seller had sold him rags, and indeed it was true. The seller did not wrap the trouser he had bought. Instead, he had put rags in the package. This is a very common game here, especially to visitors like you.

“The man did not believe on what happened to him, next. A mayhem broke out, and no one wanted to listen to the other. A fight followed, and the other people around, mostly idlers, sided with the seller, calling the man who came with the rags, a thief. The man was rounded up, and beaten mercilessly. As we are talking now, the man is not alive. He died hours later, when the police who happened to be patrolling around, came to his rescue.

“That’s how it is here. You may go back there, and find yourself in a similar situation. And it can be too bad.” he paused a bit, looking at the young man. He could see a state of panic and anxiety, all on his face.

He continued. “What I can say to you, and this is for your own good, is that take what has happened to you easy. Don’t risk your life. Some of these places are extremely very dangerous. Just leave whatever has happened to you to God, and He will take care of everything.”

Omari was now at a cross-road. The old man’s story was so shocking to him, that he could feel a terrible fear taking control of him. He just didn’t know what to do at that moment. But the old man’s words, of leaving all that has happened to him to God, really touched and consoled him. The story the old man narrated to him was terrible.

He looked at his friend, Sudi, and he could see him having the same mood just like him. He regretted, why he did not heed his suggestion of going to the library that day. At least, he wouldn’t have found himself in such a terrible situation.

Oh, my God, he thought. What is all this?

They quietly gave their orders to the waiter. And as they waited for their meal, they could both be seen to be in a very irritating mood. They hurriedly ate their meal, and left, leaving the green vegetables on the table.

To Omari, it was a very devastating experience that he had undergone. And as they walked back to the hotel they were staying, he sadly tried to think about it.

How could such a thing happen to me? He thought, all throughout his life, such a thing has never happened to him. He tried to figure out the man who had sold him the T-Shirt, but he could not even recall his image. His looks faded, immediately they left his kiosk. Even if they were to trace their way back to the place, they could hardly find it, for they were so many of them. The man had been calm and very friendly. He could hardly imagine him to be a con.

“You know what?” He finally said to Sudi, who had been calm all throughout the way. “Once we are back at the hotel, we shall pack up, and travel back home.”

“Today?” Sudi said, puzzled.

“Of course, today” Omari said. “I cannot keep on staying in a place where people are conned in broad day-light. This is foolish.”

Once back in their hotel, they calmly gathered their belongings in their bags, paid their hotel bills. And immediately left – the city in the sun, back to their ancient town of Lamu. The land of mules, narrow streets, and the vast beautiful Indian Ocean.

– END –

Survived the storm

Have you ever wished that there was no such thing as jealous? This story is my would be life; the life which came to abrupt halt by jealousy and greed. The life which i wanted so bad;thrown to ash in the blink of an eye…

It was about 10years ago when i completed my matric.Everything was perfect ,i wanted to make it big in life.All i wanted was the best for my family; i was willing to work hard and make that happen,luckily my grandfather had been saving all these years for my tertiary education.I was the first in the family to complete matric and go study at a college.

I worked hard when i got there because i knew where im from and i did wana dissapoint my family,Everything was running smooth until i finish my first semester and when i was supposed to do my second simester people started talking
and because my grandfather was too old he was convinced by a neighbour to stop paying for my studies: he didnt want to do that but ended up doing it anyway and i had to drop out.

It felt like stap that wasnt bleeding and i was scared to go home in that mind people will laugh at,its a very big pain when someone wants something bad enough and people keep on taking it away.For the first time in my life i was working as a domestic worker and i knew i was gona go back and finish where i left of with that money and for love my mother had for me,i was stronger than ever and was ready to face the world.She used to buy me smaller things i needed every month end and i was like any other girl my age but still i was angry and i have decided to turn to alcohol for comfort,i bought bought alcohol for me and my friends but then this was somehow becomung a habit so i was back to square one…..continues

The Deceased Socks

Maybe I should be arrested. Maybe I should not be here reminiscing about my art of killing. I left the scene quietly, no one saw me; no one can point to me. I left her lying there, with only her socks on. Her hair was red, from the blood running from her neck. Her smile, had dried up into a death grin. What is a death grin? Oh well, I am not trying to-.

Maybe I should have taken the socks off too. Oh! What a messy crime scene. Who commits murder and leave the socks on the scene? My mind was scattered everywhere, my heart pounding like athletes on the track. So, what now? Do I go back to take the socks off or do I continue to run away from the scene. Maybe I should make a few calls, ask Nandi to go and remove the socks from the scene. I cannot go back there now. I cannot face my deeds – although perfect, even if I have to say so myself.

I have never felt so free after taking a life of a person like the one I did tonight. I should do it again soon. Maybe this time around remember not to leave the socks behind. Wait, what’s that? Is that a knock at the door? Could it be the police already? Should I open the door or should I leave them knocking? Perhaps it is a guardian angel, coming to drop off the socks. Mh! That would be nice.

Alright, they have left.

Let me switch on the television and see what is on the news. Maybe the socks are talking through the channels.

Oh no! The socks are here.

Capture and Release

A flash of red caught Thomas Gene’s eye. For a brief moment he thought he was delusional. The closer his car got,the more bewildered he became. Red wellington boots. Green stockings. A toothy smile. A thumbs down,the universal sign for ‘hitchhiker’.

Looking back,he would have liked to believe that he stopped because of the rain,but he knew that a large part of him stopped out of intrigueness and a vague wonder of whether or not she was color blind.

She slid into the car with a sigh of relief,wiping away the dark hair from her pale face. She looked up at Thomas and he soon realized that her lips were moving.

Shaking himself out of his reverie,he cleared his throat.”Pardon?” “I said thanks a million for stopping,I’ve been standing there for over an hour. I know the colors are off putting but they don’t exactly say cat skinner “she giggled softly.

He smiled weakly and decided to concentrate on driving. “I’m Levi” she said quietly. She didn’t mention her last name and Thomas did not ask.

“So where are you off to?” Thomas glanced at her sideways and saw her shift uncomfortable in her seat. “Oh you know,here and there,just wondering about”. His eyebrows creased,you don’t wonder about in the middle of a highway during a storm.

“I’ll be fine at the next gas station” Levi blurted out abruptly and the rest of the drive continue in silence.

Soon enough they came to a gas station and Levi stepped out,mumbling an untangible thank you and disappeared around the corner. Thomas sat for a minute,started his car and went around the very same corner.

He looked left and right,trying to spot her and suddenly there she was. Red wellington boots. Green stockings. A toothy smile.

Levi stood talking to a scrawny man whose only contribution to the conversation was a few curt nods. A warm handshake was exchanged and they went their separate ways.

She looked over her shoulder and spotted Thomas sitting behind the wheel of the car and fled,but not before he could see the look of horror in her eyes.

He ran after her,twisting and turning in the slippery streets and finally into a dark alley. He could see her shadow lingering in the corner. A dead end. Thomas approached her slowly and heard a whimper of fear escape her sweet lips.

“When did you start dealing?” Echoed his voice in the isolated alley. He flinched,surprised at the harshness in his voice.

Levi shook her head. “Don’t lie to me!” He grabbed her jacket and felt it rip. Several packets of white powder scattered across the grimy floor.

Taking a deep breath,Thomas looked into her huge eyes. “You know what this means don’t you?” He asked her. For a second he thought she was going to flee again but then realized she was surrendering. There was no more fight in her.

Thomas gently turned her around,bringing her hands behind her back. He heard himself reading Levi her rights.

The rest seemed like an out of body experience. Walking back to his car. The fingerprinting. The statement taking. She looked so small surrounded by large grey walls. She transformed into a little ball,rocking back and forth,knowing that there would be no rescue,knowing there would be no savior.

Detective Thomas Gene couldn’t sleep. He knew the system would swallow her up and shuddered to think what would happen to her in prison. Cursing loudly,he leaped up and hurriedly put on his clothes. He knew that his window of opportunity was rapidly closing.

At 3am,Thomas knew the station would be deserted,with only the guards monitoring the inmates. He glanced at his watch. He waited and soon heard familiar voices.

“Its quiet tonight Jay. There’s no trouble here.” Thomas identified the voice of the guard leaving.

“Well that’s good to know,I’m off to get a bite to eat downtown” said Mike the guard that would be taking over.

Soon the voices became distant and Thomas knew it was now or never.

He reached the cells and unlocked one. He helped her to her feet and wiped away the black smudge under her eyes,which were filled with awe and gratitude.

He smiled and gave a nod of acceptance. She walked into the night and he watched,emotions within him running amok.

He took in the sight that was slowly disappearing before him. A toothy smile. Green stockings. Red Wellington Boots.

High Moon: Garden of Eden…Evil

Aiwa’s flying feet lead her towards the silver pool. With the touch of her hand she revealed the perfect picture of her golden body. In all her naked glory she dived beneath the gleaming water, into the loving embrace of death.

Deceived by trust on one moonlight night, faceless was her seduction beneath the high moon in the garden of Eden. The golden touch turned the garden into evil. Her once aching fingers turned into clawing nails digging into his corded muscles.

Faceless was her seduction…one touch…one whisper, an attack now remembered for eternity. High moon…the garden of Eden…Evil

Zu’s Dilemma

Zu watches the snub nosed revolver hover in front of her face. Its pocked marked holder emboldened by his rage and the cool grip of the weapon in his hand screamed escalating obscenities at her, working himself up for that that first and final shot.
41 minutes previous.
“It’s MY fucking house!”
She hadn’t meant to be rude but the flight had sapped every last piece of energy from an already weary body.
“Look I got rent agreement!” the smile on the dark round face was stuck on, unwavering in the onslaught of harsh words.
Zu took the pathetic piece of paper between thumb and forefinger.
It had been torn from a note book . The jagged edges and faded blue pen scribbles stating that Hessie Kabongo would pay R400 a week for room and board, including the use of the kitchen and bathroom facilities. The signatories to the ragged document, Hessie pointed out with a shaky scabbed finger was hers and a Mr M.T.I. Amardien.
She had used the last of her Army money to pay for the tickets and car, hoping that at the end of her flight from the States would culminate in a semi furnished house, hot water, a meal and a 12 hour nap. Then she’d phone the lawyers and sell this relic from her grandparents’ life and move the fuck on.
“Lady, I know you a foreigner, refugee or something but I don’t have the time and strength to get the police or a lawyer out here.” Zu stood over the woman with her hands on her hips, her bags left resting against her legs all but forgotten.
“No police, please. My permit is renewed. Look.” Hessie held up another piece of faded paper wrapped in plastic. Zu caught the words “Asylum” and “Expiry date” before Hessie whipped it back into a pocket on her oversized sweater.
“What I need right now, is a meal, a shower and place to sit. In what is my house.”
Perhaps it was the mention of police, or her tone that prompted Hessie.
“You come in, I make food for you.”
Then a little girl dragged Zu’s duffle into the house.
Zu watched the little girl struggle with her bag her red faded corduroy pants scuffing the wooden floors as she drags the duffel to the kitchen. She was 7 years old and short for her age. Zu picked up the signs. Malnutrition and starvation left marks on everyone, the kids especially.
“I didn’t think I’d see this here,” she whispers.
She grabs the duffle from the struggling girl.
She’d visited twice when she was a child, so all she had were memories of emotions; Feeling scared as she sat on her Grandmothers lap. Happy as she ate the deep fried coconut covered cake they had called doughnuts . So different from what she knew was a doughnut.

She walked from the sitting room into long wooden passage leading off into a number of rooms. At the end, in the kitchen Hessie stuck her head into the passage.
“Come. Come. Eat”
The kitchen was large, furnished with a rickety wooden table and 3 white washed chairs. Hessie had laid a chipped white plate and cutlery on the table.
“Sit. sit”, She says, white teeth flashing into a quick almost genuine smile. Zu gives her a disbelieving look.
The smile freezes in place, and a plaintiff “Please,” convinces Zu to take a seat at the rickety table.
She remembers sitting at a larger table in the kitchen listening to her Grandmother tell her stories about the first Amardiens that came to Cape Town. She talks while she cooks with onions, cloves, garlic and cinnamon swirling around the young child’s head.
Grandma Amardien turns to Zu and says: “Zuleikha, please get the Jeera in the cupboard for Ma?” Zuleikha was her full name but everyone just called her Zu. Her parents called her Zuleikh for a while but eventually it got cut shorter to Zu.

Hessie puts down the plate.
“Thank you” she says distractedly, entranced by the gleaming eggs, sunny side up.
“You eat. Ok” Hessie says laying a hand on Zu’s arm.

Hessie puts a bowl in front of the girl, and sits across from Zu with a bowl of her own. The child starts eating the stodgy mess while Zu and her mother look on.
“What’s’ that?” Zu asks.
Hessie tilts her bowl and shows it to Zu: “They call it Pap here. I think you call it Maize”
“Oh, yeah. Maize”
They call it, she had said, Zu thought.
“How long have you been here” she asks between two bites of toast.
“6 year. Me. And Jacky. And Tracy”.
Zu points at the little girl: “Jacky?” she asks. The little girl manages a smile with her full mouth.
“And Tracy?”
Hessie frowns .“Working.” Then silence.
Zu takes a sip of her coffee. Strong and black no milk – it wasn’t half bad, better than the crap they served on the flight down.
“You American?” Hessie ask quietly.

Zu hesitates a little before answering. “Yes and no”, she says.
“Oh hell,” she mutters as she begins to explain.
It was the same explanation she had given since she had started school.
Her Grandmother had been an activist against Apartheid and was subjected to numerous ordeals by the apartheid government. To spare her family some of the pain of her actions, she had sent her son to Philadelphia to keep him safe.
Nazier Amardien, had grown up with an Aunt and Uncle as surrogate parents, visiting South Africa every 3 years or so to see his real parents. When his father was found dead on the street in a suburb called Belhar, the State had forbade him, his Aunt and Uncle entrance into the country as a means of punishing his mother.
Nazier eventually didn’t ask to go back home, and instead focussed all his energies on schooling. He met Mathilda Robinson at a club on a weekend away to New York.
A Year later they were married and a year later, Zu had been born.

She only found out about her Grandmother when she was 6, when she had visited along with her Dad. Her parents divorced a year after they came back from South Africa.

Zu was sent to Philadelphia to be with her father’s Aunt and Uncle, and Nazier continued to pursue his career in advertising in New York before settling into a comfortable life in Seattle.
When Zu had graduated High School he sent her an invitation to his wedding. Matilda didn’t get one, she died in a car accident 5 years earlier and Fatima Amardien, women’s right advocate and apartheid struggle veteran was too sick to travel. In fact, she didn’t know her only son had remarried.

“When I got back from deployment, I got this letter and deed saying that I had inherited this house.”
“You sell the house” Hessie asked, punctuating the question with a quick stab at the kitchen and the passage.
“I dunno.” Zu answered. Truly not sure of what her intent was.

She was running away from her old life, and the house or the sale of it could buy her a new existence. Perhaps one that might let her sleep through the night.

“May be I’ll stay a while, huh?” she says slowly, smiling at Jacky. The child returns her smile without malice or insult and Zu feels her heart skip just a bit.

The bang at the front door shakes Hessie and Jacky so visibly that the child jumps off her chair and runs to her mother.
“Hey open up, you old Makwerri!” comes a plaintive and clearly masculine voice from the door.
“Jacky not here!” shouts Hessie down the passage.
“I know, because she’s with me. Now open!”
The last two words come with a bang at the door.
Hessie, tells Jacky to stay with Zu. The girl looks at Zu, her face a mask of fear.
“It’s ok, darling. You can stay with me,” she reassures the girl as Hessie walks down the passage.
I should’ve get them gone thinks Zu, it’s my house after all.

She listens carefully as the door is opened and the whiny plaintive voice makes another demand:
“Listen here, you open the fucking door faster makwerri, otherwise there will be trouble. Ok? ”
Zu hears some shuffling then a bedroom door opening .

The footfall on the wooden floors is heavier than either Hessie’s or Jacky’s but not by much. Zu thinks it might be someone 5 foot 3, maybe 110 pounds.
She doesn’t want to look to confirm.
Looking implies being right about his weight and height, it also implies that the necessary force you would have to put on that persons carotid artery to render them dead or unconscious. It implies the average weight the knees could hold and the corresponding pressure needed to dislocate it or crush the patella, the bone-cartilage compound covering the knee joint.

“Hey Hessie, give money, man.” the plaintive request as it filtered down the passage.

“No money,” Hessie courageously managed.
“Hessie” and then Hessie made a sound that raises Zu’s neck hairs.
“Be a good little Makwerri Bitch and get me some money, or else I will make sure that Tracy works the shit streets, where she can’t earn anything. And then I will have to put up the rent or sell that little girl in there to a bunch of fucking Nigerian pimps. Ok?”

The footfalls on the wooden floors make him stop.
He looks up to see a tall delicately featured dark woman. She looked like some of the Muslim bitches that worked his section of the road.
“Get your hands off her?” She says with an American accent nogal.
“Girly, where the fuck are you from?” he says.
She just looks him straight in the eye. The bitch was tall.
“Leave her and get out of my house?”
Her house? Who the fuck did she think he was.
“What you American’s say: ‘Possession is 9 tenths’. I possess it and you d…”
“That rule only applies in the movies. What does apply is the little piece of paper in my bag that says title deed, and a lawyers’ letter that says proof of transfer.”
He kept quiet, let the bitch talk he thought and slowly slid his hand into his pocket.
“You have been illegally charging rent on a house you don’t even own. Which makes you a fucking douchebag, but that pales in comparison to the utter heinous shit that comes out of your mouth. And that elevates you to the status of dumbass. Now get out of my house and don’t ever come back. “

You think you can talk to me like that bitch?” he says pulling the snub nosed revolver from his denim jacket pocket.

Zu watches the snub nose hover in front of her face. Its holder emboldened by his rage and the cool grip of his weapon screams ever escalating obscenities at her, working himself up for that that first and final shot.

Hessie closes her eyes and screams.
Zu moves.
The moron forgot the first rule when pulling a gun on someone: Don’t stand to close.
As he moves the gun level with her chest, she grips the guns and twists his wrist.
As he tries to pull, she brings her arm up and using his own leverage pushes her arm up and breaks his arm. He screams, shouting and swearing at her, sweat beading his face.
(In hindsight, she should’ve stopped their but instincts that she had hoped should be buried forever claw their way to the surface.)
So she takes out his knee.
He’s going to come back again, she rationalises.
When he does come back he’s going to hurt them worse than before, because his ego’s been bruised.
With her heel, Zu dislocates the knee joint that it pushes the patella until it punctures the skin.
Hessie’s screams brings Zu out of her adrenaline fuelled actions.
“Is he dead?” she asks.

Zu looks at the mewling man on the floor.
Hormones flood her body calming the muscles and breaking her focus. He wasn’t a threat anymore.
She let it happen. Zu had learnt the hard way to not run hot unless she needed too. That way laid destruction and madness; her instructor had told her in his odd accent.

“Nah. His done,” Zu says, turning away from the moaning and putting an arm around Hessie.
“Why don’t you take Jacky to the kitchen and I’ll…” she looks at him, wondering again if coming here was the best decision she could have made.

There is a loud bang from one of the rooms. A pretty dark skinned woman lurches forward, swaying a bit with each uncertain step. She barely registers Hessie, when her eyes fall on the figure laying on the floor.
“I guess I’ll call the police, “ Zu says. Walking down the passage leaving the rising screams behind her.

The police were there is about ten minutes.
A tall police officer, Officer Meyer was more interested in getting Zu’s details than he was about the guy on the floor with a destroyed knee and arm whose name turned out to be Lionel Jackson.
Zu knew a Lionel once; he turned out to be just as big as asshole as this one was.
Officer Tembise wasn’t too impressed with Zu or Hessie and Tracy for that matter. Zu got the distinct impression that Officer Tembise didn’t like the idea of calling an Ambulance or waiting for the Ambulance or even waiting for the suspect to regain conscience.
An hour and a half later, he was gone and Officer Meyer (Yuri) promised that a case number would be sms’ed within 24 hours.

Zu stood on the porch watching the police go down the block, presumably heading off to an oddly named Victoria Hospital after Lionel.
Hessie stood next to her, keeping quiet, watching Zu.
“Tracy?” Zu asked. “She sleeping, now. Jacky sleeping too.”
“You think about what you do now?”
Zu turned to look at Hessie.
“Lady, at this point, I don’t know.”
Hessie nodded her head sagely.
“When do you know?”
Zu smiled.
“Ask me again after six months, okay?”
Hessie smiles not exactly sure what Zu’s meaning.
“Let’s go inside and discuss by how much I should lower your rent.” says Zu.
Hessie smiles and clomps her way into the house.
Zu follows, closing the door behind them to the screaming sirens in the distance.

PostModern Borderline

Chapter One-Day-(Introduction)

There comes a time in one’s life rather a point in existence where the howls and barks echo through the cricket orchestra which plays the ambience and sets the mez-on-scene that lays ignored by dreams.
Little is the harsh cold smoky comfort from ones warm milk which as smooth jazz trumpets in the lucid haze that is rarely remembered. When Sun punches in with steamy coffee porcelain and Styrofoam mugs and the silent trumpets of morn forgone by a lighter fuelled alarming view.

Only one who has seen a year dwindled in failure can, will, may, truly understand or rather appreciate its worth and the time lost as a decade to child is a day to geriatric as minutes snoozed to a scholar become hours as necessary narcotics to a terminal patient; once upon a failure to a success is as bitter a certain medicine that an addict is first formed.

In Joseph rainbow coloured form the vehicle reversed out of its miniature doors ,these battered and bruised by Father Time, as rumble with drops of now turquoise brown paint. It’s been awhile since his skin saw the golden orb this meeting two cut his cornea through his matured green tints of rectangular glass.

He wasn’t one for friends as friends he had none if food or drink good company makes then a shoulder for tears was found in bloodied icy drink, a rarity at best, as he pulled at the grime part he now called a job he filled his mind with clouds ,being one of the few who know what it meant be besides himself he watch himself enter The Marketsquare from his passenger seat after flicking the amber butterfly-like and watched them grey the offspring take to them sky and he closed his eyes.

Chapter Two-Origin-The Echoing Solace

At birth we exist in the warm comforting never lonely solitude of absolute lack of worry, sorrow and loneliness, that is the mother’s womb. A tomb of joy and pleasure. A heaven upon the Earth, rather the only true bliss next to that lucid dream like feel of youthful days in an infatuated daze. Now what has become of these days? In age the angst-ridden daze that now, not only envelopes, but fills the depths of our heart, souls and our being. This exquisite paradise replacing abyss that now we dwell and find the treasure of excitement and pleasure. One’s memory, rather mine, serves me to the mere mischievous and innocent age of five. This kindred soul, adventurous and playful.

He continued his venture and in his dreamy state, until the age of ten, where self-image, self-esteem and all that is self began to come into view. The crowd psychologies of which Sigmund Freud wrote came into play in the fray of life. Circles with eccentric circles concentric within it all, leaving all the squares with a circle of their own in which they in great hopes may fit. The great extents a number of the squares and many-a-shape with great intendment cut their corners, smoothen their edges and attempt to enter or fit into even the outer edges of the concentric circles.

A decade has passed now curled in the silent corner sits. Until day the echoing voices cease with her, a ne’er goddess, if not she is a gift. Her gait, her eyes, her smile that beams like hope it reaches out and warms the cockles of the most icy-frozen hearts.

The dark daylights return to their original star filled brightness. No longer can he pen up the relentless emotions and thoughts.

Chapter Three-Ezelda

A name to place to this goddess, Ezelda. “It’s fitting,” he thinks. She warmly smiles as she blushes and she slowly removes the few mahogany locks of hair that have accidently fallen on her face. Then she slowly opens her matte crimson lips and she speaks. “Oh she speaks but not in words alone, I smile at the melodic harmony of her syllables, this smile is genuine and complete.

Weeks pass, months pass and now my thoughts, every last particle in the expansive beaches of his mind, are spent on Ezelda. Nearly absorbing his entire being yet she doesn’t suffer from the feeling when they are apart. He can hear her heartbeat echo with her voices melody, still her scent lingers on his skin. The smell of bliss.

The hands of time swing on, and thus as easily or rather elegantly created the masterpiece above all others as a fresh blooming field with the passing seasons wilts in the winter’s heat, thus the carefully woven tapestry fully unravels, and all that was is now fully lost and forgotten. Slowly the glorious chariot upon the Olympian peak backslides, past rock bottom to the whispering depths that soon became a necessary comfort. In the solid solace he finds his long forgotten comfort and not even a friend nor may brother suffice, on shadows he now leans.

Chapter Four-Voices

The voices within began to converse with his intoxicated conscience and they come to the agreement that these emotions he experiences are the cause for all his suffering, now the conscience with the soul eloped. The former has passed as a metamorphosis in beautiful solitude as a caterpillar in its amber cocoon. A new being emerges as a god of the old world, as a phoenix but in blue dark aura reminiscent of the fallen angels that great legends speak, above the stars at the gates of heaven once again now defying all the laws of nature.

The destiny now set in stone and sculpted in darkness, the voices of his abyss are now, within him and with his essence, intertwined. Ambivalent to all laws that these lesser beings abide and live. Now he is unbound, unchained, limitless, still he seeks what once brought him great bliss across vast plush green wastelands finally he finds, chloroforms the fateful kerchief and in muffled screams her final sounds of freedom wither in his palm.

From the abyss rattling of chains and mechanics of a suffering art are heard. The sound of snapping latex elastic gloves and the enticing macabre cabaret begins to perform and to this most vivid scene, and the echoing multitude on every end of the pitch scale. The glorious masochist filled and sadistic chorus, to which, she awakes.

Chapter Five-Meander

Four o’clock again, and this Thursday was no different to any other these walk ways taken where he’s mindlessly counted each jagged rift without a single eye off the path and the withering white, now grey, laces while rolling his fingers playing with the bulbous savoury textured edges and strumming the coiled chain that sounded unlike the ordinary this made a low staccato hum reminiscent of a tortured souls remains distorted by his dissociative course that in turn made a melody of contorted wind chime ambience. The orchestral moan awoke him as he crossed the road in a jay-walking saunter ,two trucks, small in size, in phase as if a perfect wave and one step to either side or an arm’s length stretch in 5, horns simultaneously sound, 2, 1… Ha-ha…
A three finger flick off adjacent the right temple…how flirtatious the angel Grim how one shares the bliss of thine lips how selfish gains unselfish remain

Four Forty-Five

Chapter Six-Memoirs

As thoughts emerged and constantly blaze his brain from state of dreams now icy mind the more moments born upon descending hearts psyche ,the misanthropy that steady lingers and builds with blank flashing visuals and momentary accompaniment amplified yet the silence that surrounded a sound mind was deafening.

Brain still buzzing from frontal lobe to stem in thought tangible conscience dripping from ceiling down wall on right of door as one enters ,the withering chord shore soon to snap carries a fading dreams remains with un-suiting shades upon mahogany round next to handheld torch and carton of cancer finger with a side of ecstasy and asphalt type lingerie. As fuel and flame mocks that which god’s ancient gamed war. She viddy well the sights of extraord’, “glorious gore! Gored and gored and poured once more.” Garnishes of red indeed may make pearls clench to lips, with ice or black upon thy skin and thread like seams and crystal clear on cheek yet beside smile of lush and tru’st in pupils 9wide.

Yet to unfold the encapsulated soon lays torn, no catharsis in sands that freely fall down vertical gyres two but spherical core shut these cage doors and within them none but you.

Chapter Seven-Night

Eyes wide as mind as I shall not. Yes I now with mind of silence the tocs tic audibly throughout with absinthe on buds shall they be found clear or any existent thought process in mind? Little.

Ignorance, Thee that plagues us all he and he wonders on as porcelain basket of corn with flowing white a complete meal doth make.

There and there and there empty loads of singles and glass and tunes of ages before thine own.

There and there and there cleanliness hath peak and cathartic carcinogen remain unseeked, those which define in societal pools drown and those keep in holster most true reflect thee.

Liquid sparks to liquid flame, a bud nipped and pupils float in expansive pools, time is sped and accessory bled now hath come but flame is quickened and soon…
Shall fade.



He felt the fresh Atlantic brine breeze creeping over his scarred face like hairy legs of a minute invisible hobgoblin. His heart bubbled with flooding gushes of delight as the thought of spending the lucre flashed and burst into his wicked mind. He loved the sensation the thought yielded into every part of his body. It was as if an evil forbidden magical bean had suddenly burst into bloom. “Venezuela here I come!” He shouted and crazily guffawed, scratching his greedy belly. The television before them blinked the 8 o’clock news and totally deceived the world as per planned. The reporter had already taken his dash. “Well done my son .Well done Joe”, the old man patted him on the shoulder and drained a glass of expensive wine, Petrus Pomerol 1945. The sound of the old man’s voice made him feel indestructible. He loved it and refilled their glasses.

After robbing Gold and Cash Bank, Joe lurched towards his silver glistening Dodge Tomahawk bike, casting furtive glances in all directions. He wore a black scary mask, so firmly plastered on his face, creating a false illusion of his facial features. That without a very close investigative eye, one would be deceived to conclude that it was his real face. Clad in tight jeans, black Cowboy shoes and a huge vestal black leather overcoat, he looked like some tough guy ready to perform in a movie. He jumped onto his bike and evoked the starter, the engine roared and growled fiercely like some unearthly formidable beast. “Come on the Viper, speed demon the game is now on “, he smiled as he heard police sirens wailing a few yards away.
He cleared away from the scene as if it contained a deadly contagious virus. The fat bag of cash glued on his back, appearing like a rare overgrown shapeless and pimpled tumor. The moment police vehicles arrived at the crime scene, the loud roars of Joe’s bike could be heard falling into faint little scattered vanishing echoes.

The police dared the chase but to no avail. They had no chance worse of all they only discovered that they had carried rubber bullets while their suspect had live deadly ones, sputtering and pelting from a new automatic folded butt AK 47. There was a three -ring circus in Cape Town CBD, as witnesses scattered away. Shops closed and vendors vanished from their sites. Some screamed, some fell as two police vehicles suddenly burst into angry devouring flames. Breaks squealed, tyres screeched and burned, horns blurred as their operators panicked. Inside the bank Joe left two dead and four extremely wounded. Journalists soon showed up on the scene like voracious vultures, with staggering camera men laden with instruments of work.

Around 7:30 pm Joe parked his bike in a very secretive place on a farm. He then drove his Z4 BMW to Bantry Bay to meet the old man, the captain. The old man’s mansion stood just a few meters away from the Atlantic Ocean, the fresh breeze gently blew into the old man’s well -ventilated longue, playfully caressing his floral curtains. The old man sat in a very comfortable leather sofa treating himself to a glass of wine, anticipating the sudden arrival of his accomplice though sometimes he regarded him as a cat’s paw. Soon his intercom rang and the usual voice he expected spoke “I am here Madala, “Joe said, the old man waddled to the door and opened for his son.”Well done my boy. Well done my son. We did it again “, the old man’s voice boomed with delight.”The Captain never fails. We are the blind coal- we burn but do not emit smoke. We sting so unexpectedly.” The old man sat down and took another swig from his glass.

The 8 pm news bulletin flashed on the flat LED Smart TV and the journalist reported as the old man had instructed him. “Today there was a disaster in Cape Town CBD; an unknown armed robber attacked and robbed Gold and Cash Bank today, and however he was soon arrested before he escaped. However, he burned the cash upon realizing that he had been caught.” A few policemen appeared on the crime scene holding the recovered fire arm and some ashes of the burnt money.