These days I find everything funny. I have resigned to the fact that after the rain comes the sun. After a feeding frenzy comes a satisfied fart. Every new set back in life looks like the end of it all. When you survive it, you can’t help basking in the cameras and flood lights. Suddenly, you’re an inspiration and you secretly fantasize that Hollywood will eventually do a movie based on your crap achievement. You have become this prompt status updater who wants to advise all the miserable people of the world. You’re stupidly sure that someone will learn from your over exaggerated weak attempt at own-ball-licking. You wish this moment can stretch longer like a hot mess of chewing gum. Who are you to think you’re so smart? Who gave you the right to think you’re such an entertainer?
So today I choose to tell you a story about someone I know. Maybe you’ll learn from it or at least use it to look like a smart ass in the bar. I won’t charge you. After all, this is a true story.
Mr. Macharia is the typical Kikuyu man. At 60, he is happily retired and lives in a townhouse with his wife of 35 years. He’s never stepped into a kitchen unless there was a ‘rat’ situation that his wife could not deal with. Old Macharia believes that women should always be served the softest parts of a goat, namely the tongue, liver and kidneys. That young boys should be left to fight over the ears, knee caps and charred hoofs after everyone else has had their fill. After all, they’ll have all their lives to fend for their own goats. He believes that girls belong to the kitchen and boys belong to the fields to watch goats and hopefully get a chance to fight off hyenas while they are at it. He believes that a man should grow a beard unless he’s a woman. A woman should not be seen hanging around a butchery because she may be tempted to leave her man for a kilo of meat offered under the counter by the butcher. He doesn’t believe in inheritance for daughters and finally, he doesn’t trust ATM cards and light skinned petite women. In short, he doesn’t give a belch what you think. The world should have order and it would be stupid to fix or service something that’s not broken.
This one time he decided to have a drink at a popular joint in Kasarani fondly known as ‘Carwash’. With him were two young men almost 40 years his junior who happen to be his errand boys. Drinking with younger men has never bothered Macharia. As long as they’re not childish, a man is as good as the next man regardless of their age. That is Macharia’s policy. Anyway on this particular night just as the three were about to finish their beers, two light-petite women strolled into the bar looking dolled up and supple. Their restless but confident eyes were a sure sign that they were in the bar on ‘business’. Seeing that everyone’s stare was on these wobbly-bottomed-sex-hungry looking bad girls, Macharia did not waste any time. He jumped from his seat and escorted them to his table. Macharia has always been a winner and since he looked like a wealthy old man, the other patrons at the bar gave up trying to signal the stunner girls to their tables. You just can’t fight old money with some little cash from your ages.
He ordered wine for them and suddenly, they night seemed to liven up for the three men. Now in every situation such as this, the man that’s buying the drink has to get the most beautiful girl while the rest of the men are left to fight for the rest. In this case, the ‘young boys’ were left to fight over the ears and hoofs. Being a seasoned pick up artist, Macharia was quick to lay down his terms of engagement with this hot take home girl. He made sure that she knew the rules. All of them. That he would buy her drinks and any other refreshment she needed for the night in return for a ‘steamy session’ thereafter. She agreed whore-heartedly.
After a few hours of heavy drinking and dirty dancing with the little girls, Macharia popped his pill and declared it was time to go and sort the ‘other issue’. The young men bade him goodnight and said they would stay on with the ‘hoof’ for a little longer as they pondered over who among them was going to take her home.
Once outside, Macharia went on his cellphone to try find a cab to his favorite lodging or ‘kichinjio’ as it is known among his peers. His date Shiku however, had other better ideas. She reasoned with him it was not good to waste money on cabs and lodgings when it could be used in better ways like paying for her campus fee. Clearly, Macharia had never experienced such a smart hooker. He gave in and was eager to go because his pills were kicking in. Things were getting conveniently hard. You see for Macharia an erection is a blessing. It’s hard to come by and it is equally hard to know if it will happen tomorrow. They got into his car and drove for 15 minutes before going off road into Ngomongo. A hard knock neighborhood located in the valley behind the Moi International Sports Centre. Macharia remembered he had been here before in the early eighties to buy some land. He’d even forgotten where his plot was. It was still out there somewhere, but that will be a story for another day.
They drove through the slum occasionally shining their headlights on random hoodlums here and there. The stench of burst sewerage was overwhelming. It felt like driving through a huge ass. After a maze of turns, they reached Shiku’s house. Sorry I hadn’t mentioned her name before. In a bit you’ll know why. So Shiku lived in the middle of the slum in a one room house that stood by itself, surrounded by what appeared to have been future plans of an unfinished construction. Her house was right smack in the middle of one of the most unknown and feared neighborhoods in Nairobi like a queen bee’s pod.
By this time, Macharia was so hard he was pulpitating. He gripped Shiku’s buttocks as she fumbled with the padlock. This caused her to drop the padlock in surprise. Macharia trusted himself. He was a go getter and straight to the point. It was rumored that he had the strength of a ram when it came to women. That once he worked on a girl she’d beg for her life from the opposite side of he room wailing loudly in bewilderment. Maybe that’s how he came to be known as the ‘carpenter’. Shiku tried to grop for the padlock in the dark but had to give up as Macharia pushed her into the house in his wild uncontrollable heat of lust. He kissed her and at one point his tongue was deep in her throat but it felt like there was a struggle. He couldn’t understand why she kept on pushing him away. After all he had made it clear how it was going to go down. She slithered out of his grasp as he tried to tear off her top. They went on like this until Shiku spoke up in a rather terrified tone. She blurted that he was scaring her and that she was fearful he’d strangle her. This stopped Macharia in his tracks. He had never been accused of been rough with a woman let alone a prostitute. He had always known he was a romantic. Smooth lined in every way. Maybe it was the pilled. he fought himself down. With his erection now humbled, Macharia started comforting Shiku in low soothing tones. Telling her that he wasn’t a bad man and that he’d wait till she was ready. And as if to test him, Shiku dared him to hold her and spoon her till she fell asleep. This way they’d wake up in the morning to make love.
Macharia gave in and spent the last few hours to dawn caressing Shiku and running his mouth all over her neck and back until he fell asleep.
Macharia woke up in a start. Shiku wasn’t there. He quickly ran to the window and sighed. At least his car was still there, intact. He got out and sighed again. There she was, coming from the kiosk a few feet from the house. She had a funny scared look about her. He could feel the anger flare within him and he wasn’t about to let her give another excuse. He had bought her drinks and it had to pay off. He beckoned her to come back to the house and do due diligence but she had other plans. Without warning, she started screaming at the top of her lungs. In the most whorish of shrieks, she shouted that he wanted to rape her and strangle her. This being a slum, a crowd soon formed and was in no time baying for Macharia’s blood. They were carrying, whips and stones, ready to smash his car and lynch him. The tension between the haves and have nots is usually a deep rooted one. Macharia had not option than to beg for his life and a chance to explain himself. He narrated how he had met Shiku the previous night and how they ended up in this standoff. Now in the hood the people’s court is usually very fair. For after hearing his side of the story they asked Shiku if it was true. She admitted it was.
Now the crowd turned on her and demanded that she pay her dues to the ‘poor man’ who had even volunteered to drive her home in his expensive Audi. They forcefully pushed her into the house and vowed that they’d only let her out if the old man had satisfied himself having her.
Inside the house, Shiku desparately tried every excuse in the book to get off but Macharia would hear nothing of it. She said she was on her periods but Macharia brushed it off saying he liked his sex messy. She tried the STD card but he countered by saying it still didn’t scare him as he had only a few years to live too. Then finally, she told him that she wasn’t a woman to which he laughed until he fell down in an epileptic giggle.
“Why don’t you remove your pants and I will go!” He dared her. “If you’re a man I’ll fire up my car and go home in peace!” He continued laughing like a mad man.
Then slowly, Shiku unclasped her skirt from behind and let it down. Then she turned round. There it was. Cello-taped to his right thigh. The biggest and longest Macharia will ever see of a man’s fire arm.
Macharia is a quiet man these days. As I said. He hates light petite human beings, both male and female…whatever.
“He just lay there motionless. His right hand hang lifelessly from the edge of the bed as a thick steady flow of blood connected his twitching index finger to the cold floor. He could feel his body jerking slightly as life drained from his veins. All the while, his eyes wouldn’t drop their gaze on her. His mouth was dry and he could taste the salty-metallic character of blood and bile. A stream of tear ran down his temple from his right eye. He couldn’t feel any pain yet he knew it was the last stroke. Visions of his life’s memories flashed in his mind’s eye as he struggled to keep his sight fixed on her. He felt hollow and hopelessly sad. He had loved her with his life and this was how it was going to end.
Lexi sat on the floor at the far end of the room with the knife still held in her hand. Her face displayed no emotion. Her big eyes were now beady and she didn’t blink regardless of how much her make-up glazed her eye lids. She couldn’t figure out what she was feeling. This scene had played in her mind over and over again and now the veil between her dreams and reality seems to have been lifted. She couldn’t hold back her tears and sighs each time he choked in his own blood as he struggled to breath out her name…”
I have been trying to figure out if this is the type of book I’d write in order to stamp my mark in this tough world of writing. It’s every writer‘s dream to do a book that will eventually be shot in film. But being from Africa, what are my chances? Who would want to publish me? Would you want to read my book? Have you noticed that as much as we have some of the most talented writers in our continent we still have very few readable books? Much of African writing is paralyzed by the selfish urge of our authors trying to show off their command of language. I have tried time and time again to read African literature only to give up midway. We use English that the English themselves would find hard to understand. Instead of communicate, we obscure and confuse. While we are busy showing off our command of foreign languages, the rest of the world is talking, communicating and entertaining! We believe that sophisticated wording will earn us awards [which it does sometimes]. We still live in a world where we immortalize writers who’s books our future generations will never read. In the end, we shut the world out and we shut ourselves in. What a waste! Don’t get me wrong as I rant. I respect those who paved the way so the world would listen to us but is it wrong to ask that we change with the times? Is it a crime to ask for just one piece of literature that doesn’t feel like solving Rubik’s cube? Let’s do literature that children can read and enjoy. Let’s communicate in a simple manner so that our next generations will be proud to be African.
Have you noticed that Hollywood has run dry and is recycling its content? Every film feels like Déjà vu? Every book you read from the first world feels like a regurgitation of another book written before. As the first world slides into monotony, our history and accounts fade away. Africa is home to the most intriguing stories the world will ever hear. We live in color. We have so much we can talk about. Did you ever read Waris Diries’s Desert Flower? Well don’t just sit there, google it! Get it! We have what it takes to do a good script. All we have to do is just communicate in a manner that is easy to understand. The world is holding its breath waiting for the next big book, film or story from Africa.
When we were young, my father bought us a wall plaque that was a picture of 3 cute kittens shot from a low angle. The inscription below the picture read, “If you do not raise your eyes, you will always think you are at the highest point”. Let’s fight the urge to stun our readers with unnecessary jargon.
This post is dedicated to all of us who dream of becoming celebrated authors someday. Just write and communicate in a manner that we can all understand.
If you ever come across any good African writer that is easy to understand, do alert me.