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Daddy Do nothing

There we were at it again. Just two months ago we were here at it again.

“Five hundred! Five hundred! Who….”

“I have one thousand!”

A crowd cheers and more money is bid on my parents’ lifetime investments. I shouldn’t have been fazed by it. What did I expect, after months of pleading and my father being shafted by his business partners, the directors were out for blood. Property was going to work. My father once again, poor judge of character, shady deals and overzealous investments.

“Here goes another two years of school!” My brother croaked. He was a 16 year old in primary school, his voice was broken and had awkwardly sharp shoulder blades piercing through his torn cardigan. The ill fitting cardigan was threading at the waist and sleeves, Zini looked like he ate through it. His socks were torn and my pinafore had been stained so many times by the red army, I looked like a butcher’s aide.

We had past the point of resentment toward our father, Zini and I, he had chased mum off with his half brain ideas always costing us everything. Zini was trying standard eight for the last time hoping this time that there would have money for his exam. That was what kept him out of 4 previous primary certificate exams. Not like teachers cared, the school was pleased to have us, they liked the money.

Mum wasn’t a saint either; she had rushed off one evening with Melio the gardener and had two children. She was happy, she enjoyed being a house wife. It was only a matter of time before Dad’s settlement money was consumed by the lavish life she was used to with a man of meager to no means. Melio believed that God blessed people with children and it was God’s responsibility to raise them. His job was to produce. The end. He never worked again; he just sat there barking orders.

Dad turned and apologized at the auction. I really didn’t care much for it. You see he’s been doing this for 7 consecutive years. Just when the day had ended and we were glad that we could still live in the house on the cold floor. Dad got another half brain idea, this time he was going to sell a 200 year old iron and bronze anklet my great great great great grandmother wore for initiation that was to be given to me when I hit puberty. That is when I decided it was time to face my Dad, either that or this time it would be a burial and not an auction.

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Sundu’s redemption

It was a dull dreary day in the Lich village, but that was not going to ruin the mood. The annual village festival was set to commence at noon. Everyone looked forward to grabbing some grilled snail and field mice dipped in chilli sauce from Mama Lulu. She was the best; her stand was always thronged by people. Then there were the Kadede twins who ate their fill in the nyuka drinking contest. The porridge was so hot last year that Ololo the eldest of the Kadede twin’s throat bled. He couldn’t speak for three months. But that wasn’t going to stop Ololo take on the competition once again this year.

Then there was Somi, the village sage who would foretell the future. He was always on the mark. And most of the time his messages of doom always revolved around Sundu the butt end of village jokes. Sundu was the wealthiest yet dumbest in the village. He inherited several heads of cattle running to the thousands and had vast land. But half the time he lost part of it at some bet or over some girl he ‘defiled’; the village knew these girls were ‘free rangers’ giving up their family jewels to the highest bidders. But no one wanted to disgrace the name of their parents.

Last year, Somi foretold of a loss of 400 heads of cattle for Sundu’s wandering eye at River Sese. The Sage didn’t divulge further, but we all knew it was revolving around Sundu’s favourite village rendezvous point at the River with the free rangers. This year everyone awaited to hear the new year fate of Sundu, who was always high on busaa behind his high fence when the declaration was being made.

This year’s village festival was a new attraction. A grandmother’s weaving competition with the winner getting a chance to sell her wares in the famous Uyoma market where the chief would select a future bride from the lineage of the grandmothers, as was tradition.

Just an hour before the festival began, screaming children ran past Sundu’s homestead. And he did something unusual; he invited the children in to pick ripe guavas and mangoes from his trees to take to the festival. The children didn’t hesitate. “He must be appeasing the ancestors.” One child joked as they picked the fruit. Sundu overheard and laughed. The children picked the fruits and left.

After the eating contest as the cheers died down and the crowd began to disperse for some more snacks before the next show, a tall, dark gentleman emerged before them. He was dressed in Colobus monkey skin with a spear in one hand. “Lwanda Magere!” one child yelled “pierce his shadow, let’s see what happens” another kid yelled. The crowd laughed.

The Sage appeared and raised his hand and silence fell. He walked round the gentleman sizing him up. Then the Sage fell to the ground face flat and grabbed a handful of soil and began to consume it. “What is happening?!” One child asked her mum fearfully. The legend had come true, this year’s festival, was the fulfillment of one of Somi’s prophecies and Sundu would finally have the last laugh.

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All clucked out

The chicken crossed the road and so did the egg right next to it. They hadn’t been talking for a quite some time. After chicken had dropped the bombshell on egg, egg was pretty yolked. “What the hell do you mean I will be like you?” egg exclaimed, he was so angry he cracked. Chicken just clucked and walked away, he had had ‘the talk’ with his parents when he was the exact same age as egg.

“You are not a freaking novelty egg. We all grow up someday and our kind of growing up is painful, you break.”

“The hell I will chicken, that loud overbearing mass that you are, no way, I prefer simple and compact.” Egg stormed off and nested.

Chicken went about its business and exactly 21 days later from a crack in the barn shed he heard a very scared voice call out his name. “What the hell is it now egg?”

“That’s the thing Chicken, I am not egg?”

“What the hell egg? Stop fooling around, roll out and let’s get this over as adults.”

“I can’t!”

“Don’t make me come in there and beat you to a yolk, egg!”

“Fine! I am tired of arguing with you anyway!”

The door of the barn flung open and there in full glory was a majestic snow white cock with bright red comb. Eyes darting left and right suspiciously. Chicken saw it and walked past it. “Where the hell are you egg?” Chicken called out. The cockerel crowed in Chicken’s ear. Chicken eye balled it and brushed passed it irritated. “When I see that egg I will beat it to death.” Chicken muttered under its breath.

“Say what Chicken?” Eggs voice was now emboldened after it saw that Chicken couldn’t match up to its new cockle stature.

“Egg?” Chicken turned, “where are you?”

“Can’t you see me?”

“That is a dumb ass question to ask. If you were in front of me I would beat you?”

“Oh really Chicken? You are looking straight at me and you don’t seem to recognize me?”

Chicken fluttered and clucked away flapping frantically as egg crowed and laughed his guts out.

“Who’s the Chicken now huh Chicken?”

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Pungence

In the smelly town of Viatu, with a population of 10,000 no one seemed bother by the gut wrenching stench of its existence. I lie there was an unusual exception, a teen called Ngolova. Ngolova, was corked finesse, with a soled bold stature towering above other city folk.

Ngolova wasn’t one to care what people thought, he was more concerned with coming up with a way to rid the city of its pong that everyone seemed to find normal. Ever since Ngolova was a child, he always knew that there was something wrong with the state of the city. His fashion conscious celebrity mother, Wedge, was always wary about the chatter around the city about her son’s bull dozing of city officials to resolve what he called, Hygiene issues.

Ngolova would insist on a weekly clean as opposed to the occasional annual cleaning for the few in the city. Most of the people of Viatu, 98% to be exact, spent lifetimes, as long as 7 years without showering. Life expectancy was 10 years maximum. By the age of 7 viatu residents would be sent to a ‘retirement home’ where they would be transported to a new city before they are eventually cremated and ashes used to reproduce more lush looking residents who equally smelled after a few months of birth.

One day when Ngolova had grown to 2 years and a productive teen not too far from the era of aging wear and tear, an idea came to mind. He went to school and asked, Mrs. Bata Prefect to share an idea with the class, to which she obliged. “How about, to raise funds for the school charity event, we encourage people of Viatu to wash and polish?”

Mrs. Bata Prefect was stunned, Ngolova didn’t have to look back to see her tense up, he could smell the perspiration oozing from Mrs. Bata Prefect’s leather body. His classmates were all bug eyed with their tongues raised. “You what?” Stiletto blurted with her usual uppity tone. Akala butted in to try and ease the tension in the classroom, “That is an idea that we can refine, we can polish instead of wash?”

“Shut up!” the Patapata twins chimed in irritation. Then all hell broke loose in class, needless to say, Ngolova lost a few inches that day. But it never stopped his quest for a cleaner, fresher city.

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Robbing the King

The Savannah was vast and covered with lush green shrubs quenched by the long rains. The herds of Dik Dik, Thompson Gazelles, Impalas and Zebras grazed freely. Not far away the black rhino grazed unbothered by the oxpecker feasting on the ticks on its back. There was simple harmony that no words could explain; the vast wildlife roaming free without a care in the world, flocks hundreds of kilometers from hooting, crashing, cell phones ringing and people blasting profanity-laden ‘music’.

The day was long and warm and the animals slowly retreated to shelter in the minimal shrub there was. Some tried to submerge themselves in the tall grass to try and rest from the heat. Suddenly the calm herds slowly began to raise their heads and began to flee. A male Impala leisurely grazing leapt in the air and fled in the opposite direction of its flock. Two Lionesses were behind it in hot pursuit, sprinting frantically. The Impala leapt as hard and fast as it could.

The Impala leapt over a boulder and just as it was about to land on the tall savannah grass, it was ripped in the belly by a Lioness who lay in ambush beside the boulder. The other Lionesses caught up and began to devour the poor Impala as life drained from it. The sun was now setting and the Lionesses now sat eating steadily. Each Llioness had taken her share of Impala and sought a different location to feed.

But this was soon disturbed by an unusual guttural sound. The smell of the creature groaning unusually was now moving closer. The animal seemed to be in a huge flock, with sound moving from one side to the next. What the Lionesses were not aware of was that these creatures were Morans and they were three young men. These young men walked in a zigzag manner making strong guttural sounds. Teto led the crew with his spear in hand, clad in a red shuka now flapping violently revealing his left thigh with his maasai knife strapped to it. One young man was sweating profusely, the youngest of the flock, had snapped off a plant and rubbed it under his armpits to dab the sweat and avoid throwing off his scent to the Lioness.

The Morans moved closer to the Impala carcass and Teto cut off about a 3 kg equivalent of Impala meat as the Lioness observed less than 5 metres away from them. None of the Morans exhibited fear, they continued to make the guttural sound as they zigzagged away. The Lioness stared and slowly inched back to the Impala carcass and continued eating. The Maasai Moran and the wild have always been part of a single ecosystem, living side by side and sharing the kill even with the King of the wild.

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Too soon

He set foot on stage and the crowd fell silent. He raised his arms and the crowd went wild. He was baffled, he seemed to think that he was imagining what he was seeing and hearing. “The crowd seems to be drawn to me.” Bablu thought to himself. But when his arms went down the room fell silent. He posed for a moment with the stage lights bright and the audience was barely visible to him.

He raised his hands once more and the auditorium was filled with gasps. Bablu was so confused; his facial expression resulted in a bout of uncontrolled laughter from the audience. He was even more confused by what was going on. He was received the audience response that he had hoped he would elicit, but he hadn’t began his act yet. There was something off. So he turned around briskly only to find the curtain raising. “It wasn’t something behind me, then what was causing such a stir with the audience?”

Bablu walked off stage to a standing ovation, he was dumbfounded. “Ai? Kitu gani hii?” He stood backstage for a few minutes trying to grasp what had just happened and then walked back on stage and he began to clap a rhythm and the audience joined him gleefully. He did a series of claps occasionally trying to see his audience, to see what it was that was drawing so much enthusiasm and excitement. It didn’t make sense he wasn’t a standup comedian, he was just there to share something fun he had tried out with friends.

Bablu called out and chanted something that he used to hear his grandfather say at spiritual dedication ceremonies to the ancestors. The crowd fell silent then he heard claps repeating the rhythms that he had just done. The claps graduated from an enthusiastic individual to a symphony of sounds. Bablu began to nod to the rhythm and he raised his hands and the auditorium fell silent.

An audience member emerged on stage and Bablu fell silent and began to tear, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He looked down at the ground beneath him, the staged seemed unusually familiar; he laughed and cried at the same time. “Why did you people lie to me?”

“It was only to protect you son,” the gargantuan audience member uttered in a sleek, treble bass voice. The man reached out toward Bablu and guided him down the stairs to the audience; there he saw his entire family standing there. People began to part like the red sea and at the farthest end stood Bablu’s great Grandmother, she stretched out her right hand toward him. Bablu ran in to her arms for a warm embrace. “You were destined to entertain and share the legends of our ancestors, but your time is not neigh. We will show you how.” Bablu broke down and cried in his grandmother’s arms.

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No place to run

He stood under the glistening night sky eyes closed and raised toward the heavens, his lips were tucked in and pursed causing the sides of his mouth to turn up. His breathing shifted between short fast breaths and extremely long exhalation through his nostrils. This went on for about a half hour. Ogor was in an open plain known to have hyenas roaming around, he was aware of that but he did not care. No words could express his frustration. Ogor just gazed at the star studded sky seething. His teeth had emerged trying to keep his lips tight to prevent a roar of rage. He had bit on his lower lip so hard it began to bleed. He just licked his blood and continued biting his lip now with tears welling up in his eyes.

Ogor began to tear; his chin now had blood streaming down it. Ogor’s fists were clenched and he was trembling, he fell to his knees his lips giving way and he let out an earth shattering moan and began to sob bitterly. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks his bug eyes were now bloodied from crying and appeared as if they would burst out of their sockets. His fists lifted and began to pummel the ground beneath him as he let out a prolonged scream.

Ogor’s screams could be heard three villages away. Dark plains slowly began to light up from the furthest to the closest to the plain were Ogor was. The last time such blood curdling screams were heard was when the Hyena hunting season was at its peak during drought when the wilderness had nothing to offer them; Hyenas drew closer to the human population.

Ogor’s head was now in the ground and as he lifted his head and looked yonder, he noticed the villages had come to life. He stood to his feet and ran in the opposite direction. He ran away with a limp, his leg bleeding profusely through a tourniquet he had made from a banana fibre. His hands hung by his side, one drenched in blood bearing a golden dagger.

The closest village, Unotoi, had rallied its young warriors to run to the plain beyond the hills were Ogor had stood to find out what had befallen, what they thought was, a naive stranger unaware of the Hyena infested plains. To the warriors surprise they found a mutilated Hyena. They were dumbfounded; they had no idea who would have been bold enough to kill the creature. But having fought numerous battles, they wondered where the warrior who killed the beast was. And why he was in so much agony and failed to seek assistance in their village. The next village to arise was Namagog where women wept and thrust themselves on the dust, the chief was found dead and drowned in his own blood. Slaughtered like a lamb and his heir was nowhere to be found.