Do what you feel!

The room was smoky you could barely make out any faces. Cigars and cigarettes were the night’s backdrop with some of the finest jazz and blues ever made. Teddy ‘P’, Ray Charles, Al Green, Smokey Robinson and the Temptations broke hearts once again with their lyrical genius tonight.

“Cupid draw back your bow and let your arrow go straight to my lovers heart for me..” Sam Cooke was piercing some hearts tonight.

Tandy bobbed her head to the tunes bellowing out of the jukebox behind her. She was in the only lit booth at the back of the restaurant stirring her drink causing the ice cubes in it to clink. She nodded and threw her head back in ecstasy when each song kicked off.

She looked like an exhilarated junkie who just took a hit. Her head thrown back, her fingers would drum the table and she lipsynched the words. Tandy couldn’t stand it anymore when Ray Charles called out “Georgia!” She got up and yanked the first semi decent looking brother and directed him to dance with her.

Tandy was so dreamy as she sang along and danced, she was physically present but so far away. “I said a Georgia..Georgia, a song of you….” Tandy couldn’t hold herself back, she belted out the lyrics like her life depended on it. Other people in the restaurant watched her in awe. It was obvious the unknowing chap she yanked from his bar stool almost tipping his drink over was a tool. He didn’t care, He kept saying cheekily “Use me baby! It’s all good! Use me!” with a grin ear to ear. He looked like he hadn’t had anyone pay much attention to him in years. Who would with him in those tight yellow and orange checked pants with a silky blood red shirt with huge 70’s style collar?

He looked like a clown spat out from the 70’s with his chunky nude colored platform shoes and a juicy fro with his comb still in his hair, his sideburns would make Shaft jealous. Another song played this time it was the O’Jays. “Twirl me baby!” Tandy yelled out,s he was going wild on the dance floor her dress spinning so high and round showing off her slight frame and ironically chunky thighs and high buckled heels.

Tandy couldn’t get enough of Backstabbers. She demanded that she be tossed and caught in mid air.

The chap she picked was pretty flexible, he didn’t mind. He loved the attention they got. Tandy was completely oblivious of the surging crowds now encircling the two of them. The smoking had reduced and now it was laughter, gasps of awe and clapping. Tandy was having a blast. Then the clapping stopped and the jukebox feel silent.

Tandy and her dance partner were now drenched in their own sweat.  Tandy didn’t utter a word to the man. She walked to the counter where he was plucked from, she leaned over grabbed his drink chugged it down, slammed the glass on the counter, grabbed her jacket and walked to the exit door.

“It’s Ken Ma’am!” Tandy’s dance partner yelled in between breaths in a thick accent.

Tandy waved her jacket acknowledging the statement and walked out the restaurant.


Stripped, beaten and it can only get worse

Anala had been crying for the last 20 kilometres, we were in plain sight anyone with an ill intention could easily spot us and kill us. But she just kept at it. Hour after agonizing hour Anala kept crying, we almost got spotted. We had to wrestle her to the ground and gag her; we almost choked her to death just so that the unknown group of men we saw in the distance would not spot us.

We kept her gagged all night; it was either that or draw the wild animals to our location. We had had near misses with Goni trampling snakes in the grass, if it wasn’t for Juri’s gladiator swing with a machete that snake would have bit and killed Goni. Right now the four of us were left with no idea of the direction we need to head. All we knew was the smoke from burning villages was getting thicker, closer and faster. The rebels were advancing and we had to pick up the pace.

The wild berries that had initially weighed down our satchels served handy. The sugar was what kept us going, we found a stream and were able to clean ourselves, rest under a tree and sip on cool fresh water. There were weird looking buds we weren’t sure would be good to eat, we didn’t want to risk killing ourselves over them, so we survived on the wild berries and stream water.

“Ioli move faster. We need to get to shelter before nightfall.” Goni kept shouting that at me and it was really driving me up the wall. She had the audacity to yell at me yet she wasn’t carrying rock heavy Anala on her back. I was weak and cranky, my limbs were falling asleep. We had kept going through the previous night to get a daylights head start from the rebels.

“Ouch! Ouch!” Thud! Anala let a blood curdling scream; I dropped her after tripping over a huge tree root. The forest foliage was getting thicker and heavier and harder to maneuver. I was tired and fell to the ground. Anala cried again and none of us bothered. It was now like the backdrop of this trip, nothing really alarmed us with her anymore. “Ioli! Gag!” Was all Goni barked, I really wanted to get into it with her. I was fedup of Goni’s bossing around. Sigh! It just wasn’t worth it. I leaned over my foot to grab the cloth we used to gag Anala who was now still.
It was unusual, I looked at her and tapped her, she was frozen and I felt something hot flow on the ground toward me. “Damn it! Anala don’t pee…” I looked up and there it was face to face with Anala a huge silverback gorilla. I peed on myself.


Erotic trauma

Candy was on the pole upside down with her glass heels piercing the air, she was jigging her butt as she always did at happy hour. The crowd was wild like blood hounds, tongues wagging, 1,000 shilling notes showering down on her. Candy was a special stripper no one was allowed to touch her or put money in her g-string. That was what made her so alluring she was a tease. It was Friday Happy Hour at Robba’s, and Candy was out to please.

The drinks flowed and the DJ was letting it rip, the floor lights went off at exactly 7pm and the strobe lights electrified the room. The laser lights went on and Candy did what she did best, turned a hound into a wolf in her 30 minute sets. Her agility left even the most flexible gymnasts awe struck.

15 minutes into the set, the lights went off and the crowd raised hell. In less than 10 seconds the lights were back on, the DJ’s music went back on and so did the strobe lights and lasers. Then someone screamed and a glass broke. Candy was missing, she wasn’t on the pole, there was a trail of blood from the pole to the door and her weave lay by the base of the pole. The floor lights went on. The music went off abruptly sounding like a chewed cassette and everyone stood staring at one of the mirrors on the wall. “You were warned!” was written on the mirror with what looked like blood.

The other strippers waiting to go in next for their sets froze, then another scream was heard coming from the back of the room. The DJ was seizing on the ground with blood gushing out of his neck, his eyes about pop out of their sockets. The manager, Chris, ran to The DJ’s side. “Clear the area, give him some room. Stay with me Jess! Stay with me it will be fine!” Chris knew at the back of his mind that it wouldn’t be OK.

Woosh, a shadowy presence wafted by the room and a cold air filled the room. A door flung open and it was banging repeatedly against one of the tables near it. The crowd began to steadily thin out. The lights went out again and a cocktail of screams rent the air, scuffles and people yelling. “Let me out!” “I am too young to die!” “Take whatever you want!”

It was blood curdling chaotic fear. Then the lights went on a minute later. People were baffled touching themselves to see if anything had happened to them. One man seated against a wall who had been inebriated for most of the night began to laugh hysterically. And pointed at everyone, they looked at him baffled. Then he gestured cupping his imaginary breasts, then pointed at the mirrors around.

People screamed, grabbing anything in sight to cover themselves. They were all naked and had no idea how it happened. None of their clothes were in the room either.







Odd Help

There she stood at the kitchen sink washing the third batch of dirty dishes in less than an hour. Suleta was so fed up of her boss. Today she wasn’t in a position to let off steam with her colleagues who hung their clothes in the airing area at the rear side of the flats that faced Suleta’s kitchen window.

Suleta’s back faced the stove where Mama wa Nyumba was cooking. The room was cold as ice. Suleta was really fed up of being treated like crap. Mama wa Nyumba had spent so much time chasing paper, she had completely lost the ability to cook. The food was horrid and Suleta would occasionally make a simple suggestion with cheap ingredients but that would always end up in, “You think you know everything just because you went to cooking school?” Followed by clicking from Mama wa Nyumba.

On this specific morning Suleta was tempted to respond, “YES!” out loud to the usual snide remark and throw in the towel literally. She had gone to culinary arts school worked in numerous 5 star hotels. Then what was she doing in some middle class family home housekeeping? Her family was baffled by it, she was being paid a measly salary yet she gave so much of herself. Suleta had been tired of the cut throat professional kitchen and sought new inspiration to maybe start a restaurant or some form of high end catering.

Suleta had once been told by a chef who trained her that the “mundane at times inspires the exquisite” at the time it sounded like a whole bunch of hogwash trying to water down her culinary genius. But Chef Linguini was not far from the truth. She had made some really simple pastries from left over cereal and cookies that the children loved and carried for lunch with a fruit and veggie smoothie that seemed to strike a great balance between healthy and delicious for children. She had made progress and it was about time to leave.

“What are you looking at Suleta? Suleta! Suleta!” Mama wa Nyumba was at it again, trying to nag her way to Suleta’s heart. What happened next; Suleta could not explain but to say the least, her next destination wasn’t going to be a five star restaurant.

She lifted the skillet she was rinsing and smacked Mama wa Nyumba with it, who hit her head on the cooker. Suleta pulled her off the stove and slumped on to the couch, went to her room packed her bags, dropped a note and walked out.

“To Billy and Joseph, your crunchy bars are on top of the fridge in the cookie jar; remember to take your milk with it so you can be super strong like me.” And that was how Suleta signed off the note. She was never seen or heard from again.


Earth shattering day

The room went dark; Patricia looked around hoping that no one would see what she was going to do. She slowly lifted herself from her seat and let one rip……….ssssssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuuufffffffffff. And just as she was trying to readjust her position on her seat the lights went up and everyone around her looked squarely at her. Patricia completely forgot that there were people less than 10 inches away from her. The stares turned into chokes and coughing, hand fanning and people walking away. She was lucky that there were only 5 other people in the audition waiting studio at the time. They had already been briefed and given scripts to memorise and some had left the room to rehearse elsewhere in the compound.

Patricia had wanted to be part of this production from the time she heard that Rubati Sholi the renowned film producer said he was going to work on a bio pic of one of the hugest icons of African pop culture, Remi. Patricia idolized Remi, she was now 75 years old but her music, activism and fashion sense had shaped generations.  And now she had a chance to portray her idol.

Patricia had a bit of a problem, she had eaten some bad mutura the previous day and that stuff set her tummy on an Ezekiel Kemboi, David Rudisha and Pamela Jelimo cocktail. She was lucky she was able to make it to the audition venue.

But now her tummy turned from athletics to weapons of mass destruction. The audition studio was saturated with the gases of her innards. And now she was busted. And while she was trying to overcome her embarrassment her stomach started to growl all over again and the discomfort unbearable. She knew that feeling. If she attempted to let this one rip, it wasn’t going to come out alone. And just when things couldn’t get worse, in the adjacent room where the panel was, the door flung open and “Patricia Kilina!” rang through the hallway. Patricia wanted to die.

Patricia took a deep breath and walked into the room and to her surprise who was seated as a panelist? Yep you guessed it, Remi. Patricia muttered a quick prayer for her tummy to behave itself. She was given 5 minutes to wow them. Her kick off was weak, but built up pretty well and the judges were impressed. She nodded and left the room.

Her tummy was so painful she let a huge fart out in the corridor which echoed. The sound reverberated and found its way to the hearing of Patricia’s neighbourhood crush who was walking in next for his audition. The stench made him cough and gag. There really was no redemption from that. Patricia held on to her tummy, fixed on the spot bug eyed with a pleading look in her eyes. He really couldn’t unhear what she did and what she was unaware of; some of her tummy content was sliding down her leg. Patricia bent over and wailed.


Smells like Music

Tap! Tap! Tap! Tap! An army of feet stomped on the street accompanied by an orchestra of tin cans clanging, empty whisky and soda bottles turned up the ante and the crowds went wild. The army of feet began to shift and slide backed up by ambulance sirens in the distance it was a melodic coincidence.

The ante was building and rearing to go; louder, wilder and higher, vuvuzelas trumpeted filling the air with fiery aerosol cans hissing out and blazing at the end of cigarette lighters. The streets were lit up in all senses of the word. It was a warm December night and everyone in the neighbourhood was restless. The mosquitoes swarmed with a vengeance and the pungence of the spilling sewer seeped into and saturated the houses making the outdoors much more appealing to the indoors.

First it was teens who sneaked out of windows, then the younger ones more averse to punishment, then the parents came out giving up all together on being ‘safe’ in doors. Lomondi was a neighbourhood that did not have much to celebrate. The crime rates in the city were all as a result of the urban poor from Lomondi, the city’s 10 million resident’s poo and excrement converged right outside the shabby gate of the Lomondi neighbourhood. The stench, the mosquitoes, the garbage was all they knew.

They had spent so much time in misery and lamentation in news reports showing the rest of the city what their state of existence was, and how damning it already was that they couldn’t get decent jobs. But this one night they all gave up complaining and when one person kicked  the metal garbage cans out of frustration, the noise gave one acapella teen group an idea. And it was a whole night of music.

The police patrolling the area, stood from afar. Suited up and ready for a riot and itching to hurl their tear gas canisters, but tonight, something held them back. Tonight they stood and bobbed their heads to the music. They couldn’t believe that something that beautiful could come from scrap and paupers. It was infectious. One police officer holding his riot shield and night stick began to strike his shield repeatedly in a beat and the other cops joined in with their night sticks and shields. Soon they were humming and for a second. The entire neighbourhood stopped and heard the cops. “They can sing! Mafisi can sing!”someone yelled. The neighbourhood went wild and drummed, blew their vuvuzelas like never before. They went on and on till the crack of dawn when the cops had to change shifts. The street drew motorists who initially drove with windows up and noses high and snooty, but when Lomondi’s dirty street symphony was alive and kicking no one could pass by without being drawn to be part of it.


Curve ball

Again another long hard day and nothing; it was all an effort of futility. What really was the point? Wake up at the crack of dawn make the cockerels look bad get into a dusty and at times damp matatu with blinding neon lights and head to town at cut throat speed. Then stand out in the cold. The office opens at 8am, but that is the only way I can avoid paying exorbitant fare prices. So here I am another day, standing in the cold at 6.15am waiting for my boss to show up at 8am to open the front door.

Now today is a new day after a long night yesterday up till 3am, well no sleep at all really I opted to take a new route and shift my attitude to something that will be worth my while. Want to know what? Follow me.

“Morning Kori!”

“Morning Sir? How are you today? Beautiful day isn’t it?” You should see the dumbass look on his face as I talk to him. He is used to my early morning groans, but what he really doesn’t know is this is a new me a new dawn and the submissive Kenyan slave just found out that she has outnumbered her master. He’s in for it today. I was kind enough to brew his crappy tea and serve him.

“So where is the newspaper today Kori?” Mr. Rabat asked me in his usual fatherly voice.

“The vendor seems to be running late.” Well that was the truth, but in the 5 years I have served him as a casual labourer, I always ensured that Mr. Rabat’s comforts were met. He always had his tea and newspaper in hand. Because when the vendor was late, I used my own cash to ensure he had a paper. Was there a refund? No there wasn’t. Why? Well because the boss’s day had to always kick off perfectly. Why? Well because he was a bitch when he didn’t get what he wanted. He liked me because I kissed so much ass; I think I bought close to 10,000 shillings worth of cheap ass lip balm for a year to touch up after smothering that ass with kisses.

From Mr. Rabat’s face you can see that his brain cells are short circuiting, it doesn’t compute. He can tell already that something is wrong.

“KOri! Kori!”

I told you, short fusing, summoned by the master. If he wasn’t blue-black he would be red by now. Hehehehehehe! Shock on his diab!

“Yes sir, how may I help?”

“Kori please have a seat.”

“Before…” I had to cut him short.

“Sir, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work with you all this long. My apologies for the hiccup with the paper. But I believe…”

“I thought it was time to bump you up the ladder, you have been loyal and diligent and not complained once. How about being my personal assistant?”

I swear I did not see that one coming. I did know the business and the deals. This guy drank a lot of tea, so I saw, heard and sometimes helped out in deals and contract signing and negotiation.

“What do you think about that?” He laughed now I was the one whose mind was short circuiting.