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Invisible man

 

Nike’s, Reeboks, stilettos, ballet flats, foot after foot passed by, sandals, ashy feet, shiny feet, caramel, dark, long legs, short stumps for legs, hour after hour, it was legs and feet. Then it was long skirts, mini’s showing too much for comfort, tight jeans, baggy jeans, jeans with zips undone, jeans torn at the thighs, jeans with patch work, ripped jeans, dirty jeans, new jeans, old and tattered jeans, tight trousers, baggy trousers, butt cracks showing, panty lines, boxers showing, jeans so low they looked like the owner had defecated in them and was embarrassed to admit it. Because by the way he walked, legs almost completely spread eagle, jeans so tight they looked sprayed on with heels that looked like needles.

Then when it got hot, HELLO! It was nice flowing frocks, barely any toes visible, flat sandals, the walk changed from rushed to suave and elegant. Toes pedicure. Check! Stunning was the look. Masculine hairy legs in nice comfy sandals with the occasional too tight for comfort shorts, beached whale look in so called not so ‘hot’ pants.

And there was just something about the heat, hawkers poured out their wares. Things got really stuffy and unhygienic; people farting as they bend over to buy stuff and pretend that nothing happened. One dweeb coughed after they let one rip and exclaimed, “He! Tear gas kali!” The gas they manufactured sure did make me tear. You see being a lame beggar on the corner of Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi opens you to a whole new realm of life.

You see life from the bottom up. I have no lower limbs, just stubs, so I spend most of my time only able to see people waist or mid thigh down comfortably. Any higher is straining.  Hehehehe! There’s one now. A couple… I can always tell by the angle and proximity of their feet. I barely hear the conversations, the blaring music, matatu horns, banging the matatu bus sides, plastic bags shuffling past me, blocking my line of sight. I am the leg guy, I can tell you for free if that man really feels you or wants a wam! Bam! Thank you ma’am!

And then there is the body odours, that tends to be really common really early Saturday and Sunday morning. Man, forget the alcohol, I think a good fraction of people in this city spend more time dousing their stench in cheap perfume, because after the dancing and the alcohol takes over, boy! Do the scented layers peel off fast? There is one guy, I remember when his trainers were pleather new.  I could smell the pleather, I think they were called Bike, the tick was short and was upside down. When Nairobi stalls still existed. I think those were his favourite or only pair of shoes; they were white.

I saw those shoes graduate from pristine white to vomit scented brown with black streaks. The last I saw the poor chap, his feet were hanging limb between two black polished police boots. Haven’t seen him since.

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Sugary tales

“Mum gonwa sigana!” Akinyi yelled

“Mama! Sigana!” Wesonga chimed in.

“Sigana! Sigana! Sigana!” They chorused jumping up and down on the beds.

Nafula closed her eyes and bit her lower lip to avoid screaming; she had, had a genuinely long day and really did not have the energy to entertain the twins. She exhaled violently from her mouth as she opened her eyes.

“Ok Sigana it is! I will tell you a story, but you both have to sit still.” Wesonga quickly sat on the bed, legs crossed, head rested in his tiny palms ready for a story. Akinyi was busy twirling her hair and walking around her brother on the bed.

“Bed piny Akinyi!” Wesonga demanded his sister to sit down. Akinyi quickly plunked herself on the bed slightly shoving her brother. Wesonga gave her the evil eye and looked adoringly at his mother.

“In the tiny village of …..” Nafula began.

“No mum!” The twins chorused.

“We’ve heard that one before.” Wesonga yelled.

Nafula covered her eyes with her palm. Akinyi peeled them off with her cute little hands. Nafula gazed at them, shook her head and then playfully pinched their little cheeks.

“That’s what we did to little children who never listened to their mummy.” Nafula began. The two giggled playfully.

“But there was always one child who never did anything wrong, no one could ever tell why. His name was ‘Safety’. That was the name he was given.”

“Why?” Akinyi inquired.

“Well…you see when Safety was born, unlike other children; the story is told that he did not cry. He opened his eyes looked around and pointed at something in the skies. When the elders looked up they saw signs from the gods that the enemies were coming. And just like that the village prepared itself to fight the enemies and won. And since then he was called Safety. He kept the village safe.”

“Wow! Mum, did I do that as well. Did I save you and dad from danger?” Wesonga asked in awe. Akinyi was rolling on the bed laughing at her brother for asking. Nafula kissed Wesonga on the forehead and drew him closer to her. “You and your sister are our safety.” Nafula smiled.

Akinyi was now doing forward rolls on the bed. She was barely paying attention. Nafula grabbed her by her ankle. “And you know what would happen to girls who were mean to their brothers?” Nafula asked.

“No!” Akinyi responded cheekily with her deep dimples showing.

“They would make you carry chicken on your head. They would place a chicken on your head and make sure that its feet get trapped in your long hair and ensure that the chicken stays on your head till it lays an egg.” Wesonga was now laughing at his sister, pointing at her.

Akinyi froze, she was petrified of chicken.

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Aquatic Therapy

Aluoch peeled off her shoes; head hung in full submission and cried, slow and steady sobs turned into a tsunami of tears drenching her skirt. It was too much for her; her heart was bleeding from the indescribable pain. She felt as if, part of her had died. She sat up, eyes crimson and swollen, nose pulsating from all the blowing. She inched her feet in to the pond before her.

She swerved them around gracefully, head tilted back, eyes closed and palms pressed against the park bench. She let her tears flow, she uttered nothing. She was in total submission to her pain. There was a stir in the water. Aluoch lifted her feet from the water, swerved them around and then gently placed them back in the pond.

As her feet eased in to the water, she felt a weird sensation in the water, and in a split second, Aluoch was yanked into the water, fully clad. Her screaming was unheard in the midnight hour. She was now muffled underwater being dragged by something invisible. It was moving swiftly like a shark, Aluoch screamed and tried to break loose, but the grip was clamp solid. She passed out from excessive ingestion of water.

Aluoch arose to a warm and blinding light on her face. Nothing around her was familiar. As she looked up she felt something cold on her cheek, she turned to see what it was. “Aluoch, how are you feeling?”The voice sounded drowned, Aluoch attempted to lift her hand from the table to get the water out of her ears. But she was strapped to the table. She tugged and tussled, to no avail.

Aluoch felt something cold on her arms and a weird suction. “Relaxxxxx, we won’t hurt you. Try and relax.” The voiced sounded very watery with an unusual lisp. Aluoch turned her head to where the voice came from and she saw a huge slimy head with tentacles flying around. She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Get me out of her! GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!”

Aluoch felt the cold sensation and suction again and passed out. About two hours later. Aluoch arose. She was in a room, unusually cold and when she looked around she was surrounded by water. She hopped back on the bed scared senseless. She looked closely she was in an aquarium of sorts. She was the centre of attraction for the sea creatures. The weird voice called out again, “We won’t hurt you, we want to help you. Your tears showed us how to get to you.”

“Who are you, what do you want to do with me? What do you mean my tears showed you the way? Who are you?” A huge towering blue octopus head emerged. Aluoch fell to the ground shaking. The octopus reached out a tentacle. “We are here to ease your pain, let me show you.”

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Suicidal Convenience

“Beba! Beba! Beba! Wa-araka! Wa-araka!”

Fists fellowshipping violently with metal, loud music blasting from stalls around the bus stop; it was a pool of chaos. Metal handcarts pulled by lanky men in discoloured clothes; torn shirts revealing hungry and chiseled abdomens drenched in a steady stream of sweat. Inhaling and exhaling desperately as they receive the crumbled 50 shilling note in their hands. Cat calls here, others there, banging upon banging, shop tills ringing, hawkers running complimented by Acapella chimes of “kanjo! Kanjo!”

Anna had been pacing up and down the street since 6.30am. She had uttered the same statement over and over again, with her pace oscillating between rapid and sluggish depending on the pace she spoke. A bus pulled upon to the pavement almost knocking her over. She banged the front of the bus, uttering nothing, with a rabid stare. The driver of the bus lifted his hands up in surrender and pressed his palms together in a prayer position gesturing penance for almost killing her.

Anna pulled off of the bonnet and began to peel off her cardigan and flung at the windscreen. She made a click sound and resumed her pacing. Now she uttered nothing, she just paced at a normal walking tempo dazed, eyes glassy no tears in sight. Anna was agonizing. She stood in the middle of the street with a frozen look of intent. As she stood chaos erupted around her, there was screaming, the skies got foggy, the air thick and laced with violent sneezing, violent coughing, more plumes of smoke. The coughing turned into screaming spilling of water, faces being washed down and dosed in water. Store fronts were barricaded from inside the shops. Other shops pulled down grills with staff peeping through the little cracks.

“Kanjo! Kanjo!” the yelling persisted and then a gunshot pierced in the air. Anna fell to the ground cross legged on her bottom. Her gaze was still intense and glassy. She seemed to be in some sort of force field. The hawkers ran round her with their wares in hand, some dropping at her feet and head; she didn’t move. She seemed hypnotized by the chaos. She just sat there. 30 minutes later, the melee was over and life resumed; stores opened, music continued and the pavement was cluttered with a milling crowd and dropped clothes, shoes and vegetables. Some pedestrians would miss Anna, others would accidentally kick her, trip over her, others hurled abuse at her.

No one noticed the pool of blood that was oozing from beneath her, her face was completely drained of colour and her lips fluttered rapidly, her teeth chattering. It was too noisy to notice her, Anna’s life slowly slipped away just as she had desired; with not a soul concerned.

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Muchene

Whoosh! Clang! The screaming was deafening. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Clang! Clang! And breaking of objects had been going on for hours. I lived across from the Mayais. They were a noisy lot. I remember the day Mayai carried his bride into the apartment, the sparkle in their eyes could light up the night skies. But now 6 months later it was some form of violent Olympics; who would wake up first and cause the most damage.

That’s number 13, next door to the violent duo, is Mr. Roit, fancy name, as dark as charcoal. He moved in to the flat as an immigrant from some European country that he claims was erased after the fall of the Soviet Union. Most ignorant Kenyans believe it. The last I checked No-over-scotia did not exist, what did they care? He was a chocolate mzungu living in the ghetto; more like seriously broke and maybe a European fugitive if you ask me.

A few days ago after 3 years of living in that flat, I saw Roit  bring company home. It was a cute caramel looking child. I initially brushed it off thinking that it was one of his girl friend’s children. Then I heard the boy scream, “Papa!” Hold up! I looked a bit closer at the child, yeah I have military assigned binoculars, deal with it. That boy looked like Akinyi who came over to clean every week. The dirty devil! Hahahaha! How did I miss that? I spend every waking hour by the window. The walls are thin, so half the time I can hear every conversation and every erotic evening people have.

Then at number 15, sandwiching, nasty Roit, there is this Lego Maria lady. Her house really does look like a religious shrine; candles lit. She is always garbed in a purple gown and huge black rosary draped around her neck. Even though I don’t understand her religion, I find myself respecting it just because of her. I call her Maria. The last I heard she was divorced, had 3 adult children, all dead beats with bastard children of their own. But on silent nights when she gets home from her religious missions she would pray for each child and grandchild fervently. I always wanted to meet her and talk to her. It was always a good idea, but…well…maybe.

Then number 16 my all time favourite; and heart throb. Mr. Shirare; dreadful name; but he is jaw droopingly gorgeous. He is such a great dad. I just swoon thinking about him, sigh! Why wasn’t he created for me. Oops! Been at the window too long, let me draw the curtain, people will know I have been watching them.

You see I am a military amputee with one amputation gone wrong, I can’t really interact with people, with a colostomy bag to boot. I just live life vicariously through the people I observe. Some call it being a voyeur. I am neither proud nor ashamed of it, it is an immutable fact.

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Fresh Bait

Supe was drumming her fingers on the boardroom table. She bobbed her head to the tune she drummed to. Her nails were bitten and chipped with dirt underneath them. She had unusually long fingers that made the drumming even more fascinating. It made her gnarly fingers look like tree roots spreading across the glossy mahogany table.

Supe was sprawled on the table top, ‘I am hungry!” she demanded. No one was in the room with her. She sighed and peeled off her faded headscarf. Her hair was stunning, it was jet black and flowing. It was very hard to believe that such soft curly hair would have emerged from that rot laden scarf. Supe’s gnarly fingers made their way to the centre of her head. She tugged at a hair strand and it broke off.  “grey hair! Not liking.” She said shaking her head as she flicked the loose strand of hair.

Supe sat up and began to scratch her skin, as she pulled up her tattered cardigan sleeve to get more scratching room, she showed off her punctured arms. There were so many holes she would have made a watering can, her arms were scarred and discoloured. The discolouration made her arms look plagued with gangrene ready for amputation at any given time. Supe completed scratching her arms and pulled down her cardigan.

“Foooddd! Can’t you hear me?” Supe was now very agitated and she began to bang the tables. “do you hear me?” She ran to the door and began to bang at it repeatedly. There was no response, she fell in a mound on the floor and began to flail her arms and legs. Then she began to make deep guttural sounds and her back began to arch unusually like a serpent’s.

“FOOOOOD!” she yelled, her head upturned revealing blood red eyes, no pupils. Her hair was now a blizzard of gray, her ear’s protruding like satellites and pointed like an elves. Her skin was now an unusual ashy gray. There was a huge thud at the door. And instantaneously, Supe meekly morped back in to the fair haired urchin she was at the table. The door flung open and a huge bowl of food was thrust on the table. Supe pounced on it like a wild animal and lapped it all up in 2 minutes flat.

Her tongue long and fluid like a toad’s licked her gnarly fingers and face in satisfaction. Supe fell asleep on the table. A team of scientists had been watching this through a bulletproof one way mirror. When one of them tapped at the window to establish if she was fully asleep. He found himself on the other side of the glass, sprawled on the table with Supe towering over him in her morped state ready to devour her kill.

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Seductive Path

My palm was really itchy. I am the superstitious type, so when my right palm gets really itchy, I know I am about to ‘make it rain.’ The longer it itches the more cash I will get. Then for the first time I didn’t just scratch my hand, I took a good hard look at it. Have you realized just how artistic your palm and hand prints are? You know the lines that palm readers ‘read’?

I fell in love with my mammoth hands. The lines did look like they tell a story; I was just wondering which one. I looked at my left hand; it is the ‘less stressed’ one I can say. It is lighter and more graceful. In a moment I was lost. I was sucked into a grid, a hidden path, a new pursuit. But what was it? Where was I going? Could my palm be the key to a great treasure or an answer to a clue in my past?

I looked harder, and right there in the centre of my left hand there was the clue. I quickly dashed to the bathroom and washed my hands clean. My right hand still itching, definitely going to make it tsunami with the cash, I will receive, from where? I have no clue, but my palm says its coming.

Where two lines crossed on my left palm, as the water drained from my hand, a dot of water refused to shake off. It was centred right where the two lines crossed on my left hand and right there. At that single moment as I looked through that droplet at the crossing lines on my palm something unexplainable happened. There I was standing at the bottom of numerous stairs heading to high heavens. There was no sign of any life form around me.

I took to the stairs and climbed till I got to a point I started to experience vertigo. The height paralysed me. I remember sitting on the stairs sideways afraid that if I moved an inch I would fall to my death. Then after about 10 minutes of sitting I felt a gentle grip on my shoulder. I didn’t want to turn and see who it was. I was afraid of falling. Hot air filled my ear; it was an awkward sensation that set my toes tingling. It was seductively reassuring if that makes any sense? I felt my feet lifting and the warm breath in my ear gave way for a deep seductive voice. I don’t remember what he told me. But I was on my feet and the fear was completely gone. I was now running up the stairs.

When I finally got to the top, I stood and there was nothing there but blue skies, no door, and no house. My heart sank. I stood there shoulders arched over and disappointed. The gentle touch came back, this time it turned me round as if to face its owner. Then…

“Then what?” Lucy asked with pleasant anticipation.

“Then….”Sally continued then froze with a  dumbfounded look on her face.

“Then….come on Sally… who was he? Was he hot?”

“Then….I…”