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The First Night Runner

Nyakundi couldn’t resist the urge, it was a moonlit night and the village was fast asleep. He needed to take a dip in the calm waters of the river. He quickly walked to the river, looked around to see if anyone else was there. He peeled his clothes off and steadily eased into the waters; step by step shrinking into the depths of the torso deep water.

Nyakundi was so excited he couldn’t hold back his giggling. This 14 year old boy wanted to experience what real manhood was. After all, not long ago he was declared a man amongst his peers and elders when he was releaved of his foreskin. He loved his new found freedom; he could sleep whenever he wanted and could have his friends over without his parents asking. He had his own house, earthen walls with a glistening iron sheet roof. He was living it up.

And tonight Nyakundi wanted to feel completely free out in the dark of night. Though it was more like the heavens had an LED light on, but who cared! No one was moving around. Just Nyakundi, the clothes on his back and a loufer; he knew that soap may attract snakes and it wouldn’t be wise to carry a bar with him.

As Nyakundi splashed around laughing, he was startled by a laughter that echoed his own. Initially he thought it was a game and echoed the sounds and laughed it off. He was so caught up in his world. But this was soon interrupted by a huge splash of water against his face. What in the world was that? He thought to himself. Another splash; larger than the last followed by a steady and deliberate movement in the water.

Nyakundi felt around in the water, he felt something, it attempted to grab him. It was a hand, human; Nyakundi screamed and quickly waded to shore. The hand grabbed his heel and Nyakundi fell in to the water. He felt pressure exerted on his head, he flailed his hands around in the water to try to free himself.

With one powerful kick in what felt like a torso Nyakundi broke free. He quickly ran out of the water and fled back to his home screaming frantically. He was inconsolable. He ran and he ran and he ran he was so petrified he failed to realize that he was far from danger and should probably be quiet. Instead Nyakundi awoke the village. Lamps were lit, men wielding machetes and slashers stood guard to protect their homes from the imminent danger.

Then homestead by homestead, as Nyakundi ran by screaming incessantly butt naked men returned to their wives in laughter. And just like that, Nyakundi birthed a new village phenomenon; night running. This first night runner provoked rumours of the act being propelled by a satanic urge and possession to scream and run at nightfall that had befallen him. And this possession had the ability to possess anyone who engaged with Nyakundi or his family.

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Too Legit to Quit!

C& C Music Factory was blaring through the stereo. Andy was busy shaking his ‘tail’ as he combed out his ‘fro in readiness for the ‘hang’. He had been looking forward to it all week. Schools had just closed and for the first time in three months he felt alive and ready to take on the world.

Andy pretended he was on stage and used the handle of his comb as a mic and yelled! This school teacher was going to live it up like he was 15 again!

Everybody dance now!” He began to b-boy in his room, he flipped, squirmed and then froze. The man was on fire there was no stopping him.

“I pay the price, control the dice
I’m more precise, to a point I’m nice
The music takes control, your heart and soul
Oh, your body is free and a whole
Dance till you can’t dance
Till you can’t dance no more
Get on the floor and get warm
Then come back and upside down
Easy now, let me see ya…”

Andy rapped along with Freedom Williams. He couldn’t get enough of this track. He was playing it on loop!
“…Give me the music…!

….Everybody Dance now!”

The music was so loud Andy couldn’t hear the knocking on his front door. He was drenched in sweat, he didn’t care; he was breaking like it was 1991.

“…Let the music take control…

Let the rhythm move you….”

Andy whipped his sweat drenched shirt and bandana off and was on it with the “running man”. He was on fire, nothing was going to ruin this retro moment. The banging at the door had got so loud, Andy’s neighbours had come out to see what was wrong. His next door neighbor was fed up of the interruption of her session with Detective Lily Rush. She had just got her hands on the 7th season of Cold Case.

She was already devastated that that was the last season, now some chump next door was going to add insult to injury with his noise. Carol wasn’t going to let that happen. She had Andy’s spare key, she shoved her way past the “90’s retro club”. One overgrown man, had such a dreadful sag, he looked like he had a bad bout of diarrhea in his jeans, dressed back to front in cornrows, bobbing his head, reciting a verse and waving his hands in the air, like he just “doesn’t care.”

‘Uuuuhhhh! UUuuuh! Kriss Kross will make you…jump! Jump!” Andy was yelling so hard, he didn’t notice that Carol had turned off the stereo. She stood there hands akimbo and there was Andy oblivious of the “retro club” in his living room; some pissed off, others laughing at the man’s shocking agility.

“Shake it like you working for tips!” One pal yelled out mocking him! The rest burst out in laughter.

Mel, the “special one” of the group yelled out, “Can’t touch this!”

‘Oooo! Ooooo! Ooooo!” The rest chimed in enthusiastically, and went wild busting hammer moves. Henry who had covered himself in a trench coat unwrapped himself and lo and behold! In all his shinny 90’s glory garbed in a shiny golden hammer pants akin to what MC Hammer wore in his 1991 music video“Can’t touch this.”

Andy bust his moves fighting to keep his pants up. This party wasn’t going to be stopped, it had just began and Carol would need more help to get these sweat drenched, 90’s pop garbed, middle aged men stuck in a time warp, from ruining her Cold Case omnibus.

“Stop! Hammer Time!” Henry yelled out as Carol rolled her eyes and grit her teeth.

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Herculean Snap!

“Now let’s move to the shallow end of the pool!” The Aqua Zumba instructor called out. Andrew bobbed around in the pool waiting for the next set of instructions. His pecs bulged out of his chest exaggeratedly, his rock firm thighs striding gracefully through the water. The man was cluless at what was happening behind him.

Shirley was snorting in laughter at Susan who had attemped, to grab Andrew’s forearm and feign a muscle cramp, but failed. Susan had smacked her face in the pool. Her hair was completely soaked, making her look like a wet cat, hair standing at all ends with countenance smeared with a sneer directed at Shirley, who was unaware that she was beginning to tinkle in the pool. Shirley had laughed so hard, she was clasping her tummy, tears streaming down her face and her tinkle now setting of the pool indicators. Droplets of blue were beginning to emerge around her. The children swimming around her began to scream and flee, a few staying behind long enough to point and draw attention to the peeing adult.

Then suddenly whoooosh! Splat! Susan doused Shirley with a gush of water. Some of the water went straight into Shirley’s mouth. Her laughter had now turned into choking. Shirley thumped at her chest, coughing and attempting to talk at the same time. Susan gave off a sinister smile. Shirley felt a tap on her shoulder, she turned and a pool attendant on the edge of the pool gestured for her to exit the pool. Susan was baffled by his stern look. The man pointed into the pool, there was a blue hue surrounding Shirley. Shirley clasped her face in her hands and hung her head in shame as she waded to the stairs to emerge from the pool. She couldn’t look up. She was humiliated.

Susan’s chuckling was audible in the distance. Her laughter sounded like a car’s ignition being turned on. Susan’s gaze moved back to the other end of the pool where the aqua Zumba session was on going. She waded past the people at the back to get a closer look at the stunning piece of humanity, Andrew now flexing his biceps. Her eyes widened lustfully.

“…and two, three, four, five, and turn, stay with me, feeeeeel the music move you…” Susan was moving alright it wasn’t to the music, nor was it to the waves in the nearby ocean. She was moving to infatuation which wouldn’t have been bad, if her wobbles and arm juts weren’t injuring the people around her.

The instructor’s level tone turned to concern and was clearly directed to one student, the duck, smacking round the pool in an orange tankini. Susan was like a tsunami in the pool. No amount of slow movement and direction from the instructor seemed to resonate with her. People were chocking and screaming and splashing water in her direction to get her attention to what she was doing.

Susan wasn’t moved, she didn’t care. She was out to get a hold of Alexander and be whisked away into the sandy sunset, running on the sandy shores like Pamela Anderson and David Hasslehoff in Baywatch. As she inched forward, eyes locked on target, Alexander turned and in a high pitched soprano with a lisp yelled, “Hey girl! I see you! Don’t sweat it, just take it slow.” Susan almost fainted at what she heard, his effeminate tone was only worsened by the gesture that followed, he stood with one hand akimbo and did the ‘sister’ snap with his fingers.

Susan sunk in to the pool and waded away.

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Belly detector

Peter had been craving meat for a very long time. It was the dry season; everyone was starving in the Agelo village. But that was not to deter him for his insatiable carnivorous quest. The sun was now setting and most of the homes were ablaze with sounds of kneading in pots of Ugali but the smell accompanying the burning Ugali was either gooey or leafy. Peter walked past several homes until he arrived at the Kayango’s.

The smell of roast chicken had wafted through the village drawing him in. Kui was busy in the kitchen putting finishing touches to her meal of Ugali, delicious green veggies; osuga and the divine mouth watering chicken. Kui was now kneading the large Ugali. Guests had come over to visit and she had seen the need to honour their presence with three well bred hens. Everyone was salivating including the village meal klepto.

Kui finished cooking her meal and called out to her daughter to bring the serving bowls. Her daughter took too long and Kui stepped out of the kitchen and walked to the cupboard in the main house less than a metre away. She took less than 5 minutes to pick the serving bowls. On her return, the entire pot of boiling hot chicken stew was gone. Just like that! Kui went berserk, yelling at her daughter.

“But Mum I was in the house all along setting the table. I was in the house when you picked the bowls I was to bring to you.”Kui’s daughter was stunned by her mother’s accusation.

Kui was speechless.

XXXX

Peter was pawing through the boiling stew, wolfing down the delicious chicken gizzard, drum sticks and breast. He could not believe his luck, not one, not two but three hens at his disposal. He ate to his fill and roared out a burp and fart.

“A double toast to the chef” he said amidst the bushes in laughter.

XXXX

Kui had heard of the food Klepto but she didn’t believe he existed till she found her pot of chicken 100 metres away from her kitchen. There was nothing left inside but chicken bones. This may sound like fiction but in the small village of Oware in Central Alego in Western Kenya, Peter exists and thrives wiggling his protruding belly around for the next hot fleshy meal.

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Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dumb

Thud! Thud!

“Ouch! Darn it Munyao! Can’t you leave things the way I…Ouch! AGAIN!”

“Ssssshhhhh!”

“What the? Why am I being shoooshed? Who is tha….”

“Ssssshhhhh!”

“Munyao is that….”

“Ssssshhhhh!”

Thud! Thud! Crash! And a freefall scream. Thud!

“Ouch! I don’t think I can move.”

“I told you to stay quiet?”

“How would that have helped?”

“You would have heard my slight tapping to gauge the depth of the room”

“Wow! How thoughtful!” Obwar barked sarcastically.

The duo had been at this game dozens of times. Obwar was the big footed clumsy one stubbing his toe on everything in the hotel laundry room and constantly falling through the laundry shaft. Munyao was the man with the plan always looking for a creative way to con the hotel of something to get an extra buck. The two were never on the same page and always tried to screw something up.

Munyao turns on the light switch and sees Obwar cuddling his foot.

“If this was a real heist you would have got us in trouble.”

“But there is nothing to steal…”

“Not yet!” Munayo cuts Obwar off.

“So what’s the plan, what are we going to steal?”

“There is nothing to steal my friend, nothing yet, time will tell.” Munyao states with an intense pensive look on his face wagging his finger.

Obwar rolls his eyes and the bell rings. End of their break. The dozers had been spending the last two months on breaks running imaginary drills on how to get away after a heist. A heist two 6 year olds would be in a better position to pull.

“Munyao! Room 25 has been vacated it needs clearing and get Obwar over here, the floor is getting crusty in the kitchen it needs cleaning.” The supervisor barked.

The two sighed shrugged their shoulders and walked to their duties.

“1500 hours Obwar sawa! Our mission!” Munyao gleamed.

Obwar waved Munyao off. “Whatever!”

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Nomadic humour

It was a hot day in Isiolo it was dustier than usual. Lumyang’ was tired and strolling as usual with his herd of goats. He slowed his pace because he was tired of inhaling dust from the rampant bursts of dust devils. A clattering sound drew his attention. He stared and then gave a knowing nod, as usual; it was Moha hawking his iron wares sharing unsolicited neighbourhood gossip. Lumyang’ had heard his fair share and been part of the fair share of gossip as well. He did not feel like engaging with Moha at all.

“Vipi Waria!?” He yelled and waved at Moha.

“Vipi mchungaji! Wapi nyama leo?” The usual exchange, Moha was always asking for meat. You would think the pot bellied ironmonger had had his fill with meals. But Moha always had space after clanging across town.

Lumyang’ stood across from the lone bank in the town under the shade of an acacia tree, he bowed his head and gazed at his dusty feet. There was a sense of self loathing that he felt that began to manifest itself in his iron grip on a branch of the tree. He began to shake it, playing out something violent in his mind, he began to tear and groan in anger. The goats that had settled under the tree started to fidget from the sound. He looked around and realized that people were beginning to stare curiously at him. He bowed his head and then pulled out his wooden baton from his side. And slit to the ground. He sat and faced his goats that now faced him.

His gazes shifted from his goats to the restaurant nearby and then the sky with an occasional sniffle. Then he began to shake his right leg impatiently. He stood up looked at his goats and then grabbed one of them which gave out a lame cry. He looked at the Maasai sword in its sheath hanging from his belt. Looked at the goat which got the hint of where things were going and started bleating and butting back and forth. It set off the others who now stood and began to run toward the road.

Lumyang’ clicked and started hissing while shoving the knife back into its sheath. He picked a dried twig which he whisked around in the hear hissing the goats away from the road. He sighed so hard so exasperated. Then as he was guiding his goats, his phone in a little tied pouch on his belt rang.

“Hello?”

“Naongea na Lumyang’?”

“eeeeee!” he responded still curious before demanding to know who it was. The person introduced themselves as a radio show host.

“Umeshinda shilling elefu mia moja!”

Lumyang’ dropped his phone looked at his goats about to be hit by a truck on the road and began to cry. He leaned forward and whispered “Asante Mungu” and then picked up his phone again.

“Nikweli?” Then he heard laughter. The show host told him to hold on.

“Lumyang’ Vipi?” the other jocular voice asked him, it was familiar.

“Somin?” Lumyang’ responded? Then Somin burst out laughing. It was a prank call and there Lumyang’ was staring at his 10 dead goats splattered across the road because of a prank. Somin was just about to face his wrath.

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Wet Bliss

Everyone was laughing except me. I felt sorry for the poor man. He had started off his show pretty well. A few laughs here and there and then it all went downhill when one man in the audience yelled something at the front. Laughter flowed all the way from the front to my back seat, but I didn’t hear what it was all about. All I saw was the comedian’s facial expression change from “I am so hilarious” to “I will kill that sun of a gun and serve him his throat.”

The laughter died down and then more popcorn insults started to fly. The comedian walked off stage and some started to cheer and give a mocking standing ovation and more insults were flung. I had had a long day and I really wanted to laugh not sit and watch someone else being torn apart the same way I had been at work the whole day. I moved from the restaurant section of the club to the bar counter.

If comedy wasn’t going to smooth things through it was going to be a nice smooth drink. I ordered two tots of the strongest drink I could get. I watched the drink flow in a steady swoosh in to my glass. My glass turned from transparent to beautiful liquid gold. My mouth began to water, my arm reached out for the drink. I lifted it to my lips, a drop kissed my lips and rolled down my chin. It felt so good.

I lifted the glass to my lips again and let the golden sensation flow down my throat. It was heavenly! I had been 6 months sober, but today, I couldn’t help it. I felt alive, I felt revived and invincible. I ordered more doubles and doused them down one after the other. I lost count at 10. Every hit felt like a splash into a crystal blue ocean. I could have sworn the warmth I felt was in the water around me. Up until I heard, almost as if under water, voices in a blurry distance yelling at me, others were laughing and pointing at me. One person shoved me, and I fell to the floor on my side and landed in a puddle. It stank. I touched my skirt and there was a wet patch. Crap! Maybe I should have stayed sober.