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Never Again!

_DSC4509The water streamed down her body, eyes closed, hands rubbing against her bulging tummy, she felt peace. It had been the first time in a long time that Elsie felt this way. The past few months had been a whirlwind.

“Jeremy.” She muttered under her breath drowned by the persistent hissing of the shower.

“I’ll call you Jeremy!” She shouted reassuring herself. She nodded and felt her first kick. Her heart fluttered in her chest and a tear streamed down her face.

“I can’t wait to meet you too Jeremy!” She said rubbing her tummy gazing at her belly right at the point she felt the kick. Elsie stepped out of the shower and steadily walked to her room wrapped in her fluffy towel, as water dripped from her kinky hair to her feet. She walked in to her room and slowly shut the door behind her. A sigh of relief, her face was worn, black scaring all over it with healing scabs. One scab was right in the middle of her lower lip. Elsie licked it and reached for the lip balm and slowly run it over her lips.

It had been four months, but she still felt sore. She was just glad the baby was ok. As she motioned for the lotion, her phone rang. Elsie was confused and startled when she saw the caller ID – Mel. She looked around the room frantically, up the walls to the ceiling, down to the window then the floor. She paused. Looked at her phone again and took a deep breath, eyes closed tight. She muted her phone and threw it on the scruffled mess of her bedding.

Elsie sat on her bed and paused, she unconsciously held her breath, a few seconds later, she coughed violently gasping for air. She fell backward and lay on her tussled bedding clasping either side of her temple with her palms, eyes bulging fixated on a single spot on the ceiling.

“What have I done?” She began to shake her head violently and then the sobbing began.

“What is wrong with me?” Elsie hated the pain, the heartache, the violence, it was all flooding back. She unraveled her towel and lay bare on her bed, her feet still wet, her hair still dripping; and steadily slid herself beneath the duvet. The free threads from the throw tickled her bare skin as she inched over them. Elsie giggled and then quickly fell back into distress.

Elsie curled into a feotal position, one hand supporting her wet head of hair, the other cradling her belly. Elsie began to sob once again. After a few minutes, she fell asleep. 30 minutes later her phone rang again, the vibration of the phone startled her awake, she looked around her dark room. Her curtains were still drawn, she lifted her bedside clock, it was 10 a.m. She inched out of bed, the cold spreading goosebumps to each part of her naked body, as she peeled the duvet off slowly.

The phone vibrated again, she shook in fear, and rushed to answer it. Elsie couldn’t find the phone, where was it? She tossed her bedding around and there it was, just as she was about to answer it, the phone call ended. It was Daisy, she sighed in relief.

Elsie got dressed. Her door bell rang just as she was walking out of her bedroom. She walked hastily to the door. Just as she was about to unlock the door she peeped through the sheers, it was Melvin. Had he seen her? She walked back steadily to her room, carefully shutting the living room door behind her. One hand clasping her mouth, preventing her from screaming, her heart began to race she looked down at her tummy.

“Oh, Jeremy what have I done?” she thought in her mind, her hands rubbing her belly protectively. The door bell rang persistently followed by incessant banging!

“I know you are in there!” Melvin demanded. Elsie reached for her phone and quickly turned it off. Elsie didn’t know what to do; she sat there wishing him away.

This couldn’t be happening again. Jeremy was all she had; Melvin wasn’t going to take that away from her. Not now. Not ever.

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Nolari’s Dilemma

Katitu boys was playing in the background. It distracted Nolari from Felly in the bathroom. The song kept looping but sounded muffled. It was coming from her bag. Her phone was ringing.

“Stella!” She rolled her tongue and let out a loud disgusted click

“Kwani uko? We waited for you?” Stella says half high.

“What do you mean? I called you both, mteja!” Nolari seethes with anger.

Stella bursts into laughter, then the phone is grabbed from her.

“Amina! Wacha ukuro! What is this nonsense?”

“Haki pole! Just come we meet at the usual spot! Leo wako wengi!”  Amina says with fat cat satisfaction.

Nolari is silent and thinks for a second. She looks at the bathroom door, then hesitates as she is about to speak.

“Ishia! I will join you.”

Amina tries to convince her; Nolari drops the call and cuts Amina in mid sentence.

The shower is now turned on, and there is no sound of human movement coming from the bathroom. Nolari is worried. She inches towards the door, her heels click against the floor and she hears fumbling in the bathroom all of a sudden, like she startled the person inside.

She stands for a minute, her ear against the door, pulls away and then knocks.

“Felly! Fungua mlango.” She requests softly.

She knocks gently again. “Please.”

Something is pulled off a hook and the door opens. She puts one foot in first, and there is a puddle on the floor. There is a mixed smell of vomit and soap. She sees a man with a tattoo on his back by the sink, with a towel wrapped round his waist.

“Felly?”

He turns and Nolari backs out of the bathroom.

“OOOOoowwwi!” She breaks her fall, by grabbing on the tattered couch arm. She sits on the chair and is stunned.

“Uko na wembe?” Felly asks, very composed now.

“Sorry…mmm….tumia the one in the pink shaver.”

Felly pulls a pink shaver from the side of the sink and points it at Nolari.

“Eeee!” she says and nods in agreement.

Now Nolari is completely confused, she has no clue what is going on. She wants to ask Felly, but he is acting weird. If that is Felly at all? For all she knows there could have been a body swap amidst all the sobbing and the showering.

A little tapping on the side of the sink, water gushes out of the tap. And it is turned off. A tall, rich chocolate man emerges from the shower.

“Ukona Nguo extra naeza vaa?” The man asks.

Nolari’s jaw is on the ground and she did not know what to say.

“We! Nolari jibu swali!” he urged a bit agitated.

She snapped out of it, and pointed in her bedroom. She shook her head again. She realized she did not really offer any help.

“Kaa hapa.” She pointed at the old tattered couch for him to sit on.

She fished through her suitcase in her room and boxes where she used to store souvenirs from clients. Rather, stolen items she called conquest souvenirs. She found a nice silk shirt, and khaki pants that could fit him. And she pulled out her Bata slippers for him to wear in the house.

She ushered him to get dressed in her matchbox sized bedroom. Literally boxes stashed on top of each other and a tiny 3 X 5 bed was all the room could hold.

She went to the bathroom with her broom and lifted his rotting street clothes and threw them out the window onto the street below. A cat hissed when the clothes landed. She went to her kitchen cum living room and got an old torn towel and mopped the floor dry. She washed her hands.

What was going on? She knew Felly for 15 years and all of a sudden he comes to her place, wails like a bereaved Luo woman and then showers, shaves and wants to be human. Ai?! Iko something!

She pulled her meko from the corner of her kitchenette and put a small sufuria and started boiling water. She needed something hot to drink through this. It was the only option. She was out of her usual Keroro. As the cooker hissed, she called out.

“Felly, ebu come!”

Uskonde! Uskonde!” He laughs. Nolari is definitely not stressing now that he laughed. She is a bit confused though. She really doesn’t know how to react.

The water is ready she puts it in a small 1ltr thermos flask. She brings out four coffee sachets, two cups with teaspoons in them and an opened 500gm packet of sugar. Felly plonks himself on the couch and says nothing, but lets out a sheepish grin. He now smells of women’s lotion and Nolari’s cheap roll on.

He leans over and serves himself from the stool. He just grins. Nolari is getting agitated.

“Ni nini machozi na kuoga?!” She says with a sneer laced with disgust.

Felly doesn’t see why she seems so offended he showered. They both knew it was way overdue. And who ever thought crying amongst friends was a problem?

“Kwani urafiki imeisha juu nimeoga?” Felly asks sternly.

Nolari looks at him confused. A shower would definitely not come between their friendship. She shook her head to say no.

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Gone Wild

It was a normal morning Margaret and Mary had breakfast ready for a long day of nothing. A nice warm Saturday, anything goes. They were watching TV, Mary loved animals so it was NatGeo Wild all morning, at around 11 am, Margaret eventually dosed off from boredom. Then they all got bored.

Margaret went into the kitchen at around 12.30pm, and opened the fridge and stared inside for about 2 minutes trying to figure out exactly what they could eat.

“There is nothing else to eat in here,” Margaret yelled from the Kitchen.

“Well we can order  fries.”

“I don’t think so, let’s take a walk, we’ve bummed in here long enough. We could eat at a restaurant at the mall, healthy food.”

“Mall and healthy food? Oxymoron!”

“Whatever! Mary!” Margaret retorted a bit irriated by that remark. Mary wasn’t offering an alternative closer to home.

The two hit the shower, and then left for the mall smothered in cocoa butter, body splash and glossy lip gloss. And in brightly coloured flip flops they strut to the mall in search for food. After a ten minute walk they had finally reached their destination. Margaret was whinning that her feet hurt and Mary wasn’t hearing it she needed to eat something or someone was going to have it rough. Mary was irritable and didn’t have the heart to listen to what restaurant Margaret had in mind or preferred. Mary wanted a nice healthy filling and that was all, “eat till you can eat no more”. Mary remarked.

Mary stared at the steak on the grill at one restaurant and gave off a sinister smile. She licked her lips and drooled slightly. “Gross Mary, control yourself.”

Mary threw a glance at Margaret and sneered, it startled Margaret, Mary laughed. “I thought you liked animals also, Ms. NatGeo Wild by extension!”Mary retorted sarcastically.

“Not the kind who walk on twos wanting to devour us.”Margaret remarked.

The waiter finally arrived at their table to place their order, he placed the menus on the table. Just as he lifted his hands from the table, Mary latched onto one hand and began to nibble on his hands. The man broke free and dashed to the counter to talk to who seemed like the manager.

“What the hell was that?”

“I swear to you Maggie! I have no idea! I did not plan it it just happened instinctively.”

“Instinctively, what are you a jackal?”

They both froze, “Noooo waaaay!” they chorused with eyes wide open. The manager came over to the table and involuntarily, Margaret pounced on the table and began to growl. Then Mary growled showing off her gums and canines. The manager asked them to leave. They eyeballed him and stood up, then Mary pounced on him, and pinned him to the floor, Margaret quickly dashed to the counter and grabbed someone else’s order and paid and they both ran out of the mall.

“What just happened there?” Mary snapped out of the trance she was in.

“I don’t know.” Margaret was equally baffled.

“Let’s just eat I am starving.” And together they wolfed down that food completely unaware that they had began to go wild.

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Serves Him Right!

Everyone was cheering and laughing at every stop as the van picked everyone up.Walter was making fun of Andrew again, making the slurping sounds that Andrew made as he sipped his coffee. In another corner of the bus Gilder was rapping a Tupac song as Becka beat boxed. The people around her constantly chanting “Go Gil! Go Gil! Go Gil!” Gil was on fire, people were screaming and shouting over each other, the bus driver, one of the flock; constantly being yelled at to change the radio station by another group.

At every stop the bus would go silent for a few seconds, and once everyone in the bus gets a glimpse of the new passenger they would go wild cheering the person’s name and then go back to their corners of entertainment. This went on for two hours as the bus darted from one neighbourhood to the next. Then finally, the bus yelled, “Kenny!!!!!” and it sped off to the destination.

The music, screaming and cheering died down after Kenny had done his rounds of greeting in the bus. He whipped out a set of bandanas from his rucksack and began distributing them in the bus. He yelled, ‘Pamoja!” PAMOJAAAAAA!! The rest of the bus roared. The bus ground to a halt, its doors flung open and everyone alighted. Backpacks full and sticks jutting, faces half covered showing only eyes, the 30 plus individuals descended on the store like a swarm of bees.

Half of the rowdy group walked in and began to break wares, some gently guided people out of the store. Another set ran upstairs to the store control room, firmly guiding the staff out, others stayed outside disabling alarms and CCTV cameras. Customers who were gently guided outside stood and stared as they watched the group run amok in the store breaking anything that could be broken, with hockey sticks, baseball bats from their rucksacks.

They ensured that no one was injured, they screamed hi-fived and one guy cranked up his iPod attached some speakers and let the techno beat blast through the store. The manager watched in horror, dumbfounded and fearful at what had decended his store. A group of five walked out with some spray paints from the shelf and plastered graffiti on the store walls and doors casting darkness inside the store. The one hour ordeal ended, they walked out singng, high fiving, one of the five graffiti artists, left 1,000 shillings on the counter, and waved as if to say, ‘keep the change’. The vandals entered the bus that had been parked outside and drove off.

The manager, slowly stood from his chair, not sure whether the wetness he felt was him peeing on himself or the spill of soda from his counter that he had been sipping when the vandals took over his shop. He walked slowly to the front door, the customers who had watched the whole ordeal began to slowly walk away with sneers on their faces after reading what was graffiti’d on the door.

The manager looked at them with pleading eyes, yelling, “Help! Someone, call the police! Help!” The few customers who still stood there staring at him, sneered, some spat to the ground in disgust and shook their heads walking away. One man yelled, “Why should we help you…You pig!” and spat flinging his hand in the air dismissively.

The manager was in shock. What had just happened? Then he turned and faced his store front. And in shock, the blood drained out of his face, pee streaming down his leg staining his trousers he read, “This man is wanted for Peodophilia, he molested each one of us when we were minors ten years ago.” Next to the wording was an image of a younger man resembling the older man who now buckled under the pressure and fell to the ground. The police came several hours later, to a shocked and distraught smelly man, no one shopped there, ever again!

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There’s Always a Second Chance

Koros lay on his bike daydreaming, he had been second guessing himself a lot lately. He had moved in to the city hoping to thrive in a place rich with opportunity. His high school education didn’t mean much to many. The big deal was a degree. He knew he didn’t have the money and figured that he could find a way in on a full scholarship at what he considered the fanciest University in Nairobi, USIU. He had heard that it was little America. He wanted to go to America. And he knew he could get a student loan or work part time in school if he gave it a shot.

Koros did give it a shot, he interviewed and passed the entry exam and was ready to pursue his degree in Business. But all that came to a halt when he realized that he could not afford to pay back the student loans that were accumulating. His GPA was above average, but not high enough to get a scholarship.

And just like that at the end of his second year Koros became the guy fighting to drop and pick students on his motorcycle taxi and not the one who hailed them. Koros was ashamed of himself. “When I was at home in Kericho I had more fight in me, what happened? What? Why did I give up so easy, Can’t I find work that I can do part time and make money to pay?  I can, but it is 300,000 now, I can’t afford more debt. But you are Koros, industrious.” Koros would talk to himself every day having that same conversation in his mind.

One day as Koros lay on his bike watching his collegues fight for clientele, he didn’t budge. Not even the annoying swirls and incessant driving up and down other boda boda riders do to kill boredom, nothing. He just stared.

“Sasa! Safari Park Hotel Ngapi?” A passenger inquired disrupting the tumultuous debate in his mind. Koros was startled and grunted. “Huh?” he remarked the passenger inquiring again, he said the amount and cranked his 85 cc engine and they were off. From his rearview mirror Koros saw the passenger was carrying a course text on Management. He recognized it.

“Management I see?” He spoke, his voice dwarfed by the sound of the engine. The passenger didn’t hear him. Instead he tapped him on the back. He had arrived at his destination and hopped off. “Management.” Koros said again this time the passenger heard and froze. He turned back toward Koros.

“What do you know about management?” The passenger asked in condescencion, what would a mere boda boda driver understand about business or finance? Koros smiled.

“More than you can ever know.” The passenger shook his head.

“How’s the strategic business management section treating you?” The passenger laughed.

“No way you know that! Try me,” The passenger taunted.

“Heard of Porter’s generic strategy?” Koros smiled.

“No way you would know that!”

“Try me!” Koros taunted back sarcastically. “Look man! Just because I am one of many people in mundane work doesn’t mean I am dumb and clueless of the higher echelons of knowledge and professions.”

The passenger was quiet and stunned.

“Yes, I speak big words too!” Koros shook his head fed up of being lumped up as a stereotype of the rogue, semi literate, poor and meager earning boda boda guy.

“Ok, you got me, I am sorry for judging you. You work here through and through?”

“Yep!”

“Ok then, see you next week, we might just be able to help each other out.”

And just like that Koros was back, taking back his power and resolve to be the business executive he had always wanted to be.

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Where am I?

“Amen!” the first thing Sarah said when she awoke confused. She wasn’t quite sure why she said it in the first place. Her mouth was gummy with white fuzz on either end of her mouth. She used her fingers to wipe it off as she sat up on her bed. She looked around, here curtains were open, and it was pouring outside. There was something about that room…it just didn’t feel right.

Sarah slid back into bed and covered her head, “5 more minutes” she muttered. After just three minutes she was startled by a loud persistent ring. She quickly flung off her duvet and sat upright. She looked around, she couldn’t see anyone but she felt watched. By who or what she had no idea.

A door creaked open; Sarah peeped through her open bedroom door and saw the kitchen door was open down the hall from her. She slowly slid off her bed, grabbed her robe hanging on her wardrobe door and flung it on. She tip toed out of her room all the way to the kitchen. She got to the door and peered through it.

“Hi Sarah!” the man said enthusiastically. Sarah instinctively grabbed her robe and tightend it around her waist, touching her self to ensure that he didn’t see any part of her. “Sarah?” the man walked toward her. Sarah stepped back and slammed the kitchen door. “Aw! Watch your step Sarah!” another man let out a yelp hopping on one foot. “You stepped on me.”

“Sorry?” Sarah let out confused, wondering who these men were in her house. She pushed the injured man and walked straight into the living room where an elderly woman was seated watching TV. Her face was forlorn until she laid her eyes on Sarah and they lit up. The woman smiled beckoning Sarah with her soft hands. Sarah shook her head as she backed up out of the living room.

“Awww! Again! Sarah! What is it?”

Sarah looked at him and signaled her apology with her open palms and quickly dashed to her room and slammed the door behind her. She was scared, confused. “Who were these people? What were they doing here? How did they know her? Sarah sat on her bed puzzled and slowly began to take stock of her room.

“Get well soon Sarah!”

“We love you!”

“Can’t wait to go swimming again like we always do.”

Cards, flowers, energy drinks, supplement bottles some empty, some full, some halfway done. “Whose are these?” she asked out loud. She slid off her bed again and opened her wardrobe looking in to the mirror. She startled herself. She recalled weighing in at 100 kilos. Now she looked barely 50 kilos. She was emaciated, all this made her dizzy; she lay down on her bed and closed her eyes and went straight into a deep slumber.

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BUSted!

The bus was late again. Lucia was livid. She had told her brother time and again to not book Timely Coach. There was nothing timely about it. It was always painfully late. Lucia’s brother preferred it because it was cheap and believed that would suffice when considering a public transportation option.

“No it is NOT Andrew!  See! See! We should have left at 7am it is 11AM! Why in the world do I even bother to ask you to run errands for me? You do what you want anyway!”

As Lucia spat out her disappointment at her brother, the bus pulled in. The awkward shade of aquamarine blue peeling off metal and the image of a happy customer care executive with an ear piece with the tagline “Always on time” inched passed Lucie as she seethed. As the bus passed, she smelled a mixture of sweat and rot. She held her breath and pursed her lips tight, with a frown and shook her head.

She walked to where the bus had parked, Andrew handed her her hand luggage. “Love you, travel safe, sorry and let me know when you get there.” Andrew said as he peeled himself off of a now emotional Lucia. Despite being pissed off by him, Lucia still loved her brother. She waved as Andrew steadiy walked toward his car.

Lucia’s mushiness soon faded as she walked toward the entrance of the bus seething, she wanted to know who was in charge and give him a piece of her mind. “What do you mean we couldn’t help it! “ Lucia began. “Your buses are ALWAYS LATE!” The bus conductor she was directing her anger to, didn’t even seem to pay her any mind. The driver was hovering back and forth not sure what to do. The irrate crowd of passengers was now building and the two seemed a bit more agitated. The stench that Lucia had smelled when the bus wheeled in seemed to be a bit more concentrated.

The driver quickly moved to one of the lower boots of the bus and pried it open. The protest quickly ended in coughs, spits and violent screaming.  The stench of rot, a swarm of flies buzzed violently on flesh, you could barely see what the flies lay on. Then a limp hand fell out of the boot. The conductor threw up and ran to the offices about 200 metres away.

The manager emerged bug eyed and completely speechless. But seemed aware of what was transpiring. The driver called out for help the crowd jolted back. The inflated corpse was discoloured, fly infested and saturating the air in the vicinity. Passengers anticipating travel including Lucia began to run for their lives but only after they whipped out their phones taking pictures. Lucia quickly tagged her image “Death Coach” and posted it on Twitter.

It took the press 15 minutes and the cops another hour and a half to arrive at Timely Coach’s headquarters. The corpse had been placed into a hearse and rushed to City Mortuary and the bus driver was bleeding profusely, he had been pelted with gravel and had some rocks hurled at him for killing. Now he lay there staring death in the face.