The door flung open, door bell rung. Paddy looked up, eyes worn from hours fixated on the machine. He moaned out a pleasantry and the customer nodded his head. “that’s all!”

“That’s all what?”

“Didn’t you hear my request?” The customer queries puzzled.

“What request, CAN YOU SPEAK LOUDER?” Paddy yelled.

Agitated and insulted the customer picked his umbrella from the counter, shook his head. The bell rang again and the sound of splashing cars on the road was audible for a split second then fell silent. Paddy was tired it a had been three consecutive nights to ensure that he reconciled the books before Awori showed up. He was tired of his ass being lit on fire for faults that were not his own.

Paddy was a withered man, hunched over by life’s disappointments and several botched attempts to kick start his own accountancy firm. Now here he was 83 years old, balding and shedding like an elderly cat, on a wooden three legged office table working for Awori, his grand nephew. “Evil, pure evil” Paddy muttered.

Paddy had never agreed with his elder brother on the business. They had been distant for decades till his demise 15 years ago when Paddy’s consultancy crashed. Investing in withery pensioners didn’t seem as lucrative as it once was. He was now laundering money for his grandnephew, a spoilt philandering spendthrift who put no effort whatsoever in keeping his inheritance afloat.

‘That’s your job!” Awori repeatedly yelled at his granduncle; when he would raise concerns of serious discrepancies, but falsified balance sheets was what Paddy was good for. That is what he was there to do. Things had taken a turn for the worse recently the binge drinking got worse, and Awori was now openly taking heroine at the front of the store. The hardware store was just a front for a bigger syndicate whose wares were now packed in plain sight of the law in moving boxes. The boxes had close to 13 million dollars worth of heroine.

Paddy was burning the midnight oil to ensure that the stock was disposed of which meant distribution to smaller vendors. But he also needed to strategically justify his dilapidated stores ability to have a fat cat bank statement when all the hardware looked like it didn’t move, so Paddy spent most of his evening creating fake stock movement, sales, purchase of new store stocks, receipting and making legit online transactions to ensure their tracks were covered.

He really didn’t have to do this, he detested it but he need to. It was every day a pensioner would walk home, quite literally, with 1 million dollars a month.

“Damn you Yowi and your stupid grandson’s business.” Paddy cursed his brother. But despite detesting his brother, Yowi’s, overt defiance to the system, Paddy wasn’t a straight arrow. The last week volumes of heroine had been smuggled in to the country through the ‘blue connection’, the corrupt cop cartel that Awori spent time entertaining every Friday. While Awori entertained, Paddy colluded with Omosh the Kayole drug baron. Omosh was an ex commissioner of police and knew the loop holes. He retired for health reasons. Of course with a pot belly the size of a whiskey curing barrel, he needed to do more than retire, he needed a liposuction while he jogged on a treadmill to lose all that fat at a go.

Omosh retired as the celebrated police commissioner who seized 13 million shillings worth of cocaine. The evidence was allegedly destroyed but somehow found its way back on the streets. After his exit from office there was an immediate increase in drug busts with addiction in Kayole and other low income neighbourhoods across the city on the rise. There were calls to reinstate him; no one ever seemed to put two and two together. Even the very public meetings between Omosh and a known money laundering heir, Awori, did not stir any interest. It’s maybe because the city was ‘high’ most of the time.

It had been three grueling months of piecing the financial paper work together to cover up laundered drug money in legit business transactions.  It was quite ridiculous because it was obvious the warehouse wasn’t making any sales. The wares were rusting and the regular customers had fled. To where? No one knows but the new customers were obviously cops. Paddy was old but he wasn’t stupid. The cops made no attempt in asking for different products or dressing differently each visit. They were on to them. Paddy had to leave.

That night after a long day’s work, Paddy turned off the store front lights, put on his trench coat lifted the collar to shield his face from the imminent cold. He tossed his hat on and out the door he went.

The following day inebriated Awori emerged through the door yelling profanities and demanding that his granduncle get his “shriveled ass off the can.” As he opened the toilet cubicle door his face was peeled off from the heat of the blast. Car alarms in the streets went off. The store was coated in a fine charred substances, boxes contents strewn all over the floor. Half the store was ripped open. Urchins who slept in the store front were bloody; coated in a fine powdery substance. The cops ran out of the surveillance van to the scene. An hour later they called Paddy, no answer.

Three hours later they broke down the door to his grim, smelly apartment strewn with all sorts of pills, hungry Siamese cats meowing and empty cans of food. A note lay on the table, “Got you suckers!”


The waves lapped and the clear blue sky was warmed by the sun, waves kissing wrinkled toes flexing in the wet sand. A bare-chested saggy breasted man stands tall sipping his pinãcolada with a smirk on his face. His blanket of silver hair showing traces of what was once black kinky hair. He stretches his arms out to take in the suns rewarding warm embrace. He smiles and sighs in relief and takes another sip of his pinãcolada. “Yowi I told you I would get what I deserved.” Paddy chuckled.


Love reclaimed

The rich orange sun rays beamed through the forest and kissed Nerea’s face. Her soft forehead and ridged nose regal; carved by Ngai himself, her eyes shaped like tear drops curved downward at the edge, cloaked with eyelashes that would make a horse green with envy. Her lips, luscious ruby; Nerea bit her lower lip and craned her neck further back to suck the slow dissipating warmth from the setting sun. She had been in the forest since noon, she needed her green lush ‘castle’, her fortress from the madness of the city. She wanted to get lost and never be found again.

Nerea left no word with anyone; she left her phone on her pillow. She needed nature’s caress and assurance to make her whole once again. The forest began to awaken; the gentle breeze kissing Nerea’s face shook the forest’s canopies violently. A song began to resonate; a nest of birds in the distance began to chime in their song, the contracting tree branches began to howl; forming a dark symphony casting an eerie feeling in the forest.

The cold began to set in and Nerea was awoken by a pulsating hot breath, the stench of saliva dominant, drool. She opened her eyes which met with bright white menacing eyeballs. Nerea sat upright startled. Her company was now snarling with the leaves above her shaking rapidly, something was above them in that tree. She inched away as fast as she could, she heard a snap, felt a rip in her calf and a loud break. Nerea fell to the ground, her head violently resting on a rock.


James wept bitterly as the sun shone violently, brows shone, reflecting the light. The dark parade concluded and the crowds dispersed no tomb stone, no eulogy, no one was to ever speak of Nerea again. James was lost, he sat by the wet mound of red soil staring intently at it. Tears flowed freely converging at the hook of his aquiline nose and dropping straight in to his handkerchief. He used the lapel of his dark suede trench coat to mop away his tears. A few metres away from James music was blaring, it was ululation and a feast. James stood and said nothing. He was craving to be in one place, the only place that mattered and comforted his grief.


It had been five years since Nerea had died, no one had spoken about her since. James had left the city and moved back to a small rural town. He ran a hardware supplies store. He had aged by 20 years in that time span. His countenance was downcast, eyes sagging from the weight of tears, his cheeks lifeless and limb seeking to reach their destination on the ground. His shoulders hunched over, arms rested on a long wooden cane supporting his weight. His shoulder blades sharp and more pronounced through his worn shirt and trousers held up by a sisal rope, shoes…he wore none. James coughed, his body shuddered violently. His feet dragged across the floor, inching for the black steel door. James opened it and as he turned to lock the door, he pushed the door open and looked up at the wall one more time. “Goodbye my love!” he mumbled longingly at the portrait of Nerea. James looked like a sage with his grey shoulder length thining locks.


It had been 3 months since the 7th anniversary of Nerea’s death. James didn’t join his family in the commemoration ceremony. He sat in doors at his shrine of Nerea. Pictures of her encircled by lit candles caked with layers of used wax. James said nothing he gazed upon his love rocking back and forth tears dousing out his candles. James whisked himself up, carried Nerea’s favourite blanket and book, “Where the wild things grow” and headed straight to the forest. He had been back in the city for a year.


2 hours had gone by and the sun had began to set. The forest grew cold, James wrapped himself up to fend off the chill. And just like his love 7 years before, he smelt an unmissbale stench of saliva and felt hot breath on him. The trees began to sway violently birds fleeing as they chirped. He turned and met eyeball to eyeball with a snarling and drooling beast. It smelt unusually like Nerea’s cucumber and watermelon scent. James was too tired and too frail to move. He sat there, then he heard a snap and felt an excruciating rip in his calf.

When James awoke, a silhouette stood before him, he saw nothing but blinding light. The silhouette moved and James saw the forest. It was cold, with the sun’s golden beams rushing through. The intensity of the sun grew causing a sting on his calf. James sat upright and looked at his calf, a hand touched him on his shoulder disrupting his self examination. The touch was familiar yet incomprehensible.

He turned and saw nothing, but he could still feel the gentle touch on his shoulder. It was persistent. James looked around him frantically, could it be? The birds chirped loudly and flapped off violently, something had disturbed them. The silhouette emerged once again. “It’s me honey! Take my hand. Take it!”

James reached out, he knew that silky voice. He took her hand and with a long effort he arose. He couldn’t gaze upon the radiance of the bearer of the voice. “It’s time” James involuntarily breathed in deeply and collapsed.

When he arose, he was on the top of a tree looking down at familiar faces, in a familiar scene; only they couldn’t see or hear him. The birds chirped, the tree branches snapped. And just like that, he and Nerea were together again, at peace, at home where they belonged.