A Story Without Direction

My other sister wanted to be a banker when she grew up. A curious career. Sad too. Spend whole day behind thick and cold glass walls and attend to sad clients who were appointed by God Himself to dress as they please and not even flinch. Work with a sad manager, sad receptionist, sad colleagues and assume there is joy in this sadness. Wake up every morning and believe that the sadness you see in your mirror is actually joy.

I sincerely hate sad. Many people do. Sitting alone with the chin overlapping the eyebrows in an award-winning frown. Nothing sexy about looking at people and hoping they pity you and understand your predicament. So I am wondering how a small child of such good parenting could decide to sit down and choose the noose over life. Such a young girl with a good brother who wanted to be an engineer.

I had my own sadness before I grew old. Maths was it. And my teacher was the messiah of sadness sent to deliver the message of sadness and conquer the world with it. Why didn’t they just take an engineer with distinctions in religious education? Sometimes as an engineer you get tough situations. Metals knock your hands and you need to sit by the road and cry. And pray. And there is no prayer in Maths. It was only later I came to realise that if there is any career that requires religious education, it has to start with being engineering. But Our White Man of Musenda would never hear that.

He was the authority. Children feared him. Parents worshipped him. What he said was the Taurat and it was strictly written on white tablets in our parents’ heads. And having your say involved understanding this.

Why don’t we just make our own world? People who can’t leave us with our choices should all be jailed.

Every time I use the Kayole buses I think about options and choices. If you have never been on a bus screaming that West African noise then you don’t know what respecting other people’s choice is. You have never seen that Indian who smokes at his gas station. You have probably never seen young Nairobian girls out on the streets with dogs.

I don’t mean dogs of hotdogs or dogs that break deals. I mean dogs wu-wu-wu. The parent of a bitch.

Confused
Confused

By the way, what is this thing I see in Donholm? I don’t know about over there but here things are getting messier. Every evening you will see a group of girls in flimsy tops and sweat pants strolling behind a dog. White and with a belt round the neck and with wu-wu-wu in the head. Sometimes they cuddle the thing. Sometimes they carry it on their lean backs. Sometimes there will be a male fool, doing everything to the animal just to get credentials with the girl. Sometimes the dog does something, and they burst out laughing. Donholm. They don’t wait for darkness. They do it when the sun is still awake. Every evening I alight at Mwea Plaza and along that 200 m lane I see these things. And those young girls are not crazy. Now what is that?

The place of a dog is in the bush, running after squirrels. Or in the home waiting for trouble. And when it does wu-wu-wu we know something is up. Either a thief has arrived or a Chinese is around or a bitch wants food. Or, the canine is just testing its constitutional right and checking out what you’ll do after all. That wu-wu-wu.

So I am always sympathising with the people of Donholm. In Kayole, the pets we know are chicken. When a visitor comes, you can negotiate with your pet and the guest gets food. But a dog! Chinese men must tell us their secret because I don’t think they toss their juice over real dog meat. I read in a book about people who would play gambling and the most expensive part to place a bet on was dog ears. Sweet. Go away.

So every evening at Mwea, when I go to get my daily bread from the Somali mum, I’m uncomfortable. But people here are so deaf they won’t realise this. Or they are playing safe. They must play safe around Tatiana with mascara and polished nails.

And you Tatiana, because I know your name must be Tatiana with a tattoo, Tatiana, what will you say if that dog bites you? You are so small, poor thing of God. Where’s the fun in caressing a guy with four hands and a tail when young men working for Somali moms are around?

Let me not go there. Do what you want. Let people choose what they find joy in. If I bring this dog talk too high, people will say I am single that’s why I am picking this war. That I’m picking a war with Tatiana to try meet the deficit in the word count. Okay. Tatiana you win.

Let bankers be.

Let engineers be.

Let Tatiana be.

It is a choice.

That is my story without direction.

Image Credits

Holes and Socks

Whom does he think he is; the Akond of Swat?

It would be interesting to know what he thinks every time he pushes the leg into the sock and how he has to guard the toes from taking the wrong route. Does it make him sigh and say I inherited long heels from my mother? You just want to look at him swearing every time the small toe becomes mischievous and tears a millimetre more at the margins of the hole.

What I know is that holes are used for big things. Holes are for pleasure and holes are for golf. The hole on the sock was so big a mouse could do high-jump through it and not touch anything. Did he keep it for ventilation? The doctor told him if you don’t ventilate your left heel you will never have an erection.

X invented the socks. It must feel very comfortable to invent. I mean, after the invention. In today’s day, you are a superstar.

Girls will infest your space and take selfies with you. They will tag you in posts and your twitter handle will not handle and manage them. If you are a woman, men will run away from you, and will have wet dreams to compensate. They’ll hit LIKE even when you post that you are in the latrine. That is the thing that follows a superstar.

There is a mad feeling with creating something people never imagined. Like you create a pen that can give milk and take your kid to play. How do we even call it? You call it Kitchrcrts because you also have power over the naming. It happens like that. A dummy discovers spilling water, runs to the market naked and keeps shouting eureka. A Mr Newton thinks he has discovered gravity, eats stones and literally makes sacred his discovery.  I don’t know what Archimedes does but who knows, he perhaps cooks his hair or boils weed.

Then there is this feeling of seeing your discovery in use. Now that’s the thrill. You feel there in the clouds. You feel next to God because that is where you are – right next to him (it doesn’t matter whether it is the right or left hand side as long as it is the hand of God). An invention and its post-mortem keep you above your world and give you the wings over other worlds.

Have I discovered or invented anything? I don’t keep a sexing diary, that’s the sad thing.

I’ve been going through my Facebook TL and checking how life has affected my world. I could just remember an important discovery I made and forgot about; I could discover something with my online history. But there was nothing much actually. A very boring TL. Lots of posts without comments or likes. Some embarrassing emotional outbursts and a number of tags in spam links.

Then the devil sent me to spy on the other TL that thieves decided to hijack. Then I saw something that triggered a memory. I saw this post where I’d posted about the party I’d just enjoyed. Two likes and zero comments. Then the whole story flashed.

We’d assembled at a home in Donholm. Now those from Eastlands will tell you that organising a get-to-know party at a Phase Eight South Sudanese home is no joke. I don’t know if the girl was Dinka or Nuer or Shilluk or Khoikhoi. By then there was no Machar and there was no Kiir and nobody cared because a South Sudanese was a South Sudanese and nothing less. All I know is that she was beautifully South Sudanese and the guy was a Kenyan from Machakos. In his company was his cousin, and Nzioka had insisted I be part of his cousin’s contigent. There is a feeling you get when in your proposal tour you tag along a handsome man because the Sudanese will see a sample of expected progeny and be soft during the bargain.

The plan was simple. Nzioka and I were to be the talkative pair. Do rounds of jokes and humour up our hosts. The owner of the dance was to remain silent and pose as a perfect gentleman in this sharp contrast. He was to smile and nod and never do the arguments.

The Sudanese gave us the best welcome. I think the best hearts were made in Juba and heaven. Words may fail me but I will still say that those guys were cool. Shared their music and kept us happy.

Now, I don’t know Sudanese. But there were these two rascals who kept moving around the room ridding their toy tanks. Then the rides reduced and giggles began. Baby, you don’t want those Sudanese kids giggling around you in a funny language and nobody cares to tell them to sleep because tomorrow is school. I think it is their culture to let kids play near elders.

When the party was over and we had become friend and family, it was time to leave. All rich families have carpets and when you leave, you need to put on your shoes again. So when we are doing this, the two rascals come back. They are peeping as if from fear of visitors, only that they whisper and laugh in South Sudanese. There is something uncomfortable with that. You begin to think that maybe you didn’t comb your hair. Or that your zipper is open and things are out there. You will think that you are putting on pink underwear and the boys think you stole their sister’s. But this is not the time to check because you don’t want to confirm that it is true. And in case you discover that your things have been out of the zipper, do you zip it in front of your friend’s in-laws or you wait till you’re at that Masimba corner in Kayole? Perhaps it is even taboo among the Kamba and the cousin to your friend may never forgive you.

So Nzioka has his shoes on and we are waiting for our gentleman. We are happy because we have constructed him well. Time has been well spent and we only need to get back home and count our gains.

As the gentleman from Machakos holds the left shoe, the giggles increase and Alice, the younger boy, comes fast. He squats near the guest of honour, rests elbows on laps, head in the palms and gives his guest this curious look. He then looks at the leg that should go into the shoe next. In one daft movement he takes his hands to the heels of the guest and removes them quickly. He then laughs very loudly and runs to where his brother is hiding. He runs as if he could be killed when we get him. Then they come back pointing fingers and saying something in their language. That’s when I see it.

The heel of the guest is almost entirely out. The sock is torn and we can see fault lines on the heel. The cracks are so big you could hide Chile in there and still have space for illegal emigrants.

I’m sure everyone realises it too. I collapse. Nzioka collapses. Everybody collapses. Before us is a prospective in-law putting on socks that are torn. We have managed to qualify him as a gentleman but we do not know if they will any longer hold as a gentleman a man with a cracked heel and a torn sock.

Now this is the most interesting point. You mean the kids were laughing at our man all this time! When he sat there, feeling a gentleman, his secrets were out! What do people gain by wearing torn socks?  A torn sock says you are rich, right? Doesn’t it say you are a responsible man? You are cool. Halooo.

torn socks
Holes and socks

Whom does he think he is; an Akond of Swat?

It would be interesting to know what he thinks every time he pushes the leg into the sock and how he has to guard the toes from taking the wrong route. Does it make him sigh and say I inherited long heels from my mother? You just want to look at him swearing every time the small toe becomes mischievous and tears a millimetre more at the margins of the hole.

What I know about holes is that they are used for big things. Holes are for pleasure and holes are for golf. They are for rats and snakes. The hole on the sock was so big a mouse could do high-jump through it and not touch anything. Did he keep it for ventilation? The doctor told him if you don’t ventilate your left heel you will never have an erection.

So what happens when X sees a big hole on one of her products? Turn in the grave is not enough. She gets stitches and paralysis. Like the Wright Brothers hearing that a Boeing went to the moon instead of taking Malaysians to Nigeria.

I will stop here for now.

P.S:

  1. Someone help say Happy Honeymoon to Joyce Deng and Job Muli. Dar-es-Salaam is not very far.
  2. Writer’s Version might soon take a two-week break to focus on a writing project that’s greatly involving. Final editing and running here and there in town. Putting on suits and polished shoes. Signing papers. Start saying congratulations….
  3. Holes and Socks.