You are in a private library, seated enjoying a book. The book is BlackAss by Igoni Barrett. You got it from an alienated shelve at the library and decided to take a chance on it, turns out you love it. You have been reading it for the last six hours since you saw it, and you are almost done with it. You begin missing it before you are done. You look at the cover of the book and there staring at you, is the author, Igoni Barrett. You feel as if you know him. Like you have been with him all this time that you have been reading the book. Now you are about to split ways, and you feel nostalgic already. You are probably going to buy all his books immediately you leave the library. You finish the last stretch of the book and inhale deeply, perhaps in relief or mixed emotions. Igoni Barrett really did a number on you.
You are done with the book, so you take it to the counter. You find a male librarian wearing a plain emotionless face, and you wonder if he has read BlackAss by Igoni Barrett. You give him back the book, and he stares at you like you are a Martian. We cannot accept this book back, the librarian points out. You are confused. He points to the shelve that you had taken the book from and clearly enough, it has bold writings on the top, ‘READ IF YOU ARE READY TO PAY AN EQUAL MEASURE’. Now you are even more confused. He begins explaining that if you read any of the books from that shelve; you would have to return another book in its place. The trickiest part is that the book must never have been read by anyone. You are dismayed. How could you have missed the bold sign on the top of the shelve?
It is not practical to come up with a book that is freshly published and unread by anyone, so you come to a resolution that the librarian is unreasonable. You ask the librarian what the other options are, but he shakes his head and tells you that there was no other alternative. You have never published your first book, but you have always thought about it. The only thing you can do is to promise the librarian to bring him another book, but he disagrees. The situation is fast escalating into a discord dissension. You are losing your patience because you cannot simply fathom such an insane rule in a library. The population in the library is fast dying down and outside the evening light is disappearing into the horizon beginning to leave a black blanket behind and the people below the building hurry to their home places others to their favorite bars to hit two shots for the road.
You toss the book and start leaving, but the librarian holds your arm strongly adamant to get his point home. You owe the library a book; he says, you cannot leave. Your patience has already died out so you shove him hard so that he can leave you alone. He was not prepared for the shove, so he begins moving back, hits the desk and as he scampers for somewhere to support himself, he meets a window and goes through it now falling from the fourth floor. You are petrified beyond words and as if that is not enough, you hear a loud thud down below. You move quickly to the window and see his body lying on a dismantled car below. You just murdered a librarian for Igoni Barrett’s book. You are a murderer. One terrified murderer.
You decide to run and avoid the repercussions of what you just did. You run past the crowd gathering around the librarian’s body and the sirens beginning to sound. You head home hurriedly and look for Ndung’u Wa Muoria and Mukiri Gitiri your two closest friends. You narrate the ordeal to them, and after they have recovered from the shock, Ndung’u Wa Muoria suggests that you should hide all evidence and get away with murder. You and Mukiri Gitiri agree on that point of view. First, you establish the evidence that would be there, and there is only two possibilities, the wallet that you dropped when shoving the librarian and the book, BlackAss. The three of you are going to sneak into the crime scene, take the two pieces of evidence and leave.
The three of you walk back to the library and find police detectives everywhere and crowds of people whispering in small groups. You walk past them and into the library which is, to your surprise, still empty. You search for the book and the wallet, all in vain because they are nowhere to be found. After you are all certain of their absence, you leave the scene. It is when you are walking past the crowds that you see him, the librarian up and well with a bandaged neck but alive and conscious. You pee on your pants, plain and simple – You’re screwed.
You notify your two friends of the new development and as usual, Ndung’u Wa Muoria comes up with an intelligent remark that if the librarian was alive but has still not told the police what happened, he must want something from you. You try and figure out in your head what he could possibly want from you with no avail. As if the night’s surprises are not over, the librarian sees you and begins walking towards you. You are startled. He comes up to you and throws a folded paper into your pocket. Consequently, he walks to Mukiri Gitiri and slips something into her handbag and walks away to the police. After he disappears, the three of you walk to an abandoned region of the crime scene and Mukiri Gitiri checks her purse first, lighting it using her phone. It is a three thousand shilling bundle. You are even more confused than listening to Spanish lecturer teaching Chinese.
It is your turn to check out the components of your pockets. You light it with the light coming from your phone screen, and it’s a folded paper. Impatiently, you unfold it hastily only to find a few letters written in bold reading, @mukyri. Immediately, you discover what the librarian wants from you. @mukyri is Mukiri Gitiri’s username on Instagram. He wants Mukiri Gitiri who is your girlfriend. You do not give much thought to his offer; you are certain you are going to jail. You cannot give up your Mukiri Gitiri not when it is so close to your anniversary. You look at Ndung’u Wa Muoria and Mukiri Gitiri’s faces, and they already know your response. They do not bother to talk you out of your resolution, so they just stare at you confused.
You suggest that the three of you should go to your favorite food joint for fish and ugali as you wait for the police to come and drag you to prison. You constantly keep reminding your two friends that they would have to hire the best attorney in the country to plead your case. You tell them that your dad would take care of the attorney’s charges. Ndung’u Wa Muoria highlights that my defense should claim personal defense. That you ware trying to protect myself from the librarian who had attacked first. You dismiss this saying that if that was the case, then you should not have fled the scene as you had done.
Fish and Ugali is served, and you all dig in. You secretly wish you had watched more Boston Legal episodes then you would probably have a defense strategy for your current predicament. Your life now faces tragedy, and there is nothing you can do about it. You think about prison, bad food, no TV, no friends, no girlfriend and anal rape. The last one scares you to bits. Your teeth shatter uncontrollably, and you let them. It is suddenly cold and warm at the same time, sweat forms on your forehead and a cold shiver sets on your spine. You cannot even consider giving up your Mukiri Gitiri, not even of a second. It’s your anniversary, happy anniversary Mukiri Gitiri, when you leave jail, you will have a present for her on your next anniversary, she might have to wait for ten or twenty years, but happy anniversary either way.
Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri