Campaign Girls

 

 

 

Elections found me working for an aspiring governor. A big man with a big smile for the crowds and deep pockets, deeper than the boreholes he dug for the locals to aid in their water problems. He knew what to say and when to say and the exact ways to mould it when saying it. And when he said it, even when it was gibberish, the red flags went up high, and the locals pledged their loyalty. He had made his fortune from his family wealth, but when he spoke about himself, which was quite often, he said of how his intellect had made him a successful business person. He gave us tales of his big cup of excellence, and like the dummies we were, we sat by his feet sipping slowly in coveted admiration.

 

The March long rains came and fell with both hands, the water gouged out deep channels and swept away twigs, leaves and the top fertile soil. With it, we marched into the rural areas and dived into the locals’ conscience and asked for their votes in the primaries. We met them tilling their gardens, feeding their babies, taking out urine drenched mattresses from last night’s atrocities by the young boys, basking, and drinking. Sometimes we met their dangerous unwelcoming dogs or abandoned houses, but we never relented. The Jacaranda beautiful purple flowers collected into small groups on the murram roads beneath the intrepid trees and with it, the beauty of Central Kenya shone like the morning star.

 

*

 

I got a job as a Data Entry Clerk for the big man’s gubernatorial campaign. I cannot correctly recall how it happened because it took place while I was under the magnificent alcoholic haze. It was in the club back in 2016; our Governor-to-be was having expensive drinks with his friends on a table close to ours. My friends and I had just completed our final examinations in campus, which was the reason we were draining red wine like we had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Our neighbours were getting louder with each bucket of ice they ordered the waiter to bring.

 

It started out as a dare. The big man thought he could make his way to Parliament and his friends sneered in disbelief. A little later, he said bluntly and insistently, ‘I will even run for governor to prove you idiots wrong.’ That is how his campaign started. He bought drinks for every lady in the club that night and when he approached our table, and we told him our reason for celebration, he instructed us to be at his house 8 am on Monday, he would be the first to hire us. Our salary would be Ksh 30,000. That is how my two friends and I got our first job, on the same day we cleared the last paper in campus.

 

His gubernatorial bid was a dare. But then, a wise man once said, it is not how a race starts, but how it ends that matters. The next day, after the hangover had subsided, I called home and broke the good news that I had completed my four years in school of nursing and at the same time got a temporary job. My parents were elated, mostly because they never had to pay my rent again.

 

We worked from his mansion. He had three, so it did not matter that he used one of the houses as the campaign headquarters. The living room was the size of a basketball court and the bathrooms the size of my apartment. The carpenters came on Monday and converted the living room into an open office, and right there we began working. I would receive massive amounts of money and distribute it to the campaign ground workers to distribute to the voters. Every voter we asked for a vote was entitled to a Ksh 200 note. Most of my days would be spent chasing Ksh 1000 loose change in 200s. In a day, around Ksh 500 000 crossed my hands.

 

My other two friends did other things in the office daily, and as usual, there can never be a group of women without gossip. It started three weeks after we started working. The big man walked in rage and flew upstairs, we all stood stunned in awe wondering what the devil had done. A little later we heard struggling and screaming from upstairs from a lady. What surprised me most is that within those three weeks, someone was living upstairs and we had never seen her. A little gossip later we learned that it was the big man’s wife. It was against the rules for the wife to leave the house. She stayed locked up as the big man made plans and money for the family. I was infuriated and just like that my admiration slowly started turning to abhorrence.

 

It was the mansion’s custom to burst open a bottle of whisky at the end of a successful week. The big man’s whisky cabinet was bigger than his bathroom which was bigger than my apartment, so I hope that can draw you a vivid picture of its size. In those parties, I discovered Hennessy, Platinum Label, and Jack Daniels. Beautiful drinks that cost more than my salary. It was in one of those parties that things started to get incredibly wrong. I was standing by the printer when the big man approached me and asked why I was working on Saturday while I should have been enjoying the river of whisky courtesy of the big man almighty. I was dumbfounded that he cared. Then it happened, he put his hand on my bum and made to grab it like I was his. Part of me was immobile, astonished with despair like those rats that lose hope in laboratory experiments and lie down in the maze to starve.

 

His wife attended that party in particular. She was the one going around serving the drinks. I was even more scared about her feelings about my ass in her husband’s hand than the actual big hand that tried again to grope my unlucky ass. I did not speak, I was frozen but moving away from him. I took a seat and waited for my shock to subside before I took my things and left the ‘office.’

 

When I left I was so sure I was never to come back again. As if the night was not yet done with me, as I waited for a matatu to take me home, which was extremely unlikely considering the neighbourhood it was, the big man’s driver pulled over and told me to get into the car, that he had been ordered to take me home. I was one part resistance, two parts grateful so I got in, and he ferried me back to my place.

 

I could not help thinking about my situation. I was certain that this would never have a chance of a good ending. I drifted back to that moment when he placed his hand on my bum and then tried to do it again. I was so sure that other people in the office had noticed. Even his wife. When I called home the following Sunday afternoon, it was to say that I would be going home. Mother picked the call and could not stop ranting about how happy she was I had not asked for rent. That I was a big girl now, taking care of my problems like a grownup. I ended the call exceedingly sure that there was no going back. I had to make a living for myself.

 

 

*

 

 

Monday morning found me debating whether it was all worth it. At 10.00 am when it was two hours past the time I was supposed to get to the office, I got a text message. It was from the big man according to Truecaller. It was short and extreme in brevity. It was like it was typed in a speedy, careless, go-to-hell sprawl, like something I would write fast before going out to the grocery market. It said, ‘report to work.’ The big man was calling; it would be rude not to answer. So at midday, I walked into the office like a loose girl doing a walk of shame on a Monday morning.

 

The primaries came, and we lost. With it, we became an independent party and even pressed harder for votes. The campaign speeches grew longer, and the Ksh 200 notes increased to Ksh 500 notes. We used land cruisers to get to places young boys had never seen automobiles. We promised electricity to people with no roofs and fertilisers to individuals with no land. We even hired bloggers, and I sent them Ksh 1027 to post nasty, made up rumours about our primary opponent. Still, after all that, the poles still said we were 2% behind.

 

It was a battle to the bone. One that had started out as a simple dare now had become a serious life or death situation. Secretly, I hoped he would not win. He was arrogant, disrespectful and beat his wife. That was enough to make sure he would never get my vote. By the time we got to the final polls on 8th August, he had already bedded my two friends and increased their salary to Ksh 40 000. All but me.

 

The final poles threw him off the gubernatorial seat by a 9000 votes’ margin. A very close shave. He had lost but had made a huge impact on the county. He did not seem bothered by the loss. In fact, even before the announcement, he had me allocate funds to a big party of all his campaign staff.

 

I decided to bring my boyfriend to the big man’s party. Partly because the big man smashed my two friends, they seemed to have grown distant, so I had no friends and also partly because I felt I needed security. At the party, the big man insisted that I was to dance with him and when my boyfriend gave me an okay look I let him take my arm to the middle of the room. It was the longest ten minutes dance I ever had. When I came back, I found my boyfriend already ordered a cab to take us back home. He was furious. These young men and their possession pride (rolls eyes).

 

 

*

 

 

A week after the election, after we had cleared out and our contract terminated, I got a call from the big man. I was curious, so after some few relaxation stunts, I answered the call casually. It turns out, they needed to keep five employees for permanent employment and I had been shortlisted, so he was calling me to let me know that I was being called in for an interview.

 

Before I could make a response, he told me to carry my documents, and he would have the driver pick me up within the hour. This smelt like a distasteful disaster but I had to keep paying my rent, so I got ready in my skirt suit, made my hair look professional and put all my documents in a folder. The driver in a Range Rover was waiting as I left my apartment.

 

I got into the car, and the car sped towards town, then past town towards God knows where. I got unsettled and asked the driver where we were headed, and he briefly announced that we would get there when we got there. Without further options, I accepted my fate and drifted back into a fretful doze.

 

The car came to a halt about 200 kilometres from my apartment. It was a colourful modern hotel. A place where green dominated and nature displayed all its beauty. I now wish I had more time to let the beauty sink in, but my legs trembled and my mouth felt dry. I felt like an anchorless red balloon was floating on my stomach. Quickly I got my phone and shared my location on WhatsApp with my boyfriend and my sister. If I died, I wanted them to know where exactly to start looking for the body.

 

I found him relaxed under a gazebo sipping some expensive German Whiskey. He was in a Bahamas coloured short and a baggy checked shirt. A nasty combination of prints but that was barely within my range of fucks to give. He smiled and stood up to make a handshake with me. I was determined to make this an official interview, so before he even ordered me a bottle of 1800 Italian Wine, I handed him my CV. He pretended to read then threw it aside. In a statement that seemed too calm to be a threat, he assured me that I would get or not get the job depending on what I had to offer him.

 

There are points in life when a woman must accept that she is prey yet besides it, be determined enough to be fierce to level up the predators in the ecosystem. For certain, I knew I would never have sex with him, yet it did not matter, I was in the middle of nowhere, and the choice before me was not even a moral one, more than it was a survival one.

 

I was too engrossed in my thoughts that when he enquired whether I had a boyfriend, I just shook my head distractedly. In plain simple bare and definite words, I opened up my thoughts to him. I let him know that I would not sleep with him in any circumstance even when I needed the job this much. I looked directly at him and told him that I had a boyfriend waiting for me at home. That I love him so much to cheat on him (*rolls eyes, we had only been dating three months). I told him of the family I would want to have with him, a family of three or four kids. All girls. I told him of my accomplishments and what they meant to me. Of my rent and my parents. My fears and my aspirations.

 

I was talking consistently for more than twenty minutes that when I was done, I just stood up and made my way to leave. I did not even know a way out. I just walked. I could feel my heart pounding in my arms. I was certain that in the middle of my pressured outburst I may or may not have called the big man a sexual predator. One part fierce, two parts stupid. The elephant in the room would be how to get home.

 

 

*

 

 

As I type this story, I am home waiting for a call to know whether I aced that interview or not. Otherwise, I am just among the 40% unemployed Kenyans out here.

 

*

 

 

***Based on a true story***

 

 

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No Witnesses

 

 

 

I was born in 7th March, 1987. The day I was born, it rained hard, a storm that brought down trees and houses. I was born in my mothers and fathers house by a midwife. My father hated hospitals, he said that they reeked of weakness and infection. So my mother pushed without anaesthetic, cried and cursed until my head popped out. Outside, lighting struck followed by deafening thunder as if in protest to something. The midwife with really rough hands probably from harvesting tea in the fields, pulled my small body in the world.

 
My father worked in the armoury where he tended to the army’s weapons. I can remember him cleaning more guns in our living room than I saw him shower. He held himself on high regard constantly claiming that only a man of great responsibility could be accorded such an important task. Before I could stop pooping my pants, I knew how to hold and clean a gun.

 
On the evening of 27th January 1996 as I came from school, I found my father’s body splattered around the floor like a red carpet on Christmas. He had blown himself to kingdom come on his favourite seat in the living room while tending to his guns. Poor guy had taken his wife with him without even asking. Asking was not his style, he was a dictator, issuing commands and hitting mother on the head was more his style. Now, standing on the doorway, all I could see was brains and decapitated limbs of both him and mother.

 
I shed a few necessary tears for mother, collected the remaining guns and set foot on my way. Let the dead take care of themselves; the Bible says something like that, I think. His guns were now my guns. I remember vividly packing no clothes or food, the only thing I packed were the deadly guns father loved. To this day I do not know whether father blew himself up by accident or on purpose. Maybe it was mother who got tired of him and shut him up by blowing his brains, whatever happened, I was not staying to find out.

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

I loved blood. I made acquaintance with the butcher in the place I moved to. He supplied me with raw blood from the cattle they butchered and I would put in a cup in the secrecy of my wrecked house and sip it slowly like Asian tea. A cup in the morning and a cup in the evening, sometimes even more when the spoils from the slaughter house accommodated. I lied to the butcher man that I used to make mutura. Stupid dumbass believed me.

 

 

 
A usual day for me was working out and cleaning my guns which were often dirty from hunting hare in the Aberdare forest. I ate a lot of meat. My body was more meat than brains but so is everybody else’s’. My body was curved like a sculpture from the workouts with all kinds of vein patterns on my arms. Strength was mandatory, that was one thing I had picked from father. I was hairy, very hairy all over my body like a caveman. But I was a caveman of sorts, living on the edge of the forest and hunting deer and hare for meals.

 

 

 
At the age of seventeen, as I lay on the grass a scorpion climbed up my boot and chewed my left heel unceremoniously. I barely survived the poison but the living were not done with me so I survived day after day until the only thing left to tell the scorpion story was a limp. This limp stays with me to this day.

 

 

 

 
At nineteen I began working on contracts. A man and his wife were walking home when an armed guy in a hoodie approached them, pointed a gun and promised to put bullet holes in their stomachs if they did not hand over their phones, wallets and jewellery. On ordinary circumstances, I would have kept to the darkness and watched the free film before I went on my way. The two victims handed the thug everything they had and begged for their lives. Cowards deserve to die, so I hoped that the gun the hoodie guy held would get to be fired. Then it happened that the man threw himself in front of the lady and asked the hoodie guy to shoot him and let his wife go in peace. In my mind, I quickly resolved that this man was not a coward. He was brave he did not deserve a bullet after all. I snuck behind the bushes stealthily and silently like a serpent and struck the hoodie guy on his back, disarmed him effortlessly, cautiously and swiftly, just like hunting deer before I put bullets all over his body. The first bullet on his left foot, second on his right knee cap, third on his belly button, fourth on his left eye, sixth on the right lung before the last bullet put him to eternal sleep from the forehead. I would have shot his groins too but the bullets ran out.
The man and the wife rewarded me heavily even though I had not expected it with six thousand shillings and that became my first contract.

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

When I met Maria, I had just come from the Rift Valley. I had been there for three days, working. This assignment was special. It involved a very important man. My contact, the person who had handed me the assignment also sounded important but identity was not any of my concern. So on a misty Tuesday morning, as a helicopter sailed an important person to the plains of the Rift Valley for an occasion, I lay flat on a raised ground one eye shut to put all the juice on the other one that was looking on a tiny aiming hole of my father’s M21 Sniper Weapon machine. I shot three times; at the pilot, then the choppers propeller and finally just as the chopper begun to spin, I shot one passenger. The last shot was unnecessary. The chopper landed on a hill and blew up like the fourth of July. The job was not done until I walked to the crushed site and shot the remains gratuitously. No witnesses.

 
I was paid twenty thousand shillings. I met Maria on my usual visits to the butcher. She was barely dressed. All she had were pieces of cheap fabric covering her private areas seductively, I assumed it was fashion. She stood by the butchery calmly as if waiting for someone. I had never spoken to a girl so I was specifically surprised she talked to me first. It was a quick hello followed by a question I did not have a response to. She asked me whether I had seen anything I liked. It was a weird question but one that demanded a response. I threw my eyes to her hair, artificial but so beautiful, her body, the way it graciously made a figure eight and the waist, the tiny waist held me captive that I only murmured a yes.

 
Maria must have been a very free person because while I expected her to turn away and move on like I did not exist, she simply asked me another question. She wanted to know whether I had money and food because as she put it, she was starving. I explained to her patiently that I had had good luck that morning and caught a gazelle that was lying waiting to be roasted at my place and yes, I did have money. With that, Maria held my arm and we walked talking about everything until we got to my house.

 
This had been the first time I had company at my place so while I stayed nervous, she eased the mood by constantly holding my arm. I liked the way she held my arm and looked into my eyes. Instead of roasting the meat, we boiled it as per Maria’s suggestion. She served the meat on a plate and we ate while she went on and on about different things in her life. This strange creature amused me but I let it.

 
When the meal was over, Maria said that she would teach me something new and I gladly accepted. She took her clothes off until she was completely naked. The lamp shone on her nakedness like the sunset of the Tsavo. The she cautiously got my clothes off too while looking deep into my eyes like she was looking for approval. I let her have her way. A few minutes later, I had proudly had my first sexual encounter.

 
I did not have much use for money so the morning Maria left, I handed her ten thousand shillings and told her to use it since we were friends now. She accepted gladly and did that naked thing for me another time before she hurriedly left. We made plans to see each other later in the evening where she promised she would teach me something else.

 

 

 

The same day, I got another contact from a woman who wanted her husband gone forever. As usual I was not concerned about the reasons why she wanted her husband dead so I asked for details like where he would be, an image of him and all that shit. I was determined to finish this assignment fast and join Maria later in the day. When I got to the location directed by the wife who wanted her husband gone, it was a function. The husband was launching his new flats that he had built with his wife and now they were ready for tenants. It was an easy job, I let the function terminate before I met the husband in the restrooms, told him that his wife had decided to let him join the dead and put two bullets, one on his head and the other to his heart to make sure he would never wake up and left him face down in the toilet bowl like he was hugging it and left. Let the dead take care of themselves; the Bible says something like that, I think. I was paid four thousand for this job.

 
I was late for the agreed meeting time with Maria, so when I got to the butchery, I was not surprised that she was not there. I asked around but nobody around seemed to know her. I decided to head home and see if she was home. It was dark when I got home and unluckily she was not there either. I blamed myself for getting late and fell asleep immediately. I had a very nice dream about Maria and her naked body which made me so happy.

 
The next day went on slow, too slow. When it was evening, I left the house to look for Maria. I was determined to apologize for the previous day. I wanted her back more than anything. I got to the small town centre just in time to see Maria vanish to a turn with another accomplice. I ran as fast as I could to get to her but eventually I decided to just follow them like I did with gazelle, deer and hare before pouncing on them unawares during hunting.

 
They walked to a house, which by the fact that it was Maria who opened the door, I assumed it was her house. It was tiny and spoke a tale of limited resources but still better than mine yet I felt sorry for her. I would have liked to give her everything good this life had to offer. They walked in with the man and I waited for about twenty minutes. When they did not come out, I decided to walk in myself and explain everything. Explain the reason I had been late for the hook up the previous day. I had it planned out in my head, everything I would tell her, yet cautiously leave the part about me killing people for a living.

 
When I go to the door, I could hear Maria’s voice, she was screaming all kinds of words beginning with her maker followed by all kinds of curse words. She kept screaming and I thought she was in trouble so I stormed into the house to the biggest disappointment of my twenty one years.

 
There she was doing out thing with another guy, both entirely naked and worse was that she seemed to be enjoying it more. They stopped the moment I stormed in. I could feel my anger rising like mercury in a thermometer. I could not comprehend why she was doing our thing with other people. Maria started to say something but stopped the moment I held the man’s neck with both hands and lifted him up like he was a cup of coffee.

 
He chocked. Maria begged. I was not listening to either of them. He spoke, he said something about Maria being a prostitute but I did not care. He had to die. He writhed like a worm until his legs relaxed. Maria screamed her lungs out. I threw the lifeless body away and headed for her neck too. When I caught her I felt something inside me, I hesitated. It was something I had never felt, not even when I watched my mother’s body lifeless on our living room. It was a weird emotion.

 
She tried to reach for something from the table, a kettle which she threw to my face missed and it landed on the floor splashing hot water to my left foot. The scorpion bite hated anything hot. It was painful too painful, I let her go and limped out of the house and ran.

 
I had never left any witnesses. She was the first one. I had to go, I had to leave the Central region to another region. I did not even bother to go pick my father’s guns. From now I did not need them, using my hands to finish my work had felt more gratifying. I ran into the forest to an uncharted region where Maria would not lead the police.

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

My clients still reach me. If someone wants you dead then you will die by my hands. I will not use a gun. Guns are too quick. I will use my hands and watch life escape your body like a treated plague and then leave you dead. Let the dead take care of themselves; the Bible says something like that, I think. I will get paid as low as four thousand for your life. One day I will get Maria. I know now that she is a hooker but she is still mine. I will let her body do things to my body and then I will kill her slowly and respectfully. No witnesses.

 

 

*

 

 

END

 

 

Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri

Moments 2016

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A girl completes a KCPE exam, gets a good grade and proceeds to High School, secures a good college through a decent score. She finds herself on the front bench of a lecture in School of Business, Jomo Kenyatta University. She completes her course successfully.

 

She leaves school, ready for the world full of unemployment, cold-hearted bosses and a paycheck consisting of a figure barely able to pay for decent housing. She moves from Juja to Nairobi, ready to advance her business career by any means possible.

 

The first job is late and disappointing, always is. She works as a secretary for a law firm in the city. The pay hardly holds her life together as it is and after six months, she quits. Her salary had remained fairly constant despite the promise of a gradual pay rise after the third month. Mostly, though, she quits because of the persistent sexual advances of the boss.

 

Again she deeps her feet into the large pool of unemployment, this time with six months’ experience. By the grace of a distant uncle, the girl manages to lie the corporate world and land a position as an assistant manager in a government office. The pay surprisingly rises to triple the number of times at the previous law firm.

 

Now she can afford good make-up, holidays in coast and almost expensive dresses. Her social media profile represents success at a young age to the very detail. The expensive coffee brunch at Java and apartments in Karen can hardly be referred to as anything else but glory.

 

She now has time for boys. She engages in half-baked relationships with a few young men which are often a disaster. Men, like it has been said more than a hundred times, are dogs. She tries a few women too, which also fails terribly, as if to say, women too are bitches.

 

She gives up on her social life and focuses her energy on her career. It takes a short time for her to be promoted to department manager of the same firm. She barely talks about it but her new four wheel drive CRV openly tells the tale to anyone who is interested enough to listen. She buys a piece of land just about the same time that the thirties catch up with her.

 

The thirties are barely any better, pressure from the family begins to amount on her social life. They notice the expensive gifts during Christmas and the new cars but what they want is a man. A man to procreate, and fulfill God’s commands accordingly.

 

He is late. He shows up at Moca Loca Cafe in Nakuru as she is having brunch coffee with her friends after consuming litres upon liters of Italian Wine at Club 64 the previous night. She barely notices him from her mild headache and dehydration but he notices her. He is a fairly handsome tall, dark and handsome guy, with a good car, big soft hands, and a good haircut. The only problem is that he has sunglasses inside a cafe, but since she has been waiting for 35 years, that she can fix. His name is Peters Denis. Denis with single ‘N’ and a Peters that comes before a Dennis.

 

She grows to adore him and rely on him. Nobody even notices the fact her salary is double his when she is promoted to County Business Manager. She however fails terribly trying to make him stop his sunglasses behaviour and in despair, she concludes her attempts. Suddenly, the holidays have more bliss and the house is a bit warmer.

 

Her Denis is more in love with his books and his writing but it never bothers her. She actually joins him in reading his 2016 African favorites like BlackAss by Igoni Barret and Born a Crime, stories from a South African childhood, by Trevor Noah.

 

Eventually, the gods smile upon their union and hand them twins, two beautiful girls. Lee and Dee.

 

A girl is no longer a girl but a mother and a wife. Problems start immediately after this realization dawns on her.

 

It starts with the simple mandatory question of who should quit their job to take care of the kids. Arguments spring up like an active volcano and it is suddenly not a home but a house of politicians where everyone is out for blood. Holidays are no longer done by the family but in secret with secret young male and female illicit companions.

 

Divorce comes around the time the girls turn seven. Our girl suffers and so does his Denis, but mostly the twins suffer the anguish of separation.

 

This was not a happy story, by the way, my 2016 was shit, I don’t get why I should make yours any better. Happy 2017 though, Yes? We’re still friends, No?

 

Happy 2017 people. Dennis Peters over and out.

 

Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri

 

 

InstagramCapture_51ae2f42-6453-4b96-839b-5e65680bd0c1

Dennis Peters

 

Mukiri Gitiri

Mukiri Gitiri

 

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

 

 

The Writer:

 

InstagramCapture_51ae2f42-6453-4b96-839b-5e65680bd0c1

Dennis Peters

 

Your Town

Aeons I have spent in the shadows. Harvest is ripe and succulent now and I am here to collect what is mine. I carry the darkness with me where ever I go and lay everything to shambles annihilating anything on my passage. My destiny is your doom and you better scream when you see me coming. I am your worst nightmare and I will take a selfie so you can see what’s coming to your town.

 

Run!

 

Red! That is the colour of the trail behind me, red as crimson. A carpet of cold bodies, all with a uniform permanent scowl of pain, anguish and strife on their lifeless faces. That is what I am bringing to your town. I will be the last thing you see and you will remember me in your next life because I am worse than death and my effect, harder than the apocalypse.

 

I am bringing darkness to your town, darkness darker than the chambers of hell’s kitchen and colder than Lucifer’s heart. Check your Facebook, just forwarded my selfie to all your mails and shared it on you wall and profiles so that you can put a face on what is going to tear you apart like a used up napkin.

 

Run suckers! I am coming to your town.

 

 

Words: Dennis Peters

Photography: Mukiri Gitiri

[Mukirivity– Ingenious art and text made comparative]

II I woke up with my phone in my hand. Not just any kind of waking up it was as fierce as starting an old car engine, the kind of car that needs hot water to roust probably because it has not been used in years. Such a car that the sound of its engine gives you creeps because its sound alone is enough to convince you the engine could go ‘KABOOM’ anytime and turn you into a hot barbeque. The cold in the room I was in was simply atrocious but I certainly did notice sweat from my fore-head and armpits. It was dark and I was in an oblivion in terms of time, day, month, decade, century and millennium!
How long had I been asleep?
Quickly, I checked my phone but it did nothing to solve my pending predicament, it was out of juice. Somewhere in my mind a voice kept asking ‘where was I?’ Considering what I could remember this was definitely hell because it was freezing cold and we all know hell is cold, don’t we? Funny how I could have been dead but still remembered the existence of hell. Well, this hell was definitely cosy because why I lay was a good bed with sheets and covers. Not only was I in immense physical darkness but my mind also was in a state of confinement with bounds I did not have a key to unshackle.
Stretching my arms perhaps to feel the four walls since I could not see, I touched something soft, very soft and from what I could make out in the darkness it was a teddy bear. Instantly it hit me I was 19 years old, a boy and still slept with a teddy bear. Well this is definitely not something am proud of but at least now I had a memory, one single teddy bear memory better than nothing. My arms continued to search around I felt the ice cold walls and the hard wood large bed too now I could tell where I lay was a bed.
Astounded by my progressive discoveries I let myself gently out of the bed now hunting for the door, window or just something that could ensure me I was not in hell. In my futile attempts, I hit something down below and landed on my face now certainly sure I had a concussion. It was my work-out weights lying on the floor, at least now I had established I was untidy but well built. The hit on my head had definitely done something because suddenly all these memories of her came rushing to my head in gushing waves.
Stunning beauty.
I remembered her exquisite smile and left dimple. Her gentleness ran me into an enmeshment of pleasure I could not understand. What was her name? Yeah it was Juniper. Juniper of great beauty. Her well-formed features vividly appeared in my misty head, big brown eyes and soft lips. Her kind laugh sounded like Adele’s music in my tiny brain eyes. Who was Juniper? My Wife? Girlfriend or cousin? I brushed cousin off, there was no way I could remember a cousin in that great detail. Picking myself up now with an irrefutable conundrum to solve I continued my journey to the door. The door I probably should never have opened!
Opening the door, a loud creak as if the door had not been greased for a millennium made me jump a little. Light came crushing into the dark room blinding me for ten to fifteen minutes. All these surprises now made me indignant lest I had known what lay ahead to surprise me out of my own skin. Once I recovered, I noticed the unfamiliarity all around, mould grew all around the buildings and plants seemed to have taken over the human habitat for even my door required a lot of energy to push out. Now I only had one question, ‘HOW LONG HAD I BEEN ASLEEEP’
Where was everyone?
I must have spent over thirty minutes staring with my mouth agape but once I came to my senses I figured out the best way to get answers was my phone, remember the phone I woke up with? Well at least one thing seemed to work because once I plugged in the charger the phone screen burst into light and began to boot. I waited impatiently for the phone to light up sweating profusely all over. The lock screen page appeared almost instantly and there was Juniper and I smiling. We seemed very happy and directly connected the dots out of Juniper’s ring that we were engaged. Engaged at 19?
This distraction definitely kept me from noticing on the right corner of the phone the date read 12th December 2024. I had been asleep for a decade! I was no longer 19 but 29! I passed out almost immediately but once I woke nothing else mattered, all I knew is that I had to find Juniper. Juniper, my wife to be or to have been. How old was Juniper now? I dared not ask myself that.

The Writer:

Meet the writer Dennis Peters.

Meet the writer
Dennis Peters.