Storymoja

Celebrating East African Writing!

Shall You Pay For Your Imminent Freedom? by Chiira Maina

Photo by Jerry Riley. Click on image or visit http://www.jerryriley.com/blog to see more pictures of Kenya

“Where sweat has been spilt over years, blood will be spilt over one night.”

“No cousin, we have the option of fleeing from this area and heading somewhere else where we can rebuild our lives.”

“Rebuild our lives? Am not going to start the shop from scratch and then watch it as some of these people tear it down.” Isaiah responded angrily while looking into the eyes of his leaner cousin Joseph.

“Well, the ball is now in your court,” Joseph shrugged and was about to turn when he decided that a last attempt at making his cousin change mind would not hurt at all.

“You remember what they did last time, don’t you? We only escaped due to the good mercies of our neighbor Mark who agreed to pull us out of the rubble at the very last minute.”

“Joseph, this time round we are not backing down on anything. Well they say fight or flight and am taking the first option. For how long shall they continue to take away our hard-earned shilling just because we are not one of them?”

Sweat beads had already formed on Isaiah’s brow and he would stamp his feet often which lead to red cloud dusts forming up.

Joseph saw that he was fighting a lost cause and headed into the shop leaving Isaiah looking at the old telephone booth that was in misuse and which he silently thanked for having helped grow his “business empire”.

Kennedy stood up from behind the telephone booth and came to where Isaiah stood holding out a stretched hand.

“Hi Isaiah. Naona biashara inaendelea kuwa njema.”

Jambo Ken. Biashara sio mbaya vile but we hope that the upcoming elections will not ruin things for us. How is the town?”

“Nothing going much with the town apart from wezi wa kuku na ndizi.” They both laughed at the last statement though Isaiah’s laugh was a bit tense probably from that conversation with his cousin Joseph.

A brief moment of silence followed after which Ken cleared his throat, “I have heard you talking to Joseph and I would like to help you out.”

Isaiah’s interest was captured and he bluttered out, “In what way?”

Ken savoured the moment and in a deliberately slow tone said, “Mkono mtupu haulambwi and I will provide protection for you or even better, get you papers that say otherwise about where you are from.”

“Is this a joke Ken? Please tell me it is.”

Ken did not flinch at all but he let a smile play upon his lips.

“Ken, but as the police chief for the area you should be able to do your job without any bias?”

Hakuna chcochote cha bure kwa hii dunia. It is up to you to pay. You know where to finds me.”

And with that Ken left.

©Chiira Maina

If you would like this piece to be the Story of the Week, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. The numbers will be tallied on Friday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.

8 comments on “Shall You Pay For Your Imminent Freedom? by Chiira Maina

  1. Eberekpe Whyte
    July 26, 2010

    Good story nevertheless…Unfortunately, the writer did not tell us what kind of freedom that is being paid for. And the writer has written the story of a select few of his environment; it would have been nicer if the writer had tried to explain the natitive dialect used to capture a wider audience…

  2. Buggz79
    July 26, 2010

    I vote 6.

    Is the term freedom and protection interchangeable? The story also elicits a pretty powerful sense of outrage and anger. I could therefore be shooting the messenger…

    Nice writing.

  3. wanjiku kinyanjui
    July 26, 2010

    a very sensitive topic with carefully chosen dialogue. the author actually puts to light what people do not want to put in spoken word!!!

  4. chrispus
    July 29, 2010

    good idea behind the story though one might argue the serenity of the photo goes against such an emotive issue, i vote a 7 for the flow

  5. Eberekpe Whyte
    July 29, 2010

    Good story nevertheless…Unfortunately, the writer did not tell us what kind of freedom that is being paid for. And the writer has written the story for a select few of his environment; it would have been nicer if the writer had tried to explain the native dialect used to capture a wider audience…

  6. greatrnk
    July 30, 2010

    I would like to think that what Eberekpe thinks as a flaw in the story is exactly the intention the writer wanted to leave us with. The dialogue is impressive. A good read. But that is according to me. I give it an 8.3

  7. fex
    July 30, 2010

    i vote an 8 for creativity

  8. Alfonse
    August 5, 2010

    Mmmmm ….. well. Very creative. I give it an 8. But I was burning for the hotspot. Who is the hero of the story? What is the peak of the moment? But it flows well.

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