Celebrating East African Writing!
The morning sun was creeping in shyly like a newly wedded bride. The smoke wafted slowly and their words started filtering through my waking brain. I wished they could just shut up for the sake of my hangover but a whole night of bingeing couldn’t allow this, the ladies were cantankerous and the guys drooled and ogled at the damsels.
“Jana ilikuwa mezesha! Hako kamzai hakakuwa na mudi alafu ati nikapatie shot tatu!” Teresa was a big mouthed escort girl as they cryptically referred to the prostitutes in Sodom Corner. It never hit her that the name was blasphemous at least to the saint from India. I adjusted my threadbare cap and tried to nap.
“Si hako kamzee ni kale ka former M.P, sijui Starehe ama Makadara, kwani kalisota?” Totti the shrill voiced one was now speaking. Her nick name was “itchy fingers”. It was rumoured she could pilfer a note out of your socks with your shoes on! As usual, they gave me no attention. I had no money to even pay for one round with them. It was only when I regaled them with tales of the struggle that they ever took interest. That only happened after I had taken several steams, as we referred to the concoctions they sold here.
“Wee unasema kusota, Yule mhindi wa River Road si alikuwa jana, maze jo, anakupeleka kama lorri alafu anatoa soo moja!”Shiro sounded exasperated. Everyone at Sodom knew the miser. He owned a large school uniform shop but never parted with a dime. As we waited for the bar to open, my eyes swept across the group. One of the guys was a student at the university whose dad was loaded and we mostly drank off him. He liked my Marxist ideas though he never suspected who I was. The other guys were just my mirror images; dregs left by the train of life. I suspected they had untold stories hidden deep in the vaults of their subconscious. The ladies’ chirping went on as my mind drifted to that tragic day.
I had the power for six hours in my hands, and then someone threw a spanner in the works and poof! The one minute I was an asylum seeker Tanzania, then the next in Kamiti facing treason charges and the next everyone believed I was hanged. I felt sorry for my colleagues who died but I never dared ask who plotted my escape from the noose. The guilt pangs hit me as I thought of my family in Siaya thinking I was long dead and buried. As the ladies chirped away and the men ogled, I felt pity that the dream I “died” for was never born as seen in the hopelessness of the group. I felt like opening my mouth and shouting.
SHUT UP! I AM HEZEKIAH OCHUKA, 1982, EVER HEARD OF ME!!!”
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