Celebrating East African Writing!

A Freshlyground Professor by Clifton Gachagua Antony

“Good morning Sir!” the dogs barked.

“Good morning, Mr. Associate professor.”

They know you are up by now because they were all up last night doing forbidden things when your engine and headlights interrupted their ceremony. You came home late like you have been doing the last couple of weeks. They watched as you fumbled to fit the key into the lock and finally disappeared behind the rusty Iron Gate. Your wife snorted and turned in bed but that did not stop you from falling asleep immediately. You haven’t touched her in weeks. You think she has grown fat and cumbersome from her last two births. She always smells of baby milk and you are not one of those psychotic men who get turned on by baby milk. And, anyway, you are lactose intolerant.

The next day you wake up late and without a hangover. You learnt to avoid them with a little lemon in warm water and a long stay in the bathroom pushing out the remnants of the previous night’s illicit niceties, tricks you learnt back in your university days. Your mouth feels like a urinal in a backstreet bar and lodging. The overbearing stench of onions, nyama choma and Tusker lager still heavy in your breath you hurtle into the bathroom to brush your teeth, knocking over a Kasuku can filled with tee pee pegs.

The feel of squeezing toothpaste down the tube is the subtle catalyst you need to conjure up the images of her hands on you, arousing you. You have learnt to store pixels of her face and svelte figure laid out in the anatomical position like a body awaiting a posthumous examination. You are her loyal pathologist. You will make incisions in her; touch her where she has never been touched. You will stitch her old wounds and heart breaks and restore her trust in men. Her, the current project, the one that has proven impossible to snare, the one who doesn’t remind him of the past three wives he has had the misfortune to pay for their upkeep. Her whose palpable organs you want to rip out and do abominable things to.

No, there is no time for that now. Instinct tells you that the wife is just about to wake up.

You clean up in a hurry and leave the house before sunrise, lucky to have avoided your wife’s routine interrogation about your whereabouts. It’s not as is she could stop you from coming late but you just prefer to start your day without threats of her leaving you alone with the kids, the same kids that haven’t seen you in a week. None of that matters. Don’t you provide for them like every man should? They eat Farmers Choice sausages and cereal for breakfast everyday for Christ’s sake!

You turn on the ignition in your turbo wagon and speed off to work making your way through the lazy streaks of virgin dawn and the howling of the street dogs and the croaking of crows. It is as if the ominous yells from the black beaks are sounds urging you on to your doom. They are spectators for the thing’s you do in the dark. They are urging you on with trumpets and horns: “Go Mr. Associate Professor, Go!”

“Someone needs to cull these beasts,” you say, to no one in particular.

You watch as the sordid sun rises above the hills. It doesn’t stir any emotions in you. She has told you so many times about sunsets and stars but you don’t really care about that celestial crap. All you can think of is her body under yours, her breasts orbs burning under your palms, creating little new tributaries that are a sorcerer’s foreshadow of plenty to come. The sum of your trysts is the catharsis you need to rise from your imminent nadir, the salvation from the crisis looming at your door. You have to get her. It does not matter whether you’ll need to build a church in the middle of Sodom and Gomorrah and burn incense and the tips of your fingers all night. You will light candles for her every other night.

So the sun sheds its shy rays on your daydreams as you negotiate the corner taking you into the institution. The guard at the gate gives you the normal “Habari yako, boss,” that means he has been sitting in that cold for hours and would appreciate some sympathy.  Understanding his coded language and, being a God-fearing, generous man, you leave him a hundred shilling note. “Ero kamano jatelo!” He thanks you, the gums of his wide mouth as red as a fresh wound.

No one is at the office. Good. You always like to have a head-start before the co-workers and interns come in and contaminate everything. You shuffle for the Nseries in your back pocket and browse to the music files. She got you two albums from Freshlyground. Ma’ Cheri is your favorite.

“Benga is for old people like your father,” she had said when you had told her about the kind of music you like. “You are so young, live life a little.”

The Afro-fusion fills the lab with the ambiance of a good dream as you measure milliliters of compounds and enzymes into micropipettes. This is perfect, you think to yourself. You are always happier when there is a younger woman in the picture. Zolani’s melancholic voice brings back images of the student. Now she is a witch under your belly, hissing, purring in psychedelic mourns, intonating spells to free her from the bondage of your erect corpus cavernosum.

You decide to call her. She must be still asleep by now; you know her schedule from Monday to Friday; you’re her lecturer after all. She mumbles a hello dear. Her voice puts you on the edge.

“Er…I just called to check up on you dear, I’ve missed you.” She has missed you to Mr. Associate Professor. After a while you hang up and send her Kshs. 500 worth of Safaricom credit. She sends back a message full of happy face and kissing face smileys, making your aging heart kindle with insecure warmth, waves of arrhythmia spreading into that core of your being that rises and falls like tide during the full moon. She is like your little blue pill.

Zolani Mahola’s voice abandons you in the solitude of your morning ritual until colleagues slowly start to pour into the lab where formalities are rarely exchanged. Some of them look at you with suspicion when they here the indigenous sounds coming out your phone.

It’s a painful dive into a routine from this point onwards: supervising interns, too self-conscious to hold still a test-tube; checking correspondence on your desktop; marking exams from students who still don’t know the four bases making up the DNA structure, and smiling to people you don’t like.

You call her again at tea break but she doesn’t pick up. It burns you like cirrhosis when she acts like a teenager. You leave her a long apathetic text message. Your colleagues are deep in conversation but you don’t really seem to be part of it. You are thinking about her. You leave her another desperate message. She doesn’t reply. You log into Facebook and leave her two more messages and decide to go through your previous threads, some dating as far back as December, four months since you started dating. The long conversations about your escapades, of course spiced with exaggerated content, makes you smile. She is also a wild character, always talking about fantasies too elaborate to exist in 3D.

“What’s your wildest sexual fantasy?” She had once asked you.

“Sex in the middle of a football pitch, preferably City Stadium, complete with a referee and spectators applauding,” you replied.

“No one‘s ever made me laugh this much!” she said.

What you really meant was that you were an old-fashioned man; all you wanted was to spread her legs apart and soil her beyond the limit of any industrial detergent, to rearrange her body pattern in an alien motif and do irreparable damage to her, send seismic waves down her spine with such magnitude that they’d find traces of his sperm in her cerebral spinal fluid. Plans are already underway to get her away into an expensive hotel in Kakamega with bed sheets rinsed in Stasoft -which reminds you about making reservations at the hotel. The thought of you two together alone takes you even further from the conversations in the cafeteria. Your ginger tea is already too cold so you take two sour sips and follow your colleagues back to the lab.

5 o’clock: Time for your molecular genetics class, the same class where she miraculously turns into your student. You drive the 20 kilometers between the campus and the institution in wild amazement anticipating the encounter with your impure Freshlyground goddess.

The students are all in their seatts by the time you get to the lecture hall. She sits at the back with earphones on. Her carefree hair a wild maroon; her sickly eyes lost in the expensive glasses you bought her with frames the color of her skin; huge turquoise earrings perched on her ears like dream-catchers; her skin evolving into a the lighter tone of her Suba ancestors. Her friend, also as beautiful, has to pinch her back into class. Startled, she looks straight into your eyes with a cunning stare, feigning some guilt. You both love to play these games, to pretend that the rules apply.

Like every other lecture you’ve had this semester, this one draws on like sluggish blood in the veins of a pregnant woman’s limbs. It’s the same routine; you introduce a topic, explain its relevance, dictate the notes with interruptions to spell the hard  words, make a few  jokes and expect everyone to laugh, and finally wish the students a good evening.

Today’s hard words: endonuclease, Huntingtin, Okazakki fragments. Some of the spellings you have to repeat because she keeps murmuring that annoying mmmmh? to see if you will dance to her beat. She toys with you as if you were age-mates. You will get your turn, no hurry.

You stay behind waiting for the students to leave as you pretend to be sorting out your lecture notes. Once the coast is clear you stroll to your turbo wagon and press play on the CD changer as you wait for her. You are eager to impress so you play Freshlyground instead of your usual Tony Nyadundo. She appears from behind the lecture halls and sinks into the passenger seat, always feeling at home in the riches that you provide her with.

“Aaah, Freshlyground! Awwww…this tune has been playing in my mind all day,” she lies. Damn these lies. You wish she could just quote her price and get it over with. But you have told your friends that you love to be the predator.

“Wow Dear! I love how you understand me, this is telepathy!”

More lies.

Exhaust fumes settle on the laminas of leaves as you both speed off the university lawns towards a club in a small town far from the curios eyes.

She orders bottle after bottle of fizzling, ice cold Smirnoff Black Ice, telling you how much she has missed you in between sips. As every iridescent bubble rises to the top and bursts you imagine annihilating her, spanking her bubbly buttocks like a percussion instrument, your arms like drum sticks ridden with leprosy, unable to grasp her. Oh good old telepathy, will let her know of my affliction?

The passing minutes are filled with irrelevant conversations just about anything. The bubbles still popping in staccato loops like beats from the music she gave you. Today you try to explain a concept about genetic vectors to her indifferent ears. You are halfway between the interaction of a restriction enzyme and the DNA molecule when she tells you she needs Ksh. 20,000 for a new computer.

“I’ll think about it,” you tell her, irritated by her impoliteness. Shameless bitch! You have to be mad you to think I’m giving you all that money without fucking you. You order more of her effervescent drinks, urging the arms of your Swiss watch to move just a bit faster towards bed time.

After six bottles she wakes up and fumbles to the rooms at the back of the hotel and like the loyal dog you are you follow behind, saliva dripping from your hanging tongue.

“We cannot share a room,” she tells you. Shit! You had only booked one room.

“I respect your decision.” A prostitute would have been much cheaper. The chase, remember, it’s the chase that you love Mr. Predator.

“Thanks for the company, you are such fun!”

Horny and frustrated, you have to drive back through 30 kilometers of bad tarmac and darkness to the cellulite thighs of your wife. You pick up Zolani and her friends and throw them out the window and play the music you like. Tomorrow will be another day. Maybe you will ask for her friend’s number, the darker one who always sits besides her.

©Clifton Gachagua Antony 2010

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.


28 comments on “A Freshlyground Professor by Clifton Gachagua Antony

  1. Cy
    July 6, 2010



  2. theykl
    July 6, 2010

    I give it a 10


  3. Wanjeri Gakuru
    July 6, 2010

    I am floored. I have really enjoyed reading this albeit with a prudish giggle here and there ;)I like how you have layered every thing that the character does with not just one but about three or four sentences that make the point hit home and makes for a very vivid understanding of the character. He is intelligent, chauvinistic, a bully and surly.
    The use of the omnipotent-narrator (correct me if I am wrong) makes the story accessible. The story is the typical sugar daddy-‘chips-funga’ affair but you took it up a notch by making the character very interesting, he stand out very clearly in my mind and that is the mark of a good story, a memorable character.
    Was it a little wordy at times? Yes but a tighter edit will work that out. All in all a whooping 10 for me 😀


  4. chronimas
    July 6, 2010

    This is a nice piece of write up. The imagery is devoid of the predictable diction that many writers use to describe immorality. The use of allusion gives an otherwise raunchy story line a unique, poignant feel. Thumbs up Clifton I give it a 9.


  5. cdohnio
    July 6, 2010

    Interesting story. Genius writting


  6. Chalz
    July 6, 2010

    A straight 10 why lie.Every sentence well layed out.GENIUS…


  7. Hudson Wafula
    July 6, 2010

    Writing that gripped my attention from the word go with a clear and definite storyline. Setting well brought about and comfortably settled in the readers mind.
    The story is well told, use of vocabulary catchy and interesting making the piece an easy and quick read. One or two misspellings but an excellent piece overally.
    I give it 10.


  8. Lybel
    July 6, 2010

    I bet he would have enjoyed Pot Belly if he hadn’t thrown the album out that soon. it would have given him the morale and patience…ha!ha!From the kasuku with the tee pee pegs, to the metaphor in the toothpaste tube and the absurd but interesting sexual fantasy, to the “mmmmh?” in the lecture hall….i cannot complain. Very good vivid story with it’s lessons included.

    I felicitate and give it a 9.


  9. Winnie
    July 6, 2010

    This is beautiful! The world needs more writers like Clifton!


  10. Tnar scouby
    July 6, 2010

    Wow! Nice one, keep the fire burning. Ol th best 🙂


  11. Joshua Watila
    July 6, 2010

    You have brought this story to life with vivid imagery. Can’t wait to read more of your work. 10


  12. milan
    July 7, 2010

    You’ve done a superb job.Good diction and refreshing imagery.It’s very difficult to deny you 10


  13. Mwella Sindanni Mwella
    July 7, 2010

    Had two readings of this story. And then i saw the layers. i wish the parallel of the daydream and reality would be more established. I have an issue with the starting. A re-write would do to tighten it. It has a cute cinematic flow. i spotted several typos – here instead of hear, curios instead of curious but thats it. NEEDED:Edit this story. Its potential is enormous(cliche). I give it a 9. Just because a 10 will spoil you Clifto!


  14. Nimmoe
    July 7, 2010

    brilliant narrative… cant wait to read the rest


  15. Rogue
    July 7, 2010



  16. Tnar scouby
    July 7, 2010

    10 🙂


  17. Juju
    July 7, 2010

    Wowest;-D i give a 9:-D nyc cool!


  18. Winnie
    July 8, 2010

    I forgot 2 vote! This is an undoubtable 10!!!


  19. chrispus
    July 8, 2010

    this is a nice story, humorous, and funny while still retaining originality, more so, it has pulled in very new readers in the blog who have contributed massively, hope the writer(s) will be able to retain them to make the blog more more intersting for all writers & readers,hope they wont just appear and disappear, lastly i vote 9 for style and flow


  20. kibet
    July 12, 2010

    hey man this is a well written literary piece if there was anything above ten surely the short story get that.the humour and perfect description strikes it all.


  21. ann
    July 12, 2010

    biomed hiyo


  22. tony van witsen
    July 13, 2010

    Hysterically funny! I give it 11 out of 10.


  23. Ruth Njoroge
    July 16, 2010

    I loved it to bits,keep up man!


  24. Ednah
    July 19, 2010

    Nice Story…Totally Looooved it….Go Clifton..


  25. collins
    September 15, 2010

    Your story is well written. Am waiting for the sequel. I give you 10.


  26. Brenda
    June 17, 2011

    I give it a 10!!!!


  27. UNA
    June 17, 2011

    wonderfully done, the use of figurative and descriptive language, creates a vivid picture, bringing this story to life. such a lovely story. The tone is clear and it is so cinematic .well done! i give a 10.


  28. Mira
    October 17, 2011

    I have met the man. Even before reading this piece I guessed he was among the new literary voices of Kenya.


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