Celebrating East African Writing!

Dirt Road by Stephen Mwangi Ichungwa

“I thought I told you not to call me at work!”

Kimani was flustered. He had stepped out of an important meeting in the boardroom for what his secretary told him was an urgent phone call.

“Why?” the teasing voice at the other end of the line asked mockingly.

“Because I’m a busy man. Don’t call me here, ever. Do you understand?”

A sigh at the other end. “O-kay. I just wanted to know how you were doing today. That’s all. Have a nice day, lover. Call me, OK?” The line clicked dead.

Kimani went back into the boardroom. His boss, a large woman, gave him a dour look as he quickly sat down and tried to follow as the sales manager droned on about margins and percentages. Kimani’s mind wandered back four days to that night at Hades, a jumping nightclub located in City Park. He had been tipsy and this person had sat next to him and started talking. Before he knew it, they had left the club and ended up at Kimani’s apartment where amid breathless whispers and manic subtraction of each other’s clothing, they had done what Kimani’s prudish high school CRE teacher, a nun, would have termed as fornication.

Kimani’s wife of three months was away in Malawi for a week; business trip. She was due back the following Saturday and he would be damned if this one, no wait, two night stand was going to get in the way of his happiness. But was he happy? Don’t go there, son, he thought. That way lay madness.

His mobile phone rang. A surreptitious glance at the screen told him his friend from Hades wanted some more attention. The sales manager and Kimani’s boss, the large woman, both glowered at him. He mumbled an excuse and left the room again.

“What do you want?” Kimani asked angrily. “I told you I’d fucking call you. What part of that did you not understand?”

“I’m lonely,” the voice said. “And sitting here by myself in your house is boooooring. I’m thinking you should come over and spend the day with me.”

A cold creepy chill ran up Kimani’s spine. His vision greyed at the edges for a second. He cleared his throat, twice. It had suddenly gone bone dry. His voice was steely cold as he asked, “You’re in my house? How did you get in?”

“I have my ways, Kim. You told me your friends call you Kim, right? I am your friend, aren’t I?”

Kimani swore. “You have ten seconds to leave that house before I call the police. You hear me!” Startled glances from his colleagues passing by in the corridor made Kimani realize he was shouting. He lowered his voice.

“And if you have somehow made a key I want you to leave it in the house, do you understand?”

The voice was now pained. “Is that all I am, Kim? You use me and throw me away? I thought we had something. I thought you… you loved me.” A sob.

“Love you?” Kimani exploded. “What planet are you from? We met in a club, I made the mistake of taking you to my home. We had fun. That’s it. Love? No. Lust? Yes.”

“I thought you loved me like you love your wife. I’ve been looking at you guys’ wedding pictures. She is very pretty. Do you think I’m very pretty?”

“Don’t touch my stuff, you freak!” Kimani shouted, pulling in more stares in the corridor. “Get out of my house. The police are already on their way. Leave now and I won’t press charges for trespassing.”

“Is everything alright, Kimani?” Kimani whirled around, lowering the phone and holding it to his chest. His boss, the large woman, was standing by the boardroom door. “We heard some shouting.”

“It’s fine, Maggie,” Kimani said quickly. “It’s fine. I just have to – er – take care of something.”

“Well, could you keep your voice down? We are trying to have a meeting here.” She went back into the boardroom and closed the door.

Kimani raised the phone back to his ear. “What do you want?” he asked earnestly. “Money? A car? What will it take to get you out of my life?”

“I want you. And if I can’t have you then my life is not worth living. I love you. You are a kind man, with a kind heart. You talked to me, gave me attention. You say it was lust, but I know love when I see it. I only want you.”

Kimani’s mind was reeling. Was this some sick joke? Who knew he had been to Hades that night? He thought quickly and figured no one did. Why was this crap happening to him?

“Hello? Kim? Are you still there?”

Kimani decided he was dealing with a lunatic. What do you do with lunatics? You agree with them.

“Why don’t I come over there and we talk, huh? Just you and me,” Kimani said in as placatory a tone as he could manage. He had developed a tic under his right eye.

“I thought you had called the police.”

“I was kidding, you know. Lemme come over, we have a nice chat. OK?”

“I can have you then? You will leave your wife for me?”


“Tell me now. Tell me now so I know. If you don’t leave her for me, I will tell her. I will tell the whole world about you and me. They will know of our love. Won’t that be grand?”

“No!” Kimani almost screamed. He took deep breath, “No, it wouldn’t. You understand, don’t you? We can never really be.”

“Oh, OK. In that case, goodbye Kim. Remember, I will always love you.” The line clicked dead. Kimani breathed a deep sigh of relief. What the hell? He hoped nothing had been stolen. He went back to the boardroom.

Kimani received a call from the police later that day. They wanted to know why there was a twenty three year old man dangling on a necktie from his bathroom ceiling.

© Stephen Mwangi Ichungwa 2009

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.


17 comments on “Dirt Road by Stephen Mwangi Ichungwa

  1. Neema
    August 31, 2009

    Dirt road indeed (wink wink). Quite entertaining and well written and I’ll give it a 10.


  2. Raymond Bett
    September 1, 2009

    The ending of the story separates it from the rest. I love it and I give it an 8. Kim had not noticed the transvestite before huh? Blame it on the alcohol? Good one Mr. Mwangi!

    Large woman (?)


  3. Alexander
    September 1, 2009

    Precise, crisp, cool classic short story style. Seemingly effortless and to the point. I’ll give it a 9.


  4. Stephen Mwangi
    September 1, 2009

    Thank you, one and all. @Raymond, it wasn’t a transvestite, it was a gay man.


  5. Mercy Ojwang'
    September 1, 2009

    I love it! I read it from beginnin to end without hesitating! 9 from me.


  6. Gitura Kihuria
    September 2, 2009

    A fast paced narrative that I could not wait to see how it ends and which climaxed with the last paragraph’s revelation of kimani’s kind of lover:totally unexpected.

    I give it a 9.


  7. chrispus
    September 6, 2009

    Stephen, that’s one good and fast paced read laced with suspense to cpativate the readers. I love the plot though the ending seems to be a story in itself; Could you thrill us maybe with more details about that dirty prowl? i give it a 8


  8. ngugi muriithi
    September 6, 2009

    quite composed!
    the quality of work we call`ichungwa’.take 9


  9. Ene Njehu
    September 7, 2009

    Stephen,that’s a good one but if only u left us in another kind of suspense and not that way,it wld have been better.Nway,great creativity!
    lemmi give u a nine(9).


  10. kyt
    September 9, 2009

    wait wait this lunatic was a man and that night they….. noooo noooo thats GROSSS!!!! I give it a 7


  11. Stella
    September 10, 2009

    Stephen I like this piece. Good description of Kimani’s state of mind, and the guy at the other end of the line. Can’t wait for your next piece.


  12. Ichungwa Gichuki
    September 14, 2009

    Great end! Hahahahaha!


  13. The Hanyeé
    September 14, 2009

    Chief, an admirable, short, power-packed punch of a story with a Keyser Söze-esque revelation at the end. The imagery was pretty good too, a 9.5 if you ask me 🙂


  14. Jimmy Gitonga
    September 14, 2009

    Just so that you may know, your brother is your fan, yes, that one. He makes sure we don’t miss out on the good stuff. This is short movie script material. We need to talk. Oh sorry, 10.


  15. Kumi
    September 15, 2009

    blame it on the goose!

    had to happen in a club called Hades


  16. Wambui Machua
    September 24, 2009

    Great Read! However, the ending left me a bit puzzled. I would have thought the police would have gone over to his office instead of call? I love the unexpected twist to the story!


  17. sheshi
    September 30, 2009

    Mr Mwangi, your story is a great piece of work, it’s a refreshing, captivating story, the ending was totally unexpected! i like!


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