Celebrating East African Writing!

The man and his goat by Lukoye Atwoli

He walked out of the tavern and staggered for a bit. Dazzled by the morning sun, he was shocked to discover he had spent more than twenty hours in a pub. Ineffectually, he dabbed at his trouser pockets, hopeful that his wallet would still contain some remnants of this month’s pay check even though he knew it to be extremely unlikely.

His fears confirmed, he staggered dejectedly to the alley in which he had left his bicycle the previous night, fully expecting it to have been swiped while he enjoyed himself in the pub. He was visibly shocked to find the bike right where he had left it. He turned his eyes skyward in a silent prayer, and was just about to mount it for his long journey home when a voice said something behind him.


He turned suddenly, fully expecting to come face to face with a band of local hoodlums. Instead, he saw nothing.


The sound seemed to emanate from the ground. His head felt so heavy he was afraid he would fall down if he stooped to see the source of the sound. Willing himself to remain conscious, he slowly shifted his gaze downward. His breath caught in his throat when his eyes fell on her.

‘Gorgeous,’ he exhaled. She was all white, though he could not tell if it was her skin colour or the colour of her apparel. His bike and the hurry to get home forgotten, he turned and gave her his full attention.

‘What is a pretty thing like you doing in a nasty place like this?’ he extemporized, recalling the phrase from some seedy movie he had once endured as a teenager. She continued staring at him, seemingly transfixed by his attention.

He had no illusions about having arresting looks, what with the practically lifelong habit of alcohol use that had put paid to any chances of his appearing in a skin lotion commercial on television, but he still thought he held a certain charm with the fairer sex.


This one was going to be difficult, he concluded. Struggling against the impulse to retch as his head spun and throbbed relentlessly, he actually succeeded in squatting next to the creature. She had probably been brutalized the night before as he enjoyed his fine liquor, he surmised. Not to worry, he thought to himself, I will fix you up good, and in no time flat you will be back to your usual self.

Without being aware of it, he was soon on his knees next to the beautiful thing, caressing her back and whispering words of comfort in her ear.

‘Baa…’ was all she could manage in return and this made him feel even sorrier for her. Slowly rising to his feet, he surveyed the surroundings, careful not to be labelled a pervert preying on poor brutalized beauties in unsavoury alleys.

‘I will take you home, have you cleaned up. You’ll be hale and hearty before you can say another ‘Baa’…’ he soothed. He gently lifted her, coaxing and cajoling, onto his back before struggling to settle himself on the bicycle seat. He found that he needed to practically strap her onto his back using his belt and other parts of his attire. Surprisingly, once the bicycle started moving, he encountered no further resistance from her.

Whistling a cheerful tune from some local sitcom, he rode leisurely out of the alley and onto the main road toward the slum he called home. He was not surprised at all the attention he was receiving from the people he passed along the way; in any case, how many men could manage to convince such a beauty to accompany them on a bicycle ride home on any given day?

As he got nearer and nearer to his home, he became aware of crowds lining the streets. A dignitary must be visiting this part of town, he thought. Probably another ‘slum tourist’, he figured. Soon, however, he discovered the attention was riveted on him, and the people seemed to be shouting something unintelligible at him. As the wind slashed across his anaesthetized face, he gradually sobered up and could finally hear snippets of what his neighbours were shouting.

‘Goat…’ he heard someone say.

‘Crazy,’ another shrieked.

Some amateur photographer suddenly came within shooting range and clicked off a series of shots. Jealous, he thought. They are just jealous of my awesome catch. This was not the first time he was attracting their attention like this. In his foggy mind, he seemed to recall a time when they had accused him of kidnapping and attempting to defile a small boy in the neighbourhood. Another time they had claimed he brought home an old hag and spent the night with her.

The worst thing was that he had completely no recollection of doing the things they accused him of. All he remembered was going out for a drink in the evening and waking up one or two days later in unfamiliar surroundings having to answer questions from irate neighbours and local administration officials. A doctor had once told him he was alcohol dependent, and needed to stop drinking in order to avoid these ‘fugue-like’ states.

‘I wonder what they are saying this time,’ he said under his breath.

‘Baa…’ she whispered in his ear. She seemed to agree with his unspoken sentiments.

He woke up in the evening to bangs on his door. Disoriented, he quickly grabbed a towel from the foot of the bed and wrapped his naked frame before proceeding to open the door. Kicks and blows rained on him from that moment onwards, and the last thing he remembered was a woeful bleating sound coming from his bedroom as he drifted out of consciousness.

© Dr. Lukoye Atwoli 2010

If you would like this piece to win the Man and His Goat Picture Prompt Contest, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. Be sure include your critique/comment after the vote.


16 comments on “The man and his goat by Lukoye Atwoli

  1. njeri ngeru
    February 1, 2010

    Creative and edgy but not appealing to me.


  2. Tina
    February 1, 2010

    Nice. This story made me smile, i also like the way the writer tells it, simple and effortless with a large dose of humour. I give it 9.


  3. Kristn kakuu
    February 1, 2010

    Captivatin n humourous. I’d give it an 8.


  4. Tracy Asumwa
    February 1, 2010

    I will give it a 7,nice story.Generates good mental images but it is not the kind of story you would not want to take your eyes off even for a second.


  5. Tabu Bin Tabu
    February 1, 2010

    A staggering man who had spent more than 20hs drinking,was able to ride a bicycle with a goat straped on his back??? Might be a bad dream!!!! spent his month’s salary? attempting to defile a boy, something missing. this is not normal.

    a (9) for creativity


  6. Maureen Nyadida
    February 1, 2010

    10 very interesting read. Very creative.


  7. Njoki Njurai
    February 2, 2010

    I like the creativity. (8)


  8. annette
    February 2, 2010

    8-I like how Atwoli writes.A good writer knows the importance of short is the secret weapon of captivating readers.Another great thing is the fact that this writer has written in simple english.However you almost lost us when you tried to bring in the guys past in the story.That’s where you lost the flow.The story seems to be written in third person.The writer occasionaly presents the story in first person.Get clear on who is telling the story and stick to it.For example when the writer expresses ‘I wonder what they are saying this time,’ he said under his breath.A third person can never be aware of this thoughts.Otherwise keep it up.You can do short stories .That’s mad skill for any writer.Keep working.


  9. Moraa Gitaa
    February 3, 2010

    Not very captivating – the expected usual witchcraft lines. I give it a 5 though!

    Moraa Gitaa


  10. victor
    February 4, 2010

    the vivid description is awesome.breaks a smile on my rather serious 8 for me.


  11. Christine
    February 5, 2010

    yeah… really? the guy was too drunk to distinguish a goat from a beauty in distress, but he could ride a two wheeled contraption all the way home? otherwise it’s a story well told, the language and the flow was ok. the guys past… mmmh, introduces the guy’s pervese nature, but draws away from the flow a little. I give it a 7.


  12. Peter Ndiwa
    February 8, 2010

    The underlying message of sexual perversion almost messes up the story as in the opening lines the immediate worry somehow focused on finances. However viewed as an underlying vent to channel out the frustrations that go along with addiction to alcohol and consequent financial problems it carries along the story. Good though but not very impressing.
    Have a 7


  13. KenyaChristian
    February 8, 2010

    Congrats on the win!


  14. Gathoni
    February 9, 2010

    Congrats,it’s a very surprising story.
    I wonder if you could lengthen the ending though from the part where he hears bangs on his door.


  15. Gerwine
    February 15, 2010

    He surely deserves No. 1. Congratulations!


  16. Kelvin N
    December 19, 2014

    10 Its a thrilling story to read..owesome


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