Celebrating East African Writing!
They look like diamonds.
That was the first thought in Peter’s mind as he looked at the large ice cubes floating about in his whisky glass. They caught the light in an oily yet vibrant way that he was finding progressively amazing the more he studied it. He took another sip and leaned back in the mushy overstuffed couch. The dim room was getting stuffier by the minute, and he thought about opening a window then changed his mind. The effort that would take would ruin his moment of reflection. And right now he felt he needed it like a drowning man needs that straw. So he took another sip and sank lower into the seat. Bliss.
He looked around, taking in the furniture he was so proud of sometimes. Modern Ikea-like stuff, all angles and bright colours, designed by himself and executed by that one legged carpenter in Park Road. The carpet and the curtains matched, as did the throw on the back of the couch he was currently slowly sinking into. He hated the couch, but it hadn’t been his idea. Electronics: large flat screen TV, home theatre with surround sound and all that, and the satellite decoder. All these were arranged in and on a brushed steel stand. Right now, they were all off, save for the stereo and Peter thought they looked ugly. He downed what was left in the glass and reached for the bottle, quite a feat from his position, as the bloody thing was at the far end of the large driftwood and glass coffee table in front of him. He lost his balance and dropped his glass on the table where it bounced hard and rolled onto the thick carpet, spilling the ice cubes. It did not break. Cursing, Peter grabbed the bottle and picked the glass from the floor. He pondered going into the kitchen for more ice and decided against it. He refilled the glass and plopped back down.
This was what life was about, wasn’t it? A man’s house is his castle, the saying went. Peter could say he was doing fine, compared to most. But it was all unravelling now, as he sat here and numbed his brain cells with scotch, reflecting. The temperature was still rising and beads of sweat appeared on his brow, slowly gathering into a drop that ran down the side of his face like a tear. He swiped it away with his sleeve and stood up again, almost spilling his drink and slid the door to the balcony open. A cool breeze swept into the room, ballooning the curtains like sails and cooling his brow and the room instantly. He stepped out onto the balcony and looked around. Below him, in the apartment complex’s parking lot, people were milling about, some about to drive out for the evening, some just getting home. Life was happening down there, unlike up here where Peter figured his was slowly decaying. Maybe he could jump off the railing and splatter his essence all over those happy fools down there. But then it occurred to him that a fall from the second floor probably wouldn’t kill him.
He went back inside and sat on the armchair recliner in front of the TV. He took another sip of his drink and pulled the lever that released the footrest. Much better than the fucking couch that he hadn’t bought. All the stuff in his flat that he bought was cool. That bitch thought she could come and change everything. Why were women like that? Correction, the women he had known. Women were like cats, he thought. They were cute and warm (some were furry) and they displayed all the affection in the world for you, as long as you served their purpose.
“No wonder they are called pussy,” Peter said aloud and laughed softly into his glass. Then he flung it hard against the TV screen where it shattered into three big pieces. The screen developed a large crack.
Peter rocked on the recliner, moving faster with each swing. His fingers had begun drumming an irregular tattoo on the armrest, more of a tic than any attempt at rhythm. He wanted to smash up this place and all it represented. Crashes and bangs, yeah! Do it now. He got up and went over to the stand that held his entertainment centre. A strong heave and it all came crashing down to the floor, wires ripping out of their neat hidden brackets. Something shorted out and the room was tinged with the smell of ozone. Buoyed by this, Peter swept around the room like a demented hurricane, knocking things off walls and shelves. His CD collection came crashing down in a litter of plastic and colourful labels, the soapstone hippo she had given him smashed on the floor and lost its head and the ultra-modern black steel wall clock flew out over the balcony.
Crashes and bangs, yeah!
He stood in the middle of the room panting, his eyes starting out of their sockets, taking in the damage he’d just done. On one of the shelves a single book still stood, mocking him. He started towards it, his right hand outstretched in front of him and grabbed the book. It was a poetry collection, from Germany nonetheless. Not his. It followed the clock.
The coffee table was simply a large rectangular pane of thick glass positioned on a base of varnished driftwood. He looked around for something heavy enough to smash it and saw the decapitated hippo. He picked up the sculpture and raised it over his head with both hands and paused like that. Sweat dripped onto the glass. On one corner of the table was a smear, mostly red but tinged with greyish gooey stuff.
Crashes and bangs, yeah?
He lowered his arms and dropped the hippo on the carpet then went into the kitchen to get himself another glass. He carefully stepped over Lisa’s body and got a tumbler from the cabinet above the sink. He thought she looked beautiful, lying there with her hair spread out like a halo, a lick of it covering the ghastly wound where her brains had seeped out. Her eyes were still open, now glazed over with Death. They shone like marbles. They look like diamonds.
Ice. He needed ice.
©Mwangi Ichungwa 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.