Celebrating East African Writing!

A Carousel Ride around Nairobi

Written by Denis Okeyo

Today, after much debate between my tired limbs and the cosy bed, I wake up feeling groggy-eyed and fed up with this eff-ed up crazy planet. With a lazy yawn that frightens the dreaming Cindy the Kitten, I saunter into the god damned bathroom with its slimy walls, slippery floor and the biting, ice-cold ten drops of water. My body tingles and trembles in anticipation of the torture at hand. What sheer lunacy! Why must one bathe very early in the morning in such a moody weather? By Pluto!

As the cold water drops on my goose-bumped body, I give yelps that can arouse Saint Augustine of Hippo. The bathroom’s normality gets on my nerves.I break the monotony by singing all manner of songs, discordantly.

Meanwhile, I hear my house girl, Jane, singing her Amazing Grace in the kitchenette. I’m a lazy bachelor thus the necessity of having the heaven-sent Jane. Behind her lumpy-lusty back, I mutter to myself; ‘Jane the Horse’. But she never gets to hear this because I fear she may choke me if her trembling rear-wards gets into a serious argument with my front-wards.

‘Hey, boss! breakfast is served!’ trills Jane the lumpy-lusty Amazing Grace discordant singer. The silent seductress. I think to myself. But she is too sisterly for me to think of saying ‘haki Jane si we nini?’ I’m such a coward.

I gulp down the steaming cup of tea. Seriously, it’s chocolate I’m taking. It’s my mind that’s so used to tea because I’ve seen lots of the tea bushes in the Kericho region. For cocoa, ask the lovey-dovey Ivorians or whatever name Laurent Gbagbo gave them before escaping to Tajikistan where he wrestled to death the ghost of Attila the Hun. But that’s a story for another time.

If I was standing next to a cocoa tree, or whatever it’s called, I would not know it.

Jane asks if I’ve got a condenser somewhere in my gullet. Before I leave the house, I give her the sign of eff-ing and then snarl at her with a shouted ‘nyef-nyef!’

I’m at the ‘Stage Mpya’ bus stop waiting for a town-bound matatu. But the ma3’s aren’t stopping here today. Reason? The mungiki goons are demanding their dues. The matatu owners have thus withdrawn their vehicles to avoid the unavoidable damages. So, it’s either a walk to work or borrow R.Kelly’s wings and fly to hell.

The biting cold has gotten me thinking. So, when I see a tortoise crawling my way, I signal the driver to pull over. He obliges. But before even going beyond Tassia, the Piaggio aka Tuk-Tuk has developed mechanical problems. Journey cut short at the beginning, I look for an alternative means.

A dusty, navy-blue Peugeot 504 stops and asks for passengers. Being Nairobians, none is willing to board. After all, what if they are serious thieves? And the two women lounging at the back could be the driver’s accomplices. Yet again, why is the said driver sitting all alone? I gather the elusive courage to open the front door. But the Amazons at the back think otherwise. So I squeeze into the perfume-saturated sanctum.

Our Peugeot 504 KAA 899A already has two passengers. I’m supposed to sit on the outside space. But the lady on the left thinks otherwise. And I, the very Grand Warrior, aka Otoyo Sibuor, am scandalized. I get sandwiched between two erection-challenging buxom women. The one on my right, Njeri Njuguna, has a bosom that heaves and threatens to overflow onto my face. And those bare thighs! Ai yawa, thooooooo! As if that’s not too much torture, she has a lumpy face that constantly radiates lust. The Sungura Mjanja on my left looks set to grab me right here, clothes and all.

I hold my peace. And like in Chinua Achebe’s tales where greetings should not go beyond the elbow — as if he does not know that the ‘Bling-Bling Generation’ greet lips with lips, not hands upon hands. Reason? The former rarely gets dirty while the latter carries all manner of germs from chicken pox to cholera —– I, therefore, have learned the dignity of saying a plastic ‘hi’ with tightly-clenched teeth. The ‘hi’ that comes forth is like the grating noise I hear from the concrete mixer used by the Shengli Construction Company, operated by the ugly Chinese on Mombasa Road.

We move along Outer-Ring Road, past the middle class Buru Buru. Pioneer Estate gives me the creeps. Because why? It was here a few months gone that a hungry leopard decided to gate crash as a non-rent-paying-tenant. In Kariobangi South, the stench from uncollected garbage co-mingle with that of manly urine —women don’t pee in public (unless if they live in the boondocks) —- and fills my nostrils to bursting point. We arrive at the Allsops Factory in Ruaraka. On the other side of the round-about is the GSU command base. We have just arrived on the (in)-famous Thika Road.

In the near distance I can espy the looming greyness of Kasarani Stadium. Therein, the Kenyan volley ball team could be practicing. In their tight skits, they make men go waa-waa with desire. Those crotch-filling and bum-hugging outfits hold men like in a voodoo trance. Let all the men –virile– shout out the number of hard-ons they have ever experienced. As for the dim-witted notorious liars and the calculating pretenders, we roundly say ‘washindwe‘.

Somewhere along Forest Road, just before Muthaiga —–we ignore the Karura—Gigiri direction because the U.S. Marines guarding the seemingly impenetrable American embassy snarl at one like some shitty Dobermans —- I get the feeling that a stranger’s hand is feeling me. I mean, the Sungura Mjanja’s right hand is stealthily sliding along my thigh. I fidget a bit to make myself less uncomfortable. But I only succeed in making myself more vulnerable. The intruding hand is finally on my ‘bling-blings’. She starts the caressing which makes my hair stand fearfully. She squeezes so hard so that I flinch.

To avoid the great pressure from her, I move closer to Njeri. The bitch shoves me back straight into the tormentor’s laden pillowy breasts. She is doing a great injustice to me seeing as am getting an equal measure of pleasure and pain. But the pleasure–pain combination is quite under–(over)–whelming. ‘Under’ because I don’t quite get too much aroused. ‘Over’ because she squeezes too much so that some constricted breath whooshes out.

The Peugeot 504 KAA 899A’s safari takes us through Parklands with its myriad Hindu or Sikh Temples. One is called Sri Guru Sikh Sabha. Another one is called Jay Shree Swaminarayan. We arrive at the Museum Hill round-about and crawl in the omnipresent traffic jam onwards into the City-within-a-City that’s the Westlands Shopping Center. Instead of alighting here, the two Amazons keep silent. Initially, they had stated their desire to lift their heavy butts off the Mzee Kobe at the Caltex stage. It’s easier getting to Kangemi (their plural destination) that way. They each add a blue for the extra distance.

Back from that errand, I and the miraa-chewing driver take on Waiyaki Way with a vengeance. We then set onto the James Gichuru Road that juts off Waiyaki Way after the ABC Place.

We vroom-vroom past Saint Mary’s School, Strathmore and Saint Austin’s  Academy. As soon as I’ve seen the Nairobi Jeffery School sign, I nudge the driver to please ‘shukisha’ me at the Lavington Green Shopping Center. There are two Total Gas Stations here. I tell him it’s the second. The Kengeles Restaurant is quite inviting. And there’s an assemblage of Storymoja and Kwani? literary enthusiasts ready to do justice to their creative faculties.

©Denis Okeyo 2011

This short story was submitted into the Storymoja Urban Narratives : Peugeot 504 Short story Contest. Please comment on the short story for the author’s benefit and then vote on the story. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak and 10 being excellent, please indicate where you rank this story. Points will be tallied on the 22nd of May, and the winner announced on the 23rd of May 2009.


4 comments on “A Carousel Ride around Nairobi

  1. Brian
    May 9, 2011

    Trial. Good piece. But you are so full of ’em, please keep them to yourself. 6.


  2. Ivory Punk
    May 10, 2011

    The similes and metaphors at the beginning took me back to high school:) Interestingly long route taken to the destination,.



  3. luka
    August 24, 2011

    you could do without the filth. it was exactly like your story-getting crushed by a chinese construction lorry-excrutiatingly painful.


  4. luka
    August 24, 2011

    you could do without the filth. it was exactly like your story-getting crushed by a chinese construction lorry-excrutiatingly painful. i’ll give it a 5


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