Celebrating East African Writing!

Curtain Coming Down

Written by Jackline Waithira

“Could I borrow your jimmy choos please,” said Blake as she entered my hostel room. I had invited her out to a party in one of the exclusive clubs and she could not quite decide on the perfect outfit. Within an hour we were ready to take on the world and Zach, a wealthy businessman, had arrived in time to pick us.

As the sleek black limousine snaked its way through the traffic I found my mind wandering, vivid images of my first day in campus flashed through my mind. Back then I was a naive village girl who had come to the university with too many expectations. In my little mind it always seemed like the Promised Land thanks to the constant remarks by my now deceased parents. All that innocence had been immediately washed away and replaced by an incomprehensible vengeance. I partied so hard it’s as if I was making up for lost time. In order to finance my wayward ways I had resorted to dating rich men and soon I was deep in the filthy lifestyles of the rich and arrogant. Education had taken a backseat and I simply did not care.

Loud music blaring from the car’s stereo rudely jolted me back to the moment. Blake and Zach were quickly getting acquainted with each other. I smiled inwardly as I realized that it was just a matter of time before Blake was entrapped into this life. Despite my desperate struggle to keep up with the animated conversation in the car I found myself sinking into deep thought. Tonight I had planned to take a shot at dealing drugs and I already had a few targets.

“May I,” I looked up to see Zach’s hand extended towards me. I gathered my Louis Vuitton clutch purse and got out of the limousine. Camera lights flashed everywhere as paparazzi snapped their favourite celebrities. Tonight i felt different, like I was born for this. For the first time I did not feel like an outsider I had earned my rightful place among the rich and famous. Finally all the agony had paid off but it had left such ugly scars in my life like how I had caused the demise of my own mother. She had been so perturbed by my insolent ways causing her to suffer a heart attack.

Twilight club was tonight filled with the familiar faces of the city’s most elite persons. Most of them were heirs to old family money and thus their only concern was to enjoy all the pleasures of life after all they had not worked to earn the money.

There was plenty of food (if biting like sushi passes for food) and booze. But this was not on my list of worries I had to acquire customers for my new found trade otherwise I could say goodbye to the life of glamour. Blake on the other hand seemed to be having a ball; I could see her sandwiched between two elegant men clutching tightly a bottle of vodka in her hands. That taken care of I set off to woo my potential clients.

I was about to seal a deal with the son of a prominent leader after what seemed like an eternity of flirting with him when Zach appeared. He staggered towards me as he hurled all sorts of insults at me. Within no time Zach and my new friend Robert were on the floor fighting. I frantically struggled to separate them but to no avail. Meanwhile the party came to a standstill as everyone clicked away at their camera phones. A scandal is what it had become! After much pulling and tagging at each other, Zach and Robert were finally separated from each other and thrown out following the host’s instructions. Alcohol surely has a way of reducing even the best gentlemen into shameless rowdy men.

This was a major setback to my plans for the night. I had lost my merchandise, my boyfriend as well as my financier and now I had to find a way to get home. Needless to say I could not afford to catch a cab home. As I sat at the counter drowning shots of whatever lethal substance it was I could not help but fret over this stubborn obsession that had taken over me. I had been transformed to the extent of changing my name from Mary to Katy. As if that was not enough I had made an appointment with a certain surgeon to have my face reconstructed as soon as I could raise the fee.

Around me throngs of young girls and men jumped up and down screaming at the top of their voices as they danced to Kesha’s song “Kiss n Tell”. My thoughts were now drowned by the noise and i suddenly realised that Blake seemed to be missing. I scanned around for her but I could not make out the figures streaming past me due to the blinding effect of the strobe lights. Eerie thoughts of what could possibly happen to her raced through my mind. I spotted one of the men that I had seen chatting with Blake earlier in the night. I roughly pulled him aside forgetting all that I knew about courtesy. “She was just dancing over there on top of the table, she must have left with my pal Jim,” answered the drunken man. An air of confusion and panic immediately took over me!

I started shouting on top of my voice calling out Blake’s name as I crisscrossed the room like a headless chicken. My efforts to get the deejay to make an announcement about my missing friend proved futile. No one cared because no one simply knew her. This was not how I had pictured this night and I just could not take it anymore. I rushed outside to catch some fresh air as hot tears freely flowed down my face washing away my make up!

My eyes nearly popped out of their sockets as I stared at my only friend sprawled half naked on the ground. Her body was stiff and cold. I let out a heart wrenching scream as I shook her to wake up but it was too late. She had slipped far away into the world of permanent sleep. I froze in utter shock as my little world that I had created came down crumbling right in front of my eyes.

How was I going to live with myself knowing that I had taken away the lives of two people who loved me unconditionally?  At that instant it looked as though a veil had been taken from my eyes revealing the rotten person I had become. I had been so engrossed with feeding my obsession of fitting in and been accepted by the world such that I had forgotten the important things in life. The curtains had come down and I had nothing to show for myself except the catastrophe I had gotten myself into.

As if that was not enough for one night I was been charged with murder since only my fingerprints could be traced on Blake’s body. As I was been escorted to the police car I wished that someone had told me about this part of life, maybe things would have been a bit different.

©Jackline Waithira 2011

This short story was submitted into the Storymoja Urban Narratives : No One Told Me… 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 6th of August, and the winner announced on the 7th of August 2011.


3 comments on “Curtain Coming Down

  1. Liz
    July 23, 2011

    The story comes out a little too plain for me. Almost like an explanation of some event or the author expressing feelings towards what (might have) happened (according to the author) in the country recently to a university student. 4 for writing though.


  2. Baru
    August 1, 2011

    I agree with Liz above. Give us some meat, descrine the scenes more vividly, get an intriguing story line that captivates…5/10


  3. ClosetWriter
    August 4, 2011

    First off, you showed up to the page and wrote. Well done! Second, you opened your writing up for critique. Even better. Following are some of the issues that stood out for me.

    1. Show, don’t tell us what happens.
    This is especially important when you write your hook.
    Try this exercise. Imagine you have a movie camera in the car. It’s recording not only what you see, but what you hear and think and physically feel. For example, you say, “Despite my desperate struggle to keep up with the animated conversation in the car I found myself sinking into deep thought.” Press ‘Record’ on the movie camera. Stop. Now press ‘Play’. Write the recorded dialogue recorded between Blake and Zach. What makes it animated? What’s the body language between the two? The camera has recorded you as well. How has it captured? Take us from the noisy car interior and then suck us back into your busy mind and send us back out. Put us right in the middle of your struggle to stay with the conversation. Remember, you have the camera. We are the viewers. Record. Press play. Write.

    Jimmy Choo should be capitalized.
    Comma use: Example: “Within an hour we were ready to take on the world and Zach, a wealthy businessman, had arrived in time to pick us.” Were you ready to take on the world and Zach? I think there should be a comma just after ‘world’.

    3. Sentence structure. Example:” I could see her sandwiched between two elegant men clutching tightly a bottle of vodka in her hands.” Who was clutching the vodka? Was it Blake or the men?

    Otherwise, you have the beginnings of a plot here. This is probably your first draft. Don’t despair.


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