Celebrating East African Writing!

For The Principle

Written by Patrick Irungu

“So, what do you think we should do now sir?” the medium one asked.

He looked at the big one in awe for he always knew what to do in such hazardous situations. The big one seemed to be lost in thought as he moved sideways perhaps to stir his body, get good circulation to his head and a bright idea. In the meantime, the small one looked at both of them in amazement. He had so much growing up to do. Soon he would be medium and then big. Being big came with its luxuries but of course it had negative consequences: many of them. Perhaps being small was not that bad after all. Big stopped moving and looked apprehensive. An idea had been born.

“Look at him!” He shouted. Small was getting a little bit worried now. All this noise could attract attention.

“I said look at him Small!” Big continued,” He thinks he has won!”

Medium was now agitated.

“Big had better come through this time, he’d better.” thought Medium. All of them relied on Big.

“I say we call in the reinforcements.” said Big in a slow soft voice. It was unlike him to enunciate his words. The words always sounded like they were running out of him; out of control and all he had to do was breath for them to form.

“But that would mean war!” Medium exclaimed.

Small moved so that he was now standing between them and was covered by their body sizes and felt a false sense of safety. This was going to be big.

“What choice do we have Medium? He started it! Look at HIM! Do you think he cares about us? Hell NO! And neither should we!” shouted Big.

Small shifted his legs nervously while looking at HIM. Just the other day they had been a running battle in the field and what a massacre! Only Small had survived all due to his size. He had managed to crawl into a hole that none of his friends could fit in to.

“I say we leave this place and cut our losses. I was here yesterday and it was terrible. I lost a lot of good friends at this very point.” Small whispered.

Why couldn’t Big just give up the fight? It was not like this was the only place they had. Big cleared his throat and said,

“It’s all about the principle guys! We leave HIM and we might as well leave everyone else and then what? Where do we go from there?”

“Principle?” asked Small.

“Yes Small, Principle. We have got to keep up the struggle otherwise we’re doomed.” Medium answered for Big. He was already getting in to Big’s shoes and that in turn meant that Small would soon be Medium. Frightening!

They all looked at HIM- their enemy and started the long hurried walk back to their base. Their enemy had moved and soon they would be visible to him. Why couldn’t he fight fair? He had all sorts of deadly assault weapons and was no match when it came to improvisation. Small now passionately hated HIM. The enemy had killed many of his childhood friends.

Meanwhile their enemy was in a deep trance. He had fallen asleep on his watch and was in the middle of a nightmare. In his nightmare his boss, Mkubwa was telling him about the new machine that the company had bought in a bid to win some worldwide certification for something he called “Going Green.” Mkubwa had been talking about this Green affair but none of his workers had understood what it had meant until when the machines had arrived. The machines could do what 50 workers were doing per day in just under 4 hrs. Mkubwa was ecstatic and full of praise for his machines so much so that the dark black hairs that were sprouting out of his ears now looked twirled up like horns. He’d get more work done for less!

The workers had always thought Going Green would not be hard for them after all they had gone green along time ago- they had mistook Going Green for “eating greens”- something they had been doing for a lifetime and thus did not foresee any problems. They were wrong. Mkubwa was going to fire some of them, and then they would not even be able to buy greens.

Just as Mkubwa began reading his dismissal list, the enemy woke up in fear. What a dream! He opened his eyes and saw 3 cockroaches on the wall besides his bed running for cover. He reached out on the other side of his bed and felt for his slipper and when he got a hold of it swiftly moved it towards the cockroaches in great haste.

“Incoming! Take cover!” shouted Big. Medium ran towards Big who was just about to take cover under a paint crack and both of them disappeared in to the crack. The slipper landed on the crack and sealed it. Big and Medium were no more.

Small felt his legs give way and he could not hold on to the wall any more. He felt himself falling in the air towards the space between the bed and the wall heading towards the floor. The slipper missed him by a whisker as he passed the bed on his way down with the enemy cursing. Small landed on his back but quickly grabbed a hold of the bed sheet and turned himself in time to see the enemy’s big eye peeping through the space looking for him. Small went undercover…under the covers.

Early the next day after much hiding at night, Small made his way to the others at the base and got there in time for the early morning march. He looked at the huge reinforcement that had materialized from just one night. Now he understood what Big had meant by Principle.

“It’s time Big!” one of the reinforcements shouted at him. Small looked around and then it hit him like a slipper to the head- he was now Big!

Yes, it’s time! For the principle!”He shouted

“For the Principle! For the principle!” the reinforcements shouted back in unison.

“Let’s go!” Small now BIG gave the order. And the march began towards the cooked greens the enemy had left in his cooking pot…

The enemy opened the door to his room back from the outside bathroom from a cold bath and headed to the corner he called kitchen to warm some water for some milk less tea but just as he was about to lift the match box…

“What the…..where did all ….” He stammered on finding cockroaches eating his greens- Going Green! He turned and went outside his door to get the wet slippers he’d left out to dry.

It was time for war.

© Patrick Irungu 2011

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 Sunday 13th of February 2011 and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week on Monday 14th February. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.



3 comments on “For The Principle

  1. kyt
    February 8, 2011

    time for war indeed, just brought to my attention i have actually not seen a croach in my house for sooooo long! i think walienda kwa neighbour!


  2. kyt
    February 8, 2011

    i vote a 7.5


  3. baru
    February 9, 2011

    It feels rushed… But thats an ingenious idea, 8.


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