Celebrating East African Writing!

Two Hundred and Nineteen Days

Written by Anthony Chambira

The man on the bicycle I saw. And his multi colored crates, containing different brands of bread. His fully laden bicycle wobbled. He stuck out his feet, struggling to maintain his balance.

Mine is a truly powerful car, 1,998 CC, the silky smooth purr of the engine is music to the soul.  I swerved to the right, beautiful response! Perfect handling. Zero discomfort; the falling bread man barely scratched my silver baby, I looked over my shoulder, curious of his fate, and that was why I did not see Bobby. And I sure did send him flying through the air. He died long before he hit the ground.

The court case was long. Bobby was faithful. A provider and protector. Always there. A silent listener. Brave. And I was simply careless. Or so the learned friend argued. Mrs. Brown shed tears. She mourned the entire period, she longed for her Bobby.

I spent endless days at the remand prison.

There I met Kariuki; I had not seen him for over fifteen years. Together we way laid and mugged people. Now together we stood in line for our daily ration.

As usual, I recalled, we had waited at the Donholm round about Bridge. We heard the footsteps, we saw the oblique form. In the dark we pounced. Surprise being our greatest element of attack. How would we have known that the woman had four times our strength? We received a beating. Kariuki was thrown into the murky dark waters.

Her swinging basket caught me smack on the face. Beans flew into the air, the blow sent me staggering into the road, and lights of a minivan blinded my eyes. I raised my arms, which were no match for the rusty metal that crushed into me. Blinking stars, a bright yellow sky, and sunlight in extreme darkness, the welcoming laugh of Satan and his minion of demons?

“Next!” Askari Jela commanded. The swish and painfully lashing of a plastic whip. (The plastic handle used as a handle in twenty litre cooking oil buckets.) Brought me back into the current world. I smiled at Kariuki and painfully moved forward. The thud of ugali as it hit the hollow bottom of my tin container, the splash of soup, cracking of the whip again and once more the command to move forward.

Bobby was handsome, creative, and a true friend, Bobby was British or was of royal lineage, he was irreplaceable; tears never stopped rolling down Mrs. Browns’ face.

During confinement, a burning inferno ragged through my stomach. Was I hungry? Cold? Tired? The restriction, high walls, wrought iron steel gates, and silence gnawed at my soul.

Or was it the lack of something to read? Behind bars, in unending silence, I heard the soft voice of my beautiful daughter, “Dad which word is that?” she asked as she struggled to read …Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital. Quality Healthcare for Children…

My half lice infested mattress had been taken away by the self appointed head of my cell. The quarter mattress that I obtained later had been grabbed by a prison guard who gave it to an inmate at block J, who though confined, was able to raise some money and make the guards lives better.

Someone broke into a song…Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…”Nyamazeni!! Kubaf!! Ni kuimba tu kama watu wamekula pombe! Bure Nyinyi…” A different voice, the guards must have changed shifts. I wondered what the earlier lot had retired to. Deafening, thundering silence! The metal gong sounded. I woke up, Day two hundred and nineteen, I had lost weight. During this period Kariuki had been released back into his thieving world.

Mr.  Brown flew in from Henley-on-Thames, a town on the River Thames in South Oxfordshire, England. That is entirely all my beautiful wife heard due to his rich heavy accent. Words seamed to roll off his tongue, and were carried away by thick smoke from his rich chocking cigars. He held G-8 summit negotiations with the chief prosecutor, the in charge – investigations, his wife, The Judge and a lot of other foot soldiers (sorry eminent persons.)

I was set free, my family and I planted flowers at the grave of Bobby, the dog.

©Antony Chambira

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


One comment on “Two Hundred and Nineteen Days

  1. Wambui Wairua
    January 28, 2011

    Bobby was a dog? And you served time? ok, it was remand but still, wow!


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