Month: July 2022

Saint Honorius and the Pied Piper of Monrovia Pub

Patron Saint of Bakers and yadda and yadda and yadda and yadda.

I hate that I am that bee.

Not any special kamikaze bee.

I am THE bee that is confused for a big disgusting fly at the pastry shop. The bee  stuck on gritty chocolate smudged on a doughnut in the display. A doughnut baked by a random person far from a master pastry chef.

Her. She wears clothes fit for a security guard, down to color and cut, with matching polythene- cotton on her head.

I am that bee. I am St Honorius of a bakery right next to the pub that has a flutist/flautist for shows every single night.

He plays well. So, naturally, I want to be him because once you see me and think of a fly you run to that pub. Sit on a stool, your back to the one-man flute act and nod your head to something you shouldn’t be nodding your head to. That music requires you to sit still.

Yeah, I know I have never been inside the pub yadda and yadda and yadda-yadda so I know nothing.

But you seated there, I imagine, every night, ordering Kamikaze Cocktails in a third-rate pub. Making the barman sweat, every time you say, “One part vodka, one part triple sec and one part lime juice.” You also know nothing about vodka, oranges, lemons and that brilliant albeit stupid flute noise. They all exist because of bee pollination. Well except the vodka whose source doesn’t allow poor pollinators like me. Discrimination there, discrimination here.

And why are you even here today?

© Linda  Musita 2022

Mr Investigator

judas’s wife sat across him at the dinner table
told him he should call the Investigator
one of the neighbors was a traitor
planning treason against Mighty Man
great ruler of the land.

“which neighbour” judas had to know
but mrs. Judas, pity, was not sure
“maybe the man in Flat No. 6
or the feisty slut in holy 7
perhaps the golf caddie in 8
most likely the old cob-webby maid in N0.9

“mrs. Judas, dear
that means everyone is a suspect”

except the occupants of Flat No. 10
man and wife eating treacherously bony kingfish
plotting to call the Investigator

© Linda  Musita 2022

A Tale Among Men

Men carried the iron ore into the blacksmith’s cave. The short and stocky Waburale was seated at his usual spot with his anvil and hammer, busy at work. Opposite him his apprentice was pumping the bellows to provide enough air to keep the fire Waburale was using to forge the iron on the anvil into a karai going.

Both of them were sweating and their muscles and veins were moving to the song of the anvil and the bellows. Sengwe, the apprentice was Waburale’s relative. He was not from Samia but he had the nature of blacksmiths. In every land and tribe, far and wide, blacksmiths were known to be wise, brave, powerful, and very much in love with each other.

They were very creative and made many things that were useful to the village. Day after day in their caves they endured the heat, which seemed to give them more strength to work. They made gardening tools, weapons for warriors, cooking utensils and ceremonial cleansing masks that the villagers used for religious rituals. No one talked, no one sang.

In Waburale’s village they had little factory far away from the village. People had to walk miles to get to the blacksmith’s cave. Today Waburale did not expect anyone, it was a season of peace and fertility and the orders he got were mainly for domestic items like karais and knives, which the women came to collect at the end of the week. It was the second day of the week. No visitors were planned for and therefore no interruptions were expected.

“Waburale.”

Waburale stopped hammering.

“Waburale?”

Waburale spat. What nuisance was coming?

Wabwire.

The village humorist came into the cave. He was known for the hilarious stories he told with great skill and imagination. Wabwire was a great performer. He was also famous for being unable to read signs, of people’s exasperation or impatience with him.

“What are you doing here Wabwire?”

“Waburale. You won’t greet me properly?”

“Greetings, Wabwire. How are things? What brings you here?”

“My wife needs something new for cutting,” Wabwire said, standing over Waburale, his shadow creating darkness.

Waburale looked up at Wabwire and with his strong arms guided him to the left side of the cave bringing some light in.

“I have knives over there. Pick one and pay the price. Though I notice that you have nothing in your hands.”

Wabwire did not look at the tools Waburale had displayed.

“No she wants something different.”

“What? And why? Everyone uses these ones.”

“I do not know what but it has to be different, straight and sharp. She wants to slaughter something for a meal.”

“What? Clay vegetables?” Waburale asked with a straight face.

“No, no. She wants to cut a Billy goat’s throat,” Wabwire said.

“Why is she cutting a Billy goat’s throat? You are the man. You should cut the goat’s throat. Men are the ones to slaughter male animals, not women. What is this you are coming to tell me here? And you actually carried yourself here with your two feet on a woman’s orders?”

“I don’t run my home like that. If she wants to do something that I can’t do, she can do it. I barely have time to do any manly jobs with all the storytelling I have to do. Plus blood makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t stand the smell. I will eat the meat, well-cooked, but I will not slaughter it. And that does not make me any less of a man Waburale. I still have my organ. In addition her learning does not make her the boss of anything, me included. It’s just survival, for the greater good of our home.”

“Wabwire, never trust a woman with any work that you want done well. She will mess it up for you and the goat will be slaughtered in the wrong way and your family will be in problems with the gods. Your children’s children and their children after will cry like goats. Let me warn you.”

“It hasn’t happened yet Waburale. So you shouldn’t have anything to say about it until it comes to pass…”

Waburale went back to hammering the karai and Sengwe was back on hand pumping the bellows with his hands.

Wabwire tapped Waburale on the shoulder and the blacksmith had to stop his work again. He was upset because he really wanted to finish the karai as early as possible and he did not like people who talked too smart and too much.

“Waburale do not be like that. And anyway I did not come empty-handed I shall pay you handsomely with a story. Stories are priceless. You will be rich just by what gets into your ears from my lips. You know I tell really funny stories too, don’t you?”

“What sort of payment is that? Talk is cheap is what they say if you haven’t heard.”

“An eternal payment that will last you to your grave. You will always remember this story. Waburale, talk is not cheap if you, yourself, are talking right now. There is value to the tongue.”

“Wabwire, please sit down and shut your mouth. I have just the thing for your wife. But I will be the one to tell you a story that will help you decide whether or not you will take the straight knife.”

“Alright, now we are in business,” Wabwire sat next to Sengwe.

Waburale told everyone to stop working and listen to his story. He also asked that no one interrupt him, not even Wabwire.

“This is the story of one relentless night runner and my witty, wise, fantastic grandmother. My grandmother slept in the same hut as her daughters. Every night a certain night runner – let us call him Ebhirenje- would throw stones on the roof and the doors and the windows and cause such fracas making it impossible to sleep.

Everytime he threw the stones and chanted his wizardly song, my grandmother would yell at him from the safety of the hut and assure him that one day she would catch him, despite the fact that his wife roasted sesame seeds. It was known that night runners made their wives sit at the fireplace at night and roast sesame seeds on wide and thick iron pans while their husbands did the night run. This protected them from getting caught. The wife would not stop frying the seeds until her husband back home. She would then stop the frying and felicitate her husband on his successful run and depending on her mood give him some conjugals. Ebhirenje was so confident in his wife’s skills that when my grandmother warned him, he would bang the door (with what my grandmother guessed to be his buttocks) laugh mockingly and run off. This went on for days on end and one day my grandmother could not take it anymore. It was time to deal with the rogue.

She cooked the evening meal, fed her daughters and made sure that they were tucked in and good to go to dreamland. She went to the kitchen with a metal karai, similar to the one I am making now. The one that your dirty village women still use for cooking, cleaning and bathing.

The fire in the kitchen was still burning on her three stones. Grandmother filled the karai with cinders. It was exactly twenty minutes before Ebhirenje would come running. This night, she did not lock the door; she merely pushed it so that it appeared to be under lock and key. She then strategically placed the basin of hot cinders a few steps from the door. She waited.

Ebhirenje came, threw his stones and chanted. Grandmother yelled and cursed. Ebhirenje threw his buttocks at grandmother’s door.

“Eeeeeieeeeeehieeeh waah waa wawa yaye my buttocks! You witch! My buttocks are burning! My buttocks!”

This cry woke my mother and her sisters and the first thing they saw was grandmother busy punching the night runner. You see, Ebhirenje fell buttocks first into a karai full of fire. While trying to get up from the man made piece of hell, he also had to wad of my grandmother’s fists. She called out to the neighbours, “Here he is! Come and see Ebhirenje the night runner! His wife did not watch the sesame seeds and they all got burnt in the pan, like her shameless husband’s buttocks! Uuuuwiii come and see! Come and see him in his burning nakedness!”

Indeed they came with their night torches, Ebhirenje had been exposed. They all laughed at him and cursed him, his ancestors and his descendants as he ran of with his glowing behind. In the dark, the buttocks looked like a large firefly from another world. He did not go running the next night, probably because he had a number of painful blisters to nurse. Neither did he run during the following fortnight. Again, because he was still nursing his blistered buttocks. He did not night run for the rest of his life. My grandmother had placed in him a fear that he could not overcome.

Ebhirenje’s wife had really messed things up for the Night Runners Society. The woman just had to forget that the sesame seeds were roasting on her pan. “What was she thinking about that was so intriguing and important?” They wondered.

This here is a true story my friend Wabwire. This incident did occur. I am not playing with you.”

“Ah-Ah!” Wabwire protested. “That story has nothing to do with Ebhirenje and his stupid wife or my wife and I, it has a lot to do with your ruthless grandmother who gave birth to children that gave birth to men who like to play with fire and buttocks like you Waburale.”

“I play with fire and I produce good and useful things. My grandmother played with fire and she saved her people from wicked night runners. Fire is not an enemy to people who matter. As for blacksmiths buttocks, you do not matter so please don’t play with our fire unless you want to sit on it. We care about each other and we have a good life here away from village idiots who refuse to just mind their own business.”

“Fine! Give me the sharp object. I want to go home.”

Waburale gave it to him and Wabwire held it up, very pleased with it.

“Go away Wabwire. I will not charge you for that one but woe unto you if you let a woman slaughter a male goat.”

“Okay, next time I come here it will be to marry you as a second wife Waburale so you can slaughter all manner of goats for me and put fire inside me,” Wabwire stuck his tongue out to scorn Waburale and walked away.

“If you do that you will have to chase that woman away because I am also good at so many other things that matter to men,” Waburale said while smiling.

Wabwire stopped. His ears and cheeks flushed. He did not have a response but he made something up anyway.

“Waburale you are the chicken that left the village coop and went to the wild. One day you will come back to the centre of the village and demand for seeds like you never left. That is the day I will tell them to slaughter you and eat you. I will put you to shame one day for insulting me. First, you insinuate that my wife is sitting on me. Second you threaten to really break my marriage for your own pleasure.  Unthinkable. Unfathomable. Just wait for the day you will need me…just wait.”

“The things you say are unthinkable are the same things you think about when you scream that they are unthinkable. If they are unthinkable you would not be upsetting yourself over them and dreaming of the day I will need you. Be careful what you say storyteller, life is not a story itself. Go in peace and please cut your goat yourself or I will accept your marriage proposal…very willingly.”

“I am going.”

© Linda Musita 2022

Dummy

I do not have a name. I am made of fibre glass but the brother next to me, he is plastic. We were shipped here from Dubai that is what the box said. I really do not know where we came from and who made us but we are here, in a shop on Kenyatta Avenue.

The barking owner barked at the people that work in the shop. She barked like a dog. Exactly like a dog. A silly Chihuahua in fake fur and very long graffiti toe nails that stuck out of her six inch polka dot gladiator peep toes. The people that work in the shop understood those soprano-alto barks to mean that we should be wiped clean, dressed appropriately -in the clothes that she chose- and placed on the window display. This was done in a record nine minutes.

In the haste, I got a synthetic hyena print Versage-Gappana Teddy Chemise. It was supposed to make me look sexy but the lady that put it on me forgot to cover my breasts. There I was, the only thing between my breasts and the male humans was very clean and clear glass. They laughed and giggled. Some had this scary look on their faces. Desire always looks baleful on a human male’s face. I like it when the women look at me because they do not really look at me but at the things that I am wearing. But these men, I am not sure about their erect looks. I do not know if they were imagining their women in the hyena print or thinking or breaking the glass pulling me out, arms attached and biting my painted nipples as they undress me on the pavement. I could not tell.

That group left, another came and left, all day. No one in the shop noticed anything because once they put on display; they covered the area behind us with fabric that matched a theme. The theme on this occasion was Valentine’s Day. The tagline, “Hoooooot and Sassssssy.” There was satin fabric that served as a colour clashing background for my chemise and the green whip on the brother mannequin’s hand that somehow coiled around his groin and pink HugWhoRE briefs. As far as the Chihuahua and the people who work for her were concerned, the display was done. Its purpose was to draw customers into the shop. They sat and stood in the shop and waited…for customers. Completely oblivious of the artificial orgy that their display was courting.

The women paused for a few seconds. They were disgusted. Their faces scrunched against their hands and screwed like suffocating raisins.

“Sasa huyo na matiti nje? Halafu ona venye wanaume wanamwangalia.”

Huyo? I am a thing. I am not a person. Jealousy…they were dying green. I thought they would shoo their male co-perpetrators away and run into the shop to raise an alarm. Instead, they saw me as a half naked, ill dressed mannequin that has the power to cover her boobies but refuses to do so. The permanent red smile on my face did not help my situation. Neither did my hazel dominatrix-dolly eyes. Thanks to the electric thing in my head, those eyes changed colour every other suggestive moment. 

A fibre glass model of a woman was their nemesis. I knew that I did not have the power to lift the Versage-Gappana. I suspect the intelligent of the lot knew the same thing but there is something about a crowd and the things it does to individual human thought process. The lawyer, the brain surgeon, the hobo, the City Council lady and the seventeen year old drop out somehow, when together, end up thinking like merino.

As soon as they caught sight of me, the ones with children crossed the road without checking traffic. Cars screeched, buses hooted, children bawled. Curiosity turned heads and shoulders. All the people in the buses and the cars stared at me. Some laughed, others looked annoyed, very annoyed, two or three took a peek and then pulled their eyes back to their books and newspapers and the vulgar ones just kept looking, wearing the same desirous look that the men who stopped earlier wore.

A chain reaction. Who next? Death? The enigma with a scythe who would come to collect the souls that would sooner or later be hit by a motor cycle because they were so preoccupied with a mannequin’s titties? The Reaper, would probably also be distracted from his job by a fibre glass replica of a woman and for a few minutes more humans would be born and none would die. An unfavourable tip on his scale.

Three days and two nights, they spread the word. Mobile phone calls, short messages typed on key pads and sent to perverts and prudes indiscriminately. Facebook had varied photographs and comments. Twitter had hash tags and soon enough, I was a famous ‘disgrace’. Do not ask me how I felt throughout the fiasco because I do not have a heart like a human being’s heart.

The ironic bit is, as ridiculous as the brother in the pink HugWhoRE briefs looked, no one noticed him in all his plastic glory.

© Linda  Musita 2022

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