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Monday, August 29, 2011

of bags and men

“Even the scariest of animals is scared of something.”

this is a saying that my cousin loves to repeat, he says it when we are walking down roads we really shouldn't be walking down. He says it when he feels uncomfortable about something or someone he has spied down the road, when he gets the creeps he says it and it assures both of us that whatever it is coming down the road is just like us.

The other day we saw two bag-men and they engaged us in conversation. We had been discussing school and prefects since we were with yet another cousin a young'un barely 17 years old and looking fifteen with it. Anyway across the road we saw these two bag-men, chokoras we would call them in kenya or street-men because nobody could call them boys. They were the kind of street urchin who carries around a bag made o' sackcloth, an interesting irony since in biblical stories sackcloth was the traditional material worn for mourning. It was worn by women who wanted to let their grief show, by Pharisees and people who would tear out their hair in grief and wail till the walls were deaf. And these people wouldn't bathe for the period of mourning. I feel like I made a judgement there that's probably not right, maybe a tad discriminative, I thought that bag-men don't bathe like the mourning Hebrews of old,and that their lives are sad meaningless sacks of mourning where the only thing they collect is the garbage they root around for in trash heaps while they themselves get treated like trash by the same society that may have failed them and doomed them to that life. But there are no wasted lifes and its entirely possible that there is no mourning for some of them and I know that they bathe because I have spied them every so often in rivers like the one near museum as I walked home from school.

Anyway the bag-men heard what we were talking about and shouted across to us in Swahili
you're talking about prefects, but what's a prefect to a head-boy?” at this point we were still uneasy about talking to them because of fear, but they were walking on the other side of the road so we figured there would be warning of a fight or anything like that plus the sun was still in attendance.
when I was in high school I was a head-boy, I was the great hope of my school a really smart, especially driven and multi-motivated young man. I cold read for hours at a time and i passed those exams every time they came.”

we listened to him as he talked, we listened to him as we walked, we listened to him from across the road as he spoke in a quiet, measured way. You know the kind of people who are so used to authority that they don't need to shout to assert it? The guys who quiet a room by talking really silent, the men who have that natural charisma that has assured them all their lives that people will wait to listen to what they are saying and as a result they do not rush over words or trip over sentences, instead they speak slowly, they speak deliberately and everyone listens, nobody jumps in or gets distracted. He was that kind of guy.

Soon we seperated and walked the rest of the way home with a lot on our minds. The truth was none of us would want to be living the kind of life this guy was. But he was a head-boy in high school, a smart, charismatic man and yet life in all its twists and turns had led him to this place where he was walking beside us in rags and a bag full of garbage. It made me think of how life is not assured for anyone, the only certainty is death and not till they put you in dirt is anything written in stone. It was an interesting encounter no doubt and I do feel like my life is a little richer from my interaction with the bag-man and a listen to one of the stories that he carries around in the real bag he and all of us carry around wherever we go, the bag of memories and experiences of what-ifs and regrets a bag that hardly makes any sense to even the best of us even as we go on adding more and more to it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

the spring calender

The flowers bloomed, reds, yellows, purples and blues, lilies, roses, bourganveillas and sunflowers(though to be honest I can only recognize a rose the rest are just flower names I have heard before.). The second week of august is when they decided to bud forcing their way out and showing themselves to the sun and with the bravery of the flowers spring had begun.

But it was late, it was off by a couple of months this year and I had no idea why, when we should have had a spring in our steps as well as our seasons weeks ago we instead had a winter in our bones, at least in Kenya. The month of July, the month of June, the month of August were all dreary and cold, water leaked from the heavens and the mood that created in people matched the weather full suit. The country was filled with surly and sullen youth in no mood to throw parties or even accept that they should. A lot of people blame global warming, and they may be right, they probably are but that’s not the reason there was no spring in our heart, the reason for that can be found in the Mututho ripples.

The Mututho ripples are simply the butterfly effect of reactions caused by the passing of a law a couple of months ago that restricted alcohol sale to evenings in bars and daytime in supermarkets(still providing almost 24 hours in which one can get alcohol if they are industrious.) well to be fair the moving around of our seasons is due to more than just over-zealousness of this one man, long before he gained infamy there was already a push to criminalize alcohol in the country, it has been seen as a moral imperative to reduce the number of drinkers for a long time the way this was to be done was by banning alcohol ads on TV and sponsorship of events by companies that sell alcohol. But it was not till the Mututho laws passed that an event that says Kenya as much as safari does, as much as tusker does, as much as rugby sevens does was changed forever. This was the tusker safari sevens. Well it’s not the tusker safari sevens anymore, now it’s sponsored by safaricom. And it’s no longer in late June and therein lies the problem with our seasons.

Saying that safari sevens was the biggest social event of the year for the youth of Nairobi is almost an understatement. They were so sure of the crowds they would pull that every year the ticket prices went up by 200 shs. In just five years they had doubled from 1000shs to 2000 a rate of inflation threatening to rival Zimbabwe’s at around the same time. And the god of weather got his cut of these amazing profits. Anyone who imagines sevens sees the sun shining down at the rugby players, yellow sun and green grass, rugby added as an afterthought for most of the attendees, and the tusker village...

It was huge, sprawling even and walking into the tusker village it was easy to immediately realize the best thing to match to a yellow sun, hundreds of beautiful, skimpily clad women, food of all types from nyama choma to pizza, chicken grilled and dripping with taste, burgers cooked to perfection, meat here and there and every damn where(no one should take this mean the girls were meat.) in addition there were all these drinks by the time anyone entered, I once went very early and the tusker village was the same as evening people sipping their alcohol right and centre or hauling around six-packs. Sevens was the only event that people would come out in their true colors with no reservations. I had friends who after the last world cup carried a vuvuzela to the event and used it as a horn, not a blowing horn but a drinking horn as if they were Vikings of old. I liked the size of safari sevens. Detaching yourself from your friends, your ride was always an interesting affair cos, at least for me, it would allow me a chance to go ranging not for wildlings but for wild things walking back and forth and getting distracted by the sights and sounds of the place, old friends crawling out of the woodwork, new ones made in an instant because of a shared joke and this sense of living in the old days because there would be so many people crowded in this place that phones just wouldn’t work. It was the wild, it was beyond the wall. Then there were surprises all the time.

I went forsevens once and as the sun surrendered its dominion to the stars and the heavy dark blanket that has holes to let them shine through a performance began on stage. This man was energetic and commanded the stage with an ease that looked to be genetic. His voice boomed and waned; his music pulled you in and kept you entertained. They always have a concert on Saturday night in sevens and as the night progresses this is the thickest place there is, thick with humans having fun, thick with the limbs of dancers swaying back and forth and thick with lust, drunkenness and a fair amount of debauchery. Yet when Femi Kuti stood on stage that sevens all those years ago and performed the classic bang bang bang everyone stopped to listen and take the lesson toheart before continuing to find a way to practice what he preached.

The crowds would swell at night since once the sun began to go down it was possible to get in for 100shs. And so an infusion would begin as the rest of the masses poured in to the place. People who were already drunk and willing to have fun, people who were pissed off at the high ticket prices and would now have revenge by having more fun than anyone else. The crowd would swell in all the key areas, size, ferocity, recklessness, fun. By the time sevens was done any attendee would be bone tired. Oh and some rugby was played too.

And the Mututho ripples took away this bookmark from us. This beginning of the spring season is now tucked away in November or December if there. Sevens marked the beginning of social spring in Nairobi as much as the blossoming of flowers marks the beginning of an actual spring. This was the official release to party, all your friends who had gone to uni abroad were around, all your friends in uni here were on holiday and the timing of sevens could not have been coincidental. For a month or so it would occupy people’s minds, no one ever wanted to pay the entrance and so everyone who had an uncle of a cousin of a friend who worked around the event would try their best to find a ticket that would let them in for free. And when it was done the holiday had began. But this year there was no reminder, the beginning of spring came and passed unnoticed and unacknowledged, the city had not engaged in its pagan ritual. A pagan ritual involving the wholesale slaughter, roasting and frying of meat to be offered up to the supplicants of the god of spring, a ritual that involved the spilling of libations right, left and centre as drunkards became too drunk to hold all the drink in their plastic glasses, a ritual that involved dancing and gyrating, that involved revelry and ranging and rugby, a ritual that was so important to the spring god that for a time even telecommunication devices wouldn’t work since the receiving of sacrifices probably involves a screwing around with electromagnetic frequencies.

The ritual was taken away and now we are months into spring and no one knows, no one can tell. recently there have been a lot of other rituals, but none the size of a safari sevens, graduation parties abound and finally the flowers are blooming, but not completely. A lot of people will say that spring came late this year because of global warming and that’s why the weather is by turns hot, cold, frigid and steaming. But maybe, just maybe it’s because we forgot our gods and the sacrifices demanded of us, perhaps if we had had safari sevens in the right time, in the right way we would now be basking in the warmth of the yellow sun. but I guess we’ll never know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

home for now

We moved house back in January and I still can’t find anything in the new house, it’s telling that all these months later I still think of it as the new house. When I want to get my breakfast I go into the kitchen and start looking for a spoon, I open this drawer and that, I cross to the other side and open more drawers, there’s a sound that comes of me being in that kitchen, it’s the sound of drawers flung this way and that, the metal in them from pots and pans , spoons and forks, knives and ladles hitting against their wooden prison knocking and asking to be let out except I can’t find what am looking for so nothing ever gets let out.

I thought this was a problem that could be solved quite easily, all it would take was cooking some meals, doing the kind of thing that would need me to go all over the kitchen and use everything that I could find but that didn’t happen am still as lost in this sea of utensils as I ever have been.

It not confined to just the kitchen though, all the other rooms in the house refuse to fit, the new shoe pinch just hasn’t gone away or maybe am like the guy in every looting scenario who by a cruel twist of fate carries off 5 pairs of rights. In frustration at my ignorance I have thought in my head and even said out loud “this house has refused me.”

Then I talked to someone about it and he has been having the same problem, it’s also someone else who moved house recently after living in one place for years and it seems to be quite a common problem(of all the people polled-2- the problem exists). You see before we moved we lived in the same house for 20 years, these were 20 of the most vivid years in my life, I grew up in that house. Whenever the word home was used my mind would take a virtual tour of that place and when I close my eyes I still can. I see the entrance and the white and blue floor of the kitchen. I see the kitchen door that we once locked ourselves out of and I had a hell of a time kicking down like they do on TV when they suspect there are drugs in the house. I can continue and walk into the sitting room and I can see the carpet and the chairs there, the roof was made of this white thing I never knew what it was but it had these little black spots in it and on some days I would lie back and look up at it like people do stars, the TV in the sitting room worked just fine except the aerial didn’t for the longest time, so it was a TV for watching DVD and nothing more. If I cast my eyes to the left I can still see the dining room as it was with one of those ovalish dining tables and a mini-chandelier like bulb hanging over it. I can still walk myself to the room, down the corridor that the house had(‘twas a bungalow), and before you got to the residential area of the house you had to walk down this corridor, to your right there was this door, a white metallic door that was put into these old houses for security reasons. It was like a window grill, not really a solid door, all white, metallic, with square holes and circles everywhere when I was younger I would swing back and forth on this door but as time went on it was locked less and less often till it’s place seemed to be stuck to the wall. Opposite this door was the bathroom/toilet complex. To get in here you had to open another door and be presented with two more forks in the road, one leading to the bathroom, the other to the toilet. If you closed all the doors you would find yourself in an octagonal shaped room with space for no more than three people tightly packed.


To go through to the bedrooms there was a door you had to pass, the latch on the door had stopped working so long ago am not sure that door ever actually closed all the way, it just swung limply back and forth like a before picture in a Viagra ad. I had a problem crossing this threshold. I lived in that house for 20 years and yet every so often while passing through this cavity my little toe would get stuck in the wall. As I passed the rest of my foot would get through ok but I misjudged the distance needed for the little toe and I would strike it against the door, it would get snagged in the wood and pulled back like a bowstring and hurt like an arrow wound, the pain caused by the momentum of my foot together with the stubbornness of the wall was excruciating. It was so bad I actually thought that my toe would come off one day, then I would heal and the mind would play that trick where it forgets how pain feels apparently to keep it fresh, then I would do it again and I would howl like a scarred wolf clutching my toe in my hand a bird with a broken wing where only strangling can help. I believed that I would feel that pain forever. I could never imagine a time when I wouldn’t strike my toe against the wall because there was never such a time. And now it’s been nearly 7 months without that particular mishap. I can’t say I miss it, who misses pain? but it was as much a part of home as the smell of embassy kings wafting from my father’s room spreading through the whole house. You see the door to his room had a glass pane over it, am not sure why, old architecture I guess, but the glass pane had broken a long time ago leaving this hole just above it. there was a time in primary school when I could pass hours lying halfway in his room halfway out and take a pillow and throw it through that hole and wait for it to come down on the other side, catch it throw it again through the hole, catch it as it comes down and repeat over and over again. That was at the end of the corridor before you came to the end was the turning to the room where I slept, my room the boy’s room.

Before you entered the room though there was a spot of the house that had suffered water damage for years. That house had one of those old boiler heaters where you would switch it on and wait for hours before the water was really hot, as a result someone would forget to switch the heater off every so often, especially at night. And we would all go to sleep with the water boiling, getting hotter and hotter, expanding and finally seeping out of the tank. Then the house would be shaken with a rumbling thunder, it would shake the roof and we would all hear it. then water would start leaking into the corridor, actually the water would start leaking long before the thunder because by the time I heard it and went to see what went wrong the floor was usually slick with too-warm water.

Then there was my room, I loved that place, have spent more nights in that place than anywhere else in my life and there’s actually a chance that statement will be true till the day I die. The room had a dozen transformations in the time I slept there but when I picture it it’s with different parts of it that I guess felt most like home. By the time we moved we had curtains of some sort, but I can’t remember them for shit. They may have been white or blue, with no pattern on them or the most intricate of details but who knows? Not me. The curtains I remember when I close my eyes had a thundercats theme. This cartoon am not even sure I ever watched with cats and jets and explosions in a dystopian looking world, I remember the main colours were red and black and violence, the perfect curtains for any little boy which is what I was when they were first hung up. But time ravaged them till they were torn everywhere, rags that wouldn’t keep out any inquisitive eye and as boys grow older they start to see the point of privacy so we got new curtains, but I don’t remember those. On top of the curtains was this wooden ledge, it ran the length of the room on that side and was a couple of inches wide. For a long time it was bare but now I can only see it in all its glory. My cousin and I started an alcohol bottle collection on the ledge, as time went by we got more and more bottles, expensive bottles of alcohol, Remy martin and Hennessey, scotch whisky and all types of wine a cacophony of colours and bottles. It was beautiful to behold. One of my favourite parts of the room since that was a montage that I personally contributed to. My brother’s bed was closest to the door and the most comfortable, a sinking mattress, a wide width, one of those cylindrical pillows, if anyone had a girl over that was the bed most like used. I slept on a double Decker below with my cousin on top, this bed was close to the TV and would be used too but with this bed the chances of a person hitting their heads on the floor of the other bed was a too-real and frequently hilarious situation. We had a mirror in our room, underneath the mirror there was a drawer. The handle to this drawer was broken a long time ago too, I can’t remember it or its existence, to open this drawer you had to use a hanger, stick the hanger in a space between the drawer and the rest of the structure and then yank it forward, this was where we kept important papers, result slips from educational institutions and such. If you yanked the whole drawer out there was a space behind it, and this was my special hiding place, I was sure anything kept there would never be found, in fact I left something there and I am itching to go back and get it.

Our mirror was clean, a perfect little mirror with no spots on it perfect for reflection so the girls used to come use it this was because the mirror in their room had a thousand spots, no idea where from. It was like flecks of cement would come and land on this mirror and they were all over. I would try to scratch them away and so am sure did many people but they never came off. This was not a room I spent too much time in. on the odd evening conversation would drive met there and whenever anyone came home to find people there the first question was always “what are you doing in the girls room?.” It looked out into the compound though and had these rose bushes growing just outside its window, on a good spring pink flowers would burst forth and it was the best room from which to watch the rain, am not sure why it just was.
You see I knew this house like the back of my hand, since that simile makes no sense I feel like I should turn it around and say about things I know deeply completely, honestly, in and out, I should say about such things that I know them like I knew the old house.Just like I thought that pain I got when I stubbed my toe would always be there, I can admit that in the back of my mind I thought that house would always be there. A constant rock, whether there was rain or a storm I could come back and find it. If I trotted the globe and saw all these places I always wanted to I knew that in the end I would come back and enter that house and feel all that familiarity. i knew it so well I could tell who was missing from the house without checking their rooms. All I had to do was enter the house and I would know just like that. I was never more at home anywhere else in my life but now it’s gone. It’s not mine any more and it’s going to be demolished soon and then it’s just dust and memories.

And truly this is the reason I can’t find spoons in this new house, it’s why I have no idea where anything is, it hasn’t refused me I have refused it. It’s my new home but I can’t make the mistake of attributing permanence to it any more. Am like someone whose heart was broken so completely and thoroughly that I put up walls that nothing breaks through. So my mind doesn’t bother learning or retaining anything at all about this house, everything washes away as soon as it begins to take root, because while its home I know its just home for now

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sherlock Holmes moments

For a while I have had a sneaking suspicion that airtel has been stealing my money. I put credit on my phone and before I know it its gone. Am not sure how much credit I’ve used but I know it hasn't been that much. I can still remember with pain the time when calling another cellphone in Kenya was 8 shillings a minute, I was used to that I knew exactly how much conversation I could have before I was cut off, I knew that one compliment was one compliment too many and that I had to choose between asking someone out or making her feel good about herself, I knew that all I had was one minute forty seconds of talk time(it was a long time ago and I was really broke), I even knew how to split this 1:40 min. between more than one person, more than two when I spoke like an actor on Gilmore girls. then something happened.

A magical event, something that nobody thought would happen. The guys who decide the call rates in the country watched a terrorist TV show or movie. ask Jack Bauer how much harder it is to save the world when nobody has credit, the answer is very. Those guys in the movies always have extra credit and enough to say where the guy is even after giving his secret code to prove he has access to secrets, people don't save the world communication does. And magically call costs were 3 shs a minute.

I felt like I had been given the gift of garb. I could have silences that weren't filled by that annoying triple beep just before your call gets cut off. I could ask how was your day? And have time to roll my eyes at your answer. All of a sudden I had time on my hands or at least on the phone holding hand, I felt like those guys who had only swam in a stream all their lives and now they could swim in an ocean, a never ending wave of conversation and expectation. But I felt sure this wouldn't last. Wells are never appreciated, once thirst is sated it becomes easier to forget where the hole is.

I knew that soon enough I wouldn't even feel the difference, I knew in no time at all this feeling of talking forever wouldn't feel so long that those 3 shilling minutes would start to feel as dear as those that came before. Then I lost my phone and lost another and had to get my airtel/zain sim-card replaced.

When a sim-card is replaced all that remains to you is your number. You feel like you have the line that held you to life back but that’s not really true. What you really have is an avatar, a shadow of what once was. Like a really cheap clone that looks just the same to all sim-cards out there, when they call out to this clone they find him and through him you but its not really the same. Its missing the things that made the other sim-card special, its missing the memories of al those other sim-cards as every number you had before is lost to you now and ever. A hollow shell is what you hold in your phone and before you know it little things change too. There is this marketing technique that phone companies use where they send you texts all the time, when you wake up, a few minutes later, at breakfast and a few minutes later , they send you many and more texts they send you texts on the days when noone has texted you and on the days when you texted someone you like and are waiting beside the phone for that sweet music that means a text is on the way and you hope its a reply to a witty witticism but instead its yet another offer. Those texts get to me and I called airtel customer care and told them and they promised not to send me any more of them.

But it kept happening I especially kept getting one text all the time but I never paid any mind to it. It was for an offer I had never subscribed to so it must have been a text that they send to everyone, an advert ramed like a notification, those thank you in advance things we put at the end of letters where we have to suck up. So I paid it no mind.

But I had a sneaking suspicion that airtel was stealing my money. Even though by now I hardly appreciate the well of cheaper calls, I don't send daily doses of gratitude to the god of telecommunications(the phony god.) but I can still tell when I don't have credit and when I do. I can still tell that a two minute conversation would leave me with enough for four others. But recently something has been off. Very off. I leave my phone lying on the floor(I usually just leave my phone under my bed so when I wake up I can check the time without moving around)and when I wake up my phone is poorer. And for a while I shrugged it off, I was being niggardly I thought. I wanted to call customer care and bitch but it wasn't too much money and maybe I had lost my radar for how much I talked. So I did nothing, nothing at all.

Sometimes when I had nearly no money on my phone I would call someone anyway usually late at night and talk for much longer than I should have and still have some credit in my phone and this stirred my Sherlock Holmes tingles except not really I was just happy that their computers had gone boinkers and given us time to make free calls.

Then I borrowed credit on Saturday, using this feature where if you don't have credit on your phone you can request some from the company and then pay back later. I took 20 shs. On Sunday I put 50 shs. back on a whim i checked how much credit I now had expecting to see a nice plum 30shs. But no!

'twas 20shs.

Now I had my proof, I knew they were stealing from me and I would call and complain. I walked around nursing this need to rave and rant to a faceless stranger. Then like Sherlock things started to make sense beginning with the text I kept receiving which was more notification than ad. The text that told me if 10shs.was deducted from my phone I could make calls at night for free. That was when it got to me that somehow my sim-card had subscribed to this offer without me knowing it, like doctor House I put together all the symptoms, the missing credit(that I though was stolen) the incessant texts,(that I bitched about) the free late night calls(that I thought were due to a computer glitch.) I put all these things together in my mind and like a jigsaw puzzle it began to make sense. My sim-card had betrayed me, subscribed to an offer without leave from its liege lord and if it wasn't for my holmesy nature it would have taken more than the three weeks I did to figure it out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

a tale of two boys

These two guys avid smokers of the marijuana, were walking around one day. They loved how it made them feel, a few puffs later the whole world seemed better, they got light headed and had conversations about anything, they opened up to each other and talked, just talked. They were weed buddies.

Where they lived marijuana was illegal, so illegal they could go to jail for it, so they laced their crimes with alcohol and took a swig every once in a while ostensibly to hide the smell on their breath but really because they enjoyed that drug too. In order to get to the wines and spirits where they bought the alcohol they had to walk down a road, a dusty road which took them behind people's houses to a path not ordinarily taken. It was like a road from a movie, the surrounding houses all had really high walls, the rich need high walls to protect their wealth and hide their sins at the same time was a thought that ran through the mind of one of the boys as they walked around this place putting their weed in their lungs and their alcohol in their bellies.

But they were scared, there are a thousand quotes about fear, many say that it is not the absence but the conquering of fear that makes sense, that makes a man strong and turns him to that from a boy, f it is only when you take emotions that would weaken you at your knees, emotions that would deign to reign over you and make you their bitch, when you take those very things and bitchify them are on the road to manhood. And so they conquered their fears every time they walked this road, fears of being caught by police, they had had run-ins with the man before, all the time. they had been arrested and slapped around by overzealous police officers, they had bribed their way out of purgatory, these things had happened, so they knew they could happen again, so when they committed their crimes they were alert, alert to every possibility, every probability that could get them in jail or worse.

Did I mention they lived near rich people? Well they did. The kind of people who would have police officers posted to their gates to take care of their belongings. This was the kind of neighbourhood they lived in and they saw a couple of these police officers one day. They saw them at their post and then things began to make sense,

I should start at the beginning of this particular episode whose events stretched 3 weeks but had their culmination in the realisation that there were police posted at their neighbour's house, you see one Sunday 3 weeks before as they engaged in the type of spiritual communion they had personally chosen their sermon was interrupted from behind one of those walls. A Tall wall from behind which an even taller apartment building resided and inside this building a woman lived this woman took issue with them blowing fumes of their vegetable of choice and shouted at them to stop. she told them it was bad manners and in all manner of ways made them feel uncomfortable and scared, one of the boys conquered his fear at being caught and shouted back some retorts. But they were shook to tell you the truth. To the core, her every syllable was a tremor and they were the site of an earthquake high on the Richter scale.

They put this incident out of their heads because that's what people who take drugs do. In the middle of the week at around 5:30 p.m. they were again walking down this road, alcohol in their hands, reefers in their pockets, matchsticks and boxes making an unholy racket as they shook themselves over and over. They could see to the end of the road and they saw a couple of men standing around and doing nothing . The more paranoid of the 2 said they may be police and they put the alcohol away because in kenya even alcohol can be illegal. Those weren't police but when they turned the corner what they saw definitely were. Have you ever seen kenyan police and their overkill. They have on their uniform which is always issued devoid of smiles and in the place of an upturned facial gesture signifying friendliness and approachability they have these AK-47's huge guns with bullet clips for days. These guys have a license to kill.

When these two recreational drug dealers saw these two policemen their hearts froze and entered their throats ensuring they got sore throats from this experience. They walked on without missing a beat maybe that's the best thing about cold hearts their reactions are much cooler. They walked on and even said hello to the policemen as they passed each other.

Mentally however they were doing gymnastics and they though the lady from the previous Sunday had made good on her threat and that now they would forever be patrolled.

However in 2 weeks they were there. Passing back home when they saw that a neighbour of theirs actually had police in AK's protecting his house. As quickly as they could they revised their thought process and decided that the policemen they had seen must have been these guys going home or to a station at the end of a long day. With this in their minds they felt at peace lighting another reefer.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

a story for another day

I would like to paint a scene for this, half of me does the other just wants to jump to the end engage in a little premature litejaculation. But control gives so many more gifts than impulse.

It was a dark night. The good kind of dark, more liberating than menacing. The kind of night that holds more promise for lovers stealing an embrace than robbers stealing a life. The night sounds had quieted down all around us as we walked to my friend's place, let's call him dude. It was the end of a happy night, a night where nothing bad had happened, no robberies, no drama, nothing but fun and people to have fun with. A night where nothing bad happens is a good night for me, recently disaster has been a dog that darkens my doorstep, constantly prowling perilously close to all I hold precious ready to pounce and parry and carry away what it gains.

Whenever it's past time for me to go home and I am in the company of the dude it makes much more sense for me to crash at his place, its right near the road which means there are no late night walks of the type I have come to dread, not for the fear of robbers as much as for the fear of getting tired. When you have had a night out and are at that point when the club has lost its glamour and your bones the stamina you once had the last thing you need is a walk of a kilometre or near as much that it doesn’t matter before you get home, so I crash at dude's place.

Now he has some dogs. I know that all dogs are bitches and sons of bitches anyway but the kind of dogs am talking about are not lady's handbags parading as pets but real dogs. The kind of animals you would want if a thief came a-calling, the type of animals that would as soon bark as bite you, the kind of dogs that need the calming presence of their master nearby just so they don't take away some of your flesh. That presence has to be firm,it must be commanding, decisive and sure. Those are the kinds of dogs he has. They have to scent you, they have to get the smell of you in their nostrils or else they'll be wanting the flesh of you in their mouths.

Over the years I have let these dogs get a good whiff of me, inhale my aroma, I let them smell me so that they won't get angsty and angry when I visit, I let them come closer to me than I feel comfortable with because animals can smell fear. I have always had a problem with this saying. Human emotions are expressed with more than just feelings in the pit of your stomach, they are expressed in adrenaline and endorphines, hormones and fluids that are secreted through pores in our skin and vapour in our breath. And these things, these fluids are the only kind of fear that an animal can smell, if I stand still does it reduce the amount of adrenaline that my body pumps into my blood? If I look a dog in the eye does that confuse its sense of smell so it can't scent the fear oozing out of my skin? I don't think so. But just because something doesn’t make sense doesn't mean its not true.

And so little by little I let these dogs get my scent, I let them get to know me. I didn't do them any great kindness, I didn't muzzle them or give them any special treats(like I wrote all dogs are bitches and sons of bitches), I just let them get close enough for a sniff a quick sniff before they let me in. and it worked, of course it worked. Soon they didn't get too excited at my approach. They would let me pass without as many barks as there are in a forest. But one of them a playful hound would come close and smell me every time. I didn’t like it but I thought all it was doing was playing. Sometimes it would put its jaws around my calf but it never pulled the trigger so I was OK.

In the world of dogs a duo of eclectic singers by the name Snarls Barkely once sang a song called I think am rabid.

Just last week, as I entered dude's house, the night air quiet all around me, the sounds faded to nothing but the laughter of two friends at the end of a well-earned night out, the dogs came bounding to the front door as we let ourselves in to the house quiet as burglars. And the playful hound came to me and put its jaws around my calf muscle. Animals can smell fear that though ran through my mind as I made myself stand stock still with a jaw wrapped around my leg. It will just leave me alone was another thought I had. But this time it pulled the trigger,

“dude your dog just bit me.”

I said this calm as can be, calm as the sea when inside me emotions raged back and forth tidal waves of anger and fear and pain striking the shore of my placid exterior threatening to burst if I didn’t move. But still I stood.

“dude your dog just bit me again.”

I said that second sentence because it had. Now I had two dog bites in me, maybe it wasn't two but my flesh was punctured and a dribble of blood was flowing down my leg. I looked at my trouser the next day and it was torn right through, the smallest bullet hole you ever did see. But we had been drinking and that interferes with thinking so I went right to sleep. I had to shut out the pain wilfully to get to sleep that night. It took me all of 7 minutes 'fore I slumbered which is a really long time fo me to get to sleep.

I looked at the wound when I woke up and it was a puncture hole the size of a fang, beside it were scratches where the rest of the too many teeth that canines have had grazed me. When I put pressure on my right leg I feel like limping. I don't know anyone else who has been bitten by a dog, I didn't even think this kind of thing happened anymore. But i'm glad July is behind me, too many kharmic lightning strikes in that month, now we're in august and they have to cease, huh.

Monday, August 1, 2011

of things lost or stolen

My notebook was stolen from me this week, or maybe I lost it, I can't really be sure, but I hope it was stolen, with all my heart I hope it was stolen. Here's why.

When I finished school I promised myself the month of July, I pledged that month to me and the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures, I would not work or accept work, I would not even begin to look for work, no that month that was for breezing through life, being a lout, a bum, a lush. Mission accomplished.

But that's not why I hope my notebook was stolen and not just lost, the reasons behind that are much deeper and make that wish much clearer. You know why hedonism is bad? Why some people believe that a life spent solely in the pursuit of pleasure is a life wasted, left by the wayside, not contributing to itself or humanity? Its for a lot of reasons but its also because hedonism comes at a cost, you lose things. I lost things in that month. People can lose opportunities for a more meaningful life, they can watch relationships fade away into nothing. I lost too. In fact I lost two, two phones

I was a victim of both alcohol and people who teach alcoholics a lesson in time management and flexible thinking, “you can club and earn,” they whisper in our ears metaphorically, as they snatch something valuable, a phone, a wallet, a wad of notes, these thieves who prey on the inebriated at night are telling them that at least they(the thieves) aren't just whiling away their lives, they aren't being hedonistic, rather they are industrious people. Thieving, whoring and drinking are after all the only universal 24 hour economic sectors known to man. So the thieves steal from the drunks and call-girls get this money anyway.

I lost 2 phones in 3 weeks and when that happened I didn't want to keep providing some thief's wages. After all tax on alcohol is almost 100%, I was paying so much of this tax I felt that I needed special tax breaks, a tax plan for me and people like me. The government is taking out of this pocket, the thieves the other.

One of two things had to happen. I had to stop drinking or I had to stop carrying my phone anywhere I went. One or both and I decided on both. There's this local I go to where I can get drunk if I so please in the company of people who are a pleasure to be in the company with. Hanging out with these people is so good I can actually do it while they are all drinking and am not. So it was possible to leave my phone and not drink. but you see being so near a temptation and watching people indulge in that temptation means chances of you being tempted are pretty high. And I asked myself what the point was of both not carrying a phone and not drinking but I remembered that just because a car has seatbelts doesn't mean you don't put in airbags.

So I left the house cloaked in my two safety devices, a resolve not to drink and the fact of nothing to be stolen anyway. I had the money I wanted to use for the night and if that was stolen doesn't really mean anything tomorrow except a different set of memories than the ones you had planned for. But I had a notebook in my pocket since my i-pad was full.

I went to the bar, resolved to leave at 9.30. then it rained on me as I went there, I actually ran through rain to get there and I was so cold the warm embrace of brandy was needed immediately. And once I touch her I go at it for hours, stopping just for conversation. In 3 all too short hours it was time to leave but it was raining. Raining hard and there were no umbrellas, no cars so we had to wait out the rain. And what else could we do as we waited but drink. The rain subsided at 10.30, at that point it was pretty easy for me to be convinced to go out. The most quietly whispered words would have moved me. And nobody was in the state of id for quietly whispered words.

So out I went. In the morning when I woke to consider my battle scars(a story for another day) I realised my notebook was gone. I had lost it during the night I am pretty sure noone steals notebooks, not half used ones anyway.

This is what I thought for a long time, then I changed my mind and imagined a guy at a club, a thief who pickpockets unwary revellers this guy has to drink so he's not 100% plus he has to act quickly. He has to take a phone when he gets the chance. He doesn't stop to consider the quality, he just picks up the phone and goes. So he saw a bulge in my pocket, saw how careless and generally unaware of my surroundings I was and took a chance. Picked it up and slipped it in without giving it a second look. Then with glee at a night well spent this person looked at their prize and found a half used notebook. Not a sellable item, not a usable item, not even an item with much value to anyone who can't read the chicken scratch I call my handwriting and that person had a horrible day, was in as bad a mood as if someone had stolen from him. So I sincerely hope that notebook as stolen. Some thief somewhere is pretty pissed. And it won't stop him thieving but for once the punishment will fit the crime, after all anyone who steals a half-used notebook deserves to have a half used notebook.