I could read in the jam. But reading is sometimes boring. Writing is always more exciting. Well, I was stuck in the jam for a couple of hours today (on the notorious Mombasa Road) and wrote some of these weird (and possibly very weak) short stories:
In a dimly lit room, where the sunshine from outside is suffocated by thick silk curtains and dark shades of wall-to-wall carpeting, there are two bodies sprawled languorously on a big bed, obviously naked under the satin sheets draped over them.
David Kuloba, a man of twenty four years, is peering straight at the ceiling, smoking a cigar, his left hand moving robotically to his lips and away with every puff, when he turns in bed. The satin sheets slip away to reveal a human frame – the skin, a deep chocolaty hue (something Madagascan about it), stretching, curving across and around well toned muscles shaped by hard labour. Shaped as if Michelangelo had sculpted a David out of black marble.
His pair of eyes lock with another. He is looking at —
Kunali Patel, a forty five year old woman, whose bland eyes with bags under them, that badly drawn shape of her face, those corrugated wrinkles on her neck (partly hidden by long and graying strands of hair), speak of her long-endured frustrations. Her face is a contrast to the perfect things surrounding her.
“Why do you find him unsatisfying?” David asks.
Kunali turns, breaking her gaze with him, and is now lying flat and looking up at the ceiling. She sees a hundred pieces of herself in the chandelier. She can taste his Old Spice in the bedroom air.
“Because he is a two-timing, X6 driving faggot,” Kunali answers.
She turns again. She’s back in her original position, gazing once more into David’s eyes.
“Why do you sleep with me?”
“Because I am under threat of arrest.”
David smiles a naughty half-smile. Kunali thinks it’s a stupid smile when seen through the veil of his cigar-smoke.
“Now you will say something stupid.”
POVERTY PORN, ENAMEL CUPS, SOCIAL REALIST MODE, CLICHE, ETC.
He walks toward the dinning table. His movement gives us a quick sweep of this poor household: The floor is cold and concrete, the rust on the tin walls sticks out like a pimple on a fair face. There is a double sofa with sponge sticking out through a break in the stitching. Decorations are sparse. A lonely lightbulb is suspended by a wire from the ceiling.
Tea is being poured into enamel cups by Mary, his mother. Her arthritic hands shake as she does so. Some tea spills onto the formica table. Angela, his sister, comes behind her, reaches out a hand and takes hold of the tea-kettle, easing her mother’s fingers away from the handle.
“Let me help you, mother.”
Mary looks at Angela’s beautiful face. She can see in the fullness of her daughter’s lips and the grace with which she pours tea into the enamel cups that her daughter is blossoming into a woman.
At his seat, Richard is sniffing the air. There is a stench nearby. He turns to see his father, Mark, who is holding his head in his hands and looks tired and beaten. His father is obviously nursing a hangover.
Mary and Angela start chit-chatting at the other end of the table. Their tones drop to a hush and he, the son and brother, becomes curious, and stretches his neck to catch a word.
“I hope he doesn’t come today.”
“Did he agree to give us until the end of the week?”
“He said it was ok. But with these people, you never know”
Richard gets up and goes over to where they are.
“Hope who doesn’t come today?”
Mary and Angela seem caught by surprise. His mother stutters.
“Ahh…noth…nothing that should concern you, my dear.”
He stretches out his hand, having to go behind his short mother’s neck, to pick up his cup of tea. His mother bends to keep his hand away. He notices a purplish mark on her neck.
“Hold on a minute James, let me go get the sugar.”
“You know I have to go early…”
His mother cuts him off.
His mother walks toward the kitchen. He follows her.
Mary opens a drawer. She winces in pain. He is right behind and gently puts a hand on her neck. Mary turns around.
“Did he beat you last night?” He asks.
Mary puts a hand to where the mark on her neck is.
“He did!” He says in a loud whisper.
His eyes squint in anger, but also turn almost liquid. A shine comes to them. He feels his mother’s pain. She puts a packet of sugar in his hands. With the force of his emotion, he presses it until it crumples and some of the sugar starts to leak out. Mary looks into her son’s eyes and sees they are begging for an answer. She shyly turns away, wrings her hands.
He turns his mother around. He puts his arms around her and squeezes her into an affectionate hug when they suddenly hear the house door being pounded. They hear a loud growl. The voice is unmistakably Fimbo’s, the leader of the slum-gang.
Concerned looks come on the faces of mother and son still locked in a hug.
Pounding thuds continue. Angela is frozen with fear at the table. Mark looks around surprised as if sense has suddenly been knocked into him. Mother and son hurry into the living room.
“What does he want?” He asks.
Nobody wants to tell him.
“You have paid the rent, right?”
The door blows open. Sunshine pours in and a figure is silhouetted in the doorway against the bright daylight outside. The figure is Fimbo. He is an imposing person – six and a half feet tall with body proportions to match – a daunting mixture of potbelly and six-pack, muscle and fat. Strong. He has in his hand the fimbo – a concoction of baseball bat and police club. He strokes his weapon along the tin walling producing a grating sound as he walks into the house.
“You freeloaders owe me money. I WANT IT NOW!”
Fimbo establishes a military pose, waiting for them to comply. Angela runs to him, taking him aside to talk.
“I thought you gave my mother until the end of the week to pay up.”
Fimbo stroke Angela’s cheeks. She tries to back off but Fimbo grabs her hand.
“I would have…if she had agreed to let me take you out for nyama choma.”
The brother is inflamed by Fimbo’s action and jumps to grab the groping hand, but Fimbo catches hold of the brother’s wrist and twists it.
“You only look strong.”
The brother, the son, swallows the sounds of pain.
A bottle of champagne is popped open. Kunali pours a glass for Nisha, her best friend. Nisha is no different from Kunali — an unattractive and desperate middle-aged housewife looking for the next thing in life to kill her permanent boredom.
They are seated on a big sofa, like they are relaxing on a soft sandy beach.
“How do you manage to make it look so easy? I always imagine them reacting violently.”
“Easy?! Well, I was quite nervous…I don’t know how I came up with the earings idea. But it becomes easier with practice.”
Nisha takes a sip of the champagne.
“Talking of practice…how PRACTISED was he?”
They both laugh heartily. They sink further into the beach sands.
Some more laughter. The tide has come in and they are rocking like ships on a stormy sea.