On the day the products from Kiganjo decided to down their tools, the streets ran red; it’s on that same day that Papa’s church was raised to the ground by an accidental fire, along with some other property of unknown value. Of course we called the firefighters who arrived 2 hours later, with empty fire trucks, those good for nothing men came all the way to contain fire with what? Air?
Papa’s congregation appeared like a flock of sheep that had lost its shepherd. They hung around in a rather gloomy mood, hands on their chins, their eyes slightly watery gazing at what at some point used to be their center of worship. Well , I tried telling them that nothing lasts forever only to be met by scornful glances and lots of shindwe pepo chafu from the older women, who are dominant among the congregation.
On the evening of the next day, I arrived home to a house full of worshipers, hungry and thirsty for the word .These churchless men and women had opted to turn our home sweet home into a church, Papa was at the center of it all, the living room his pulpit, preaching with such vehemence you would think it was the return of the messiah. I managed to make it to my room without being seen by those older women who were busy exorcising demons in the most bizarre ways i have ever seen.
Inside my room i tried hard to concentrate on my History assignment, God i hate this subject. What is the point of studying past events? What does the First World War have to do with me? And those weird looking apes of evolution by Charles Darwin, even pagans know we were all created by God and never rose up from monkeys. Darwin should count himself lucky because if those women worshiping downstairs knew him they would condemn him to the perpetual fires of hell.
When the congregation left our house regained its normal silence. The kind of silence that had always been there ever since my beloved mother went missing five years ago. Papa never used to preach this much, he was a family man, he was always there for me and for my big sister, but ever since mother disappeared things changed. My sister got married at an early age and moved out. Papa devoted all his time and money to his church. We stopped eating together as a family; the only part of the family that remained loyal and unchanged was our faithful dog Bruno.
On the day that mother vanished Papa would just stare blankly at the ceiling as if conversing with it. He reminded me of a girl in our class called Eunice. I won’t say she was stupid or anything but whenever the teacher called on her to answer a question she would just stare up into the ceiling, I think she had the answers written up there somewhere.
So Papa buried himself in his ministry. My sister made her vows. I was left all alone. The television my only mentor until the Jubilee Government killed it in the name of digital migration.
The day that followed was a school day. I arrived home rather late, to find the congregation more vibrant than ever. Papa was praying for two women who had kidnapped and raped a man at gun point. Such nonsense. If things continue going this way man will soon become extinct. I overheard the women confess of how they lured the man into their car in the name of asking for directions. They then forced him to have sex with them and on refusal the man was made to swallow some pills that got him aroused. They then harvested his semen and threw him out of the speeding car. The poor fellow must be traumatized by now wherever he may be. As i made my way to my room these women eyed me in eyes that seemed to say: there goes our next victim. Freaks.
From up my room i had Papa offer deliverance to the two rapists or call them freaks if you want. I thought hard about the poor man whose semen had been harvested. People focus so much on the girl child that nobody gives a hoot about the boy child. I switched on my radio and plugged the headphones deep into my ears.
It must have been at least 30 minutes or so, I must have dozed off because when i came to, Papa’s congregation was in my room. Those grimy old women were chanting in very unorthodox tones and stumping the ground as if in a trance. Another bunch of them were sprinkling water on every corner of my room shouting toka! In case you are wondering, the water was meant to be holy, then as abruptly as they had come they left.
I sat with my mind going blank. I stared at the ceiling for hours until I slept. The room fell silent; in fact our whole house was quiet. Weird huh?
On the next day I joined the congregation without even being told. We spoke in foreign languages and even exorcised demons in very peculiar ways. Papa would at times look at me and a smile would cross his lips, ever since Mother disappeared i had never seen him smile.
There is an odd looking pub that stands along our street popularly known for two reasons. One being that it is the kind of place men go to forget their nagging wives and their hunger stricken kids harassing them in the name of school fees. Two it is the best spot to hang around for those looking to lose their eyes.
Rarely will you ever find me inside this den. Cheap liquor has never been my style. But today I am making an exception, not that I am here to drink, far from that, it just so happens that this guy who owes me money is in this pub and from the time he saw me he has been playing dead on the floor, I on the other hand have simply decided to wait upon his resurrection with great anticipation.
At my table i am seated between two weary old timers. Probably not from around. One who is downed in a green suit is preaching in vernacular and his partner in crime seems to be translating to English. The two stop at intervals to sip their drinks then drunkenly continue blubbing about repentance and the day of reckoning. Nobody seems to listen.
The guy playing dead on the floor coughs once, inaudibly utters a few words, then kicks like a donkey and goes on playing dead.
From across my table there is this lady dressed in an oversize faded promotion t –shirt and a skimpy mini skirt both her hands resting on her chin, her big lazy eyes completely onto me. She rolls her dirty wig with her fingers her eyes still seductively glued onto me.She staggers over to my table and goes on to tell me how good looking I really am, like I don’t know that for sure. She promises to let me have her for the night and in return I am to buy her more of the cheap liquor- no thank you, I politely decline- as if she listens. She exposes her cleavage and big water melons that seem to be screaming pluck us we are ripe come into view. She goes on to rub my chest with her hard wrinkled palms. She is a persistent one. I show her the ring on my finger and she staggers off but not before throwing some abusive words.
She is the kind of woman i wouldn’t want to be with even if it was just the two of us in the world. I am lucky I married Mildred I can’t wait to get home and tell her that. I can’t even begin comparing Mildred to this pub ratchet whose face can even make an onion cry, she is still eyeing me, constantly chewing hard on her gum making bubbles and deflating them.
By now the two preachers are done with their sermon. Strange enough they go around the pub buzzing over every table asking for offertory adding that God loves a cheerful giver. There after they disagree over the money and a short cat fight ensues, one of them, the one preaching in English leaves, his tail between his legs. His partner assumes throne, he orders more drinks and even declares a one for the house. The whole pub goes into a rampage.
The noise from the pub must have attracted two boys in blue who show up in the pub looking like the world owes them. The pub owner calls onto them and together they disappear behind the pub, their long rifles peeping under their long jackets. Moments later they reappear with big smiles on their faces, they mumble some words to the pub owner and leave.
I am offered some free liquor but I decline. What would my friends think of me knowing that I flashed my principals down the toilet and tasted cheap liquor? Then again the preacher assures me that a little drink is not bad for the stomach and that even Christ himself changed water to beer, did he really I thought it was wine? Uh! What the hell, who will ever know any way, with one take i gallop it all down.
We are now partying so wildly one would think it’s the reincarnation of the happy valley days. The lady with the dirty wig is seated on my lap her hands all over me, I guess it’s true what they say; when alcohol registers itself in a man’s head even the ugliest woman suddenly becomes attractive. The owner of the pub staggers over to add more drinks and accidentally steps on the guy on the floor, I had already forgotten about him. The thing is the guy does not bulge.
The rampage and the clutter slowly die like melting ice upon sun heat. We all stare at him. The lady on my lap coughs once and falls on the floor, she kicks and stills. Her eyes still onto me. We all sober up. What is going on? The rest of the drunkards cough and fall dead one by one.
I run towards the pub exit, after the pub owner who is getting away by now, but then I stop dead at my tracks and cough…..once……
THE MUG. The cobweb filled bulbs inside the pub keeps on flickering, going on and off as they please. But nobody seems to care let alone even notice. Outside it is still raining, the kind often dee…
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The cobweb filled bulbs inside the pub keeps on flickering, going on and off as they please. But nobody seems to care let alone even notice. Outside it is still raining, the kind often deemed as cats and dogs but yet again nobody cares. It is that day of the week when all that matters is women, booze and more booze. Thursday. Member’s day. I am seated alone at my table. My keg mug is still full. It has been like that for the past 20 minutes or so and this is weird because i am not the type that baby sits a drink. Beside me near the window pane there is a young fly completely soaked in water. It is struggling for its dear life, flapping its wings trying to fly. I highly doubt it will make it through the night.
The bartender is back with my bill. A young petite ebony woman. Her short skirt reminds me of the tennis girls i used to coach sometimes back. She is smiling at me. I notice but i can’t smile back. It’s not that i am playing hard to get or anything, i am just not in the mood. She notices and her smile turns into a frown. She places the receipt on the table, clicks and leaves, swaying her curvaceous body seductively as if to say: this is what you are turning down. For a moment my thoughts are held captive by her backside. My eyes follow her skirt and i can tell she has a bright future behind her. She disappears to another table. The next time i see her she is hitting it off with men from another table. Slut. My thoughts come back to me; I stare at my full keg mug, unable to even take a sip.
I turn to notice that the fly on the window pane has died. Fellow flies have turned up to pay their last respects. They are buzzing around it. Some trying to push it up not wanting to believe that their loved one has died so young. It’s such a pity. Seconds later they all fly away. I turn to my keg mug and in one take i gallop it all down my throat. Finally.
I should probably head home for a good night’s sleep, but who wants to go home to a cold bed? Maybe i should order for a second mug of keg, and have the bartender with the big behind escort me home or maybe not.
I stand to leave but pain shoots through my head and i sink back to my seat. I stand then fall again, this time on the cold already soiled pub floor. I am struggling to stand with each attempt sending me back to the ground. You should see me; I am like an infant learning its first walking steps. This is weird. I am the kind that drinks and drives home. I am my own designated driver, but now i can’t even stand?
Newton’s gravity is not letting me go anytime soon. So i decide it is better i make myself comfortable on the floor. I am dozing off. My head is getting heavy. I bet i look like a Chinese with my barely open eyes. The rest of the revelers are up on their feet. They are all heading to the dance floor. Something seems to have caught their attention. I literally crawl to the dance floor to get a glimpse of the seemingly strange view.
There is a girl dancing with a strange man and the two seem to have the attention of the revelers in their pockets. The girl is twisting her body in very bizarre ways, jerking herself like she has no bone on her body. Her partner in crime seems to know her next move even before she showcases it and is there to catch her.
The revelers have their eyes glued on these two, me included. I can’t make out their faces but watching them reminds me of Trizah. We used to own this very pub with our eccentric and electrifying dance moves. Seeing all the attention focused on these two somehow makes me feel jealous.
Standing up has proven to be an arduous task for me, but after a series of attempts i am up on my feet. I have decided – its best that i go home. I am staggering towards the counter and as i turn my back the revelers behind me go into a loud cheer. I turn to see what’s causing the ruckus, and i almost fall again if not for the chairs. I steady myself and focus my eyes on the dance floor, what i see makes me believe that clearly i have had too much to drink.
Ever since i came screaming out of my mom’s womb i have been drinking keg and never has it ever made me see the things i am seeing now. The strange man has his left hand ripped off by the girl. The revelers seem not to be moved at all by this bizarre act, instead they are busy jeering the girl to go on. As for the man he is just standing there emotionless and lifeless like a rug doll.
Strange enough pain shoots through my left hand. Blood oozes. My eyes apprehensively dart from my left shoulder to the dance floor, back to my shoulder then again to the dance floor. The girl on the dance floor stares straight into mine, a devilish grin dancing on her lips, it’s her, its Trizah, and that scarecrow of a guy standing emotionless on the dance floor is me. I must be dreaming. No. These are not the effects of alcohol.
Let me let you in on a little secret. Trizah is dead. She has been dead for the past two weeks. I know these because i knocked her out cold with a shovel, buried her and rode off into the sunset.
Trizah grabs the right hand of the guy on the dance floor and twists it. The revelers cheer. Pain shoots on my right hand. My breathing rate is increasing; i mumble some words that even i myself can’t even make out what they mean. From a distance the table where i had sat before comes into view, the mug is still there, the flies are back and they are buzzing around it. Trizah jerks of the guy’s right hand and my own hand falls as well. The revelers are now up in a roar stamping the floor with their hands up in the air. Trizah smiles and goes for the guy’s limbs. Outside the rain begins to fall again. The bulbs flicker and go off.