Monday, August 25, 2008


[The Story So Far...]

“So, Potash...” Dinda drawls. He is high on shit like Martha Karua is high on power. And there is no let up as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out at least a hundred grammes of you know what, in a Ziplock bag. He spoons it out, sprinkles a neat line on the butt and grease-marked bench next to him, kneels on the dirty floor and shoots. I visualise, in graphic detail, his nasal membranes drying up like he just chugged a litre of formalin.

Dinda sits up and hands me the spoon and the sachet. I ignore it but dip a wary finger into the bag and with it bring several specks of powder to my mouth. “Looks high grade, tastes high grade,” I say to him continuing to ignore the spoon.

“Try it,” he coaxes, “if its mine, you know it is fine.”
“Is bilas,” I respond shaking my head for emphasis.
“You is a pussy, P...” He spits. “...always was.”
“Indeed.” N.M. Interjects even though the guy does not use and never did. “Trouble with this pussy is that he always gets fucked but never gets paid”
“You bastard.” I sneer at N.M. “You done fucked me a couple of times and you know it. You knew all I wanted to do was write and you said you were going to get me places but all you did was try sell my arse to tabloids.”

“Come on Potash,” Dinda is coming out of a vigorous nose rubbing session with his face crinkled by something half way between a smile and a grimace, “writing is writing... and some of us- see, those of us from where we coming from- have to work a little harder than them others; start at the lowest rungs and work our way up.”

When it comes to starting from the bottom then Dinda knows what it is all about. As he speaks my mind wanders back to those crazy years in the mid-nineties. We were all out of high school, or on our way out. Some prematurely and others with O'Level certificates that they would soon realise they couldn't use even for wiping their own backsides with. If the eighties decade was lived under Moi's political tyranny, then the nineties was lived under the excruciating pain of his economic misadventures.

Those were the post-Goldenberg years and the phrase Kenyan Economy was a paradox more baffling than President Kibaki or Nairobi Water. While the world out there had long landed a man on the moon, we were trying to land inflation there. While every one else was on the race to map the human genome, average Kenyans were mapping their ways back to, if not ignorance and pestilence, at least abject poverty and despondency. It did not help that the armchair economists at the World Bank had long unleashed their Structural Adjustment Programmes on us: Retrench; Retrench; Retrench. Cost sharing was the buzzword in the government hospitals but who could afford to be sick after that measly severance pay they so ironically termed Golden Handshake?

Our parents had nothing to begin with, and now they had lost it all.

We left school and stared at the future; an unrelenting wall of rapidly diminishing choices. Choices that came with the caveat: Do You Know Anybody? But who was there to Know: the father who took that Golden Handshake, went to Dubai and came back only to realise that every one else had been to Dubai and back bringing the same goods to a cash-starved market? The mother who spent more time ducking or bribing City Council askaris than selling her tomatoes on Tom Mboya Street?

Our parents were not worth knowing. At least not when it came to navigating the economy of a new Kenya.

We stared at the future. The future stared us down, clicked its tongue and turning, bared its calloused backside at us. The future forgot us; left us to strive for one day at a time. Left us to eke simple pleasures out of living to die another day.

For most, school was out of the question. Who could afford it. All things considered, two options remained: toiling for sub-minimum wage in muhindi sweatshops or a life of crime. Two options, two disparate sides of the law. Dinda chose crime. The rest is history. (Or fodder for yet another essay seeing how much time that mercenary writer N.M. spends with him.)

“Is true.” I agree with Dinda. “But this guy could not think out of the mainstream. Think about something like a blog. Anything that would put my work out there...”

N.M snickers and then says, “My blog, oh... My blog, oh... Negro please! That blog, Potash, is nothing but a crutch. It is like all that Napshizzle you ass holes used to drink and whatever you drink these days... Oops, sorry, I forgot you have no money now... Dinda, we need to take this fucker out for a drink...who knows, maybe even buy him a pussy so he can see and smell himself...”

“Enyewe...” Dinda agrees. “But do cut the brother some slack... though I agree that that blog has, in the broader scheme of things, not done anyone any good. There have been wars that needn't have occurred, animosity where goodwill would have profited all and alliances smashed where unity would have kept this city safe from snitches.”

I maintain the obsequious silence of the guilty.

N.M lights a cigarette, blows a plume of smoke towards the ceiling and then turning, the thought just occurring to him then, he offers me one. Our eyes meet for a moment and I do not read even an iota of malice or distaste in his.

Dinda blows his coke stuffed nose loudly. The young boy, who had disrespected me earlier, makes lewd slurping noises. Kamwana groans with yet another self-induced orgasm. Everyone else keeps their eyes glued to the 42 inch television screen as Lexington Steele squirts cum onto the faces and breasts of two white girls.

“Everything you write on that fucking blog, Potash,” N.M. hisses. “the world out there can take it for entertainment or whatever they fucking feel like... but down here, down here it makes all the difference between living or dying. Everything.”

He rises from his seat and Dinda and I follow him into the garbage streaked street.

The Saga Continues in the Next Episode: The Night Watchers

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Okay, so I have been out of circulation for quite a bit now. Word on the street, so my boy Dinda tells me, is that I been lying low because I have finally decided to write that book. Now I am going to sit here and give it to you straight.

Yes, I will have another drink... a blue one now... P.S: I like your arse, can I put that on Dinda's tab too?

You are my readers after all and I have to admit that I have come to like you and you have come to trust me to always tell it as it is. (Okay, cut me some slack Amber, I know there are stories I said I would finish but I didn't, but you know how this ball play: sometimes I get drunk long before I can finish the story. Yes and sometimes I write it but I cannot type it out for all the cum and alcohol spills on it the next day).

So here is the deal...

Is it not funny how some of us is just like village curs: crap, walk away with snout at full mast then turn around and eat humble poo? Look at me now, in a strip bar with NM and Dinda- and them buying me varicoloured drinks, lap dances and Extra. (Man, you know the Extra's what I am about. Out back in VIP. Playing meat to yet another sandwich).

It really sucks the way, you know, all of an easy sudden in the circles of writers my name started to get mentioned. So I went out and got me a little money, some airs and an apartment way up above all you riff-raff. Got gentrified, is what I did. Then the next thing I know, Potash is going down. Suddenly, the remnants of The Potashian Book Club- long disbanded in my haughty exit from the 'hood- just sitting at the Stone Zone speaking of me in shoulder shrugs: Sic transit gloria mundi. My guns from Nairobi's Finest, sitting in caucus and oiling their AKs under a mushroom cloud of marijuana smoke by the railway bridge, exploding taunts: Roundi hii kalikuwa kamejidai sonko...!

Potash hit the ground crawling.

So I walked over to the old neighbourhood and, well, all that knew me is long dead (Kwekwe squad was here!), doing time or helping the police with some investigation or other. There is new kids running that block now and they have no vacancy for a street sage. (Man, down here I was the Philosopher in Residence. And I gave it all up to pursue some snobbish Writer in Residence crap somewhere. Like what stories did I think I could write without these streets? The streets that made me).

So there I was, the shoulder of the street gone cold; boys I was thick as thieves with giving me one armed hugs like I was some faggot and they was scared I was going frot them. (Okay, okay... I like black boys but can't a guy swing a metaphor edgewise?). So what's Potash- yes, it is Potash now, not Potash, The- to do?

Potash makes a speedy getaway towards Kiambu.

But Kiambu offers no love. Who runs into Kiambu if they haven't robbed a bank?

In Kiambu respect comes in a crate of Tusker. If you cannot buy booze you are just a pussy so do not bother the wazee. Sit in the corner with the uncircumcised boys and behave yourself.

Oh, Misery- it does not drip, it ejaculates!

So I hang around Kiambu for about two weeks, keeping to the cattle paths and bumming Supermatch half-lifes from the Maragoli farmhands as they chug jerry cans of milk to the dairy. But soon even they are going all attitudinous on me: Aii, na si haka kamutu mimekaoneko kwa kaseti chuzi- kumbe hakana kitu!
Is of how... what's the dealie?

Now I am chilling and thinking things is thick, enyewe. So this is what I fanya: I go to Mogaka's kiosk.
“Ah, umepotea..”
Mi niko Mogaka,” I say, “Mi niko...”
Sawa, sema niskie...”

Stories, stories. Oh, Like this, like that. Kidogo I have pulled a soc out of him.

Nairobi; Shamba ya Mawe, Here I come.

I go back to the old neighbourhood. Kupitia tu.
I walk over to Kamwana's Video Parlour. Just at the right time- you know the time, eh, when they are showing Six Movies for One Ticket- to catch all the neighbourhood's heavy hitters. And guess who I find there? N.M and Dinda drinking Viceroy straight out of the bottle.

Am I lucky or am I lucky.

So there we are drinking liquor straight out of the bottle and jerking off. Just like old times. Place is up to the roof (which is not that high up, anyway, because this is not the Karen Country Club) in stinks: illicit brews; illicit love; illicit herbs.

Behind me is some kid who was in Standard Eight when I last saw him. He is drinking Napshizzle like it was Nyayo milk. I decide to stress the young one. “Eh, daddy. You finished school?”
“Who died and you started fucking my mother?” He asks blowing marijuana smoke into my face. Is this kid cool or what? If it was two years or so ago I would say that all he wanted to be when he grew up was me. But now I aint shit. I thump his fist, ruffle his wannabe dreadlocks and take a massive swig off his Napshizzle. “Buy your own, loser?”

Damn. What will it take to earn some respect back in this life time?

The Saga Continues in the Next Episode: Coke and Cum