A STORY AND A DARK BERRY by Osoch Ogun

Guest Writers, Oranges and Cactus, short stories

The following events I am about to describe to you may be true. Or full of claptrap. Personally I don’t know for sure, but in the end. You will make sense for yourself. In any case, everybody has their own version of the truth. What matters is ,who’s truth makes more sense. I have stolen that line from a certain trailer. Which at the time was running on the screen behind me. I can’t say for sure what movie it was. My location was a movie shop. Those seedy places where they sale pirated American movies. I wasn’t buying a movie. But this got me thinking,what if Trump says,enough is enough.
“From today on wards, Africans, more so Kenyans. Will no longer be watching our movies for free. They must pay.”
He then sends a retinue of FBI officers to enforce this. Boy! Businesses will crumble, just like that 9/11 building. It’s not gonna happen though.
But I’m not a movie kind of guy. I can’t watch anything for more than an hour. I get bored easily. All I know, it must have been some court room drama. Phew!  As it turns out I’m going to study law. Do I appear law material? Voice your thoughts in the comments section or send me an e-mail. The funny thing is, I know purely nothing. Only that enemies of development keep discouraging me.
“Iyo kitu ni mawe.” ( that thing is a rock.)
“Utasoma hadi ujikojolee.” ( you will read till you piss on yourself.)
“Wee Osoch na hii ujinga yako utaweza kweli.” (With all this nonsense you have, will you manage)

Most of the time I ignore them. Despite the nagging sensation in my chest. Pushing me to take a dig at them. Ask them.
“Na nyinyi mnafanya nini? ( and you what are you doing) How’s anthropology taking you?  Have you uncovered a new pithecus?
But, that’s not how I was brought up. Furthermore, I’m baptised, and washed by the blood of the lamb (Jesus). So I just smile and say.
“We will see.”

So I was seated on not just a bench. But a cushioned bench. Entertainment joints on the this side of Kenya have a peculiar love affair with such. From pubs to clubs, movie dens. It’s always that cushioned bench. It’s  wonderful to sit in. Your ass  doesn’t suffer much. And I think it’s why women from this area, have gorgeous backsides. Ps. It’s not luhyaland or luo nyanza.

It was a small bench,sharing it with yours truly,was some girl. She was also resting her backside. What I can’t prove was whether it was gorgeous or not. Her face said otherwise.

This girl belonged to a certain sect, the one you say .
“She ain’t that bad.”
OK, I will cut the long tail short. She wasn’t pretty. Now some soothsayers will start proclaiming. I don’t know beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. But all  that is balderdash . Who is a beholder?  Have you ever seen that beholder? Is this beholder male or female? Does this beholder drink beer? Or it’s whiskey? Let’s not lie to each other.Beauty is beauty, and standards of beauty are universal. If some people ain’t appealing to the eye, they are not. Don’t bring in this beholder excuse. It sucks. And there’s also nothing like inner beauty. Have you heard short people saying they have inner height?? At the end nobody is ugly. I don’t like that “ugly” word. Each person is beautiful in their own way. But that’s not a guarantee that people will notice it. Kwanza Kenyans.

I am always in good mood, so I decided to observe this lady. Since she was right on my shoulder, I just couldn’t turn and look at her. She’ll wonder.
“And who created this one.”
Some things are done with tactic and poise. So I pretended to be reading on my phone. But in essence I was staring sideways. Like a hungry rat. Have you ever seen a hungry rat? I have.

She was dark skinned. Had a small nose. I can’t recall whether I saw a bead on it or not. It was ages back. She had a lithe body, slim hands and one of the most gorgeous pair of knockers I’ve seen. I bet you’re wondering how I observed this from the corner of my eye. I eat carrots.

I won’t lie to you. My eyes lingered on her bosom for a while, then suddenly she turned my way. With no precursor, no warning. The way accidents happen. Bam!  Our eyes collided in an instant. What did she think of me?

“Who is this macho guy. Why is he gazing at my two girls. Does he want to fondle them. Will he talk to me or not. Should I say hi! or he’s one of those silly men who doesn’t understand that when a woman makes the first move it means she badly wants you. Or I will appear desperate.”

I bet that’s what she was thinking. If you only knew what was dancing in my mind. I smiled at her, she didn’t smile back. I wasn’t hurt. I said a meek hello, which she ignored. Like she never heard. Maybe she’s deaf I thought.And the way my voice is, musical, deep and everything 🇲masculine. I like remaining in the shadows but this was too much to bear. I was going to get her attention at any cost even if it meant starting to mourn. I did not cry. I then tugged her arm ,as she turned, I let it out. They way you let a cat out of the bag.
” Girl. I like you. ”
Not even her eyelids moved. She just looked at me, like she’d seen a prophet Jeremiah or something. I’m not the type to give up easily.
“Why don’t you allow me to raid your cookie jar. I can give you smart children. The ones who will build better dams than the that Patel of Solai.”
She smiled. Then picked her purse and left. I never followed. Was she religious? Had she just been baptised? Or had she accepted Jehovah as her one and only savior. Maybe she was someone’s wife. Who knows, this days anything is possible. One thing giving me nightmares though, if she reads this. What will run through her mind?  That guy is a writer. Will she tell her man.
“The guy writing that asked me for a shag.”
How will her man react. Will he start sweating, and swearing in name of his ancestors. That should he find me, God forbid. He will crush my balls. God forbid that too, moreso the latter. Or the man will just smile,hug his woman and say.
“It’s good my love. It shows that I chose well. You’re in demand. But I’m the one who scooped the ultimate prize.”
Best case scenario he will say that, which is an obese lie.
But she did not strike me as the reading type. All the one hour we’d shared the cursed bench. She’d been on Instagram. But not to mean that girls who burn their bundles on gram don’t read. They do, I guess. Or they don’t. Nobody knows for sure.

An nostalgic silence swooped over my bench again. I felt alone, distant. But why? Surely it wasn’t this mysterious girl. I thought about leaving, running all the way home and jumping into my blanket. But then, a man in the room, suddenly stood up, swore in the name of his antecedents then sat. With him were two other guys who were laughing, those natural laughs. Long, loud, till you find yourself laughing too. The problem arises if you’re asked.
“Chief, what’s so funny.”
Because you can’t answer. You laugh more loudly and wave the fella away with your arms.
“He he he he… Hu Hu huhu… Hahaha. Just go bro it’s too funny. ”
The guy will leave you alone. But he will be smiling too. So when you hear people saying that laughter is the best medicine. Do believe them. I can’t.

There was no way I was going to be shut from what made them laugh so hard. I literally jumped into the conversation, I did not ask for permission. I just budged in, the way a tired man walks into his bedroom. But then he finds his wife with the shamba boy. What can he do?? Only in this case my ears were part of conversation. You feel me. In  layman’s terms. I was eavesdropping, the only thing am good at after scaring little kids in matatus.
” I was in kericho for some uni event. As norm, there was this huge after party where people drink and smoke themselves silly. The  debauchery after, can’t be described in words or sentences. You need to see it, experience it. So there’s this guy who is romping with some girl. Oh! she was gorgeous. You start asking yourself, what such a girl is doing in such a place. But you can’t think clearly. The shots of vodka are taking their toll, so you just sit. Smile like madman and watch. But then a man is always a man. The “muhogo” will certainly come to life. Then it might die down, depending on how much power you have. That night, mine never came down. It just kept pointing north. Like that compass Vasco used.”

His buddies laugh. I smile. He continues.
“Then, the guy who had been doing all the romping, suddenly fell down. He was just worn out.I thought to myself, God has a peculiar way of punishing sinners. A look of frustration rushed through this girl’s face. Men can be jerks. I take a swig from my bottle. The stuff I drink is hard you know, so I close my eyes. Opening them, there is the girl. Looking me straight in the eye. Her gaze unrelenting, like a witch. Have you felt your intestines leap with joy. Like suddenly all the alcohol in your system has been flashed. I took her arm.”

I have no idea what transpired on wards. Because at that moment, my phone buzzed. My mum was calling. Returning to my beautiful bench. They had flown into another narrative.

“I think it was the Manchester Derby Sunday. I had dozed off the whole day. My boys come over, pull me out of bed and force me to go to some pub to watch the game. I have a hood on, city score, I celebrate. God knows I hate united. I drink my beer. And I think, this beer is beer. On a table adjacent. Some potbellied men are with young ladies. Good looking ladies who laugh at there boring jokes. I don’t blame them. You can’t bite that hand which feeds you. One of the ladies keeps looking my way but I ignore her. One time I smile, she smiles too. But then I frown and turn back to my beer and football. Some women have a nerve. Out of the blues, like a bolt or whatever that comes out of those blues. She walks over. Would you believe it, asks for a dance, a freaking dance! I say no. Let her dance with whoever bought her drinks. It’s not fair to steal another man’s lady that way. United equalize. Some black kid known as Rashford. The whole pub erupts in jubilation,like someone said (kunywa leo,bill Kwangu). Even the barman dances a little bit. I laugh. Football will kill some people. One of the men with ladies points at me with car keys. Christ!  He had such a huge belly. I bet if he wanted to piss he must hold it then unleash his “muhogo”. I smile at my thoughts, he sneers at me. I ignore him, finish my beer and turn to the game. Lukaku plays shit. Again the lady return, guess what she wanted. A dance. I wanted to ask her if she had seen some posters that I dance in pubs, more so on Sunday’s. I did not. It’s not good to ignore people. So I take the lady’s arm and bup!  We hit the dance floor. Girl, she could swing those hips.

No sooner I had shook a bone, than I felt something sharp in my back. And I knew my chicken were home to roost. This was my Waterloo.”

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By Osoch Ogun. ©osoch2018

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