March 4, 2018. 20:52h
Dolby Theater – Hollywood. Los Angeles, California, USA. (As opposed to what? Los Angeles, California, Egypt?)
The Night of the Oscars
Will Smith and Keira Knightley are on the dais with a typical Oscars envelop in hand. Looking on is the host Jimmy Kimmel. They are facing a stretching audience of the Hollywood crème de la crème. There are the Oscars usuals somewhere in the crowd. There is Meryl Streep. Oh! And Lupita Nyong’o. She looks dashing as usual. Of course there is Jordan Peele. Everyone is expecting him to win something for that awesome movie he directed. “Get Out” was it?
The nominees for the Best Original Screenplay at the 2018 Academy Awards are read out.
Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread.
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor – Downsizing
Mark Boal – Detroit
Efthyumis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Silas Ngalaa – I Killed HIV
Will Smith opens the envelop slowly as Keira Knightley flashes that dazzling smile at the anticipating audience. Who will win this year? The Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay is a pretty coveted award. Hollywood is basically calling you the most imaginative human being of the year in the entire freaking world.
Will Smith: And the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay goes to…
…you know how people at this juncture say, “you can almost hear a pen drop”? It really is such a cliché, but it is what it is. You can almost hear the motherfucking pin drop. And Will knows how to create tension. He looks at the Coen Brothers seated at the front of the Theatre. Joel and Ethan Coen. Will thinks they look pretty disappointed for having not been nominated for that script they wrote with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. An amazing script really called “Suburbicon”. Will is disappointed right along with them.
Oh, and Paul Thomas Anderson; God! That man can make a movie! At least the Academy nominated him for Best Original Screenplay. Will’s and Paul’s eyes meet. There lacks that gleam of charm in Will Smith’s eyes that he is so well known for. Paul looks away. He is not going to win this one.
Will Smith: …Silas (applies particular emphasis on the N) Ngalaa… I Killed HIV.
Applause erupts in the hall. There is a sifted and ubiquitous commentator that sounds a lot like a computer saying, “And the winner for the best original screenplay goes to the relatively new 28 year old Kenyan Silas Ngalaa for his exceptionally heart wrenching story, “I Killed HIV.”
Will and Keira are standing on the dais waiting for Silas to rush over and grab the trophy amidst tears and overstated gratitudes… but there is no Silas.
Will Smith: Silas wherever you are, come on up and grab this thing. You have earned it brother. Has anyone seen Silas?
March 4, 2015. 12:52h
Nairobi Central Business District; Kenya
Silas and Jodi Ngalaa got married when they were twenty one years old. That was back in 2011. They were just two kids who had known each other too long, fallen in love and decided, “Fuck it. Let’s do this.” And so they walked into the AG’s office and tied the knot.
Now it is 2015, they are both twenty five and they have been married for four years. Four short years because they feel like they are still in their honeymoon stage. They are still each other’s best friend. Currently, they are carrying bags of shopping heading to Odeon along Latema Street off Tom Mboya Street where they will board a Matatu to Kangemi where they live.
Today is their fourth anniversary and they will be throwing a party later in the evening. So they decided to come to town, buy a few things here and there for the party including a couple of bottles of Vodka for their crazy friend Charles, some food and all that other nice superficial shit people get for parties.
Jodi: Next year at a time like this I will have gotten a promotion at work and you will have finished your Masters degree. Maybe then we can start…
Silas: Coining baby names?
Jodi: No! We are coning those baby names right now. Because no baby of mine is getting called Euphrasia or some shit like that.
Silas: Why not? Euphrasia is great name. Unique.
Jodi: Nope! It sounds old. Like something out of the Old Testament when God was mean and vengeful and batshit crazy.
Silas: I am sure blasphemy can be found somewhere in that sentence.
Jodi: He created people them drowned them. Then burnt the rest in that town. What was it called? Sodomy?
Jodi: (Looks up to Heaven) No offence Old Dude, but you were a mean ass bat-shit crazy motherfucker. I like you better now.
Just then Silas’s phone rings and he fumbles around his pockets trying to fetch it out. When he finally manages, the screen reads “Monnie.” So he casts an involuntary glance at his wife who is busy ticking off baby names excitedly.
Jodi: And no baby of mine will have nouns like “Ephantus” or “Anastasia” or any other names that sounds like an STD…
Silas: (He chuckles and answers the phone) Hello
Monnie: Hi baby. You busy? I just realized my clit has a heartbeat of its own. I am quite horny. Think you can swing by and maybe eat me out?
Monica aka Monnie, is nineteen years old and it goes without saying. Silas “eats” her every now and then. Such a cliché, right?
Silas: I would really appreciate a good meal right now, but I can’t. Jodi and I are celebrating our fourth anniversary today.
Monnie: Oh really? I still think you married too young. Can I swing by?
Silas: Tell you what; why don’t we have this conversation in a couple of days, huh? Maybe then I will have some time to swing by and see if I can grab a hot meal.
Monnie: (Sulking) A couple of days? My pussy will have cobwebs by then.
Silas: I will bring a strong broom to take care of that. I’ll catch you later Monnie, yeah?
Monnie: OK cool. Guess in the meantime I’ll just have to let my fingers do the walking.
Silas: Lucky fingers.
He hangs up. Jodi is looking on both sides of the street so as to cross. Involuntarily, Silas lets his mind wander. He lets it take that walk alongside Monica’s fingers. To peruse those pages. Delve into those moist walls.
Jodi: Who was that?
Silas: (Absent minded) Huh?
Jodi: On the phone; who was it?
Silas: Oh. That was just Monnie.
Jodi: (Excited) Monnie! Damn I’ve missed that kid. How’s she doing?
His mind wanders again. He can see her nude on the sheets with her legs wide apart. It’s now like he is right there with his wife, but he really isn’t. He doesn’t even notice when she goes to cross the street.
All he hears is a loud thud and the loud screech of tires when the bus runs over his wife. And a random dude standing beside him screaming, “What the fuck!!!”
March 4, 2016. 15:45h
Karen Botanical Gardens – Nairobi
Silas is typing the following in his computer;
“I have tried and tried and I just can’t try no more. I wonder day in day out what the hell happened to my feelings. Where did they go? Did they just up and leave? Did they pack a bag and bounce? I can’t feel a thing. I can’t feel pain. I can’t feel happiness. I laugh and smile and hold conversations but inside me is the ever-present feeling of nothingness.”
Westlands – Nairobi
He is lying in bed facing the ceiling. Beside him is Maureen; a beautiful actress in her mid-twenties. They are both panting hard. They are both sweating and they are both chuckling.
Maureen: That was really something.
Silas: It wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t really something.
Maureen: Proud much?
Silas: Just enough. (He rolls over and grabs some smokes from the bedside table. As he lights up) Want a smoke?
Maureen: Nope. Please don’t smoke.
Silas: Why not? The lucky ones are the ones who die of lung cancer. At least they deserve it.
Maureen: I really hate it when you start talking like that.
Silas: Like what?
Maureen: Like death is all that drives you. Like nothing in this life matters other than the fact that we are all doomed.
Silas: Well, aren’t we? If you aren’t living like you’re going to die someday real soon, then what the fuck are you doing breathing God’s air?
Maureen: Can we talk about something else?
Silas: (Blowing smoke rings in the air) Like what?
Maureen: Like your script. How is it coming along?
Silas: It’s a work-in progress.
Maureen: You say that all the time.
Silas: And I mean it all the time.
Maureen: Can I read it?
Silas: Not right now. I’ll send it to you when I am done.
Maureen: It’s a weird name for it though. Isn’t it? I Killed HIV.
Silas: Darling; in case you haven’t noticed, I am weird. (Pulls in a large drag, blows out a long line of smoke towards the ceiling then lets the cigarette lie idly on his lips) Feel like another round?
Thirty Minutes Later
Silas: (Pulls out) Take off the condom.
Silas: The condom. Take it off.
Maureen: (Searching his eyes) Are you serious?
Silas: (With a challenging look in his eyes) Yeah. I’m serious. Take it off.
A bright look of victory clouds his entire face when her hand shoots to his penis and slowly unrolls the condom off the shaft. Then her lower lip sinks into her mouth seductively as she directs it inside her again and shuts her eyes and moans as he marches in.
June 5, 2016
God’s Tablets Bar and Lounge
20:39h. River Lane – Downtown Nairobi City
The Large Breasted Whore
There is a dingy club called God’s Tablets Bar and Lounge. When you want a cheap quickie because you are broke and horny, this is where you go.
This place was recommended to Silas by his friend who is a movie director. She told him one day;
Friend Who Directs Movies: So there is this really shitty joint down in River Lane called God’s Tablets, right? I mean it is really shitty. Like, calling it really shitty is disgracing the spirit of the phrase ‘really shitty’. It is kinda dark. But that is by design. You walk in and you think it is only illuminated by the pale blue and pale red security lights from outside. And then you have to walk along a corridor from the entrance to the club. And there are all these whores just lining up waiting for cheap clients. There are all forms of whores along that corridors dude. Old, young, hot, ugly as shit, chics, dudes…old dudes, large breasted, tiny breasted…
Silas: (Interrupting nonchalantly) Yeah yeah I get it.
Friend Who Directs Movies: That script you are writing, ‘I Killed HIV’, sounds like something that could be written by one of those whores.
Silas: How do you figure?
Friend Who Directs Movies: So I visit that place last night, right? (Adds defensively) Strictly for research purposes. For this new movie I am working on. I mean, I am a respectable chic. We don’t visit dens where Chlamydia is on a higher supply than liquor. Anyway, I have to elbow my way through this ocean of whores right from the door. And there was this old dude with a tummy that stretches from Nairobi to motherfucking Accra and he was like, “I’ll let you have me for a hundred bob only”. And I was like, “what the fuck!” Right? And he totally reduces the price to forty seven bob.
Silas: Why forty seven?
Friend Who Directs Movies: I know, right? Anyway, I get to club and right there on the dance floor is this chic who is letting people do all kinds of shit with her vagina. It was really disgusting. People can get really sick in the head if you let them have their way with you. I mean, there she was; squatting on the dance floor totally naked, and there are all these guys trying to stick fingers and bottles inside her. And I was like, “I am still in Nairobi or did I just totally walk into Porn Hub?”
Silas: So why are you asking me to go there again?
Friend Who Directs Movies: I don’t know. “I Killed HIV” sounds like something that would be based on that chic’s life.
So today he walks in and true to the film director’s word, the place is raining prostitutes. He had never set foot inside Sodom or Gomorrah or any of those other really awesome places in the Old Testament where the parties sounded wild, but he figures they were a little like “God’s Tablets”.
He elbows his way through the sea of prostitutes, all hungry for a share of the weight in his pocket, and finally manages to make his way to the bar. He orders a double shot of Vodka as he rests on the stool and looks around.
It is a little dark. The only light in the place is this dim pale blue illumination that seems to resemble smoke. There is loud Nigerian music streaming from overhead speakers and there is soccer playing on all eight screens mounted on the walls.
He flashes down the double shot and orders another. A large breasted woman occupies the stool beside him and orders a Coca-Cola. The bartender serves them simultaneously. As he takes a tiny sip of his second double shot, she reaches into her bag and fetches out a packet of Rooster cigarettes.
Large Breasted Woman: (As she places the cigarette on her lips which are overly smeared with purple lipstick) Do you have a lighter?
Silas: I do. I won’t give it to you though.
Large Breasted Woman: Why not?
Silas: Because I don’t want anything to do with you.
Large Breasted Woman: That’s a little mean, don’t you think?
Silas: Well, it all starts with the lighter. Then a conversation. Then sex. I don’t want to have sex with you.
Large Breasted Woman: Why not? Because I’m fat?
Silas: Nope. Because I never pay for sex.
Large Breasted Woman: I am not a prostitute.
Silas: Yes you are. Or you wouldn’t be looking to see what drink I am having so you can assess how much it costs. You wouldn’t also be looking at the bulge in my pocket to try and determine the size of my phone and you definitely wouldn’t be casting a glance at my shoes to try and assess again how much they cost. Darling, I can smell a prostitute even before she steps out of bed in the morning.
Large Breasted Woman: (Reaches into her bag and fishes out a cheap Zebra matchbox. She lights up as she squints at Silas, blows smoke away and smiles at him from the corner of his lips.) Do you know what I like about cheap cigarettes?
Silas: I still won’t have sex with you, you know?
Large Breasted Woman: Because they are less poisonous. Not much investment goes into manufacturing them, so they don’t add much shit to it besides the tobacco.
Silas: Oh. I would have thought you like cheap cigarettes because, you know; they’re cheap.
Large Breasted Woman: (Laughs) Well, there is that too. (An almost awkward silence falls between them. Then she finally speaks frankly and after deliberate contemplation) Look kid, it is just sex. And I am having a slow night. OK? Or I would not be here embarrassing myself like this in front of you. You are here already so you must have thought about screwing a whore tonight. I’ll come cheap and I’ll treat you like a king.
Silas: Don’t treat me like a king. Just let me treat you like a whore.
They don’t even get a room. He just takes her out back in the dark alley that reeks of piss and shit and vomit, bends her over, makes her drop her torn panties to her ankles, lubricates her up with his saliva and takes her from behind. And he feels at home there. He doesn’t even know what gets him off first. The recklessness or the fact that there are about four other people doing it in that very alley. Maybe the fact that there is an audience gets him off faster than he wished.
But as he hands her that fifty shillings note ten minutes later, he knows he has a little something to add to his script. “I Killed HIV”. The story of his life.
July 1, 2016. 00:12h
Madaraka – Eastlands Nairobi
Silas jumps off the bed naked and goes off to the balcony for a midnight smoke. The naked woman in bed is Liz. She is also a writer in her late twenties. Currently, she is rolling a blunt and Silas doesn’t know where to rest his eyes. The blunt or the breasts? He chooses the balcony.
Once Liz finishes rolling the thick and longish blunt, she lights it up and joins him out at the balcony. She is now in his shirt.
Liz: Aren’t you cold?
Silas: Do you give a fuck?
Liz: I would. If you’d let me.
Silas: Well I won’t. So don’t. (He crashes the cigarette out against the wall and throws the butt into the abyss below, then takes the joint from Liz and takes in a large drag.)
Liz: You know it ain’t supposed to be this hard, right?
Silas: (As the smoke takes a lazy stroll out of his nostrils) What isn’t?
Silas: Are you having a difficult time fucking me?
Liz: Yes Sy. Yes I am. Don’t get me wrong. You are the best fuck I have ever had but you are an animal man. You fuck as if you are trying to get rid of some pain that is stuck inside you. And you won’t even talk about it.
Silas: (Blows out the smoke, takes another drag, passes the joint over to Liz and looks out into the darkness thoughtfully.) Are you falling for me Liz?
Liz: (Defensively) Nope!
Silas: Good. Then stop trying to act all human and shit. We’re just fucking. Not dating.
Liz: I don’t think I can do this anymore.
Silas: Do what?
Liz: Have sex with a rock.
Silas: Yeah? Why not?
Liz: I want someone I can talk to. I want some warmth. Not someone who just fucks me and leaves.
Silas: Well, you need to look up the meaning of the word, “Friends with Benefits.” If you don’t want to do this anymore, feel free to leave.
Liz: (Silently) Sy?
Liz: I live here.
September 19, 2016. 16:53h
Platinum Club. Ongata Rongai. Kajiado County
There is a board reading “I Killed HIV. Scene 34. Take 3.” Silas is walking around telling the actors in that particular scene what he needs from them. There is a girl in the cast called Maimuna. She is eighteen and one of the central characters in this particular scene. Her character is called “Genny with a fucking G”.
She is one of those girls whose skin resembles chocolate and has eyes that remind one of a Chinese national. Her natural hair is long and braided on one side and this scene requires her to be in a crop top and a tiny skirt.
It is a club scene in the movie “I Killed HIV”. She is seated at the bar alone having a drink and the main character is trying to pick her up. It is that simple.
She is sharing the scene with the central character in the movie. His name is Kasi. Once Silas has gone round doing that and after making sure that the lighting and the sound are in order, he stands behind a RED camera and yells;
A seemingly thoughtful Maimuna (now in her character “Genny with a Fucking G”) is seated at the bar alone with a glass of red wine in hand. Her lips are covered in bright red lipstick. When she takes a sip of the wine, a bit of the red is smeared on the brim of the glass every time. She doesn’t appear to notice it.
She takes her phone off her clutch-bag and makes a call that goes unanswered. The look on her face displays utmost desperation and dejection. So she quickly types a message that reads,
“Please baby pick up the phone. I’m really sorry!!!!!!!!!! I’m FUCKIN’ SORRY I SWEAR!!!!”
Seconds later, the phone vibrates and thinking that it is “baby” texting back, she eagerly turns the screen on only to see; “Buy any amount of airtime with M-PESA at no extra cost. Simply go to M-PESA menu and select Buy Airtime. Safaricom keeps you confidently connected.”
Genny with a Fucking G: (Hissing between clenched teeth.) Motherfuckers!
Then Kasi comes along, occupies the stool beside her, casts a couple of seemingly casual glances at her, at her thighs and boobs and says;
Kasi: You shouldn’t look so worried. Whoever he is, I’m sure you realize he’s worth the pain you’re going through. And as soon as he realizes that, he’ll start to come around.
She turns to him with varying degrees of emotions swimming all over her baby face. And questions. So he proceeds…
Kasi: You look worried. You keep calling but he isn’t picking up. You keep texting but he isn’t replying. That means that you fucked up. And you’re sorry. He’ll realize that. Soon enough. Just hang in there. (He searches her face and sees no signs of rejection. So he moves closer and offers her his hand.) Kasi. Johnstone Kasi.
Genny with a Fucking G: Genny. (Shakes his hand) With a G.
Kasi: (Cautious chuckle) Genny. With a fucking G. Nice to meet you. Can I get you another one of those? (Referring to her drink) You sure look like you need it.
Genny with a Fucking G: My mama always said not to accept drinks from strangers.
Kasi: (Smiling) Smart mother. If you had listened to her more often, you wouldn’t have fucked up so bad.
Genny with a Fucking G: (Chuckles, smiles and lets her eyes take a swim on the ocean of beauty that is Kasi’s face) Yeah. You’re probably right.
Kasi orders drinks for both of them and once they are here, he lifts up his glass and proposes a toast;
Kasi: Here is to fucking up and learning.
Genny with a Fucking G: To fucking up and learning.
They clink glasses, it is bottoms up and Silas yells;
There are a few claps from around the film set and someone says something about it being a wrap. The Director of Photography seems happy. The Soundman isn’t complaining. That was a good scene.
The movie shoot is done for the day. Silas is packing up a camera and other equipment and the set is busy as everyone prepares to pack it in for the day.
Maimuna struts over to him in a tight fitting grayish dress and red heels. It is one of those sleeveless dresses that appear to accentuate every bit of a woman’s figure. And Maimuna has a body to die for. It also doesn’t quite reach her knees so it exposes a lot of her fine legs. And the heels do great when it comes to maximizing on the perfection that is her legs.
Silas: (Not looking up from the bag that he is currently zipping up) Yes?
Maimuna: I know you wrote “I Killed HIV” yourself, but can I just ask a stupid question?
Silas: I can’t get enough of those Maimuna.
Maimuna: OK. Did you write the script yourself?
Silas: (Chuckles) You’re right. That’s a stupid question.
Maimuna: (Getting excited) I know! I know! But… it’s just; it really is a gorgeous script. I swear to God. It is the best thing I have ever read.
Silas: Thank you very much.
Maimuna: No! (Stressing it as if thinking that Silas doesn’t exactly get the depth of her compliment) I am serious! It is like literary genius! I remember the first time I read it I was like, “What! Is this written by a Kenyan?”
Silas: Yeah. People ask that all the time. As if Kenyans are only supposed to write shit.
Maimuna: Yeah. And I am sorry I fell in that category. Your work; goddamn! It enlightens me. It took me from here (places her immaculate hand at a low level) to here (lifts her hand up her head). Please allow me to shake your hand sir.
Silas: (Manages to smiles in spite of himself) Well, thank you. (Shakes her hand.) Thank you very much.
Maimuna: No! No sir! Thank you! I mean, first of all you come into my life with the best story ever reduced to writing by anyone (whispers loudly for emphasis) in the entire motherfucking world, and you don’t stop there. You give me a role in the movie from that story. You may not know this, but I owe you (there is that whisper again. For emphasis) my motherfucking life. Thank you Sir. (Touches her chest emotionally) Thank you very much.
Silas: You auditioned for the role. You earned it.
Maimuna: (Makes as if to walk off, but then turns around) Hey, do you think you could ever grab a cuppa with someone like me?
Silas: Yes sure. Why not?
Maimuna: (Celebratory dance) Yaaaas!
Silas: A quick question though. What’s a cuppa?
Maimuna: Oh. It’s a cup of… Like a cup of tea. Or coffee. Or something.
Silas: Or something, huh?
Maimuna: Well, most people don’t do tea or coffee. So you just say a cuppa.
Silas: Never heard of it. Must be a generation gap thing.
Maimuna: Yeah? I am eighteen. Your Wikipedia page says you are twenty six. Not much of a generation gap.
Silas: Another quick question. And this is me ignoring the fact that you just admitted you have been stalking me.
Maimuna: OK. I am getting a little nervous here. Are you going to say no after all this?
Silas: Depends. What did you mean by “…do you think you could ever grab a cuppa with someone like me?”
Maimuna: You know. You are like up here (put her hand above her head) and I am just down here (put her hand below her knee). You’re like a god of literature and I am just a mere mortal.
Silas: Alright, tell you what; why don’t you drop the kiss-assery and we’ll grab all the cuppas you want? How about that?
Maimuna: Alright. Here’s to many cuppas and zero ass-kissery.
October 5, 2016. 01:17h
Westlands – Nairobi
There is a glass table in Silas’s living room. On this table is cocaine in a tiny bag. There is a broken piece of glass on this glass table. On this glass is an untouched thick line of cocaine. Lying beside it is a crispy two hundred shillings note that has been rolled up into a thin pipe.
Beside this table on the floor is a small heap of clothes. Also on the floor is the twenty four year old police constable Santana aka Santa on all fours. Silas is currently taking her from behind roughly. His hand is on the back of her neck pushing her face into the carpet.
He is rough with her and the slapping sounds they are making seem to leave him undaunted. They in fact seem to invigorate him. That and her loud moaning and guttural breathing. Suddenly he pulls out, and tells her;
Silas: Lie on your back.
She obliges him and lies on her back. As she lies back, he takes the opportunity to swing by the table, grab the note and snort in the thick line of cocaine on the broken piece of glass. He throws his head back violently and appears to sniff all God’s oxygen in the room. There is white powder at the base of his nose.
His index finger disappears into his mouth as he rubs his teeth with it and also runs his tongue over his teeth.
Silas: Fuck yeah!
Santa looks at him.
Santa: You look like you have just been chiseled out of a piece of wood.
Silas: Yeah? How so?
Santa: Well, I don’t know. Maybe it is the abs or maybe it is the muscles or maybe I am just really horny right now and you are there snorting coke instead of fucking me.
Silas: I am done having sex tonight. (His finger crosses over to his nose because there is some moisture there. He rubs it and looks at it.)
Santa: Oh my God. Is that blood?
Silas: Relax. (Rubs the blood off with the back of his hand as he pours himself another thick line of coke) It is just blood. You are a cop. You guys see blood all the time.
Santa: (As she rises up and rummages the heap on the floor for her panties) There is something wrong with you Sy.
Silas: Yeah. That is what they tell me.
Santa: You think you are so hot, huh? Women are just lining up to fuck you, right? Is that why you are such a hot head?
Silas: I have no idea what you are on about sweetheart. (He blocks one side of his nose with his finger as he snorts in the other line of coke, throws his head back again and grunts) Ah fuck! I am feeling too good right now to handle your shit.
Santa: And now you are just bored with having sex with me? Just like that (snaps her fingers) you are no longer interested in me. How is that supposed to make me feel?
Silas: What makes you think that this is about you? I just don’t want to have anymore sex tonight. Leave me alone.
Santa: I can get nasty if you want.
Silas: Is that some sort of an invitation?
Santa: You think you are crazy, right?
Silas: It has been said.
Santa: Well, you ain’t seen crazy until I have showed it to you. You want me to keep you interested? I’ll keep you interested.
She is in her panties now but nothing else. Silas watches with a bright light in his excited eyes as she bends over on the floor and grabs her coat. She fetches a pair of cuffs from it and also a revolver. The revolver has six bullets.
Silas: Are those live bullets?
Santa: (She unloads the gun; she shakes the rounds out on to her palm, places five bullets on the table and loads one bullet into the chamber. She spins the chamber so that there is no knowing where the bullet lies exactly; then she snaps it into place.) What do you think?
Silas: What are you going to do?
Santa: Let’s go to bed. You’ll find out.
Before they leave, she fixes a thin line for herself and snorts it all. If she knew she would be snorting cocaine with The Mighty Silas at this ungodly hour, she probably wouldn’t have left the bed in the morning.
In the bedroom, she cuffs his hands to the head of the bed, takes her panties off and sits astride him. He is quite flaccid. The room is dimly lit with fading orange lights.
Silas: What now?
Santa: (Points the revolver with one bullet in it to his head) Ever played Russian Roulette?
Silas: (Excited) Never had the opportunity
Santa: Well, today is the day. (She corks the gun loudly and touches his forehead with the muzzle) You have three seconds to get hard or I am pulling the trigger.
Silas: You think that will work?
Silas: You know you have to touch it or something, right?
Silas: You just can’t coerce a boner into me.
Santa: Three. (She pulls the trigger and Silas freezes)
Silas: What the fuck! You actually pulled the fucking trigger! Are you crazy?!
Santa: Get hard; bitch! (She corks the gun again and points it to his head) Think about me! Think about ramming into me hard. That is how you like it, right? You don’t do vulnerability, do you? You just want to be mean and stubborn and crazy. Well, congratulations! You have met your match! One!
Silas: Get me out of these cuffs! NOW!
Silas: (Struggling violently to get his hands off the cuffs) I swear if I ever get out of these I will kill you!
Santa: Three! (She squeezes the trigger again and again the chamber clicks empty) You only have three chances left darling. Three chances tops. Get hard or die!
Silas: Is this a rape?
Santa: If you want it to be. Is that what you want? Do you want to be the guy that got raped by a woman? Is that the fantasy that can get you off? (Corks the gun again and points it to his head) Huh bitch? Don’t my boobs do it for you? In their mighty succulence and armed with these pointy nipples? Doesn’t the thought of sucking on them get your rocks hard?
Silas: (You can almost touch the defiance oozing out of him. He has red capillaries filling his eyes to a scary point. Almost as if he is bleeding from them. There are veins jutting out of his neck and forehead and he is breathing and groaning and grunting and moaning really deeply.) Hmmmm. I will murder you once I get off these cuffs.
Santa: That’s right. I will let you murder me. But you will have to get out of the cuffs first.
Silas: And I will choke every bit of life from you…
Silas: Pull it already! Pull the trigger you narcissistic cunt! Do it! (She pulls the trigger and it clicks an empty chamber) FUCK!
He hasn’t realized it but he is really hard right now. She is now laughing but her laughter is like the crack of breaking twigs. There is such wildness in both their eyes. She takes him and directs him inside her.
Santa: Yeah. That wasn’t so hard now, was it?
Silas: I am still going to do bad bad things to you when I am free.
Santa: Oh yeah? What bad things? Spell them out for me. Say them you coward, say them!
Silas: (Defiantly) Make me!
She grabs his throat and squeezes. She is also flexing her vaginal muscles at the same time. Teasing and torturing him simultaneously. His mouth flies open and she sticks the gun inside and pulls the trigger. It clicks an empty chamber and Silas curses loudly. For the first time, he seems scared.
Santa: I am going to blow your brain all over this fucking bed Silas! For me and for all those women you fuck and dump like trash! I am going to fuck you up if you don’t tell me what it is exactly that I need to hear. Say it! (She takes the gun off his mouth)
Silas: What do you want to hear? What?! Huh! WHAT? That I am bad news? That I wriggle into women’s lives and panties and turn them inside out?! That sex is just empty sex to me and the number of women I fuck means the whole motherfucking world to me? Fuck you Santa! I’m going to fuck and dump you because you don’t mean shit to me! Then I am going to fuck your best friend and her best friend and her best friend and her cousins and I am going to leave behind me a long line of used pussies and broken hearts because that is what I do! I fuck and dump so pull that trigger one more time or I am sure as fuck going to dump you too! (Eyes wide open) I promise.
Her eyes are eating his out. They are cold. Calculating. She places the gun on his forehead and slowly starts squeezing the trigger back. There is now a fifty percent chance that the chamber won’t strike empty this time. A fifty percent chance that if she squeezes the trigger, she’ll kill him. She knows it. He knows it. It feels like the whole world knows it.
Silas: (Hissing) Do it. I dare you Santana. Squeeze that trigger, or you’ll just be another boring piece of ass to me. And the only interesting thing about you will be that your mama, in the very definition of ignorance, gave you a dude’s name. (There are tears now welling in her eyes. This seems to encourage him) Pull it Santa! Do it! Or you will be an ignorant cunt. (He makes sure he is looking right inside her eyes for this last part.) Just like your mother.
She hasn’t taken her eyes off his one bit. They are just two damaged people, panting and wallowing in their ranging raging depths of hurt. She slowly slides the gun across his face and down to the pillow. This time when she squeezes the trigger, the gun goes off with a muffled sound. Pillows feathers fly and tears trickle down her face.
Santa: I knew you were as damaged as I was the moment I met you. I guess I hoped that messy sex between us would fix me. I thought I would use sex to mend the broken parts in me just the way you use cocaine to numb the pain inside you.
Silas: There is no fixing damaged people like us. We are too far gone. We welcomed the darkness a long time ago.
Santa: What happens now?
Silas: We can fuck.
Santa: Let me use you. I will let you use me. And one day we’ll be addicted to each other. We’ll have taken each other to corners so deep, depths so scary; we’ll scar each other in ways so hurtful that we will load this gun and share bullets.
Silas: That almost sounds beautiful. Share bullets in the same way we’ll share every other pain and misery.
Santa: Simply put…
Silas: …let’s fuck…
Santa: …till death doth us part.
Silas: And trust me…
Santa: …it will.
October 22, 2016. 08:12h
Kaldis Coffee lounge. Kimathi Street. Nairobi Central Business District
He is seated at a booth in the corner reading a book. The book is called “Women” by Charles Bukowski. There is a cup of coffee and two samosas in front of him. He is so engrossed in it that he doesn’t see her right up until she touches his shoulder. He looks up and there she stands in a white long sleeved tight fitting top and blue jeans and a white cap. And that angelic smile that kills him every damn time!
Silas: (Smiling genuinely) Hi. (Closes the book, stands up and hugs her firmly. He is pleased to see her.) You look amazing.
Maimuna: Thank you. (Sits down and places her handbag beside her as she smiles at him) You look great too. Have you been working out?
Silas: Only in my head.
Maimuna: What are you reading? You seemed so engrossed in it. I almost felt terrible for interrupting.
Maimuna: (Laughs) Come on. Don’t try to guilt me out.
Silas: I’m just messing with you. (Opens the first page excitedly) It is called Women by this crazy dude called Charles Bukowski. Hear how his starts the story. (Reading) “I was 50 years old and hadn’t been to bed with a woman for four years. I had no women friends. I looked at them as I passed them on the streets or wherever I saw them, but I looked at them without yearning and with a sense of futility. I masturbated regularly, but the idea of having a relationship with a woman– even on non-sexual terms–was beyond my imagination.”
Maimuna: (Exclaiming) What the hell!
Silas: I know, right?! He is really insane. And you should read this guy’s poetry too. It is so raw. So vulnerable. So painful and yet so full of heart! Goddamn I would give my left nut to be in Charlie Bukowski’s head for just a minute.
Maimuna: Is that all your left nut is worth?
Silas: Well, I’m hoping that time in Bukowski’s head moves slowly. Like in that movie called Inception.
Maimuna: Aaw! Inception! I loved that movie! I love anything with Leo DiCaprio in it! Gosh! Like last night, I was watching “Basketball Diaries” with my mom, right?
Silas: Basketball Diaries?
Maimuna: Yeah. It is this really old movie about these kids who are addicted to drugs and shit…
Silas: Yeah. I know Basketball Diaries. I am just surprised that you’d watch it with your mom. And it is from 1995. That ain’t so long ago.
Maimuna: Well, considering I was born in 1998… (Drop a helpless shrug jokingly) Not all of us are dinosaurs, you know?
Silas: (Laughs heartily) Fuck you very much Muna.
Maimuna: Aww. You called me Muna. I love it when you call me Muna…
Two Weeks Later
They are in his bed –
Silas: I don’t get it, OK? You are in my house at two in the morning and you don’t want to have sex? What the hell Muna!
Maimuna: I am scared, OK? Please stop getting angry with me.
Silas: Then stop leading me on.
Maimuna: Is that all you want from me? You just want to have sex?
Silas: It is not ALL I want from you, but fuck yeah I want to have sex! Jesus Christ lady! It is what men and women do. They screw! They meet, they like each other and they fuck the brains out of each other! It is not exactly a novel idea.
Maimuna: But I want to wait. I like you Sy, I really do.
Silas: Then what’s the problem?
Maimuna: I just want to know that I mean something to you before we do it, OK?
Silas: Fine. (After a few seconds.) Get out.
Silas: Get out of my fuckin’ house.
Maimuna: Sy? It’s three in the morning
Silas: GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HOUSE! NOW! FUCK! GO! (He is pointing at the door so violently that she thinks his hand will drop off)
She jumps out of the bed whimpering and crying and grabs her phone and handbag. As she is leaving, she sees him open a drawer and pull out a small bag with some white powder in it. At first she doesn’t think much about it. Then she sees him pour some of it on the back of his hand and snort it violently.
Maimuna: What is that Sy?
Silas: What the fucking fuck are you still doing here? I thought I told you to leave.
Maimuna: Is that Cocaine?
Silas: Yes mom. Yes it is cocaine and it is very bad for my health. Yet I love it so bloody much. Can you go now please? Or do I have to pull out my revolver and shoot you in the head?
Maimuna: Sy, this is not you. Please stop doing this.
He rubs his nose and runs his tongue over his teeth then stands really close to her. Uncomfortably close.
Silas: (Whispers in her ear) We have made a great movie you and I Maimuna. We have had fun. We are going to win awards together. Who knows? Maybe we even stand a shot at getting nominated for an Academy Award or two together. But if you don’t get your ass out of my goddamn motherfucking dungeon right now, I will toss you off the balcony. I don’t believe in God, but I swear by the fondness I have for you (makes eye contact) I will kill you.
She is trembling. But she is trying to control it a little. She heads for the door and he heads back to his bag of coke. At the door, she turns around;
Silas: Don’t tell me you live here. I am not that stoned yet.
Maimuna: Someone once said that there is a thin line between genius and insanity. I think you are a genius writer. And a great director too. But there is something terribly off about you. You need help.
Silas: Are you done?
Maimuna: Please don’t kick me out of your life.
Silas: You should thank whatever god you bend your knee to that I am not kicking you off the balcony too.
Maimuna: I am a virgin. I guess I just wanted my first time to be with someone that will actually be interested in spending the rest of his life with me.
Silas: (Carelessly) Yeah? Well, good luck with that.
November 23, 2016. 19:49h
Chomazone: Thika Superhighway
I Killed HIV Film Reshoots
The entire establishment has been shut down for the movie reshoots. Maimuna is in her character Genny with a fucking G and she is breaking down. The scene involves her trying to get Kasi to find some meaning in his life.
There are many extras in the scene going about their business which involves drinking beers, eating nyamachoma and ugali, telling stories loudly and laughing uproariously.
Silas is behind a large screen watching –
Kasi: What part of “leave me alone” don’t you get Genny?
Genny with a Fucking G: I would if I could but I can’t. I mean, what the fuck am I expected to do here Kasi? Last time I walked away, do you remember what happened?
Kasi: And what business is it of yours what happens to me? I know I fuck good, but not that good.
Genny with a Fucking G: Fine! It will hurt for a bit, but I will get over your shit. It will feel like I am standing in the middle of the highway just dodging approaching trucks and goddamit that scares the living shit out of me! But I will be…
The guy playing Kasi and Maimuna turn to him with quizzical expressions on their faces. Silas is just seated there behind a huge screen that shows the entire set. His face shows that he is crashing. Frustrated. He rubs his brows and slides off his seat.
Silas: Looks guys, your acting is good. Might even be the best I have ever seen. Y’all move right, your expressions are convincing, but I don’t feel the fear. Maimuna, you are about to lose this guy you love so much. I do see the anger and the vulnerability, but I don’t feel your fear.
Maimuna: I don’t know what that means. I have given this scene everything I’ve got Sy!
Silas: Well, everything you’ve got isn’t working. Show me your fear! Or I swear to fucking God I am getting someone who can!
Project Name: I Killed HIV
Director: Silas Ngalaa
Silas: Let’s take it from the top! AAaaaaand ACTION!
Kasi: What part of “leave me alone” don’t you get Genny?
Genny with a Fucking G: I would if I could but I can’t. I mean, what the fuck am I expected to do here Kasi? Last time I walked away, do you remember what happened?
Silas: CUT! Jesus motherfuck! FUCK! That was embarrassing! You guys are acting like you have never been on a film set before! I can’t believe you are the best actors Kenya has to offer. Do I need to go to Hollywood and recast this entire cunt sucking butt fuck of a movie? Because I will. I swear to fucking… (Head in hands completely losing it) FUCK! SHIT! FUUUUUCK!
Maimuna: You know what Sy, I quit.
Silas: Then quit! Go! You’re fired! (To everyone on the set) You are all fired! This movie is done! Kaput! (He digs into his pockets, pulls out a sachet of white powder, pours some of it on the back of his hand and inhales it furiously. He throws his head back and feels as the cocaine takes him to a more deity-ish level. It doesn’t seem to get him there. So he pours another lump on the back of his hand and snorts that too. When he finally looks around with powder and blood at the base of his nose, he notices that everyone is looking at him completely shocked.) What the fuck are y’all looking at? Have you never seen anyone snort cocaine before?
Kasi: Look, we are 37 takes into one scene. 37 takes. That means that we have given it everything. And that’s a lot.
Maimuna: And nobody here knows what it feels like to stand in the middle of a highway dodging approaching trucks. If there was something else we could do, we would have done it thirty five takes ago.
Silas: (Heavy sigh as he blinks heavily and rubs his nose and teeth.) Well, looks like that’s something we should remedy, huh? (Turns to the director of photography) You want to shoot something crazy?
With that, he rushes out of the establishment and on to the highway. It is a weekday; a busy day and so there are all sorts of vehicles speeding on the biggest highway in Kenya. And Silas ignores all that and stands right in the middle of it watching vehicles speed towards him.
People are screaming. Cars are hooting. Tires are screeching. And Silas is standing right there with his hands in his pockets and his eyes on his shoes. Daring them. Taunting them. Hit me motherfuckers. I dare you.
Nobody dares join him on that highway because the traffic is now chaotic. Maimuna is screaming, urging him to get off the road. When his eyes finally leave his shoes, they meet hers and he smiles. There is an oncoming bus and it is at full speed. The driver hoots at this madman on the road but Silas doesn’t even turn his head.
The driver manages to swerve missing him; but only just. He misses him by a couple of inches at most. Silas feels the wind as the huge speeding chunk of metal whooshes past him. Then he faces his cast, watching beside the highway as they try not to shit their pants, lifts his arms up and yells,
Silas: Do you feel it now? DO YOU FEEL THE FEAR?!
When he walks back on set, the tension is almost visible. He doesn’t say much either. He just walks over to his screen, occupies his “throne” and says with a normal voice;
Silas: Sound good? (Soundman affirms.) Lighting? (Lighting department affirms.) Alright everyone we’ll take the scene again from the top. Take 38. Aaaaand, action.
An hour later, the cops take him away. Next morning, he is arraigned in court, where he is charged with a myriad of traffic offences. All misdemeanors (because he drinks with the officers of the court) which he pleads guilty to and is fined an amount which he coughs up with little trouble.
January 25, 2017. 13:45h
Westlands – Nairobi
There is a note on Silas’s glass table. It reads, “I KILLED MYSELF BECAUSE I WAS BORED.” His phone lies beside the note and there are “12 missed calls” all from “Muna”. The screen lights up again. It is “Muna” calling again.
Beside the phone is an opened sachet of cocaine. There is also a spoon, a lighter, a used syringe and a tourniquet on the table. What Silas did this time was pour the powder on the spoon, heat it up with the lighter, suck it up with the syringe, tie his arm up with the tourniquet and shoot the cocaine up in his vein.
He is now in the bathroom tying a rope around his throat. The rope has been fastened to a bar in the bathroom. A bar which he has tested and convinced himself that it won’t break and sentence him to some more time in this bore-fest of a thing he calls life.
There is a knock on the door which he ignores. He is standing on a stool. As soon as the rope is tied nicely around his neck, he kicks the stool away without so much as second thought and his legs start kicking to and fro.
The knock comes round again and this time, Maimuna calls out;
Maimuna: Sy! I know you’re in there. I saw your car in the parking lot! Sy!
But Sy is in the bathroom choking. His hands fly to his throat to try and ease the pain but his mind reprimands him. He always thought that if he ever hang himself, he wouldn’t struggle and he wouldn’t shit his pants or piss in them either. Now he hates himself for struggling. He should just relax and let it take him like Nate Parker in the movie “Birth of a Nation” or Damian Lewis in the series “Homeland” Season Three. Damn those two for making it seem so easy to die hanging.
His feet won’t relax. He is sure he took a shit and a piss before fitting the noose around his neck and kicking the stool off, so what the hell is that seeping out of his ass?! Was there more shit hiding in there that he didn’t know about? Goddamit! Now he is going to make for one dirty corpse.
His ears are blocked. His head feels like it will explode and his eyes feel like they will straight out pop out of their sockets. But the good news is that the darkness is coming. He can feel it from a far. He needs to open himself up to it.
Here is, Silas Ngalaa.
A man who has been praised by all – big and small, for being the best writer of the modern times. It goes without question that he is mega talented. His directorial debut “I Killed HIV”, the movie he wrote himself, has just premiered at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in America. Early critical response is overwhelming.
Rotten Tomatoes has put it so far at 100%. As a director, he is being compared with the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese; and as a writer, the critics say that he deserves every award that has ever been invented for screenwriters. “As a writer, the young Silas Ngalaa deserves every award that has ever been invented for screenwriters. Even the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay isn’t enough to appreciate his genius. Another award, like “Literary Gods Award” needs to be invented just for the most exceptional like him.”
As far as Silas is concerned, his life is at its peak and that is all there is. He has seen it all. Done it all. What else is there but unbearable repetition? He would rather be dead than have his life plummet and finally flat-line with a drone of replication, tedium and eternal perseverance.
What else is there, when you’re already the best?
So he chooses to clock out in the bathroom like other great artistes. Like Amy Winehouse. Or Whitney Houston. Or Heath Ledger. Or Philip Seymour Hoffmann. Or Robin Williams. And even though other greats like James Dean, Bruce Lee, Bob Marley and by extension Paul Walker didn’t die alone in the bathroom, they sure clocked out on their own terms and at the peak of their lives, before it could all go to shit as it did with people who lived longer than they should have. Like O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson.
So who would Silas rather be? Heath Ledger or O.J. Simpson?
And that is why when Maimuna unlocks his house she finds him dangling lifelessly from the roof. Her first instinct is to rush to the kitchen, grab a knife and cut him down. She feels his skin. He is still pretty warm. So she administers CPR and a minute into it, he takes in a violent gasp and coughs.
It takes him two days to be able to speak again.
February 14, 2017. 11:47h
Kerio Valley Lodge. Iten – Elgeyo Marakwet County
Silas and Maimuna are preparing to go skydiving when his phone rings. It is a strange number calling but the code says it is an American number. He answers it with a shade of caution in his voice.
Female voice on the other side: Is this Silas? Silas Ngalaa? (She has an accent that dictates she stress the “N”)
Silas: Who the hell is this?
Female voice on the other side: Please hold for Harvey Weinstein.
Silas: Yeah. Right. Whatever. Don’t call me again.
Female voice on the other side: Mr. Ngalaa, this is not a prank call. Please hold for a second as I put Mr. Weinstein on the line.
Five minutes later, Maimuna walks in on him staring blankly at the glass wall of his room that overlooks the vast Kerio Valley spreading out like a large sheet in front of his eyes.
Maimuna: Is everything OK Sy?
Silas: You are familiar with Harvey Weinstein, right?
Maimuna: He is a producer in Hollywood if memory serves.
Silas: Yeah. He just called. He wants me to direct a fifty million dollar movie for his company.
Maimuna: (Excited) Sy! That’s a great thing, right?
Silas: Yeah. Yeah I guess.
Maimuna: Then why do you look like someone just took a dump on your birthday cake?
Silas: When people who have worked with Harvey go to receive their Academy Awards, most of them say, “First of all I must say thank you to Harvey Weinstein for putting me in this gorgeous movie. Secondly, I thank God…”
Maimuna: And you’re saying that to say what?
Silas: It just hit me. I’m playing on a whole new level here.
Maimuna: Yeah. Sy, that’s a great thing. We should celebrate.
Silas: (Looks her in the eye) Will you marry me?
Maimuna: What? No! Jesus Christ! Why would you even ask me that?
Silas: Because if we’re not going to spend this life as partners, then I never want to see you again. Happy Valentine’s Muna. (He leaves the bed he was seated on and rests his forehead against the glass wall; staring outside at the expanse of the valley.)
Maimuna: What’re you going to do Sy? How long will it be before you die alone in the toilet? What are you going to be without me?
Silas: Does it matter? It ain’t like you care.
Maimuna: Fuck you Silas. Fuck you for saying that. (Walks over to him, grabs his shoulder and turns him around prompting him to face her.) You don’t get it, do you? God blessed this world by putting you in it. Then He cursed me by putting me in it to love you.
Silas: Let me guess. You love me like a brother. Or with the good old Christian love.
Maimuna: No. I love you like a woman loves a man. But you don’t love anyone. You don’t even love yourself. You don’t know how.
Silas: I loved once. It didn’t work out so well. I loved her so much that I married her.
Maimuna: Sy! I didn’t know you were married.
Silas: Yeah. Many people who know me now don’t know that. We got married at twenty one and the next four years were the best of our lives. We did everything together. We were each other’s strength. I graduated from the University with a Degree in Psychology when I was twenty three and enrolled for my Masters Degree the following year. I approached life with enthusiasm and there was no challenge too great for me to handle. That is what Jodi meant to me. Then on the day we were supposed to celebrate our fourth anniversary, she was run over by a bus and that was it.
Maimuna: (Fingers on lips and eyes open wide with shock) Oh my God Sy; I’m so sorry.
Silas: Do you know what I was doing when she was run over? I was busy thinking of having sex with another woman. Monnie was her name. I don’t even know what happened to her after Jodi died. She was like Jodi’s little sister. There was a time when they were so close that even I thought they had shared a womb way back when. But then we started dating and Monnie took a back seat in Jodi’s life. Then one day we started messing around and I guess we just didn’t stop. Not when should have. So that morning Jodi and I have wrapped up with shopping for this party we were going to throw for our fourth anniversary and we are heading home when Monnie calls. And we flirt. And Jodi is right there wondering what name we are going to call our baby. Or babies. And by the time Monnie hangs up my mind is so caught up on her body and what I want to do to it that I don’t see the bus coming. If only I had paid more attention. If only I hadn’t been so caught up on shit that I had no business been caught up in in the first place, my wife would still be alive today. And you know what I don’t get? I loved her. I loved Jodi with everything I had and everything I hoped I could ever be. She was the only thing that mattered to me; and yet…I cheated on her. (With tears welling up in his eyes) Goddamit I fucked up so bad! I don’t even know why I cheated. Not for fun. Not for adventure or thrill or whatever the fuck excuses people come up with; because Jodi was fun! (Shrugs helplessly and turns to face Maimuna with tears flowing freely down his cheeks) She was everything a man could ever hope for in a woman and yet I cheated. What the fuck for, right? I keep asking myself why. And the only reason I can come up with is selfishness. I was just a selfish jerk who valued some side action more than I valued my marriage and Jodi never even suspected. She thought I was the man! If only she knew that I was worth less than the dog shit that sticks to the sole of a drunk’s shoe. If only she knew that she deserved more than I ever was. Fuck! I never even asked for God’s forgiveness. At her funeral I closed my eyes and told God, “You know what Old Dude in the Sky; I deserve pain. I deserve suffering. Whatever meanness you’ve got left from the good old days in the Old Testament, send it my way. Don’t hold anything back.”
Maimuna: I thought you don’t believe in God.
Silas: Well, someone has to be responsible for all the fucked-upness in the world, right?
Maimuna: How am I supposed to trust you now Silas? If you cheated on a woman who meant everything to you, on a woman you were married to, what the fuck would you do to me?
Silas: I don’t know. When whoever created the concept of happiness created it, he didn’t mean it to be enjoyed by someone like me. I feel like ever since Jodi died, all I have been trying to do is die. I have let someone press a gun against my forehead and squeeze the trigger; I have stood in the middle of the highway and risked getting run over, I have tried to hang myself; and don’t even get me started on the drugs and the reckless sex… and none of it has worked. It’s like there is happiness in death and I have been denied that too.
Maimuna: That is bullshit.
Silas: I would run if I were you. And I would never look back.
Maimuna: That is quite the proposal you’ve got there. (Mimicking him) “Marry me Muna.” Then all of a sudden, “I would run if I were you.” (Confidently) I am big girl Silas. I can take care of myself. Ask me to stay. And I will stay.
March 10, 2017. 17:02h
Shauri Moyo VCT Center – Eastlands Nairobi
VCT Counselor: Do you have a partner?
Silas: Like someone I have sex with?
Counselor: Uh huh.
Silas: Currently I don’t have one. I am in love with this girl but we haven’t had sex yet.
Counselor: Where is she? You should have brought her with you.
Silas: I don’t think that that’s a good idea.
Counselor: How come?
Silas: That is a question whose answer is more detailed than you would wish. Do you have time to listen to a story?
Counselor: Yeah sure. You are here already. Might as well get it over with, right?
Silas: I don’t know if it is just me or it is a thing with my people my age, but we act like HIV is dead. Take me for instance. I meet a woman on Monday, smile at her on Tuesday, kiss her on Tuesday afternoon and have raw sex with her on Tuesday evening. I meet another woman on Wednesday morning, smile at her by afternoon and spend Thursday having raw sex with her. I dump her on Friday morning just in time to meet my third woman that week that I will spend the weekend naked with. And there will be no condoms involved. I don’t even know how much a condom costs nowadays. I walk around acting like I Killed HIV.
Counselor: Why would you be that reckless?
Silas: Does it matter why?
Counselor: And do you have all these women’s contacts? In case we need to reach out to them to get them to get tested?
Silas: You mean in case I test positive for HIV?
Silas: Well, I have a few. But some of them are prostitutes so we didn’t really have the time to exchange numbers.
Counselor: In case you test positive, HIV is no longer the death sentence that it used to be. There are options that you can pursue to ensure that you live a long (She ignores Silas who is busy rolling his eyes now) and healthy life. You can exercise, take your ARVs, eat healthy…
Silas: Look. I am a pretty educated dude. I know what steps to pursue. My issue isn’t ignorance. It is recklessness.
Counselor: That doesn’t mean that you don’t need…
Silas: Please. Let’s do this. Please.
And so she grabs the testing kit, cleans his finger, pricks it with one of those tiny little hurtful needles to draw blood and places it on that testing apparatus whose name he doesn’t care to remember. He keeps craning his neck to see what his fate is.
Westlands – Nairobi
Maimuna finds him staring blankly at the TV. She has just come from a photo shoot. First thing she sees when she enters the house – even before saying “hi babe” – is her packed suitcase on the carpet in the living room.
Maimuna: What is going on Sy? Why is my shit on the floor?
Silas: I need you to leave.
Maimuna: What? Why?
Silas: Because I am bored with you and I need you to leave me the fuck alone.
Maimuna: (Stammering) I, I, I, I don’t understand Sy. What the hell is happening? You just can’t kick me out of your life at ten in the night.
Silas: You are clingy. You bore me. If you don’t leave right now, I will resent you. So go away.
Maimuna: Is this because I said we wouldn’t have sex until after we got married?
He doesn’t speak to her again. Or even look at her. He just stands up, grabs her suitcase, carries it to the balcony and tosses it into the darkness. It takes it a couple of seconds to travel down three floors and crash noisily on the concrete below. And she watches him at first with disbelief, but then her face settles into a quick moment of acceptance. Like she has seen him at his craziest and she appears to wonder why this would even surprise her.
Maimuna: I hope for both our sakes you know what you are doing. Goodbye Silas.
Silas: Goodbye Maimuna.
March 4, 2018. 20:52h
Hotel Maximus. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
The Night of the Oscars
Where is Silas?
Silas, dressed in his boxers is and nothing else, is watching the Oscars on a huge screen in his hotel room. He has changed so much over the last one year. HIV, drugs, alcohol, sex and insomnia will do that to a man. He has lost weight by the truckloads and in his eyes is the look of a man who is desperately lost.
There are three naked women in the room with him. Some are lying on the carpet and another on the couch beside him. There is a half full bag of marijuana on the table in front of him and several lines of cocaine. He has snorted some and others are untouched. He pops open a container of prescription pills, pours several on his palm, hurls them into his mouth and flushes them down with a glass of Scotch.
The naked woman on the couch is lying facing the ceiling. Silas pours a generous amount of cocaine on one of her nipples and sticks his nose in it. He snorts is slowly and comfortably as if it comes with a special aura of comfort. Then he closes his eyes and lets the feeling engulf him.
On the screen, Will Smith is calling him to the stage. To receive his Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Jodi would have been so proud of him. If only she had stayed alive just five more years.
Silas: (Sluggishly) I am right here Will. (He bends over on the table, snorts another line of Cocaine, rubs his nose clean and pours himself some more scotch.)
The announcer on TV is saying,
Announcer: Of course everyone remembers the young Kenyan Silas Ngalaa whose explosive film, “I Killed HIV” has taken not only Hollywood but also the entire world by surprise. He got nominated for two Academy Awards for that one movie. For Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Though he lost the former to Darren Aronofsky for the movie “Mother!” And he doesn’t seem to stop there. His latest project “Angels of Anarchy” which he directed for Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s “Weinstein Company” has received rave reviews and we wouldn’t be surprised to welcome Silas again next year at the 2019 Academy Awards where he’ll hopefully nail the Best Director Award. But for now the question in everyone’s mind is, “Where is Silas?”
Silas: (Screaming at the screen) I am right here motherfuckers! But I guess you wouldn’t know that, would you? (Drool falls from his mouth and he rubs it away with the back of his hand. Then he pours himself a generous amount of scotch and drinks it all in one huge gulp. He snorts yet another line of cocaine and pops a couple of more prescription pills.) Y’all can shove the Oscars up your white asses. I’ll just sit here and get high. (Then he starts singing his own remix of Afroman’s “Because I Got High”. His tongue is a bit heavy from all the drugs and alcohol. He is very high.) I was gonna eat your pussy, but I got high! I was gonna go to the Oscars too, but then I got high! Uuuuuh! I could have showed up and I could’ve gotten laid, but then I got high! Ratatata! I’m swinging by next year, and I know why; Coz I got high… because I got high! Because I got high! I was gonna go to church, but then I got high! Uuuhhh! I was gonna pray to God, but I got high! So now I am lonely in my room, and I know why! Coz I got high! Because I got high! Because I got high!
Singing and dancing and snorting cocaine and puffing weed and popping prescription pills and downing everything down with the Scotch, Silas crosses over to the balcony. He is on the thirty-seventh floor.
Silas: (Singing) I was going to make love to Muna, but then I got sick! Uuuh! I was going to marry her too, but then I got sick! So now my life has gone back to shit, and I know why! Why Silas! Coz I fucked up! And I got sick! And I got sick!
There is a glass table on the balcony. He places the scotch glass on it and looks down to the distant ground below. He is pretty high and his sight is a quite fucked up. There is a strong gust of wind at the balcony so he lifts his nose up in the air to catch as much fresh air as possible.
He doesn’t know it but his phone back at the couch in front of the TV is vibrating. It is “Muna” calling. There are about sixty something missed calls on that phone. Seven of which are from “Muna.” Everyone is looking for Silas. Where the hell is he?
A text comes through. It is from Muna and it reads, “Hi Sy. It is Muna. I have been trying to reach you. I just wanted to congratulate you on your Oscar win and I hope wherever you are, you are taking care of yourself. I shouldn’t say this, but I miss you and I am a bit worried about you. Please answer the phone. I love you.”
But he is out at the balcony, high out of his mind. To catch a fresher gust of air, he decides to stand up on the banister rail separating the balcony from a long fall down. He makes sure to balance himself properly because the last thing he wants is to fall thirty-seven floors to his death.
He can hear his own voice in his head saying, “When whoever created the concept of happiness created it, he didn’t mean it to be enjoyed by someone like me.”
He is standing on the banister rail now. He is barefoot so he can make sure that his feet have a strong grip on the iron rail. He is balancing himself by supporting himself on the concrete ceiling above his head. He looks down and it is a long way down to the ground.
Silas: (Muttering to himself) Why would one man be so sad? Why would one be gifted with so much talent, make so much money, earn so much respect in the whole world and yet feel so empty? (His eyes meet the bright sky above him) Why am I so sad God?
There seems to be no answer from the sky so he chuckles and says, “What the hell am I doing talking to feathers in the clouds?” He looks down again. There are so many lights down there. From buildings, mobile vehicles… there seems to be so much life happening down there. And all in spite of his misery.
Silas: (Muttering to himself) Dear world, I know you will never read or listen to this oral letter that I am putting down right now, but I hope you don’t spend your time asking “why?.” I don’t know what killed me first. HIV or my own philandering. Or was it the emptiness that came with having everything and having nothing at the same time? Dear world, I know you don’t love me. I know you tried. I know you sent great people my way who loved me, but I pushed them all away. I just hope that when they finally identify my body, they won’t waste emotions crying for this piece of dog shit stuck to the sole of a drunk’s shoe. Dear world, this is my final goodbye. Should my words be carried by the wind into the ears of a lost soul, I hope all he hears is, “At the very last minute, the smiles of those you pushed away are the ones that will bring tears to your dying eyes.”
When he stepped out into the balcony, he wasn’t planning on ending it all with a swift jump. But now that he is one step away from the end, he wonders how he hadn’t thought of it before. His own voice comes to his head once more. “I feel like ever since Jodi died, all I have been trying to do is die.”
And when he lets go and his flying body fast closes the gap between him and the hard concrete thirty seven floors below, he closes his eyes, feels as the wind caresses his skin, mutters a heartfelt “I’m sorry” to Jodi and lets his mind wander to Muna and her smile, one last time.
March 4, 2018. 20:52h