Sarakasi Dome. Ngara. Nairobi.
I hit PLAY on Kranium’s “Can’t Believe” and the dancer’s get in motion. All girls between the ages of 18 and 20. All in sports bras and shorts and snickers and all with long hair falling over their faces.
They move to the side, then back, do a circular motion with their hands over their breasts and wiggle their hips at the same time, then they squat fast and come back up, just like I showed them.
They come together in pairs. One short girl for one tall girl. Tall girl stands behind and they do a bit of Salsa. A step back, a step forward, side step then go round and repeat. Everything is going great until when it comes time for the going round part and that’s where the problems begin.
I hit PAUSE on the song and climb onto Sarakasi Dome’s stage –
Me: Uh Uh UH. Stop. OK, stop!
I turn to her.
Me: Aisha. You are too slow. And when you’re slow, you get to mess with your partner’s flow, alright? You can’t be slow.
Aisha: I am sorry Marty! I’m sorry.
Me: (Cross) Don’t be sorry! Just get it right. I have shown you the moves a hundred times over. (Clapping) Alright people, let’s take it from the top!
I slide offstage and my sneakers’ soles make a sharp screeching sound against the dark floorboards. My eyes are on Aisha as I hit PLAY again on the sound system. She is tall. Maria’s partner. Maria is short, has the figure of an hourglass, small eyes and fragile features. With a thin waist and broad hips, every Salsa move she makes is exaggerated by those hips making her every move very sensual.
So it pisses me off that sluggish Aisha is her partner. I am thinking of changing things up because even now, Aisha isn’t quite getting it. Don’t get me wrong. She is good. She is great. But she is not the best. And I only deal with the best.
I want to hit PAUSE again and give Maria another partner and make Aisha sit on the bench when a soft hand lands on my shoulder and gives it a gentle squeeze.
Hot air rubs over my shoulder driving beautiful chills down my entire body as she leans close and whispers into my ear;
Female whisper: Let me handle this for you baby.
My hand lands on her waist and I know it is her even before I can look at her. She is in a thin cotton top and her body warmth seeps through it to my skin.
Her cool lips land on my cheek as she plants a soft peck there and goes to the stage.
I disappear inside the beats to Kranium’s “Can’t Believe” and watch Cleo. Short for Cleopatra. Her parents must have had a sense of humor when her mama pulled her out from between those thighs.
But she looks the part. Tall. Exotically beautiful. Her long black natural hair is let loose to fall wildly all over her face. She has a skin the color of chocolate and long, beautiful firm arms whose hugs I can never quite get used to.
She has a way of pulling me in and making sure that her upper arms are touching my cheek whenever we hug.
Now in her white top, jeans and knee length high heeled boots, she gently pushes Aisha away and stands behind Maria.
Cleo: Why don’t you start the song again love?
I am swimming in her brown eyes. Those big brown eyes which never hide whatever is going on in her soul. I know this woman. I have always known this woman. My heart lurches whenever she walks into the room. All air goes out the window.
I restart the song and everybody stands aside to watch Cleo and Maria do their thing.
And it is like they are fused together with imaginary glue. Maria has her back to Cleopatra. They make two back moves together and I am thinking of waves in the ocean. Soft. Fluid. Moving with meticulous calculation. Nothing can go wrong.
They move forward, sideways and Cleo places her soft hands over Maria’s flat tummy. They are not moving now. Maria is swaying her waist against Cleo who is standing right behind her. Cleo’s hand is moving down towards Maria’s navel, then it goes down further and further and I can see Maria dancing with her mouth half open, her legs parting for the visitor in Cleo’s hand.
Maria’s hand goes to the back of Cleo’s head and as both women dance sensually; my heart threatens to smash my chest into bits. I am both fascinated and choking with jealousy.
Maria takes Cleo’s free hand and places it on her chest, right above her breast and Cleo gives it a gentle squeeze. They are moving again now. Slowly. Sensually. Their eyes are on me. Cleo places her lips on Maria’s earlobe and gives it a gentle bite. The shorter girl tilts her neck on one side and half shuts her eyes.
Cleo’s hand is now on Maria’s zipper. Sliding it down slowly. She opens the button of her shorts and I catch a glimpse of her black panties and the line where her trimmed soft pubic hair begins. Even though all I can hear is the music in my ears, I am sure Maria is moaning with want right now.
Slowly, Cleopatra’s hands leave Maria’s shorts and breast and go to her face.
I have seen this before. This part I remember. And now my heart is beating, not with excitement and jealousy, but with terror. I know what will happen. I have seen it before. But it can’t be true. I can’t see the future. It is just a déjà vu moment.
Maria doesn’t see it coming. She doesn’t notice that Cleo has placed her hands strategically on her chin and the back of her head.
Oh my God, it is happening again.
Cleo makes a violent twist with her hands and Maria’s neck snaps like a dry branch. It is so loud that I hear it over the booming music. She breaks her neck so violently, that Maria faces her own back.
The rest of the dancers scream as Maria’s body fall lifelessly at Cleo’s feet. She is looking at me, smiling. It was not déjà vu. I have seen it all before.
The screaming girls start running frantically, heading for the exits but Cleo retrieves her gun from her waist and starts putting them down one by one.
One has made it close to the right exit, but a bullet catches the back of her head and the wall in front of her is sprayed with a bright red fluid and dark red solid matter. She doesn’t even let out a dying yelp on her way down.
When all the girls are down, Cleo brings the tip of the gun to her lips and gives it a gentle blow. Then she catwalks from the stage to where I am standing, with an omnipresent smile on her face.
She places her hand on my chest and leans close to take my lips in hers. My eyes shut as she envelops me in this world of recognizable mayhem. Now she is leaning to my ear where she whispers;
Cleo: We should go
Me: I have seen this before
Cleo: Tsk tsk tsk tsk. Don’t you recognize me baby? I am the girl of your dreams.
Dreams. But I am not dreaming right now. There are ten dead women all around me. I am standing in the middle of a crime scene. I am an accomplice to multiple murders. I am in the present. This is not something that I can wake up from and smile saying, “Holy Ghost! It was just a dream!” No.
She takes my hand and together we run out of Sarakasi Dome through a side entrance into the parking lot. On our way out, she notices that one of the girls, who was shot in the back is trying to move. So she shoots her in the head and red gore forms on the concrete floor under her.
In the parking lot, she fishes car keys from her pocket and beeps a Porsche to life.
Cleo: Hurry up Marty! We don’t have time!
Me: Time for what?
She circles the big car, gets behind the wheel and says as I slide into the passenger seat;
Cleo: I don’t know how long I can keep you alive baby. They are coming for you.
Me: Who? (There is a trembling in my voice that I can’t control) Who is coming for me?
She makes as if to start the car frantically, but her keys fall out of her hands. Her hand is turning into smoke right in front of my eyes.
Me: What is happening Cleo? What is happening?
I am running scared. I feel like I have known her all my life. What is happening to her?
With the hand that isn’t melting away into nothingness, she leans close and cups my cheek.
Cleo: Hey, hey…Shh. Calm down…
I am watching her hand disappear but her big brown eyes are hypnotizing me into listening to everything she is saying.
Cleo: I don’t have long! I need you to close your eyes and see me.
Cleo: Just do it!
So I do it. But all I see is Maria. Her fragile features. Her hand on the back of Cleo’s head.
Cleo: I had to kill her.
Cleo has always known how to read my mind.
Cleo: I had to kill them all.
Cleo: Well (She shrugs helplessly and releases a gentle smile) I have always…
Me and Cleo: …had an issue controlling jealousy.
I take in a sharp breath! I knew she was going to say that! I can see her with my eyes closed! Freaking out, I open the door and fall out, my heart thudding hard, my mouth running dry.
Me: Who are you?
I scramble to my feet and notice that even though she is smiling, her smile is very sad. Like she wants something which she has suddenly realized that she will never have.
Cleo: I told you baby. I am the girl of your dreams.
Me: What does that mean? What does that mean?
The desperation in my voice is killing me. But when she speaks, she sounds desperate too.
Cleo: Are you scared of me Marty?
Her entire hand has turned in smoke and blown away with the evening breeze and now her left leg is beginning to disappear.
Me: I am standing here. Watching you smoking away after killing ten people in cold blood.
Cleo: But that is what you wanted me to do.
Me: No it is not!
Cleo: Yes it is! You made me to kill them! (She is yelling.) Why can’t you see that?
Me: I made you do it? I made you do it? How did I make you kill ten people?
Cleo: Because baby, I am the girl of…
Me: …my dreams! God! Stop saying that! You are insane.
Cleo: And I will do anything you say! All you have to do is ask!
I have always had a sense of sarcasm. And a hell of a mean streak. So I lean into the car, contempt twisting my face up and I hiss;
Me: Why don’t you put that gun to your head and blow yourself up!
She puts the gun to her head and blows herself up.
I wake up.
More accurately, I jerk up. I am sweating. Having a hard time controlling my breath. But thank God it was just a dream.
On my way to the kitchen, I swing by the bathroom, sit on the bowl and relish my relief. I relish it so much that my eyes slide shut. I see her. I see them entangled in their sensual dance. I remember Maria but the other girl’s name escapes me.
But Maria is beautiful. Impossibly beautiful. As I flush the toilet, I can’t help but think that if I had a woman like that in my life, I would…
My eyes are glued on the TV screen. In the breaking news, the words “Ten Women Found Brutally Murdered at Sarakasi Dome” greet me.
Co-Operative Bank. Moi Avenue Branch
Moi Avenue. Nairobi
I wake up. I don’t remember how I got here. But here I stand now with a Colt M4 Carbine , pacing the bank calmly like I own it, and saying,
Me: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
It is raining heavily outside and I am thinking that the October rains took their time this month. I fire a burst in the air and a few people scream. All around me, people are lying on their bellies, covering their heads with their hands.
There is a terrified pregnant woman on the floor. I know she is terrified because the look on her face tells me she is terrified. She looks like she has been holding her bladder for years and now finally, her urine is about to break out of prison and into the freedom of her pants.
Me: Everybody is aware of the terrible terrible economic situation we are in, especially in this elections phase. (I release a chuckle) Don’t you guys just hate the elections period? People protesting. Cops killing them. The economy suffering. Did you know the shilling is trading at 103 shillings against the dollar? (I shake my head. This is very bad) Terrible. Terrible. And a dude can’t even get a job. So don’t be surprised when a guy like me bursts into the bank with a Colt M4 Carbine carrying 30 rounds in the magazine, intending to make a large withdrawal. That of course is very illegal, (I make eye contact with a guard who has just wet his trousers and smile) so don’t try this at home, yeah? OK cool. Now let’s get this show on the road!
I turn to a teller, staring at me from behind the glass and toss her a large wheeled backpack then point my rifle at her;
Me: Hey baby, what’s your name?
Me: Adele huh? (For some reason, her name makes me smile) Do you sing, Adele?
Adele: (Confused) What?
Me: You know? Singing? That sound that people make from their throats? It is supposed to be melodious. You know, like (I hum the Smurfs happy song) La la lala lala sing a happy song! Like that. Do you sing?
Adele: No (Her voice is so small, it is barely audible)
Me: Ah, that’s OK. Can’t sing either. But hey, at least we can talk right? Gotta thank God for that Adele.
My voice is so good humored than even I find myself warming up to it.
From the corner of my eye, I see an Administration Police officer reaching clandestinely to his waist. I remember disarming him. He had a G3 rifle when I showed up and I didn’t think to pat him down for an extra gun because I figured he’d only have one on him.
My gun is still pointed at Adele, but I lean my body slightly in the cop’s direction so I can turn it on him and blow him to pieces in a second if need be.
Me: So Adele sweetheart, I’m going to need you to look at me, OK?
She is young. Late twenties. I am inclined to think that maybe this is her first real job. She has a round face, full cheeks, sad face… I might be robbing her but I feel like I should hug her. She looks at me.
Me: Take my bag; can you do that for me?
She nods affirmatively. She is hidden behind the glass and a cloud passes her eyes. I can hear her thoughts clearly. “How am I going to pick the bag through the glass?”
Me: Take cover sweetheart.
She ducks and I shoot the glass. The sound of it shattering is like music to my ears.
Ten women found murdered.
These memories. Why do I keep having these memories? I don’t remember. I remember. I am confused. Got to come back to the present.
I pick the bag up and toss it behind the counter where Adele is crouching.
Me: That bag won’t fill itself up with this nice bank’s money sweetheart, alright?
I yell to her over my shoulder as I hurry towards the AP officer. I have caught a glimmer from his waist. The shinning barrel of his Beretta has been caught in the light and is now betraying him.
Me: Hey buddy, how is the Service treating you nowadays?
Me: Do you like your job so much that you will die for it? Take out the gun. Two fingers.
Over my shoulder, I yell at Adele who is busy collecting money from various teller stations.
Me: All of it in the bag sweetheart, OK?
My voice is calm. Warm. Like she is my daughter and I am asking her if she has finished her homework before she can sit in front of the TV to watch SpongeBob SquarePants.
Her voice is shaken. Like she is crying.
I turn to the guard who is now holding the gun out in front of him with two fingers – the index and the thumb – as instructed.
Me: Good man. Throw it my way. (He is reluctant) Please. (I throw him a toothy grin. It works. The gun’s metallic barrel makes a clattering sound as it slides across the floor to my army boots) Can I ask you something bro?
Him: You have the gun. What do you want?
Me: Why do you have an extra gun on you? (Over my shoulder) Hurry up Adele baby, OK?
Adele: OK (She whimpers)
Me: Yoh, buddy! Why do you have a Beretta? I know the government didn’t issue you an extra weapon. And last I checked, the Kenyan government doesn’t issue Berettas to police officers.
I squat a few meters in front of his face and look him square in the eye.
Me: Dude, are you a dirty cop?
Me: OK. Then why do you have an extra gun on you? (He doesn’t speak) WHY?
Him: Just take the money and go.
I can see him. I have seen him before. Lining young people up in the slums. Making them go down on their knees. I have seen him standing behind them with this beretta. And shooting them in the back of their heads, one, by, one.
The image is so clear in my head, it makes me shudder.
Me: On your knees, NOW!
My M4 is firm in my hands now.
Me: How are we doing Adele sweetheart?
Adele: I’m working as fast as I can.
Me: Take your time, OK? I know the silent alarm has been pressed already. There is no hurry now, yeah?
Her voice is calmer now. Good.
I catch a glimpse of the pregnant woman. She is seated with her tummy bulging in front of her.
Me: Are you OK girl?
Pregnant woman: My back hurts
Me: You want to go lie down on one of the seats?
Pregnant woman: Is that OK?
Me: Do you even have to ask?
She rolls over and with some effort, gets on her feet. She walks slowly to the chairs and lies on them.
Me: I am going to need you to close your eyes now. Matter of fact, everybody just close them eyes. Except you Adele!
The cop is on his knees, casting me a defiant look.
Him: What are you doing? If you kill a cop, they will all come for you.
Me: They have already come for me brother.
I see him looking at the muzzle of my rifle. Then his eyes sweep past the barrel, past the scope and into my eyes.
Him: Are you going to shoot me, or are you….
Me and Him: …going to kill me with boredom?
I knew he was going to say that. I have heard him say that before.
I remember now. I remember Cleopatra. I knew what she was going to say even before she could say it.
I remember her saying that she could do anything for me. Or I had to do was ask.
He coughs. There is a startled look in his eyes. I smile.
He shuffles uncomfortably as loud gas passes from his behind. A teenager chuckles.
Me: Pick up the gun.
I kick the Beretta to him and reluctantly, he picks it up.
Me: Put it in your mouth.
He is at war with his hands. His hand is struggling to put the gun in his mouth but he is fighting it. I can see the effort on his face. But he is losing.
Me: Open your mouth
His mouth involuntarily pops open.
Me: Now put your lips on the gun. Give it a blow job. Do it nice and slow. Like a pro.
The gun is in his mouth. Then it is out. In. Out. His lips on it. His eyes screaming, “I will kill you slowly!” I can even see myself in his head. He has me down on the floor in some abandoned warehouse. He is standing over me with a metal bar. He is bringing it down on me. Breaking my hands. My legs. My ribs. And he doesn’t even pass me the decency of finishing me off with a bullet. He instead douses me with petrol and sets me on fire.
And he doesn’t leave as I scream. No. He stands at a safe distance and watches me burn.
Him: How can you do that? How can you get inside my head like that?
Me: Your head. That’s a scary place to be my friend.
Him: I will kill you.
Me: Cool. In the meantime, (I squat in front of him) How does it feel? Can you taste the iron? The metal in your mouth? Does it make you hard?
Him: I will kill you.
Me: In another life maybe. Spit on the gun.
He spits on it. His eyes blazing with hate.
Me: Now give it your most sensual blow job. Close your eyes as you do it. And moan for the Beretta.
Just before the gun disappears in his mouth, loud sirens settle outside the bank. The cavalry is here.
Him: They will kill you.
Me: (I stand up and look around the bank, my arms stretched on either side of me) Look at me! Everybody look at me! (They all do. I turn to the guard) Except you. You close your eyes and make that gun feel good.
I pace the bank, my arms outstretched.
Me: The police are here. They are here for me. But don’t let that give you hope. All my life I have been alone. I have pushed away everybody. People who flew too close to me got burned. Hearts that opened up to me got broken. Now I am all alone. Look at me. Here I stand before you ladies and gentlemen unwanted! Unneeded! UNLOVED! You think I’m scared? You think I’m terrified? When you have nothing to lose, when you are at the bottom of the muck, years and years of waste and pure decadence gluing you to the floor the way a shoe glues an unwanted piece of gum, used and tasteless now, to the ground, even a million cops, pointing their guns at you willing you dead doesn’t scare you! After all, no cheeks will drench with salty tears upon my demise. How are we doing on the money, Adele?
The bag is full. The guard is moaning, giving head to the Beretta. The shiny Beretta he has used to kill hundreds and hundreds.
As Adele wheels the bag full of money to me, I squat in front of the guard.
Me: Open your eyes
He opens them
Me: Look at me. Look at the sneer on my face. I want it to be the last thing you see before you pull the trigger.
His hateful eyes terrify me. If they could, they would kill me with their sheer revulsion of me.
Me: Put the gun to the roof of your mouth. Feel the back of your tongue on the barrel. Keep your eyes on me.
Slowly, he obeys my every command. My steely voice is at its utmost low. I maintain steady eye contact and softly, I order;
Me: Pull the trigger.
And everything moves at a slower speed now. His finger jerks around the trigger and the clank sound emanates from the gun as the bullet gets ejected from the chamber. A shell shoots from the gun. The muzzle of the gun lightens up brightly as the bullet leaves the gun and starts drilling the roof of his mouth.
The entire insides of his mouth first fill with smoke, then a splash of red. A look of surprise covers his eyes as the bullet drills through his brain and comes out through the top of his head. His cheeks tremble with the impact. I can hear his ears ringing. The empty bullet casing lands at his knees and clatters noisily on the concrete floor as red geyser shoots from the top of his head where the bullet has just dug its way out.
Somebody screams. The guard’s body sags and collapses on his back, a thick pool of blood forming around what’s left of his head already.
From outside, a megaphone blares to life as a cop screams into it;
Cop: You in there! Come out with your hands in the air!
I roll my eyes and get on my feet. I turn around and face Adele, now standing in front of me with the roller bag full of money at her feet.
Me: Such a cliché, these cops. Don’t you think? (I scoff) Come out with your hands in the air. What is he? A DJ? (I start singing) Put your hands up in the air! In the air! (Now I talk) Frigging amateurs. (I look at the bag) How much money is in the bag?
Adele: I don’t know.
Me: Yes you do.
Adele: Four million and three hundred thousand.
Me: That’s a lot, right?
Adele: I suppose so.
Me: OK, sweetheart. You see those guys out there, I need you to go outside and tell them I will come out shooting, OK?
Me: Just tell them that. And thank you for your service. I will put your name forward for employee of the month consideration. You have been very helpful.
Her heels clang clang on the floor as she hurries out.
Me: Take the pregnant chic with you. She looks like she’s about to faint. (I look around me and all I see are faces. Faces of hopeful teenagers. Mothers trying to avoid my eyes. Afraid that I will kill them all if they look at me. Men. Defiant in their brooding) Matter of fact, everybody, GET OUT! GO!
People scamper on their feet and run out of the banking hall screaming and pouring out into Moi Avenue.
I hear cops’ voices outside telling them to get behind the cars; scamper to safety. Asking them how many thieves are in the bank and they reply “one”.
Then as the megaphone crackles to life again, I put the full backpack on my back and step out of the bank shooting.
The M4 Carbine is a good rifle. If it were a drink, it’d be Scotch. A thirty-year old bottle of fine Scotch, going smoothly down your throat. It burns yes, but that’s the point.
Metal complains as bullets dig holes into cars, men scream and dive for cover, they return fire. I am hit but I am still going. I have to keep on moving on. Past the bodies. Past the smoke. Past the fire. Past the orders. Past the screaming men. Past the chaos. I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other because that is what I do. I keep moving.
I eject an empty magazine from the M4 and fit another. And keep firing and stepping forward to freedom. Then I see a flash in front of me. And a bullet, cutting through all the surrounding pandemonium, heading straight for my forehead. I want to duck but something is holding my head firm in the way of the approaching bullet.
I hear a female voice in my head singing, “When all is said and done, you can always come back home.” The tip of the bullet is on my forehead. I can feel the heat. And a drop of fluid trickles down my face as it breaks my skin.
I wake up.
She is beside me. There is a lingering smell of her perfume on my bed sheets, on my pillow. And on my vest where her head had lain on my chest last night, is the faint smell of her hair.
I know I’m supposed to jerk awake, frightened. Hell, my heart is thumping loud on my chest, but she is here and that alone comforts me. It was just a dream.
She has a fistful of my vest in her hand. Her hand, clumped like a baby’s on my chest. The other is on my back and a bit of her hair is in my face. I smile. I like waking up like this. With her on me. And the golden rays of the morning sunshine just greeting my bedroom with their golden fingers. Filtering through the light curtains shyly.
I am happy.
She stirs and shifts.
Her: Baby, your heart is beating so fast. (She lifts her head up and faces me with a lazy, still sleepy smile) Are you OK?
Me: I’m better now. How are you?
Her: Ask me that in another hour.
She pats my chest gently, cups my cheeks in her warm palm and plants a light kiss on my lips.
Her: I love you
Me: I love you more.
I smile. She smiles. She turns her back on me. Faces the wall. The blanket slides from her and I catch a glimpse of her light thighs. Fleshy thighs. I have seen them straddling me a million times. I run my hand down to them and squeeze her flesh gently.
She releases a soft moan and mumbles;
Her: You’re a bad influence on me.
Me: And we both know you wouldn’t have me any other way.
She squeezes my hand gently and shuts her eyes again.
I get out of bed and swing by the toilet on my way to the kitchen. I sit on the bowl and shut my eyes. Under me is a trickling sound as urine hits the water hard. Followed by a louder sound of more solid matter hitting the water.
I am thinking that I am disgusting. Sitting here in the toilet, listening to the sound my waste makes upon hitting the water. I have been told my mind is a scary place. Maybe I should open my eyes. Maybe I should take a deep breath and relax.
I open my eyes and see the guard with the gun in his mouth. I shouldn’t remember dreams this vividly. But I do. I see him kneeling there with the Beretta in his mouth. I see the hate in his eyes. I see him pull the trigger. I see his cheeks tremble as the bullet eviscerates half his head. I smell the burning flesh as the bullet burns its way out.
I open my eyes. Oh Lord, what’s happening to me?
I clean myself up and flush the toilet. I swing by the living room, collect the remote from the couch where we dumped it last night, my girl and I, after watching “War for the Planet of the Apes”.
I switch on the telly and skid onto the kitchen to fix breakfast.
I don’t even rest my eyes on the screen for a second. This is a routine. The TV is there just to make some noise in the house as I go on about my duties.
I am still half asleep though. I don’t feel like I have completely woken up.
I pour milk into a sufuria and add a little water. My girl likes her tea short. That’s what she calls milk with a couple of drops of water in it. Short tea. I am picking it up from her. I feel like she’s been around so long that I am picking a few of her habits. And she’s picking up a few of mine.
Very soon, we’ll have picked up so many of each other’s habits that we’ll essentially become one person.
The tea is boiling now. There is music playing on the telly on one of the morning talent promotion shows. It is a beautiful song.
I cast a glance at the telly from the kitchen to see who the singer is. I have never seen her before., but she is beautiful in a delicate kind of way. She looks like the type who walks around feeling bad and sad about her life. The type that is in a constant need of a hug.
Not my type. I like my women hardcore and secure. Not in a constant thirst of love assurances from me.
I have poured the tea into a flask and I’m now fixing an omelet. The morning show presenter on TV is saying,
Presenter: That was Adele with her beautiful beautiful song called “Stranger with a Gun”.
My ears are corked now. My brow folded. Suddenly, the singer feels vaguely familiar so I cast another glance at the telly. This time I walk into the living room and sit on the couch like an automaton. I have seen this chic before.
The name is familiar…
I hear my voice in my head asking;
Me: Hey baby, what’s your name?
And I see her, seated in front of me. We are in a coffee lounge with lattes in front of us.
She is seated right there in a flowery dress that makes her look like an innocent little girl on her way to church on Sunday morning.
But this image feels wrong. I have never been with her in a coffee lounge. Something doesn’t fit. I blink and see myself inside a bank.
This feels more real. I can feel the fear in the bank. Terror staring me in the face. But my voice is calm. Incongruous with my surroundings. I am supposed to be terrified like everybody, but I am not.
Me: Adele huh? (For some reason, her name makes me smile) Do you sing, Adele?
Adele: (Confused) What?
Me: You know? Singing? That sound that people make from their throats? It is supposed to be melodious. You know, like (I hum the Smurfs happy song) La la lala lala sing a happy song! Like that. Do you sing?
Adele: No (Her voice is so small, it is barely audible)
I look down. There is a gun in my hands. A sophisticated looking rifle.
My mouth hangs. I remember this woman. I remember her from my dream!! Adele. The bank teller who filled my bag with cash. And now she is right there on my screen. I lean close to the Telly and touch it. Touch her face.
How can this be? I must be losing my mind.
The presenter is asking her;
Presenter: Your song feels so real. “Stranger with a Gun.” What’s that about?
Adele: Well, a couple of years ago someone entered the bank where I worked as a teller and robbed the joint.
Presenter: Wait! That’s a true story?
Adele: Yeah. I mean, he just bursts into the place like it is his mother’s house, right? Points a gun at me, drops a bag at my counter, asks my name and says, “Adele baby, do you mind filling this bag up for me?”
Presenter: You’re kidding!
Adele: Oh, I kid you not!
Presenter: That must’ve been terrifying.
Adele: Tell me about it.
Presenter: And so you made a song out of the experience?
Adele: Yeah. And before that, I had no interest in pursuing a music career whatsoever. But then I’m standing there in the bank, fighting every urge not to wet my pants, looking into the muzzle of that gun and the robber is asking me, “Do you sing?” And I’m like, “No, I don’t.” right?
Presenter: And he’s robbing the bank and chatting you up?
Adele: I’m telling you, this dude was nuts! NUTS! So I’m telling him I can’t sing worth a dime and you know what he does?
Presenter: (With a concerned expression in her eyes) No. No Adele I don’t know. Tell me already. The suspense is killing me.
Adele: He brushes the air away in front of him. Like he’s swatting a fly, right? Like this (She brushes away with a wave of the hand) right? Then he looks right into my eyes and there is this smile. This corny smile lifting the side of his lip up. And he says, “Ah, that’s OK. Can’t sing either. But hey, at least we can talk right? Gotta thank God for that Adele.”
Presenter: That kind of thing happens? Here in Kenya?
Adele: Oh yeah. Girl, was I scared! I have always sung in the shower. Written lyrics and made a song or two, but before that, I had no interest of pursuing it. It was just a hobby. I mean, I was doing great as a banker and way I saw it, this whole singing thing was too much hustle. And there were better singers in the market than me. But when he let me walk out of that bank alive, I decided I would pursue it.
Presenter: And now here you are
Adele: And now here I am.
I can’t breathe. She is narrating my dream. A dream I had last night. And she is saying it actually happened two years ago.
“You are not crazy.” I hear a female voice in my head. “You are special.”
I jump of the couch and look around. I am all alone in the living room. “Come to the bedroom.” The voice says and like a zombie, I stagger into the bedroom where my girl lies in bed, sleeping.
Sitting on the bed is a woman. In her forties now, she has this “I have seen it all, done it all” aura around her. It appears to be an invisible protective dome engulfing her. Nothing can penetrate it. She is looking down at my girl.
Her: My name is Medusa. Just so you don’t have to ask me a question as dumb as ‘who are you?’
Her: I am here to relieve your burden. Just so you don’t ask me a question as dumb as ‘what are you doing here?’
Her: Anything you don’t need in your life is a burden. Like this gorgeous burden lying naked in your bed right now. You don’t need it.
Her: I rolled in through the walls. Reached you from another dimension. Just so you don’t ask me a question as dumb as ‘how did you get in here?’
Me: Get out!
Suddenly, she is in my face. I don’t see her rising from the bed. I don’t see her closing the gap between us. One second she is on the bed, the next, she is floating in front of my face. Her feet not touching the ground.
Her: You can’t afford the clatter. You are way above it.
I am cowering away from her. I am leaning against the wall.
I cough. I can’t control it.
Gas passes from behind me.
I remember doing this to somebody. This is a terrible dream. I have to wake up. I have to… my feet aren’t touching the ground either.
She has stretched her hand out in front of her and is now lifting it toward the ceiling. Lifting me with it even without touching me.
Her: How does it feel, to be a god? How does it feel to know that all mortals are at your beck and call? People like you and me, we’re better than (she jerks her head contemptuously in the direction of my sleeping girlfriend) them. Stop wasting time Marty and start acting like a god!
She says this last statement with a command, then jerks her hand forward. I find myself flying backwards and crash against my bedroom wall.
Her: Sink into the wall.
I start sinking into the wall. It is like a soft mattress, swallowing me. Her eyes are on me. I am terrified. Freezing with fear. She is talking. Or rather I can hear her voice. But her lips aren’t moving. I can hear her thoughts.
Her: Fight me
Me: I don’t know how.
Her: Yes you do. Fight me!
Me: I don’t know how!
I am sinking and sinking. I can see myself behind the wall now.
Her: In three seconds, if you don’t start fighting, your arm will break. One, two, three…
I hear a loud “Kwa!” between my shoulder and elbow and my arm bends at an unnatural angle. A sharp jolt of pain shoots from there to my entire body and I scream. The wall is closing in on me. Darkness starts to close in.
I rake in a large gasp of air and open my eyes.
Her lips are on mine, kissing me gently.
Her: You were mumbling in your sleep baby. Are you OK?
Her warm palms are cupping my cheeks and there is a worried look in her eyes. Then she rubs my damp brow with the back of her hand and asks again;
Her: Are you OK baby?
Me: Yeah I’m fine. I just had a terrible dream.
My girl now smiles at me and kisses me again gently.
Her: You brought breakfast to bed, then you dozed of. You must have been really tired last night.
I see the flask, the bread and the omelet on the bedside table. I don’t remember bringing them. I remember making the tea and buttering a few slices of bread, but I don’t remember making the omelet and bringing it all to bed.
Her: Are you OK? You look really lost.
Me: What time is it?
Her: Almost noon.
It was almost 7 A.M. when I had my encounter with Medusa. What did she do to me? Was that a dream? Where do my dreams begin and where do they end?
I see my girl pushing the blankets away and striding over me. Her breasts pass close to my face and I hold her waist…pull her closer to me.
Me: Where are you going? (There is a playful tease in my voice)
Her: To the bathroom (She is smiling down at me)
I cup her cheek. I am flanked at my waist by her thighs. I pull her closer and kiss her tenderly. She moans and kisses me back.
Her: We can’t spend our days like this Marty
Her: In the house. Making love.
Me: Why not? It feels like a great way to spend time. Why make war when you can make love? Right?
She chuckles and her lips cover mine again. Her soft breasts fall on my chest.
I can feel myself rising. Growing harder and harder for her by the second. She can feel it too as her warm moist palms caress my chest and her lips find my neck and earlobe. She bites it gently and a chill slides down my spine.
I sit up, clasp my arm around her, lift her off me and lay her on her back on the mattress. As she lays naked under me, I recognize her. I recognize her soft features, her warm palms, her fleshy thighs, her shapely legs, her pronounced hips and thin waistline.
Maria the girl whose neck was snapped by Cleo in my dream.
Her: (Writhing with want and moaning under me. Her thighs are as wide apart as possible and her lower lip sinks into her mouth) Are you going to take me or are you going to lay there and stare at me like you’ve seen a ghost?
“Oh baby.” I’m thinking. “You have no idea.”
Her warm palm grabs my hard penis and directs it in her and now I know. I know what it feels like to be inside Maria. I have always wondered how that felt.
She rolls over and is now on me. My eyes catch a glimpse of the ceiling above her. There are shapes over there that I have never seen before. Her hands are on my chest as she sits astride me, making rapid back and forth motions. Looking up. Her lips parted. Her small teeth showing. A guttural moan escapes her.
The shapes on the ceiling are more pronounced now. Shaping up into a complicated caricature I recognize from somewhere.
And from the ceiling above her, I see Medusa materialize.
My eyes widen with untold terror. I want to scream but Medusa, slithering out of the ceiling like a serpent, puts a finger on her lips and just like that, my mouth is shut.
Her: You baby, you look so good…
Maria is moaning. Confusing the look on my face with ecstasy.
Medusa slides into full formation. Her hair flies wildly all around her. It reminds me of the tentacles of an octopus. She is moving from side to side like a cobra waiting to attack. Under her, Maria rides and rides. Her breasts move up and down. Fully succulent. Her hands dig into my chest as she looks up, closes her eyes and moans;
Her: I’m coming Marty! I’m coming…
(Buy my novel The Realm of Humanity here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/751536)
I wish I could warn her. I want to throw her away from me but my body won’t move. I am a rock, stuck in frustrating immobility.
Maria rides and rides and Medusa hovers in the air, right above her. Maria rides and rides and then she starts making these electric movements. Jerking and jerking as her sweet orgasm grabs her from this galaxy into an untold land of sweet sweet elation.
Maria can breathe again now. She looks down at me with the widest smile I have ever seen on anybody. Medusa hovers behind her now, waiting. Then her hands shoot forward and grab Maria by the throat. The young lady’s eyes pop open with sudden terror.
It all happens so fast.
Medusa lifts her from the bed and like the flash, she flies back into the ceiling taking Maria with her. Maria who doesn’t even have a second to scream. Her mouth, right before she vanishes into the ceiling, pops open with a terrified “O” and then she’s just…gone.
And in my head, a voice I now recognize as Medusa’s sings, “No matter what happens, you can always come back home.”
Indian Ocean. Malindi
I wake up.
I am in a boat. I recognize Malindi from here. I am in the Indian Ocean, kilometers from the shore. Alone in a boat. The waves carrying me deeper and deeper into the ocean.
For the first time in a long time, I don’t feel lost. There is no confusion here. I am not wondering what I am doing here. I am just being.
Something brushes beneath my boat and it rocks from side to side. I steady myself on the side and look into the ocean. That same thing brushes against my boat again and it rocks.
Above me a seagull flies past, making a repeated huoh-huoh-huoh sound. The early afternoon sunlight lands on the ocean and the bright light on the water is somewhat blinding.
This time, it is more than a brush. It is a knock that capsizes my boat. I find myself sinking deeper and deeper into the ocean and yet, I don’t fight.
Above me, the sun shines on and the deeper I sink, the more the water changes from a light green to a dark blue.
Then I see him. A large white whale, swimming elegantly towards me with an open mouth. I don’t fight. I don’t swim away. I am supposed to be here. It is the feeling you get when you see somebody who you know you have met, who you are comfortable with, even though you don’t exactly remember where you have met them.
The whale opens its mouth and I let myself fly in with the small fishes and tiny aquatic life. It gets very dark in there but I can breathe.
I think, “Let there be light.”
And there is light. The whale’s insides light up in a blue shade, the same color as the ocean. I am now standing inside a large air bubble inside the whale. And I am thinking, “Hello Moby Dick.”
And I hear a deep sound saying to me, “I have no idea why you insist on calling me Moby Dick.”
“We are friends, aren’t we?” I think as I place my hands on the side of the whale and look outside. He is transparent. I feel like I am inside a glass box at the bottom of the blue ocean, staring outside at the aquatic life.
It is beautiful out there. There are tiny fishes swimming in unison. When they sense the whale, they swim away as one large entity. Small fish. Only connected to each other by their senses. They all share a light golden color which helps illuminate their way around the bottom.
“We are more than friends my Lord.” I hear the whale’s deep voice in my head. “We are family.”
“Show me.” I say muttering out loud this time and my eyes shut. I am in a strange land, and the whale’s deep voice is guiding me.
“There are people,” the voice says, “People like you.”
Me: And people like Medusa.
Him: And people like Medusa.
Me: Show me. Show me everything.
Him: How can I do that my Lord, if you keep interrupting me?
I chuckle and open my eyes. I feel like I am in the presence of a great friend. I stand in my dry bubble, an invisible blanket of warmth hugging me gently.
Outside I see a great rock, resting quietly at the bottom of the blue ocean like a docile giant. As my invisible whale swims past, a large fish disengages itself from the rock and swims away slowly with the elegance of a queen. It looks exactly like the rock.
Above the whale, I see the sunlight from far far away. I must be at least nine hundred feet deep. There is a turtle swimming above me in no hurry at all.
Him: It is beautiful, is it not my Lord?
Me: Yes it is. It is all so breathtaking. Have I ever told you not to call me “My Lord”?
Him: Countless times my Lord.
Me: Yet you fail to heed my word.
Him: And what else would I call you? Marty? (He says the name with a playful note attached.) No. That is for the mortals. Those who fail to grasp the entirety of your might.
Me: Ah yes. (A swordfish swims past and from a far; I see jellyfish, lots and lots of them, glowing a deep purple color) Tell me. Tell me everything Moby Dick. I promise not to interrupt.
Him: If only I could believe you my Lord. There are beings. Special beings like you and Medusa, who were created with unique gifts. Beings that can swim effortlessly from one realm of existence to another. Beings like you, Medusa and myself who can travel through the space time continuum, manipulate matter and human subconscious and who, most importantly, can manipulate the decision making capabilities of human beings.
That would explain how Medusa could materialize from the ceiling and disappear right back into it. And how I could force someone to do something just by saying it.
We have gone deeper into the ocean now and there is not that much life 1500 feet underwater. It is cold and dark and the only reason why I can see the rocks and the wet sand down here is because my transparent whale illuminates his surroundings with a bright blue color reminiscent of a blue lampshade.
Him: You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Me: (Softly) Galatians 5:13
Him: But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Me: Joshua 24:15
Him: And I remember a time when this one was your favorite my Lord. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Me: Proverbs 16:9
Him: Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Me: Revelation 3:20
Him: I doubted you’d remember that one considering your profound disdain for the Book of Revelations.
Me: I would hardly call it disdain old friend.
Him: I wonder what term the 21st Century you would use on someone who so disagrees with the Revelations that he has torn away those pages from his Bible.
Me: It was just a little too dark for my tastes.
Him: What do all those verses in the Bible have in common?
Me: It’s all about freewill. God created man and gave them freewill to do as they please. With consequences at the end of it all of course.
Him: Is that an edge of disapproval I catch in your voice?
Me: I prefer we don’t tangle ourselves up in a debate about God and His philosophy at the moment.
Him: I agree with you there my Lord. With you being the softest one of us all, I doubt you will leave the debate without your fragile temper burning at my patience.
Me: And look what became of the tougher ones among us.
I close my eyes.
Macedonia. 168 BC
I wake up. I am floating in the air, enjoying the bird’s eye view of a raging battle in a dusty field below. Men on horsebacks, clad in iron armor, try to end each other’s lives with their swords and spears.
Romans versus the Greeks.
In my head I can hear the whale’s voice booming away;
Him: What you are looking at is now in the 21st Century referred to as the Battle of Pydna. This is where the Greeks will lose the Third Macedonian War to the Romans. See, the new Macedonian leader Perseus of Macedon, has been trying to re-establish the Macedonians’ global control. To this end, the moron has moved against his neighbors in a manner that a few might refer to as aggressive. Rome would probably have stayed out of it, but Perseus has been caught up in an assassination plan against a friend of Rome. In these days, Rome is to the world what America is to the world in the 21st Century. Now we have the Roman Senate declaring the third Macedonian War. At first, Rome does badly against the Macedonian armies, but today, on this date in 168 BC, what you are seeing are the Roman legions smashing the Macedonian phalanx in this battle.
It is noisy down there. Shields smashing into each other. Blood splattering in the air as a heavy axe sails through a man’s throat cutting his head clean off his shoulders.
Someone has brought a bunch of elephants to the dance, trumpets are going off and it looks like an episode of Spartacus down there.
A horse runs straight into a spear. It is lifted clean off the ground, hurled in the air and crashes heavily on the dust, breaking its rider’s bones.
The whale is saying;
Him: You see, Perseus was like you and me and Medusa. Special.
Me: A god
Him: No. No. We are not gods. We are just little pieces of God. Created with immense powers. Powers that normal human beings do not as yet possess. When you are imbued with this kind of power, able to sail from the past into the future, able to manipulate decision making and bend matter and people to your will, it may go to your head. Like it did with Perseus. Trying to impose his will on his subjects and his neighbors, the Romans rose against him and tried to show him another way. The Original Way as the Creator intended.
Me: I’m guessing they failed.
Him: Oh, they succeeded. They won. And for a while, humans were left to enjoy their freewill. But as dear friend and colleague Victor Hugo once said, nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. And the idea that humans could be manipulated for our gain had come. And so the world was treated to the cruelties of beings like Ivan the Terrible, Pol Pot, Idi Amin Dada, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler…
Inside the Whale somewhere in the Indian Ocean
Him: And that is Medusa’s plan. To manipulate humanity by bending it to her will.
Me: A god
Him: A little piece of God. A rogue piece, but a piece nonetheless. When we have to interact with humanity directly, we have six hours before we forget who we are whereupon we shed our special powers and occupy a vessel. That is the Creator’s condition for a us to interact with humans without notifying them of our presence. Last time, you had six hours to hunt Medusa but time lapsed. So you became like a human. You were like a police officer trapped undercover. Condemned to live out the rest of your days as a mortal. But you are more powerful than the rest of us so unconsciously, you were able to filter through people’s dreams in pursuit of Medusa and finally you met her. In a vessel she called…
Me: Cleopatra (I’m remembering everything)
Him: You are strong, stronger than all of us as I said, and so she tried to recruit you. Get you to join her ranks against us but you kept fighting her. Doubting her. Fearing her. She could only exercise true power over you if you willingly joined her. She tried everything. Cajoling you. Tricking you. But you felt something was wrong with her until you, my soft Lord, went and fell in love.
Him: Might I remind you that that was not part of the plan.
Me: Looks like my plan expired after I humaned up. And what’s the use of having a plan if you cannot change it? Adopt with changing circumstances. Be like water.
Him: Ah yes. Of course you would quote Bruce Lee.
Me: He was a wise man.
Him: One of the best among our ranks. (His voice grows concerned) My Lord, Medusa has a large army on her side now. She is winning. She is growing more powerful by the day and soon the world might be thrust into another war.
Me: I know
Him: And I never liked him and his eccentric ways but Einstein was right in saying that he lacked the knowledge on what weapons the World War III will be fought with, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. You have to go back my Lord. You have to finish Medusa for good this time.
Me: She is powerful. I have felt her power.
Him: But so are you! You are just afraid because she has your human friend.
Me: She could hurt her.
Him: When you go back, you will have six human hours to find her and destroy her. After six hours, you will forget who you are and this time my Lord, I am not sure I will be able to track you down again. I fear you will be lost forever.
We are swimming past beautiful coral reefs now, harboring fish and other aquatic life. They come in all colors. Purple. Pink. Yellow. Blue.
The Lost City of Cleopatra – Lost City of Heracleion
First thing is see is the intact statue of a lion under the water. Moby Dick is swimming right past it and I catch a proper glimpse of it as it stands on three legs and one leg hoisted on a something resembling a ball.
Me: Moby Dick?
Him: Yes my Lord?
Me: Is this what I think it is?
Him: Ah yes it is. The last time you went after Medusa, it hadn’t been found yet. They only found it in 1998 after being lost under the ocean for 1600 years.
In front of me stands a stone lion. I touch the side of the whale and it lights up to a brighter blue illuminating the surroundings. Small fish, startled by this sudden intrusion, quickly swim away.
I see what appears to be a staircase, leading to some sort of a shrine and on the other side of the staircase; I see yet another lion, stepping on a similar ball as the first lion. They seem to be guarding the entrance to a special place.
Him: Cleopatra did love her toys.
Me: We call them slay queens in the 21st Century Nairobi.
Him: Yes. Language never ceases to evolve.
I see the statues of gods only thought to have existed in ancient Greek mythology. I think of Alexander the Great, getting this city built many centuries ago.
A city with so much history in it. I see the lighthouse that brought ships to shore safely for over 2000 years while this city still lived.
I see Cleopatra, in all her glory, ruling this city. Sitting on the throne as a queen, revered by some, hated by some, but known by everybody.
History deemed to have all been myth, but now here it lies under the ocean where it had been buried by the water for over 1500 years. And now here it is. Cleopatra’s city.
I see the statues half buried in the sand. I see buildings still intact, playing home now to aquatic life when it was the second largest, second most powerful city after Rome. And now it lays at the bottom of the ocean, where fish swim around, completely oblivious of these ruins’ rich history.
Him: What do you think when you look at this city my Lord?
Me: I am tempted to think that nothing lasts forever, but there was a time when people thought this city has been lost forever. It had fallen to the all destructive paws of Father Time. But all that time it had only lain under the water, waiting for a day when it would make a triumphant return.
Him: This is hardly a triumphant return. It is just a pile of stones under the water in Egypt
Me: Why don’t you take a trip into the future next time you have a minute. And I can assure you that this will be a great underwater museum. The greatest of all time.
Him: Of course. I can see it now. “The Once Second Most Powerful City in the World, now Transformed into the Biggest Underwater Museum.” How triumphant.
Me: I never could win an argument with you Moby Dick. You always had a way of sneaking sarcasm into everything
Him: Maybe that is why you insist on referring me by a name that is not mine.
Me: Yet you only know it is you I am referring to.
Him: Well my Lord, this is where I say adieu.
Me: I suppose I will see you in six hours.
Him: Should you emerge triumphant of course.
Me: Shouldn’t you be saying “all the best” or something?
Him: Is that what all that time among humans has taught you? To refer to cheap, useless epithets while you should be…
Me: Just say it!!
Him: All the best my Lord.
Me: Thank you! God!
Him: Shush. He might be angry when He hears you yelling out his name like that. You know how upset He gets sometimes.
I wake up in the middle of a speech.
In front of me are tens of girls, all between the ages of 18 and 24. They all stand naked in the dark in front of Medusa. There is a fire going in an open hearth under the open night sky. Medusa is pacing tirelessly in front of them addressing them like a commander addresses his army before dispatching them to battle.
Medusa: It has been said for a long time now that this is a man’s world. But girls, it is not. I swear to you, it is not. Do you know how I know that? Because this is MY world! I own it and no man, can take it from me. You have heard the stories, yes?
The girls say “yes” in unison. It is a chilly night, yet here they stand naked in front of her, braving the cold.
Medusa: Has anybody been forced to be here?
Medusa: Is there anybody who needs to leave?
Medusa: Tonight is an important night for everybody here. What I am about to do to you was done to me many years ago and I can assure you, it has helped me a whole lot in this world. It has propelled me from the filth in the gutters, to the queen that I am today. I have fought men all the way to the top and now that I am here, I have to fight to stay at the top.
I see her eyes, the yellow flames dancing in them. She has a wild streak, foam forming at the corners of her lips. She has a dagger in hand. There is a pole five meters to her left. Tethered to that pole is a white goat.
Three years ago
I am in a bar. The door opens and Medusa walks in, holding a dagger in hand.
The song “Dandora L.O.V.E” is playing and a few people are standing in this smoky joint that smells of piss, cheap cigarettes, cheap liquor, glue, puke, dirty armpits and dirty private parts.
There is a table at a very dimly lit corner where I am enjoying a cigarette and a jug of Senator Keg.
There is a man at the counter drinking Guinness straight from the bottle. It is this man that Medusa heads straight for.
He is huge. Standing at around six foot five, broad shouldered. There is a nasty scar running down one side of his face. From his forehead down to the chin and it doesn’t spare his right eye eiither. That must have been a nasty fight he had found himself in. I would hate to see what happened to the other guy.
Medusa: You owe me money
Tanto: I don’t have it.
Medusa: I would believe that, but you are the only person in this joint drinking a bottled beer. A Guinness. Some people might take that as an insult.
Tanto places his beer bottle on the table and gets on his feet. He is a giant. Medusa has to look to the ceiling to see his face. His good eye is challenging her to do something.
Medusa: Please let’s not do this dance tonight Tanto.
Tanto: Why? Are you afraid that I might break your back?
She moves fast. She digs the knife into his leg and pulls it out fast. Tanto screams and whips out a punch which she dodges and digs the dagger deep into his ribs before plunging it out. Bright red blood quickly wets Tanto’s white shirt, but he doesn’t suffer long. She climbs on his back, plants the dagger on one side of his throat, makes a quick deep cut and skips away from the man.
His huge hand covers his throat but we can all see the futility in the act. Blood shoots between the fingers the way water shoots from an open tap. Complete with a swooshing sound.
Medusa: (Looking down at the kneeling man) No. I’m afraid I’ll cut your throat open.
She plants a kick on his back which sends him sprawling on his stomach. Tanto, dies with his eyes open.
Medusa walks casually around the now silent bar. Somebody has killed the music and we are all just watching her now. The dagger in her hand is still dripping with Tanto’s blood.
Medusa: My name is Medusa and I am not a good person. On a good day, I am a terrible woman. On a bad day, you better run when you see me coming.
She stands on a table in the middle of the bar and makes a circumference with a huge smile on her face.
Medusa: Believe me gentlemen when I say, today is a very very very good day.
Involuntarily, all eyes fall on the dead Tanto. All thinking, “There must be an emerging definition to the phrase a good day.”
And now here she stands. With that very knife in hand, turning girls into her.
Medusa: When God created a woman, He did her a great injustice when he planted a clitoris on her. Girls I’m telling you these things are a yoke. A yoke of slavery, meant to keep us eternally under the ever crushing thumbs of men. But hey, (She drops a knowing shrug) God is a man, right? Of course he’d create us with a weakness. Well ladies, I am here to correct that mistake. Where ignorant girls see their clitoris as something that helps them enjoy sex, I see it as a useless piece of meat that you can do without. I had mine cut off when I was a young girl and I am telling you I can go for years without a man. But with it, the best you can do is a few months and you will be throbbing like a bitch on heat. And were I to present a donkey to you with its huge black penis, you would grab it and you would put it inside of you. That ladies, is the crippling nature of a clitoris. What do you want to be? A warrior or a donkey girl?
Girls: A WARRIOR!
Medusa: I can’t hear you!
Girls: A WARRIOR!
Medusa: Are you done with your yokes of slavery?
Medusa: (Places a hand behind her ear and moves closer to the girls like she can’t hear them) What?
Medusa: Then why don’t you sit down and part those legs for me!
I wake up.
It is the sound of the bleating goat that pops my eyes open.
I can hear Medusa’s voice raised in song. She is facing Mt. Kenya’s general direction with her hands lifted above head and she is saying;
Medusa: Accept this humble sacrifice offered to you from your humble servant, thaai thathaiya ngai thaai. (May peace prevail between God and man)
She reaches for the goat. The group of newly cut girls sits around her, red spots forming pools between their legs.
Thin shawls are covering their shoulders now. The only barricade between them and the night chill.
I catch myself thinking;
Me: How can peace can’t prevail between God and man when there is you between them.
Medusa: (Thinking) I will be with you in a second.
My hands are bound but I can’t see the rope. My feet aren’t touching the ground.
Me: Where is she?
Medusa: Who? That poor excuse of a woman you call your girlfriend?
Me: That poor excuse of a woman I call a girlfriend. Where is it?
Medusa: Your self-deprecation was always a great defence.
Me: You always had a loose mouth.
Medusa: You remember me. Good. How is the whale? I am guessing he has restored your memories. How much time do you have?
Me: Where is she?
All this time as we talk, she is busy offering the gods atop the mountain the sacrifice of the goat. She places the knife around its throat and one swift movement later, the poor animal’s throat turn to a waterfall of red.
All the girls make as if they are pouring imaginary water over their heads with their hands.
An older woman shows up with beads around her throat, feathers tucked in her hair, beads around her arms and legs and traditional attire fitting her like a second skin.
She is beating a drum with bare hands and singing an old song.
Medusa: I can assure you, you will not need her where I will be sending you child.
Me: Don’t try me lady.
Medusa: (She smiles and all this time, she has been communicating with me without moving her lips) Child, I am no lady.
Me: I am glad you’ve noticed. What are you going to do with me?
Medusa: Hang on. I will be with you in a sec. (She turns to me with a slight wink and a smile and turns her attention to the girls) Now my warriors…
I wake up.
There is a dagger pressing against my carotid artery. I recognize my room but at first, everything in it seems wrong.
I am looking down at my bed. That is not supposed to be the case. Takes me a little while to realize that I am suspended in the air. Now I am pressed against the ceiling hands and legs bound.
Medusa: You are not a match for me child.
Me: You always did know how to run your mouth.
I am thinking of my Moby Dick. The whale I created myself. Everyone was up in arms. Why was I allowed to create? They were told that they could create too, but their creations had to be more innocent than a baby.
They could not do it. They could not create a living entity that was more innocent than a baby.
So Medusa and the likes of her were left with no option but to turn the innocent into them. Just like the ancient medusa could turn people into rocks just by getting them to look at her.
Maria is on the mattress, looking up at me. She looks unconscious at the moment.
Me: What have you done to her?
I can’t see her but I can feel her power. The air smells of her.
Medusa: Oh relax. If any harm comes to her, I can assure you it won’t be from me.
Me: This has…
Medusa: …nothing to do with her? Please. Do shut up.
A force clumps down on my mouth hard and a vice squeezes my throat. I am pinned harder against the ceiling board.
My fists clench and unclench and I hear the whale’s voice in my head saying,
“You’re powerful too.”
I haven’t let her see the full extent of my might.
And I tell myself, “Breathe Marty. Breathe.”
And the vice around my throat disappears and so does the clump on my mouth.
Medusa: Uuuu. (Her voice in my head is teasing) Looks like you still have a little fight in you boy.
I veer my mind to the whale. I close my eyes and drown out any thoughts. Any feeling. I focus on the whale.
I see myself moving at the speed of light under water. Passing marine life and diving at neck breaking speed.
Me: (Whisper) Moby
His voice comes to me as a soft purr at first
Him: My Lord. Keep concentrating. You are more powerful than you know.
I can hear Medusa’s voice passing an order to the dagger on my throat.
And the knife, obeying his master, starts to dig. Or rather, tries.
Him: Did I ever tell you that that is not my name?
Me: Did I ever act like I care?
Him: You know, you and Him are the only ones who have ever created life.
Me: It is so beautiful down here, isn’t it?
I have stopped at three hundred feet under the water and I am in full glare of the most beautiful part of the ocean. From above, the ocean lights everything up.
Him: Uh yes. But of all things you could have created, you created an ugly white whale.
Me: With a big beautiful heart.
Him: Who was he? Him that said, darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.
Me: The Reverend.
Him: Good man.
Me: Many good men have come and gone.
Back in the bedroom, realizing that the dagger has been unable to go past my skin, Medusa materializes in full glory.
A dark smoky shape of her forms on the concrete floor then slowly, almost like evaporating fumes, it rises like smoke and concretizes right under me. She wades through the air in her cobra like fashion, head swaying from side to side, hair flying wildly all around her.
Medusa: You think you and your fish can beat me? I am the oldest one of you all!
Me: If only that meant you are the wisest, grandma.
Her hand grabs the dagger by the handle and makes a cut into my skin.
I block out the pain and fear and now focus on Maria, sleeping peacefully on the bed. Completely oblivious of the raging war.
I close my eyes and enter her dreams. She is a child. Barely ten years old. She is in a big garden, skipping rope alone.
From a distance, a female voice calls out –
Female voice: Maria! Maria!
Maria: Yes mom!
Female: Shower time!
I am watching her from a distance. She is in a pink t-shirt and blue jeans, torn at the knees. She must have fallen on them one too many times.
Maria: I’m coming!
She skips and skips. And then she sees me. And smiles.
She is missing a few front teeth, but that doesn’t stop her from grinning from here to the moon. She stops skipping and waves. I wave back.
Maria: Who are you?
Me: Who do you need me to be?
Maria: Is that a game we could play?
Me: Hasn’t your mama ever told you never to play with strangers?
Maria: She has. But God is a stranger. Jesus is a stranger. Angels are strangers. If I don’t play with them, how will I ever meet them?
Me: How about the others? Lucifer and the demons?
Maria: (She shrugs) It is a risk I am will to take. Can’t have the good without the bad, right?
Me: (I move in super speed to her and her long hair blows all over her face. I squat in front of her.) You are a very brave girl, you know that?
Maria: I know you. I have seen you from somewhere.
Me: Dreams. Do you know how I know you’re special?
Me: One day you will find yourself dancing at a place called Sarakasi Dome. On your way out after an evening of rehearsal, you will pass by Java along Kimathi Street, you will buy a cup of coffee to go, and on your way to your car, you will bump into somebody and spill your coffee on their suit. They will be cross but you will smile and apologize. Then you will know that you have seen him before. You won’t know where or when, but you will leave out the rest of your days knowing that the man beside you in bed, the man holding your hand as you dance your way through life with the biggest names in the world is familiar to you. Is your friend. Your protector. It will be the greatest burden of your life. Always wondering, “Where have I seen you before?” and never knowing the answer. Because the day you’ll know that answer, the day you will know that the man in your life has been the man who has been appearing in your dreams since you were born, that is the day that you’ll die. And Maria, you will die happy.
Female voice: Maria! If you make me call you again someone will shed tears! And it won’t be me!
Me: You better run kid. Mama will be mad at you.
Maria: (She smiles) You’re weird.
Me: I know.
And off she runs to her shower and to the next sixty-seven years of her life.
I open my eyes. I am stuck to the ceiling of my bedroom with Medusa pressing her knife against my throat. There is a smile playing on Maria’s lips in her sleep.
Me: Is that the best you’ve got?
Medusa: Why can’t I kill you?
Me: You have forgotten. I might be a little piece of God just like you, but I have created. Just like Him. That makes me your senior, grandma!
I free my arms and feet from the ceiling.She is watching, trying to squeeze my throat but her eyes are betraying the sudden sense of her overcoming fear. I free my throat, wrap my arm around her torso and fly with her to the bank during the robbery. I fly her two years back in time.
Medusa and I are standing outside the bank where a younger me with a bagful of cash on his back, is spraying bullets around from the M4.
Medusa: What is this?
Me: This is where you witness the full extent of my might. Freeze bitch!
Medusa snaps shut like something someone has pulled the power cord from.
Medusa: You can’t kill me. He won’t let you.
Me: See Medusa, I won’t kill you. You will just find yourself at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
A gun in front of the younger me goes off and he wants to dodge that bullet but I rush to him in super speed and hold his head in the way of the bullet.
And wait for it to get close.
Medusa: What are you doing?
Me: You had a million chances to change your ways Medusa. But you chose not to.
Medusa: I’m a god! Gods don’t kill gods!
Me: That is where you are wrong Medusa. You are not a god. You are just a little speck of dust in His vast creation. You forget your place!
The bullet is close enough. It has burrowed itself just a little into the younger me’s forehead, drawing a drop of blood. That done, and moving with speed much faster than the bullet’s, I pull the younger me away and place Medusa in the way of the bullet.
Me: You see Medusa, I can’t kill you. A bullet to your head can’t kill you. But a bullet marred with a drop blood my blood, the blood of the purest among us, will surely end you.
I snap my fingers. Medusa finds herself with a bullet burrowing its way through her head. It makes a right turn somewhere inside her and shoots out through her left ear, paving way for gore in the form of blood and brain matter. Medusa, just like Tanto, dies with her eyes open.
In super speed, I put the younger me in bed beside Maria and stand beside them watching. In my head, I hear the whale’s voice saying
Him: It is time my Lord. Time to get back to your own time in your own realm.
Me: OK Moby Dick. I am coming.
Him: You better hurry. You know in these realms, there is always a wrong that needs correcting. (There is a tremor in his voice whose meaning I can’t quite read. Then it hits me)
Me: Moby Dick, that is fear I detect in your voice. (I close my eyes and wade through air, land and sea to my whale.) What is wrong?
Him: It is the Creator. He is summoning us back to The Kingdom. And we all know what happened to Lucifer the last time the Creator summoned us.
Me: Whatever it is, it cannot be good.
I stand inside the bubble inside my white whale and answer the Creator’s call hoping He is not too mad about me tearing away The Revelations to be reasoned with.