There was a time in my life when I could run. I was known for it. I wore tiny school shorts and under them, ever so rigidly would fall the thinnest legs you’d ever seen on an 10-year-old.Slender, yes, but they’d give a cheetah a run for its money. (I had to). Beknown throughout the vast corners of our class was my agility. That and my pubescent alto, but that’s neither here nor there. I was the second fastest in my class, after this Edwin fellow. (Scoff). Sometimes our Math teach, Mr. Dickson, a dark, red-eyed fellow, would lock horns with some unlucky chap over at table 1 over incomplete homework, and since I sat nearest to the door, he would turn to me and bellow across the room, “Mugo, go to the staffroom and get me a cane!”
I’d drop everything, roll up my socks until I felt the tightness in my toes and off, I’d vanish. Like a mad man, I’d dash through the school corridors so fast, no one would actually see me. Papers would fly off people’s hands, dress skirts would float over and the air would get chillier as I whisked by.
On very uncommon occasions, if the staffroom was far enough, as I dashed I would start to feel the bones of my shin grow hollow and my running step would be lighter. Almost as if I was taking flight, levitating.
All this for the cane. The cane had to be got. I was the cane bearer. The dashing cane bearer. And I loved it.
On an unrelated note, there was also a time in my life when I kept a notebook. A red one, whose pages were bound by circular rings against which you could turn the pages. I used it as, and this is not weird at all, a reserve for vocabulary. I was that way. Every time I’d heard or read a nice new word that resonated with me, I’d jot it down in my red notebook and make note to use it in the future. I still have it, the red notebook.
It’s tattered now but in it there’s about 150 words and their paraphrased definitions. Words like haggard, tenement, communism, de facto, double standard, schizophrenia, confederate, juxtaposition, caveat, obstinate, …
150 words. I was on a mission.
I often took special liking to certain words, especially those that had a certain air to them. Like the word ‘Conundrum’. I’ve always liked that word, Conundrum. It has an undeniable eliteness to it. How effortlessly it slides off the tongue, like classy chocolate. It’s not even so much what it means but how it sounds at the mention. Conundrum.
Sometimes, just for kicks and when I’m in a cocky mood, I’ll use it in my normal talk. Just to piss off folk. I’m that annoying guy who uses big words just because he’s watched half an episode of Downtown Abbey.
You know what it is? I think I have the spirit of a snotty Englishman. That’s my pen persona. A freckled, wide-eyed Brit who says things like “Cheerio mate!”. Hopefully, I don’t wear checked skirts and play bagpipes on a low hill. Hopefully, I’m a silent, introspective Cockney, middle-aged, and I wear woolen sweaters and sit by the fireplace, contemplating as I write with my quill pen under a frail candle light. Hopefully, I’m Alfred Pennyworth.
I recently picked up this book, The Fortunate Pilgrim. It’s by this guy of ours, Mario Puzo, the The Godfather guy. I just started it, I’m hardly a chapter in. There’s a very vivid visual at the beginning of this Italian kid riding his horse through the streets of New York watching people watch him. I liked it. Truth be told though I’m looking forward to some good old Italian mob syndicate shenanigans. Oily hair. Narcotics. Pastries. People being ‘whacked’. The works.
Everyone loves good crime fiction. In fact, I’m thinking of going fiction.
My plan in life is to write and publish like 3 solid Kenyan crime novels by the time I’m 50. That’s my life’s schedule between now and 2047. I’ve already started btw. I already have titles in mind. That’s how I do it. I build the roof first. The title for the first one is going to be “I Am Not Going Back To Dandora“. I haven’t the tiniest shred of idea of what it’s going to be about, only that it’ll be set in Dandora. Only that. Oh and there’ll be a character in it, Jamo, who will have dreadlocks. And he will smoke like a chimney. Only that. It’s going to have 400 pages.
Something else you guys should know about me. (Today’s post is a narcissistic one btw. You will see a lot of I’s and me’s). I’m one of those annoyingly philosophical people. I love problems, especially those unsolved. Metaphysics. Ontology. Death. Moral systems. I live for that shit. I have a million saved pages on my browser on stuff I’ve read and found fascinating. (i.e conundrums) So once in a while, here, you will have sit through my thoughts and ramblings on things like thought experiments and existential problems.
There’s things I wouldn’t write about though. Lines you will notice I don’t cross. Politics. Homophobia. Radical Jihadism. Not because I’m scared but because I’m afraid. There’s a difference.
Of course, while there’s the possibility of me being found inside my sedan on a deserted curb in Ruiru Ndani, my body riddled with bullets so much I could sieve tea ati because of something I wrote, there’s also the risk of making this a sensational blog. (Mostly the former though)
But then again maybe a lack of boldness is a foolish thing to admit for one who writes. Maybe what I need is to be one of those writes who go out there to find the story. To man up and get out there with my press fedora and my notebook and quest for literary inspiration and truth. To quest, even if it takes me to Aleppo, Syria. Where the city roads are littered with grenade shrapnel and parts of people. Where I will hold interviews with armed insurgents wearing ski masks holding up banners, over distant sounds of detonations. Even then.
Maybe that’s what I need. Maybe that’s what we all need. To go to Aleppo.
I feel like I’ve ended this post on a grim note with all that terrorist talk, so here’s a funny joke.
A priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender turns to them, takes one look and says, “What is this, some kind of joke?”