Track 2: The Situation as it is, is not what you See
“I know you’re hungry, Min. So am I. What do you think we should eat?”
Jasmine went to the refrigerator, staring at the contents with a sigh.
“Looks like it’s milk and tuna for you, Min.”
Jasmine retrieved a can of cat food and opened it. Emptying the contents into a bowl, she stuck the bowl into the microwave. Her phone rang when the cycle ended and she placed the bowl on the floor for Min.
“Jazz, do you want to tell me you forgot to come home for the family dinner?”
“Mum,” Jasmine sighed. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t make it. I forgot to call.”
“Work,” Jasmine lied, not wanting to explain that her car broke down, and she needed to fix it. That she wasn’t sure she had enough money to do it.
“They are working you too hard,” Wanja said in disapproval. “Come home, Jasmine. You’ve proven yourself. I promise we won’t make you do anything you don’t want to.”
“Mum,” Jasmine said. “I like work and how busy it keeps me.”
“Then, why do you sound so tired? You’re not taking care of yourself.”
Jasmine sighed. “I’m fine, Mum. I’m sorry I didn’t come home. I’ll try and make it before the weekend is over. Say hello to Jenny and Daryl.”
“Fine, goodnight Jazz,” Wanja said.
Hanging up the phone, Jasmine stood leaning on the kitchen counter thinking about her mother’s concern.
Jasmine wished she could throw the towel in and go home, but, how could she? Her pride would not let her after the huge fight she staged with her father to gain her freedom. She argued with her father long and hard. In the end, the man only let her out of his house after she promised to return home if something went wrong.
If you come back home, Jasmine, you’ll stay without complaint.
Jasmine sighed and shook her head. She would never give him the satisfaction of claiming she was in trouble.
Her father was in the army, and for most of her early life, she’d lived the life of an army brat. Her father traveled too much and those early years, he insisted on moving with his family. Until Jasmine entered high school and got tired of not having close friends. After a particular nasty row with her parents, her mother made the decision to settle them down in Nairobi. Buying land in Dagoretti and building a house. Thanks to this, Jasmine was able to meet Terry during their first year of high school. Theirs was a fast friendship one that stuck for over ten years now.
Jasmine didn’t know what she would have done without Terry’s constant support. Especially when she decided to live on her own after college. Her father thought it a coup, and that’s how she ended up with the ultimatum.
Despite the arguments, Jasmine loved her family, and knew it was because they loved her that they acted the way they did.
So, she vowed never to tell them her problems, unless she murdered someone. Shaking her head, Jasmine resumed her search for food, her thoughts straying to Danny.
How long had she had a crush on that man? Ten years?
In high school, Danny acted like she didn’t exist. No matter how many times she tried talking to him, it didn’t seem to make a difference with Danny Kihome. The guy was tough to crack. With time, her crush matured into something more. Unfortunately, his ignorance of her had also increased to new heights. She could never get close to him it seemed. It didn’t help that Danny was Terry’s brother.
Jasmine cherished her friendship with Terry, so she never made any attempts to close the distance Danny created. It wouldn’t do to have a fallout with Terry over her older brother. But, it didn’t mean she couldn’t look.
Lord, but the man was hot, thanks to hours spent wrestling engines and wrenches, she imagined. His gaze made her shiver, so intense, she sometimes felt like he was seeing everything about her. He had a strong jaw, kissable lips, and she so wanted a taste.
Swallowing a strawberry, Jasmine closed her eyes and decided restraint was the best strategy. Being around a guy like Danny could only mean trouble. Speed junkies were married to their cars and engines. She certainly didn’t need the heartache.
Lack of sleep kept her up all night typing up a new chapter in her book. At around seven in the morning, Jasmine sat staring at her laptop screen and the blinking cursor. Inspiration had ran off with the night, right as she reached chapter ten. The characters refused to move forward.
Getting up, she stretched her arms above her head and went to the kitchen to make breakfast. With Min rubbing against her socked feet, Jasmine started the coffee maker. It was Saturday, and she was off work for two days. Her only obligations today were grocery shopping and convincing Terry to go out later to a new club in Langata.
She was busy frying eggs when the doorbell rang.
“Come in, I’m in the kitchen,” she called.
She didn’t want to leave the cooker on.
Hoping her visitor had heard her, Jasmine turned the eggs and was about to plate them when Danny appeared at the kitchen entrance. Her kitchen had two doorways, one that opened into the dining room, the other led to the hallway that led to the front door.
Jasmine stood at the counter along the hallway side in old pajama bottoms, a t-shirt and bugs bunny socks, her hair sticking up. It wasn’t her best look. She had always tried to look her best around Danny and it was mortifying to have him see her this way.
“You should be more careful who you let in,” Danny said in greeting, scowling at her. “What if I was a serial killer?”
“You certainly aren’t, unless you’re hiding a big secret,” Jasmine said, placing the frying pan back on the cooker. “Want breakfast?”
The question was unintended. She asked it because she did the same for all her friends. He’d probably refuse—
“Sure,” Danny said.
To her credit, she masked her surprise, instead, reached for the eggs and started to break them into the heating pan.
“I brought your car,” Danny said, taking pleasure in watching her move around her kitchen. This was a new side of her he had never seen.
Jasmine looked relaxed and laid back. Far from the mask, which he realized now for what it was, she gave to the world.
“How much do I owe you?” Jasmine asked, a frown playing on her forehead as she calculated the money in her account.
“Nothing,” Danny said, remembering Jimmy’s reaction when Danny decided to pay the cost with his own cash.
‘Marry her already.’
“I can’t let you do that,” Jasmine said, a bit shocked by Danny’s answer. “I know it was a huge mess and all, tell me what was wrong with it and how much it cost.”
“Your car needed servicing. You have ignored maintenance for a while,” Danny lied, thinking of the new engine the Chevy now boasted.
He had wanted to get it repainted and reupholstered but that was his need to upgrade any car. Jasmine would have wanted to pay for the obvious changes.
“Maintenance?” Jasmine studied him. “You’re not kidding me, are you?”
“I’m not,” Danny answered, his lips twitching a bit at how intently she watched him.
“I can’t believe it,” Jasmine sighed.
Maintenance, oh well, she was guilty of adding petrol and oil without much thought to anything else. Turning off the gas cooker, she stopped before Danny, coming up on her tiptoes, she pressed a chaste kiss on his cheek.
“I owe you,” she said, pulling away. “Thank you.”
To be continued….Thank you for Reading. ^_^
Track 1: The Unexpected
“Danny! Holy Virgin, how can you exist like this? You’ll never get a wife.”
The song ended and Danny got the last part of the comment. Sliding out from under the Shelby Mustang he was fixing, he lifted his head to stare at his sister with a raised brow.
“Turn the volume down,” Terry Kihome ordered, glaring at him from her position at the garage door.
She looked like an avenging dark angel in her tight fitting black jeans and top, her long mass of dark fake hair tumbling down her back. The glint in her dark eyes warned him that her natural temper was unleashed.
Lord save him from crazy, pint-sized women.
Sighing, Danny fluidly got to his feet and moved to the stereo by the wall. Hitting the pause button, silence filled the room and he turned to look at his little sister.
“You and your rock music,” Terry snapped, shaking her head, clearly irritated. “It’s a wonder you can fix anything in such chaos.”
“Teresa, what did you want?” Danny asked again, his tone calm and unconcerned with her discontent.
Terry stared at him for a moment, and then shrugged, deciding she could rant and rave for hours and he’d only ignore it.
“I need a favor.”
“What type of favor?”
With Terry, a man needed to ask. She could get the devil in trouble, and he was neck deep in it already.
“Pick up Jazz for me.”
“Jazz!” Danny felt an involuntary shiver travel through him as the image of a matching face came to mind. “Why?”
“Her car gave up on her. She’s stuck on the side of the highway.”
It was not going to happen, Danny thought in panic. He’d managed to avoid Jazz for an entire year. His plans would not change so easily.
“Why can’t you do it?” Danny asked her.
“I’m going to work, remember? Come on, Danny. She’s my best friend, and I won’t leave her stranded,” Terry pleaded. “Please do this for me.”
How could he refuse? Terry looked so worried. To think of Jazz stuck on the highway, alone…a woman alone—
“Fine, which highway?” he asked.
Terry smiled, and hurried into the garage to give him a kiss on his jaw.
“I love you, Bro. She’s right off the exit into Muthaiga. You can’t miss that car of hers.”
Danny nodded and watched Terry run out, her spirit lifted.
“Great!” He’d made his sister’s day and ruined his.
“Be nice to her,” Terry called back and he felt an actual shudder at the thought of trying to be nice to Jazz.
He’d never met another woman who could drive a man crazy just by being herself. He’d gone through high school watching Jasmine Lima from a distance. Beautiful, gorgeous Jasmine was the life of the party then and still was now, ten years later. She and Teresa became friends in high school; their bond had only increased through the years.
As far as he knew, Jazz lived a wild haze of parties and bad boys. She’d dated all the football players in their high school team. It was no different now. It seemed as though Jasmine had a new boyfriend every week. Last week, he seemed to recall a Mark or Michael?
A girl like Jazz could rip you apart, he thought as he took off his work overalls. Picking a pair of keys from a cluttered table, Danny stalked out of the garage and headed for his tow truck.
He would get Jazz’s car and drop her off at home, nothing more.
Letting out a long sigh, Jasmine Lima sat behind the wheel in her old Chevy Cavalier and wondered at life and its fairness.
How was it on the day she’d had the worst time at work, her car decided to blow a gasket? Not that she was sure that was the problem. She was completely engine illiterate. Though she understood one thing, waking this baby up was going to put a sizeable dent on her savings.
Just what she needed, Jasmine thought, with another sigh. As if she didn’t have enough problems already.
Punching the steering wheel to keep tears of frustration at bay, she opened the door and stepped out. Her boots crunched on gravel, the wind high, as the weather was caught between wanting to rain and not. She pulled the ends of her heavy sweater around her and frowned at the cars passing swiftly on the road.
Where the hell was Terry anyway?
It was going on an hour now. Leaning into the car, she reached for her cell phone and checked the time, almost two hours now. Sighing, she closed the driver’s door and leaned on it, her grip on the cell phone tight. A strong wind came, and she glanced up at the dark clouds overhead. For a full minute, she contemplated calling home. Her mother would be home, so would her younger sister and brother.
The thought disappeared as quickly as the wind passed. Calling home would create a new set of problems she did not need. Yep, she would settle for Terry she decided with a shiver.
“You should carry a heavier coat,” a gruff voice said to her left, startling her out of her wits.
Turning, she stared at the tall man walking toward her. She wasn’t aware of the tears spilling over. Why him? Why was it that today of all days, she had to see him?
“Damn it! Don’t cry,” Danny said, at a loss when he saw the tears sliding down her soft brown cheeks. His words seemed to make them come faster so he moved to her side.
Taking her by the shoulders, Danny led her to the passenger side of his tow truck and helped her in. Hurrying back to her car, he reached in and got her car keys. He spent a few minutes hooking the car up to the tow truck. When he was done, he retrieved the purse on the passenger seat of the Chevy. Closing the door, he hurried to the tow truck and slid into the driver’s seat.
Twisting so that he could see Jazz, he handed her the purse.
The tears had disappeared and she was looking at him with huge dark eyes. Then biting her lip, she looked down.
“I’m sorry,” she said, opening her purse.
The expression on her face made him fight hard to hold back a laugh. It was too obvious that he was the last person she’d been expecting. He bit back the laugh because it was also obvious that she’d had a tough day. She would not appreciate a laugh right now. Looking away, Danny cleared his throat and asked,
“The car blew a gasket,” Jasmine said, digging into her purse for something elusive.
“Really?” Danny asked, focusing his gaze on her.
“I don’t know, Danny. You know more than I do about cars. I’m imagining it’s something that bad,” Jasmine said, finally pulling out a pack of tissues.
Women’s purses fascinated him. The amount of things they could stuff in them was mind blowing. She blew her nose and he smiled.
“I can check it out if you want,” Danny offered, aware that if he did this, he’d have to see her again.
“Could you?” Jasmine asked in relief. “I’m sure it’s something big and I’m at my wits end right now. I could use the help.”
She looked exhausted. Sleep is what she could use right now, Danny thought.
Why was she working so much? Why was she so stubborn? She couldn’t see him. Him right here, who wanted to take care of her.
I’m right here, Jazz, right here.
Starting the truck, Danny said gruffly, “Don’t fret. I’ll bring your car around when it’s done.”
Jasmine smiled at him, her face so pretty—
He needed to rush this. He would have the car fixed by tomorrow, and then he would never have to see her again. He couldn’t handle being too close right now.
“This car is a junk yard winner,” Jimmy complained as he studied the engine. “It’s too old.”
“We’re fixing it,” Danny said, dropping the keys on the worktable in their garage.
He and Jimmy were business partners. They owned a garage where they fixed, tuned, customized cars and anything else that included optimizing a car’s performance and look. Their real passion was speed. Danny hated to think what his mother would feel about his extra-curricular activities that catered to this passion. He loved the fast lane.
“This is Jazz’s car, isn’t it?” Jimmy guessed, meeting Danny’s gaze. “She’s the only one you would do this for. Why don’t you just tell her how you feel?”
Danny shrugged, hating the fact that Jimmy knew him so well. They had known each other since childhood. Having grown up in the same neighborhood, their dreams aligned, they’d ended up following those dreams together.
Jimmy, last name Mitoni, was the son of an engineer working for Toyota. When Jimmy turned eighteen, his father, now a big corporate executive was offered a job by Toyota in Tokyo. Jimmy opted to remain home to finish his college and now lived in the house neighboring Danny’s in Kiambu. Their garage was five minutes away from their estate. Jimmy liked to call their life, the ultimate choice. Since they were doing exactly what they loved with their lives.
Staring at the sorry state of the Chevy’s engine, Jimmy looked like a contented man in his oily overalls, his dark hair cut close to his head.
“I’m not you, Jimmy. She’s—
Danny stopped, trying to think of a neutral word to describe Jasmine.
“Hot? Sexy? A babe?” Jimmy offered with a slight grin. “If you didn’t have a thing for her, I’d have asked her out by now.”
Danny glared at him for that. He knew how many men were after Jasmine. It wasn’t easy knowing it. Like her name, she was an exotic woman with a luscious bod that she knew how to use to drive men crazy.
Jimmy laughed when he looked up and saw the grim expression on Danny’s face.
“Do me a favor, Danny, since we’re fixing this abomination, how about you tell Jazz how you feel? In the process, convince her to get a new car too. Sawa?”
Danny smiled at that. They both knew he was going to keep silent and watch. Which was absolutely pathetic, but he couldn’t seem to help it.
“Danny Kihome, I worry about you,” Jimmy said, shaking his head.
To be continued….Thank you for reading ^_^!
A/N: Turning over a new leaf, and writing again, inspired lots, so let’s see where this takes us. Still writing the Enchanting Violinist, don’t be discouraged.
P/S: This story is also called Jasmine & Danny and may be running on The Naked Convos Kenya Blog, if they like it that is…lolz…
How can you change perspectives?
This is always the hardest to do when moments in a day pile up, one after another, bogging down your original thoughts, until you can’t remember how the day started and what you wanted to do. I envy the list-making people, or the schedule-following crowd. The planner-manics who keep their phones full of alarms, and notes on what should happen each day.
This writer seeks the deity of works-in-progress. I guess the first step, is simply posting this…and knowing what comes next. Looks like things are looking up.
Assigning an ISBN number to your book in Kenya
- Get an account with the Kenya National Library Service(KNLS) ISBN service here: ISBN website
- Create a Profile, adding important personal details. Please note we did this as a Publishing Co., (request information if you want to do this as an individual.)
- Once you are set up, click on the ISBN Products. They offer options of buying 1 ISBN, 10 ISBNs, 100 ISBNs to 1,000 ISBNs. Choose the number that fits your needs, and make the purchase. This process is easy, and flexible, you may do it in cash, mobile payment, through the bank, whatever works for you.
- Once payment is approved, wait to hear back from KNLS. They are very fast about this, and you will get a message from them giving you your ISBN numbers, as well as the barcode that goes along with it.
- Here is a short guideline of how and when to use your ISBN when you get it and what to do with it once you get it. The ISBN site, sends these guidelines to you once your ISBN is approved.
You may allocate ISBN to the following publications:
– Printed books material
– Educational video or movies
– Atlases and maps
– Publications in braille
– Electronic publications
ISBN should NOT be allocated to the following publications:
– Off print from periodicals
– Advertising materials (sales catalogs, price lists, prospectus, instructions publishing flyers, etc.)
– Wall posters, newspapers, leaflets
– Programs of theatrical, music and other performances
– List of exhibits without additional text
– Curricula of schools and colleges of all kinds
– Lecture and teaching materials of manuscripts character
– Calendars and diaries
– Form and coloring books
PLEASE ALSO NOTE that ISBN should always appear on the verso of the title page, or if this is not possible at the foot of the title page. It must also appear at the foot of the outside back cover at a prominent outside position.
FINALLY, remember that the BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS ACT CAP. 111, Laws of Kenya, stipulate that every publisher MUST deposit 2 clean copies of their (new, future and back issues) with the Director, Kenya National Library Service, (National Reference and Bibliographic Dept.). This process begins by filling in details under the “My Publications” section when you log into the ISBN service, and later depositing the copies physically at the National Library for approval. You shall not be allowed to purchase further ISBNs until you complete this process for all issued ISBNs.
Now that you have your ISBN, consider Copyrighting your book with the Kenya Copyright Board
This procedure is for a first time buy, for a second time buy, make sure you have met all their requirements on submitting books to the National Library.
Two minutes later, she went to her yoga mat for cool down stretching exercises, nimbly extending her legs and arms as far as she could. Then she lay flat on her back on the yoga mat, her face and palms glistening with sweat.
When she started her exercises, it had been cold. So, she dressed appropriately. She wore a black seamless lurex pullover and high-waist leggings with her feet ensconced in Nike running shoes. She lay for a few minutes savouring the rush of warm blood coursing through her taut veins as her muscles relaxed after a two-hour long onslaught.
Her reverie broke only when she heard her phone buzz for the umpteenth time. She never picked up the phone when she was working out and all her contacts knew her routine. She sighed and stood up, walked over to the window sill and picked up the phone. She looked at the caller’s name and her shoulders arched up.
“Hallo,” she said softly, trying to hide her excitement.
She listened to the caller for a minute and she cut in, “That’s great…”
Her face fell a few minutes later, her glowing pretty face suddenly losing colour, turning into a frown, and then sinking further into a distressed woebegone look. Her eyes crinkled up.
“Oh,” is all she said, and then continued to repeat herself – inserting an “ok” now and then, in-between the conversation.
“Ok,” she said again, for the final time.
Then the conversation ended with, “Yeah sure! I am getting into it.”
Gone was the exuberance she had felt when she finished her workout. She felt drained and incapacitated. She looked through the window and saw the ocean churning a frothy tide. Some distance away, she could see the other houses by the cliff. Further way down, a few miles away, she could see the white beach trying to get one over with the sea. It was still daylight. She turned to look at the other end of the window and could see the wind gaining speed as the shrubs and the few barren trees swayed dangerously.
She looked at the phone again, tempted to make a call, but seemed undecided. She put the phone down and walked out of the fitness room. She crossed the living room and into the open kitchen and poured a glass of water from the jar on the table. She sipped the water slowly, her face still reflecting a numbed feeling.
“What do I do? Talk to John and end it once for all?” she frowned at the thought.
She had waited long enough. This was getting ridiculous. After everything, this! When everything seemed to be going fine!
She was getting agitated and even more upset.
She placed the glass on the table, and left the kitchen.
Damn, this was not the end!
She went into her bedroom, entered her closet and absentmindedly picked the colorful kanga on the edge of a shelf. She tied it around her waist, then delved through the overflowing wardrobe, pulling out a sleeveless woolen top. She wore it too, and left the closet. In her bedroom, she looked out the windows, and shivered involuntarily. It was going to be cold and windy outside. Should I? she wondered. She wanted to go out. Clear her head. Do something other than think of the phone call. She returned to the closet and picked out a cap, wore it and left the bedroom.
She was about to walk out the front door when she froze, midstep. She smiled wanly at herself, and detoured. She went to the bedroom across hers, opened the door and peeped in. She sighed with relief and then gently walked to the cradle to check if the baby was breathing. Assured the baby was fine, she left the bedroom, and hurried to the gym. She picked up the baby monitor on the yoga mat and put it in her pocket.
On the way out, she peeked at herself in the large mirror by the back door and saw that she had become pale. She tried to smile and pinched her cheeks. She tried to smile again, failed and shook her head at her own naivety and left the house.
She walked slowly, trying to ignore the cold and the wind. The sun was setting fast, lending to the gloom around her. The path was rocky, the shrubs and the grass around the area were losing their colour. She saw nothing of it – her mind still not coming to terms with the new situation. After a turn here, an upward stride there, she was soon at the edge of the cliff over 300 feet up from the ground. The rocky cliff itself fell ninety degrees straight into the rocky edges where the Atlantic Ocean met Africa.
She stood at the edge, the wind whipping her kanga into a frenzy, she looked back at the lights in her house, checking if John was back. But no, it didn’t look like it. She took out the baby monitor and held it to her ear, to see if it was working. It was. She put it back into her pocket and turned back to stare into the cold Atlantic Ocean that seemed to be frolicking with the wind. Her kanga fluttered wildly threatening to come loose. She felt her waist to see if it was tucked in securely. Her kanga was going wild and it reminded her of the stoat’s so-called ‘dance of death.’ She had watched it on the National Geographic Channel – the stoat– a puny animal that looked like a mix of a rat and a beaver or a weasel. Her Kanga was behaving like a stoat doing its famed dance: flapping, swirling around with frenzied leaps, and upward rolls at dizzying speed, creating a psychedelic vision that was at once riveting as well as dizzying.
She looked up and shook her head, clearing her head of the vision of the stoat and her unruly kanga. The cold was now penetrating her skin. Her face was going numb but she did not seem to realise it. There was a lump in her throat and then the tears flooded down her cheeks and she cried loudly. The howling wind helped her along.
No, she had to do it. She told herself grimly while trying to control her sobbing. It was just two feet away.
She took one step forward. The wind seemed to support her decision. She paused and then the baby monitor came alive.
“Hey Love! Where are you? I’m home!” Her husband’s cheery voice broke through the wind.
She stepped back from the edge and turned around to look towards the house. She had to wait a few seconds before her husband came into view on the porch, with the baby in his arms. He seemed to be scouting for her but it was getting darker and she doubted he could see her.
She put the monitor away and walked swiftly back to the house.
“There you are!” John kissed her on the cheek while trying not to suffocate the baby.
“Yes,” she replied. “Was by the cliff – Phew it is cold and windy!”
“So, any good news?” John asked as both of them walked back into their warm and cozy living room.
Reta took the baby from him and cooed into her face making baby talk. There was no sign of her gloomy self by the cliff. The light was back in her eyes and her skin glowed in the light of the fireplace.
“Sure is,” Reta replied. “I am being called for another screen test tomorrow.”
“Swell!” John said. “Congrats – and what role is this for?”
“That screenplay we read together…of the love triangle? They offered me the wife’s role. You know – the one who is supposed to be schizophrenic and suicidal…”
“Nice,” John said. “You will surely get the role.”
”Of course, I will. I just had a practice run by the cliff and I was awesome.”
Reta had a flair for dramatics at short notice.
Story by Phil Dass writing for the Prompt: She stood at the edge of a cliff, the wind whipping her kanga into a frenzy, she looked back….
This little gem was written by Phil last week for a writing prompt exercise. I loved the dancing kanga in the air, colorful, and fighting with the wind like a Stoat. ^_^ Didn’t even know there was an animal like this. You learn as you read more! Tidbit from Phil: – The story is titled Atlantic as Reta’s emotions are turbulent and changing like the Atlantic Ocean. I look forward to reading more stories by Phil Dass.
Hiring the Violinist who sells Weaves in Kinoo.
Phillip clutched his keys, his gaze taking in the quaint town Nyambura had chosen to settle in. Kinoo was small, out of the city, but still close enough to major hospitals and the hustle and flow. Having a major highway close was a plus. Nyambura’s shop was thriving.
She stepped out of the shop, drawing his attention. She always looked healthy and beautiful. He smiled. Her casual style far removed from the ultra modern women he met daily. No heels for Nyams, she preferred white rubber shoes. Comfort ruled her world. Her well-worn jeans hugged her hips to perfection, the white shirt she wore covered her curves but the mystery intrigued him.
Meeting her frowning gaze, Phillip smiled.
“What brings you here?” Nyambura asked, with a flustered smile.
“How are you?” Phillip asked, closing the distance Nyambura kept between them. “You don’t call or answer messages.”
“Phillip,” Nyambura started.
“I told you, think of me as your friend.”
“Yes,” Nyambura sighed. “I know you did. I’m sorry. I’ve been busy with the shop and practice.”
“Excuses, Nyams,” He shook his head. “I’m not asking for anything else but friendship.”
“Yeah?” Nyambura leaned on the wall behind her. Her gaze on his car. “Why don’t you tell me why you came today?”
Nyambura was an escapist. She continued to avoid his attempts to get close. Shutting him down without effort, Phillip sighed.
“I have a gig for you,” Phillip said. “You interested?”
“What kind of gig?” Nyambura asked, finally meeting his gaze, her interest peaked.
Phillip hid a smile and folded his arms against his chest.
“My company has a formal party tomorrow evening. The main act cancelled. They’re stuck in Kampala doing another performance. We have important investors in town, the kind who need classy parties.”
Nyambura frowned. “How much?”
“Twenty thousand,” Phillip said. “Formal dress, our guests expect a real authentic show.”
“Twenty-five,” Nyambura countered, forever the business woman.
“Come on, Nyams,” Phillip said.
“It’s short notice, Phillip,” Nyambura said. “If I need to convince the guys to give up stuff they are doing for cash, I need a good payout.”
Phillip calculated their budget. The act that cancelled was to be paid thirty thousand for the night, and an early breakfast call. Their popularity dictated their price. Nyams and her quartet were classy, but unknown. Oh well, Phillip decided the payout was well-deserved. He’d get flack for it from the accountant, but—
“Fine, Twenty-five,” Phillip said.
Nyambura gifted him with her first smile and he stared. She rarely smiled. Phillip could count the number of times he’d seen her do it. Six times, to be exact. This woman with her hard shell and brown eyes that had seen too much. She intrigued him.
“Thank you,” Nyambura said. “What time?”
“Can you show up at five-thirty in the evening? Set up, and make sure everything is working.”
“Sounds good,” she nodded. “We need a room to keep stuff, and change clothes.”
“No problem,” Phillip smiled. “Dinner is on us.”
Nyambura nodded, and reached for her cell phone. She texted her fellow musicians in seconds, and got a reply back just as fast. Her excitement was hard to miss. It made him feel as though he’d helped her win the lottery. Nyambura’s music was important to her.
Phillip stared at his car keys. He wished Nyambura would ask him if he wanted tea. He’d scoped out the little shopping center and the tiny hotel across the street was perfect. Hell, he could eat a mandazi if she asked. Or even a samosa…
If she wanted, he could drive her to the nearest pizza place. While they ate, they would talk about everything from the weather, to planting maize…the music people were listening to these days…the possibilities were endless.
“Well,” Nyambura said, and he looked up, hopeful. “Thank you so much for thinking about us. We won’t disappoint you tomorrow.”
Yes, the let down was swift, fast. No room for doubt, Phillip sighed. Nyambura never dared to give him a hope.
He smiled at her, and she held out her hand for a handshake.
Phillip took her slender hand, squeezed it gently, then she let go, and he was left with no choice but to head back to his car. He shook his head and walked down the steps.
“What happened to all the courage, Phillip?” he murmured under his breath, and opened the driver’s door. Getting in, he slammed the door closed and sat watching Nyambura enter the shop with a final wave to him. He’d come to visit her with such fire, ready to make her hear him out.
Still stuck in friend zone, fail, Phillip scoffed.
Jeez, this was getting pathetic. His mistake though, he kept spouting all the nonsense about friendship. If he was ever going to get out of there, he had to confess tomorrow night at the party, he decided. Nyambura was always at her best when she was playing music, so he’d talk to her right when she was flying high from the performance.
Phillip smiled with anticipation and started the car.
to be continued…..Thank you for reading ^_^!
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The Boiling Hot Day and Weaves with Celebrity Names
Midday, the sun was high, almost suffocating. The television newscasters were calling it an equator equinox, such a fancy name for boiling-hot, as in, step-out-into-the-sun-if-you-wanna-roast days. The heat wave was making her stupid.
Nyambura heard the fans working overtime above her. Still, it sorta felt like they were circulating the hot air faster. Moraa from a salon across the street walked in, wiping sweat off her face with a handkerchief.
“Nyams, give me two Rihannas, one Cici, three Full Stars and a Dora,” Moraa said.
Nyambura entered the shop’s back store.
She turned on the light and found the boxes with the weaves.
“Two Rihannas,” she said under her breath, getting two packages of weaves. “One Cici,” she continued, getting one packet. “Three Full Stars,” she stared at the different colors in the box.
“What color?” she shouted out into the shop. “We don’t have no. 33.”
“She wants blond anyway,” Moraa said.
Nyambura shrugged and got two Full Star weaves, blond and a Dora packet. Her arms were laden with her loot. She walked back into the main shop.
“Don’t you think someone would think we’re playing a joke with these names?” she asked Moraa as she rung up the sale. “Two Rihannas, as if.”
“It sells the weaves though,” Moraa said. “Who doesn’t want to look like Rihanna?”
Nyambura packed the weaves and thanked Moraa. She’d never thought to make money from selling fake hair, but the world she lived in, women wanted beauty. Beauty was most certainly judged with first appearance and many of her fellow ladies believed it started with the hair. Weaves were easy installation and they looked good if done right. They brought her money. So, yes, she sold the weaves and wore them too because to convince a client, well you gotta believe in the product too.
She was selling beauty here.
But damn, she reached for her handkerchief and wiped sweat off her forehead.
If the weather didn’t let up soon, women were going to put down the weaves and put her out of business.
“Rachel,” Nyambura called to her best friend and business partner across the room. Rachel was busy braiding corn rows on a young girl. “Maybe we should offer cold drinks? Our customers might run away at this rate.”
“Forget the customers,” Rachel said, fanning herself. “How about buying us cold drinks first? I’m so hot!”
Nyambura reached into her pocket and found a two hundred shilling note. If she used it, she’d have to give up buying data bundles to watch Lindsey Stirling YouTube videos.
Glancing at Rachel, she saw her friend swipe a hand over her forehead. The heat was taking a toll on everyone.
Oh well, Lindsey Stirling could wait.
Nyambura went around the counter.
“I’ll go get drinks,” she said to Rachel. “What do you want?”
“Coke baridi,” Rachel said. “Juice for the little one.”
“Sure,” Nyambura went out into the hot day.
On her way back from the shop across the street, she almost dropped the cold coke when a black Mercedes practically turned into their shop’s parking space in front of her. She clutched her drinks scowling at the tinted windows.
Damn drivers, she thought as the driver’s window opened slowly.
“I’m sorry,” Phillip Keitani said, smiling at her. “I wasn’t trying to kill you.”
“Could have fooled me,” Nyambura said, climbing the three stairs to her shop’s veranda. “I’m too young to die, friend. Got lots of business loans to pay off.”
Phillip chuckled and got out of the car, closing the door.
“Can I talk to you?” he asked, when she didn’t wait for him and started to enter the shop. “Please, Nyams.”
She held up the drinks.
“I need to save two people from the heat.”
Phillip locked his car, glancing around the busy shopping center.
“Jeez, the thieves are sleeping in this heat,” Nyambura said with a small grin. “At least for now.”
She entered the shop.
“What took you so long?” Rachel asked, reaching for the orange juice first. She uncapped it and gave it to her the little girl on the short stool.
“Phillip is waiting outside,” Nyambura said, handing the cold coke to Rachel.
She glanced at the counter.
“I’ll watch the store,” Rachel said, after taking a healthy gulp from the bottle. “Don’t brush him off, gal. You keep doing that and he might really give up.”
Nyambura frowned at the disappointment that flooded her at that statement. She was surprised to find out that she didn’t want Phillip to give up his quest.
To be continued….Thank you for Reading ^_^ !
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Multi-tasking : Gotta Make a Livin’
There was no water in the house.
Nyambura sat at the dining table fighting the urge to scream. Frustration was hard to escape. Her Nairobi home came outfitted with two huge three thousand liter tanks, indoor plumbing and even a washing machine. Granted that the washing machine and indoor plumbing might have contributed to the now empty tanks, still, here she sat, no different from the people who needed to fetch water from the river.
Nairobi’s water company had a special way of cutting the citizens down to the same size. Granted those with more money than she did solved their water problems with one call to a water broker. One full water truck about now would solve all her problems.
Sadly, she was broke.
It was the end of March, that no-man’s land between payday and tight budget. All the money in her purse was strictly reserved to basic needs: food, fare, credit for her phone.
Nyambura sighed again.
Curse the water company, to think she paid her water bill on time. Why couldn’t they service her with water on time too…such a one-sided commitment. She scowled. Sorta like love in Nairobi these days.
All the men she met had commitment phobia.
Nyambura laughed then.
Of course, water problems all led back to the lack of love in her life. If she had a side-dish, she would call him up for the four thousand shillings needed for the water broker. The water broker would bring her water, fill her huge tanks…
“Ah…,” she sighed.
She couldn’t do it though.
She couldn’t be the woman who called up a man to sort her problems. It wasn’t in her DNA. She’d never tried it anyway, and didn’t even know how one started.
She looked up from staring at the dining table to find her best friend and housemate staring at her.
“Talking to yourself is considered a sign of madness,” Rachel said. “Worrying about the water?”
Nyambura shook her head.
“I’ll call up Shiro. She can get us a water broker, and we’ll pay her later.”
“What about Phillip?” Rachel asked, her gaze filled with mischief. “He wouldn’t have a problem sending us the cash.”
“I’m not calling Phillip,” Nyambura said, shaking her head. “You shouldn’t either.”
Rachel gave a dramatic sigh. “Why do you judge him this way?”
“I don’t need a man to sort my problems,” Nyambura said, heading into the living room.
Her phone was on the coffee table. She found Shiro’s number and called her. Shiro was their Mama Mboga. Shiro had a great network of traders, from shoecobblers, plumbers, fundis, painters, computer repair guys…water brokers.
Nyambura smiled when Shiro greeted her.
“Eeh, Nyambura!” Shiro knew everyone’s number. “I’m guessing you need water.”
“You know me too well.”
“Can you pay him next week at least by Tuesday?”
“Yes, you know I’m good for it,” Nyambura said. “I don’t like to keep my debts.”
“I know, that’s why I like you, Nyambura witu**,” Shiro said. “If you leave the compound keys at the kiosk, I’ll make sure your tank is filled.”
Nyambura felt a weight lift off her shoulders.
“I’ll make sure to pay you back for this one, Shiro.”
“The concert tickets you gave my daughter last month were more than enough. She was so excited, she hasn’t stopped praising you,” Shiru said. “I’ll talk to you later.”
Nyambura ended the call with a happy smile.
“I guess that’s how you deal with it,” Rachel said. She was perched on an armchair. “I’d have called Phillip.”
Rachel had a serious obsession with Phillip Keitani. A software developer working for a prestigious IT company in the city. Nyambura had met him at a function sponsored by his company. She’d been the entertainment, while Phillip had been the esteemed guest. Of course, Rachel had thought it a match made in heaven. After all, Phillip was a man with a stable job, a big fat paycheck and great business connections. He was single, or so Rachel said.
However, Nyambura was wary of Phillip.
In this Nairobi town, men had a tendency to hide their wives well. Shaking her head at Rachel, Nyambura placed her phone on the coffee table and wondered if she’d ever trust again.
Her last relationship had left her scarred.
She touched the long scar on her left arm, a jagged disfigurement, from the inside of her wrist to her elbow. It was dark against her soft brown skin. A memorable souvenir from her ex-boyfriend’s wife.
The woman had meant to kill her.
Nyambura sometimes saw that woman’s crazy gaze in her dreams. She frowned. To be honest, it wasn’t sometimes, but most times. Most nights when she closed her eyes.
After surviving that incident, Nyambura had promised herself to never again allow childish dreams of love to color her world.
No, now, Nyambura focused on making money.
After all, she was Nyambura Gatano, the enchanting violinist. The enchanting sprite who did wonders with a violin. By God, she was going to play for the bloody President one of these days.
“Nyambura,” Rachel interrupted her dreams. “Now that water is sorted, can we go figure out the shop downstairs? Yesterday we were running out of stock. I’m sure we’re going to need to order more weaves.”
Rachel listed all the hair products the shop needed, squarely bringing Nyambura back to her day job.
Yes, the enchanting violinist needed to eat, pay electricity, the damnable water bill and membership fees to the growing quartet she played with on her free time.
To keep up, she ran a small hair salon that also sold hair products in a shop downstairs with Rachel as her partner. Her day job wasn’t boring, but it took time away from her precious passion.
The violin was her dream. The salon was her livelihood. One day, she hoped to make the violin her livelihood.
“Stop daydreaming, Nyams,” Rachel said, pulling her out of her thoughts. “Dress, and do something about your hair, will you? It’s not helping your image at all.”
Rachel hurried away to her bedroom and Nyambura sighed.
Rachel was the beloved nemesis in her world.
Rachel was the one who brought her down whenever her thoughts went flying into the ether. Rachel was the brave one, the one who could sweet talk men into doing anything for her. Even get a water broker….the only reason she didn’t now was because Nyambura ran their house and wouldn’t allow it.
Nyambura went to her bedroom, reached for her favorite jeans and a nice white sleeveless top. She ran a comb through her weave. Thankfully, it was easy to manage. Straight and short, it fell into place without a fuss. The only make-up she owned was a stick of strawberry lip gloss. She applied it now with liberal abandon, smacking her lips as she slipped the tube into her jeans’ pocket. She gave herself a critical glance in the mirror.
The woman looking back at her could pass for a twenty-seven year old. Hardships had a way of slimming you down. She was thirty-one: a struggling violinist, a small business owner, and very single to her mother’s chagrin.
She left her bedroom ready to face a day at the salon downstairs selling the merits of fake hair to women.
Life was good, Nyambura decided patting her hip.
Nyambura witu – Our Nyambura
To Be Continued….Thank you for reading!
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The Unaffected Resolve is an ongoing fantasy/action graphic novel series that takes you into the mind of Lisa Sagini, a lieutenant in the Kenyan army, her apprentice ,Orville Mukau, and the mysterious cat creature that accompanies them through their adventures as they try to survive the horrors thrown against them, and to do that, they must have a resolve stronger than steel. It must be …Unaffected. Follow the saga to find out what happens.
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Humphrey draws a tale about Lisa Sagini, who is in the Kenyan Army. The story starts with a bang, a cat creature carries Lisa on it’s back, and that had me going what’s next. Very strong strokes on the art, Osoro clearly defines each of his characters. The tone is a bit darker than I’d like, but still it does not take out from the story, which leaves me waiting to see what more is in store for Lisa Sagini.
I have mad love for the otaku culture! There was a time I thought I might start drawing a manga, but writing is more exciting for me. Instead, I read comics and manga avidly. I was excited to get to know this little gem, and from our 254 region. I hope to see more from Humphrey, soon!
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