Our first time experiencing events, situations or feelings often leave us with unforgettable tales to tell. Little Johnny was travelling to a different province for the first time. It was his longest journey ever made and he was proud he had his hero by him. His dad. The man he learnt everything from. He was enjoying every bit of the trip… the hill, deep valleys, even the neat attires of the police men at the checkpoints along the road. Continue reading Breach of innocence
In big cities a lot more people visit bars on pay-day. They drink, dance and make merry. Very many go home only the following morning after spending the night in bars and gutters. It gets worse when payday is a friday. There is more alcohol, dim lights, music, dance and sometimes fights. Today was one of such days. Payday Friday. It was already a few minutes to midnight and the music in Homeland bar* was getting loud. Deafening. People had to shout at the top of their voices to be heard whenever they spoke. There was the smell of sweat from the drunk dancers’ bodies mixed with that of the smoke from the cigarettes some of them were puffing. No one seemed bothered by the stench. It was a reflection of many other bars across town. There were others with names such as One for the road, Pay as you go, Home tomorrow, etc.
On the table closest to the door, sat a man in his mid forties. The wrinkles on his face and his pot belly figure made him look somewhat older. He wore a blue shirt over a brown pair of trousers and black leather shoes. The same way he was dressed before leaving home that morning. He had not returned home since he left for work.
He managed to get on his feet, and walk up to the counter, squeezing himself through the dancers on his path. After settling his bills at the counter, he staggered out of the bar barely able to maintain his balance. Though he looked visibly exhausted, any onlooker would notice he felt very contended too. What else could make a man happier than beer and cigarettes? Some said it was family, some said friends, some said religion. That’s for them. He set his own priorities with regards to what he felt was best for him and not what others felt.
Using the wall as a support, he moved to the back of the bar to relieve himself. There were no toilets so like the other men he met at the back of the bar, he passed out his waste in the open. He hated going behind there. If he could pay someone to pass it out while he drank he would. He smiled at himself wondering where such an idea came from. He threw away the bud of the cigarette he was smoking after lighting another with it. He was a chain smoker and he knew it. What was he without a cigarette? It was his base. It was the only thing he could turn to.
After much fumbling, he successfully opened his car, got in and turned the key in the ignition. The vibration caused by the car made him want to throw up. He was used to the feeling. When he started he couldn’t drink more than a bottle but now he could empty a crate in no time even on an empty stomach like today. That’s what happens when you do something so much that you become a master at it, he thought. The red, green and yellow lights from vehicles, and street lights looked blur as he drove past them. Was it as a result of power shortages or it was his vision failing him? (Whenever he thought about vision he would always remember Old Tommy who denied being drunk, saying he simply saw everything in a different light). If only the roads were wider driving at night would be less risky for him.
What else could be more risky than home he asked himself. An angry wife and three hungry kids all with unique worries and expectations of their own. He thought about the following morning. Now that His salary was gone, what would he tell his wife? That he had spent it all on beer and cigarettes? No one told him marriage would ever be this way. Last time she threatened to leave saying he was irresponsible and only the kids and neighbours’ pleas made her stay back.
He kicked open the old wooden door when he got home. It was about 1;30AM already and everyone at home was asleep. That was how he loved it. No worries, no demands from them. (His wife called it irresponsibility but he called it being witty). The smell of sweat, cigarettes and alcohol made him stink like the atmosphere in Homeland bar*. He wished he could take a bath but his tired bones won’t let him. Without even bothering to take off his shoes, he lay on the couch and lit another cigarette. That was where he spent most of his nights dreaming about the next payday.
Many times, the decisions we make affect and hurt our closest friends and family the most. – Lex Luger
She sat sobbing at a corner in the poorly lit room. The room was had attached to it a kitchen from which smoke streamed in from the holes on the brick walls. All the best things in life are free. She shook her head as she made the statement mockingly, half aloud. In the past few days she had come to very much doubt some of such sayings on which her childhood had been based. Continue reading When the future dies
In life there are moments that make us feel bad, others make us proud and others take us round bends we can never turn back. These moments don’t only determine our personalities but they shape our futures too. Then there’s a feeling;- that awkward feeling you get when you move into a noisy room and it becomes dead silent. That was the feeling Johnny had as he moved in to the courtroom hands in cuffs and flanked by prison wardens. Continue reading The Big Day
Lane four. That was his lane number. With hands on his hips he paced around the starting line on his lane like the other athletes. He did a few stretches like he always did before every race. The officials were still sorting out a few things, athletes names, lanes, lane numbers and other details. In his usual fashion, he lifted his head towards the stands to take a look at the thousands that had come to watch the race. Continue reading Beat the clock
He set down his old brown bag and took a deep breath. He had reached that great bridge at last, the highest on the continent. His shoes, heavily covered in dust had lost their shape, strength and color and seemed like they would fall apart if any uncalculated move was made in them. He wore a thick black jacket over a pair of jeans trousers. He looked sickly and tired under the scorching sun. A glass of water would do him some good. In between murmuring and whispering, his thick black lips seemed to produce the words “here at last”. He didn’t seem to care about anything or anyone around him – who cared about him too? Continue reading One afternoon on Bloukrans