Home The Base: Playing God

The Base: Playing God


“The best things in life don’t last long: a smokie with kachumbari, a well scripted movie, a good book, sex …”

That is what her status update reads like, posted 47 minutes ago. Right after she got out of the shower, clean and moist, before stepping into her white lacy panties, black wire-framed bra and green dress. A cotton one with tiny white flowers all over. Then picking up a pen and writing the same in journal, the one with a pink cover.

She has two others; one for her sketchwork, the other for random interesting things she notices. The pink-cover one bears bits and pieces of her mind: thoughts, nice puns, palindromes and semi-philosophical observations. One day, she hopes to publish them.

“This and that; a trip through my mind.” it sounds nice in her head.

Most of those observations end up as Facebook updates, usually incomplete, with ellipses marking where they had been severed from their conclusive tails. Like the most recent one, on the notebook it continues to read, “… but many are the times when we buy another smokie, restart the movie, flip back to page one, tease it up again.”

They are always related something in her life. Triggered or inspired by, say, a phase, a new friend, a great night out, a shitty day at work, a street kid or a new yoghurt flavour. The newest one is about love, she’s a sucker for that thing, love, it’s like a drug, no… it’s like cruising across the countryside at 120 km/h on a sunny day, wind whipping through the car, the world a blur on the sides, ignored, the engine’s hum being all that matters… the hitting a stump. She loves fast and furiously. And always hits a stump.

This evening she is meeting Munene Andy at Imax for a movie, he loves them, and Ironman 3 is showing, then probably a drink later on, and a meal. If it all goes the way she wants it to, they’ll end up writhing and sweating in her bed, or his, it doesn’t matter really.

That is not the only way she can make up, but it is the simplest, the cheapest and one that will pleasure her as well.

Make up?

Her problem is loving too much, too many people at the same time. Pretty as a rose bud with the charisma of a full moon, she draws them to her. Rich men, ugly men, teenage boys, potbellied men, sliteyed men, plotless men, drunk men, women… all craving to stroke her light skin, feel the curve of her hips, the swell of her bum and listen to that bewitching giggle, that arresting voice… maybe make it curl it’s smoky self around their names. Scream it!

But it doesn’t work like that with her. She makes her choices, picks her victim, falls for him headfirst and bares all her wares to him, everything but the pink covered notebook. That is her refuge. And she knows how to please. By heavens she knows how to make a man feel wanted, make him reciprocate and bare all of his. She gets obsessed with him, understanding his thinking patterns, his childhood, his speech, his breaking points, his friends, his drink, why his barber and not the cleaner one, his dreams, fears, old schools, first times, everything. It is over once she achieves that last word. Once she wrings him dry of every interesting drop, she falls for another, or two.
Trouble is, she doesn’t know how to fall out of love. So she gets her heart torn apart by what she has and what she wants. The bird in hand and the more appealing one chirping in the bush. She loves both: unequally. It isn’t intentional, that is how she is and realizes her mistakes too late. After the men mostly.

***** He doesn’t believe in love.

Maybe that is why there is nothing deep to say about him, he’s as bland as they come.

Showy to the bone, he wears a set of pseudy silver and gold chains around his neck, an occasional stud on his left ear and bright coloured clothes. Always brightly coloured. Purple sweatshirts under orange blazers, red pants, leather shoes and a luminous green baseball caps. Ridiculous, but he loves it. He loves the attention he draws in town, swaggering around looking like a glossy flowchart … a crayon advertisement.

He raves, a lot. Knows all the pretty waitresses in joints around (and mostly in) Westlands, bouncers, most hip event organizers and a few struggling celebrities. Living in his father’s apartments, which he supervises, in Kasarani, there is nothing like rent on his budget. He can afford to fuel his friends Subaru for a week’s road trip and buy rounds.

One-night-stands are his thing. No constant woman in his life. They are picked up in clubs, hang outs, house parties or concerts, showered with drinks and attention, wrapped up in cocoons of lies and led into the sheets, then booted the next day. Before they discover he isn’t a web designer or musician manager or jewels dealer. Just a twenty-six year old loser with no plan in life, but his two online writing accounts.

He is shirtless on his Facebook profile. Solid pecs glossed to a shine with some Olive oil one girl left over at his place. Status updates he posts (he doesn’t understand twitter) are about Safaricom sevens, Blankets and Wines, Mingle, The Circle… all in an effort to validate his inner braggadocio. Truth is, he has ego issues, thinks he’s inadequate and tries to prove otherwise, painting a picture for others to believe and curling behind it, sucking his thumb. He projects the guy he wants to be but has no clue how to. Never really trying to be more. The future worries him briefly in his rare moments of calm, in between hangovers. It descends upon him like a hawk after prey, but then a plan always shows up and turns his life back to a stormy sea of beer and rugby and football and vuvuzelas and dancing and bungee jumping and shagging on backseats and Naivasha and strange faces, ugly makeup, strange naked bodies in the morning. He can’t get enough of that, so three minutes ago he posted “Meeting my cwazy cwazy buoy Salvo, and a few bad bitchez in a few!!! … Sema roadtrip! !!! MAGADI HERE WE QUOOOM!! #yolo #Turnuuuuuuupppp” on Facebook. It has sixteen likes already.


She’s headed for an evening with her current (almost-became-ex) boyfriend, trying to steer the relationship back on track while she figures out just how to harness her heart.

He, however just thanks God it’s Friday and hopes to spin his life out of control as much as he can in one weekend.

They are seated next to each other in a matatu from Roysambu, not knowing knowing each other’s names. I don’t either, because, just like I have trouble naming my poems, I have trouble naming my characters appropriately. Up until a conflict pushes one to exclaim the other’s … or to make the other’s voice curl it’s smoky self around his and say it. Scream it!



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