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Cap'n Write

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Tattoos on My Back

No woman is more abhorred by her fellow women than she that gets all the male attention. I am this woman. I have been this woman all my life. I don’t know what men see in me. Maybe it’s the sparkle in my smile. Or my bountiful behind. Or my hourglass shape. Or my soft dark hair. Or maybe it’s the charm in my personality. Or the tattoos on my back. Whatever it is, it drives other women crazy. They like to think that I do not deserve all the hullabaloo. They discredit me, yet, deep down, they hate that they want to be like me. They hate that they want to be me. It is not easy being this woman. I have to bust my ass at work, lest the rumours being spread around that I slept with the boss to get that promotion get confirmed. I have to pretend not to be bothered by the constant shameless whistling of men every time I walk past them. I have to politely turn down offers from random men (and the occasional woman) every single day. ”Can I buy you drinks?”. ”What’s your dream destination? We can go vacation there for […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen

Oblate Spheroid

The year was 2011. Seventeen year old me was fighting a losing battle with acne whilst trying to nurture the three strands of hair growing from somewhere under my chin. I was in my final year at some school in the chilly highlands of Nyandarua County. I happened to be pretty good at what we used to refer to as kuchora giza, so I spoke my way to the finals of the National Science Congress Fair with my good friend Douglas. He had big eyes, Douglas. So we used to call him Kamaritho. He had no problem with the name, as long as you did not call him that in the presence of a girl he liked. So Kamaritho and I found ourselves in Bungoma County where the fair was being held. We would be there for a week, doing what high school kids do at such school functions. Kamaritho and I had never been to Bungoma. We had never heard such strong Luhya accents before. We had never seen sugarcane sprawling in acres like it was grass. Neither had we seen so many beautiful girls at the same place and at the same time. So we decided to do […]

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Featured

Natural Spaces

There is something therapeutic about an indoor plant. It just sits there in its pot, serenely minding its own business, occasionally swaying to the soft breeze coming from the window it has been conveniently placed below. You know, because of the light. Plants need a lot of it. They also need water. And fresh air. And an occasional fondle. I know this because it is on the plant manual of the Dracaena I bought from Vivianne Nyogoro the other day. Vivianne knows everything there is to know about houseplants. A chubbly twenty-six-year-old, she does not seem like the kind of person whose fingers could do more than just type. Her well-groomed nails look like the kind that the only tough work they ever did was scrub the dishes. But here she is, in gumboots, all soiled with her hair pulled back, as if she is in that ‘Dirt is good’ commercial. So how did this happen? Vivianne majored in Events and Convention Management (Yes, there is such a course) at the Technical University of Kenya. Graduates of this course are supposed to plan and manage international conferences and exhibitions across the world. You would think that landing such a job […]

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Flash Features

I’ll Take The Stairs

Life is all fun and games until you get stuck in an elevator, by yourself. At first, you console yourself that it is just a technical hitch. Maybe the power went out. Ten seconds pass by. Nothing happens. Fifteen seconds. Don’t they have back -up generators here? Thirty seconds. Suddenly, the elevator lunges down and stops abruptly, jolting you to the reality that you are trapped in a fifteen square feet metallic cell. Your first reflex action is to press the open button. There is no reaction. You ring the bell. It is as dead as a dodo. You frantically run your index finger on all the other buttons hoping one of them will activate the rest. They are all unresponsive. You grab your phone and dial the emergency number right above the buttons. It is out of service. The elevator briskly lurches downwards again, this time at a jaw clenching speed before stopping instantaneously, followed by a blanket of darkness. The lights have gone out. That’s it, you think to yourself. I am screwed. You have seen this in the movies. The only way to save yourself would be climbing out and scaling down the greasy wires with your […]

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Lifestyle

One Last Time

Death is brutal. One moment you are within six feet of your loved one, the next, they are six feet under. Sometimes there is no forewarning. It just strikes and closes the curtains as if it’s just another play at the theatre. Dreams get shattered. Unions get halved. Futures get disoriented. And the saddest part about it all is that there is absolutely nothing you can do to change the state of affairs. You cry yourself to sleep and pray that it is just a dream and that when you wake up, they will be there. Their bright face smiling down at you. Their familiar voice buzzing through your ears, probably complaining about why you were sleeping for too long. The mixture of their sweat and their cologne filling your nostrils, choking you a little. You wake up and it’s just you. Just you, surrounded by their stuff. Their clothes. Shoes. Handbags. Car keys. Cellphone. Everywhere you turn, everything you touch, reminds you of them. The TV is still stuck on their favourite channel. Remains of their favourite meal are still in the fridge. The bookmark you bought them for their birthday is still peeping from between the pages of […]

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Flash Features

V.A.R Merchants

Nearly every woman has this girl – only committee that vets every guy before he is allowed to hit it off with any of them. It is composed of three or four of her close friends with an occasional elder sister, cousin or young aunt. They call each other words like ‘Sis’ or ‘Mami’. They are spoilers. Cockblockers. Brutally thorough and ruthless, they subject every potential boyfriend to an imaginary interview with a long list of checkboxes. Baby daddy? Mama’s boy? Lives with his parents? Manwhore? Married? Divorced? If divorced, reason for divorce? Has a job? Owns a car? Who are his friends? Is he the alpha among his friends? Physical abuser? Does he have a fashion sense? What tribe is he? Smokes? Drinks? Overly active on social media? Bla bla bla. Men hate them. You cannot blame them though. Imagine meeting a beautiful, intelligent and fine girl, just the way you like them. You shoot your shot, and like the smart handsome chap that you are, you score. Only for V.A.R to overturn it (Ladies, ask any adult male next to you what V.A.R is). You do not even get a chance, simply because you are light-skinned and Shiko […]

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Effervescence

Episode 10 – We Need To Talk

Sometimes when your life turns out to be a mishmash, you just need to talk to somebody. Anybody. It doesn’t matter if they will actually listen or not. It doesn’t matter if they will offer a solution to your muddle or laugh it out. You just need to open your mouth and let it out of your system. Cough it up or it will choke you. But who do you talk to? Your girlfriend left you and is now in a thriving relationship. She was your muse. She used to get you. She knew you so well that she would understand even the words you hadn’t spoken. She would listen to and decode your silence. She would push you to make the right decision whenever you were at crossroads. She knew what buttons to press to bring you back to life whenever you felt down. Yet, you let her go. Lilian, your other close friend wants nothing to do with you. Silas too. You are one lonely mofo. There is nobody in your life close enough for you to trust with whatever is burdening you. It is at such times that you try to reconnect with the only family you […]

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Lifestyle

Bro Code

Yo bro. Grab a cold beer and let’s remind ourselves of some sacred rules to live by. For starters, who is a bro? A bro is that homie you grew up in the same hood with. That ninja that you went to school with. The guys you got circumcised together with. That neighbour who lives in the same apartment as you. That colleague at work. The guy that helps lift weights at the gym. Your barber. Your mechanic. Simply, a bro is any male that you have shared any meaningful life experiences with. Like chasing after girls. Going out and getting wasted. Smoking a joint. Making money. Playing video games. You don’t even need to have known them for long. You don’t even need to have known them at all. Because a bro of a bro is a bro to you. Bros do not need to know much about each other for them to hang out. Sometimes a bro can be chilling with a bro whose name you don’t even remember, or know in the first place. A bro never gets offended if another bro forgets their name. On this note, a bro is not required to remember another’s bro’s […]

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Effervescence

Episode 9 – Lemonade

A brother is like a dog. They never really tell you out loud how much they love you. They just do. And when life has piled a shitload of lemons on your salad, they will know. You do not even have to say anything. They can just tell. Even if they are eight thousand miles away in Atlanta, Georgia. Salim Katana is such a brother. A single phone call to Natasha Baraza was enough for him to know that his sister was troubled. Her voice was muffled and dry, like that of someone suffering from tonsilitis. Her choice of words was obscure. The stutters and periodic pauses in between their conversation told of someone whose mind was fighting a losing battle with their heart. At his insistence, Natasha had gotten it all off her chest. And he had listened. The same way he had listened to her little teenage girl problems years ago as they were growing up back in Kwale. Of course, he reprimanded her and called her all kinds of names. But that was right before heroically turning the lemons into lemonade and making a tasty cocktail out of it. Three days after their conversation, Salim had somehow […]

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Effervescence

Episode 8 – Crossroads

You have never been this vanquished before. All your life, you have prided yourself in the ability to be the one in charge. The one who takes control of any situation no matter how dire, and turns it around. The bold and liberated woman who flashes out her feminine magic and pulls that rabbit out of the hat. The merchant of positivity. The solutions-oriented urban queen that is always the one grabbing others by the balls. Now you are on the receiving end. Nothing feels the same anymore. The wine is sour, like the grapes were rotten. The cigarettes smoke is choking you. The food is vapid and watery. The air is stuffy. The satin sheets are itchy. The time is crawling. And you cannot stand the sight of your husband. The worst part is that you are going through this all by yourself. Your pride can not let a single soul see you in this misery. You have to ponder over the myriad of questions buzzing in and out of your head, by yourself. How did it come to this? How could you have been so naive? How on earth will you get out of this mess unscathed? For […]

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