“Madagascan Vanilla” by Mehul Gohil

Madagascan Vanilla

1

Down there I spy the girls who cannot share the men they kill every night. And the boys who ask the ladies if death is a whore, as if their freedom to lust can be bought and sold in the narrow streets.

I don’t want to see him. I see the whole heart of the city from up here, the fourth floor of the hotel room: zooming Nissans, strutting slim legs, the boulevard of broken bones, shadows of buildings. I hear the heartbeats of the city: matatu horns, deadhead preachers singing the Proverbs, the zananna of old aeroplanes, babes gossiping. He’s down there somewhere.

I am all skin but for this bouncy ass of mine in french panties. I slide down the french panties, walk to bed and go on all fours. Tell him to come up, the door is not locked. My oozing vagina. Shadow of an eagle flits across the room. Breeze blows through the open windows and caresses my arched back. A sweet shiver runs through my body. He comes. The clip-claps of the door opening and closing, the ruffle of his clothes coming off. He fucks me, anonymously, moving his hot dick through griefs of joy, and leaves.

2

When did you get stoned with this idea?

When I slurped a glass of vanilla milkshake.

In two years I’ll be married. I am dating a khoja, acceptable to both sides, his and mine. The unfolding of life. I sense that already, even though I am only twenty two. That’s what I am. My mother’s side of family lives in Porbandar. Nana and Nani, who taught me how to fly a kite high in the sky over Bandar Road. I remember the filki. Yeah, I am Gujurati. With milky white skin, hazel eyes and long eye lashes.

How did you find the eager man?

I just asked for body size, dick size, height, weight. How dark he was. How easily he sweated. The depth of his baritone. How steel-wooly his pubic hair was. If he had Bantu roots.

I just slurped my milkshake and thought of what else I wanted to taste and swallow.

What’s happening at home?

I got the idea from my mother. She came home with a chocolate. The wrapper said it had a Madagascan Vanilla flavour. She came home with a packet of milk. Dusk had set in and there was a power outage in the neighbourhood. I was sitting at the dinner table watching her in the dim dusklight, a short woman with a history hiding behind the folds of her sari. She went to the kitchen. She was tired, she moved around the kitchen dragging the whole weight of the day behind her. She took a clumsy step and crumbled to the ground. The chocolate fell out of her hand. She cried out the name of Nani. She picked up the chocolate from the kitchen floor and the way she picked it up made me think the chocolate was heavy. She got up and went to a drawer and took out an empty glass. She took out a grater. She poured in a glassful of milk. She tore off the chocolate’s golden foil. Broke the tablet into parts. Took the grater in one hand, Madagascan vanilla chocolate in the other, and curls and powder of chocolate fell into the milk. She took a spoon. Stirred the milk. Walked slowly to where I was and gave me the glass. It’s how she gave it to me. I opened a palm to receive the glass. And she looked at me. Direct in the eyes. She put the glass in my open palm. I closed my fingers around it. The glass felt greasy. My mother’s palms were sweaty. In that moment something was born. Her giving me a glassful of milk and me taking it. It’s something we always did, just like that. But now I became aware of her. Before she had been like the air, always there. She gave me the glass and went away. I was now alone, sitting there with the glass of milk, the milk dark with the chocolate in it, the house dark with dusklight.

3

I don’t like the nights in this city. The cold air and stench of dreams. If they cannot share the men, I will not share the space-time. I like the afternoons. Then the day has matured. There is a fatigue in the bodies of fellow Nairobians. The sunshine is warm. Somebody takes off a coat and sits on a bench downtown and sees the girls standing on the islands in the middle of the avenues, their figures blurred by crisscrossing City Hoppas.

Today is Saturday and I can only wait. Eat my curdy rasa muthiya with a slow spoon. I just stop thinking about it, read a paperback, an American poet I bought off the streets. Some e.e. guy. Lie in my bed and not understand a thing about what is ‘anchored’ in the ‘mountaining roots of mere eternity’. And the night comes. Deepens. I sleep. I dream. The night passes and then evaporates in the building lightstorm of dawn Sunday.

My eyes open. Dream-melt silence in the world. Just wind blowing through the trees, leaves rubbing each other the right way. Dream-melt that is sweat on my thighs. Stains on my blanket. My soaked petticoat. Sweat sticky on my neck. Beads of sweat rolling down the slope of my left breast. My nipple is itchy. I throw away the blanket. The room. Air coolly bites my skin. I scratch my itchy nipple.

4

I am walking the wide street, Tom Mboya. The heels I wear today are not too high. Their colour is so street — smoky blue and shining. What do they say about how I step on Tom Mboya? They say I am not fighting with the city but playing with it.

Sunday morning and Tom Mboya is roomy. Just the boozy couples tumbling out of the clubs. No buses, no hawkers, no crowds.

I feel more marvellous with every stride. How strangely joyous it is to wear french panties inside an airy dress. My buttocks are full of bounce and if they wanted they would be footloose but they can’t stray because there is a stylish tightness to the panties, that little hint of restraint so I feel the swing in my body.

The swing of my handbag, bathed in sunlight and white fondant, an organ of my body.

A breeze blows through the corridor of the street, lifting up my beaded bateau dress. I catch it and press it back down my thighs. I look right and see the girl in the sea of stripes of her peasant mini-gown smiling at me like I look good. She is coming out of Cabral, a narrow street.

I move on and the six stories of Ambassadeur Hotel emerge over the tops of the shorter buildings. Eagles swirling around the buildings, some flying high into the sky. And how strange, a man in a parachute flying together with the eagles.

Blue sky — the colour is so street.

This one, in slim-leg jeans, is walking straight to me, clip-clopping on the pavement in her kitten peep-toe pumps. As she passes by, she gives me a quick pinch on the nipples and my beaded bateau dresses creases there and I turn and see the boozy boys on Maragua Lane bending over to vomit.

Some thoughts pass by. My mother said this was all there was to her life. She said the years have just gone and what can she do now? Pour a cup of cha and give it to my daughter. Watch TV all day long. Cook shak bhath every evening.

5

This is an old hotel. Born just before independence.

I check in by showing the receptionist my passport. She is wearing a red jacket and grey skirt. The reception counter is made of old wood. The varnish has been fading for decades and the old wood has the funk of city history, all those sweaty palms that were laid flat on it after nights of musky sex and nation building. She checks the passport’s back page, Gujurati but Kenyan, checks the computer screen, gives me the room keys, gives me a receipt. Bubble ass in that grey skirt.

She tells me to wait.

The stale air in the reception makes me breathe in deeper and just like that the memory of running after shadows of kites in the narrow Porbandar streets comes to me.

Why did I check in with a passport? Where is my ID?

The marble floor in the lobby is not polished; I step on it and don’t feel that deliciously slippery hold on my heels. The hold is instead heavy with gravity.

I walk to the black leather sofas on the other side of the reception lobby. I take three steps and crumble to the ground. My right foot slips out of the heel. My handbag slips off my shoulders.

This is a semi-dark lobby, not enough daylight citylight coming in through the wide entrance.

I am alone in this lobby. The receptionist is a fixed asset.

I stretch out a hand to pick my heel and handbag and they feel heavy.

I get up and walk to the sofas. I sit down on one. It is a hot lobby. The sofa leather I sit on feels damp and I am sweating and those who sat here before were also sweating and the dampness is also theirs.

My mother’s sweat greasy on the glass of milkshake.

I sit facing the entrance. I see the city. I hear the city noises. The squawks of eagles, the Song of Solomon, matatu horns, morning moans.

The receptionist tells me to wait. Bubble ass in that grey skirt. If I were a boy, I would bite that ass.

I sit facing the entrance. I see a taxi girl slouched on a bonnet, the hulking cream walls of the National Archives behind her and her taxi.

Cars everywhere. Caroming bodies. Amputees crawling at leg-level on Short Road, begging anybody for one fucking cigarette and a packet of Sanford fried chips. Sunday morning building up.

This is when I overhear a set of conversations.

A man, four and a half feet tall, comes and stands in front of the lobby entrance. He looks at me with his schoolboy eyes. What he sees is a lady seated on a black leather sofa. A dress half way up her thighs, her knees joined, her cleavage an inch of valley.

When a boy, almost six feet tall, comes into the picture and joins him. They look at each other. I can’t hear them talk. I see their lips. I see what they say.

What is it they say? One of them turns to look at me. I think he is saying ‘Hi.’ I want to get away from this fucking lobby and go to my room.

They are talking about someone now. They are talking about the survivor-type boy. That’s who they are talking about.


START OF LENGTHY INTERMISSION FOR THE SURVIVOR TYPE BOY

down there I spy the girls who are proud of their postureshaped toomanyness in bed, knees dug into soft pillows.

She said I should drink many glasses of cold vanilla milkshake for two days. Not eat meat. I said I need energy to live. She said a plain diet of boiled vegetables and beans. I wore a blue t-shirt.

When I entered, it was her skin that surprised me. I expected something brownish, Indian. She looked Eurasian, maybe Lebanese. She was doggy on bed and first thing I touched was her hair. I love that kind of hair. Flaxen. None of that steel-wool crap I have to ruffle my fingers through. None of those fucking braids I have to hold as reigns.

I wore a blue t-shirt. She wore a black underwear around her knees. You pay for some information in those narrow streets, some life-saving tip off.

Hi, my name is Dederick Cinema Oloo and I am a student in a standard three class here in downtown at the Holy Family Basilica where the tall bell tower and buildings looking down on me. I have never seen my mother, she was here before my memories. Nobody ever gave me a glass of milkshake. After classes I play football with the other students in the courtyard of the Holy Family Basilica until it starts to get dark. Then I go wander in the city and speak to it like a man and see it like a man and feel it like a man and walk around it like a man. So, I can tell you how last night started.

I was walking around watching the night being carved out from dusk. No moon. The black sky was laughing at me, showing off its canines of stars, letting me peer into the interstellar depths of its mouth.

Trattoria had lit the lamps for the hungry daughters who were sipping sweet red wine on the terrace and gazing fondly into the eyes of their chosen masculinists, studying the shapes of stubby clefts and arches of bushy eyebrows, taking fork and knife in hand to separate fish from bone just as they would later scissor open their legs underneath the tables to receive their cannibal meals.

I was walking around and on the sweep of Wabera Street the Toyotas and Nissans had opened their bright eyes. They were roaming the wide streets, looking for me, my brother and even my dead father. Beasts driven by those eager to press their high heels down on the pedal and romp over our fear filled stomachs at zebra crossings.

I had to walk carefully. Keep to the shadows even in the night.

Then I heard the zananna of aeroplanes. They came over the city in a formation and then there was the rain of falling men. The men fell through the tall shadows of buildings, I saw them waving their arms and kicking their legs as they tried to swim in a place with no water. Their eyes open, some of them looked at me. I thought they would shout or cry for mama but they fell down silently except for the whoosh of the fast wind they came down with. And the cracking bone sounds as they hit Tubman Road.

Then deep into the night rumours came out from the suburbs that downtown was bombed, but I tell you all the buildings were intact. The large round flower pots with “DO NOT SIT ON FLOWER POT” painted on them were all still there. I sat on one and took in a long shot of the lit City Hall Way. The boulevard of broken bones. Just the silent town and them. The city surrounded by a halo of moonlight. And this one survivor floating in the sky, losing altitude at the rate of one hundred or two hundred feet an hour.

Guy is from my hood. Golden Gate, South B. They hook up at Bells and go for weekend out. Ole Polos. See stars and galaxies in the night sky. Fuck under constellations. That same night his brother is taking a 44 back home. Blows up, steering wheels and guts and blood flying and burning.

I don’t know what’s happening to the girls in this city anymore. Revenge for the girls buried neck deep and stoned to death in Nigeria. People hire assassins; they hire bomb-makers and jihadists. To do this in already dangerous times. This is the new fun. A way to spawn the stories for the sisters in the saloons and the aunts in the coffee houses and babes on twitter. Standing in the shadows of narrow streets, plotting revenge for the rapes in Uttar Pradesh, seeking punishment for the poet who assaults the poetess.

Hi, my name is Tala Kipkirwok and I am an old man born a century ago in the Iten highlands. Back then this city was a boy, or as is fashion today, a girl. I came to the city same time your mother did. You don’t know the weight of Time we carry. By now, I can say I have drunk vanilla milkshake in over a hundred and forty different cafes in this city. More than a hundred of them now extinct. The taste has never changed but the last glass I had was 18 years ago. I stopped drinking milkshake. I lost my tastebuds and all my lactose enzymes. I am an old man, severely wrinkled. Nobody cares that I am around. I can walk to any place and no girl cares what I do. You girls see me as harmless. I am. I am just a camera now. I was there as a camera earlier today at Pentecostal. What I saw made me realise Time is heavier than I thought. Maybe the milkshake served these days is thicker. I am tired of past tenses. I’ll tell you what I saw like it’s happening right now:

8 o’clock church service at Pentecostal.

The survivor has lost two thousand feet in altitude since last night. He is now two hundred feet above ground, dribbling around downtown’s taller buildings, trying to find a safe place to land.

The church is filled with beautiful girls. They are singing “My God, who is it I need?” and clapping and dancing and singing and singing.

What do they look like in there?

The sun is twenty-eight degrees high in the east of the city and rising and shining and coming into the church through the open doors. Some beautiful girls cast slim shadows, others fat shadows.

They are old, they are young.

There are the girls into whose eyes Time threw a pebble and now their wrinkles look like ripples of history flowing out from the shiny ponds in their faces.

There are the ladies who cannot be robbed neither by their pre-historic grandmothers who were fighting animals on the shores of Turkana, holding heavy flint axes, their skins tough and cut-proof; nor by their astronaut grand-daughters who will be sipping water from the south pole of Enceladus, sipping water rich in special microbes that obliterates Time and makes their smooth legs shine even though their bodies will be the age of eight pre-historic grandmothers, sipping and watching and watching, through a big hotel window, a thin shadow cast by the rings cutting Saturn into halves.

They are today’s ladies. They wear what they want today. Topless or Bottomless Yellow Bikinis, Salwar Khamiz, Limited Edition Okwiri Head-wraps. They are the colours they want to be today. South-Sudan Black, Light Parklands-Guju Brown, Karen-Bitch White and Pink, Nyeri Brown. They only see today. The rest doesn’t exist. They are alive and singing and singing “My God, who is it I need?”

Some of them turn a head and see the flying and floating survivor. Now only one hundred meters above ground.

…one of the nineteen DC-9s that took off from Wilson Airport in the first hour of the Saturday Nairobi night. A rumour says there was a scuffle on-board one of the DC-9s, a brave boy refused to be tied up like a buffalo and be put in a sack and become a bomb, so that plane somehow drove out of Wilson Airport and got onto the long Langata Road and took off from there. It is understood the survivor was on this plane and he was a brave boy. .

The DC-9 is an old aeroplane and before all this happened it was last seen in the photos of the 1970’s.

An eagle crashes into his parachute, its sharp talons rip a side of it to shreds. The survivor falls out of the sky. A fifty foot drop. He falls into the parking lot at Pentecostal. A surprisingly strong boy. His bones don’t break on impact. He stands up.

The girls inside the church rush out to see the survivor. They can’t see him. He is covered by the parachute.

He untangles himself from the parachute. They see him now. And he runs for the Pentecostal gate. Gets to Valley Road and runs up it, trying to get to Kilimani, to disappear in some shadow there.

But there are girls everywhere. Even on Valley Road. They employ the simplest of tricks to stop the survivor. A trick used in many classic movies and cheap romance novels. A lady puts out a leg, the boy trips and falls to the ground.

Four girls are then onto him.

They hold him and strip him and discover they don’t know what he is. The boy has fair skin. But he is no Karen bitch pink thing. A hint of colour, but not enough to be Indian. Who is this? Is he white? He is maybe Spanish, something Arabic about his curly hair. He is probably Lebanese. Dark brown hair and big ears.

The boy is told not to worry. He is no longer a survivor.

Two of the girls at this point back off after seeing the other two have a more daemonic passion for the survivor.

The two more passionate girls remove their best Sunday clothes. They are beautiful. The boy gets an erection. He looks one of them in the eye but is shy and looks away. She is beautiful but it’s also like looking into the eyes of a lioness that has not eaten buffalo ass for nine days.

Looking the lioness in the eye.

They tell him not to worry.

He is made to sit upright in a Lord Buddha lotus meditation posture. A posture that makes him sit on his ankles and keeps his ass one inch off the ground. One beautiful girl goes behind him. She has in her hand a piece of cloth and a long sheathed thing. How she just got those things nobody knows or cares. She kneels behind the boy. The boy can feel her nipples on his back. She snakes a hand around him and clutches some curls of his pubic hair. This is something she does only for a few seconds, to get some feel for this boy. Then she squeezes the boy’s ass like it’s a toy. She drops her head, twists her neck and kisses the survivor’s nipples.

The girl in front straddles him.

The two of them whisper to him, each taking an ear. They are near the church but they want to convert him here, in the parking lot. No one can explain why. It is something that is requested on the spot in times of terror.

The girl at the back blindfolds him with the cloth she has. He embraces the girl straddling him. Faith.

He then extends his right hand and points a finger at the sky and repeats what the girls whisper into his ear.

“Wish I had you and laugh ahaha Leila”

With the blindfold on, he cannot witness the crowd that has gathered around the three of them. If he could see, he would see all of them dressed in their Sunday best. Church Sunday. All of them beautiful. Truly, there is no one but them.

“Wish I had you and Priscila and I’ll rescue Leila”

He cannot witness. But he can feel the sort of messenger the girl straddling him is. He doesn’t even understand what he is saying.

They no longer whisper in his ear. He is still pointing a finger at the sky.

The crowd is not convinced by his conversion.

“He speaks lies as bright as the sun,” someone in the crowd says. The rest of the crowd agrees.

Behind him something is unsheathed. His dick goes inside a warm cave. Nipples press against his chest.

Someone in the crowd says he needs to be cleansed.

So it was something sharp that was unsheathed. At first, a very clean bite right where his Adam’s apple protrudes most. He can say no angry words. And no looks.

And this deed.

And then a left right motion. Now he stops thinking, or there are just milliseconds to think. This is a sword or big knife cutting him at the neck, cutting as a form of concentrated pain, milliseconds to think how deep she is now into his neck with her sword.

He is also breathing in from the neck. Warm blood is flowing down from his gaping neck to his chest. He still has an erection.

Now, if he wants to, he can’t cry or say anything because the beautiful girl behind has cut past his vocal chords. He can’t think of the pain because it is all happening in milliseconds but he can feel it. Feeling is faster than thinking. He has never been so aware of his life. Living and being alive and to live. A life full of blood and nerves and wit.

But it is the soundless Nairobi, and the streets of it, and the place he is now, where pleasure and pain suddenly have no sting.

The ladies in the crowd are chanting:

“Ahaha Leila”

Of course, it is crude cutting a neck. The girl behind now has to stand. Warm blood on her breast and stomach. Her pubic hair is sodden. She presses harder with the sword or big knife when she gets to the backbone. Cuts past it and he is beheaded.

The head is thrown and it rolls down Valley Road. The sword or knife glitters with blood and silver.

The straddling girl finally gets up. A little disappointed. Like she expected him to cum. That she would be standing with beads of his milk dripping down from the slope of her inner thighs.

So there he is, headless, sitting in Lord Buddha lotus meditation posture.

But, if you want to live headless, the future is a strange city, most strange.

The boy gets up. He just starts to run down Valley Road.

He has no head to think with so he doesn’t run up, to sanctuary at Kilimani. He runs on instinct. To the place he knows better. Downtown. To the narrow streets where he can say he’s in shadow-land as shade.

Headless boy, rivulets of blood streaming down his back and buttocks and running legs. A lady from the crowd gives chase. He is too fast. The girl who had straddled him walks to a Nissan in the Pentecostal parking lot. Gets in. Starts the engine.

END OF LENGTHY INTERMISSION FOR THE SURVIVOR TYPE BOY


6

Horn blasts of Nissans that sound like cartoon music, actual chatter of the public wafting up from the National Archives precincts.

The Ambassadeur Hotel. Room 412

Big windows. Big Sky. Big city.

Sunday Afternoon.

I am standing barefoot on the carpeted floor. I am naked from toes to mid-thigh. My toe nails are painted black. My legs are waxed and they look milk white. He’ll see my black toe nails. They’ll stick out. My legs are smooth and even I want to glide my hands over them and I do. I have a birthmark on my left knee cap, purple, shaped like a crescent moon, the size of the width of my little finger.

Downtown. How I love that word.

When I am high up, all the buildings seem closer and look like living things, like they are looking at me the way I look at them.

So much sunlight. So many shadows cast.

I hold my beaded bateau dress at the seams, knuckles pressing against inner thighs, and lift it over my head, take it off, let it fall to the carpet. I am naked from toe to head but for my black french panties. I think I should keep it on, let him peel it off, let my vagina be revealed gradually, but I wore it for me.

I hook my thumbs around the panties’ straps and slide it down. I feel an edge come out from between my pussy lips. I slide the panties down just to my knees.

There is a mirror on the wall.

I am in it.

I could say I am slim but there is a slight hint of the plumpness in me. I can’t see muscles. My thighs are soft cylinders but not too big, my buttocks jut out but with restraint. I can’t see boniness except at my elbows and knee caps. My stomach is flat but with a hint of juice. My breasts are busty, at least for me, I put my hands on them and cannot cover them completely. I spread out some fingers and dark pink areolas are revealed. Now I am no longer milky white. I am blushing pink. Pointy nipples. Even darker areolas. My hair falls down my back like a dark brown waterfall, almost touching my buttocks. They frame my face. That he’ll not see, maybe he will.

I have no tattoos.

My pubic hair is trimmed and looks downy.

And I think I want to be a boy because I want to fuck me.

My city is in the mirror. The long strip of Moi avenue.

And I don’t believe in earrings. My earlobes are not punctured.

I am like scared nervous horny. At the bottom of my stomach I feel a current. I place my hand on my stomach and feel the strong beats of the artery beneath. I walk around the room slowly, the panties around my knees making my steps clumsy. I don’t want to slide them down to the carpet because I want to feel the tension there, just above my knees.

I am now so close to committing myself.

I am dripping down my inner thighs.

I bend down for my purse. Get the phone and call him.

“You can come now.”

“Which room?”

This is the first time I have heard his voice.

…boys lost and found in the lubricated caves, as if clutching the warm asses of death, eleventh finger and storming into depths of shallow…

Athletic. Seven and a half inches. Six foot one. Seventy seven kilos.

Knees dug into the mattress. Face dug into the pillow. Close my eyes.

And wait.

Wait.

Door opens. Closes. Clip-clap. Footsteps on the carpet. That somebody else makes the air in the room move. A gust hits my vagina, cools it. An unbuckling, an unzipping. Shoes kicked against the wall. The static electricity cracks as a shirt comes off. And something else comes off.

A pause.

A warm rod slithers along the crack of my ass. Fingers take hold of my hair and pull. My face drags across the pillow and is made to look up. I see the headboard of the bed. Another hand smoothes itself over my ass cheeks, moves forward over my stomach, forward, then careful fingers curl themselves around my left breast and pinch my nipple.

He adjusts the position of his dick. He manoeuvres the dick around, feels the texture of my soft pubic hair. Fingers tighten the grip on my hair. He wants to pluck them out. Now my chin is sitting on the pillow. I see the silhouette of his reflection on the headboard.

The Nissan horns are calling for passengers.

Then he teases his way past the lips on my vagina, the tip of his dick starts to discover the depths of the cosmos. He is now a three stage rocket gone into space.

It’s not warm anymore. His dick slides into the best of me. The heat radiates right through my organs, to my brain and comes out of my eyes and through the air I breathe out.

He goes in and out slow. In and out.

All my love, because only for these seconds will I ever love him, wrap around his hot iron rod, and I want to wrap around him as much as I can, even with my soft sounds and primitive words, awh awee, and I want him to blast through all my softness and destroy me and kill me whilst I am alive and so far gone in the cosmos.

There is a preacher down there and he is singing from Proverbs.

And now he is going so fast. I am so much at his mercy. Out come his musky moans. The thumping. And the great waterfall comes out of him, his oozings, the thick milk of his mother and forefathers, all that revenge leaking through his lineage, three thousand years of Bantu migration, fighting animals in the open grasslands, gushing into my most fuckingest part. So much. So much.

It comes out.

Putting on his clothes. Tying his shoelaces.

My face dug back into the pillow.

The door, clip-clap.

Gone.

No goodbye, I didn’t say hi. Nothing. Nothing.

7

I untangle myself from my postureshaped toomanyness, kneel on the bed. Lost in no thought. Stand up, slide down the panties only now. Walk freely to the big windows, to hug the city. Dip a finger into my vagina and scoop out a gooey spill of sperms. Taste it, lick it. Salty-sweet. Vanilla.

To do it in the afternoon, instead of night.

So I can see. Keep nothing hidden. But now even the afternoon is no longer only mine.

Down there I spy boys in yellow shirts leaning on taxis, men in red shirts roller skating around the statue of Tom Mboya.

It’s a sane and sunny afternoon down there.

Which one is he? Will I ever know?

End of the afternoon. Dusklight citylight. Down there I see a boy in a blue t-shirt disappearing into the long shadows of downtown buildings.


Mehul Gohil was born in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2010 he was the winner of the Kwani? ‘The Kenya I live In’ short-story prize. His fiction has been published in Kwani? and on several online platforms including Short Story Day Africa. His journalism has appeared in publications including the Shahan Journal and http://chessbase.com. He blogs at http://aideedystopia.wordpress.com/ .