THE BROKEN DIARY. (PART II)

I tossed and turned for the umpteenth time. It was still 4 in the morning. I was waiting for dawn by baited breathe. I had requested a day off at work. Joanna and the diary was all that I could think of at the moment. What really happened that night? Is she innocent? Was she framed?


“krrrrrrr…” the alarm buzzed just as I was drifting off.
“urghhh” I cursed and shoved the blanket aside. I switched off the alarm clock and lumbered off to the bathroom.


“krrrr…” It was my phone. I rarely received phone calls so early in the morning. Furthermore, the nature of my job didn’t accommodate emergencies. I mean, not that stocks Could bleed to death…could they?


“Hello,” I muttered anxiously.
“Hello John…you need to come over right now!” I recognised Hannah’s voice on the other end of the line. Whoever said Gas pedals couldn’t complain hasn’t befriended my Sedan.

I was met by Hannah at the door. She looked haggard and so was I.
“ Joanna is missing. She must have slipped away after her 3.am shots. The police are on their way down. I thought I could show you something before they arrive.” Her tone had shifted from the normal husky and sarcastic to that of concern.


We headed to Joanna’s room. The place was an assault to the senses; artificial lighting and a strong smell of antiseptic. The diary sat softly on top of the desk. I slowly reached for it. The ink was still fresh. I gently sat on the bed and flipped to the first page.


26.05.2020
Love at first sight is real John. It really is. It was on this day that I had met William. It was a quaint deli. The ones thronged with either geeky students or journalists covering boring stories. It had a panoramic view of the Uptown stores. It was in this bizarre of places that I met the love of my life, or so I thought. He was a gentle guy, he even asked before joining me at the table. Who does that? Well apart from Canadians. I barely touched my food afterwards. I had no idea it was going to be one of our many rendezvous and nights out.


20.10.2020
We had chosen this day to break the news to you. I knew how special it was for us. I had planned everything to perfection, for just the three of us. William dropped by early as agreed. He helped me with the deco and even setting the table. Effing sweet, right?
When I was in the kitchen fetching the cake, I heard a loud cry emanate from the living room. That was William’s voice! I was terrified! I ran to see what had happened. My brain stuttered for a moment from what I saw. A heavy feeling engulfed my stomach and my legs whimpered. William was lying on the floor, a knife in his stomach. Beside him stood a woman alien to my eyes. She looked too shaken to be the one responsible. Blood had carpeted the floor. He alternated between soft groans and heavy breathing. I felt lightning cruckle through my veins and time slow down. I didn’t know what to do.


Suddenly, the woman dashed off! I saw her car plate as she sped off and later learnt from Richard that she was actually engaged to William. Yeah, Richard was well aware of this whole escapade but respected my benign neglect of not acting on it.


I hurriedly went back, reached for the phone and in a shaky voice, dialled 911. They promised to be fast. I swear they did. William seemed to be worsening by the minute. I couldn’t just stand and watch him slip away… So I removed the knife, applied pressure on the wound and pulled him close. His hands which were clutched to the delicate silk of my dress slowly losened grip. I watched him grow pale by the minute John. I heard his heartbeat grow faint by the second. He drifted away in my arms. Helplessly. It was then, that the police stormed in. It was a little too late. It had already rained and poured.


I mourned the death of someone I loved either in chambers or within the confines of a cell. It was a harrowing experience. I thought I’d run insane and worse still I couldn’t utter a single word. The doctors said it was something about not dealing with grief the right way. But tell me John, tell me, is there a right way really?
How do you balance between being mad at your beloved who’s no more and being hurled in a courtroom for charges of murder?


After much contemplation in the aloofness of my cell room, I made the decision not to tell the story. I had suffered enough for the both of us. Why should another woman, go through what I already went through, all for someone who’d played us both. It wasn’t worth a fight. Telling my side of the tale to the court, and hence the public was not an option. At least, not for me. It would have sounded like another sob story from another crazy woman, especially now that I had already pleaded Insanity. I would have ended in the same place anyway, only with a more bartered conscience.


So No, it’s not that I don’t appreciate all the effort you put. It’s not that I didn’t trust you enough to tell you the story from the beginning. I did brother…I did. It’s just that you were hurting enough and already in a beleagured position.


I am off to a place I am yet to figure out. A place where no one knows me and my wounds would be invisible. I hope my exit from this incarceration gives me the freedom I so much desire. The kind of freedom that only comes with being a radical. Well, I hope to speak soon, I hope to see you soon. When the sky is tahitian and the moon less reluctant, when I’m no longer a fugitive of both love and grief, I’ll be back.


Much love,
Joanna.

THE BROKEN DIARY. (PART I)


20th November! The past 28 years had seen me spend time with my sister, Joanna. On that day however, she insisted that we do it a bit diferently. She wanted to invite William, a guy she was seeing. It pricked me that I had doubts about the plan. She was my sister and I was supposed to be happy for her. I slowed down, raised my gaze and took a deep breathe.


The scenery calmed my nerves. I loved the surbabia. It was the reason I loved visiting Joanna. The endless vista of the cypress trees ensured a steady flow of cool breeze. The street lights glimmered under the fog and frail dog barks from afar could be heard from time to time. The ambience was an antonym of the city strife. Such tranquility! I adjusted my grip on the umbrella and increased my pace. The weather seemed to be worsening by the minute.


A few blocks from the house, I saw swirling red and blue lights. They looked like smudgy illuminations in the evening drizzle. My blood ran cold and my heart sank! What had Joanna gotten herself into? Had she been robbed? I ran my gloved hand across my face and hurried off!
There was a fleet of police cars and policemen muttering gibberish words into their walkie talkies. An ambulance door was slammed shut just as I arrived. I pushed my way towards it but was purged back in a whiff! It sped off!


“That’s my sister for God’s sake!”
“What’s wrong with my sister?”
“Step back sir! This is a scene of crime,” one of the officers retorted.

I was pushed back just in time to see Joanna in cuffs, being huddled out of the house. She looked terrified and shaken! Her eyes were wide-open and her maxi orchid-white dress had a patch of blood at the front. The blood glinted under the street lamps. She only had one persian sandal and her hair was bundled in a messy ponytail. As she came closer, I heard her mumble incoherent things before choking on her sobs. Terror sucked the very breath from my mouth. I wanted to jump and soak her in embrace, but my legs wouldn’t let me. I tried to shout at the police who escorted her to the car, but my voice betrayed me. I whimpered as my legs collapsed under me. Tears welled from deep inside and coursed down my cheeks as I watched the cars speed off and the cacophony die down. The house was yellow-taped, with two officers standing guard!


The next three months proved to be the toughest in my life. Joanna’s case dragged on. Richard, the defence attorney, explained, that it was a split chance case. Anything could happen. My sister was supposed to be his principle witness but she couldn’t speak.


On that fateful morning, the coutroom was half-full. It was intolerably hot and stuffy. We sat knee deep in silence as we waited for the jury. The only sound in the room emanated from the tiks and toks of the wall clock. No one seemed to be bothered by my subconscious tapping of the feet. I removed the boutonniere from the lapel and pressed it hard between my hands. The air was so brittle it could snap, and if it didn’t, I was afraid I might. I let out a slow controlled breath to try and loosen my body. It was the judgement day!


“All rise!”
“Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”
“Yes your honour,” the foreman replied.
“Members of the jury, in the case of Joanna Ackerman v The State, what’s your verdict?”
“Your honour, the members of this jury find the defendant GUILTY of first degree murder!”


My heart stopped! My knees weekened. The bang of the gavel by the judge sounded like a far-away echo. I watched painfully as they dragged my sister away. Indeed, misfortune seldom comes alone!


Nonetheless, I was allowed to visit her on a daily after a petition to have her in a psych ward.
I always brought her a pack of mint-choc chocolate bars and a bouquet of lilacs. She loved purple.


On one Thursday, five months after her conviction, I was caught up in a meeting. The visitation hours ran down and they didn’t let me see her. I pleaded for ten minutes or so, but the security guard stared at me blankly like it was a usual platitude. I acquiesced and went home. I resolved to drop by the following morning before heading to work.

I decided to pass by a bookstore the next day and bought her a diary apart from the usuals. It was my way of apologising. I wondered if she’d appreciate the gesture.


“Morning Hannah, any luck today?” I hated the social back and forths, but learnt it was the only way of getting better service.
“Still not talkin’ pal. And what’s with them loads this early morning?” she inquired gesturing at the gifts with her balmed lips.
“Well, since you guys wouldn’t let me in yesterday, I decided to shop a bit as a sorry,”
“And brother…do I look like a security guard?” Retorted back Hannah with a now clear Black American accent.
“Apparently, some people believe time is more important than care,” I replied adjusting my Starbucks mug lest I spilled coffee allover.
“And some people believe tacos taste better on Tuesdays!” She said stretching the last word theatrically.
She quickly smiled, maybe a show-off of her white teeth or just pride for a thwart of my asocial behaviour with her twist of sarcasm.
“ Anyways, she’s in 28. Just finished her rounds.”
“Thank you. I’ll go see her now.”


My eyes darted across the hallway in such of ward number 28. They rested at the far corner. I approached the blond maple door, twisted the knob and the door opened. I walked in hauling the load along. The smell of antiseptic pierced through my nostrils!


She was sitted on the bed, chewing on a knuckle. She still had her sleeping attire on. The sleeping dress sat upon her skin like soft petals, its hue, the many whites of a rose garden. Her emerald-green eyes glittered in the morning light but her bland face was pale as usual. I went over, kissed her on the forehead, and sat beside her. I then handed her the bouquet and the well-wrapped diary.


She took it, paused to look at it and smiled. Yes! She actually smiled! My heartbeat quickened! For the first time in five months, I saw her looking at me straight in the eye and say a Thank You. The words didn’t come out, but she sure tried. I watched in awe and disbelief as she ran her palm slowly and softly over the cover page. She took the gel ink pen that sat at the middle of it, and scribbled her details. She then opened the first page and gently jotted down something. It was a date! And No! It wasn’t that day’s date, it was 20th November, 2009. Our birthdate, except for the year. The day she was arrested for murder. She then took a deep breath and sat back. Her eyes bled with pain. I held her left hand as a lump formed in my throat.

TO BE CONTINUED…

THE POLITICAL RING. (PART III).

Griff and Price agreed to meet at his house. She sounded like she had hit an overture. Utmost secrecy was key, and a motel or café was just not the place! He prowled from one corner of the room to the other, head down, biting his fingernail.


A knock at the door jerked him up! He quickly went and opened it. Price hurriedly walked in and he closed the door behind her. He extended his hand for a handshake but she ignored it, hugged him and gave him a slight peck on the cheek. The nestle reminded him of the geek he was! She removed an envelope from her handbag as she slowly made her way to a seat.


“This is a medical report showing that one of the kidnapped girls, the Mayor’s P.A’s daughter has a neoplasm ,” she adjusted herself in the seat before continuing, “She was scheduled for surgery next week on Tuesday.”


Alicia was shocked seeing her fiancée in the company of another girl. Griff could feel the tension in the air build. The cold hug and the scowl that occupied the better part of Alicia’s face said it all. Not even the haggard look could hide the scorn from her cute face.


“Uumm…Price meet Alicia,my fiancée …Alicia meet Price. She is a private investigator and is going to help us with the case.”
“Hi Alicia. I have a few questions that should help us crack the case,” said Price with a vague smile.
“For a start, what do you do for a living?”
“Uuum…probably breath and stuff…” said Alicia, this time not even trying to hide the scorn. Griff quickly took her by the hand and led her to a booth nearby.
“For God’s sake! She is trying to help…Ali..”
“And why do we need a private investigator…who by the way I’ve never seen or heard of before?” Alicia rattled back!


After a few minutes, they seemed to be on the same page. Griff somehow enjoyed the pouting. He had never imagined being caught in such a scenario. Alicia went back to her sit, obviously half-heartedly. A stultifying monologue was imminent.
“Okay goddess. I am all ears…” said Alicia, her face covered with a cosmetic smile.
“When was the last time you had your engagement ring on?”
Alicia moved back. She examined her index finger as if some coded message was written on it. She remembered placing it beside the sink as she did the dishes. That was the last time she had it on. Someone must have broken into the house, took it and placed it in the scene of crime. She couldn’t believe it! Her face was pale for the rest of the interrogation or examination as Price liked to call it. Everything they said to her afterwards sounded like an echo from afar.


“Sorry about what happened back there. She isn’t always like that. I guess it’s claustrophobia.”
“No worries. I understand. Prison isn’t a bed of sparrow grass. And Maybe I should have passed by a trattoria and brought her a bite to calm things a little bit…” joked Price.
“Where is our next stop?”
“The Mayor’s P.A’s house. He should be at home right now.”

***

Before even ringing the bell, two men in black suits opened the gate and blocked the way. Apparently, they were beefing up security. Price flashed some sort of a badge, mumbled a, “He’s with me,” and they were let in. Griff learnt later on that it was fake!
“Hello Mr. PA, nice painting you have there,” said Price.
“Cut the chase! You didn’t come all the way to admire my paintings. Why don’t you start by telling me who you are and what you want from me,” he rattled back.
They informed him of their suspicions about his daughter’s kidnapping and the motive behind it, hence the link to the sitting Mayor, his boss! He listened without even shifting or uttering a word. His face turned from bland to red. Hot red! He ambled past the fireplace to one of the windows. He reached into his pocket, removed a pack of cigarillos, bumped one and puffed a few wobbly smoke rings. He was then lost in thought.
He cleared his throat as if to modulate what he was about to say.
“So what’s the plan,” he finally said, twirling the ciggy between his fingers.
They told him what they had in mind. To their surprise, he did not complain about the role he was supposed to play. He looked like someone who had made up his mind. He finally retired to one of the sofas, shifted his legs as if to feel the Persian rag and let out a sigh. With a snap of his fingers, drinks were finally served to the strangers turned allies.


They’d been waiting for the burner phone to buzz for an hour now. Price was growing impatient. She moved from one corner of the room to the other cursing and jabbing her hands.
“It’s not some business drudgery for Heavens sake! What’s taking him so long? I really had my doubts on him!” she continued venting.


The PA walked into the yard without much disturbance from the security detail. After all, he was a regular. He rang the bell and the mayor himself opened it. After a firm handshake and a pat on the shoulder, he ushered him in.


“Scotch maybe…”
“No. It’s too early. A latte should do.”
The windows were draped in white linen curtains that looked like they were yet to be touched by human hands and devoid of dust. Just above the fireplace sat an oak bookshelf. The covers of the books, glimmered from the reflection of the flames. The dark clouds that day subdued the lighting of the house, and there wasn’t enough ambient light to admire the canvas paintings hanging on the walls.


“I’ve always admired your coffee maker. I promised Catherine I’d get her one like that…” he somewhat tried to maintain a conversation as he stood from the comfort of the leather sofa. He moved slowly and placed one of the miniature cameras on the surface of the flower vase. He held his breath as he placed the second camera on the shelf. As he was reaching for the telephone, the mayor walked in.


“Here’s your latte Mr. Too early for booze…” the mayor joked as he placed a mug on the table and a sandwich. The PA slowly retreated to his seat, visibly shaken and emptied the contents of the mug.
“ How far have the investigations gone and how close are they to getting our daughters back? I can’t help but think, there is benign neglect on this case, to deliberately take our minds off the campaign Mr. Mayor”
“Don’t be so cynical pal. I am sure they’re trying their best and we’ll soon receive good news,” replied the Mayor as his jaw bunched from a muffin bite he’d taken. He washed it down with a gulp of scotch and sighed.
After promising to make a few phone calls that day, the Mayor went into the bedroom to change into something more distinguished so he could leave for the office. The PA wasted no time and paced for the telephone.


“It is done!” The message in the burner sent cheers in the room as Price ran into the embrace of Griffins. Finally, good news! It was only a matter of time now. Before they’d even finished celebrating, the machines beeped! That meant the mayor was on a call. Price placed the call on speaker and pulled a notebook. The conversation was harrowing!
They took the tapes they had recorded the conversation on and placed them in an envelope. Price also wrote down the address and put it in the envelope. They agreed to mail it to the police department as anonymous.


Detective Abidal gave Griffins the ring just as he let loose Alicia. The girls had been rescued from a hacienda 137 miles away which was registered under the mayor’s name. The mayor and his team were under custody. He took her by the hand and led her further from the crowd and the swam of journalists growing by the minute. Just as they were about to drive off, Alicia caught eye of Price.
“Hey Miss Investigator. I am sorry we got off on the wrong foot. I really can’t thank you enough. Mind joining us for dinner?” said Alicia as a shade of pink transcended her cheeks.
“No problem Alicia. Was just doing my job. Well, the thought of Italian for dinner is really tempting but let me call a raincheck. I want to check up on my lousy uncle. He is dying to hear how it all went down.”
As they walked to their car. Griffins slid the ring into Alicia’s finger. The Political Ring !

THE POLITICAL RING.(PART II)

“If you are not too long, I will wait for you here all my life.” OSCAR WILDE.

He knew better than to take his relic of a car. A brisk walk would do just fine. He entered the deli breathing heavily. He looked around in confusion. The place he had, had his lucky rendezvous less than a week back was now his SOS cabin. A pat on the back jolted him back from his oneirism. He turned around. It was one of the waitresses he passionately hated, but today was not the day. He was a mere desperado. He followed her slowly as she led him to a dark alley he never knew existed in a deli he had visited for months. She slid an envelope in his shirt pocket and left him there, even more confused.

He hurriedly tore it open.
“ 1400-Washington avenue. 11.00 pm sharp.”
He closed his eyes in frustration and walked out. His phone rang. It was Alicia, crying. She couldn’t even utter a word. He listened to her, sob for almost a minute before he hung up.

He rushed to the car park, jumped into his upbeat cadilac and massacred the gas and clutch pedals.


He entred the station running. People around were looking at him conspicuously.
“Isn’t he the new D.A? I swear I saw his face patched on the local dailies.”
He embraced her for eternity. She was still crying.
“ I swear I didn’t do it. I swear it wasn’t me. Please tell them. Please get me out of here…” she mumbled incoherently as she choked on her sobs. Her lips were trembling. He sniffled quietly and looked away as his face turned red.


They were obviously denied bail. The case was high profile and investigations were still ongoing. Law was only law when the daughter of the WHOs were safe. Typical America! He never felt so helpless in his entire life. Six years at law school and he still couldn’t get his fiance out of the grills. What a waste!


He went to the office. Packed his things in a box and slowly walked to the window. The cadence of the sunset was therapeutic. The sky and wispy clouds were bathed in burning red. The roof tops of the City’s tallest buildings were dipped in yon orange. Whatever demons he had in his head seemed to cool down with each gaze of the horizon.


He clutched the box under his arm, placed his letter on the desk and walked out. He had recused himself from the case sighting conflict of interest. The office he so much loved, now looked alien.


***


After three cups of coffee. He switched on his record player. Maybe Dolly Parton would do the trick. He listened to the tunes emanating from it, with utmost concentration to delude the thoughts out of his head. But it didn’t work. He looked at his watch for the umpteenth time. For the first time in his life, he thought he saw the second hand take a pause, maybe for a drink before another TOK!

He decided he’d walk to the place on the address instead of taking the car. Maybe it would kill some minutes.
As he reached for the door bell switch, the gates opened. He ambled in and was met by a man he had never laid his eyes on.
“I said 11.00 sharp. It’s 10.58…what the heck are you doing here?” The guy rattled.
“ I thought maybe….” he mumbled before being cut short.
“I am Chris Houston. Aspiring mayor. Nice to meet you kid.”
“ I am ….”
“I know who you are young man.”
He hated him already. After three minutes of conversation and laughter. He gave him a benefit of the doubt. The guy was his only hope. Well, at least for now.

Chris stuffed more tobacco into his meerschaum and lit it. He took a huge puff before blowing it into the air.
“ Would you please stop smoking? I hate that smell.”
“ My therapist wears her cologne at midday.”
“and what has that got to do with me?”
“well, I hate her for that. But I’ve never told her. Do you know why? Because I need her.” He then burst out laughing before lushing it off. For a while Griffins felt like a gawk.
“Now listen to me kid. Listen very carefully. This whole ploy is the Mayors, and I am sorry that you got caught in the middle of it. It’s the reason we are here. I don’t have trite evidence pointing it to him but my sources pin a finger on the man. He has been promised huge funding by George R. Deck, the biggest businessman in town, or at least was until Marco came around. He has a cabal of eliminating the Italians from this place. And so the question was, how do you eliminate Italians in a county full of rednecks? Simple! Start a theory that they bring more harm than good.”
“And how is he going to do that?”
“He is already on the go with his plan. He has organised a professional kidnap of three girls. One, the daughter of his Campaign manager, two, the daughter of his personal assistant and finally his own daughter. Then bring on board a naive District Attorney who is about to be engaged to an Italian girl and pan it on her.”


He stood rooted to the spot. He couldn’t even utter a word. He was engulfed with every negative emotion there is. He couldn’t believe his ears.
“The plan even works better because he gets sympathy votes and money on top. The people he hurts on the way are just colateral damage. Early Christmas isn’t it? And here’s a little nugget; not even his P.A or campaign manager know about his plan. They just think their daughters are victims of a simple ransom kidnap and are just waiting for the call.”
“He’s a monster!”
“And you are a lawyer, not far from it,” Chris joked.


After the goodbyes, he slowly walked home. Thoughts were rocking his head from every direction. Chris had promised to call him the next day with an elaborate plan.


***


His alarm went off. He jumped out of bed, fumbled for his glasses and put them on. His phone rang! It was the Chris. They arranged a meeting that afternoon and so he had enough time to visit Alicia.


Her hair had been tangled into a lazy ponytail, her mouth was dry and she looked coltish. Gloom was written allover her face. Her eyes said it all. They used up three out of the five minutes embracing. He promised to get her out as soon as possible. She was then hauled away. He never mentioned the plan. It wasn’t the right time just yet.


***


“This is Price, my niece and the private investigator I have hired. She’s the best there is.”
They exchanged hands and cosmetic smiles before taking their seats. He never thought of private investigators as beautiful or anywhere near. Chris then took the first few minutes to brag of how it was almost impossible cajoling a high end investigator to help them with the case.

After an hour and a half, the meeting came to an end, with Price promising to get digging immediately.


The second day was almost coming to an end. Alicia’s right to a court hearing was obviously going down the drain. She was still behind bars and he had not received a phone call from Price or Chris just yet. Frustration was building. He was becoming implausible of their plan. He had to look for other ways to get Alicia out. Maybe even confront the cold-stoned mayor.

Suddenly, his landline buzzed. It was weird. No one ever called him from the landline.
“Hello, It’s Price. I think I have hit Jackpot!”

TO BE CONTINUED. . .

THE POLITICAL RING.


“Come on Alberto, you promised me a free slice today,” squealed a woman at the corner. He hated the Deli. It was quaint and busy. It was not his type. He enjoyed the loaferish type. With minimal movement and obviously NO noise. A place he could enjoy his solitude and converse with his intuitions. A place no one would give a flying fig about a dweeb curled up in the corner. But he dared not mention it. Alicia loved the place and that’s it! Furthermore, it was the only Italian deli in the neighbourhood.


He still felt out of place. He considered the Italians a weird race. Everyone seemed to know everyone. Everyone hugged everyone and everyone talked to everyone. “Grazie,” he smiled at the waiter who had brought him his favourite icecream, the caramel gelato. As he took a scoop, memories of the past thirteen months with Alicia flooded his mind….from the first date, to the first awkward hug and the yakety yaks that followed afterwards. Well, it was awkward, at least for him. As a teenager, he’d tried his shot at love, and after multiple failures, he had considered it a novel invention and resorted to playing xaenorphica and any other musical instrument he laid his hands on.


“Hey bunnie”, he was waken up from his reverie. The same smile, the same sparkle in the eyes. Thirteen months on but she still gave him butterflies and layered his cheeks pink. He managed a stoop, hugged her and went back to his seat. “would you at least lead me to my seat?” she giggled. She knew he wasn’t an ally in the troops of gentleness. She just loved making him uncomfortable. She took his gelato and gave him a pinch on the cheeks. Ladies!


After two snifters of white grape, he took her by the hand and led her to the staircase.
“Where are you taking me?” she whinged.
He just smiled and led her on. The rooftop was unlike other places in the building. Rented with silence. The air was hallowed, the stars were out and the moonlight provided just the right dosage of sight. The night was lucid and the aurorae light from the sky set off the mood. He loved it. I mean who wouldn’t? The idea that, he, someone who enjoyed every second of solitude, was dying to make the noisy girl in front of him a part of his life, sounded bizarre even before his very own ears. Anyway, Alicia had been the tinker of his social life.


He hated the idea of having to bow before a judge and here he was, on one knee, gazing at the golden-flecked blue eyes, his heart throbbing and blood pressure shooting by the minute.
“Growing old won’t be fun without you, and so would you make me the happiest man in the cosmos and be my lawfully wedded wife?” She swallowed hard, wiped the tears with her sleeve and chuckled a reply, “eeewww.” He slid the 1.2 karat xanchromatic engagement ring in her finger and embraced her for eternity. He now had a mindshift on the Italians. Hugs were in deed inexplicable.

***

“Hello! You are needed at the office now!”
It was barely twenty four hours after his engagement party and here he was, being hauled in the middle of the night. He fumbled for his glasses, switched on the bedside lamp and gently pecked Alicia on the cheek. He didn’t want to wake her up.


“It’s the third case in a span of four weeks. All cases have stickling resemblance. The guy is obviously a professional. He doesn’t leave any trace behind, and that includes the victim or the body. That’s not it guys, this time round, it’s the mayor’s only daughter. The girl is ruddy, slim, blonde and seventeen years of age. All the search teams are on the look-out, move!”


He was still puzzled. He wondered why he had to attend a police briefing. He was the District Attorney, well, the acting District attorney, not Sherlock Holmsey!!!


“Griff, meet detective Abidal. Top of the range detective and the best in the county. He’ll give you the culprit and as much evidence as you need in seventy two hours.”


Life had been compassed with a lot of inaction since he had assumed office. However, he never wished to have a serial killer sneering at his questions in the dock as his first case as the acting District attorney. Furthermore, he was supposed to prosecute and drop a successful conviction on someone they were yet to apprehend leave alone retrieve the victims’ bodies or victims for that matter! The mayor was obviously throwing a tantrum! An acme of zabernism!

***

Fourty eight hours had elapsed and the only thing detective “Spiffing” had managed was getting a positive DNA match of blood stains found in the apartment as the victim’s. This only aggravated the situation. He hated the pressure and the confines of the office. The office was nowhere near organised. The mahogany desk and stack of files in the shelf were the only priced items. On the desk sat a framed photo of Alicia, a handbook, pens in a tin and a desktop. The atmosphere was pervasive and so he threw himself on the swivel chair and switched on the air conditioning unit. He was lost in thoughts for a minute or so before he jerked up as if pricked. He slowly walked to the floor-ceiling window and gazed outside.


Abidal slammed into the room breathing heavily.
“We retrieved a ring in the apartment a few minutes ago. The team is running a scan on the prints. Seems our man wasn’t professional after all.”
Hope at last! He briefly pictured himself sterning the jury with his eloquence and moving the masses with his wit in a few days time. Abidal’s phone beeped!
“The NYPD have a positive identification and a warrant ready! She’s certainly beautiful for such atrocities. Here take a look.”
His jaw dropped. His heart sank. His face turned pale and he suddenly felt a spasm of giddiness.


His phone rang, “They’ll have her in five minutes. Meet me at the Deli right now. I might help you!”

TO BE CONTINUED…

THE PURPLE SENSATION.


Live, laugh, love. A professor in literature would classify the statement as a simple sentence. I tend to presume that the maidens of art, the likes of Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci would have a different view of it. A wonderful vista of the bends of the syllables. “Its a beautiful statement,” Maya Angelou would say. “Bella dichiarazione,” Picasso would top it up.


Well, I believe the author of these very words forgot to tell us something; that we should also “feel…fear and cry”. Ignore the starting consonant of the last word. “Fry” won’t fit in today’s context.


The society taught us that pain is evil and dangerous. Pain equates to the Dragons of fairytales and the T-bags of the modern film inventions. Stay away from pain and in life you’d gain…..the elderly would say while stroking their beards as a gesture of wisdom.
In this very world, everything has an opposite. There is a HE and a SHE, a lie and truth, happiness and sadness, love and hate, pleasure and pain. Whether abstract or tangible. …they all are inevitable! Science goes ahead and annotates that antimatter is even a thing. The opposite of matter! Dan Brown explains it better in his novel…ANGELS AND DEMONS.


Pain is an alert. It protects the body from potential damage. It is beyond our conscience that we pay attention to our bodies more and take steps to fix what hurts us.
Anatomy explains it as a path accomplished through nociception, the neural processing of harmful stimuli. When hurt, an immediate intense feeling of short duration often described as a pricking sensation is felt. It is even more interesting that both emotional and physical pain foot on the same route. When we are heartbroken for example, we experience a blend of both emotional stress and the stress-induced sensations in our chest, muscle tightness, increased heartrate and shortness of breath. The streets know it as kiwaru or mizizi by THE boys.


Stan Lee. The most celebrated comic books’ writer or author for that matter managed to prove that pain can be kept under control. Whether emotional or physical. …we are the rulers of our own bodies or even better ….the authors of our own misfortunes as put by the Extremists.
He comes across four people who broke the records initially termed as the crossline limits of human pain. Phew!! No man and woman (feminists aboard ) is indeed limited!

Eduardo Lasaga proved that he could withstand bone-crunching weights on his body. Evgeny Kuznetsov went ahead and withstood dozens of darts penetrating his flesh. Bingo! Bull’s eye! Matthew Ahmet my favourite of them all claims he trained his body to tolerate the same level of pain as the ultimate shaolin warriors.The word is ..trained. They all went ahead to prove science wrong. They all proved that humans can indeed take control of pain and even withstand gruesome doses!
Well, I bet Eduardo Lasaga hasn’t lost his dream job yet or Matthew Ahmet hasn’t fallen in love with the “shaolin” of heartbreaks. We are humans fahm. Not robots! We aren’t failed specimens induced with placebos. Pain doesn’t make us pansies. …..we are roses ….beautiful and imperfect. …the thorns are our flaws. It’s okay to cry when it’s too much. It’s okay to be in ferocious mental wars. Pain is not a one time thing, it’s an army of staccatos of the most daunting keys. Your business is falling….cry…your grades are dropping? Throw the ‘kerchief and grab a towel. You lost a loved one, take all the time you need, your friends turned their backs on you …..be sad. You thought you were in love? We also thought too Maddison. The society is wrong. ….science is wrong and so was Stan Lee. Pain is part of us. We have no scars to show for happiness but a lot for it.
The following are pieces I wrote when I was either in pain or imagined a scenario. How can we heal if we do not feel?

Since you left…pain has been the only language am fluent at. And if missing you was a crime, then I sure am guilty.

I have always been afraid of needles. It dates back to since I was young. But now, my heart is broken and I have to get it stitched.

Take a breathe. Live love laugh and also feel fear and CRY.

DE FACTO!

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna laihi Rajioon.

Since time immemorial, a flu was celebrated among the millenials, that meant no classes fam. No classes! But that is no more, not with COVID 19 renting the air.

Corona! Such a cute name, one would say. I mean such a word would pass as a girl’s name in today’s contemporary society. So what in the name of the heck is Corona?

Corona viruses is a large family of viruses, totalling to hundreds in number. The current pandemic, SARS-COV-2 is simply a strain that has been in existence, but that has now mutated to a new novel virus. An alien virus. One never seen before. In my opinion, this partly explains D.J Trump’s arrogance at the onset of the pandemic. They thought the cure they had from the early 2000s would work. Woo unto them!

If you stay with the unhappy and misfortunate, then you become one. It is among the immutable laws of nature. Well, at the beginning of this “animated” decade, lads went on speaking of how they’d cut off the negative-laden individuals and embrace the positive ones. Huh!! Even the latter is now fatal. I bet it would earn a spot in the “A thousand ways to die.”

It is certain that Africa is still healing from the shackles of colonialism. Our leaders have lumbered the progress, but we are still fighting. The same mzungu sees us as uncivilised and quaint. They call us all sort of names. I still find it ironic that they even call us baboons yet they are the ones with stubble hairs allover.

The WHO says that, an average of 25000 people lose their lives everyday in Africa and Middle East due to hunger. An average of 3000 children die every single day because of Malaria in Africa. But Naah, they say we deserve it. Despite the aray of beauty covering our continent, they still see us as animals. An endless vista of nature, but they see Africa as a pool of problems.

The European countries and U.S at large have been clouded by Utopian bigotry. Problems are Africas and Africa is problems, they’d squel. Our continent is gaunt, and well theirs, theirs is the epitome of beauty. This is the very reason I consider COVID-19 a blessing in disguise. It has shaken the so-called Super Powers with no interference of their tectonic plates. Lol. They have now been beleagured. A good slap on their right cheek and a bland blow on their left.

I am no psychopath, and neither have I tested positive for sociopathic tendencies. It’s life wadau, life has forced me into a pedagogy of seeing the positives of everything, and the following are the positives of this very pandemic;

Who thought at the very least that Somalia would one day lend a helping hand to Italy. 2020 Amigos…2020. The year of reality checks. Europe now turns to the Gargantuan Africa for help. Government spokesman Ismail Omar said that they released 20 doctors to go to Italy and help manage the situation following an outcry from the country for help. Outcry is a key word mates.

Cuba is one country that has been in Carte blanche since the late 1950s. The great Fidel Castro firmly declared that the US conglomerate would have no influence in his country. The US went ahead to sanction Cuba and sat back. They sipped huge gulps of air waiting for it’s downfall. Fidel Castro proved them wrong. Their very own Trump went own and vilified Fidel during his burial. The circle of life has nice bends Wangwana. The US is now at the clemency of more than a hundred Cuban doctors.

The war in Middle East is now over. Syrians and Iranians have known no peace God knows since when. The sound of mines going off or M16s shitting slugs tops their playlist. If you told someone from Yemen that they’d one day see peace amidst chaos, you’d probably be classified as Nuts!! Well, terrorists are now incarcerated in their homes or camps for that matter, washing hands and sanitising their hogans. LMFAO!!

All in all, I am sane enough to see what the virus has done to us. All of us. From Europe to Australia, across Asia and back to Africa. It has totally decimated our planet. Even amidst all these struggles and tribulations, I hope that this pandemic has sounded a wake up Call to all of us. I hope the Super Powers have realised that they are not super after all. I hope the US has realised that it has no hand in destiny. I hope Europeans now see us as humans.

The war is never between the West and the East, China and the US or Iran and Iraq. Humanity latents on one side. I hope that the same help the US received from Cuba and Italy from Somalia, is the same help the West will give to Africa in fight against malaria and starvation. Pure! Without having to play Ruse games or armotizing it.

Kuna qawiaan Iran, Sè fuerte Espagne, Forza Italia!

NOT GUILTY!

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” That was my favourite part of the lesson. It was always my time to shine. Well, mostly because, I always mentioned a career path that was alien to my classmates, and even some of the teachers. I guess this is one of the advantages of studying in a “village” school.

I vividly remember there was a time, the D.E.O tipped me of when I said,” I have always wanted to be a cardiologist but lately, my interest has shifted a bit, I want to be a cardiac surgeon. ” This statement alone quaked the entire class and the teachers present, leave alone the dignitaries. They of course wanted a distinction between the two, and there it was…the “Big Ben” moment. With panache and style, I unleashed the Ben Carson and Dr Long Combo in me. All and sundry had to pick their jaws from the floor. I mean a 10 year old with such knowledge? ..haha and it was jarringly real. All this knowledge, I had derived from my favourite novel at the time, Gifted Hands, one of Carsons biographies. I loved him. Well mostly because we shared the first name and so I thought, “why not share the success too?”. This was where my love for medicine and Biology at large was hatched.

They say time is the biggest healer, I say time is the greatest of all reality checkers. Time turns boring blue algae buds into blossoming Impatiens, then back to dead dry flowers. That is time for me folks…the reality checker!!

It was only a “matter of time” before my love for football punctured doubt into my dreams. ..and I had to wake up. Being trapped in dogma was never a part of me and neither did I intend it to be. I loved football, I admired football, I lived football. I wanted to do what I loved and so, football coach it was. I read Gurdiola’s “Pep Confidential ” and felt ready for Harambee stars. Then time happened, and in one of my mental fiascos I figured I could become a Club doctor. Genius!!!! Just Genius!!!
So my plan was to first head to Med school before futhering the same in Sport Science. A classical case of an IQ of 130+, I convinced myself.

Not in Kenya pals, not in Kenya. The Kenya National Examinations Council literally mud-slung in my face!!
“I want to do medicine”, I told them, “Not you, poor dumb shmuck,” they whispered back. My heart was sliced and neatly grilled wangwana. Lol. Med school was no more. All my efforts were mired in futility. The National examiners or markers for that matter managed to convince me that I was better in Physics than Biology…To hell with 8-4-4.
They even had the cojones of telling me,” Congratulations you have been admitted to KU…School of Laws (LLB)” To hell with bureaucrats!

Law!!!
My success in life was now confined to my ability to secure one’s liberty or so, I thought at first. My dream of saving peoples’ lives or “better still” someone’s football career was reduced to porcelain pieces. Shuttered!! I just had to acquiesce. Such is life!

However, before bracing the corridors of justice, there were a few principles and ground rules I had to set. Law is a murky career and I am allergic to dirt! Call me uncivilised, traditional, old-school or even a brat but I was not ready to defend a guilty party or sweat off prosecuting an innocent soul. Judging? Hell NO, I mean unless the Daity released a memo stating He wanted some help in conducting His duties. I had decided I’d rather be an alderman than even think about doing the above. Furthermore, am good at math and arbitrage pays off quite well.

One would wonder, why the attitude? Well, give me a minute. Jeremy Bentham said that, ” the power of the lawyer is in the uncertainty of the law” Underline the word, uncertainty, or better still, imagine it in italics. Am a stickler for accuracy. The uncertainty he talks about is not only in the law but the whole Criminal justice system. I believe lawyers deserve oscars. They are the best of actors believe you me. Their pretence is of no match and I won’t ask for clemency for stating the above. They cover their ignorance with pompous words and their shortcomings with Latin. Ask a lawyer to tell you the difference between “innocent ” and “not guilty” and he’ll even ask if you’d like it hand-written or typed. “What about the font size, Sir?” They may even ask.

Fill your snifters with red chardonnay or mugs with coffee. The following is a secret Bona Vacantia. Here is how and why I consider the law a Trejan horse;

HARRY THAW (1905); He committed murder. Ist degree murder, the Americans would say. He killed his wife’s former boyfriend. Who does that!!!!!! He said that the wife had been mistreated by the man. Just how romantic, right? His attorney raised a defence that obviously stunned both the jury and the trial judge. He claimed that his client was suffering from,”Dementia Americana”. This is a condition that causes AMERICAN MEN to become temporarily insane and seek revenge against anyone who had tainted their wive’s virtue. Such Guile! Here’s the joke. The jury found him NOT GUILTY. A judge committed him to Matteawan hospital where he later escaped to Canada.

ROSCOE “FATTY” ARBUCKLE; He was one of the highest  paid and popular movie stars in Hollywood when he was charged with raping and assaulting a woman in San Francisco. There was medical proof thereof and a witness statement from Maude Delmont, a woman who had accompanied the victim to the party. His first two trials ended with hung juries and in his third, he was found NOT GUILTY. The jurors even went further to annotate an apology,LOOOL. Karma however made sure that he died shortly after from a heart attack.

BELVA GAERTNER (1924); She was arrested in Chicago for the murder of auto salesman, Walter Law. Walter had been found shot dead in Gaertner’s car, a bullet in his head from her gun, which was in the vehicle. Police discovered Gaertner at her apartment, her clothing bloody. She admitted to having gone dancing with him that night but said she was too drunk to remember what had transpired on that fateful night. Gaertner’s wealthy, manufacturer ex husband, William hired a top lawyer to represent her. Long story short, she was acquitted on the grounds that the Prosecution’s case was purely circumstantial. And Hey, she was referred to as the most stylish woman on Murderess’ Row at the Cook County Jail. Sassy, huh!!

The famous OJ Simpson in one of his poetic awes after his acquittal stated that,” The words, Not guilty gave him more butterflies than his first love” Need I mention his DREAM TEAM? Of course Not….the case of the century. NOT GUILTY are words that can be bought. Even the palms of Justice can be greased. Lawyers would fill your cups with askance and arguments but the truth remains, the rich always have a cafeteria plan when slapped with charges. Reason being, they can afford top notch lawyers and so they can afford the words NOT GUILTY!