THOMAS: Chapter 1

Thomas had always been the black sheep of the family, the runt of the litter. Being the middle child in a family of three did not help matters. He seemed to lack in almost everything, he was never tidy at home, never sharp at school and always failed at sports. As far as his father was concerned he was going to have a very difficult life. Yes, his father, a one Mr. Winston who prided himself as a disciplinarian of the highest order. Mr. Winston was a retired army man who was around 6 feet tall with a very thick waistline and a bulging stomach, two things he acquired after 5 years in retirement. He was openly disappointed with his second son and never even tried to hide the fact. Many times he was heard expressing his doubts on Thomas being his son, a remark that never went down well with the lady of the house; Mrs. Consolata, fondly referred to as Connie by her peers. Consolata was a small woman, no more than 5 feet tall but she was very pious. Age had been fair on her as she still looked dashing at 42, something she relished attributing to a good diet and the rosary, In fact everything in her life was always the work of the almighty, when Thomas was born she vowed to guide him on the path to becoming a priest, a dream that slowly diminished as time went by. It was hard to tell whether she too was disappointed in her son or not.

Jamin was Thomas’ elder brother, he was 3 years older and everything Thomas was not, or what he had been expected to be. He had taken their father’s height and their mother’s looks. He had it all, good grades in class, athleticism on the field, he was the school’s football team captain and every girl within a 5 mile radius swooned over him. To some extent Thomas admired him, they never talked that much as it would be expected of two brothers that close in age, a whole week could pass with nothing other than the usual morning greetings being passed between them. Jamin was always busy with something, he was either hunched over his books, texting the hundreds of girls at his beck and call or admiring himself in any reflective surface that he encountered. He was by all definitions a narcissistic prick for lack of a better word. But as far as Mr. Winston was concerned Jamin was his pride, the jewel of the family.

Isabelle was the last born in the family and the only person who seemed to have time for Thomas. She was 11, three years younger than Thomas. She too seemed to be blessed with everything Thomas didn’t have but unlike their eldest brother she had a heart. Despite her young age she was very perceptive, she could read moods like a book. It was therefore no surprise that she was the first to notice something odd about Thomas.

On this particular Sunday Thomas was extremely apprehensive. Sundays in that household are usually spent indoors watching TV or reading a novel. On this particular Sunday Mr. Winston was gawking over his reading glasses at the Sunday’s newspaper. Consolata was trying her hand at crocheting, a new hobby she had picked up from one of her chama friend, Isabelle was right beside her giggling every time she missed a thread. Jamin was seated at the dining table hunched over what looked like a textbook, in the real sense of the word he wasn’t reading at all, he was stealing glances at his reflection on the fridge at the corner. Thomas was seated in the living room area staring at the TV, hands fidgeting.

His head was racing with a million things, he was unsure how his family would take it. He had been preparing for this day for the last 2 years and now that it was finally here he felt a deep uncertainty and a cold fear. He kept looking at the wall clock, watching the minute hand slowly move. He kept counting to 100 in his head telling himself that he would go ahead and speak what was in his mind when he reached 100 only to start counting afresh again. He could feel his stomach heave and turn. He knew he had to tell them, he knew it was better that they hear it from him rather than hear it from a stranger. He shut his eyes for a moment, clenched his fists and abruptly stood up, startling everyone in the room. He let out a long sigh, opened his eyes and looked straight at his parents.

“Mom, Dad, I am gay”

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Kenyan ISPs and False Advertising

I am a man at crossroads. I have been looking for the perfect internet service that will end all my troubles once and for all. I have done research, collected feedback from friends and strangers and I am still yet to decide which ISP to go with…the indecisiveness is not because I am spoilt for choice but rather all the choices are underwhelming and bordering close to fraud for selling the opposite of what they promise.

I have never used Zuku but judging from the complaints I see online everyday I have classified Zuku as leprosy. I wouldn’t touch it even with a one foot stick. I would have liked to go with Safaricom Home Internet but there is one insurmountable hitch, by some miracle they are everywhere except where I stay. All areas around the hood I am in have coverage but somehow my area is not in their plans…next is Airtel which honestly speaking is worse than smoke signals. I’m better off staring at a tree grow than wait for a page to load using Airtel internet.

Telkom was supposed to be a saviour when they rebranded with those vibrant colours, creative ads and dancers. But they were only good for like 1 hour before their Internet speeds followed the usual route taken by Kenyan ISPs, the toilet. Once they got more subscribers everything went to the dogs. All their energies are now focused on taking shots at Safaricom. They are crossed from the list…which brings me to the last and only hope. Faiba 4G.

I don’t have a 4G phone so I want to buy the little mifi router that has been touted as magical by those selling it. The bundles on offer are so cheap that it looks like a prank. The few people I have asked about the speeds and all have given positive feedback…but when I visited the Faiba JTL facebook page my heart sunk. I am not sure if those reviews are written by detractors and bitter people but they all sound ominously familiar. That page could easily pass off as a Zuku page because the complaint are eerily similar.

75% of the posts are about the very shitty customer care who take ages to respond and when they do respond its nothing helpful. Another common complaint is the apparent malfunctioning of the mifi router. Apparently it resets itself every time it goes off which really beats the logic of having it. It is supposed to be a convenient portable device, where is the convenience of a device that requires you to call an unresponsive customer care for resetting every time it goes off? Another big complain is the inability to keep charge, apparently the 5 hours standby time advertised is just that, an advertisement.

Another stand out complaint is a lack of an efficient method of purchasing bundles. You can either do it via Mpesa or via Equity…transactions that are charged a fee which you the buyer foots. I have seen people complain about how they are charged 33 shillings to purchase bundles, I am not sure if that is true or they just don’t know how to properly do it..it doesn’t end there though, at times the bundles don’t even reflect which forces you to call the unresponsive customer care to fix all this.

And the most scary complaint is about the routers themselves. I saw a couple of people all crying about how the device worked without a hitch the first 1-2 weeks before it started mulfunctioning. A call to customer care and they get told vague things like ‘update the firmware’ or take it to the nearest shop for an upgrade of some sort, a process that takes weeks.

So here I am looking at all these problems with a very heavy heart. Do these ISPs ever think things through or are they just after money? Is providing the service you advertise so damn hard or are these complaints only coming from areas with bad coverage? And if that is the case why do you sell that notion that you have adequately covered all these parts?

I am now at a crossroad. I need Internet badly because I work online and I am required to always be connected to the internet and now I don’t know what to get because the last thing I want is to spend 2 days every week calling customer care for something I have paid for or have to take a back a device that has no return policy on it to be checked for a problem that should have been addressed before roll-out.

LA CASA DE PAPEL – The Review

Where to begin? I should perhaps start by saying that this post will be full of spoilers so if you have not watched LA CASA DE PAPEL do yourself the selfless act of kindness of looking away. Now, where do I begin? I am a hard man to please, or so I have been telling myself just to feel important, but honestly I am hard to impress and nowhere does that trait rear its ugly head than when it comes to series. I always look for something bad in a series, the loopholes in the storyline then use that to write the whole production off, but that changed when LA CASA DE PAPEL fell into my hands, as I write this I just finished watching all the 22 episodes last night after a two day marathon and my hands are still shaking from the excitement.

LA CASA DE PAPEL is not special and that is the first interesting thing about it, it follows a well beaten path of movies and TV shows based on bank robberies and heists, it has the usual fool proof master plan hatched by some genius behind the scene, it has the usual standoff between the police and the robbers, it has the usual hostage situations, it has the usual movie bloopers where snipers shoot at a leading character but still miss and the entire thing is shot inside of that money factory…at first glance you will be forgiven to write it off for another version of HOSTAGES or THE INSIDE MAN or THE ITALIAN JOB, but then some few minutes in you realise you are dealing with the same familiar beast that is not really that familiar. Right from the moment the beautiful Tokyo popped up on the screen the action had already taken off, I had no choice but to stare at the scene without blinking because boy oh boy, this thing is fast.

I experienced all types of emotions while watching LA CASA DE PAPEL, Tokyo turned me on with her recklessness, her sexy body and the dangerous aura that surrounded her, I have never seen a character so good at being so bad. Rio annoyed the hell out of me with his adolescent immaturity and ignorance of how the world works, but again those same traits endeared him to me all through, I don’t know the number of times I wanted him dead only to forgive him the next second. Berlin had me rooting for him from the very first second, winning me over with his calm coldness and that ever present cynic smile he carried around even when looking down the barrel of a gun. Denver had me smiling every time he dropped his beautiful laughter, he had me pissed off by how easy he was to manipulate. Moscow with his maturity, wisdom and the love of a father was a breath of fresh air in a world of suffocating violence, heart-stopping mistakes and ill-advised decisions. Helsinki and his mute brother Oslo, the muscle men of the group with the softest hearts and childlike innocence. Then there was Nairobi, the bundle of energy and fun, so beautiful and so caring, so serious and so carefree at the same time, she was the matron of the group no doubt…then came the El Professor, the frail looking honest man with Karate and Kung Fu skills and a brain that could rival Einstein, a romantic heart that could easily put Romeo to shame. His meticulousness to detail and planning had me on the edge of my seat (I was sitting on the floor actually, my sofa hurts my back), the whole series was playing out from the palm of his hands…this ragtag group of 9 odd people hijacked my heart completely, never before have I ever rooted for robbers to succeed the way I did for these people…and it doesn’t end there

There was the beautiful Inspector Raquel Muliro (Yes, I said Muliro), her relentless pursuit of the robbers kept clashing with her human need to save all those hostages at all costs. Her marital problems at home kept spilling into her work and her emotional fragility made her fall for the one man she wasn’t supposed to. I sat through the whole series hoping she fails and hoping she succeeds at the same time. Then there was Angel, the nosy policeman who let his emotions get the better of him and nearly ruined the whole heist, I literally slid on my knees in celebration when his car crushed…I apologised to the heavens later. Signor Prieto with his ugly scowl of a face. The beautiful Monica Gaztambide and her Stockholm syndrome. The little Alison Parker and her very cute face. The very very VERY annoying Arturo Roman, no one has ever annoyed me this way since Denzel Washington made me punch the screen in Training Day.

LA CASA DE PAPEL is a masterpiece, it has it all, love, hate, violence, sex, danger, it has life lessons and some great quotes courtesy of the wise Moscow….and it has pain, some of the deaths had me fighting tears all through…As you watch it you know exactly what is going to happen next but you still watch it to see how it will happen…and that ending, that was the most predictable beautiful ending I have ever seen. This series is an easy 10 and if you have not watched it you do not know what it is that you are missing out on.

Una mattina mi son svegliato
O bella, ciao! bella, ciao! bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
Una mattina mi son svegliato
E ho trovato l’invasor

O partigiano, portami via
O bella, ciao! bella, ciao! bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
O partigiano, portami via
Ché mi sento di morir

E se io muoio da partigiano
(E se io muoio sulla montagna)
O bella, ciao! bella, ciao! bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
E se io muoio da partigiano
(E se io muoio sulla montagna)
Tu mi devi seppellir

E seppellire lassù in montagna
(E tu mi devi seppellire)
O bella, ciao! bella, ciao! bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
E seppellire lassù in montagna
(E tu mi devi seppellire)
Sotto l’ombra di un bel fior

Tutte le genti che passeranno
(E tutti quelli che passeranno)
O bella, ciao! bella, ciao! bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
Tutte le genti che passeranno
(E tutti quelli che passeranno)
Mi diranno «Che bel fior!»
(E poi diranno «Che bel fior!»)

Of Men, Rape Apologists and Other Trash.

A story is told about a man who was robbed off his cash and personal effects at a street corner. There was no one around to help or witness the crime. So the man did what anyone in such a situation would do, he went straight to the police station to report the crime in the hopes of getting immediate assistance in recovering his belongings and to have the perpetrators of the robbery brought to book. The man walked into the police station straight to the reporting desk where there was an officer behind it. He approached him and this was the conversation that took place.

MAN: Hallo officer, I have just been robbed.

POLICE: Have you? Where is the evidence that you have been robbed?

MAN: Excuse me?

POLICE: Where is the proof that you have been robbed?

MAN: Does that matter. I have just been robbed at the street corner, they took my wallet and my phone. I need help

POLICE: How were you dressed?

MAN: I don’t understand how that has to do with this

POLICE: How were dressed. Were you dressed richly to attract those thieves? Were you showing off your new shoes, your new tie?

MAN: What? I just told you I got robbed!!

POLICE: What were you doing there in the first place? Did you walk in a manner to suggest that you wanted to be robbed? Because walking in such a place is proof that you wanted to be robbed.

MAN: Seriously???

POLICE: I mean you could be making all this up to spoil the name of the people who hang around their. We need to get their side of the story too. Maybe you are just trying to defame them.

MAN: What the hell???…………..

Now, If you were that man, how would you respond to that line of questioning? Will you be pissed or will you just walk away and let it go? Now go back to the story above and replace Man with Woman and replace Theft with Rape…what would you do in that situation if you were the victim? Common sense dictates that when someone is punched in the face you don’t ask them why they ran into the fist, you ask the one who punched them why he did that…unfortunately common sense in men is trapped somewhere between their legs, far away from the reach of reason.

A narrow mind is a great disability that ALL MEN are born with. It takes training from a young age for us to be rid of that narrow mind and still that is never enough. Rape is a crime that is committed 100% by MEN and suffered 100% by women, any other statistics that claim otherwise is just cooked figures, but somehow for some unexplained reason once a woman comes out to report rape committed by a MAN it is suddenly the MEN who become vocal lawyers and detectives out to squeeze proof from the victim.

“What were you wearing?”

“When you went to his place what did you expect?”

“Where is the proof that he raped you?”

“She is just saying that she was raped because she regrets having sex with him”

“Are you sure you didn’t want it?”

“She got drunk in a man’s house, what did she really expect?”

“He is a good guy who made a mistake”

“You are just a vindictive woman who is just out to defame an innocent person”

“I have known him for years, he is a close friend of mine. There is no way he would do such a thing”

“Why did you take so long to report it, maybe you enjoyed it”

“Why do you want to get justice all of a sudden?”

“His other girlfriends never had a problem with him, you are lying”

“You should have been more careful”

All these questions and statements from men who would break another man’s hand in 50 different places if they accidentally brushed their hand against any part of their body. Report rape? To who? To the police who will ask you if you enjoyed it and ask for a bribe for them to lift a finger or to the world whose first question will be “What were you wearing?”

No one ever questions the rapist. The burden of proof is shoved squarely on the rape victim who is now forced to relive the whole experience and fight against a world that is conditioned to interrogate the victim, not the rapist. The only thing a rapist is ever asked to do is to give HIS SIDE OF THE STORY which is a rough translation for DENY DENY DENY, then they just sit back and watch the poor victim try her all to shoulder that heavy burden of proof. And when the dust settles down the rapist will just play the victim card using that popular Rapist line “People are just out to spoil my name, she is trying to settle old scores. I rejected her once, this is her payback….and the matter gets closed.

You see this is why we men are called trash, its because we are the ones that rape the women, destroy them psychologically while at it and when they dare say something about it we rally the world against them and flip the script so bad that they just lose all the energy and decide to shut themselves in. I mean who would believe a woman?

Men are so stupid that they don’t ever see themselves as a danger to women. Just because you open the door for your lady or you kiss you daughter every night or you send money to your mother DOES NOT MAKE YOU A SAFE PERSON, in fact if you think treating the women in your life nicely is the threshold for certifying yourself a Safe Person then you are the worst category of trash, the trash below the trash.

All MEN are a danger to Women, yes we are, the only time a woman should feel safe when near a man is when that man is a cold corpse 6 feet below the ground, and if we really had those ‘superior’ brains that we so much love to pride our gender with we would put ourselves in women’s shoes and try for once to get the full picture of what women have to put up with. Maybe then we would understand the tension a woman feels when she has to walk past a group of men who either start catcalling her against her consent or who just suddenly go silent as she passes by as though they are planning something sinister. Maybe then we would understand how women feel when they have to check what they wear lest they excite some turd who thinks he is God’s gift to women and sees anything that is above the knee as an invitation for sex…it really beats logic, someone takes the courageous step to speak out of sexual abuse and the first thing that we do is to give the benefit of the doubt to the one responsible EVEN BEFORE THEIR NAME GETS MENTIONED!! You think it’s just women that get raped? You really think you are safe from your fellow men? You think rapists go for women only?

As for the women who take sides with rape apologists, I am not going to speculate about how your brains work or what inspires such line of reasoning but I will tell you this, don’t wait till the day tragedy hits home for you to wake up. In your head you might think you are the next big thing after diamonds but know this, those people you are defending don’t see you that way, they will Hi5 you and massage your ego with Retweets and comments like “If we had 10 women who think like you the world would be a better place”, baby girl, you are just another piece of meat in their crosshairs, in fact you are in a bigger danger than others because you are standing alone among them, not with them. Stand with your fellow women no matter what because they are literally all you have got.

As for us, the trash. We need to accept that we are trash, no exceptions (Not that there is anyway). Once we accept that and acknowledge the danger that pose to women then we can be able to to keep ourselves and our fellow trash in check. Imagine a world where trash keeps an eye on other trash, we would be so busy keeping each other in check that women will have the space, the freedom and a safe place to really live.

Be a better trash fellas.

True Love Don’t Exist

Ignore the title to this post, True Love does exist, what doesn’t exist however are the probabilities of stumbling on that true love. Why? Because those probabilities are governed by things beyond our control…at least for most of the time. Let’s explore a hypothetical case.

What are the chances of a doctor marrying a fellow doctor? Or a teacher hooking up with a fellow teacher? Very high, because they interact with each other on a daily basis at the workplace whether they like it or not. Out of this daily interactions some romantic sparks may start flying around and a relationship may be born out of it but let’s take a step back and look at this. Are the two together because of true love or because they keep existing in the same space?

What if their true love is somewhere in the Afghan desert making bombs and shouting God Is Great? What if their true love is a rainforest pygmy living in Equatorial Guinea? You see they would never know because they would never meet to find this out. I believe that 9 times out of 10 humans settle for what is available and not what they are supposed to have. We see as far as our eyes can and not beyond and grab things that are only within our arms reach…and it’s not our fault.

When they say True Love is hard to find they are not being metaphorical, True Love is hard to find. Imagine the resources you would have to expend to scourge the globe for that one person that was made specifically for you.

Would you risk it all to go be with the love of your life who might be a Tamil Kaur from the overcrowded streets of Mumbai or would you rather save that air ticket money and settle down with Protus Githinji from Dondori?

Would you wait it out and grow to a risky age of 35 so that the love of your life can hit 18 so you can legally be with them or would you rather settle down with that washed up age mate living within your vicinity?

True Love does exist but it happens to a very few of us. The lucky ones, as for the rest of us, those people you are with right now, the ones you keep lying to yourself that you can’t live without, well newsflash. They are just what was available and that little dance your heart does when you see them that’s just your brain conditioning your body to accept what you have, to dull itself from searching for that one true love that’s wilting out there somewhere…..

The Melanin Question

Not so long ago the African world (including the African Americans) were captured in a new standard of beauty, light skinned Africans became the truth, the way and the life. Suddenly, overnight, the dark-toned brothers and sisters (especially sisters) got pushed down the pecking order, in fact they were expelled altogether from the order itself. The butterfly effect was instant. Movies, music videos, TV shows, they all started using light skinned black people for everything. Social media became awash with an almost zealous-religious worship of the fair skinned Africans, it was like they were oozing yoghurt and honey.

For the sidelined dark sisters many succumbed to the pressure of living up to the standards, they invested their resources and energy to dispel all traces of that black blemish called melanin. This bleaching trend gripped the whole black world in a chocking hold, men, women, young girls jostled to get their hands on any bleaching agent just to be part of the new African race, the light skinned race, the money race, the chosen race.

A stroll in the streets of Nairobi would reveal a lot. Women with yellow-almost-orange faces and black hands became a common sight, they would walk elegantly, head held high with the self confidence of a pornstar well aware of the stares thrown their way. This was their Holy Grail, their Canaan. They were now the chosen race…and then without warning the whole facade came tumbling down

Like a compass needle swinging around in search of the North the world suddenly took another 360° turn and exalted the dark skin. It all started (I believe) when a certain young lady of Kenyan descent started making headlines in Hollywood. When 12 Years A Slave dropped and brought Lupita Nyong’o to the limelight the light skinned table was shaken to its core foundations. Suddenly, overnight, articles started coming out about how natural and beautiful Lupita was. The same articles that a few years earlier had kicked the dark ones from anything that resembled a pecking order. Suddenly music videos started showing dark people, musicians started making songs about dark people. The world was now being swept in a dark skinned wave. Suddenly melanin was for Emperors and Queens. By the time Black Panther dropped the light skinned Africans had had enough. It was now war.

They started using words that oppressed minorities usually use, words like justice, fairness, representation…you know. Suddenly it became an issue that they were not appearing in shows as much, that they were no songs talking about them as much, that there was no single light skinned person in the whole Black Panther cast. They (yes, they) couldn’t just understand how people, the world would chose to bow down to someone so dark like Lupita when they (yes, they) had it all, beauty, brains and freckles…they may never understand this because to the light skinned they based their superiority and beauty on the scales of comparison, on the scales of “I’m better than you”, comparisons against their darker brothers and sisters, comparison that is based on the age old ‘White >> Black”…What they need to understand however is that dark skinned blacks are not competing with them, our (yes, our) beauty is based on self-acceptance, we knew and still know what the world thinks of us but we still love ourselves…and we are just happy that the same world is finally seeing us through our own eyes…finally.

Shine on Lupita. Shine on Queen.

THE NOVICE

“I am not a hooker, just so we are clear”

“I did not say that you were”

“Then why are you looking at me that way?”

“I am sorry if I have offended you”

“Great, an apology, just what I needed”

Cindy took a long draught of the cigarette she was holding and slowly exhaled the smoke out, staring at it as it slowly diffused into the air. She had one leg crossed over the other, her short orange dress pulled far back, revealing her ample thighs. She was lost in her own world, at the age of 26 life had not turned out the way she had expected, she couldn’t even remember how and when she started smoking

“So is this your first time?”

“Pardon?”

“I was wondering if this was your first time, you know, doing this”

This was Caleb. A 28 year old accountant. The two had met on craiglist a few days earlier. He was tall with average looks, a bit shy for someone his age but he had somehow mustered enough courage for this meet. They were in a hotel room that had minimal furniture, just a bed on one side. They were both seated on it, a huge gulf between them.

“No, this is not my first time”, She replied without looking at him,still focused on her cigarette that was now reduced to nothing more than a stub

“This is my first time, I’m a little bit nervous”

“Yeah, I can see that…so are we doing this or are we going to keep on sitting here and do small talk all day?”

“I guess we could do it”

“Did you carry condoms?”

Caleb fumbles in his pockets for a second and fishes out a pack of condoms, they fall to the floor in the process

“Sorry…Yes I have them”

“Okay then, let’s get down to business”

Cindy throws the now tiny stub onto the floor. she stands up and starts to undress. She writhes out of her dress easily and within a second she is stark naked, nothing underneath. Caleb catches her through the corner of his eye, too scared to turn around and fully look at her

“Dude, what are you waiting for? Take off your clothes”

He turns around and faces the other way, slowly he unbuckles his belt and the trouser falls to the ground. He is wearing checked boxers. He throws a quick uncomfortable look at Cindy before turning to his shirt. Without warning Cindy walks over to him and slides his hands into his briefs from behind. Caleb gasps for air

“What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I am doing, you are taking too long. We do not have the whole day you know”

She spins the now tensed Caleb around and pushes him to the bed. He crushes into it with his back and before he could react Cindy is on top of him, her hands back in his briefs. He closes his eyes in embarrassment. This has never happened to him before.

“Wow, not bad”, She said as she slowly pulled it out.

“May I?”, she asked

“May you wha…..OOOOOOOOH MY GOD!!!”

Before the words let his lips Cindy had shoved all of it into her warm mouth until it disappeared. Caleb held onto the bed for dear life, he could feel his soul being sucked out of his body, it was like he was in a whole new world, a new dimension. He opened his eyes and looked down, his eyes locked with hers, he was mesmerized by her stare, he bit his lower lip and hung on to dear life. This was far more than he had anticipated.