The challenge here is to: Write a story where the character is in the kitchen and expecting guest(s). Show through his/her gestures that he/she is going through a lot of crap in his/her life.
Grubby nails trail along a page in a recipe book, add 150cl of water into a pot. Gbenga sticks his hand into the cupboard over his head and rummages around for a measuring cup but comes up short. He’s knees creak as he drops unto the cracked linoleum floor. The light from the naked 60 watt bulb did not reach the under of the sink, lined with empty bottles. He squints trying to make out the contoured body of a coke bottle. He reaches for the nearest cobwebby one and groans upright.
“150cl in a pot”, he mumbles and stares at the stack of dirty plates flowing over his kitchen sink. He pries a moldy pot from it depths, washes the pot and places it on the burner.
He tears off a paper kitchen napkin and pats his oil smudged overalls for a pen. He divides 150 by 35 and figures it is 4.2857143.
He fills the pot with 4, 35cl coke bottles of water.
“Less .2857143cl,” he mutters and places the coke bottle aside. He glances at his wrist watch 5:36pm. 1 hour 9 minutes before Gina arrives.
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I was a child, maybe six years old and I was standing in front of a door, listening in. My parents were arguing. She was tearful but defiant; he was cold, mocking condescending. These were not words I had any knowledge of at that age, but I knew that this was an unfair fight, that my mother was losing badly even though she didn’t deserve to be. Inside me a whole dark planet of despair was forming, with other celestial bodies like shame and regret circulating around it. I wanted to run away and scrub my memory clean of what I had already heard but I was rooted to the spot. They were talking about us, about Sadiq and me. He was insinuating terrible things about my mother, and his reasons for marrying her in the first place, and wondering about my paternity. She was weak with shock, the outrage of it, the audacity of his accusations, which he never really made but were like sabre shaped shadows slicing away at her decency. Still I stood there.
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This is sort of the start/teaser for something longer I’m working on.
Let me know what you think, questions, comments, even suggestions on the general direction you think it should go and what you would like to see explored.
Every so often a young girl disappears.
It has happened enough times that the people who live around here know it to be a pattern. But that hasn’t stopped them from living their lives. And it hasn’t stopped us from continuing what we do.
We pace ourselves, careful not to strike too frequently from the same place. Careful not to pick too often from the local populace. Careful not to stir the people up enough to act. Nigerians have typically been lethargic, rural Nigerians even more so. Things like this typically get attributed to supernatural forces. But I know better. We know better. We get paid well to do this. Read the rest of this entry