Something new- an excerpt

This is from a novella I am currently working on. I last shared it with prose-lovers at the Sunday Salon in Kengeles-Lavington Green, Nairobi. Your feedback is most welcome.

Media house offices are always quiet and clean in the early morning. Only three of my fellow reporters had arrived; James Wairi, a tall, dark brown business reporter whose nick-name was Mrefu. Nelly, who was the Personal Assistant to my boss’ Janet. She was always here before everyone else. I recall the first time I ever spoke to her. I got to the office earlier than usual, finding her deep in prayer. I mean loud prayer. I think she had her imaginary assembly of church goers right there with her that morning.

Then there was Mikey. He was the in-house cartoonist. This guy looked so raggedy you would be forgiven for thinking he was a homeless guy brought in to tell his story. Maybe he was homeless. Or maybe his wife always kicked him out of the house before daylight. Maybe he never went home at night. He always looked haggard and hangover. No one really knew. Still, he did some amazing cartoons.

Mikey looked up from his Sketch Book. “Morning?” he waved.

“Morning Mikey!” How could he look like that on a whole Monday morning?

“Laid this weekend?” He winked.

Nelly and James looked at me questioningly.

“Laid out by the poolside,” I retorted, walking towards my desk.

James said something that sounded like ‘lucky ass!’-I didn’t really hear.

I was early today. Not because I wanted to. No! I was early because I had set my mind into discovering what I sensed would be my next big challenge. I went into the Daily Vibe archives to go through past newspaper editions with ‘juicy’ crime headlines.

The most recent I held read: ’30 women held naked in house of shame’. The one below that one read; ‘Keep off! Janet Atwal answers back estranged Nigerian husband who accused her last week of seizing Kshs. 200M worth of family property: It’s all my money, she says.’

A lot of catchy headlines were available for me to check out. I spent the next one hour in the archives, deeply engrossed in all that drama. The words taking me to places I thought only existed in the movies.

I looked at my watch, it was ten past nine. I needed to head back to my desk, and then see my boss Janet about my stories for the day.

She was on the phone when I walked into her office. She motioned me in. Janet was in a good mood today. First, unlike most Mondays’, she wasn’t wearing a red or pink shirt. Whenever she wore a red or pink shirt, we’d always know there was going to be trouble. Presently, she was wearing a dark blue trouser suit, light blue shirt and a stripped tie.

“Morning? Did you think about what I told you?” She posed, even before I had responded to her good morning greeting.

“Yes! I’ve been going through past editions and I …” She cut me off. She rose from her seat and walked over to the grey metal cabinet she always locked. Janet opened one of the shelves, searched through them and produced a small green file marked ‘MONKEYS‘.

She asked me to go through the documents in ten minutes then come back and see her.

“Listen, about Friday….”

“Tell me about Friday when you go through those articles.” She took her seat behind her desk.

I practically ran back to my desk. The first part of the file had articles about national crimes. The second part, separated by a luminous manila paper, held articles with her by-lines. Fifteen minutes later, I was back at her office.

“What do the articles have in common?” She asked. She did not even look up to face me.

“The inverted pyramid.” I tried. All news stories had this.

“What about the crimes?”

“Organized?,” I responded. Half question half answer.

“That’s the kind of stuff I want you to follow. Do you think you have the guts to follow the leads to the very end?” Janet was now looking at me straight in the eye.

I wanted to try something new and challenging, I just wasn’t sure this was it.

“Yes! I can”. Mama always said that I should never say the ‘I can’t’ words.

“Now tell me about Friday…” Her tone changed, more casual now.

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One Response to “Something new- an excerpt”

  1. Clement Waweru Says:

    Hi Stranger,

    I’ll be waiting to read the complete version of this here one…it crisply reads along the lines of William Finnegan’s ‘Dateline Soweto’.

    My best regards.

    Like

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