ninetydaystogettingpublished's Blog

A gal with a lot of cool stories. Needs to get published. Like yesterday.

Month: June, 2012

The Nanny

Are you seeing a theme here? Because I sure am – most of my short stories revolve around women, and I get a kick now with labeling them as, ‘the such and such’! I’m working on ‘the widow’ and ‘the lover’ next – soooo excited that at last the theme of my short story collection is taking shape. Why should you buy it if you can get it all for free here? Easy, you don’t get it all for free. You get excerpts, and I will have at least ten to fifteen new stories in the book. Besides, don’t you want to know what stories do eventually make it in the book? What I edited out or added in? How will the new stories compare? Also, if you let me know you’re a reader of this blog, you’ll get an autographed plate for your book or an autographed discounted copy – if you order directly from me. Details are fuzzy right now. But remember 90 days equals a lot of good stories and maybe only a third of those will make it on here. I know, plug, baby, plug.

She sat in the large foyer, nervous, in the exact same spot the unsmiling housekeeper had shown her to moments before. She trembled
slightly, but not from the cold -getting the job just meant too much to her was all. It would mean heat in the winter, and food on the table, and the comforts that she could only dream of back home in mexico. Oh Dios, mio. how she wanted-no needed this job! She glanced down at her outfit, a black and white patterned dress with dark stockings, half obscured by the plain cloth black coat and matching
scarf that she always wore around her neck. Dress to impress, the lady
from the agency had said. Well, this was about as impressive as it got
for her. The lady with the large glasses from the agency had also told her frankly, but not unkindly, that this was the last interview they would send her on, as she was proving ‘rather difficult to place’. She stroked her throat, unconsciously fingering her scar as she often did when she was nervous. And nervous she was.
Mrs. Broadwater, walked in, tall, blonde and impeccably groomed in that Manhattan, rich kind of way. “Grisela, is it? Did I say it right, Gree-seh-lah?” She talked a mile a minute, almost like she was the nervous one, this reasurred Grisela and she relaxed a bit. “Si Senora.”
Mrs Broadwater or Kath, as she insisted that Grisela refer to her as,
led her into what looked like the formal living room, full of over-stuffed sofas and paintings, mostly of young children and cockerspaniels. “This is a beautiful house, Senora.” Kath waved a hand
at her in that nervous impatient way she had, brushing aside her compliment and motioning for her to
sit all at the same time. “It’s Kath, please.” She pointed to the canvases on the wall. “I painted most of these – you like?” She flashed her eager smile again.
“Cliff- my husband,” again that slight wave, ” calls it my stress
outlet, but I’ll tell you a little secret, I just love to do it, stressed or not. Sssshh, that stays between us, okay?.” She smiled at Grisela, delighted, as if
they had just shared some delicious naughty secret. “They are beautiful.” Grisela hesistated, she could not bring herself to call her Kath, so she fell silent again. Kath smiled again, not just a mere flash this time, exposing her impossibly perfect veneers. “I knew I liked you for a reason.” She played with a cigarrette absent mindedly. “Can
never find any f***ng ashtrays in this place. Cliff wants me to give
up smoking so he hides them, and Aida,” she glanced over her shoulder
lowering her voice as if afraid of being overheard. ‘Aida- she’s on his side, you know. Me against them. So, another secret. This house has more secrets than the f***king CIA, you know?” Her tone was matter of fact, but she grinned, self-deprecating, “Sure you still want to work for us, Grisela?”
Grisela stared at her and nodded slowly. She reached into her bag abd
pulled out an empty plastic bottle. It said Hi-C orange juice on the
worn label. “Ashtray?” She handed it to Kath. Another genuine mega watt smile. “You my dear, are a wonder.” Kath enveloped Grisela in a hug, leaving her smelling faintly of rosewater and cigarettes.”What can I say Grisela, you’ve got the job!” Again, a flash of the veneers, “Cliff will probably have a fit,
but who cares, huh?”
Grisela swallowed, barely comprehending, “Si…gracias…” She
reverted to her native tongue in her confusion. Kath was barely
listening, flushed and enthused by her own impulsiveness. “Ofcourse you’ll have to stay and meet Kimmie – she gets back from school in about half an hour. She will adore you, I’m sure
of it. And it will be nice to have her speaking spanish again…” She
clasped her hand over her mouth. “Oh my gosh, let me take your coat- I
know, a mere thirty minutes later.” She made a moue at her lack of
hostessing skills and tugged at Grisela’s coat. Grisela watched
immobile as the loosely knotted scarf came undone leaving her scar
exposed, a crude thick line accross her throat. “Oh…” Kath’s mouth
was a perfect circle as she searched for the appropraite words. They
never came. Grisela spoke softly, but rapidly, tears rolling down her
face. “He said he would kill me, but I never believed him. My husband,
he…” snuffling she accepted the handkerchief that was wordlessly
offered. “…he was drunk and angry, like a mad bull- he chased them
down with a knife, I begged him not to do it… but he killed our children,” she sank to her knees in anguish, words muffled by the hands that covered her face. “Then I cut my throat.” Kath gasped at the stark finality of her words. Grisela smiled bitterly,”Si. I had
nothing to live for…my son…” Her voice broke as Kath sank to the
floor cradling her in her arms.
“Shhhh…it’s okay Grisela. You’re safe now, he can never touch you
here. I’ll send for your things so you don’t ever have to go back. No,
I insist.” She was firm and in charge now, reaching for the telephone.
Grisela watched her from the floor where she still lay, crumpled in a
heap. She crossed herself twice rapidly, hidden by the mass of curly
hair that now hung over her face like a dark web. The lie had been a
big but necessary one. She knew from experience that few people if any
actually believed that such a hideous looking scar was nothing more
than a birthmark. They prefered to think that she was a former gang
member or worse. Her Mother used to say that sometimes a lie was more palatable than the truth and she had been right, as always. She glanced around the room with its paintings and expensive furniture and smiled inwardly.
She was going to love it here.


The beggar (or charity)

This was my first or second writing assignment- and i think it shows in my writing, which seems a little stilted and green. These were the instructions:
(ps- an obsession didn’t quite come to mind, so I did the ‘writerly’ thing and embellished. A lot. πŸ™‚ )

Our personal obsessions can be responsible for
producing the strongest
writerly material in us. Think about an event in your life, one in the
past ten years, that continues to haunt you though it’s safely distant
in the past. Or–if you prefer–think of a “cheerier” kind of
obsession, your love for your child, perhaps. Create an entire scene
based on this obsession, using dialogue, if you wish, and external
details (don’t stay “trapped in your head” but actively try to render
the physical world of the event). Try to keep your exercise at 750
words or fewer.

She would not take my money. I to this day, cannot fathom why it
bothered me as much as it did. True, it was slightly embarrassing, but
hardly the end of the world, as I have told myself over and over again. I will forever associate this encounter with the work of one prominent author I once read, – titled I think, “The Beggars Strike” – the picture on the cover was of a hand stretched, palm facing downwards, over a beggar’s bowl. It had always seemed somber and
chilling to me- why would a beggar refuse money, their very raison d’Γͺtre for getting up in the morning?

I had seen her on several occasions in the winter, huddled on the
other side of the street, in the covered alley, seeking refuge from the
elements. She stood out from the rest of the ‘street people’ with her
floor length fur coat and boatload of makeup, mostly red, so it looked
as if she had stumbled upon a red crayon and scribbled on her face, or
maybe fallen face forward into a bucket of red paint. I remember a guy
turning to me one morning and remarking amusedly, “Well, isn’t that
something… begging for money and has the nerve to wear fur…
probably has a house in the suburbs and an SUV… I tell you, these
people, frauds every last one of them…” I didn’t smile because for
some reason I found his familiar approach a little annoying- he seemed
to assume that I would share his views on pan-handlers. It was
hypocritical of me, of course, as I was thinking the exact same thing;
my ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude came solely from the fact that I was
not forthright enough to voice my opinion out loud.

I grew bolder as the summer wore on, walking at an increasingly
leisurely pace past her, making brief eye contact and gaining
proximity. Why did I feel the need to work up courage to approach her and give her my money? I wish i could figure that one out. I did truly feel, (even though there was absolutely no
basis for this) like she was in a funny kind of way, my secret friend, and we were privy to an inside joke that the rest of the world was excluded from. She was leaning by her usual bus stop post clad in old nurses’ scrubs, sans requisite fur coat. Her lips were bright red as usual, but she had neglected to use her blush, or should I say rouge. I lingered around the general vicinity, pretending to be talking on my cell phone, while
observing her through the corner of my eye. She looked like she might have come from money, or at least dallied with it, I thought. One could almost imagine her seated in some
chauffeur driven luxury car, fur coat thrown carelessly on the seat
next to her, puffing away on a cigarette with an elegant cigarette
holder. For some reason, cigarette holders (circa 1800, I know) have always been the emblem
of the absurdly rich and proper for me. While not pretty, you could
tell that her face had been one that you would look at, at least once,
but age and hard street life had taken its toll, so she looked almost
blurred – like a smudged painting of a work titled maybe ‘The rich
man’s wife’ or something along those lines. “Can you spare a quarter,
Sir?” I turned around, startled. It occurred to me that I had never
heard her speak. In my head, I just knew that her voice would be
throaty and rich, as if from smoking too many cigarettes and hosting
the late night soirees that undoubtedly would have come with her
status. Instead it was high pitched, nasal and I reluctantly conceded,
annoying. She sounded like she was doing a bad imitation of some
character β€” maybe Eliza Dolittle in ‘My fair lady’ minus the cockney
accent. Feeling disappointed and strangely sad β€” like she had somehow
let me down by not sounding like I felt she would sound, I ventured
close to her, fumbling in my wallet for a five dollar bill. As I walked towards her I noticed she had turned away from me and was looking in the other direction. Determined, I turned around to face
her, “Here you go…” I said cheerily, smiling and gesturing towards
her cup. Her eyes- they were hazel- held mine for a second and I saw
scorn, or was it disgust, and she slowly, deliberately put her palm
over her cup and turned away. Stunned, I skulked away on wooden legs, praying that no one had seen me get rebuffed, (again, why did I care? ) I
could have sworn I heard her say, or maybe it was in my head, “I said
a quarter, Bitch…”

So much for good deeds, huh?

The fiancΓ©e

My fate was pretty much sealed on the first day we met. As I observed
her through the side view mirror of Derek’s car, something about her
stance, the way her head was cocked, (judgmentally, I thought), should
have forewarned me that I was forever doomed to be categorized as the
‘tiresome daughter-in-law’, to be tolerated at best. I had dressed
carefully for the occasion, in my sedate polka dot dress β€” small polka
dots, so as not to appear tacky β€” accessorized with a thin red belt.
“You’ll love my mother, she’s such a fashionista, just like you.” Derek had said eyes twinkling. So, dress to impress, I had surmised,
grateful for some cue on what to expect from ‘Derek’s Mother’. Ever
since I had teased him about ‘overcompensating’ because I was
‘African’ and ‘hardly the kind of girl that he was expected to bring home to Mother,’ he had become deliberately nonchalant about his mother’s preferences and what not, and had refused to offer even the tiniest tidbit to prepare me for meeting his mother. “Nothing to prepare for, darling – you are perfect!” I loved him so much- he was so earnest and so obviously trying (a little too hard in my opinion) not
to appear to ‘compensate’. It was endearing yet quite irritating as it
left me in the dark about the ‘little unimportant details’ which we women know always turn out to be oh-so-important. Like the fiasco with the flowers β€” I found out later that she thought all flowers were tacky and belonged at funerals, except for white lilies and the occasional orchid. Of course. And my polka dot ‘number’ as she referred to it, was not a hit β€” on it’s own it was “quite frumpy’ and the patent leather belt
was dismissed as “trying too hard’.
She liked me even less as the tedious lunch wore on. “Your father is a
King?” a slight smile hovered around those perfectly lined and filled
in lips. I remember thinking how impossibly thin her lips looked, like
licorice, thin, pliable and red. “Well… not really, he’s more like a
titled chief you see…” My voice trailed off under her amused stare.
“So you’re not a princess then are you?” Face serious, eyes mocking.
“No, he’s more like a political appointee…”
“Good β€” cause Derek and I are just common Polish immigrants, aren’t we
Derek tried to convince me later that she was just kidding. yeah, in a very weird, passive aggressive, upperclass Caucasian way, I imagined.
“Loosen up honey,” he said kissing my bare shoulders and rubbing my
neck. It was the irony behind her words that stung. Marcia Gold who happened to be as blueblood as they came had married Derek’s father, Aaron Gold, whose grandfather had changed his last name from Regulski to the less ‘immigrant sounding’ Gold and had proceeded to make a fortune in the hotel business. The darned woman’s forebears had probably come over on The Mayflower and she dared insinuate that I, the real immigrant here, thankyouverymuch, might be trying to put on
Though it irked me to no end, I understood to a degree why she
detested me. I was the direct antithesis of what she would consider
suitable as a wife for her precious Derek. I was so far off the mark
infact, that in the beginning I was secretly convinced that Derek was
dating me just to rebel against his upbringing. I was black β€” African
to be exact β€” neither rich nor poor β€” my boring middleclass status must have been a huge disappointment. How then could she ‘sell’ me? I was hardly the exotic refugee and certainly not the silver spoon bred princess of Zamunda. Aside from being black, I didn’t possess any traits or qualities that could potentially set me apart as a topic for some intriguing discussion at their country club.
I was , in her words (teach me to eavesdrop) ‘ a complete and utter disaster’.
“Give her a chance, honey, she’ll come around.” Derek made puppy dog
eyes at me from across the room. “She’s from a different era, my
mother is.” More like another planet, I thought to myself wryly. I was
meeting Mrs. Gold β€” it was always Mrs. Gold, by the way, never Marcie or heaven forbid-
Mom β€” at the dreaded country club, or as they referred to it ‘The Enclave’, to discuss the engagement party that she had insisted on throwing us.
“All white of course,” she spoke in a firm yet unhurried tone.
“The flowers, or…”
“…everything, naturally.” This was not a response, she had simply gone on speaking, as she was not asking a question, she was stating. I felt again chastised, as if somehow I should have known that at engagement parties everything was always white β€” naturally.
“I just felt that I could incorporate some of my heritage into the
event, with maybe more vibrant colors and maybe the dΓ©cor…” My words
sounded rushed and choked almost, resentment and emotions forming a large bubble in my throat. She glanced at me for the first time, eyebrows cocked, superior smile in place.
“What, kente cloth and ostrich feathers? Somehow I don’t see that
fitting in at the enclave…” She looked down at her notebook and
adjusted her glasses.
“So, it’s settled β€” white then…”, she continued, speed bump steam rolled over, crisis averted. I could feel the tears well up behind my contact lenses. I was thirteen again, scared yet defiant,
facing off against school bullies.
“Why don’t you like me, Marcie?” I knew it was a mistake even as the
words rolled off my tongue. I had just called her Marcie!
“Pardon me?” You can stop this before its too late, think of Derek, I counseled myself. Yet I knew I wouldn’t stop. Couldn’t.
“You’ve never liked me or my kind from the first day you met me.”
“Your kind?” her face still expressionless, “You mean…African?” Was she
mocking me again? It was hard to tell, I was emotional and she was a pro, well versed in the art of polite warfare.
“It just kills you that Derek loves me and will marry me regardless of
what you think.” The tears had started to fall, thick and heavy.
Without looking down, she handed me a crisp white handkerchief (monogrammed, of course) from
her crocodile skin purse, still studying me with a look I couldn’t
quite decipher.
“You don’t sound too sure about that.”
“I just want to be accepted for who I am.” I was blubbering now.
“Your mascara is running.”Okay, she was definitely toying with me now.
I charged on, pent up frustration finally let loose. “I know I never
will be what you want…”
“Which is?” Face still implacable, I swear the woman had chilled Perrier water running through her veins.
“A friggin’… WASP!” She actually smiled at that, a slight upturn of her lips.
“No… it is safe to say-that – you will never be.” I stopped short,
stung by the brevity of her response and matter of fact manner in
which she said it.
“I’m not your problem dear, your issue is you.” She broke off a piece
of her croissant and delicately buttered it. “You must learn to be you
inspite of me, or anyone else for that matter.” For a minute I thought
I had glimpsed some flicker of humanity under that veneer of icy
Caucasian wealth and status.
“So…white it is then.” My outburst had never happened.

Novel Excerpt

Another excerpt of my novel. This one focuses on the other sister, Mani, who lives in Nigeria, and is a single, successful career woman. The sisters share a father and the same journey of self-actualization and emotional fulfillment.

The Book of Mani
The phone rang just as she clicked ‘send’. “Great.” She muttered to herself, “What now?” as she leaned over to grab the phone and swivel over to her ‘phone spot’, a little nook with a long bay window that overlooked the lagoon.
“This is Mani.” There was no trace of any irritation in her voice, and her cryptic speech was softened by her low, smoky voice, efficient and professional, yet without being too ‘receptionist perky’.
“Of course, it’s Mani, I bloody called you, innit?” The voice on the other end was Peter’s, doing a mock cockney accent.
“Mr. Odukoya, wonderful to hear from you,” Mani said, a slight smile tugging at the corner of her lips, perfectly glossed in a becoming shade of coral.
“Yeah, it is, isn’t it? I’m a pretty wonderful fella, they tell me…”. His voice was teasing, a flirtatious phone caress- she felt herself getting warm as she crossed the room swiftly to shut the door. “How you dey?” She asked, reverting to the more familiar pidgin English.
“Like I no dey,” came his flippant reply. ” I’ve missed you, Mani,” he was serious now, the earnest Peter that she found so endearing, all traces of the privileged playboy gone. “It’s been ages…”.
She laughed out loud at that one, throwing her head back, enjoying the deliciousness of being desired by one you in turn, desired. “Yeah, I guess three days is ages in ‘Peterland’, huh? Mister ‘iwantwhatiwantwheniwantit’!” He laughed along with her. “You better believe it. Okay, so I’m hot for you, how we wan do am?”. His tone was appropriately jocular, as befitting a ‘friend’s’ husband, but it still couldn’t mask the sexual tension between them. I’m hot for you too,she thought to herself silently.
“Abeg oh – more like you’re hot for Toma oil.” She chided him in a ‘don’t go there, I’m friends with your heavily pregnant wife kinda way’. But she made sure the undertones of flirtation were not completely erased- partly because, well, that was their thing – harmless and light. Denoting it as more would make things unnecessarily awkward and truth be told, they both enjoyed their little banter. Besides, she ratherliked Peter. So sue me. She rolled her eyes at her inner moral compass.
“Well, that too. Now that you bring it up, where are we on that?” Peter was all business now, the positioning and branding of his oil servicing company, Toma oil, once again his primary focus.
Mani switched gears along with him and scooted back to her desk, fingers flying over the keys of her laptop. “You’ve got mail, Peter. I think you’ll be pleased.”
“That’s why I pay you the big bucks, Mani.” The affectionate caress in his voice was back. Mani suddenly remembered the half finished letter she was writing to her sister, Leslie.
“So, email me with your comments when you’ve had a look-see, okay? Gotta go, love.”
“I’ll call you tomorrow. Bye.” Click. She smiled at the mild irritation in his tone. He so hated being dismissed, and this was one of their another one of their little games, who would get off the phone first. Even if the person would find an excuse to call right back.
Yawning, she gave a faint sigh and shrugged her shoulders, while glancing at her slim Piaget watch in one fluid motion. Seven thirty p.m – no sense in trying to leave the island at this hour- traffic would be madness, best get back to letter writing. She gazed longingly at the laptop on her desk. It would be so much easier just to send an email, but she and Leslie had decided after a few attempts that ‘Lols’ and ‘OMGs’ just wouldn’t cut it. Just about everything got lost in translation, and absolutely nothing felt as good as getting that envelope every week or so and reading Leslie’s cursive writing, complete with the smiley faces and doodling that almost always accompanied her letters.

Dear Sister, (it had started as a joke, this ‘sister’ thing. With Mani telling Leslie how if they’d been raised in the same household she would have been calling her sister as a mark of respect, it had been a done deal for Leslie. “Sister it is.” she’d said.)
I must love you, I really must. I just cut short my conversation with the magnetic P.O to finish this letter.

There’s much, much more, but not today. So, do we like? πŸ™‚

Novel excerpt

From my novel – it’s a heart warming story about sisters living two totally different lives, on different continents, conveyed through letters back and forth between them. I’m really proud of this one and I want to get it just right- its my baby. Since I hope to publish it soon, I’ll only post excerpts in no particular order. You probably won’t be able to follow the story from the excerpts, but you can still appreciate the writing, I hope.

The Book of Leslie
Dear Mani,
It is midnightish and the husband is snoring – rhythmic paced vibrations, my very own white noise that I find oddly comforting, allowing me the mind space to zone out and read, no savor, your letter.

It was waiting for me, your letter, like a prize- half propped on top of all the other stuff- glossy magazines, junk mail, bills and what not. In this day of email, bbms, Facebook and all the rest, a letter from across the ocean is just what the doctor orders for your ‘literary -head’ sister.

Omigosh, the hubby actually checked the mail! You laugh, but usually, that, along with taking out the recycling and wiping down the toilet seats, sprayed with his pee, mind, are things beyond his comprehension. But I promised in my last letter that I would not bore you with my ‘ancient marrieds’ gripes anymore. Besides, Steve and I have reached the point where we’ve finally worked out all the kinks, the sex is regular if not always earth shattering, communication is better and we’ve learned to scrupulously avoid doing the things that drive each other crazy.

It may seem dull to some (read: You, Mani- ha!), but it is an enduring one – and we are both in it for the long haul, I truly believe this.

But enough about my dreary existence -let’s talk about you, Miss thang! It amuses me that it amuses you just how much I live vicariously through your exploits, Mani! Oh, that I could walk a mile in your Manolos (Louboutins?) – how do you afford it all? Oh, I forgot, you are a kept woman now ( smiley face). No judgements here, Mani, you know I love you. And want to be you. (smiles). I may not agree with all your choices but I envy you for the freedom with which you choose. And choose you do, sister.
Where I spent months agonizing as to whether to get my MBA or pursue my writing, you left your great paying bank job and fearlessly pursued your business venture – “buying and selling” you called it, until you got anothergreat job in advertising. And I tell you, this new gig was made for you.
I can see you now, with your three or four cell phones going off, while you are on the computer, clad in some terribly expensive, impossibly chic outfit, that is probably totally inappropriate for work, but you make it work for you, somehow. I pity the unschooled lesser mortals that try to follow suit, ha!

The Trip

Writing class, o writing class, wherefore art thou writing class? I’d forgotten about this one and I must say, I quite enjoyed retreading it after all these years.

It was early evening as they both watched the sun creep beneath the
clouds, slowly, magnified it seemed by the large airport window. Lost
in their seperate thoughts, they held hands, unified in their
reluctance to have the conversation that they knew was inevitable.
“I will miss this,” he said, stooping to drop a kiss at the top of her
head. She smiled, a slight tug of her lips, and snuggled closer to
him. Me too, she thought, but said instead “Even with those beautiful
american girls?” Her tone sounded jealous and needy even to her own
ears. She winced inwardly as she anticipated his withdrawal.
“We’ve been over this a thousand times,” He spoke in that patient, yet
condescending manner that he knew she detested. “Mugo, don’t…it came
out wrong…” She plucked at his sleeve, avoiding the anger that she
knew would be in his eyes.” I just don’t want us to be like…” She
paused, as a sob caught in her throat.
“Like your ex-boyfiend.” He had firmly and cooly removed her hand from
his sleeve, facing her squarely now. “I don’t know what to say – what
do I have to do to show you that I am not Daniel? This is why I didn’t
want to accept any money from yu – in fact here…” He tried to place
the crisp dollars in her limp hands, turning away as they fell like
leaves to the floor.
She watched him walk away, her heart breaking with every step he took.
Mugo had walked further down to the almost empty airport seating
lounge, and was staring out the window, brooding. Through the corner
of her eye, she watched him retrace his steps, trailing his hand on
the side of the window, in a childlike manner, as he walked.
She knew what he would do before he reached her. Don’t pick it up, she
pleadede silently, please don’t, let this be different, lord. She
watched him stoop to one knee, showing a flash of his navy blue socks
as he nonchalantly picked up the money that lay splayed out, fanlike
on the filthy airport carpet. She couldn’t stop the tears as he came
towards her, the sickenening dejavu seeming more tangible. What was it
about her, she had often wondered that attracted these type of men?
She was nice to look at, smart, with a good head on her shoulders, but
it semed like every man she had ever dated took advantage of whatever
she had to offer at the time, leaving her emotionally and sometimes
financially drained. Like Dan. She remembered how sick to her stomach
she had been when she found out that there had never been any
scholarship, never been any plans to return. And here she was, five
years later, doing it all over again. “look honey,” He was being
indulgent she knew, “in about an hour, I’m going to get on that plane.
Let us enjoy this time and see it as a celebration of our future and
not this..”he gestured towards her face that was still damp with
“Give it back.” She had barely spoken above a whisper, but from his
expression, she knew he heard her. “My money, I want it back.” Her
voice was firm, made louder by her confidence in her decsion, abrupt
as it was. “You said yoiu never wanted it- you love me for me, right?”
She faced him squarely, watching him as he swallowed and nodded, yet
still remaining frozen, staring at her outstretched hand. She slid his
wallet from his coat pocket and deliberately counted out the thousand
dollars she had given him, ten crisp hundred dollar notes. Her smile
was genuine this time when she saw the slackened ‘O’ that was his
mouth. “Good bye and good luck, sweetie.” She paused for emphasis,
“I’ll wait for you.” She turned and walked away from him, confident
and sure footed, out of the dreary airport and into the warm night


This is a lil teaser πŸ˜‰
The beginning and maybe end (or at least part) of a short story that I might be turning into a novel. Enjoy.

Our people say that when the sun shines and the heavens leak water, a
light persistent drizzle, simultaneously, a baby leopard somewhere has
been born. And many years ago, when the eclipse came, they said a
great man had died, he was one of the heavenly bodies, thus the sun
would not-nay, could not- in deference to the passing of so great a
man, shine its light. I often wondered but never spoke it out loud,
what happens when a great woman dies? There was no precedent of such a
foretelling as if the phrase itself were a contradiction in terms.

And that was how it came to pass, that the daughter of a fish seller,
of uncertain paternity, dined with kings from places far and wide, and
bathed with queens, fair and noble, but none as fair or as noble as

The Dance

Another writing class one. I like it because this is me trying to be the great Chinua Achebe,(a girl can dream, right?) and also I skipped 3 posts, so I’m doing my best to make good.

She shook her waist to the beat, head down, waist beads jangling in
rythm with her feet as they navigated the intricate footwork. She knew
Emenike was watching but she studiously avoided his gaze. This dance
was for Dike and she was furious that she had not yet spotted him in
the throng of people around them. Everyone was out at the village
square this afternoon, as was customary, to watch the young maidens become women. After the ceremony, when they had danced and received the ‘blessing’ from the Chief they would slip away with their chosen
‘iko’, beneath trees and behind buildings, mother’s warning unheeded,
ready to satisfy and be satisfied in a way that only the young and
eager can.

“Uzo.” Her smile faded when she saw Emenike before her with the necklace of cowrie shells, ready to put them around her neck. She could not shun him, not in fornt of his father and her parents, everyone watching. She lowered her lashes and bent her head without breaking her rhythm, hips moving faster and faster, chest heaving,
longing for Dike. Where was he? She knew that she had not
misinterpreted his feelings towards her. Especially not after yesterday when he had grabbed her on her way to the stream with the other girls. They had run off mock screaming, like silly sheep, more from pleasure that one of their own had been ‘accosted’ than anything
else. She had feigned displeasure as he had ground against her, not speaking, not needing to. She had given in momentarily to the feeling, but had pushed him away, for decorums sake. Though she had dreamed of this day, she still knew how the game was played. “Tomorrow.” He had said, eyes following her as he ran after her friends, looking over her shoulder at him.

She fixed a brilliant smile on her face as she adjusted her beads and
looked around the crowd for him once more. She would dance and he
would come.

Novel excerpt

I am writing a novel- or several novels- that’s the whole point of this blog, to help me on my way. I’ll post excerpts in random order, depending on my mood. Yes, artistic temperament in full swing here. The woman in this piece is a housewife with a yen to write (original, I know) and this is her first writing class.

I walked into class today, my stomach in knots, erupting butterflies. White button down shirt, respectably dark denim. ‘Writer’ slash nerdy glasses carefully perched on top of head, securing my artfully messy bun.

New iPad ensconced in artdecoish, pucciesque sleeve( on sale at Marshall’s, thankyouverymuch)! Aspiring writers exterior- check. Writers inner confidence, however? Double uncheck.

What am I doing here? The class is such a writing class cliche I can barely stand it. Of course, I’m contributing majorly to the situation with my perfect ‘writers ensemble’, but come on.

I look around me and I’m convinced for a second that it is all staged. A deliberate prancing of wanna-be writers. There is a girl in a pink cheongsam and (I kid you not) slippers, your standard mix of writer ‘extra’ so and so’s- people of all sexes and ethnicities with dress, turbans, holey jeans, harem pants and tunics. Every iteration of bangle, bracelet, piercing and tattoo is represented here. Wanna be writers puke-soup.

Unnerved, I am just about to plot my exit, when I hear a deep chuckle right next to me. “Scary, isn’t it?” He is easy on the eyes, this one. “I mean, that we would have anything in common with anyone here.” Coming from anyone else it would’ve seemed familiar and a tad bit arrogant, but somehow when he said it, it worked.
“I’m Alex, by the way.” his eyes crinkled nicely as he extended his hand. My belly did a little flip flop. Whoa. Easy girl. “Les.” My voice sounded like it was coming from far away.