Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012 Training day 114: 15K

Legs totally fucked up. But fucked up in a beautiful way.
May_____wk1 22+17+15+14+16+12=96Kms (Arusha-nursing PF and ITBL)
________wk2 21+13+10+13=57Kms (ITBL almost healed, tight PF and some shin pains)
________wk3 22+18+10+14=64Kms (rain messed me up. nursing ITBL & PF - break into new shoes)
________wk4 21(1:53)+21(1:43:49)+8+10=60Kms (stomach cramps) ITBL finally gone. PF persists.
________wk5 23+20+18+21+15=97Kms (PF getting better)

Death in a Mat Part V

I woke up in stages. At first, I became aware of the distant sounds of activity; an occasional hoot of a distant car’s horns, a clanging, a barking dog and the sound of a gust of wind. Then I felt my left leg and my bruised face then my eyes. I tried to move my tongue in my mouth and it felt like it was made of sawdust: dry and tasteless. My left eye slid open as the eyelids pushed back dry blood clots that had held it shut. The other one felt like a shadow was blocking its view. A white ceiling and a single light bulb were above me. I tried to raise my head and, suddenly like an electric current, a never-recorded pain shot from my right shoulder and ripped across my entire being and stopped with a jolt on my right knee which felt like a hammer had been dropped on it with tremendous force. I clenched my teeth and bit the scream from rushing out of my open mouth that had been flung open by the bolt of pain. My lips quivered with exertion and I took short quick gasps and beads of sweat gathered like troops on my forehead. Pain pulsated in my shoulder rhythmically like heartbeats of pain. My face was sore all over, as if it had several small razor cuts. I was now fully awake. Frozen in a pain that wrapped me like a cloak.
A part of me felt disconnected from my body, afraid of being swallowed by the pain and a part of me was one with the pain. This part of me observed and remained detached. I was lying torn apart on my back in a bed at the centre of a room of about twenty feet and the bed occupied almost the entire room. My right leg felt heavy but I could wriggle my toes. I was covered in a faded blue duvet cover up to my chest. My upper body was bare and I felt naked beneath the sheets. This alarmed me and I moved my arm to confirm but something stopped me from moving my arms for a few inches. I tugged both hands twice and felt cold hard bracelets. Then it dawned one me: I was handcuffed on the bed! Alarm bells went wild in my head and I looked around frantically. I sat up slowly propping myself up on my left elbow, teeth clenched to withstand the throbbing pain from my right shoulder. Then I saw him.
There was a man dressed in police uniform at the door. His presence caught me by surprise and I felt a shiver run down my spine at his ghostly presence. Why hadn’t I seen him before? Then I realized my right eye was still swollen shut and that swelling cast a shadow that limited my range of vision. He stood still and was silently looking right at me, his right hand gripping an AK 47 rifle slung over his shoulder. His eyes were expressionless, as if he were looking at paint on a wall. He was about six feet and was about thirty, eyes red and of dark chocolate-coloured skin. He was well built and looked like someone recently from the police academy. As if bored to death of looking at me, he shrugged his shoulder, shifted his gun and looked at the opposite wall, as if I had interrupted him from important thoughts. He didn’t shift his weight from one leg to the other. His legs were like tree trunks planted on the ground.
I could feel the hard casing of a cast on my right knee and the rigidity with which it immobilized that knee. My shoulder was heavily bandaged and I could feel a dull pain at the base of my skull. Then the memory of what took place flooded my senses. I had been shot. I must have got a concussion when the bullet threw me back and I hit the back of my head on something. I could now vaguely recall being in and out of the world of pain as several hands lifted me from a crushing world of chaos and screams, ambulance sirens blaring and nurses telling me to be still as they stemmed the bleeding. I remembered my right knee ripping my entire being with pain and flooding my mind with agony I could not bear. I recalled the needles and the smell of anaesthesia, the dull pain as the probing cold scissors and bullet extractor as metal objects invaded the cavity in my shoulder to retrieve another piece of metal, like robots rescuing one of their own from a body of flesh that has swallowed it. I recalled the dull pressure on my oh-so-painful shoulder as they struggled to stem the blood flow and my senses shutting down as the sedatives hit home and plunged me into sweet and merciful darkness.
I remembered and the thought of her jolted me. Where was she? Was she alive? What had they done to her? Where were my clothes? Where were my shoes? Where is my phone? Why was I handcuffed like a common criminal? Which hospital was I in? My mind raced but I tried to stay collected. I kept my eyes only slightly open to avoid the policeman seeing the thoughts torturing me. I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I needed to think. I looked at the bed sheets for any emblem or initial that would give me clues about what hospital I was in but could see none. I could not see any light coming in from outside through the window. What time was it? How long had I been out? I asked myself as I slowly surveyed the room. There was no bedside locker, no cups or plates; just the bed, a naked me under sheets, a light bulb and the policeman. Maybe this was not a hospital! I was probably being held in an unknown location. Why? The only reason they still had me alive must have been because they wanted to ensure I incriminated myself before they released me, or if I refused to cooperate, to ensure they could eliminate me and say I died of gunshot wounds. Or kill me then simply throw my body on a highway, have some vehicles create mince meat from my corpse, and have my pulp dumped at the city mortuary. Had they found out the real reason why I had chosen to become a policeman? That I was handcuffed made me feel helpless but helplessness is not a useful emotion so I quashed it. I had to get out of here or die!
I slowly sized up the policeman guarding me. I felt strong though too crippled for any fight lasting a few seconds. In the past three years after deciding to undertake my mission to uncover my parent’s murder at the hands of an obscure police squad and subsequent cover up, I been training in mixed martial arts and boxing, and I had developed quick hands for my striking and with the help of a retired boxer who was an Olympian, had obtained a good understanding of how to use angles to evade the strikes of my opponents. I got a punching bag and trained three times a week in my house and once in the dojo at Kariakor. And I did my two hour runs every weekend for my cardio. I had trained to be fluid and mobile on the outside, and had learnt to judiciously use my jab and to wait until the right moment arrived to collapse the pocket. This I had tried in the dojo against several boxers and had refined my timing to near perfection. I also knew that when the opportunity presented itself, both my uppercut and counter left hook could be game-changers. But with cuffed hands, my boxing didn’t mean shit.
From my jiu jitsu and wrestling, I had learned to have quick and powerful hips and I knew that even with a broken leg, I could use one hand and my left leg to deadly consequences. I figured that the guard must have been holding the keys to my handcuffs and an idea took hold in my mind. I had already screwed up royally in the mat and almost got killed in the process. This time, I could not goof up again. Any minute now, someone could come in and end this and I didn’t want to leave my fate in the hands of someone I did not know. It was do or die time, I decided resolutely. I tested my shoulder for pain and mobility. It hurt like hell but I had to do this. Pain is the inheritance of every man, whether injured or not. And the purpose of a man is to learn not to be stopped by pain in his pursuits and the longing for comfort and security is a weakness to watch against vigilantly and eternally. I did not ask myself whether I had a suicidal proclivity or poor judgement. That is for historians, I surmised and quickly closed that line of thought before it developed into paralyzing fear. Now is time for action, not pansy-ass philosophy I thought as I controlled my breathing in readiness for action. I clamped my eyes on the guard.
‘Hey, I need to go to the bathroom’ I demanded while propping myself on an elbow and looking at the guard. I decided to assume a position of power while talking to him. I junked the idea of trying to make him my ally. I had no money to offer him and it would take too long to convince him that he was being used to wipe someone else’s ass and would soon find himself in my position. That is what we Kenyan police were. The politicians used us as bodyguards and for their dirty jobs. They could have us to wipe their noses and sing them lullabies behind their high-walled electric-wire compounds while the rest of the country got harassed by criminals. I couldn’t threaten him either. I had no name and no tall relative in government.
He looked at me as if considering the request, then looked away without saying a word. Wishing me away was a weak response and meant he wanted to avoid any tussle with me. I got emboldened. This was going to be easy.
‘If you want, I will shit in this bed. It seems you would really like the smell of an adults crap. Is that what you want? It is just you and me in this room and you are the babysitter. You want to clean my shit?’
He looked at me again. This time, his eyes were filled with horror that he tried to mask. All I needed was one free hand and his head somewhere near my crotch and I would lock him in a triangle choke. He sized me up and his lips stiffened in indecision as his eyes blinked. Deer in the headlights, I thought as I looked away and tried to look casual and harmless. He strode forward and leaned into my face. Oh my, he had a bad breath. What had he eaten? A dead cat? I thought as I trained my nostrils and eyes away from the putrescent gust emanating from his mouth. I almost forgot what I was plotting. Was bad breath his defense? Jesus.
‘If you fuck around I will simply kill you!’ Mister biological weapon blurted, his bulbous eyes almost touching my face, the veins in his neck dilated. I nodded weakly in compliance, not wanting to excite him and risk a hurricane of breath of rotting fresh. He reached for his keys which were stuck in his right hip, never taking his eyes from me as small jets of bad breath still hit my face. Right-handed, I thought. Very good. I casually lifted my left knee off the bed which was the first move in setting up my triangle choke. Once I encircled this leg around his neck, it would constrict the blood flow from the carotid arteries to his brain as I held his head in place with my left hand in a triangle formation. Within seconds, he would be unconscious. He moved into my open guard as he selected the keys, oblivious of the deadly trap he was walking into.
Then the door burst open and a large man strode in.
He walked right to my bedside as the guard stepped back clumsily.
“Senior!” he blurted as he stood stiffly in attention and saluted.
I let my knee fall back to the bed as I looked at the man and cursed silently. He looked at the guard pointedly and the keys he clutched in his hand.
“Step out” he said softly to the guard in a soft reprimand his eyes burning coals.
The guard stepped out and carefully closed the door. This man was about five feet tall and wore a crisp, well-ironed police uniform with the insignia of an inspector. He had a military haircut and had a potbelly that distended obtrusively before his hulking frame. For a man of his size, he moved fast. His hands seemed well manicured and he was well-shaven. His boots gleamed from thorough polishing and he sported a well-cut moustache. He had an intense, large face with bags of flesh under his blazing eyes. He was holding a thin file in his right hand. He looked around the room then considered me briefly. He clutched the duvet covering me and lifted it to examine my body from head to toe. Then he carefully covered me.
He then pulled a seat from where the guard was standing and carefully placed it next to the bed. Then he sat down slowly, crossed his feet to cut the image of utter relaxation, exhaled noisily and opened the file then started reading.
“Mister Ted Teko. Twenty six years. Police corporal attached to Kilimani police station since 2011 August. Single. Living in Umoja II. Diploma in Information Technology, Kenya School of Professional Studies. Started the Tae Kwon Do club in SPS. Born alone. Both parents dead. Primary and secondary school in Nyanza. Had fees problems. Athletic. Toshiba laptop, punching bag, boxing gloves and fighting gear found in apartment. Martial Arts videos and gi found in apartment. Has collection of philosophy books and books on Modernism. Most read is Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish followed by Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. No steady girlfriend. Best student in police academy Kiganjo in 2011. Twelve Thousand shillings in bank account. Recent phone calls to female banker Peninah Khosya. Was in a matatu that crashed into Equity bank along Mombasa avenue. Tried to rob bank. Accomplice shot dead. Several passengers injured. Arrested with broken leg and gunshot wound to the shoulder. Driver of matatu dead and suspected of being injected with neurotoxin. Another passenger, Miss Grace Ndalini nursing serious injuries in hospital. ”
He closed the file carefully and allowed his fireball eyes to burn through me then he placed his hands together with only the tips of his fingers touching. His accent and correct pronunciations indicated that he was a well-educated man and his refined manners and dressing spoke of a comfortable upbringing in an upmarket area. His red-shot eyes indicated that he had seen too much during his life and some of what he had seen and probably done weighed on his conscience and he had chosen to replace the guilt with ferocity. I was relieved to note that they did not seem to know how my parents died and about my higher education. He didn’t introduce himself and his uniform did not have his police number. He was probably the cleanup guy for the cover up. For such a senior guy to be a cleanup for this robbery means that my boss and other participants were mere pawns for masterminds in higher echelons of power. Jesus, what had I gotten myself into?
‘I want to make this very simple. Tell me why you injected the driver with a poison and who your accomplices are’ He tapped the tips of his fingers together and looked at me, his eyes expressionless.
I looked straight at him in surprise. My mind racing. What the fuck?
‘The driver was injected?...’ I whispered to myself as I tried to recall the events leading to the accident.
He stood up and cracked his knuckles. I could now see that he had large hands and black calloused knuckles that I only saw in boxers at the dojo. He must have boxed at some point in his life.
‘Tell me why you injected the driver with a poison and who your accomplices are’ he repeated, his body tensing as he sized me as if picking out a spot to hit with a hammer fist.
‘I don’t know what you are talking about’ I said and meant it.
‘You won’t waste my time’ He spat impatiently as he threw the file on my bed.
‘I don’t have your time sir. What is this nonsense? I need a lawyer and medical attention’ I said and braced myself for the worst. If he was going to crush my bones, I was going to crush his ego. I was fighting the devil while chained at his own turf. I figured that clean up guys don’t dress sharply and carry intelligence files. This guy was here to find out how much I knew before they let me loose. Or If I knew too much, handle me. This could take many savage forms, none of them good.
“So you are also rude” He said as he assessed my bandaged shoulder then his eyes burned back to my face.
“Tell me about Peninah Khosya. Was she involved in planning the robbery?”
“What? Are you serious?” I looked at him, annoyed at the ridiculousness of the accusation.
“I am the one asking the questions”
Then his phone rang. He pulled it from his pocket and looked at the number calling then two neat cracks formed on his forehead as he considered the phone. He then pressed the receiving button and fixed his gaze across the room as he spoke.
“Yes muheshimiwa” he said reverentially as the voice at the other end of the line spoke inaudibly.
“No Muheshimiwa” he said as he clenched his hands in a fist in concentration.
“Yes sir, right away muheshimiwa” he said as he stiffened and ended the call.
He then took one last look at me. During that brief moment, I saw in those burning eyes both pity and admiration and I also saw his ruined inner world in the flourishing outer world that he had clothed in well-ironed uniform and polished shoes.
Then he turned and walked out. I never saw him again.

*To Be continued*

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012 Training Day 113: 21K

It went well. I had all sorts of pains but after 8K it was ok. After 15K I became strong. This shit requires a helluva lot of discipline, tolerance for pain, time and truckloads of determination and focus. Its testing me to the max. I am also beginning to appreciate what high mileage does to the legs.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012 Training Day 112: 18K, no legs

I wanted to do a 10X1000m interval but after two intervals, I realized I had no legs so I just settled for an 18K and called it a day.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012 Training Day 110, 111: 23K, 20K

Yesterday 23K and today 20K. Tight PF.
My article was published in the East African this week. Link below:
Nairobi through the eyes of a drunk.
Here is the 23K

The shortlist for the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing was released on May 1 by Ben Okri the vice president of the prize. Okri is a Nigerian poet and novelist who won the 1991 Booker Prize for his novel, The Famished Road.

Kenya’s Billy Kahora’s short story Urban Zoning was among those shortlisted. Kahora is the managing editor of the literary magazine Kwani? and also wrote The True Story of David Munyakei: Goldenberg Whistleblower.

Urban Zoning is a story about a young man called Kandle in a drunken stupor on his way to work to receive his dismissal letter, and the thoughts that churn in his mind as he drifts through Nairobi’s streets.

The zone is a catatonic state of drunkenness that can only be reached after one has drunk alcohol non-stop for three days with little food, water or sleep. Some of Kandle’s friends who succeeded in reaching the zone could not handle it: One tried to drive from Nairobi to Thika in 15 minutes and died in an accident, while another sliced his wrists. Yet a third lost her mind and stripped naked in public. But Kandle is the master of the art of 72-hour drinking and is known and respected for it by fellow drinkers. The zone is his element.

The author plays with words like Kandle, which could be kindle, the reading device and “Ocuotho,” which means “break wind” in Luo. The word zone also takes on various meanings as the narrative flows.

In his alcohol-induced delirium, Kandle recalls how he underwent some sort of sexual abuse when he was in high school and how that experience drove him away from rugby into alcohol and into sexual orgies with a house help called Atieno. After Atieno left, Kandle resorted to “looking for peri-urban pussy” in Riruta and somehow got a bank job, which he is about to lose because reaching the zone leaves him no time for reporting to work.
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The illicit sex between politicians and underage girls is among the depraved activities taking place around Kandle.

Before the disciplinary committee, Kandle presents a doctor’s letter granting him a sick-off, together with a cooked-up story about his mother going insane and the bungling committee backs off. His job saved, he goes back to the bar to drink more alcohol.

There is a noticeable pattern among the stories coming from emerging writers in Kenya that are published in Kwani? and now appear to be getting international recognition: Most of these stories narrate experiences from characters in some psychotic state induced by either mental illness or drugs.

In Kwani 06 for example, there was Earthling by Diriye Osman, which is about a mentally-ill character from an asylum. It also had Farah Aideed Goes to Gulf War, which is about a dysfunctional sadomachistic relationship between the main characters. And now shortlisted for Caine prize is the view of Nairobi from a staggering “zoned” drunk.

It may appear that crafting the thoughts of deranged characters and their sexual escapades is in vogue among the young Kenyan writers in the Kwani? fraternity. These texts explore Africans at their basest, when their inhibitions are lost either through intoxication or mental illness. They present a deranged mental landscape and the ruined perspectives of people essentially lack erudition. This dramatic but content-free nature relegates these literary works to the level of soft porn in spite of how well written they may be.

Don’t get me wrong. Note that even Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus has sexual undertones. But the sensual messages are like a ruffle of silk or petals on one’s skin. The reader gets a peek, not an eyeful. The sexual message is tender; not this jarring, rough, derogatory and superficial treatment of sex that we find in the mentioned writings.

As a nation that wants to develop creative writing, we must ask ourselves: Do we want to take short-cuts and build shallow, rough and brazen authors who don’t have the patience to produce refined, introspective, though-provoking and well-crafted work?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

2012 Training day 109: 10K Easy

I did an easy 10K. I apparently didn't have no legs. Not a bad week. I now need to plan for some solid weeks ahead. I need at least two solid weeks out of the next four weeks. The writing bug is biting deep and I am putting it to full effect. Watch this space.
Jan_____wk1 N/A
________wk2 20+18+20 = 58Kms
________wk3 16+16+18+20 = 70Kms ..................(lower ankle pains)
________wk4 20(1:50)+20(1:53)+20(1:50) = 60Kms ...(fighting each Km - legs screaming)
________wk5 20(1:53)+10+10 = 40Kms......(Revert to moderate 21K @ Sato - no more fighting)
Feb_____wk1 21(2:05)+11+10(47:56:52)+6+10 = 58Kms (tight hamstrings)
________wk2 21(2:06)+14+12+7+10 = 64Kms...........(first sub 4 mins 1K!)
________wk3 21(2:01)+15+12+12+12 = 72Kms (Malaba, crazy intervals)
________wk4 21(2:19)+16+14+10+10=71Kms (recovering from intervals)
March___wk1 21(1:57:51)+18+11+11+11+11=83Kms (Kampala)
________wk2 21(1:56:39)+15+10+10 = 56Kms (PF threatens-recovering from 83K week)
________wk3 21(1:53:39)+19+17+12+11=80K (bad cold, health scare - tight PF)
________wk4 0Kms rest - with a flu
________wk 5 21(2:14)+15+13+16+13+12=90Kms (Mombasa - recovering and coming back)
April____wk1 21(1:56)+10+16(in 1:18)+10 = 57Kms
________wk2 21(1:47:25)+7K+16K (in 1:16:56) = 42Kms (ITBL injury)
________wk3 14+10+10 = 34 Kms (feeling great but pressed for time)
________wk4 21+7+16(1:14:43)+10=54Kms (ITBL flare, rain interruptions)
May_____wk1 22+17+15+14+16+12=96Kms (Arusha-nursing PF and ITBL)
________wk2 21+13+10+13=57Kms (ITBL almost healed, tight PF and some shin pains)
________wk3 22+18+10+14=64Kms (rain messed me up. nursing ITBL & PF - break into new shoes)
________wk4 21(1:53)+21(1:43:49)+8+10=60Kms (stomach cramps) ITBL finally gone. PF persists.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2012 Training Day 108: 8K Recovery

Took it very easy. These are women after a battle with distance and time, and themselves.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012 Training Day 107: 21K in 1:43:46

I was supposed to do a fast 16k. But after 2K, I realized I was neither fast nor strong. So I decided to do an easy 12K. But Borura joined me and by 10K I realized the time was decent and I was feeling strong then. So I decided what the hell.
The results are as follows:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Death in a Mat Part IV

Grace was a plump, large woman who loved to laugh as much as she loved flowery dresses and hair weaves. Whenever she laughed, her big round eyes shone brightly and her body shook like jelly. She was often in the company of her friend Njeri with whom they shared every naughty secret, from bedroom secrets, the double entendres and other naughty expressions about the men they interacted with and their fears and insecurities.
As her body shook on that day, it was shaking in pain, not joy. What racked her huge frame was not mirth but deep anguish. She sat alone at a table in Oasis restaurant as she sobbed her pain away. She had just caught her husband of thirteen years in bed with another woman. She had suspected him for quite a while and had set up a trap, which, against her hopes, worked and confirmed her worst fears. She had confronted her husband Mike as the mistress scampered away half naked and Mike had slapped her so hard that she felt the left side of her face was on fire. Seeing her beloved Mike in that enraged state, and having him lay his hands on her like that hurt her so deeply, she remained lying on the veranda outside her house for hours crying herself into oblivion. Her puddle of tears mixed with her drooling saliva and smeared make up made her a pitiful sight. After her husband had left in a huff, the neighbors helped her into her house where she wept in privacy. They tried to comfort her but she was inconsolable. Between the sobs she swore to take her life.
It was not the beating that hurt her. She was tough. She could take a slap, even a blow. In fact, in a fair fight, she could wipe the floor with Mike. It was what Mike had told her that ripped her insides apart.
He told her that she was fat and was not taking care of herself and he was no longer attracted to her. ‘Wasn’t it Mike who married me when I was size eight?’ she wept as she repeated her unanswered questions. ‘Isn’t this body the one that has given Mike three children?’ She said as she slapped her body and tore at her clothes and pulled her hair out and rolled on the floor. Distraught neighbors could only watch. She finally collected herself and called her friend Njeri, who told her to meet her at Oasis after she had narrated tearfully about what had transpired.
‘Hi Sis’ Njeri greeted her as she hugged her friend, her face set in a frown. Seeing her friend in that state saddened Njeri so much that she wiped away some teardrops herself as she commiserated her.
Grace hugged her silently and as she did so, she gushed out a new torrent of tears. After Njeri had calmed her down, she took Grace after some days to a friend who she said could help. The friend could not help with weight loss as Grace had expected. But she offered to help fix Graces’ marriage.
‘Through counseling?’ Grace asked.
‘No, not counseling only but there is some counseling involved. Except, it will ensure that your husband never cheats again and will remain forever devoted to you’ Njeri’s friend had explained with a cheeky glint in her eye.
Grace was a devout Catholic and did not like where the conversation was going. She was not going to participate in black magic. Her breathing and pulse quickened at the thought.
Seeing her friend’s body language, Njeri asked to be excused and pulled Grace aside.
‘My friend has helped many people with similar problems. Give it a chance’ Njeri started hesitatingly.
‘Give what a chance?’ Grace asked defensively. ‘Is this witchcraft you want me to do?’ she asked witheringly.
‘It is just…well, it is like witchcraft, but what is important is to save your marriage’ Njeri said then added, ‘Don’t you want to save your marriage? Many people have done it and it works’
After some persuasion, Grace had agreed and Njeri’s friend had taken some ten thousand shillings from Grace and set up a meeting for Grace to meet the ‘herbalist.’
The herbalist lived in a ramshackle house in the middle of a vast slum in Nairobi. He was a clear-shaven, middle-aged man in cracked spectacles who wore a dirty loincloth and sat on a dusty floor surrounded by jugs and covered clay pots and a huge bag that he placed by his side. He welcomed Grace and Njeri to some low stools. As he stared pointedly at them to explain their presence, Grace averted her eyes from his bare-chest that was dotted with greying hair. As she looked away, she met a pair of eyes in the dark space next to the ‘herbalist’.
Njeri explained that Grace’s husband had found another woman and wanted to leave Grace and this is why they had come for his help.
‘Is this true?’ The herbalist enquired sedately, looking at Grace over the rim of his spectacles. Grace could not find her voice and managed a small croak and a nod for an answer.
The small room was dark and Grace did not like cats. As her eyes adjusted to the dark, she realized that there were two black cats sitting next to the herbalist. One of them made a point of licking its nose and staring through Grace as if it could see her soul. Her skin crawled when she found some cobwebs just above her head. Her ample hips were also not suited for sitting on these small wooden stools which were like tree stumps and she had to make an effort to balance herself on top of her stool. Something alive moved in a sack on the right of the herbalist. Grace wanted to get out of that house. Plus, what was that smell, she wondered as her nose wrinkled in distaste as a fetid smell assaulted her nostrils. She looked around desperately for refuge, her large eyes not masking her fright and discomfort.
‘Don’t worry my girl’ the herbalist said helpfully. ‘I have the solution to your problem’ he added as he reached for the sack on his right. Njeri placed a restraining hand on Grace’s trembling shoulder. The two women stared in trepidation at the sack and the concealed hand in it.
After taking a satisfied glance at them, the herbalist pulled out a light brown snake which he carefully placed on the dusty floor in front of him. It was about twenty inches long and two inches thick. Both Njeri and Grace jumped to their feet and he told them to sit down lest they upset the snake and mess his job.
‘Slowly!’ He snapped.
They sat down very, very slowly, their eyes glued on the snake. Then he scattered some sea shells on the floor, followed by some roots and dried tree barks and he listlessly scrutinized them as the snake slowly slithered around them. Even the cats were staring at the snake in rapt attention, their ears pointing sharply upwards. He took a deep breath as he finalized surveying the assorted objects on the floor then hissed out as if in resignation. Female eyes shifted from the snake to his face which was now an impenetrable mask. His eyes were now coals of fire as he placed them with finality on the two trembling figures in front of him.
‘It’s the snake that lied to Adam on the garden of Eden’ he said thoughtfully as he blinked as if recalling some old memory. ‘And it is the snake that tempts married men to the whims of other women just like it lied to Adam through eve….’ He rested his eyes on Grace. ‘And it is the snake that tells me what lies the woman has been telling your husband, and how to free him’
Grace was looking at him in puzzlement and struggling to understand what the herbalist was saying.
‘Are you…’ she started but he held up a restraining hand and looked away as if the interruption bothered him deeply.
‘That woman has bewitched your husband and we need to break her spell by killing a live snake. Bring a live black mamba and a piece of your husbands underwear and you will never see that woman again and your husband will forever be loyal to you’
He paused and observed Graces demeanour to see how what he said sank into he mind. Her face was a crumbling mask of horror and confusion.
‘Bring twenty thousand for now. That will be all’ He said dismissively and he tenderly picked the snake from the floor and placed it back in the sack.
‘Twenty thousand…’Grace muttered.
‘Just give him’ Njeri whispered, turning toward Grace. ‘It is Ok’ she added reassuringly.
Grace fumbled with her handbag and after a while, retrieved a wad of a thousand shillings notes. Njeri’s friend had told them what the herbalist’s consultation fee amounted to. With an exaggerated sense of decorum, the herbalist told her to place it on the floor, pointing at the spot where the snake had coiled with a stick as if the money were unclean. Grace did so hesitatingly, with a trembling hand, afraid that the snake would emerge and bite her. Nausea racked her body and she abruptly shot up and staggered outside as her the contents of bowels rushed through her mouth in a distasteful gush.
After throwing up and inhaling a lungful of semi-fresh air outside the herbalists house, Njeri helped her out of the slum and they once again jumped over puddles of sewage water and navigated their ways across garbage heaps and marauding dogs out of the slum.
After weeks of searching, they finally found a farmer who gave Grace a snake in a bag and Grace had placed it in her handbag and boarded a matatu to go see the herbalist as she could not dare keep the snake. She had paid thirty thousand to the farmer for the snake after he had sworn it was a black mamba. Njeri had traveled upcountry and could not accompany her to the herbalist. So Grace had to make the trip alone. Luckily for her, the herbalist agreed to see her on the same day. Relieved, she quickly dressed and packed some money and boarded a matatu.
She placed her handbag at her feet in the matatu and had a lot on her mind as the matatu headed towards the city centre. Was this herbalist really going to give her back her Mike? What if he was only going to fleece her of her money and not help her? Was she really that fat and ugly? She sat between the driver and a man who had a weather-beaten face and had a permanent expression of distaste below his threadbare cap. She took one look at him and thought, ‘creep.’
Grace was feeling hot as she sat between the two men and she looped an arm around the passenger’s seat on her left to air her armpits and after a while, she fell asleep. Meanwhile, in her bag, the snake was feeling cramped and hot and writhed itself in the bag seeking an exit. As the matatu weaved in the traffic and jerked from one side to the other Grace’s handbag kept moving and at some point the snake’s head found an opening and it slithered out into open daylight and found itself at the floor of the driver’s seat, near the break and the accelerator. It coiled itself as it flickered its tongue and took in its new surrounding. The driver’s foot kept coming down near its head as he accelerated and braked, almost crashing it. Again and again. Gradually, the snake got upset and its poison glands were filled with venom. It hissed to warn its attacker. But the feet continued slamming closer to its head. There was a commotion at the back of the matatu and the driver heard one of the passengers shout that they were being carjacked and that he was a policeman. At that very moment, the snake flicked its tongue and sensed the heat at the drivers feet and it struck.
The driver glanced at his feet when he felt a sharp pain and could not take his widening eyes off the unblinking serpentine horror that was coiled at his feet. That split second when he took his eyes off the road, the matatu veered off the road and went crashing into a banking hall and threw Grace headfirst through the windscreen. She landed unconscious on the polished floor of the roadside bank.
When she came to, she was being wheeled into an ambulance and after she regained her senses, she asked for her handbag. One of the paramedics gave her a handbag and asked her whether it was the one. She took it as a searing pain jolted through her chest and made her lie back on the bed with tears flowing from her eyes. Then she carefully opened the bag. She looked at every end of it and the terrible realization sank in: her snake was gone!
As she struggled to sit up, the paramedics told her she had suffered a broken rib and should lie still. They gave her an injection through her arm. As the sedative took effect, she got sucked into the mist of unconsciousness with the expressionless face of the herbalist staring at her, bereft of his broken spectacles with his snake coiled around his skinny neck and her husband’s voice saying she was fat, fat, fat,… ugly.

**To be know**

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Training Day 106: 21K in 1:53

We were at the start point in time. It had rained the previous day. And by 6:05, we were off.
Within the first Km, GK remained behind and I was quickly losing sight of him. I knew something was wrong but I needed to push.
I started well with the first 1Km in 5:02 an improvement of 14 seconds from last month. My shoe laces were off in the third Km. I had to stop and tie them.
The rest of the Kms were fine and I recorded gains and losses even though GK was not there to push or pull me.
By the 11th Km, I had improved my last months time by 48 seconds. Then I developed stomach cramps on my right side. I wished it was a stitch but I was wrong. The pain was unbearable. I had to stop completely and double up and from there, the race was basically over for me. The pain was too much. Even if I applied pressure with my hands to reduce the pain, it was still painful. Try as I did, it was there.
From the 13th to 15th Km, there was a lot of mud which also slowed me down further. I jogged home to finish in 1:53.
Like one of my friends says, There is no failure, there is only the next race. The next race we will be chasing a sub 1:40 on 24th June in Eastlands, to be hosted by Mark. GK was feeling sluggish and could not push himself today.
I learnt a few things from this race:
Showing up for a race is more important than how the race turns out.
The mental toughness of putting oneself in a race is also more important than the actual performance.
You don't have to run on the pavement if its muddy or too rough or banking. Running on the tarmac is fine for a race.
Every race is training and has benefits of improving performance.
Each race teaches you something about yourself: how to taper, how to push, how your body reacts to training etc.
Like today I learnt what can cause stomach cramps and how bad stomach cramps are.
Keep active guys.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 Training Day 105: 14K with 6X1000m intervals

It went great. I didn't even feel like I had done 14K though I was not particularly fast and light-footed.
I think these were more like fartleks since I did 1Km on 1Km off. The six were 4:07,4:06,4:16, 4:12, 4:10 and 4:11. Then I jogged for 2K for cooldown. I hope 56 hours are enough for my recovery.
This is how it looked like:
Jan_____wk1 N/A
________wk2 20+18+20 = 58Kms
________wk3 16+16+18+20 = 70Kms ..................(lower ankle pains)
________wk4 20(1:50)+20(1:53)+20(1:50) = 60Kms ...(fighting each Km - legs screaming)
________wk5 20(1:53)+10+10 = 40Kms......(Revert to moderate 21K @ Sato - no more fighting)
Feb_____wk1 21(2:05)+11+10(47:56:52)+6+10 = 58Kms (tight hamstrings)
________wk2 21(2:06)+14+12+7+10 = 64Kms...........(first sub 4 mins 1K!)
________wk3 21(2:01)+15+12+12+12 = 72Kms (Malaba, crazy intervals)
________wk4 21(2:19)+16+14+10+10=71Kms (recovering from intervals)
March___wk1 21(1:57:51)+18+11+11+11+11=83Kms (Kampala)
________wk2 21(1:56:39)+15+10+10 = 56Kms (PF threatens-recovering from 83K week)
________wk3 21(1:53:39)+19+17+12+11=80K (bad cold, health scare - tight PF)
________wk4 0Kms rest - with a flu
________wk 5 21(2:14)+15+13+16+13+12=90Kms (Mombasa - recovering and coming back)
April____wk1 21(1:56)+10+16(in 1:18)+10 = 57Kms
________wk2 21(1:47:25)+7K+16K (in 1:16:56) = 42Kms (ITBL injury)
________wk3 14+10+10 = 34 Kms (feeling great but pressed for time)
________wk4 21+7+16(1:14:43)+10=54Kms (ITBL flare, rain interruptions)
May_____wk1 22+17+15+14+16+12=96Kms (Arusha-nursing PF and ITBL)
________wk2 21+13+10+13=57Kms (ITBL almost healed, tight PF and some shin pains)
________wk3 22+18+10+14=64Kms (rain messed me up. nursing ITBL & PF - break into new shoes)


Death in a Mat Part III

There was nobody at the right end of the back seat!

I looked again. Nobody!

The two college girls had plastered themselves at the furthest end of their seat at the window, their trembling hands covering their open mouths as they stared at me in horror and incomprehension.

Mr. newspaper-exam had gone limp in my arm so I released the pressure on his neck lest he ends up brain dead due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain. Penny had tears rolling down her cheeks and sat frozen as she stared at me. Her unblinking eyes registered absolute shock as if she were staring at a ghost. Mrs Afro covered her head with both hands and had her head down like she didn’t want to see what was happening and did not want to be part of it.

The interior of the mat was so silent, you could hear a pin drop in that mat. I could see the bewildered face of Mr. pick-my-nose-to-death at the corner of my eyes frozen whilst looking at me.

"Hawa ni carjackers na walikuwa wanataka kutucarjack!" I declared hoarsely. My voice sounded like I was choking on egg shells. If I was listening to myself, I could have asked me, "What?"

"Mimi ni polisi" I explained as I unzipped Mrs. Faded-jeans handbag to display the gun to my dazed audience.

Then the car jerked suddenly as if it had hit the kerb. There was a loud squeal of tyres then an ear-shattering bang towards the front of the car. My eyes closed reflexively for a split second at the sound and when I opened them, the vehicle was careening sharply to the left and it was crashing into wood, metal and concrete as a debris of glass crashed on it. The car's windows spilled onto the passengers as they screamed and yelled. I was flung upwards and collided mid-air with Mrs Afro and my arms flailed in the air seeking support.

The matatu fell on its right side and skidded on a floor then crashed onto a hard, barrier. Then it stopped.

My face had slammed on the roof of the car as my body was flung up, then sideways and my left wrist was twisted at an unnatural angle. As the car slammed to a stop, my right foot was hooked on a car seat and somebody was thrown against it by the impact and as his weight was transferred to my right knee, it gave a gut-wrenching crack.

I mercifully passed out before the pain could register.

I was struggling from the depths of a smoke-filled swamp and there were screams and voices all round. My mouth was full of the muck from the swamp and its murky warm fluid was filling my nostrils. I tried to spit it out and open my eyes. But the mist was too thick.

I coughed out some muck and the screams became louder and light exploded into my face. My eyes popped open and the daylight stabbed into them. I wondered why the world was in such a twisted angle. Then I realized I had been in an accident and our mat had crashed into something. What I thought was swamp muck was a mixture of my blood and dirt.

Penny! I thought. My mind raced.

In the smoke and dust and pandemonium, I realized my body was twisted behind the driver’s seat with my head down and my neck twisted to an angle where it was aligned to my shoulder. I pushed my face away from the floor and moved slightly. I managed to twist my head up and allowed my body to slide down and take up the space where my head was. Then I looked around.

Mr. newspaper-exam was lying face down next to me, just above my head. I instinctively pushed him for a sign of life and he moved slightly.

Penny! my mind screamed.

I struggled up. My right leg sent such a searing jolt of pain that I lost control of my bladder. A searing scream escaped my lips and I started sweating profusely as I deployed all my energies toward hanging onto consciousness, afraid of passing out again. My leg was broken. My breathing suddenly increased tenfold and now I was panting and hissing in pain as I got soaked in sweat. It was all I could do to keep from surrendering into unconsciousness.

While keeping my leg immobile, I dragged myself to a better position where I could better see the interior of the mat. I realized that blood was dripping from my nostrils and my mouth was full of blood. I instinctively spat and tried to move my tongue around my mouth. It tasted cement, diesel and blood. The right side of the car seemed to be vanishing and I realized that my right eye was almost swollen shut.

I couldn’t see Penny!

I looked at the driver’s seat. Mrs. Arm-around-car-seat was sprawled at the front of the car. She must have fallen forward and took the windscreen with her as she crashed. Her legs were twisted in an embarrassing angle and she lay groaning softly. Mr ugly-as-sin was muttering imperceptibly as he tried to crawl from atop the driver to outside the car. I looked towards the back of the mat. Mrs. faded-jeans was leaning on Penny's seat and was coughing. She seemed fine. One college girl was on her knees coughing and one of them was sobbing as she tried to clamber out through one window. I could not see Mr. pick-my-nose-to-death and the driver.

And Penny!

I inched forward toward Penny's seat, carefully dragging my helpless leg behind me. Then I saw her body. I could only see her back as she was curled in a foetal position. I reached for her and pulled her shoulders. She started coughing. Her face seemed fine. I looked around for an exit route. The windows seemed to be the easiest exit and I tried to pull Penny up. She was too heavy. I needed help.

I looked around.

The car had crashed into a building and I saw the arrangement of the counters and labels TELLER 1, TELLER 2... and realized we had crashed into a banking hall. From the bank colours, I could tell it was a branch of Barclays bank. Then I saw three uniformed policemen rushing toward us, with machine guns held at the ready and I was flooded with a feeling of relief.

Many people in the hall were screaming and running out of the bank while some stood and stared at a distance with their mouths wide open.

One of the policemen approached the mat and took a quick look around and opened the door. Then he grabbed the arm of Mrs faded-jeans and dragged her out. She gestured at me and said, "Haka ndio kameleta hii shida yote"

I looked at the policeman and saw some bulges around his eyes.

He was wearing a face-fitting mask!

"Twende!" he said as he dragged her and ran towards a door at the end of the queue of teller booths. Two of the "policemen" approached a guard standing near the door and ordered him to open. He complied and they rushed in, brandishing guns.

This was a bank robbery! This realization hit me like a truck.

One "policeman" was at the entrance and in a split second the other three rushed from within the bank carrying three bags with Mrs faded-jeans in tow. I guessed they were full of cash. Two went to the entrance and one approached the mat with Mrs faded-jeans. I heard them say "Mato."

They looked around and grabbed Mr. newspaper-exam by the shoulder and turned him round. His eyes were closed and he was and he was muttering deliriously. I could tell from his swollen thigh that his femoral artery had suffered a trauma that was making him lose blood through internal bleeding. A lot of blood. The “policeman” pulled a pistol and shot Mr. newspaper-exam in the neck as Mrs. Faded-jeans recoiled in horror.

The force of the bullet threw Mr. newspaper-exam back and slammed him against a seat then he collapsed in a heap where he was earlier and he started gurgling out his blood as his legs started kicking and his arms began stretching spastically. They turned towards me. I closed my eyes and stayed still, playing dead.

I felt them grab my hand and wrap my fingers around a pistol and use my index finder to fire one more bullet at Mr. newspaper-exam. Through the slits of my eyes, I saw them take the gun and place it near Mr. newspaper-exam.

"Nendeni!" One of the other "policeman" told them and they ran off. I heard some gun shots outside the bank. About six shots were fired as this last cop took one last sweeping look around.

Another policeman burst into the banking hall, gun cocked. It was my supervisor, Senior Sergeant Mailu! He ran in and barked at the onlookers to lie down as he shot twice at the last "policeman". But his shots went wild.

The "policeman" shot back at my supervisor and his shots also went wild and as my boss moved away from the door and took cover behind a pillar, the "policeman" ran out toward that door and my boss ordered a nearby guard to set off the fire alarm and told them to seal off the bank and ensure nobody left.

"Nyinyi hamuoni kuna wizi hapa!?" He reprimanded them as he barked into his phone for back-up.

I realized this whole thing was orchestrated. My boss never intended to shoot that thug!

By this time, Mr. newspaper-exam's body lay lifeless and Penny was slowly trying to pull herself into an upright position. I could not feel my right leg and my arms were shaking too much to be of any use.

"Do not move! an inch!" My boss shouted in a voice that could crack a brick wall. I slowly turned to look at him. He was standing next to the mat, his smoking muzzle pointing right at me. His hands were shaking.

Then his face collapsed in a mortified look of guilt as he recognized me and lowered his gun.

But that mortified look was suddenly replaced by a stubborn, resolute look and he clenched his teeth and took aim.

He pressed the trigger. I felt a sharp pain in my right shoulder and the blow sent me flying backwards.

Darkness enveloped me as I lost consciousness.

**To be continued**

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Death in a Mat II

Most of the passengers had tuned out their surroundings and had not recognized the threat even though Mrs. Afro's shoulders had tensed slightly when Mr. newspaper-exam turned to look back. Penny was softly holding my left arm and showing me her well-manicured nails. I knew I had to take responsibility for our security and thwart the impending crime. My awareness level had shifted from relaxed awareness to focused awareness and now I was on high alert and the adrenaline rush was making me heady. In biological terms, I was on the fight mode and adrenaline-charged blood was rushing to my muscles.
These guys were three. Mr newspaper-exam could also be packing a gun but I wasn’t sure. But he would be the one to commandeer the driver to divert the car to whatever destination they dreamt up. The job of the guy at the back was probably to ensure nobody hides their wallets or tries anything funny as they clean us out. Mrs faded-jeans was probably just to make sure everybody knows this is some real shit and not child’s play.
Since these guys had not sprung to action, I needed to take the initiative and neutralize the threat. In the corner of my eye, I sized up Mrs faded-jeans. Her arms showed no signs of physical strength and the way she held up her torso indicated that she didn’t have a strong core. Her handbag was zipped up so she couldn’t retrieve the gun in a flash. I couldn’t size up Mr. newspaper-exam under his suit and from the back so for him I would have to deploy the element of surprise. In boxing, we used to say that it is the punch that you don’t see coming that knocks you out so he was the guy to watch out for. What if Mrs. Faded jeans just had a fetish for guns and was just carrying it for kicks? Or she was the daughter of a rich politician and was on her way to scare the living daylights out of her cheating boyfriend? Not a chance. These guys were not playing with us.
The car was moving at about seventy Kilometers per hour. The distance from Mrs faded-jeans to Mr newspaper-exam would take me two seconds. There was no need to use my revolver, that could have needlessly increased the casualty and probably included a fatality and amplified the panic reaction from the oblivious passengers. I didn't need chaos in defusing this threat effectively. So I decided to disable Mrs faded-Jeans and neutralize Mr newspaper-exam and scream at Mr. guy-at-the-back until he pees in his pants.
I would stun Mrs faded jeans by delivering a chop slightly above her collarbone at an area that has a nerve cluster as well as both the jugular vein and carotid artery. This would stun her temporarily. I would then grab her bag and leap to the next seat and deliver a blow to Mr. newspaper-exam right where his neck joins his shoulders where there is a group of muscles and nerves. Depending on the force of the blow, he could experience pain, muscle spasms that make the arm on that side temporarily useless, numbness and possibly injury to the muscles themselves. I would then pass my arm around his neck and choke him to unconsciousness as I turn round to Mr guy-at-the-back where I would deliver a scream that could split firewood and watch him shut the hell up and piss in his pants. I wanted to do this without any shot fired.
With the intent and threat level assessed, capability assessed, manoeuvrability assessed, tactics laid out and threat shielding calculated, I released my fingers from my revolver and made my move.
With my right knuckles at the foremost, I rose abruptly and deftly hit Mrs faded jeans above her collar bone with a sharp blow as I simultaneously grabbed her bag and leaped forward, stepping on the extended leg of Mrs Afro, who screamed in pain as she retracted her leg. As Mr. newspaper-exam looked back to see what Mrs Afro was screaming about, I hit him above his right shoulders and looped my arm round his neck and dragged him roughly towards me with all the force my upper body could muster. I felt his vocal cords and neck cartilage crush under the force of my arms and as he struggled, as my arm cut off the blood flow to his neck and he became a limp ragdoll, I took a glance at Mrs faded-jeans and saw that she was slumped in her seat with eyes closed. Then my eyes clamped onto Mr. guy-at-the-back.
I could not believe what I saw.
**to be continued**

Death in a Mat I

Penny shifted her wide hips toward me as if she wanted to push me off the seat. Startled, I reflexively looked at her face and our eyes met. Just what she wanted. Her moist soft lips parted into a wide satisfied smile to reveal a set of perfect teeth. Her eyes were so full of disarming warmth and open excitement that I found myself smiling back.
I felt a flush of embarrassment and looked down at the place where our hips were touching as if to see what the problem was. I wanted to stop this intimate eye-talk and avoid other passengers staring at us. She also looked down with satisfaction then looked back at me, loving the way I could do nothing about her little joke and enjoying what she saw as my mild irritation. She was quite a piece of work, I thought as I nudged her with my shoulder to break our eye-contact and she slapped my left thigh softly in mock retaliation, leaving her hand to linger on it for a few seconds as if waiting for me to hit back. Any discerning passenger could see the chemistry going on here and could tell we were lovers and today it was going to go down. I could see the blood throbbing in her temple and I resisted the urge to allow my eyes to wander down her neck. She was as hot as they come. She was young and she was ready.
Public displays of affection weren't my thing. She knew that and that very idea turned her on. I wrestled my eyes away from her and clamped them on the road ahead. She made my blood rush and made me feel needy and vulnerable even as I resisted that. I had dedicated my life to minimizing my needs and I had succeeded I didn’t want to need or want someone else. That is why I had decided it was time to give our feelings expression and hopefully that would give them closure, hopefully exterminate them and leave me calm, collected and in control. I liked her. A lot. I think I did. I felt her eyes on me but I ignored them.
The mat hurtled toward town and Penny swayed with it, bumping into me whenever swayed in my direction. I pushed open my window and looked at the Mombasa road traffic as it crawled towards town. There were twelve passengers in the mat. The driver was a gruff man with thick muscular arms and a firm potbelly. His phone kept ringing and he kept barking words into it in Kikuyu and sometimes he broke into a raspy belly-laugh when the conversation tickled him. There was a woman sitting in front of us in a huge Afro wig. She sat quietly and didn’t move much, as if to avoid her make-up and hair-do from being messed by movement. Her hefty handbag was conspicuously parked in the seat next to her. It was big enough to contain a crate of beer. She occasionally pulled a hand-held mirror and adjusted something on her appearance through her reflection. Two chattering college girls sat behind us and kept talking about their teachers and exams and how they were preparing about the upcoming Management Accounting test.
There was a young woman sitting next to my girlfriend Penny. She wore tight faded jeans, a v-top red TShirt and had a handbag at her lap. She shifted as she felt my gaze on her. She had shaved her eyebrows to thin slits and had some purple eye shadow that didn’t match anything she was wearing. She had some gold-plated rings on her fingers and the cutex on her nails were falling off. She gave me a quick glance and turned away, as if in disgust. The look. This girl had attitude, I thought. Two guys in suits sat behind the driver. One read the days paper as if he was going to do an exam based on the contents of that paper. The other one sat next to him languidly, looking at the traffic as if wondering what it was doing there. He occasionally stuck his index finger in his nostril, twisted it round and round then dragged it out to hold the contents it had fished before his eyes for scrutiny. Then he would rub the fluff furiously between his fingers and flick the output away.
There was a hefty woman sitting next to the driver. She had black hair piece and was in a pink blouse with flower patterns. To reduce the suffocation of the small space that is the driver’s compartment, she draped one of her arms atop the passenger’s seat to give her armpits some air. Her ample breasts spilled on the thin guy sitting next to her. Next to her was a thin, wispy guy with a hungry look. He had a battered baseball cap on and he looked irritated and his facial expression looked like he was about to spit. His weather-beaten face indicated either a past skin problem or experienced great suffering in a hostile place. Suffering that was indelibly etched on his face. That woman’s expansive armpits probably didn’t give the most refreshing fragrance, I thought.
Penny was a banker. She had been two years on her present job and was still enjoying her youth and her money. She still lived with her parents. Her dad was a possessive control freak who owned several companies and her mum was suffering the onset of Alzheimers disease. We met when Penny accompanied her friend to the station and I was assigned the case her friend had. At the time, I was working in CIO – Criminal Investigations Office. Her friend was a prima-donna drama queen who had poured acid on a mpango-wa-kando she had found her boyfriend with. In return, her boyfriend beat her to pulp and eloped with the klande. As soon as she could pop an eye open from beneath her bandaged face, Penny's friend had limped from the hospital to record a statement at the police station, with a distraught Penny, her lawyer and a private nurse in tow.
We never found the guy. The klande's bone-deep acid burns were more injurious than the beating Penny's friend got, which were just superficial wounds from a blunt object. We let the case grow cold and moved onto other more important matters.
Meanwhile Penny got a liking for me and we met a few times then had coffee a number of times and she was surprised that we cops are normal and are educated and are young and go out and can have fun. She was sure she could hook me up with her uncle the GM of the bank to work in the forensics and investigations division. But I didn’t want to owe her and I didn’t want to make my move yet, career wise. I liked where I was: a good boss, an average station that allowed me to read my books and pursue my education and other personal interests which we will come to later.
I was taking her to my place. I was off duty and she had asked for a sick-off from work that morning. We both knew what would happen when we reached my place. We had not discussed anything about the future of what we were starting and where we wanted the door we were about to open to lead to. I liked the no-strings-attached nature of our interaction. We had accepted that we wanted each other and had agreed to give ourselves to each other. The sexual tension had built up to a point where it had to be released. We had tacitly agreed to have no pressure about commitment. That bridge would be crossed when we reached there. If we ever did. I was a just cop from a humble family with Kiganjo training getting paid shit for a salary. She was a graduate with an uncle who was a bank GM with a future as bright as the sun and means. She left her sparkling BMW car in the bank’s parking lot because she didn’t want to risk her dad finding it missing and trying to trace her. Plus, being in a matatu with me, a young cop, made her feel naughty and tough at the same time. I cut a good physique, was single, a good conversationalist, a good dresser and good-looking. No, I am not blowing any trumpet. She was young, hot, intelligent, wild, unrestrained, loaded with cash, freedom and churning hormones. I liked her but a future with her was not in the cards for me.
I looked at her blouse, which was tight at the front with youthful tumescence and my eyes crawled instinctively to her cleavage. I felt a rush of hormones churn in my loins. Blood rushed in me as my pulse quickened. You are just horny mister asshole, show some respect. I told myself, disgusted at myself and trying to downplay the immensity of what was happening inside me. I was getting dizzy. Without doing anything, she broke down all the emotional barriers I had erected over the years and had come rushing into my being like raging floodwater sweeping away discipline, self-control, renunciation of earthly pleasures and all the Tao-Te-Ching and zen garbage I had soaked up, away. I was so helplessly drawn to her. She had soft, spotless skin and her bone-structure was perfect. The way she held onto the seat in front of her and how she sat with her spine straight and her head balanced gracefully on her neck indicated a youthful poise and a strong core. Her stomach was flat and her wide hips emerged beneath her thin waist to claim her womanhood. She was practically oozing sex. And I was a melting, bumbling, helpless idiot. If I was told to find my head and hold it with my hands at that instant, I could not have pulled it off. She was in a miniskirt and I had to wrench my eyes from going down in that direction. This was madness. I shook my head to clear it and looked away.
And as I did this, I saw it.
An untrained eye could not have identified what it was. The way it pulled the handbag to one side and the way its tip gleamed was unmistakable. It gleamed like the nose of a concealed snake, a concealed black mamba.
My training kicked in. I looked away quickly before she could see that I had seen it. In the corner of my eye, I saw Mrs. faded jeans snatch up her handbag and look around to see whether anyone had seen her concealed weapon. It was the muzzle of a pistol. A double-barreled machine pistol. I could make out the shape of the magazine chamber in the handbag from the corner of my eye. This was no toy gun that some incompetent, ill-equipped thugs use. Mrs Faded jeans played casual and reached for her lip balm from her hand bag and started applying it to her lips as her eyes darted from one end of the mat to the other, surveying her oblivious victims. Mr. newspaper-exam glanced at his watch and raised his head from the paper and glanced directly at her without any wasted motion. Their eyes met in recognition. He also looked back at the last seat at the back behind us. I heard someone shift where he looked. I couldn’t look to see who it was as it would give away my awareness of their furtive communication.
Then it dawned on me like a hammer: we were about to be carjacked!
I ignored the cold feeling at the back of my neck and my thudding heart and casually smiled at Penny and held her hand tenderly and told her she had nice nails as I reached for my revolver which I had tucked in the waist of my jeans trousers just above my right back pocket.
As I did so, I knew that whatever would unfold next, I wasn't going to get laid today. I winced in pain at the thought as my fingers wrapped around my gun. Fuck this shit, I thought as I did a quick threat assessment.
**To be continued**

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 Training Day 104: 10K Easy

I was set to do 16K while aiming to do it in under 72 minutes. When I did the first Km in 4:26, I was alarmed. The next Km was in 4:40. I knew I was screwed. My legs were shot. I had not recovered from the 40K last weekend. So I shelved the 16K idea and did an easy 10K.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thomas Campbell's Big TOE

I have just spent the last four or so hours going over You Tube Videos (link below) of the above after some cajoling by a colleague.

I am disappointed.
Thomas Campbell's Big TOE is his theory that there is a subjective part of reality that is consciousness that is a fundamental part of physical reality. He builds this 'model' around scientific terms derived from quantum mechanics and thermodynamics among others. The bottom line is that if consciousness is included as part of the equation, that will explain everything.

First of all, This is not a TOE (Theory of Everything) - it is Tom's own (woefully incomplete) perspective of reality. I say it is not TOE because he doesn't talk much about gravity. To be clear, the primary problem in producing a TOE is that general relativity (with gravity at the center) and quantum mechanics (with 'weak' forces and subatomic particles) are hard to unify. This is one of the unsolved problems in physics and a TOE is meant to explain 'everything'.
What Tom does is he takes the wave-particle duality problem in QM and uses that problem to posit some assumptions and erect what he sees as a model of reality that he markets as 'wider' and broader than conventional Physics. He calls modern science 'small' TOE and his theory a 'big' TOE. His is 'big' because it encompasses 'subjective' reality aka consciousness.
So, problem number one is that this is not a TOE. It is his own interpretation of consciousness. Yes, QM has problems explaining the observers place in the universe but that is not TOE. Even in Physics, we have Copenhagen interpretation, Many Worlds interpretation and so on and nobody claims they are TOE. Saying 'consciousness does it!' is not TOE. Its just lame.

Secondly, the worst part of it is that he works 'alone' - just him and his buddy. This itself is a red flag. Scientists dont work in isolation. This is how crack-pottery works when its pursuing loony theories. They (Physicists) were taught for three years by a mystic about OBE (Out of Body Experience)? Get outta here!

Thirdly, his 'experiments' (these are essentially surrounding OBE garbage), how they were conducted and their findings are not published or shared by him. This means that there is no evidence that he conducted any experiments.

Fourth, there is no mathematics. Where is the math? Where are the formalized equations of his so-called digital or virtual reality? This is not physics, this is metaphysics and philosophy. So Why the F is he going on and on about Einstein and Everett and QM? To hoodwink buyers that they are dealing with something 'scientific.' Which brings me to the next point.

Fifth, he has written a three part potboiler trilogy. This means you have to read all the three part series to understand his entire theory. So this is a money-making scheme. In his presentations, he basically says: 'Physics cant explain this because Physics has refused to accept subjective reality. I have explained how subjective reality fits into virtual models in my books. These virtual digital models can help us understand reality. Just read my books and you will see.' Now, this is just crap.

Mainstream science holds that evolution has no goal. He says Evolution has a goal, that evolution encourages development to greater states of being - profitable states. For consciousness, that goal of evolution is entropy(disorder) reduction. Now, this is just so value-laden and so unscientific that it doesn't need to be dignified with a response.

One more high-sounding garbage dressed in scientific terms that I have had to evaluate and dispense with. Five hours, gone.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Training Day 103: 18K

I went for 18K yesterday in the mid-morning. My ITBL is painful but I am ok. I am pleased by my quick recovery from Sato's 22K.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 Training Day 102: 22K Easy

I broke into my new shoes today. The grip is great. The cushioning too.
I don't have legs yet so it was a slow kinda run.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012 Training day 101:13K with 13X100m Strides

I wanted to hammer the strides hard. And I did. I believe my legs are opening up and my stride rate and length are increasing.
Stay active guys!
Jan_____wk1 N/A
________wk2 20+18+20 = 58Kms
________wk3 16+16+18+20 = 70Kms ..................(lower ankle pains)
________wk4 20(1:50)+20(1:53)+20(1:50) = 60Kms ...(fighting each Km - legs screaming)
________wk5 20(1:53)+10+10 = 40Kms......(Revert to moderate 21K @ Sato - no more fighting)
Feb_____wk1 21(2:05)+11+10(47:56:52)+6+10 = 58Kms (tight hamstrings)
________wk2 21(2:06)+14+12+7+10 = 64Kms...........(first sub 4 mins 1K!)
________wk3 21(2:01)+15+12+12+12 = 72Kms (Malaba, crazy intervals)
________wk4 21(2:19)+16+14+10+10=71Kms (recovering from intervals)
March___wk1 21(1:57:51)+18+11+11+11+11=83Kms (Kampala)
________wk2 21(1:56:39)+15+10+10 = 56Kms (PF threatens-recovering from 83K week)
________wk3 21(1:53:39)+19+17+12+11=80K (bad cold, health scare - tight PF)
________wk4 0Kms rest - with a flu
________wk 5 21(2:14)+15+13+16+13+12=90Kms (Mombasa - recovering and coming back)
April____wk1 21(1:56)+10+16(in 1:18)+10 = 57Kms
________wk2 21(1:47:25)+7K+16K (in 1:16:56) = 42Kms (ITBL injury)
________wk3 14+10+10 = 34 Kms (feeling great but pressed for time)
________wk4 21+7+16(1:14:43)+10=54Kms (ITBL flare, rain interruptions)
May_____wk1 22+17+15+14+16+12=96Kms (Arusha-nursing PF and ITBL)
________wk2 21+13+10+13=57Kms (ITBL almost healed, tight PF and some shin pains)

2012 Training Day 100: Easy 9K on hills

My calves, and all other tight parts are better. I have some shin pain too. But the ITBL seems to be on its way out. I hope to put in some serious strides today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2012 Training day 99: 12K with 5X 100m strides

The rain messed my workout but oh well. I wanted to do 12 X 100m strides. I was doing 100m in about 17seconds. My body feels tight. Glutes, hammies, back, lats, every part tight.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Shoes are Here!

Hot Damn. They cost me about $76+$56+$25(freight)=$157 in total. But they are finally here. I will use the Gel Venture3 for Running and the Gel Blur33 for flossing. Its a steep cost compared to the $30 I would spend on the used ones locally but its worth it since they reduce injuries and make my running experience more fun.
I rested yesterday. Today I want to do some strides. The sun is out so that is not a good sign: it may mean it will rain in the evening.
Here are the babies. This is the Gel Blur33:

This is the Gel Venture3

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012 Training day 98: 21K

It has been raining but the by pass route has been great. I did 21K in about 21:17. Yes, I was very sluggish but speed was not an issue. I just wanted the miles. The objective is to be strong, expand my gas tank, increase aerobic enzymes and blood capillary density.
PF is tight.

Friday, May 4, 2012

2012 Training Day 97: 12K in Arusha

Did 12K in the evening then stretched thoroughly. After 8Km, my bladder was close to exploding and I also needed to go for a big one. I tried but I couldn't hold it. I stopped running and started walking scanning the environment. I was gritting my teeth from the effort of holding it all in. I couldn't relax my muscles or everything was gonna rush out. There were either farms or homes on each side of the road. No bushes. No latrines. Gosh! WTF!
Then I got lucky. I spotted a latrine behind some shops and the door was open! There is a God! I jogged into it and could have kissed the owner. Damn. That was tough.
This was a solid week even though I may have misbehaved diet wise.
Progress so far:
Jan_____wk1 N/A
________wk2 20+18+20 = 58Kms
________wk3 16+16+18+20 = 70Kms ..................(lower ankle pains)
________wk4 20(1:50)+20(1:53)+20(1:50) = 60Kms ...(fighting each Km - legs screaming)
________wk5 20(1:53)+10+10 = 40Kms......(Revert to moderate 21K @ Sato - no more fighting)
Feb_____wk1 21(2:05)+11+10(47:56:52)+6+10 = 58Kms (tight hamstrings)
________wk2 21(2:06)+14+12+7+10 = 64Kms...........(first sub 4 mins 1K!)
________wk3 21(2:01)+15+12+12+12 = 72Kms (Malaba, crazy intervals)
________wk4 21(2:19)+16+14+10+10=71Kms (recovering from intervals)
March___wk1 21(1:57:51)+18+11+11+11+11=83Kms (Kampala)
________wk2 21(1:56:39)+15+10+10 = 56Kms (PF threatens-recovering from 83K week)
________wk3 21(1:53:39)+19+17+12+11=80K (bad cold, health scare - tight PF)
________wk4 0Kms rest - with a flu
________wk 5 21(2:14)+15+13+16+13+12=90Kms (Mombasa - recovering and coming back)
April___wk1 21(1:56)+10+16(in 1:18)+10 = 57Kms
________wk2 21(1:47:25)+7K+16K (in 1:16:56) = 42Kms (ITBL injury)
________wk3 14+10+10 = 34 Kms (feeling great but pressed for time)
________wk4 21+7+16(1:14:43)+10=54Kms (ITBL flare, rain interruptions)
May_____wk1 22+17+15+14+16+12=96Kms (Arusha-nursing PF and ITBL)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012 Training day 96: 16K in Arusha

It rained in the morning so I ran in the evening. I felt it after 14K. This is good. The ITBL is better. The PF is just the same.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Training Day 95: 14K in Arusha

Got a good road today. Much better. Managing PF and ITBL.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Training day 94: 15K in Arusha

Its rather cold and I don't know the routes. The roads are rough. Damn. Should I try the tarmac tomorrow?