By her third week there, June had already noticed the tall Maasai boy who would walk in every evening with the others, ask for three or five ‘chapati-chomas’ (thin strips of chapatti drowned in bean soup) or even sometimes ‘chapati-mix’ (chapati and an assortment of boiled beans and black-eyed peas with a dash of onions and salt) then sit alone at a corner where he would quietly ravage through the meal before asking for a cup of water.

Then he would drink two or more cupfuls, pick his machete from the floor and leave.

He often paid in coins. And didn’t talk to anybody but his few friends.

Unlike the others. They liked to flirt, and more so when they were in their numbers like a pack of hyenas, would attempt to grab the waitresses’ breasts and buttocks, much to the laughter of their friends. Not once would they make snide remarks about how girls in Nairobi were overfed; their big round behinds and plump bosoms as testament.

“I want you to join my wife Shipai in Narok. She has no buttocks… but she’s a good cook and can slaughter a bull with her bare hands. That woman can feed a village.”

This was among the proposals she was used to hearing on a daily basis.

But by now she was used to this. She had seen worse. Her last job was at a tiny squeezed bar in Masimba. An immensely popular watering hole with the local Luo community from Kayole, Mihang’o, and Komarock, there she was known as ‘Jaber’ and her unusually protuberant derriere was their personal drum. They would slap it, pound it and squeeze it (much to her chagrin, initially) until they had gotten their fill, and then it was the newcomers’ turn. An unending cycle.

Nonetheless, she didn’t quit her job because of the sexual harassment; it was one of those things that came with the territory. Once, she was forced to watch as one of her regular customers, a big spender, pinned a fellow waitress on the washroom door before forcefully jamming his thick oily fingers up her squirming vagina while his other hand fondled his thick bulging member. Luckily, this was only as far as he went before joining his contemporaries back at their table and continuing with his drinks as if nothing had happened.

The victim quit the next day after incessant crying and complaining to Njeri Gathirimo the manager, who was reluctant to do anything to redress the situation. “Do you see just how much money they spend? How do you think I can afford to pay your salaries? If you can’t handle it… just go home and find another job. Even I, started where you are. Believe me, I have seen worse!”

It was not this lax attitude towards their grievances or even the delayed salaries that made her quit.

COVID-19 did.

Tips dried up. Most of their heavy customers ran away (time and again with unpaid bills which would be deducted from the waitresses’ meagre salaries) and as if this was not enough, the police would habitually arrest them for contravening curfew orders and parade them as prostitutes by the side of the road before fleecing them of all their day’s earnings.

She got tired of getting home hungry and broke because someone took her money.

Twice in the last month, before she quit, she had been forced to stroke the caretaker’s sinewy penis in the corridor so that he would let her back into her own single-room which was locked because of piled-up rent arrears.

That quick hand job in the middle of the night with her face turned away, was the last stroke she needed to quit and get another job at Macharia’s eatery in Nyando, Kayole.

He paid one hundred and fifty shillings a day if you could last a shift from 5:00 am in the morning to 10:00 pm, when the curfew was rife and the streets reeked of teargas.



“Dan…” she called out his name for the first time in an attempt to initiate a tête-à-tête.

Either he didn’t hear, or he chose to ignore her because he continued chewing his food in huge mouthfuls as if nothing had happened.

Determined not to be ignored, she walked over to his table and sat across where he was seated. Only then did he lift his eyes from his plate and gazed them intently over her with hostility. He held her glance for a fleeting minute or so and immediately sensed that she had come to engage him in conversation.

“Daa–” she started before he interrupted.

“Get me a cup of water!” he demanded as he scraped the floor of his plate with one of Macharia’s twisted spoons, all the while chewing vehemently. She rose up, picked one of the plastic mugs, and filled it with water before she returned, placing the mug in front of him on the wooden table with flaky blue paint, and took a seat.

Immediately she spoke. Surely, he couldn’t interrupt her this time.

“Dan… where is Edu? Your friend, the one who usually accompanies you.”

He stared at her, studying her as he took his last chew then picked up the mug of water. He drank in huge gulps then noisily placed it back on the table before shouting “Another!”

She did just that, then joined him again.

“Dan? Dan… Your friend Edu forgot to pay me yesterday. How can I get ahold of him?  Do you even understand Swahili?” she asked once he was finished with the second cupful.

Slowly, he answered in a surprisingly eloquent tone that didn’t have the heavy Maasai accent that characterized his friends’ speech patterns.

“My name is not Dan.” He firmly answered, picking up his machete which had slipped out of its leather sheath, ready to leave.

“So, what is your name?”

“Lodiany.” He answered as he walked towards the door after placing forty-five shillings in front of her, all in coins.

“Okay. What about Edu? Where can I–”

“I don’t know. I am not his father. Wait for him. He will come.” He whispered gruffly, now a tall silhouette standing at the door, illuminated by the streetlights from outside.

Then he left.



When he first came to Nairobi, he worked at a construction site in Rongai. It was grueling work but nothing he wasn’t used to back at home while tending to his uncle’s cattle. Often, when he was not at school, he would trek many kilometres to-and-fro to find leafier pastures, as more and more of their grazing lands got encroached by big-city developers, keen to make a killing from the arable land that lay indolent in Kajiado.

It was not the same Ole Kejuado he grew up in.

But neither was he.

Things had changed. He now had responsibilities and obligations that surpassed any kind of duties he grew up with. Where formerly, he could squeeze in time for a weekend rendezvous that involved hiking the rolling hills for hours before swimming at his favourite spot in a muddy pool seemingly in the middle of nowhere, now, all he did was work, work, work with no restitute.

And when he could afford a moment’s shuteye, he dreamt of the slothful ageless hills, and the gently rolling plains that whistled as the winds blew past them in a place he once called home.

His mother’s bubbly, kind face haunted his memory as his brothers and sister reminiscences tugged on the soft strings of his heart. He wondered whether his beautiful sister Nyambura Koinet had found a suitor and where she lived now. He had no father to speak of or to miss, but his uncle had filled that gap perfectly.

He couldn’t believe that it was he who once ran without stopping from the only place he belonged. It was not his choice entirely, but he was none the wiser under the circumstances.


They first did it in the cattle pen where the young calves spent their nights.

The way he remembered it, it was a quick and terribly awkward few minutes followed by a rushed instance of release as her mother called out her name furiously.

“Silantoi! Silantoi! Why are the children playing with fire while you frolic around?”

He had just brought in a few of their goats and sheep that he had taken with him for grazing on their family’s behalf when he found her feeding one of the sick calves in the pen. It suckled on a plastic bottle

As he reluctantly unsheathed his long veiny member from her soft warm insides, he noticed a thick ring of blood, some of it clotted lumps that had caked at the bottom of his phallus, right where it attached to his torso and balls. It was still throbbing and jerking around, excited to release his celestial load of semen that would be the next generation of Maasai warriors from Ole Kejuado.

She immediately turned around to face him, her eyes watery with pain and passion, as hot tears danced around her beautiful brown eyes, waiting to roll down her delicate cheeks. Her lips were parted.

“Diany… Aanyor oleng.” She confessed her love for him, not once breaking his gaze.

Unsure of what to do, he lifted one of his very rough and dirty hands, placed it on her cheek and caressed it gently. Immediately, a stream of tears gushed down her face and onto his hands. They were warm and affectionate, almost to the point where they burned. Or so he imagined.

It was one of those few moments that he felt like he had finally found his place on God’s good earth.

“Ashe taa…” he started. Other than at childish games during Maa festivities, he had never been with a woman before. He didn’t know what it meant to love a person, but the warm feeling flooding his veins felt like it. He wanted to pour out his heart to her but lacked the words for it.

Just before he could speak any further, Silantoi’s mother appeared, looking vexed and impatient. Immediately, they separated and sprinted their separate ways hurriedly, like wild rabbits.

“Who was that Silantoi?” he could hear her mother shout as he jumped over the thorny shrubbery that surrounded their homestead’s enclosure.

He ran all the way home, without stopping even once.




It was cold outside and the morning draughts were blowing steadily across the Kajiado plains rushing to somewhere only they knew. They raucously rattled a piece of tin sheet that had detached from its hold and the resulting noise was enough to wake him. He wanted to get out of bed but he felt lethargic. Besides, it was too cold.

As he lay there, one eye open and the other staring at a spider that was preying on mosquitoes close by, he heard a riotous crowd approaching from a far. It was odd, but nothing unusual so he just ignored it.

But the more he did, the closer the crowd got. He could hear mumbled voices of familiar voices that sounded aggravated by one thing or another.

Only when they were close enough to the point that he thought they must have gotten in their compound, did he rise up from his bed, push a few sheep out of the way and approach the door to take a peek.

No sooner had he gotten there than the door was kicked ajar in his face, pushing him to the ground.

“He broke our goat’s leg!” a few huge men shouted before descending on him with slaps. Wriggling around, he tried to escape their hold but they were strong Maasai men who were angry. Lodiany had learnt this before; there was nothing more formidable than a vexed Maasai warrior.

They thrashed canes, whips, blows and kicks across his torso, some tearing flesh while others broke bones. He thought circumcision had prepared him for pain but in that moment, he realized that he had never been as scared or in more pain.

He contorted his body into a ball awaiting for the blow that would finally strike the breath out of him. He couldn’t open his eyes because his face was covered with his own blood. He was also afraid they might want to gouge his eyes, so he hid his face from view.

Amidst the fracas, he could hear Silantoi’s sweet voice crying and begging them to stop. The last thing he heard before he passed out was his uncle invoking an ancient Maasai oath that meant that if the melee did not cease immediately, heads would roll.

Disappointed that an elder was going to stop them, someone in the crowd clubbed Lodiany’s head with a blunt wooden object and that was the last thing he remembered before passing out.

“He broke our goat’s leg!” a few huge men shouted before descending on him with slaps. Wriggling around, he tried to escape their hold but they were strong Maasai men who were angry.

— The morning that changed home for Lodiany

When he awoke, every part of his body was in pain. He couldn’t feel his genitals.

He was lying on a pile of ashes in their kitchen, close to the fire. Only his mother was awake, staring at him mercifully. He tried to lift his head up but she rushed to his side and pushed him to lie down again.

“Get some rest. You need your rest as this is not over yet.” His mother said in a kind voice that did not sound even one bit angry.

“Why? I did not deny what I did…” he whispered through clenched teeth. Even his jaw hurt.

“It’s more complicated than that. You know Sila is not just any girl. She is the chief’s daughter. Still in school… which you refused to continue with. She was also betrothed to Risona Lemayian the former senator’s son. Those are two very powerful men whose interests you have harmed.”

“So? She chose me…”

“She’s a child. A scatterbrain who doesn’t know what she wants. She could choose a goat for all we know…”

“I am not a goat. And I am ready–”

“Shushhh boy! There are still people outside baying for your blood. It’s been two days of begging them not to kill you.” His mother beseeched, rising from her seat to join the crowd seated outside.

As he lay there, staring at the grass ceiling coated with soot, every part of his body pulsing with pain, he realized that he was no longer welcome here.

That night, when they had gone to sleep, he limped from where he had laid all night, grabbed a few coins from his savings box, and then sneaked out.

Thinking someone had heard his footsteps, he mustered all the strength he could and started running. And ran he did, until his home was just a distant hill in the horizon.

All his life after that was a long run that never ceased.



Her second name was Waitherero. June Waitherero.

He only learned this after several weeks of visiting her at her single room in the wee hours of the night when only dogs and cops roamed the perilous streets of Kayole. He would proceed to rap at her window severally and like clockwork, she would automatically let him in through the window with no grills.

Needless to say, passionate sessions of lovemaking would follow.

She had an insatiable appetite for cock. Her legs would remain parted, her hips gyrating up and down until the first few cocks had crowed announcing a new dawn. Only then would she let his own cock retreat back to its resting place.

Most times he would immediately rush back to work before anybody could discover that he was missing from his night guard post at Three Rings Hardware, the biggest of such in Kayole Junction.

So far he had not encountered any incidents but there was still the risk that someone might try to break in. The stock in there was worth millions, a figure he found hard to wrap his head around.

“Stay with me a little longer.” She begged one night after a long session of passionate lovemaking.

“You know I can’t. There’s this thing I do called work…”

“Today is our second month anniversary.”

He laughed.

“Why are you laughing?” she asked also snickering and pushing her nipple into his mouth. “Gently. They’re still sore…”

His answer was inaudible amidst the sucking and fondling of her huge breasts.

“Typical of you girls to keep count of such things. Who cares anyway?”

“I do,” she answered, half moaning, half whispering. “You know I love you Diany…” she said suddenly from the blues, catching him by surprise. He even stopped whatever games he was playing with her breasts.

“You only love my cock. I know you Nairobi girls…” he retorted.

“Not to sound rude but you’re not the only man with a cock in Kayole. Or even a big one at that…”

He shifted, rising up from the mattress they lay on. He was quick to anger and would never take disrespect from any woman. He was a Maasai warrior and would only be treated as such.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry Diany. I meant what I said to you… I love you.” She begged, now on her knees, her hands wrapped tightly around his torso. “Please don’t go…”

She pulled him back to the sheets and snuggled tightly around him.

“I want you to stay with me. I love you so much. Let’s just spend the night together.”

“You know I can’t. If my employer does not find me at my duty station tomorrow, I’m fired.”

“Okay, I understand. But do you love me too?”


“Say it…”

“I love you.” He finally pronounced those words that he never congregated enough courage to say Silantoi only a few years ago. Surprisingly, when he said it, his mind flashed with memories of her.

She hugged him fervently, implanting thousands of tiny kisses all over his face.

“You don’t know just how happy this makes me feel…” she said, smiling in the dark.

She hugged him fervently, implanting thousands of tiny kisses all over his face. “You don’t know just how happy this makes me feel…” she said, smiling in the dark.

— When Diany told June that he loved her.

It was Sammy who introduced him to the business of selling condoms, cigarettes and marijuana to night revellers.

Paradoxically, the first time he met Sammy, Lodiany denied him access to the premises. Only after he had learnt who he was did he profusely apologize to him but he didn’t even seem to care. It was this Sammy that was the one and only infamous son of Mama Sammy, the owner of the very popular and ubiquitous Three Rings Hardware that had a presence in the ghetto areas of Kayole, Pipeline, Kariobangi and Utawala.

Unlike his prim mother who drove around in a Landcruiser Prado TX and wore expensive-looking jewellery, Sammy was a sure confirmation that sometimes the apple could fall and roll very far from the tree.

Vulgar nonsensical tattoos were emblazoned all over his flesh, from his neck to his fingers. He was also known to adorn a few silver rings on his hands, a single silver chain on his neck and a golden tooth, evidence of the hard-core street hustler he was.

No one knew what he did. Or where he lived.

When they finally got acquainted after a few run-ins (mostly when Sammy came to quarrel with his mother or beg for money), he sat with Lodiany one evening as he publicly smoked a stick of Marijuana after closing hours.

“You know, you could make a few extra coins if you opened your eyes a bit wider. My mother pays you peanuts.” He said as he spat carelessly. “She banks over a million every single week. How much do you make?” He smiled, flashing his golden tooth which sparkled in the dim light outside. He tried to pass over the Marijuana but Lodiany declined.

“I’m listening.”

“Behind my mother’s hardware is an entire row of bars. The people who go there are looking for two things. Alcohol and Sex… Okay, three. Alcohol, drugs and sex.” He said, counting with his fingers. He continued, now pointing at his glowing stick of marijuana. “You see what I’m smoking, a stick costs fifty shillings. Sometimes even a hundred. Do you know who sells them at night?”

“I don’t know…”

“Damn right you don’t, you daft Maasai! Because no one does… The last person who used to do that was me but now I have other… more important things to do.”

“Take these,” he said reaching into his pocket, pulling out a few rolls “I’ll give you capital to start off. Go to the pharmacy across, but a box of condoms, some gum and an assortment of cigarettes. You’ll thank me later.”



Normally, at these wee hours, no one would be walking around so it was easy to take a snooze without being too worried. Instead, he was seated there smoking a cigarette and thinking about June who had mentioned that she would be visiting her parents for the weekend, so he need not come. During cold nights like this, he missed her luscious warm flesh terribly. He had no phone yet, so he had no way of reaching her. So he had to wait until she got back sometimes next week. For now, he would have to maintain his night guard duties as usual.

The curfew had made his job overwhelmingly simple since no one was walking

It was therefore surprising when a slightly inebriated young man approached him and asked for condoms. Even more surprising was the fact that he was alone. Who was he going to use them on?

“I haven’t sold those since the curfew,” Lodiany answered. “Who told you I sell?”

“Never mind. What about Marijuana? Got weed?”

“No! Step back. It’s three in the night. I don’t want any trouble.” Lodiany shouted sternly. He had started to smell a rat.

“Relax Maasai! I only want condoms… and to rob this hardware.” He said then laughed hysterically. Like as if it was a joke only he could find the humour to.

Lodiany couldn’t stand it. The hairs on his skin were already standing resolutely, tense that the situation might escalate further. He grabbed his machete from its sheath and flashed it at the young man who now raised both arms. Still laughing. The fact that he was still standing there scared him even further.

“You weren’t supposed to be here today…” he started.

“I work here! Leave now before I call the police.”

“I know, I know… But you were supposed to sneak off to where you go in the middle of the night. Now I’ll just have to…” Immediately he pulled a pistol from his jacket and pointed it at Lodiany. “…Shoot you!” Without warning, he whistled and out of the blue a gang of two more masked men appeared, wielding machetes.

“Lie down Maasai! Bloody fucking!” they screamed.

Lodiany had never been as scared. He had been warned by his fellow Maasais: Never fight the man with the pistol, no matter how brave you think you are. The graveyards of Kajiado and Narok were ridden with bodies of Maasais who felt valiant enough to fight bullets.

He dropped his machete and lay prostrate on the ground. He wasn’t going to be the hero tonight.

“Good dog!” one of them whispered underneath the mask that somewhat muffled his speech. His voice sounded distantly familiar. They walked past him and started unlocking the door. They smelled of alcohol and marijuana and were obviously high from the rookie mistakes they made: they forgot about him when they got to the door. It was at this moment that he suddenly decided to play the hero.

In a jiffy, he picked his machete from where it lay near him and pounced on his assailant. The one with the pistol was the first casualty as the machete made a clean slice through his arm. A chunk of flesh dropped to the ground and rivulets of blood started splashing all over.

His second strike found home on one of the masked assailant’s neck and lodged there. As he dropped to the ground he screamed “Lodiany, you son of a bitch!” then started convulsing as blood shot from his neck.

He panicked when he heard his voice.

“Sammy?” he called out shell shocked.

“You’re dead motherfucker!” he said, his hand applying pressure to the wound.

It was in this moment of distraction that a steel knife pierced his flesh and steadily pushed into his back. Then it was pulled out and pushed back in.

This time, it found his buttocks and his whole lower torso got numb.

Determined not to die today, Lodiany pulled out a small dagger he had always carried and jammed it into his assailant’s chest.

Then they both fell to the ground.




With his hands covered in his drying blood, Lodiany dragged his feet all the way to Nyando, where June lived. She was the only person he could trust under the circumstances. It was an arduous journey getting there, with his blood steadily dripping and his eyesight slowly failing him.

He was extremely drowsy, out of breath and thirsty.

But he had a feeling that when he got to June, he would be safe. She was his haven and all his hope for survival was pegged on her. He was not going to leave her tonight. He loved her. How he wished to be back in her arms again.

When he got there, he tersely but loudly knocked at her window, sure that she would hear him with the first attempt. She didn’t. And so he knocked again and again. Only to realize that the house sounded rather hollow. Like as if there was nobody. Tired of waiting he smashed his bare hand through the windowpane only to be met by an empty house, swept completely clean.

He checked and second-checked himself.

Clearly, he was at the right address but no one was here. June was long gone and the house had been swept clean. But since he had come all this way, no need to turn back. He opened the window, lifted himself up and slid through it.

That was the last bit of energy that he had left in him.

He dropped onto the already-dusty floor like a sack of potatoes and just lay there. He was cold, so he wrapped himself with his Maasai shuka before he slipped into Morpheus’ arms.




That night, he dreamt that he was a little boy perched upon his father’s shoulders and together they walked across the plains of Kajiado trailing their cattle, warm winds caressing their faces and lithe torsos while offering relief from the sun’s heat.

Not once did the bright smile on his face leave him.