Sunday, August 19, 2018

Love was a problem for me. It was a complexity I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need; a combination that had been denied to me by my vocation. In my third year of theology at the seminary I was yet to hear the voice of God calling me to serve Him.
Professionally, I am a soldier. The Chaplains’ Corps was the last army unit I ever thought I could be posted to after my graduation at the Armed Forces Training College. Father wanted to be a military ordinariate. The day he met my mother, he devoured the forbidden fruit and said “Go to hell God with your call”. Remotely, he still believed that it was God’s will he met Mother.
*
Sister Elizabeth of the Order of Mary the Immaculate Conception was passionate, outspoken, unwavering in her convictions. She listened to no one below the rank of God, and delved too much into the service of the church she loved.
Thoughts trundled in my mind like a train during the ride to Sr. Elizabeth’s convent in Nairobi. When I saw her, my heart whooped. She was in her seven-frilled habit, a snow-white veil swathing her head.
Sadistic, no, sexual, thoughts entered my mind. I wanted to peel every layer of her holy dress and make love to her.
I talked nonsense. Holy crap. The shock on her face was a constellation of her eyes admonishing me and her lips quivering.
“You can’t just leave,” she said.
“How’s so, Liz? I’m not going to live a lie for the rest of my life.”
“Victor, I can’t be with you. What you’re asking of me is impossible …”
“Impossible as it may seem, but I know you too want it. We both were not cut for this.”
“Remember I have taken my vows.”
“Temporary vows, Elizabeth. Temporary. That means you could change your mind any time.”
“That’s trifling with God, Victor. You can’t play trial and error with God.”
I wanted her back. She had once followed me, she could do it again.
“That’s ridiculous, Victor.” Her lips were trembling. Her face dull, devoid of emotions. Her eyes were like gunshots fired at the soul of my soul. 
“What are you going to do?” I asked her when I realized she no longer loved me the way I thought she did.
“Nothing. You know where I belong.”
“Let’s go then.”
“Where to?”
“To where you belong, start afresh the life we left.”
“You don’t understand. I now belong to the Church.”
I looked at her. “What?”
“You heard me. I am not leaving with you.” She paused. “People change. Life changes; but not for life. Vic, you need to live, but not with Sister Elizabeth.”
“Well, I would like to know now that you mention it,” I said.
“What would we, no, you, tell people?” she stared at me with glaring eyes. “What would you tell the parish, your family and friends, the Christians, and the Bishop?”
“You can’t tell people anything. They know too much about you than you do.”
She faced me. “Isn’t this some sort of brewery for sin, Victor? Don’t even try it. You are using the sword that would kill you.”
“God can’t kill me for leaving the seminary. Plus, there’re a lot of things we do not know, Elizabeth. This is one of them. There are others.”
“I don’t want to know about them, what they are.”
“No, you don’t,” I agreed. “Look, what do you want? An apology for telling you the truth? For telling you to break your vows? If I’m sorry is that I have not told you to be sacrilegious, heretical, blasphemous, or to curse God.”
“This is never going to happen, not with me.”
Don’t walk out on me, Liz.
“Look, Victor. Your leaving the seminary means nothing to me, and concerns me in no way. Everybody carries their own cross. Carry yours to God and tell Him that you did not want to be a priest because you couldn’t control your bodily desires. I have left my past. I live for today. The bible says we forget the past, our sins would be forgiven for those who repent, and our failures would be perfected.” With that she rose to go.
I stood up and blocked her way. “Elizabeth, stop being disillusioned. This wasn’t part of our plan. You just shut me off when you came here. What happened to us, Elizabeth?”
“What exactly do you want?”
“I want you. I need you because I love you.”
Were I firing a gun at her she couldn’t have reacted such smartly.
“I am sorry, Victor.”
A tight feeling rose from the pit of my stomach and blocked throat.
“I am sorry too, Elizabeth,” I said, my hackles beginning to rise. “You don’t see the depravity in your so-called church. Which is better: live with sin or in sin?”
“That’s not what you told me is why you’re leaving.”
“Well, it’s part of the bargain.”
She said nothing.
“Elizabeth, stop playing naive and blind. You know what I am talking about. You’ve seen it. All we’ve in the church is Romeo & Juliet garbed in albs and cassocks and frilled convent dresses.”
She was silent for a long period. “I am not leaving,” she said at last. “Period.”
I knew that her mind was made up. I took a step towards her and she stepped back. I put my hand on her shoulder. She didn’t pull it away. That encouraged me, but I didn’t pull her to me.
“Do you remember that day?”
“How can I forget?”
“What you told me?”
“Everything is as fresh as morning dew in me, but it’s all gone, Vic.”
We were in the convent chapel. I didn’t care when I kissed her. Her mouth was cold and soft. I smelt her hair, ran my hand through it. I kissed her cheek, felt the softness, salty with tears I hadn’t seen or known where they had come from.

Slowly, she pushed me away; her hands between us where I had felt the rubbery of her breasts on my chest. She stared at me, deathly pale, disapproving what I had done. At last she pried off me without even a word.
Liz, who do you think you’re? You don’t belong there. You’re just a fucking slut, not a nun. You were never a nun. Not chaste ... I thought as I watched her walk away from me.
*
“You are going back to the seminary, Victor,” my father boomed. “I am your father and I know what best is for you. You’ve got no right whatsoever to question my stand on certain issues. My mind is made up.”
Who the hell does he think he is?
My heart palpitated as adrenalin coursed through me. I stood up, halted before him and gave him a mock salute.
“Even my mind is made up,” I said, and with that I about-turned and marched out.
*
We were huddled in bed, cuddling. Mariah Carey was singing to us We Belong Together. Her cell phone rang and she picked it up pronto. Her expression changed as she screamed in joy, laughing. Whoever the caller is must be making her ovaries go off like fire crackers, I thought as a pang of jealousy stung me.

“Guess what, babe?” she said when the call ended.
“Honey, you know me. I’m not good at guesses.”
“Come on, babe. Try pleaaaaaaase …”
It’s a trap. Never try it. So I didn’t fall for it.
“It’s Val, babe,” she said. “She’s coming over. She’d stay for some time.”
“Wonderful. She’d even help you with the shopping and all.” Being dragged to our wedding preparations was the last thing I wanted. So, the prospect of someone else being there for her was my exit from the whole brouhaha.
She giggled.
“And watch her like a hawk, I am not ready to be seduced by your best friend.”
She gave me a light slap on my arm. “I believe in you. You’re not that slippery. Moreover, Val can’t do that. I trust her, I know her well.”
Valerie was Elizabeth’s best friend. We all came from the same ‘hood; grew up together. Valerie was the kind of friend parents warn their children not to keep. ‘She’ll teach you boys,’ Elizabeth’s mother told her. But Valerie and Elizabeth were inseparable. The beating and the castigation didn’t separate them, then Elizabeth’s mother stopped trying to keep them away from each other.
My father was a good friend of Elizabeth’s. They were more than just business partners—they were Brothers, had influence in the church all the way to the Vatican. Rumours had it that they were Freemasons. Dad was a good friend of the Pope, it was the Pope who allowed Father to marry. Insider information had it that the Pope was even considering allowing priests to marry, but Dad was not patient to wait for the time to come. For all he knew, it could be black smoke from the Sistine Chapel.
Elizabeth and I grew up together; our families shared moments: birthdays, religious and national holidays, family prayers. When our parents went to Rome on some church errand for the church in Kenya, they took us with them. My most memorable moment was when Pope Francis took Elizabeth and me in his arms; he was so strong for his age. I cherish that photo to-date.
Elizabeth was her family’s candy, and the lily of our family. Mom loved her so much that it hurt she did not have a daughter of her own. When we came of age, Mom and Dad fought: she wanted me to be a family man, to continue the family line, perhaps with Elizabeth, Dad wanted me to fulfil his military ordinariate dream. However, I had set my eyes on Elizabeth.
After high school, Elizabeth went to the University of Nairobi. Dad got me into the army.  
It was the shock of my life when I was posted to the Chaplains Corps, the first ever General Service Officer in the history of the Kenya Defence Forces, all Dad’s doing. Priests join the army when they are already serving priests as specialist officers and undergo a four-month basic military training course.
The Chaplains’ Corps sent me to the seminary. I said goodbye to Elizabeth. She cried a river. “Wherever you’ll go, I’ll follow you,” she told me. I doubted she would join the convent, but she surprised me.
I was not meant to be a priest. Many are called, but few are chosen. I had a serious chat with God. We agreed He could as well make use of the ones who were joining it to make money. So, I left. I asked Elizabeth to go with me—wherever you’ll go, I’ll follow you, she had told me—but she refused.
So, when, a year later, she called me and told me that she had left the convent, I welcomed her back to my life. I’d had other women in my life, flings that didn’t mean anything, but none took me to the heights Elizabeth did.
Valerie and Elizabeth worked together at the Nation Media Group: Val was an investigative reporter with the Daily Nation, Elizabeth was an anchoress, with NTV.
Now that Elizabeth and I were about to wed and Val had moved in with us, I watched them closely. There was something strange about them: they did not seem get enough of each other.
In the afternoon of this day, Elizabeth’s Buick and Val’s Honda were in the garage. I cursed the senseless fiend for invading our privacy. The front door was locked, so I used the back door. As I entered, two floral bikinis caught my eye on the sunbathing decks at the swimming pool. Soft music played in the house and I was immediately aroused.
Halfway up the stairs to the bedroom I heard low soft moans and whispers. The door was ajar.
I came to an abrupt halt and peeped, hypnotized. 

When I couldn’t take any more, and before I made a mistake I would regret the rest of my life, I mentally counted from one hundred backwards. Stealthily, I snuck out as I had come.  I half ran half walked to my car and drove to nowhere in particular. I needed to think.
At last I made the decision: Val had to go.  
I ignored all the signs, the signals. I’m such a fool.
When I arrived home later in the evening, Liz and Val shone like diamonds. Dinner was served, and we ate, ambivalent.  
I wanted to go to bed early. Liz said it was OK. “I will join you later, babe.”
No way. Not today. I wanted to be with her. I reached for her. Time to go, babe.
“Good night, Val,” I said.
“Night too, lovebirds.”
“And Val ... ahem … I think Liz and I need some privacy,” I said. I squeezed Elizabeth’s hand. “I mean, give us some space because you know we’re planning to wed soon.”
Valerie’s face turned from bright to dull in a fraction of a nanosecond, but I pulled Elizabeth before Valerie could say anything and went to our bedroom.        
“I’m coming back. I want to talk to Val,” Liz said once we were in the bedroom.
Not this time round. I am the boss.           
“You are going nowhere!”
“What!? If that’s what’s in your mind, Val is going nowhere.”
My heart skipped a beat.

“She goes, I go with her,” and with that, Liz stomped out.

Friday, May 18, 2018


The duty of law enforcement is lawbreaking, a circle of silent assent. Constable Charles Luigi Luiseno made the startling discovery too late.
Despite being the lead agency in the war against drug trafficking, the Anti Narcotics Unit, established in 1983 within the Kenya Police, is like a cabal within the Service.
The call connected. “Go ahead, Charlie. Nice to hear from you,” her voiced mellowed on the other end. “Any action?”
“Not really. I’m calling to ask for a favour.”
“Why I’m I getting the feeling that this is more than a favour?”
“You always were right about me.”
“But you never worked hard enough for us. You and I …”
“Are worlds apart, I know. It’d be strictly business, Cindy.”
After a long pause, she said, “Okay. When? Where?”
“You tell me.”
She chuckled. “You have changed, Charlie. My house? After work.”
Charles surveyed the room when he entered her lavishly furnished living room, paced up and down, his eyes caught by photos he had not left.
“How are you two faring?” He asked pointing at a photo of a man who was stifling a smile when it was taken.
She ignored the question and sat opposite him after offering him a drink.
“So, what can I do for you, Charles?”
“Cindy, I need your help. I have been assigned the case you were working before you’re promoted …”
“Yeah, I know. What do you want me to do? I’m way past that, remember.”
“I know you how hate the streets. I am not asking you to go out there with me. All I want is info, your sources, contacts, anything to give me a start.”
She pouted her lips, looked at him. “The most abused drug is heroin, commonly known as Brown Sugar. Cocaine’s there too, liquefied, commonly known as the White Wine, or just whites. Heroin, the most abused drug comes from Afghanistan. Of late Kenya is not only a consumer but also a processing hub, and the largest in East Africa for that matter.

“Once this heroin arrives, there’s this elusive drug syndicate in the city that we’ve tried for quite some time to nab. The drug lord, too, is a ghost.”
“I really appreciate this,” he said and took a sip of his drink.
“Something else, there’s this newly opened Sugar Company in the city. Yeah, Bammy Sugar Company. I have been checking it out. Most of its sugar is exported. Have you ever seen it in our shops? That’s it. This sugar is exported mostly to Pakistan and Mexico. Yeah, I know it’s not well known that Mexico is our business partner. This company blends the heroin they get from Afghanistan with the sugar. The Brown Sugar. That’s how the drug is muled out of the country.
“You’ve seen the sachets of this powder drink called Dextrosol? It’s Brown Sugar. Go to the slums and the bars and pubs there. You won’t fail to see Dextrosol stocked. You’ll ask what the hell is Dextrosol, kids’ stuff, doing in a pub? Just ask for poppy or any other name like kiketi or mzigo. You’ll have your Brown Sugar. One packet goes for around one hundred shillings, and can be taken by mixing with drinks or injection.”
When she was done, Charles hoped that he would do his best, the little he could, to rid the streets of Nairobi of drugs.
***
Charles lay in wait in an unmarked police car at the rear of a grimy street bar. The bar was the place hedonistic souls thronged to be mopped on the face by different shades of booty. Shapely girls in provocative lingeries, others at different stages of undress, or completely naked, entertained the clientele gymnastically on poles. It was also the place Brown Sugar was sold in wholesale.  
A dealer would go with several sachets, apart from those stocked in the bar, and stay at a room that smelt of stale beer mixed with urine at the rear of the bar near the cloakrooms. The dealer would go to the bar, take a customer’s beer order and squeeze some Brown Sugar into the drink at his OR and then take it to the customer.
Through his night vision binoculars, Charles saw a boy, not more than fifteen, go in and out of the bar, come with a bottle, put something in it and then duck in again.
Charles calculated his moves. He had to get the boy, or whoever it was, with the Brown Sugar.  
Charles waited for a few minutes and saw the boy come out of the bar again and make to his operating room. The boy had a bottle in his hand, and a girl trailing right behind him. The girl went to the ladies and a few minutes later emerged coughing uncontrollably.
The girl went back to the bar while the boy sat there in the dimly lit corridor that led to the back door.
Charles knew that it was time for him to move. He started towards the bar, whistling, with a story in his head. As he neared the back door to the bar the boy was smiling at him. “Unataka kichuri?” the boy asked him and added, “Hata gwai hiko.”
“Hey Mzeiya, mi nataka mzigo. Hiko?”
The boy got into the room and told him to enter. In a black polythene bag he removed two sachets of the drug and handed them over to Charles.
Charles got into his pockets as if to get the money for the cargo, but he fished out cuffs instead. All he wanted with the boy was information. He would let him go.
The subject handcuffed and his bag of drugs with him, Charles hustled the boy to the unmarked police car.
***
A year into the Anti-Narcotics Unit and there was a surge in drug seizures. However, it was not clear whether that it was as a result of better law enforcement or an increase in trafficking through Kenya. The drug lord was still a ghost, and there was an upsurge of Brown Sugar abuse on the streets.
One the day he joined the rank and file of those who do nothing but watch the system get rotten, he was the second-in-command of Operation Kingpin. At last the ghost had been gotten.
The commander Operation Kingpin gave the signal for the Task Force to move in. Charles was in charge of the main raiding force.
Hardly had the commander finished giving his hand signals when Charles’s phone rang. He glanced at the ID. Cindy. Dammit. But it was already late.
“Hello, Cindy.”
“Charles, we need to talk.”
“About what?”
“Brown Sugar.”
“Hey, what’s the matter? We’re going to ...”
“Corporal, tell your commander to stand down!”
She hung up before he could say anything. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

When other brains were discovering nuclear energy and launching revolutionary mobile money transfer systems in Kenya, I was thinking about sex.

“Welcome home, dear. You are tense, and look tired,” Lilibeth observes. “Would you like a massage?”


“Not now, Lily,” I say as I lean in for a kiss.

“Of course, sir,” she replies, and her status light turns from bright green to amber. She goes to the kitchen and leaves me to my machines, the screen in front of me showing the images of the son I never showed how to be a man, and a daughter I never protected from the world.

The emptiness in my heart is like a tornado, the numbness pounds my brain, and tears cloud my eyes. The shear nothingness takes hold of my soul and threatens to engulf me entirely.

One day I might grieve for my wife, but first I would have to be convinced that I meant anything to her. But for now I hold every memory of her back. Instead, I grief for my heart and the pain she caused me, a hurt that snowballs as memories from our failed marriage ambushes me.

“Supper is served, sir,” Lilibeth tells me.

I come back to earth and devour the scrumptious meal. The TV screen mounted high on the wall in the dining room shows me what awaits me after supper, whetting my appetite.



I wish she could eat.

I clear the table after eating, and let the machine do the washing.

Lilibeth is waiting in the bathroom, the bathtub full to the brim.

Her hands are like rubber on my back, every pore of my body coalescing into fluidness. Faint and far away, I hear: “God, you’re so beautiful. I love your body.”

I imagine my wife saying such words. Not in a million years.

“I want you to try the new Rapture pill, G. You will like it.”

“Then you’ll remind me to contact my physician if the orgasm lasts an hour or longer,” I say. “God, that’s not practically possible, Lilibeth.”

“Trust me,” she says. When she leads to the canopied four-poster bed and pushes me down, I go into a dream.

This is where she gets real wet, incredibly wet, for me. I issue the command ultrasonically and close my eyes for the ride.

Hours later, cuddled together like teenagers, I whisper, “I love you, Lily. Love you to bits.”
And she, “Feelings are like temperatures: attraction is warm, curiosity is warmer, and anger is boiling. Hate can torch, but it can also freeze. Love ... well, that’s a temperature best left under neutral.”

***

Lilibeth is my creation. I created her, from silicon. I customized her according to the traits I found appealing, with pre-programmed personalities like shyness, adventurous, wild, and others that I wanted. Put it blatantly: according to my idea of an ideal wife. She likes what I like, dislikes what I dislike. She has moods just like a real woman. She can be sleepy, conversational, or she can ‘be in the mood’!

And that’s how my company, Maisha Raha Ltd., came to be.

 “If a woman (sic) can have a vibrator, why can’t men have a sex robot?” I asked one of the moral police crusaders during a live TV interview.

“Because that’s not the plan God had for man,” replied my opponent, a prosperity Gospel pastor.

“There are many disturbing aspects to the rise of sex robots,” another one interjected. “Replacement of real, human relationships, for one; but that’s not why I’m against them. They portray subservient female traits, the rapey connotations of making a move on them, are the most concerning. Women rights are under threat across the globe, men have moved from ‘grabbing them by the pussy’, and now sex robots? It is women under attack here.”

Jeez, feminists will never lack feminist shit to say.

“That’s the same reason my marriage failed,” I said. “Women always thinking that men force themselves on them. Till such time women realize that the pashmina that holds marriage together, according to men, is sex, as men have known that women need emotional connection, marriages will always fail. And it has nothing to do with subservience …”

“I disagree with you,” the pastor said. “If you base your marriage on bodily desires it will fail.”

“Sex is a powerful union between two souls, a deeply spiritual act that bonds two people who are committed to each other. It builds strong relationships, keeps our souls healthy, and our self-esteem high. That’s what I yearned for from my wife, but she didn’t give it to me,” I said. 

“Let’s be logical here,” I continued. “Even in the Bible it is written that it is better to marry than to burn with passion. See, if Jesus didn’t think sex is important He wouldn’t have had a lover …”

“Blasphemy!” screamed the pastor.

When the conniption cooled down, I continued, “I agree that these sex robots are not a mere fetish or just another sex toy. Their emergence and increasing use points to something darker and deeper within our culture, a retreat from the ideal of marriage and the real reasons why a woman and a man decide to live together. Blame it all on the wave of feminism and the so-called ‘women empowerment and rights’ that has ravaged the world ...”

“Yes, times are changing, but a dreadful sign of the doom looming for the era we are living in. And many people aren’t weird or offensive until the free market gives them the permission to be so. Gilbert, you were not like this before the evil idea of satisfying your bodily desires consumed you, saw a ‘business’ opportunity, and began selling your sinful products to your ‘sophisticated’ clientele to drag them with you to hell,” the pastor was not stopping his pontificating.

Well, what I did not say then was that despite their increasing popularity, thanks to my advertising, sex robots were alien to consumer culture and many men would rather contract STIs from prostitutes than buy my geloms.

Maisha Raha aims to create sex robots as much of a physical likeness to actual women but with more intelligence (albeit artificial) as technologically possible. My bots feel human to the touch, they mimic the movement of a real body, get real wet, and can talk to you nicely than women nowadays. The good thing is that they cannot break up with you, or walk out; no independence or anything that may disrupt the fantasy of total servitude. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Interview by Benson Macharia of the Kenya’s newspaper, Daily Nation.
Vincent de Paul is an author, editor and founder of Mystery Publishers- a self-publishing platform with editors from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
He spoke to Nation.co.ke about his journey:
What was your inspiration to become an author?
I developed an interest in writing while in high school. I was inspired by the urge to right the society and revoke vices through my writing thus I participated in national writing competitions. I wrote the article titled “Stop Child Labour, School is the Best Place to Work” for a competition that was organised by Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION) in 2003 and was among the top five winners. Ever since then, I have not looked back.
How long did it take before you published your first book and what were your biggest challenges as an aspiring writer?
From the time I finished the draft of my first book in 2004 while still in high school, I spent seven years before I published it, First Words, in 2011 which is a collection of poetry. The book had won the 13th Nairobi International Book Fair Literary Awards in 2010, which were organized by the National Book Development Council of Kenya.
The biggest challenge was to get a publisher to publish the book in Kenya.
I knocked doors of all main stream publishers in Kenya but they rejected the manuscript—they said Kenyans don’t read poetry and that they wanted a book they could sell to schools.
A year later, I gave up on looking for a publisher and a Facebook friend from the USA introduced me to self-publishing.
Read the full interview HERE.