Monday, September 23, 2013


'Blackwings' - That's what we call them where I come from. The little harbingers of doom, circling around you in the deep of the night. As you lay down to prepare to sleep, the little monsters flit by nonchalantly, singing their song of death in your ears. At first we were deceived by the allure of their voices. It took a while, and several fallen comrades, to learn to associate that hypnotic sound with impending disaster. They whisper false assurances in your ear while they inject you with hell-fire itself. The next day, as their bitterness takes its course in your blood, you start to feel like your insides are on fire, and yet for some strange reason, you seek the warmth of the sun, if only to burn the wickedness out of you.

It affects people differently, this poison. For some, it's little more than dizziness. For the most, it involves long days and nights in the infirmary.  Our physicians did all they could to restore the health of the afflicted, but there was only so much they could do. The Darkwings just kept coming. We did not know from whence they came, or where they went after spreading their death. All we knew is that we were fighting a battle we could not win. We needed a chance against these monsters, so they sent me. They sent me to travel the world and find a lasting solution. to find their one weakness and use it against them. It is those travels that have led me here.

I'm wearied. I have traveled far. I have traveled long. But my resolve to end our suffering is greater than my physical limits. I come to a land that was once afflicted, but they found a way to beat the Darkwings. In this land, they even tell jokes about the critters. I wish my people would get to this point. I am not a man of science. Nor am I a sorcerer of any calibre. But thankfully, in this land, they understand the language of death and suffering at the hands of the Darkwings. In this fight against them, we are united as brothers. It is my hope that these brothers will share the secret, and teach our people how to win this fight. It is my silent prayer that having come this far, I shall not go back empty-handed. A failure in my own society's eyes.

I go to the chief. I go and narrate my ordeal to him, as he listens with curious intrigue. It's been a while since this land had fatal cases of this curse. I tell him we are but a humble lot, unlearned in the ways of the future. But we are willing to embrace the new, if only to save our comrades. We have suffered enough to see that being firmly set in our ways will not bring out the best in us. The change is scary, but the curse has forced us out of apathy. The chief smiles, and pledges to offer his assistance. An unfamiliar warmth reaches my heart. A smile sneaks onto my lips. I realise that I can now rest easy. I give them a map. it is obvious that I'm weak and spent from my journey. I was not going to rest until I had an answer. Now, my baggage is taken from me. As I faint from the exhaustion, and take my ease in the promise of rescue, the chief leans down to my face and says, "After we're done rescuing your land, you will tell stories about how the Darkwings were stripped of their power, not by science or sorcery, but an unfailing hope in a greater power. When that time comes, you shall no longer call them demons. Like we do here, you shall call them a pedestrian name, 'mosquitoes'."

Monday, April 8, 2013

6 wacky ideas on how to (fully) relax...

A lot of us dislike Monday mornings. I don't know all the reasons, and 'because it's Monday' is not a good enough reason to dislike it. I dislike Monday mornings because even though I generally stay in on Sundays, relaxing and whatnot, I still get to Monday feeling exhausted, and not bright and chipper like my boss expects me to.

I would have titled this article under my "Black Monday" series, but I've since lost the rights to that. I ran the risk of my light-hearted post to be a reflection of the dire straits our economy is in. There's plenty of writers for that kind of shtick. So, as I (theoretically) kicked back on a Sunday evening, I thought to myself the things that would bring me total relaxation, both of soul and body. Tried massage, only worked for 10 minutes. Here are a few tips that might tickle your fancy.

1. Eat ice-cream while watching Tom and Jerry. 'Well, Safyre, there's lots of cartoons out there that are funny. Why T&J?' Well, there's barely any dialogue to pay attention to. All you have to do is watch and laugh. The ice-cream is just to keep your hands away from your phone. So make sure you have lots of it. Also make sure boss is out of office for lunch, if you think of doing this at work.

2. Go to the beach. Not exactly wacky, but think about it. Sunday isn't exactly a beach day, is it? Well, waves have that calming effect that most often puts old people to sleep. Try one of those deserted beaches, not the ones with hoards of barely dressed youths frolicking about, getting a 'tan'. Eat some fish while there, for it is just wrong to go to a beach and eat chicken, or rolex. Didn't your mommy teach you not to be disrespectful?

3. Light five candles, and try to put them out, kung-fu style. It involves thrusting your palm/fist up to the flame, stopping just short of it. The resulting force of the wind from your hand's motion should be enough to put out the flame. It looks simple enough in the movies. It can be done at home, right? Yeah, try it and get back to me. Just try not to be too enthusiastic and set your house ablaze, okay? Good.

4. Go to a house party, and try to dance alone on the 'dance floor'. Not as simple as it sounds, but the objective is to relax, not to care who's watching. Anti house parties these days aren't what they used to be. These days people be at parties whatsapping and tweeting about how much fun they're having. Just dance. Heck, do the Harlem Shake. You'll be surprised how uplifting a silly dance in front of people can be. If you're a guy, doing it in high heels is even better. Trust me.

5. Look at photos of kittens. Yeah, so what if you're not 'exactly' a cat person? What is it about cat pictures that you don't like? Pictures! Those little critters can break a smile onto the most battle-hardened faces. Doesn't matter if you're a dog lover or a mafia hit-man. You can hardly look at one without going all mushy inside, unless you're a dog. No offense, but dogs won't be reading this. For them, it would be like going through a lunch menu.

6. Sit on the floor and fold baby clothes. "But I don't have baby clothes, let alone a baby!" Well, find a friend/relative who has, dummy! Something about miniature clothes that is surprisingly fascinating. Don't look at it as a chore. Think of it as a show of love to the little one(s). If you have the taste for it, you could iron them before you fold them. In fact, you should probably iron them first, then fold them. Baby stuff has a tendency to subtly demand someone's full attention. Oh, and make sure baby is nowhere near you whilst you perform this service. That would be counter-productive.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Breaking up is never easy... I know!

Breaking up is hard on most people, more so those friends without benefits that are stuck with weeks of hearing sob stories and offering shoulders to heart-broken parties. I guess they have a good stock of shirts to waste. Those of us who wash our own clothes know how stubborn salty water stains can be on clothes. Speaking of which, why do people even have such friends? And how does someone even allow to be such a friend? For you, you're main role in their life is to be the one they complain to, knowing very well that you can't do squat about the situation. I think there's a proper name for such slugs. When I remember it, I will tell you.

When a break-up occurs, you don't get a termination letter from the lady in HR. You don't get two warning e-mails from your supervisor. You don't even get an appraisal or a letter of recommendation. All you get is a fresh list of colourful names to add to your vocabulary... and maybe a healthy number of torn/burnt clothes. Depending on how skillful you are at negotiating terms. The customary "What can I do better to change your mind" is met with an equally sarcastic answer. Just allow. You took a wrong turn, and you're elbow-deep in a mud pit. You could as well start molding pots to pass the time.

As all of you know, breaking up is never easy. You and your breaking up partner have to be on the same page, or else this happens.

So, it's very important that you first get your (soon-to-be-ex) partner up to speed on developments. That way, at least they won't wonder where this is coming from. Also, this is for the guys. Never, ever, break-up with the girl/guy (what? things have changed) from your own home. Do it at his/her place, or some other neutral ground. Not only do you remove the chance of falling back also save yourself money in form of unbroken furniture/utensils/electronics/pets... Yeah, we know how crazy people get when you suddenly take away 'their precious'. We need to tie the loose ends.

Should you need a wing-man to help facilitate the break-up safely, remember to be on the same page. The friend has to help maintain your side, not question your motives or jeopardize the mission. Friendly fire cannot be tolerated.

One last tip. If you successfully carry out the break-up, the ex-partner is likely to blow a fuse. It's not a good time to bring up 'look on the bright side' anecdotes. He/she might cry some more and totally mess up that new t-shirt you just got from their replacement. But if the now ex-partner still looks sane, run! No, idiot! Not in a straight line. Try running like you're fleeing from a swarm of bees. Oh, maybe you might find yourself actually fleeing from a swarm of bees, but you get the idea. And if you hear a faint metallic 'click'... don't freeze! Just keep running, making sure you duck behind cover as soon as you can. Angry people usually don't have good aim. Er, at least I hope not. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Don't fight the funny...

There are those days when you remember that the events that happen upon you each day are sometimes out of your hands. That's about the time you remember, too, that you probably shouldn't be trying to drink soda while zooming through Kampala's midday traffic on a boda boda... Unless you want to be splashed in the face by said drink or you want a sharp beggar snatching the bottle out of your hands. It's not that bad actually. You can use the soda to wipe the bemused look from your face.

The days when, despite being an accomplished driver, you drive the car like a newbie. The days when you don't seem like the gifted poet that you are. The days when a simple task suddenly becomes a burden of gargantuan proportions. You feel incapable, weak, and downright pitiful, for such a talented human being. The days when you simply aren't in the zone, and you feel like someone stole your mojo. You feel like setting out to find the guy responsible for your apparent loss of focus. But such quests normally demand a huge meal and a good night's rest beforehand. Okay, at least a good meal.

You start to think that someone somewhere is having a laugh at your expense. Sure enough you see him. The office colleague who notices that you buttoned your shirt all wrong, and left your zipper down. And it occurs to you that you've been like that for most of the day. At this point, you either run away like an ostrich to find some sand to bury your head in, or continue nonchalantly like it's someone else's problem. But people have laughed, and they've laughed at your expense.

You hope that the day gets better, but hope is not enough. And fate is not done with you yet. Forgetting your wallet and house keys in the office, only realizing this when you've reached the taxi park. Several things could happen, but at the end of the day you're probably thinking that whoever is in charge of your day seems to have a twisted sense of humour.

The joker who holds all the cards...

But, on the bright side, you can go back home, sit quietly in the dark and tell yourself that if everyone else had a good laugh because of you, why shouldn't you partake in a bout of healthy laughter as well? After all, anger is a poison and laughter is an elixir. You could hum that classic tune 'Don't worry be happy'. It sure adds a little sparkle in an otherwise dull life.
Next time someone laughs at you, laugh with them. Don't let them spoil the fun for you! Life is not a big joke, but it is funny in the right places. Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to see... A nice big smile!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fille noire

The picture bears a stunning resemblance to one of my current relationships.

She was the most awe-inspiring creature I'd ever laid my eyes upon. She had the countenance of a goddess and the figure of your wildest dreams. She was free, free from the burden of guilt that many of us carry when we think we've done things. She was free, like a rabbit, in a field, filled with tulips. Room to run around expressing herself in tantalizing ways not fit for the faint-hearted.

The city was cruel, it was unforgiving, it was filled with both the tough and the deadly. The cowardly slithered into gaps and crevices where they wouldn't be trampled upon by the more aggressive denizens. Many of her kind lacked the courage to slug it out in the filth of this wretched society. Heck, most men didn't either. It was a classic dog-eat-dog world. You either ran with the pack, or got out of the way.

She wasn't the sort of girl that ran in a pack, and she wasn't cowardly either. She had a mind of her own, and did what she saw fit and justifiable in her own twisted sense of honor. At least she had a sense of honor. That's more than I can say for the lot of them. To her, it was all just a game, and she alone knew the rules. To tussle with her meant to be forever lost in a maze of excitement that brought no real joy, a web that meant you were just the day's dinner.

She had a smile. That smile could turn stone into dust. Even the most resistant hearts softened in the kind embrace of that smile. Time seemed to slow down when you were near her. Whatever she said sounded like a distant whisper, to which you could only agree. Her voice sounded like a maestro caressing a harp from within your ears, sweet and sensual. When she spoke, you felt all your self-restraint just melt away in the warmth of her soothing voice.

When our paths crossed, I was instantly aware of the strings pulling away my resolve. I thought I'd be the one to tame this tiger, but alas... Tigers are better left wild. A fact I hated to admit was that she was an accurate reflection of my own troubled psyche. We were similar in more ways than I cared to name. Still, there was no need for this...'attraction'. But she was oh-so-gorgeous! But I knew better to think that this thing could last. I knew that we were set on an inevitable collision course, and on that day of reckoning, "One of us must be found in the wreckage."