Friday, 4 May 2018
The Holmes Gene
Ok guys so my story was shortlisted and picked to be among the first EVER Analogy series of short stories from the Coast of Kenya by Coastal Writers. It was published awhile ago but I thought to share it with you still. I mean, for a guy with a blog, it's kind of a big deal 💃💃💃💃 ahem...Anyways here's an excerpt of it. Might be good, might not be as good. If it's the former, be sure to download that PDF to complete it 😉 Now, back to business.
"The ocean wavered, transferring its energy through gentle crests which crushed against the coral
below us. The sound of the crushing waves fused with the cheerful laughter from my friends
harmoniously. I zoned back in to the energy of my friends as they cheerfully tell stories, sipping away at
their gahwa beneath the residential storey buildings shading us from the setting sun. The buildings gave
way to a cemented patio that stood just at the edge of the corals with a railed ending; this made up the
coffee joint. I loved my gahwa as sweet as they come.
It was our favourite spot in Kibokoni where we'd have coffee after parkour practise runs near
Fort Jesus every Friday evening. We made considerable progress that week so the coffee and visheti were
super sweet. We just about filled the joint, whiling away the time with snacks and stories complimented
with a view of the ocean. The eye-catching English Point Resort gazed at us from the other side of the
ocean. The stories kept us there even after our cups were dry. They were good stories.
“Nisave na hiyo kikombe bro,” a lanky, light-skinned guy around my age said, pointing at my
empty cup. He had sharp cheek bones, brown-framed, thick lens glasses which he kept pushing above his
nose and messy, black hair.
I smiled as I handed it to him but he never looked at my face. He put it in the small bucket half-
full of water by his side and begun arranging the other cups to create more space for the rest. As he sorted
away a few etres beside me in the rather quite packed joint, I glanced at the notifications on my phone and
realized it was time for Maghreb prayers. I bid my friends goodbye and headed for Baluchi mosque.
Listening to the imam's beautiful voice leading the prayers was a superb way of ending an equally
Approaching the main road, I heard someone calling behind me. Initially I thought that it wasn't
meant for me but the urgency in the call made me turn around. I turned to see the lanky guy from the
coffee joint running in slow wide steps as he struggled to hold his oversize pants to his waist while
pushing his thick glasses back to their place.
I grabbed my track pockets to see if I had dropped my phone but it was there. He finally got to me
and bent over to catch his breath for a few seconds.
“Asalaam aleykum bro!” he said, still panting.
“Waaleykum salaam warahmatullah,” I answered.
“I just wanted to ask if by any chance you practice parkour and free running,” he continued.
“Yeah, ata we're from training just a while ago hapo Fort Jesus,” I said
“Oh maa shaa Allah this is so great!” A wide smile came over his narrow face and he continued,
“I've been practising a little pia but I never had anyone to practise with.”
“Sucks, right?” I said. “We'll be here for practise tomorrow. Feel free to join us,” I added.
“That would be awesome wallah bro. What time?”
“Usually tunaanza after Asr prayers but you can come earlier nione how good you are then
“How's 3 pm?” he asked.
“Yeah, that'll do great,” I said, feeling like an accomplished athlete.
“Ajeeb bro,” he said gleefully.
“Can I have your number?”
We exchanged our numbers and I gave him my names. He started walking back to the joint and I
announced, “And what should I save you name as?”
“Twariif!” He yelled back as he back-peddled. I smiled at the thought of being a teacher of my
favourite sport for the first time.
The adhan sounded from all over Kibokoni and so I started again for Baluchi. I wanted to make it
to the first row in salaah and get every rakaah.
I didn't want to be late for my first lesson so by half past two in the afternoon, I was in the matatu
waiting for the driver and conductor to be satisfied by the scarcity of passengers on a Saturday afternoon.
It was one of the slowest matatu rides I‟ve ever heard in my life especially since I was determined to
break my known reputation of coming late to important events. I was so anxious to make sure I don't
keep my first student waiting. Looking back at it now, I wish I had the time to savour the full tide ocean
as we crossed the bridge into town.
After multiple stops and waits, we finally arrived at my stop and I started for Fort Jesus on foot.
What started as a pacing walk turned into a slow jog after I realized it was five minutes to three. On the way there I thought of the beginner moves he might have known already and which moves we'd train that
day. My first student, I thought, smiling. I caught sight of a homeless man staring at me with a smirk on
his face. I nodded backed at him as if to tell him that I respect him for all he‟s been through and I
sympathize with him; even though I couldn't assist with his situation.
I jogged past the last corner to the park just in time, expecting to see him waiting in anxiously. He
wasn't there. I put down my string bag and warmed up as I waited for him. Good thing there weren't a lot
of people on site so the weird stretching had no attraction value at this historical site.
I collapsed on the grass after trying to go for a leg split. What in the world was I thinking, I
thought silently laughing away the transcending pain. My breath slowly steadied as I marvelled at the
humongous blue sight of the sky, extending its signature convex nature to the edges of my view, its
glassy depth emanating from the heights as it settles in still beauty, its majesty so pronounceable yet
never seeking the attention of anyone or anything. Just existing in its own natural beauty. It was peaceful.
I slide my phone from my pocket and switched my view to its screen,
Nineteen minutes past three.
I opened my contact list as I sat up and selected Twariif's name for a message.
“HEY, WHERE ARE YOU AT? WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES TO STICK THE
My gaze fell back at the ocean which never ceased to amaze me in its beauty. Stray thoughts cut
at my fabric of sanity with questions about who I was, what I meant for people and what my purpose, my
calling was in this broad world of digital dementia, stereotypes and identity crisis. This was the curse of a
wondering mind; the unravelling of nothing but the harsh realities that surround every border and will of
our dreams and the definition of our lives that vary everyday like the combinations one can use to solve
the Rubin's Cube.
I wasn't ready for that roller coaster today. I put my phone in my string bag and set it aside. Let's
start flying, I thought.
Parkour is my second love- those single moments when you execute a vault
perfectly and you feel the air moving alongside the adrenaline coursing through your veins as you float
for just a fraction of a second in the air as the crows glide around you, clueless in their search for food,
totally unmoved by your poor attempt at flight. There and then, it is just me and my world…
Continue this story here by downloading the PDF of this analogy and discover the Holmes in you & more wonderful stories from the Coast 😊