Tap tap

A tap on the shoulder is chilling on any street in the city in the sun. Now imagine a double tap followed by silence when you are trying to urinate in a lonely downtown alley two hours past midnight.

Is it the dreaded Kanjo? No, I would have seen that screaming yellow with the eyes at the back of my head. You know, those eyes every lower primary school teacher claimed to have.

Is it the boys in PCEA women guild blue? No, my briefs would already be readjusting themselves into a thong. The streetwise call it ‘kupigwa jack’ but I’m just a village boy in a city alley.

Is it a mugger? No, it would be unprofessional of them to mug me twice. But if it really was one, then they had not seen my shoe-less feet and the torn t-shirt caked in mud.

Tap’s grand reveal

I could have kept on running the guesses in my mind had my alley companion not cleared their throat. My slightly inebriated self shook my (not head) and spun around.

Our eyes met. Then nothing happened for a while because neither of us blinked nor spoke. I finally lost the death stare, a blemish on my perfect record for the year.

What do you want, lady?

She just kept on staring into my eyes. This lady in the night, definitely not a lady of the night. Not in her tight denim pants, sneakers and baggy jacket. Her face I’ll never describe for reasons found at the end of wherever this is headed.

I just want to talk about the poem you wrote me.

What poem? I’ve never written any lady a poem. (Confused guy in alley)

Yes you have and I liked it.

I’ve only written three poems; on death, sanguinaccio (mutura) and history. I see none of them here.

I’m too young to be history and not dead enough to make mutura. Where does that leave us?

Shit, this is a crazy dream. I am out with death in a downtown alley. I need to wake up before I piss the bed, if I haven’t already.

Oh boy, it’s real. I’m real as can be. You had something to say in your poem. As such, it is only fair that I respond.

Look lady, I’m just a slightly drunk victim of a mugging pissing on a wall. This is my reality and…

She touched me and that marked the end of our conversation in the alley.

The Conversation

The location shifted faster than my imagination when I’m trying to avoid a task at hand. Back to whatever dimension the lady was in, I found myself seated across her. We were in a pub that played smooth jazz. I was beginning to like this dream. Maybe even enough for me to humor ‘death’.

So, Death, what would you like to speak about?

I sensed a lot of bitterness in your poem.

Anyone who isn’t bitter with death is either a serial killer or some other sort of psychopath.

Fair enough. What do you have against me?

Khaleed Hosseini said that theft is the sin-in-chief from which all others are derived. If so, then my lady, you are the superlative of sin.

You’ve just paraphrased ‘The Kite Runner”. A great book by the way. Maybe we’ll form a book club when you cross over. Why am I the superlative of a verb?

You steal souls, dreams and livelihoods. Tear glands and finances are drained because of you and the means to you. But I think you are guilty of an even greater sin; arriving whenever the hell you want! And there is no greater agony than living on borrowed time.

Don’t worry, today is not your day.

Then I can comfortably say Valar Moghulis in your face. (The cocktail death ordered me seems to be making me braver)

Death smiles at my joke. I guess if my delivery was better she would have postponed her imminent visit to a favorable date. Preferably never.

We go deeper

Hey come back to reality. I exist because an endless life would be boring. Furthermore(teacher mentioned earlier on is proud),not knowing when lets you live fully.

I used to constantly fear you.

Now you don’t?

Not since I observed the lives of people who have a nonchalant attitude towards you. People with the oldest spirits you’ll ever see and the youngest laughter you’ll ever hear. They flirt with you in ways only people who re living their lives to the fullest can. To them, you’re a definite end undeserving of any thought until you come. (Transcribed from the thoughts of Senior Chief)

Wow, so I can just come for both of you at any given time and you would be okay with that?

Yes. Although that does not mean I am totally fearless. It just means I live with you in the blurry background.

That is not a nice thing to say to a lady.( She chuckles at this point)

I pick up a napkin and write Death a note;

I wish to put you on trial in the human realm. However, this is an absurd wish. There is no sense in trying you for crimes that warrant being sentenced to yourself. Therefore, I’ll just say F&%k you.

She read my note, laughed and told me I should be waking up soon right after her final question.

What would you want your epitaph to read?

I don’t want a grave. I’m claustrophobic.

Come on, just humor me. (gentle tap of the table)

A gentle giant whose presence in the shadows was always felt.

Lukos Enigma Maximus out(of my mind sometimes). Oh, and I did not wet the bed.

Writer’s note

This is me trying to give the voices in my head. On that note, I recently acquired a useless Bluetooth earpiece. It is the companion on those solitary walks that saves me from the stares. Those stares normal people give to the stranger talking to themselves.


EMAIL : shemlukoye@karavic.com


  • Stephen

    I love this piece man!!!

  • Cindy

    Sophisticated read😊…Love it

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