the only answer

Written by Michael Onsando

“No you can’t do that! It’s my turn to have it!!” Kenny screamed. Fighting with Jenny seemed to be the one thing that always happened no matter what. It seemed that every day and every night it was an argument about one thing or another.

“No fair!” went Jenny “You had it last time!” back and forth this little argument seemed to go. So much so that the noise was infuriating, fighting all the time, she couldn’t stand it any more. “Shut up!” Silence. The echoes died down, the issue fought over dispersed. “Now play nice or else.” Silence. Awkward silence but silence none the less she feels at peace now. At least they aren’t fighting.

Brian had a headache. The stress seemed to be getting to him. Somewhere between juggling work, school and a family life he also seemed to have time for mind boggling migraines every once in a while. It was as if a hammer was pounding on his head constantly and harder and harder each time. He looked at his watch, 14:25 he only had two and a half hours to survive. Readjusting his specs he tried once more to focus on the blurry figures on the computer screen. “Just two hours” he kept mumbling to himself while trying to balance out the credit and debit columns of his accounting spreadsheet.

His mind wandered. Lucy, the kids and his parents were the reasons why he had to do this properly. They were all counting on him. They all needed him to balance the figures out perfectly so that he could get a raise and pay for his little brother’s university tuition. But why did he have to do all this? Why was all this responsibility shoved upon his broad shoulders?

He was only 24 but looked and felt like an old man. He had to stop somewhere. Maybe he should just run away from it all. Find a nice comfy tree and hang himself, okay not hang himself, pills would work better. But, how would he keep his friends from finding out that he was suicidal? Evil thoughts, lead to evil deeds, lets expel them from our minds. Brian focused once more on the blurry screen. The numbers weren’t adding up. The world was a swirl. Somewhere between the medicine-induced high and the pain, he was flying. He looked at his watch, 14:27.

“Stop it!”

“Meany!!!”

“Dumbo.”

“Dumbo to the power of dumbo head”

“Well, well, your face!”

They were at it again. Kenny and Jenny were at each other’s necks tugging and pulling as if it was a race to see who could pull out the other’s carotid artery faster. They weren’t always like this. There was a time when they lived like proper brother and sister in unison on most, if not all matters. There was a time when peace reigned supreme. Then the pressure started mounting on them to perform. They grew constantly irate of each other and nothing would go right. This however was the worst fight they had had. They were on the verge of blows. Enough is enough. He decided to put an end to all this fighting once and for all.

On the walk home Brian could barely keep his feet off the ground. He was certain that people saw him and thought he had had one too many to drink. How could he have been drinking during the day? The Mututho laws saw to it that he couldn’t. He didn’t care any more though he walked with a mission, a man with a purpose. He knew exactly what he had to do and he was going to do it. Forget what the world said he was going to follow his dreams. He stabbed his toe on an overgrown root and fell face first to the ground. Curses.

“Idiot!”

“Baby!”

“I’m not a baby!”

“Yes you are. Ng’ee ng’ee”

Yes this had to stop once and for all. “That’s it!! You are going to bed! Now!”

“But…but” finally they agreed on something. Too bad.

“No buts! Now!”

Dragging Kenny and Jenny to bed. She tucked them in and left the room.”But but but” No protests were to be listened to. The only way that they would be silent is if they slept. thats the only way peace would prevail. She shut the door, correction slammed the door, “bang!” and went to sleep on the sofa. As she drifted off to sleep, she wondered why the floor was wet.

The police and ambulance arrived just in time to pronounce him dead. Lucy was frantic. His parents, silent. The neighbour who heard the gunshot and called the cops just sat shaking in a corner rocking back and forth. He had found the pistol, the one his father used to own, in the cabinet where it had always lay stashed. His father cursed himself for not getting rid of it. Now his first and only son lay dead, in a pool of blood, with a smile of contentment on his face.

Read Michael’s poetry here and prose here

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention the only answer – Wanjeri -- Topsy.com

  2. we! Nakwambia Michael you have mixed mixed me… Its like one person is seventeen in one up there…, you know, like Marcus and Olang… Let me go back and read again…

  3. I think this is the first Woozie short story I have read. This blog sleep over is an even better idea than you guys might have imagined!

    I like the pace and the setting of this story. I also liked the suspense at first but then at the end I thought there were too many questions left unanswered. Alter egos… Yes but I feel the characters who are meant to bring that out are insufficiently developed.There are gaps that instead of addingto the mystery add to my confusion and Jacque’s. Why does Brian look drunk on the way home? Why the wetness on the floor- Ok because someone is dead but who, what, why? Suicide? Murder? Whose? Is it that he can hear Jenny and Kenny arguing while he is at work?

    I have read it again but I still don”t get it, even with the theme in mind.

    I do like the style though.

  4. Maybe this will help.

    Jenny and Kenny are the voices in Brian’s head. “She” is his conscience. their arguing is him having a headache. When she(noun not pronoun) puts them to bed and bangs the door… gunshot hence the emphasis on the bang. Water on the floor is blood. There is only one character in the story Brian the rest exist in his head. The only time other actual people come into play is in the last paragraph.

    Trying reading it again with that in mind.

  5. hahahah.. Michael you should be arrested….you are not allowed to mix us up like that… I don’t know if Id have managed to unbreak the pieces to add up to that..

  6. :) now i feel blonde… which is bad for my colour….. Mike… kudos…. read this piece last week couldn’t piece it together and am glad I came back back and found your response!

    It went very well with the theme though.. talk of multiple egos…

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