Ebelebo Blues

Ebelebo (sea almond tree fruit) Image by Kitchen Butterfly
Ebelebo (sea almond tree fruit) Image by Kitchen Butterfly

In a bid to return to my fiction roots, I present here an old flash fiction piece I submitted to a friendly writing competition with my Nigerian friends. Seems a little apt given the present political climate in Kenya.

The distance was still the same but the road had certainty changed. Stubborn potholes had borne new clans and the grassy hillside had crept forward to reclaim old territory.

Blessing turned away from the tinted car window and concentrated on his notes. As he started to cross out a sentence, the driver sharply swerved to avoid two potholes determined to form a trench. Blessing loudly swore at the jagged line cutting across the neatly typed print. Just then, his phone rang.

“Why didn’t you tell me how much this place had turned to shit? Just as well we didn’t use the chopper. Those damn peasants will demand more than a few kobos this time,” grunted the caller before cutting the line without waiting for Blessing’s response.

Blessing quietly put aside the phone and notes and looked outside the window again. He tried to remember when the ebelebo trees had last boasted of fiery red leaves. Was it that long since he crushed the nuts to happily devour the pulpy fruit? When did they become bare branches, a multi-limbed plea to the heavens? And why did the rows and rows of mud and rusty corrugated roofs seem to have sagged lower since he left 10 years ago?

“We’re here.”

The driver’s voice drew him out of the revere. Blessing hid glistering eyes behind dark sunglasses as he jumped out of the car with two heavy suitcase filled with 50-naira notes.

He followed closely behind his Governor and the burly security guards who pushed back the sweating and cheering masses. The noise was deafening but Blessing kept his eyes to the ground. He hoped that his clansmen had forgotten him, the emissary who lost the fire in his belly.

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