Friday, January 30, 2009

Lost Friends

I hadn’t opened my curtains to look outside since I saw that crazy mob and their bonfire last week. It doesn’t help that I keep hearing that man with the megaphone delivering venomous speeches to get the people riled. I wish someone would shut him up. Not me mind you. I’m not one to stir the pot.

Eventually my curiosity got the better of me, and I drew back the curtain just a smidge to look outside. This time I saw tons of people just milling about, almost twice or three times as many as last week! I didn’t even know there were that many people living in this part of Kijuju to begin with. I don’t think they’re foreigners given Mr. Sunglasses’ disdain for them, but God only knows where they’ve been hiding. I wasn’t too focused on the individual faces in the crowd until I saw one that made me shout out in surprise: It was one of my old drinking buddies from work! I haven’t seen him since he and some other guys were “transferred” to another work site. Every time I asked my boss about them, he just gave me the old runaround. Now I see one of them here of all places. I so wanted to open up my window and call out to him and say, “Hey, let’s go get a drink – my treat!” but I didn’t want all those other people tagging along.

At night the crowd dispersed so I thought I’d check out the old watering hole we all used to go to on the off chance that he or any of my other former drinking buddies would be there. The bar was in complete shambles. I had no idea that fight a couple weeks ago had completely demolished it. Now that I think about it, I heard that the owner had been killed during the melee. Poor guy. That’s probably why the bar had been ransacked as well. There wasn’t a thing left in there that wasn’t broken. Every last bottle of alcohol had been cleaned out.

I turned around to go home. You know what they say: Never fall in love with a bar. I should have heeded that advice. Now I have no bar and no friends and no woman. Worst of all, I don’t even have anything to drink.

As I started to walk away, my foot kicked something hard. I bent down to pick it up. It was my lucky day. I had stumbled upon an unopened bottle of whiskey! Today turned out to be better than I thought it would be. I’m sitting here enjoying the spoils of my little expedition. Anyone else drinking as they read this?

Friday, January 23, 2009

OK, Now I’m Scared

I was awoken early this morning by some ruckus outside. (I really hate being woken up before my alarm clock goes off.) Kijuju is always noisy in the morning because everyone is usually up and about by the crack of dawn. I’ll never understand that. This morning I didn’t hear the usual hustle and bustle that always grates on my nerves in the morning. I heard shouting, angry shouting. I reluctantly got out of bed to see what all the fuss was about.

What I saw I don’t think I’ll ever forget. This was a hundred times more bone chilling than seeing that dead dog. There was a mass of people in the assembly place, and they were stacking these sacks of God-knows-what in the middle of it. I saw a black viscous substance oozing out of some of the sacks. It wasn’t oil. Blood perhaps?

When the pile was about two meters high, that guy with sunglasses from the bar the other day came out and started speaking through a megaphone. I don’t think “speaking” is the right word. It was like his words were fire and he was spitting them out. I couldn’t make out what he was saying clearly (too many people shouting, not to mention my heart was beating in my ears), but I heard him spew out words like “justice” and “celebration of death.” The hair on my neck stood on end every time I heard him say “death.”

The crowd was riled up good, but then I saw them clear a path as a man carrying a torch made his way toward the pile. He set it alight and the whole mob burst into cheers. I never thought people cheering could fill me with so much dread. It made me shudder. As the fire consumed the pile, one of the sacks rolled off the top. The fire had eaten through the sack, and the thing inside it fell out. I couldn’t make it out clearly, but it looked like the body of the butcher himself! Just what in the name of God’s green Earth is going on around here!?

I quickly pulled my curtains shut and ran back to bed. I only worked up the nerve to write up this post after I was fairly certain the mob had dispersed. Needless to say, I won’t be making an appearance at work today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tear in My Beer

I’m sorry for not giving you any updates sooner. I’ve had so much stuff going on in my life lately that I haven’t had a chance to post. Remember the blonde girl who was slowly falling in love with me? We’re now on a first-name basis, and her name is Allyson. I thought it was awesome that both our names begin with an A!

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Kijuju is getting crazier, even borderline dangerous. I met Allyson at our favorite watering hole for a few drinks. I thought things were going well: She was having a double whiskey and I was drinking the mini-barrel of beer. I was enjoying myself (How could I not?) when some guy I’ve never seen before starts talking really loudly. He was wearing sunglasses, and he kept slamming his beer glass down on the table while he talked. Actually, it was more like shouting. He kept saying things like “Foreigners should be thrown out of our land!” and “We will take back our town!” He was spilling beer all over the place! Allyson kept giving me the eye as if to tell me I should go over and say something to him. I would have, but I didn’t want to leave my beer unattended.

In the corner I saw I wasn’t the only one watching this guy. That creepy butcher had his eyes glued to the shouting man. Then out of nowhere I heard someone yell “Shut the hell up!” and a bottle went flying through the air and all hell broke loose. Pretty much the entire bar just started to brawl, so I grabbed Allyson’s hand (or did she grab mine?) and we ran for our lives!

I ran with her back to my place since it was nearby and she lives all the way on the other side of town. (Pretty smooth, eh?) We got back to my place, and I tried to hold her hand to comfort her, but she had her face buried in her hands. I settled for placing my arm on her shoulder. I didn’t know what to say as she sat there. We spent the rest of the night like that. In the morning she said to me, “I can’t stay here any longer. This isn’t the life I want to live. I’m going to find my boyfriend and tell him to get us out of the country. I want to go home.”

I tried to convince her to stay with me, that I would protect her, but she just left without saying another word. Tell me – is this normal behavior for a woman? Should I have followed her?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Am I Being Watched?

I finally got some time off, and I was able to spend the New Year’s holidays with my family. As many of you have probably experienced, spending holidays with relatives can either be quite enjoyable or excruciatingly maddening. I was looking forward to just sleeping in, eating, and having a few drinks, but if you spend time with my family, the last thing you get to do is relax.

They kept asking me questions about Kijuju, but the more I told them about life here, especially in regards to recent events, the more they started to look worried or angry. I can’t understand why. You tell people about a few dead dogs and they think danger is lurking around every corner. My mom was especially worried, and she just shook her head and begged me not to go back to Kijuju. My father was no better, and told me to listen to her before I made her worry anymore. As much as I hate working, Kijuju is the only place that offers work at a decent wage, and because I keep sending money home, my family is able to enjoy a better life than they could normally. Life ain’t easy out here in the sticks. There’s hardly any work to be had here, and what jobs are available don’t even pay half as well as the mine.

I tried to explain that to them, but they wouldn’t hear of it. I didn’t even get to tell them about the blonde woman. She’s another reason why I want to be in Kijuju, but they wouldn’t understand that either.

When I came back to Kijuju, part of me started to feel like my family might have been right. The air was oppressive, if not downright stifling. I hurried to the market to buy dinner, but I felt like someone was watching me the entire time. I turned around and I saw the butcher talking to a man with a turban. It didn’t look like they were having a friendly chat, but more like they were discussing something grave. All the while they kept casting furtive glances in my direction.

I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but the first time I found that dog, the butcher was nearby. If my memory serves correctly, I’m sure I’ve seen multiple dead animals in the vicinity of his shop. Maybe he’s selling dog and cat meat as a delicacy. And you know what? I’m fine with that. If that’s how he wants to make his money, then he’s welcome to it. But what if it’s more than that? What if he’s been spraying graffiti and putting up strange posters? What if he’s starting a revolution or something? Unfortunately, there’s no one I can tell here. Even if there were, they probably wouldn’t do anything about it anyway.

I wonder what my girl thinks about this. (I know she’s not my girl yet, but she will be!) I also want to know what you think, so please leave a comment.