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Damsels in Distress


Yesterday I saw a crisp black Mercedes G50 wagon parked right outside one of the pricey restaurants in town. All its windows were rolled down and in it, a dark old man was seated at the driver’s seat talking to someone on his phone. He was boisterous, this man. He was loud too, and if you’d stand there long enough, you’d hear their whole conversation. The thing that fascinated me most was his ability to not care what people think as they stared at him. Or maybe he just felt entitled to the stares, because of his car.

It was 5pm in the evening. I was headed home after a long day in the office (I have been dying to say this) and I needed a drink, after all it had been a while. My pockets however did not allow it so I headed home instead.

I know some of you have started thinking, ooh Simon you have made it, ooh you have your own office, ooh run for MCA and dig us wells, ooh give us jobs, we are suffering… You’re getting ahead of yourselves. I’ll tell you what happened.

Remember the call I said I was waiting for here? The one I had long forgotten about? They called on a Friday morning at 10am when I was deep in my sleep and asked if I was still available to work. I said yes just to get back to sleep. Don’t roll your eyes like that, I need to cover up for the sleep I’ll miss when I resume school.

Later that morning, I wake up, strong, happy and healthy from my 9 hour beauty sleep. I am even glowing and I would swear my skin is fairer. But then it hits me that I made a rush decision. You know those silly ones you make irrationally like I’ll go in raw, it’ll be the first and last time. Plus she seems healthy, no way she has AIDS. It was a week to school and I couldn’t work for only a week. Or if I could, I would have to tell them first. But I couldn’t retract my answer. It was too late, and that’s how I ended up having long days in the office.

Right now, I am seated on an ergonomic chair on the second floor with a majestic view of the city. It’s almost 8am and the cold is a cannibal. I am surprised at the beaming life at this hour. My naïve self never thought I would reach this point, where I contribute to the GDP.

I could, quite frankly, get accustomed to this life, the nice swinging seats that pamper the backside and the free delicious coffee. The ladies in skirts don’t hurt either. But I would have loved if this gig came from writing rather than IT. I really do, because now, I feel like a sell out and it’s probably why I started writing this.

On the bright side, at 11am there’s a guy that comes with some sweet-smelling mandazis and goes round selling them. He does the same for lunch, all at considerable costs. He has a goatee that I’m envious of and his sheng’ flows out of his mouth wonderfully. That may be the reason he is loved, or maybe it’s because he comes bearing gifts. All in all, he’s the most loveable person around. He understands the expensive restaurants around aren’t meant for unpaid interns. They are for the bourgeois guys in higher floors above me, with perfectly fitting suits and Nissan Skylines.

Once in a while, a pretty girl in the shortest dress will come asking for help with her printer. She will say she is the secretary of a judge and needs immediate help because her boss is always irritable. I’ll usually stand up in a heroic, almost theatrical way, and flip my imaginary hair in a prince charming sort of way, and say “Damsel oh my damsel! I’m at your service!” And she will giggle foolishly. Back at her office, I will caress the printer gently and it will purr into life and I will have saved her ass from the erratic boss. From that day onwards, she will see me as her hero and will call me Simon, with a soft titter at the end.

The damsel is here, she says the printer is not working again. But I suspect she just wants to see me. Let me go check it out, though, lest I get fired.

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King is a mad writer on the loose. He is suspected to have lost his mind a few years after he was born. Since then, he has been writing his mind almost everywhere he can put his pen on. Someone – a government, a state, a police force, a parent, a teacher, a rabbi, a president, a sacco, a doctor, a deranged ex, a church, a therapist, or anyone with a bit of power bestowed upon them – should reprimand him and help him.