I haven’t written fiction since high school and yet I’ve always described myself as a fiction writer. The fiction writing workshop I completed with Electric Literature and CatapultCo. (led by James Hannaham (author of the “unforgettable new novel” Delicious Foods) gave me a gentle push in the direction of fiction writing. I can’t say that I enjoyed the push, I resented the effort, and I didn’t fulfill two of the assigned drills. It was funny seeing myself behave like some of my students. I describe them as ‘smart enough but angry when I push them out of their comfort zone.’ Creative nonfiction has become my safe space. But I loved the space that James created for editing and sharing and will continue workshopping fiction with my classmates, and Ima continue drilling myself. ‘Excellency’ is a short piece of fiction assigned by James. His edits were spot on and I especially loved this edit:
original: moldy, wealthy men, corrupt enough to sip from the well of youth
JH edit: moldy, wealthy men, corrupt enough to piss in the well of youth
Did that strengthen the metaphor or what?
I was prompted by a Malawian newspaper’s account of a castration and murder, “Malawi arrests Zambian for selling male private parts”.
Drill (assigned by JH)
Find a current events story that isn’t one of the big headlines but appeals to your interests and write a piece of fiction from the perspective of someone involved in the news story. The person you choose can be based on a real person from the news item or an imaginary character that you’ve invented. Write 700 words and edit down to 500. Include a printout of the news story.
Chiseche Salome Mibenge
Monday May 18, 2015
Assignment 3 (approx. 500 words)
H.E. (pronounced HayCh-ee) lay prostate in the lounge on the 5th Avenue sofa. Every piece of furniture his wife bought had a name. Hers was a tactile museum and she would arrange her friends and snap them with her smart phone like fashion models, senselessly, sleeping on the EQ3 dining table with stilettos on their feet or balancing Delft tea pots on their heads. They were adult girls, and they were especially immature when they stood beside their husbands – moldy wealthy men, corrupt enough to piss in the well of youth.
His mouth, gut and arse were grumbling with hot eruptions of gas. He was offended by his geriatric odors of ferment and impotence. He needed to stand up and repair the calamity that Malizyani and Isaac had brought to his doorstep. A corpse had been found! Mutilated and missing parts.
When he had Melody he wanted youth. And now, how he yearned for Melody. His old model. More than once in the first decade of their marriage, she had fled the house. But she always came back, escorted by his ally Ma Melody, a retired concubine whose only prize was H.E. the Minister, her son-in-law. The women would kneel at his feet crying as they begged for a renewal of vows. He was always magnanimous because he knew he was at fault and that his indiscretions would escalate to penalties and finally to humiliations.
The death of his mother-in-law released some foul beast from his breast and a wild season of unadulterated liberties. And although he was well past his prime, the youth were so impoverished, they vied to be soiled by his dirty cash. The exception was some school girl he molested in his luxury government vehicle. She sobbed pathetically in the backseat as he deposited her at the school grounds, but he didn’t realize that she was vengeful, that she would indict him. That weekend, he was content. As he drove his family home after their Sunday ritual of Church and an English breakfast at the Lakes his palm rested on Melody’s warm thigh. His youngest daughter Modesta’s squeaky voice asked, ‘Mommy who’s a rapist?’ His wife looked back and took the wrinkled paper from the child’s hand. The words ‘you are nothing you rapist swine’ were unpunctuated and written multiple times in a near incoherent passion over the lined and wrinkled sheet. Melody left their bedroom, then she left their house and then she left the country with their children. Three years later, his estranged daughter Modesta was the same age as the home wrecking schoolgirl. He attempted to friend his child on Facebook and she posted the accusation ‘you rapist!’ on his wall.
He answered the phone. It was his second wife, Mrs. H.E., whispering through tears, while sitting in a toilet booth at a shopping mall in Capetown. She had received a flood of text messages from their driver Malizyani. Could it be true? The man was on the run from the police, he needed more money, he claimed to have killed a man, for her husband, for juju to give him a young man’s powers?
12 May 2015
Malawi Arrests Zambia for selling male private parts
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
MALAWIAN police have arrested a Zambian man while another is on the run after they were found selling male private parts. Eastern Province police commissioner Eugene Sibote said Chikani Nyirongo of chief Magodi’s Kulamayembe area in Lundazi was allegedly murdered by Isaac Nyirongo of Jeke village and Malizyani Nyirongo of the same chiefdom, whom he traveled with to Malawi.
“What happened is that Isaac and Malizyani, whilst acting together, got a sharp instrument and stabbed their fellow Zambian, who died. After that…they used whatever instrument they had to remove the private parts, which they attempted to sell to a certain Malawian businessman who later on tipped the police. The police managed to apprehend the two of them around 20:00 hours on 7th May, 2015. At the time they were arrested, they were found in possession of the same private parts that they had removed from their colleague. These people led the police to a place where they had dumped that body,” Sibote said.
He said Malizyani managed to run away while Isaac was currently detained at Mzimba Police Station in Malawi. Sibote said postmortem was conducted and the body was later handed over to the Zambian authorities.
“Since this matter happened in Malawi, our Malawian counterparts are investigating the issue and the suspect would appear in court soon while on our part, we have launched a manhunt for this man who was acting together with Isaac Nyirongo to kill their colleague,” said Sibote.