The Vanity of Parakeets

  • Joseph Nambawa, was dreaming, he was standing in a forest clearing with a machete in his hand. Blood was dripping from the steel blade down his fingers round his wrist and creating warm red lines down to his elbow.

There were people screaming and soldiers laughing. The Church was on fire and it was from behind the closed wooden doors that the screaming was coming from. The laughing was from him and the group of soldiers he was standing with.

It was from this day in his dream that Joseph had been running from for the past twenty years.

He thought he had succeeded quite well until the past few months.

He woke up with a start, there was a noise of parakeets outside his window which reassured him of where he was, not in Rwanda, but in Esher in Surrey, England.

The dream that had once been the truth of life had for many years remained conveniently lost and forgotten. But now it was bubbling to the surface like water in a witch’s cauldron. And all because of this dumb game he had agreed to play, a kind of honey trap to get back at someone that had humiliated his friend.

He stared out at the parakeets, something he had not expected to find in England, they reminded him of the parakeets of Rwanda, the rose ringed variety. And at first he had found them reassuring, something of the exotic had managed to survive and flourish in a foreign land, like him. But they had been so successful that regular culls had been needed to keep their numbers down.

Joseph had believed he too had succeeded at adapting to England. But now he had an uneasy feeling that it was all about to go wrong.

The noise of the birds that had once re assured him in the morning now started to be a constant reminder of his past.

He believed now as did the congregation at his church that he was good man. That the Joseph that had lived and existed in Rwanda had gone.

But things were changing and he felt that the game he had been in control of was now been dictated by another person much more devious and probably far braver then him.

For with out a shadow of a doubt Joseph was a coward, he had been running for twenty years. Living in exile as a result of what he had done.

And now all because a friend had wanted to get his own back on one lonely lady, things were unravelling.

“It will be easy, she is a sad lonely spinster, and she is hungry for it. You just have to be careful how you handle her; she can be unpredictable and is very, very fiery.” Marlon had emphatically said.

“Don’t be afraid though she is just a crazy bitch who needs a good seeing to.”

Joseph had his doubts about all of it. Lonely for one thing. It was obvious she was never at home. When he started emailing and texting, she was never in, always out some where, working, out with friends or her niece and nephews. Lonely she definitely was not. But then they could mean she was indeed gagging for it. So he tried the booty calls and texts late at night.

Nothing not one whisper of the sexy texting that Horace had said she had driven him mad with lust for.

But she had been stung by Marlon and was at the once bitten twice shy stage he reasoned.

And then the one meeting that had been arranged in Hyde Park showed to him the crazy bitch side. But that had made here more of a mystery.

And so the texting and emailing had begun in earnest.

And as Marlon got more and more impatient for the coup de grace Joseph had started to enjoy the bizarre relationship they had.

But he had to tread careful; she was secretive and would not give up her personal life too easily. But just snippets came through that made him think she had been married.

“Don’t be stupid.” She has never been married she is a frustrated spinster. What gave you that idea?” Marlon had argued one day.

“She said she is not a sad lonely spinster. So that must mean she is divorced or widowed, or perhaps still married.” Joseph tried to reason.

“Or maybe the crazy bitch killed him” Marlon had replied.

The more Joseph got dragged in to her world the more uncomfortable he became. He started to look for faults in her personality something he could use to bring her down. He breathed a sigh of relief at one stage, she was arrogant he deduced. That was an easy one to break.

But no nothing was working, and he came to the realisation that she knew the game he was playing and was just playing back harder and crueller then he thought a mere woman could.

He started to get angry and frustrated tried to tell how to mend her ways, to be modest, to be humble but it merely seemed to make her worse.

And then she came up with that ludicrous idea of having a tattoo. What the hell was middle aged sad lonely spinster having a tattoo for?

“You should spend you money on getting fitter. Not wasting money on tattoos.”

She had laughed at him “Ill spend my money on what I like. I’ll have two now”, she had retorted.

“One a lioness and one a fire breathing dragon!”

It was the mention of a lioness that had got Marlon all riled up. That had been one of his nick names for her.

Joseph had tried to go with that at the beginning but she would have none of it. And of course she had loads of sexy nick names for Marlon in return, “Black Panther, Hot Chocolate, the list of names quite clearly alluding to his black sexual prowess.

She had none for him though and very rarely mentioned his colour.

“She likes black men trust me, she is crazy for it.”

Joseph was beginning to wonder if she was just crazy and that Marlon had made all this up for his own self esteem which was taking a constant battering just lately.

The battle was constant, with every step forward with becoming intimate with her she would throw him a curve ball and they would be back to square one.

But he was in the web of a black widow spider and couldn’t really untangle himself.

And now Marlon had swanned off to Jamaican for what he called some “Hot Jamaican sex.”

And every thing was falling apart.

He had woken up with a headache. The noise of the children was unnerving him, no he corrected himself the noise of the parakeets was sounding like the noise of the children. The children before they had been marched into the church.

He sighed in frustration, why had he mentioned DNA to her. Or more to the point how had the conversation got round to DNA?

What was it she had said to his question about “What do you do with your DNA?”

“Mixed it with dynamite to save the world from future retards like you.” had been her reply.

And then he had made that fatal mistake, but she had driven him to it, of calling her nephew a retard. But to fair he had called the whole family retards, so it was her own fault and he had text her to say it was the medicine she didn’t want to take.

But now she had cut off all communication with him. And when Marlon got back from his fuck trip in Jamaica he would be expecting to hear how, “You got invited into that bitch’s bed and fucked her till she was unconscious.”

Except of course it had never got even close to that because she knew the game from the start and all she had fucked with was his head.

And then that odd text that she sent, “Be careful whilst cycling there are some crazy drivers out there.”

He thought at first it was threat that she would run him over.

Marlon had said, “Don’t get near her when she is in her car she is dangerous.”

“More dangerous then when she is in bed?” Joseph had asked.

“Well no but just don’t go near her when she is driving.”

But days had gone by and no accident had occurred. He missed her communications but knew it was finished. He was persuading himself that he had got the better of her. But Marlon said on his return from Jamaica. “You didn’t fuck her did you? All you did was just insult her family.”

Now weeks later he had slipped back in to his dull lonely life. Just who was the sad lonely one?

As he cycled home from work he was deep in thought. The dreams he was having about Rwanda were so lucid, so real.

And somehow he knew that she had got the better of him. He had lost as had Marlon and she hadn’t taken her medicine as he had boasted to her about. She would always be both arrogant and enigmatic now forever.

Suddenly a car door opened and blocked his way on the road.

He looked up startled, a man in a suit stepped out of an innocuous black sedan.

“Joseph Nambawa?” The man asked.

Joseph nodded.

“I’m from the immigration office.” The man briefly flashed his card.

“We would like to discuss your visa with you there seems to be a discrepancy.”

Joseph’s heart sank. The noise of parakeets was rising to a crescendo in his head.


Joseph Nambawa was dreaming he was standing in a forest clearing with a machete in his hand. Blood was dripping from the steel blade down his fingers round his wrist and creating warm red lines down to his elbow. It was his blood. He could hear screaming, it was him screaming louder than the parakeets.

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