Wednesday, 2 April 2014

When the world came crashing down

He was in tears as the cameramen clicked away and the microphones had been set, the press people were waiting to take notes. This press conference was an unpleasant, the room was hot and stuffy,
he loosened his tie a bit. He wasn't sure what jerked his tearfall, the fact that his reputation was ruined or he was going to jail. He was sweaty, the press statement that he was to read was soaked in his palms. He looked at it and thought if he should really read it, the Public Relations team had done their best to lessen the impact of his mistake by doing some linguistic engineering on the script.

The buzz in the room did not interrupt his thoughts, he was deeply recollecting what had happened in the last few days. The weight of his name made this press conference a national affair. He was a 7-time winner of the Global Literature Award, the most coveted prize in the literary world. His books never had a shelf-life, they sold like there was a million dollar cheque stuffed inside them. He had risen to national, then regional, finally global prominence, no wonder he spotted, BBC and CNN reporters in the room. He no longer lived his own life, the world owned it. He was a headline and not backpage material.

However on that cold July evening, it was on a Wednesday, he walked into that house enraged like an agitated buffalo. She had refused his offers of cash, he could have given her enough to buy shoes and fantasies. He was not perfect, you see, and he wanted that information sealed.

Back then when he was still hustling, he once robbed a shop with his friends and one of them shot the cashier dead as they made away with money. The shooter was arrested and told to name his accomplices. They all denied ever knowing him and the shooter had his sole bacon roasted in jail. What this literal genius didn't know is in that shop there was a lady at the store who was fiddling with her phone and recorded the whole event. She did not testify in court because of fear and she never deleted that recording, either, she used to watch it again and again. As life would have it, she identified a familiar face, a face synonymous with fame . That cashier was her dear friend and she wanted justice. First she thought of extorting money from him but her conscience would not allow her to stoke the flames of injustice.

He knew of her intention to surrender the recording to the police through a friend low on the food chain of friends, that is how great he was.. That was the kind of info that would take away endorsements and deals and alienate him from the high and mighty. That evening, the lady did not wilt under his threats and did not yield to his promises, the police were already on their way to take him away, she had called them beforehand, it was too late.

The media that handed him the ladder to climb to the top, yanked it from beneath his feet and he began free falling. No one wanted anything to do with him. The friends whom he popped Champagne with, vanished and left him in an island of despair. His publishers rejected him as soon as they heard he was an accomplice to murder and robbery with violence.The lucrative endorsements were withdrawn, the Global Literary Foundation snatched the seven awards away from him ,his tattered image would tarnish the awards' credibility. Worse, his fianceƩ cancelled their engagement. His parents were disappointed in him. The world was crashing down hard on him. Sympathisers were as few as TNA votes in a remote village in Kisumu He was alone.

Back to the glare of the cameras, his mouth moved and there was abrupt silence, such was the tension in the packed room. He had abandoned God, he prayed no more, but he murmured deep within that He would hold him because he was falling and he was wingless to do anything about it. On that table laden with microphones, cables, recorders, he had his PR team with him not to stand by him but to earn their money. No friends but his mother was there, that greatly refreshed him. His gigantic fall did not quake his mother's love for him though she was deeply angered, his father had ran for the hills after friends' and relatives' motored mouths would not stop talking.

He wearily held his script, wiped his tears away and looked at the starved journalists. "This morning, i would like to...." In ten minutes it was all over. He had tried to plaster his seriously injured image even if he knew his reconcilatory tone would not change the tune of the bewildered public. They had seen the recording on TV and newspapers splashed the images all over the streets making him undoubtedly guilty before their eyes. The cameras ruthlessly snapped and the unsatisfied and unforgiving journalists wanted more. He walked away into the waiting grip of handcuffs and into the bowels of a police van.

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