Last Call

It’s like this.

You’re riding in the back seat, going home on a Saturday evening after a great deal of the day was spent taking swigs at beer bottles and you don’t take water to pace it down, that’s for people who generally can’t stand the heat, plus you have nothing to lose, it’s not like you’re the one sitting on the bill. You check your phone to see if that girl you secretly like has texted you back, nothing. Your head starts to throb, you take a deep breath and then you feel it, a sharp penetrating sting on the left side of your gut, because your general knowledge level takes a hike when you’re drunk you know that that’s your liver knocking. The first stint was actually a week ago when you were standing in church, you felt a slight twitch. But you dismiss all these signs, even when that sting wakes you up in the dead of the night with the foulest taste in your mouth, you decide not to give a rat’s ass about it, just a little water and you’ll be ok. But you realize if this imbibing goes on you might drown yourself and die, one day, and the guy sitting on the bill will not be able to live with himself. So you tell the waiter to take back the unopened bottles.

Friends, this is what happened when I was away, on sabbatical (and this might get whiny). I lost my inner voice for blogging. Photography? That also walked out on me and shut the door behind it. You might start to wonder how photography can go away like that, well it does when every picture you take looks like shit, it does when you don’t see things worth taking; ati the guy seated next to you tells you, “Si you capture that one?” So I slid into a slump, I ate a lot and drank a lot. I gained a couple on the scales, so I just drank a lot. But I’m afraid this drinking game has come to an end, just one more minute and the final whistle gets blown. (Praise be to the gods that football is back) But seriously, this is the last call.

My ability to weave stories from pictures dissolved into nothingness, I could think of a sentence for a story but it was just that, a sentence. New posts became a rare find, the stats dwindled into a group of zeros, and I continued to hide in my black hole.

But I am a writer slash photographer, I am Michael Muthaka goddamn it. I take pictures and tell their stories; I write the story of the single moment and share it with you, no matter how shitty we both think it is. As far as I’m concerned I’ve done my part in the world and at the gates of heaven I will say I took my people with me everywhere I went and showed them how I saw the world, that I was not selfish. Also because I missed it, the grind of a Friday night knowing I have no story, the joy of having a couple of hundred words the next morning waiting to be released. I missed saying ‘friends’ at the end of a story. I missed saying how ‘they don’t pay me enough for this shit’. There will be stories, long stories, long and boring stories, short stories, funny stories, weird stories, sad stories and those stories that will give you something to think about as you sleep. But there will be stories. For the last call here’s to the coming struggles of the pen and no more sabbaticals.

Oh yeah, and Jacky, remember her? She died last week, the old camera. I took her from her cabinet, wiped some dust off and then hit the on button but she didn’t respond. So I checked for pulse (the battery now), nothing. She was the master at sun sets, Jacky. In fact every shot of sunset we’ve had here is from her. Now the sun has set on her. I will sincerely miss that camera; it looked like age, the look of wisdom. It was a tiny thing compared to Sonia, the other camera, but it could do things, amazing things that Sonia still struggles with, except for taking pictures at night. Jacky’s flash stopped working years ago, her job was strictly a day one. I got asked why I can’t just look for somebody to fix her. Where would I start to look for a guy? I mean, there’s always a guy but he’s probably in his late sixties and just moved into his retirement home. They stopped making Jacky’s kind back in ‘99. For the last call here’s to Jacky, who started this journey.


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