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The Short Form

“A Nairobi Story of Comings and Goings”

A. Igoni Barrett

Excerpt

Among people of a certain economic status, the word vacation is as potent as open sesame. I was good people, a gourmand, a hedonist, a connoisseur of the finer things in life, their expressions seemed to say. The silence lifted, the smiles beamed forth, the drinking glasses tinkled, and soon I found myself plied with questions from all sides.

—What do you think of Robert Mugabe?

—Obama has been a huge disappointment, wouldn’t you agree?

—Not to be rude, but why are so many Nigerians engaged in e-mail fraud?

—How about you get away from those wazungu and come sit beside an African sister?

That was Leo, slouched in her seat at one end of the table, her tennis shoe–clad foot propped on the table’s edge, a reefer dangling from her lips. From the first she was brazen, meeting my startled gaze with a twinkle in her smile. I moved to her side.

We read it in Love is Power, or Something Like That.

Originally published in AGNI.