Midgets and toddlers in a row

I get an idea for a story.  The idea is sparked from something I saw or (over-) heard. I drop everything I am doing – even the baby into the bath water – and rush to a blank page to spew it out. Its words ooze out. It takes shape easily. I give it a head full of hair, limbs. It breathes. And it takes flight from the page, and plows into you, the reader. Those are the best days. On the better days, I am a few words into the idea and the writing moans and groans to a stop just as the idea fizzles. The writing is little but a torso with no limbs; an idea immobilized so it can’t get itself off the page. I try to give it something more than just its torso only that it comes off seeming like a wailing toddler (helpless) or a hairy grown midget (fatal). But I wouldn’t want my writing sprucing up to be a midget; even if it has the spank of Tyrio Lannister from the TV series Game of Thrones. Midgets are dangerous; they aim for your crotch and kick you in the ankle. And wailing toddlers, good grief, where do I even begin with those? I want my writing toned, tanned and tamed. Chiseled to charm. Brawny and brainy. Writing whose idea of an apology is having the French toast in France. “Would you fancy breakfast in Paris?” it says with a wink.

But me and my ideas, we all want things. These things I want, I get them on the best days and I miss out on them on the better days. So I end up with writing which is either fatal or helpless, sometimes both. A sore mix of potent midgets and wailing toddlers. Let’s see what happens when they are lined up in a row.


Life has changed from what I knew it to be. Take my wardrobe. Wardrobe changes were extreme; I traded in my Isaac Mizrahi heels for a pair of Atmosphere brogues; F&F woolen suits for Denim Co. ragged jeans; stiff-collar shirts for baby tees in orange and green, yellow. My wardrobe was restructured just like my routines were pre and post auditor.

I made also other minor adjustments. Adjustments which included, but did not stop with, leaving my car at home parked. I traded Total fuel cards for loose change. On one of such days, I see it from the #11 jav to town. Riding shotgun in mid-morning traffic. The road sign reads Ngara Road. From the angle I see it, its arrow head points to the left. Hanging around it – like a pendant on a neck chain of a teenage girl who wears it to add character to her blossoming personality – is a thick steel wire holding white bras and pink ones, green ones, cream ones and yellow ones, purple ones; floral prints and stripes, polka dots, teeny cartoons and plain ones. They are dusty and starting to fade. I wonder how long they have been hanging on that very spot these bras. Bras suggestive of adolescence and discovering the sensuality of youth, of double lettered cup sizes and of cleavage. Of tightened purse strings. Is this what this Ngara is all about? I wonder.

I make a decision right there: no matter how much life has changed, never to buy a bra that hangs around the neck of a road sign.


It is 9AM. I am seated with my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands.  I am groggy and disappointed in myself for snoozing my alarm, and waking up two hours later than I had intended. I suspect I have a waking up problem. It is easy to tell what time of the day it is depending on the temperature of the toilet seat. The trickle tells of how sleepy we all are. I yawn. Was T.I and his poorly rated movie, Takers, worth staying up so late? I suppose not. T.I must not be disappointed in himself wherever he is. Speaking of disappointment, those toe nails need to get done.

The slightly open bathroom window brings in a cold breeze that runs over my back and jolts me out of the last embers of sleep I am struggling to embrace. Beyond the bathroom window, I hear the Hood’s workers sweeping the leaves off the carbro paving. The ground is wet from the rains that had pounded all night. There are two of them; one asks the other one, “Do you remember what the Hood looked like before these apartments were built?” She laughs and continues to sweep. I want to peek my head out of the window and ask her to please tell, don’t laugh, tell. Before these units of the Hood were built, what sat on this expansive property?


Young girls. 18, maybe 19. Not any older than my baby sister is. My first thought was they were not able to convince any of their male companions to tag along with them to the Wednesday night rendezvous. “C’mon,” they said, “it will be fun. Capital FM is in for the evening, they will be spinning reggae mixes all night. C’mon.” I imagined this coaxing was not enough to pull the boys out of their beds. So it was the reason they were now dancing alone together. Upon closer scrutiny, I noticed that one girl rubbed the nipples and caressed the waist of the other girl too often, too boldly. Blimey, are these girls The ‘L’ word?

The boy-girl was dressed in an over-size black vest that hung loose and ended right beneath her absent behind. The sides run open from the armpits all the way down to below her belt, revealing her bra. A bra holding breasts the size of a 10-year-old’s. She topped it off with a grey marvin and a pair of brown chucks. The girl-girl was in a baby blue tee and floral blue skirt; the short bubbly type which hang with grace, and stink of naivety and innocence. It contradicted the entire scene.

The irony of it was that a few feet away, our hosts were swaying to their first song, first dance. They wedded today. Vows were exchanged in church at half an hour after noon. Instead of a love candle, they filled up their love grains in a love vase a little before two. After the church, we went to the Karen Law School grounds to continue with the celebrations until seven. Now here they were, sharing the dance floor with a boy-girl and her girl-girl lover. Irony. So we looked on to the dance floor. All of Ed and Edna’s guests, we looked on with mouths in a big O. And we were disgusted. Repelled. Shocked. The boy-girl put up a show for spectacle. I could tell this was not the first time she had attracted an audience with her lewd behavior and her displays of affection toward her girl-girl. Running my eyes over the crowd, it reminded me of racist America back in the 1960s. A white boy getting out in public with his black girlfriend for the first time; such are the stares we gave to this couple right now. Stares of judgment. And similar thoughts crossed the minds of the onlookers back then as they did us right now: is this what the world is coming to? Thoughts of an older generation which was seeing first-hand how society is changing. How society changes too quickly for it to grapple with.

We all looked away when their lips locked. I heard somebody spit. It was me.


Sunday, 3PM. It is raining hard. I am seated on the couch with a book open in my lap, pretending to pay attention to its laboring storyline. My host and his guest have set up shop in the middle of the living room. Skinny to my right and Fatty to my left. If I stretch my legs out far enough, I can have them rest squarely on the chess board sitting on the coffee table. Fatty announces before the start of the game that he has not had a worthy opponent in over a year. “Everyone I have invited to play has walked out my door tail between his legs,” he says. His smug is inexcusable. Skinny eyeballs him with familiar disregard. Fatty chortles. Skinny rests his head in his hands and contemplates his next move. Fatty fidgets as he takes a sip from his glass.

Here they are, separated by a chess board and brought together by a bottle of Irish whiskey. In their mind’s eyes, they are chess grandmasters and whiskey connoisseurs. Not Skinny and Fatty as I see it from the couch right now.

I return to my book.


My younger self had pictured that at my age, my three-year old son would point at my belly and ask why my stomach was so big. Six months, and counting. His father would bundle him up in one swoop and rumble into his belly that I had had too much to eat. We would all throw our heads back in laughter and walk off into a certain sunset, hand in hand in hand. Silhouettes of perfect domestication. But you know what they say about men and their plans, right? Right. I am nowhere near that image. Instead now, I spend my days feeding off the bottomless pit of literature and operating on what I have come to temporarily accept as borrowed. Sometimes begged. Sometimes both.

It was because of such thoughts I didn’t leave the house today. I am dressed in a miserable yellow t-shirt branded ‘Kibaki Tosha’ and a Benson & Hedges bandana. A leso completes this thoughtless ensemble. I am the picture of many things unknown to me.

I make a mental note to take a shower tomorrow.


Channing Tatum is an American actor. Yum yum. Channing Tatum is handsome on any day. He is sexy on all days. That movie The Vow leaves me thinking about him in a way that makes my cheeks rosy. There’s a scene where he steps out into the morning light; topless with a pair of stripped blue pajamas. He’s taking out the trash then feeds the alley cat. But I am not interested in his ugly pajamas. Or his ribbed torso. Or his head of hair which has been combed to make it look as if it has not been combed. I am interested in the dip right above the waistband of his pajamas. The dip. Right where the torso dips and the waist bones meet then descent into the thighs and there’s a V-like dip that moves likes it winking at me. Crowning it is a trail of soft hairs which start below the navel then travel downwards until they are swallowed up by the dip right at the waistband. The dip.

It reminds me of D’Angelo from the video for his track, Untitled (How does it feel). YouTube it right away and see what I am going all gaga about. After that video, D’Angelo became the poster-boy for urban male sexiness. It was the dip that preceded him not his talent. Now, Channing Tatum and D’Angelo may as well go into war about who had the better dip. Me? I can’t decide who. I would stare at them both on any day.

Boys, take your places.


3 things about Blankets & Wine XLIV

Comments (16)

  1. yosefkim

    …..Here they are, separated by a chess board and brought together by a bottle of Irish whiskey. In their mind’s eyes, they are chess grandmasters and whiskey connoisseurs. Not Skinny and Fatty ……..

    You should do a whole story bout these two fellows..whoever they are, they must be awesome people.

  2. Juma Bahati Ali

    Great writing! The protagonist (is it you?) appears to be living a frustrated life *hides*; is easily bored by things or people around him; experiences spurts of inspirations for stories (he/she is a writer); has longings for what might have been and for secret pleasures *hides again*; and is unashamedly homophobic.

    Classic portrait of a writer…

    • fra

      By golly Juma, you are right.
      Is there room for one more to hide? : )

  3. John Muchabi

    Your writing has made the fatty/skinny /chess/Irish whiskey impression quite vivid. keep up

  4. Mystery

    “Midgets and toddlers in a row”……..l would have gone for….” A dip into my hallowed antiquities”. Awesome interwoven paragraphs of events as seen by the eyes of the writer, once again the story writes itself. The chess match, who won?

    • fra

      Is your title’s dip inspired by my story’s dip? ;-)

      The chess match? No one knows.

  5. Savvy

    Damn the dip!!!!!!!!!!!!! I get warm just thinking about it. Could stare at it all day. Had a poster of Usher and his dip over my high school bunk bed. But does you thinking about it make you a little bit gay?

    When the girls kissed, you sure you didn’t stare? I always thought lesbians interest heterosexual men..

    Anyway, here at last I have found a blogger through whose writing we can see his world. I’m envious of the freedom that comes from being a writer, the freedom of not having an 8-5 job. Ironically, I’m just starting out at such (a big 4 to be exact) but I am telling myself I need this for financial security (things change when you become a parent.)

    I wish you the best, with your kind of passion those writing gigs will be dropping on your lap and you will have the leisure of choosing only those you like.

      • Savvy

        OMG I feel so dumb! I wonder why I ever assumed the writer was a man-man? And continued with the assumption even when reading glaring facts like the leso-wearing and bra shopping.

        • fra

          Hehhee. No sweat, it makes for a good laugh.

  6. Savvy

    I mean I’m starting out into the world you just left

  7. Low

    I stumbled upon your blog today…I have read all your posts in one sitting.
    It’s good. It’s really good. Looking forward to more posts and congratulations on being published.

    • fra

      Thanks, and thanks Low.
      Share with your friends. And enemies, too.

  8. liv @iceberg254

    i get why it’s Midgets and toddlers..the title is perfect…. #sigh the dip right above the
    waistband of his pajamas. The dip.
    Right where the torso dips and the
    waist bones meet then descent into the thighs and there’s a V-like dip that
    moves likes it winking at me.
    Crowning it is a trail of soft hairs
    which start below the navel then
    travel downwards until they are
    swallowed up by the dip right at the waistband. The dip. #Yum

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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