Rangi Ya Bahari – Two

Grey

Shakwe sat perched on the edge over looking the alley-way keeping a keen eye on the happenings below. His pride was ruffled his back ached and he badly needed to wash away the persistent cloy of feral odor. Appetite was edging out dignity, comfort and personal hygiene at the moment however, and though he preferred fresh fish first thing in the morning, one or two of the deep-fried disks would do. His morning shadow agreed as it shrank before the sun and hid directly behind him.

Cats were overrunning the place and matters were getting out of control. He had been at the market when the sun had first set fire to the horizon and it was also then, just as the fish were being counted and weighed, that things had slipped back into predawn darkness. Passing up the larger kingfish and caranx Shawke shuffled amongst bins of rockcod, mtumbuu, songoro and rabbitfish until he found the mackerel and to his delight the shimmering shape of sardines.

It was the case, more often than not, that several sardines had slipped the seine netting as it was being dumped into the plastic crates. That number now lay wide-eyed on the hard pack floor, mute in the dirt and dusted with a fine red silt. Though seemingly out of nowhere, the attack had come from behind a basket of crabs, and much to his embarrassment Shakwe was caught off-guard, knocked senseless from the blow and forced to leave without his usual breakfast.

But for now the warmth of the early sun on the coral rag blocks beneath his feet provided some comfort and as a familiar sound tickled his finely tuned ear he tilted his head in that direction. Detecting the trace of grey soapy water as it bubbled its way down the old stone drainage from up the way, Shakwe cried out to Ativa not once, but twice exposing his presence and announcing that the neighbors too had begun their day.

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