THE BLACK SHEEP
Petero left the classroom towards the physics laboratory. He hated the subject and had never performed beyond thirty percent. His father wanted him to be a doctor or at least a scientist. He had tried to study so hard but had never succeeded. He only liked drama and music. His father said that these were not occupations but time wasters.
Petero had managed to secretly form the drama club. However, he kept this from his father for fear of being rebuked. This is the main reason that Petero found a boarding school good. He could do what he wanted without the instrusion of his father.
At the drama festival emerged to be the best performing actor. He felt really proud as he took his trophy and certificate.
The troupe celebrated and held him high on their shoulders. The photographers managed to take snaps of a smiling Petero standing above the other members. That was the happiest moment for him.
Back at school Petero was nicknamed ‘’Claudio’’ the name of the character he had acted. If you wanted to look for ‘’Petero’’ you would be very unsuccessful unless you remember his new baptism name Claudio. They shared the same name with his classmate so his classmates had to add caudio to his name and Professor to the other Petero so as to distinguish the two.
After the end of ordinary level exams, Petero would wait for his father to go to work before he would leave the house to the village group at the nearby market. When the result were finally announced, Petero did not pass highly as expected but managed to get average marks which would not qualify him for Kenya Public University.
His father was greatly disappointed.Petero was the last born and was the only one of the family who had not qualified. His elder brother Martin was is in sixth year at Nairobi University Studying medicine.Irine was studying law. Debra and her twin sister Magdalina were studying Education at Kenyatta University.
Petero was literally barked at, Yelled at, insulted and humiliated. His father suggested that he rewind the secondary school class; a move Petero rejected out strongly. His father, a strict displinarian, threw him out of home offered a second chance only if he accepted the offer of going back to school.
‘Hello Claudio, why are you roaming at this time of the night?” asked Maria the director of Molia drama group. Maria was a tall slender girl. Her long hair curled at her nape and made a wavy pattern or her nape .she wore a blue mini-skirt and matching wedges.
Ashamed, Petero, looked away not knowing how to respond. ‘’You can come at the club’s compound and spend the night in one of the rooms.Remeber we should be entertaining the visitors at Jamhuri playground during the Madaraka festivals.Releaved, Petero followed Maria. The room was neatly arranged. There was a cream chaise together with a matching recliner.
The single bed was well spread with clear bedsheet, a light grey blanket and a blue valance . A decorated chinese rug lay on the floor .The built in the wardrobe was half open revealing some neatly arranged clothes hanging in it.Petero Claudio looked at the bed ,he was afraid that he would put mark on the white bedsheets . He took his handkerchief and wiped his hands before removing the bedsheet. He laid on the bed thinking of how he would be accepted back into his family . After a while he fell asleep. However,he was glad he was housed.
Martin graduated at the university as with a first class honors . He was employed at the Jaramogi Oginga Referal hospital.Irene became high court advocate while Magdalina and Debra became teachers .There was steady income for the family save, for Petero who was only paid after a performance depending on the remittance.At home his siblings would make fun of him.
“Hey, your shoes look like Alibaba’s shoes,” Martin begun one day. There was laughter in the room. Instead of being offended, Petero stood, sang a song and danced .His sisters Magdalina and Debra joined in the singing and dancing. Irene the lawyer just smiled while watching the trio .Martin moved his head in a rhythimic manner. Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, their old father came in.
“What’s going on here? he asked while pointing at Petero. You, have just come here to make my house a useless theatre hall.”
The dancing stopped.Everyone stared at the old man.Sensing the danger Petero dashed out and went to the drama club.
“The boy of shame,” moaned his father after Petero had gone .He loathed the idea of Petero insisting on doing drama instead of looking for serious things to do.
During auditioning for comedians for the people’s TV, Petero emerged the winner and was selected to join the team .This moment he would receive payment from the station as a comedian. He landed the role of Zulu, a stupid fellow who would always , go contrary to instructions in the TV show Bingwa. It was from here that he gained a lot of fame throughout the country. People would rush to their homes and stay glued on their screens every Friday evening after the 7p.m news. His name now changed from well-known Claudio to Zulu.
“He is called Claudio,” said one lady as they took ice cream in the ice cream bar. ”No , he is Zulu .The two ladies argued for a long ,time until Petero came to their aid .I’m Petero ,he said.Yes I’ve acted as both Claudio and Zulu thus those are names i got christened with due to acting.
One evening, Petero received a call from Martin telling him of his father’s sickness back in the village. He boarded the boarded the bus and found his father admitted in the health centre at the village .His urinary system had failed due to dysuria .He was transferred to the referral hospital and funds for the ambulance was needed.
When he arrived his father was groaning painfully on the bed .His siblings and their mother were with him. The doctor had been sacked due to the parallel doctors strike across the whole country.The remaining doctors would only offer services at a fee. The lawyer had had her licence suspended due to some problems with one of his clients and had to be investigated before she was given an okay to work again.
“How much do they need for the ambulance ?”Petero asked.
“Three thousand shillings for petrol?” “Can I pay one thousand….” Before he could complete his statement “And we will use your urine as petrol?” came a sharp reply.
“I will pay one thousand shillings cash and sent the rest via mobile money transfer now “ Petero concluded his statement.
His father was taken to the hospital and helped with the aid of a Catheter then went back home.
After some time Petero managed to solicit funds to fund his father’s operation at South Africa.
It was during this periods that he got an invitation to be part of a crew which would feature in Hollywood. It was a story about the Rwandan genocide.
This was the beginning of a long, eventful but successful journey to Hollywood.
On reaching Hollywood, Petero looked at the words written down the hill. The words fascinated him and he started to hike towards them. People stared at him in astonishment. It was after the police caught up with him when he realized that he was committing an offence. He was charged £ 1000 fine and had to spend one year probation period and 20 days on Cal Trans Highway Crew. This was the first lesson he learnt at the Hollywood.
On trying to continue with his passion Petero tried many auditions but was not successful. During an audition the director suggested that he was too black and needed to do something about his complexion.
“You are too dark guy! If you wanna succeed then you gonna get a light colour for your skin. He decided forfeit that part.
‘’If he cannot accept me in my natural colour, then he will not accept my work. i may end up to have changing colours like a chameleon.” he thought.
However, he got a minor role in “Justina” a film where he acted as a househelp for a wealthy woman “Justina”. His actions and words were limited but he managed to impress other directors. He decided to send his earnings to his brother back at home who built a private hospital which he called Petcela short for Petero Claudio. He was able to stand on his feet after being laid off from work following the doctor’s strike which took place for over one year in their country.
His name Petero slowly started featuring among the big names in Hollywood. The new entertainment sections of the newspaper started saving some pages for him.
At Hollywood Petero joined a college for film production and pursued a acting course and other also courses enjoyed to the acting.He was able to sharpen his skills.
Petero featured in “the Holocaust” as a supporting actor where he acted as a soldier whose main duty was to choose the family of Jews to be executed. He also got a part in campaign rescuing the girl child from female genital mutilation. A part where he acted as one who would eavesdrop the elders conversations discover their plans and revealed these secrets to the girls concerned then, aided their escape to N.G.O. The setup, was done back home in Kenya.
“Jimmy the warrior” film brought Petero the greatest breakthrough in his acting career.
The lights at night make the town more lively than closing the day.The big writing “HOLLYWOOD” shines and sparkles for everyone to read it.
Petero entered the restaurant and took hot coffee and cookies. The Oscars would be tomorrow .His heartbeat beat very first as he had been informed of the possibility of winning an Oscar in his role as ‘Jack’ the Jackal in the film ‘Mafia.’
The red carpet looked too shiny red on the day that the Oscars were to be awarded. He had invited his father who had now learnt to appreciate his son’s work as a nobble profession.
He wore tight shiny leather trouser matching cap and shoes and carried a golden walking stick. His T.shirt had the image of a black faced silhoutte with silvery cowboy cap.
Maria, his mentor wore black pants and strapless top while her co-actress wore a white goddess dress.
“This is the beginning of my long journey to stardom .I thank God for never leaving me, my friends for supporting me, my siblings for giving me hope and finally my dad for finally accepting me as one of his noble son in noble profession. May God bless each one of you.”
There was a big applause before Petero lifted his trophy .The carving of a hairless silvery man bowing to an audience on an equally silvery stage. The money which came with the trophy would start many projects back home in Kenya.