Bubbles on Nipples

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The world is a bewildering place for those who wake up from long afternoon naps to a setting sun. The concept of time and space is whittled. The light is too orange, the shadows too stubby. The man that rises to this late dawn of the day sits on the bed for a bit, as if gathering himself. He’s in no hurry, he stares at the floor for a long time. He is shirtless, his shoulders wide and strong. Chest hair. 

We know not why this man is waking up in the evening. Maybe he has a lot on his mind, seeing as he is a King. Maybe because he’s polygamous and, you know, one wife is hard enough, now throw in seven more. We know he’s wealthy. We know he is only 30 years old. We know he is fearless; a fighter, a warrior. We know all this, but yet we don’t really know why he’s napping until sunset. 

With strong panther strides, he walks barefoot into his bathroom where he splashes water on his face and stares at his reflection briefly as if trying to remember his name. After gargling mouthwash, he picks up his guitar lying against the wall in the bedroom and steps onto his balcony. His digs is at the top of the city’s northeastern slope, just above the Stepped stone structure that provides an ascent to the summit on the east. The view is arresting.

He strums his guitar. He’s also a prolific musician and a poet. He plays one of his favourite tunes, John Mayer’s Stop This Train, with his eyes closed like a teenager knee-deep in love. Even though he is known for his brutality against other men, this man is also a desperate lover. You have to be one with all those wives. 

It’s a warm evening. The sun lingers over the hill. He’s an introvert, a man of great solitude, and often, men like him are easily seduced by melancholy. As the last of eight siblings he spent his childhood alone in the hills watching over his father’s farm animals. He didn’t mind. He preferred to be alone out there in the hills, under the large skies with its endless questions of life and the deep secrets of the valleys. John Mayer’s songs echo the feelings he felt in those hills, alone with his sheep. Mayer seemed to understand what it felt like to be the last born, the one who did the jobs the elder brothers despised, but it’s through tending to sheep that he connected with his chakra. 

As he tunes his guitar, he happens to look down and sees a woman bathing. She’s got an amazing derriere! It’s as perfect as any derriere he has ever seen – and he has seen many. His guitar suddenly forgotten he watches her bathe in that lazy, sensual way. She’s got small feet and small perky breasts that catch all the lather. He’s seen a lot but he’s never seen bubbles on nipples before. When she places one leg against a stone and scrubs her thighs with a sponge a gasp gets trapped in his throat. When she’s done, she oils herself with glycerine and essential oils and the setting sun makes her glow like a bronzed trophy. 

He calls out for Abel, the head of the palace’s security. Abel shows up barefoot for he hates when people walk with shoes in his bedroom. Abel is 6 ‘7″ and swings a sword longer than an average man’s torso. He has wise hooded eyes. 

“Do you know the babe who lives in that house down there?” He asks Abel, who leans over the edge of the balcony to have a look. 

“The house with the avocado tree?” 

“Yeah.”

Abel doesn’t know but he could find out. An hour later, Abel comes back to find him seated alone having dinner at an extravagantly long table featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, roasted chicken, and burning candles. The backrest of his chair is so long it needs a backrest. Abel has news: “The lady who resides in that home is called Bathsheba, my King.”

Bathsheba who bathes in the open… how apt. He sits on this piece of information as he stares at the dancing flame of the candle next to the basket of fresh bread. 

“Whose daughter is she?” He feigns nonchalance by reaching for a wild berry. 

“Eliam, my King.”

“Eliam?” his brow burrows, “ I don’t think I know him. Do I know him?” 

“He’s respected, my King.” 

“Married?”

“Who, Eliam?” Abel asks and when the King turns and sears him with a withering look, he says, “Oh, yes, yes, my King, Bathsheba is spoken for.”

“By whom?” 

“Uriah, my King.”

A pause. 

“Uriah the Hittite?!”

“Yes, my King.”

“No shit!” He mumbles. He suddenly wishes for something stronger, like a shot of tequila but this is the Old Testament, we don’t know where the Mexicans are.  

He sits there considering this information. A deep silence falls over the dining area. There are two wait staff stoically standing at the end of the room pretending not to eavesdrop on this conversation. 

He has heard of Uriah, he was one of his soldiers, one of his Joab’s men, out fighting the Ammonites. They had recently taken over their capital city, Rabbah. The Ammonites were really getting it in the neck. Yeah, Uriah is a loyal and gallant soldier, a good man. What to do, what to do; caught between a rock and a fine thing. 

He asks Abel to send for her the next day. Abel knows not to ask questions. He is aware of the complex appetites of his king.  

The next evening finds him sitting in his dark lit chamber nursing a glass of Malbec and strumming his guitar. He’s wearing his favourite robe, the one that parts in the middle to reveal his strong legs. Perched on his head is his crown which was unnecessary and excessive at that moment but then again King David was prone to moments of grandiosity.

He stops playing his guitar when she’s led in by Abel, who upon announcing her arrival, retreats discreetly, closing the heavy doors behind him. They are alone. Something runs in the air between them, something only he imagines. She looks even more devastating up close. She’s wearing a black sheath dress with golden buttons and Jesus sandals on her petite feet before they were known as Jesus sandals. She smells of myrrh and aloes. Her skin glows with youth and vitality. Her nose is perfectly shaped, a glossary of her beauty. The King slowly stands and regards her with awe, admiration, and lust. Oh, David and the weakness that lives in his flesh! All this while she’s thinking: this nigga killed Goliath?!

She self-consciously stands in the middle of the opulent room and tries not to look around. 

“Hi, I’m David.” He opens the seduction gambit.  

He looks shorter than she had imagined, but with such strong, wide shoulders that seem to fill the space between the two pillars on either side of him. On his fingers are two massive golden rings that make him look like Agag, the pimp in that loud shebeen in downtown Jerusalem.

  She bows her head and hates that she can’t find her voice. “I’m Bathsheba, my King” She croaks. 

“Of course, I know you,” David says. “You like taking baths in the open. Right under my window.”

She blushes furiously and stares hard at her feet. “Oh my apologies, my King…I wasn’t aware tha- “

The King chuckles and waves away her apology, “Oh no, no need to apologise. Please, take more baths if you so please. Here, please have a seat.”

“Do you partake of wine?” He asks. 

“I can take a little rosé, my King,” She says piously. “But I still have to go bake bread and wine gets to my head quickly.”

“And baking is no good with wine in your head, I suppose?” He teases her. 

“Well, I love to maintain a clear head near fire, my King.” She says. The room smells of wood, rugs, and bronze. He nods at that paradox. 

“But who do you bake bread for when your husband is away?”

“My husband does not leave for war with my mouth, my King.”

David laughs. “Feisty! I love it.” He hands her a drink in a golden goblet which is so heavy she holds it with both hands. “Thank you, my King.”

“Oh come on, forget that my King nonsense, call me David. I’m just David. A regular guy.”

“You are a regular guy with eight wives.” Bathsheba blurts out. 

He laughs hard at that. He finds her amusing in a very deadpan way. He wouldn’t have imagined that she was funny on top of being very beautiful. Surely, how abundant was God? 

“You have a problem with my wives?”

“I have a problem being here.” She says. 

“You are the first person in Israel who doesn’t appreciate having a drink with a King.”

“I thought you were just David, a regular guy?”

He looks at her and smiles. He then starts strumming Killing Me Softly. Bathsheba tries very hard not to roll her eyes. When he finishes she doesn’t say anything. She’s stony, resolute with indifference. “Tough crowd.” He mumbles, putting away his guitar. 

“If music doesn’t work I could show you my collection of swords.” He says. 

“I have no particular interest in swords or violence.”

“Yet you are married to a soldier, a man who dispenses violence on other men.”

“He doesn’t carry work home.” She sniffs. 

“Once you have slain a man you always carry the violence with you. It gets right there in your matrimonial bed with you.”

“You should get on Oprah.”

“Who?”

“Never mind.” She mumbles.

After a pause he changes tact, “I’d like to get to know you better.” This makes her chuckle. “I’m sorry, but don’t you already have your hands full?” She asks, turning to look at him directly for the first time. 

“I was blessed with big hands,” he says. 

“Good for you. I’m also blessed with a husband.” She says. “Look, I don’t mean to be rude and I thank you for the drink but I really need to go bake bread, my King.” 

“How is this going to play out?” He asks. 

“How is what going to play out?”

“You and me.” The King says. 

“There is no you and me, my King.” She sets down her wine and stands up, smoothening her dress. “I’m a married woman. And now I have to go bake bread. Kindly.”

Because King David is who King David is, one rainy evening the king kneads her bread, and a month later she tells him,  “I’ve missed my period.” 

“How?”

“How?!” She rolls her eyes, “I ate an apple, what do you think?” 

Finding himself in a pickle, King David calls for Uriah from the battlefront who shows up to the palace one afternoon with a thick bush of beard and a slight limp. 

“What happened to your leg?” The King inquires. 

“A horse stepped on it, my King.” 

King David wants to giggle but these are not times for mirth. Instead, he pours him wine and asks him about war and Uriah tells him war stories from the front about what he already knows because he’s a warrior himself, he fought and conquered Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, Amalekites. He mowed down men in their thousands, captured chariots, plundered their wealth, and slain giants. Men trembled when they heard his name. Who can forget when he took back 100 foreskins belonging to Philistines to King Saul for the hand of his daughter? So yeah, he knew something about war. He listens to Uriah’s war stories with envy, nodding and making growly sounds as they eat brisket and drink wine, wiping their beards with the back of their hands. 

As the sun sets he walks Uriah to the door and places a fatherly hand on his shoulder. “Look,” he says gravely, trying to ignore Uriah’s smell. “You have done well. I appreciate your service, fighting for your King and the Kingdom. Your commander Joab has nothing but great shit to say about you. Such great shit. How about you go home, have a long bath, eat some of that slow-cooked lamb that always did it for me after battle, then have some fun with your wife? I know you need to see a beautiful face after spending months looking at the ugly faces of soldiers.” He jokes. “Go on and have your wife massage that foot with hot water and Vicks.”

Only Uriah doesn’t go home; he spends the night outside the palace doors with the master’s servants. When King David is told that he calls Uriah back in and says, “What, the hell, dude?” And Uriah is like, “My King, my comrades are living in tents, camped in the open country where it rains all the time and the cold gets right into your cajones. How could I go to my house and eat and drink and make love to my wife while my boys are out there having it rough? I could never, My King!”

David thought, Oh you little shit

He takes a deep breath and says, “OK, OK. You are a true soldier; bros before hoes and all that jazz. I get it. I get it. Do this, spend one more night and tomorrow head out, yeah?” Uriah stays that night but the following night David sends for him, opens a bottle of Limited Edition of whisky, and tells him, “Uriah, I don’t know how it feels to have a whole horse stand on your foot. Must hurt something awful but it could have been worse, ey? Let’s celebrate life, shall we? You drink whisky?”

“I’m more of a gin person, my King but I can give it a whirl.”

“Oh come on,” David slaps him on the back, “have some whisky, gin is for flower girls.”

David proceeds to get him shitfaced. Uriah gets so zonked he is blubbering and singing filthy war songs. At midnight, David tells him, “Go home, soldier. Your wife is probably waiting in a lacy black thing, go on, go hit that. And drink some water before you sleep. Oh and have some Mara Moja before you sleep, works for me. ” Uriah staggers out of the palace, only he doesn’t go home, he blacks out outside the gate with the servants one more time. 

And that’s how Uriah signed his death sentence. 

After David set him up and Bathsheba mourned him, David sent for her and said, “Look, shit has happened here, come I will take care of you. You can now bake me bread.” 

And God was pissed! 

Oh, He was livid. 

He went about kicking things in heaven and thundering: DAVID, YOU LITTLE SHIT. YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT! NATHAN? NATHAN? WHERE IS NATHAN!? GET IN HERE!

***

In my other life, I write books [buy HERE] and I run a creative writing masterclass which you can sign up for HERE.

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273
65 Comments
  1. I enjoyed this. If you read the Bible devoid of religious biases and superstitious fears based on the Missionaries’ teachings, the Bible story and the old testament in particular, describes a cantankerous society and an immoral people.

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  2. Oh don’t I love King David, fucked up as he was. I have heard this story timeless times, but your narration Biko is the best thus far better than all the Bishops and Rererends, what should we christen you? Saint Biko? Archbishop Biko?
    Hahaha

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  3. Most people: David defeated Goliath but lost to Bathsheba. Our real giants are the desires we haven’t killed yet.
    Bikozulu: Hold my whisky. This devotional will be titled ‘Bubbles on nipples.’

    I love it!

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  4. Eh Biko…eti 100 what? Point me to where that is in the Biblos …..great narration. I would like to watch a play with these exact lines…possible?

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  5. Now I know why I haven’t finished reading the Bible yet. Maybe I need the Biko translation because the story telling is on another level!

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  6. Biko if you wrote Bible stories, CRE ningepata A++++.
    This was brilliant!!! (And absolutely hilarious)
    I have thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed it (Also David to Bathsheba, probably. After kneading the dough 😉 )

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  7. He he he… Great rendition! Our pastor always says to read the bible with our imagination turned full-on! This is full-on for sure. Hapo kwa foreskins, David was asked for 100. He delivered 200 for good measure… I can’t imagine being the wife whose bride price was… wait for it….

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    1. I guess your pastor is my pastor. Pastor James of Mavuno Hillcity. I love his sermons and his imaginations. If not, please welcome to my church one of these fine Sundays.

  8. That bit about tequila/mexicans and the King playing “Killing me softly” cracked me up….
    Biko, praying to God to forgive u for your irreverence!!!
    Cheers.

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  9. This was vividly and humorously re-enacted! Loved it…The old testament has always been an interesting read. Please do one on Moses and Pharaoh’s ‘hard headedness’ at the time of the plaques 🙂

  10. Hello Biko, when I am idle I like reading past stories. The latest is Crossroads, do you still remember it? Kindly do a part two.

  11. “But this is the Old Testament, we don’t know where the Mexicans are.”

    I love you so much Biko

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  12. You should open a “church” somewhere. With you as the minister ofcourse. We’ll come and fill the pews and empty our hearts of the week’s sorrows and refill them with laughter and lessons. I haven’t laughed this much in the past two days.

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  13. Hahahaha. I have laughed a good one man. Sheshh. Your rendition of the story of David and Bathsheba is a testament to your mastery of narrative. Who would have thought that a tale from ancient times could be so hilariously rib-cracking in your hands? Your ability to infuse humor and depth into such a well-known narrative is truly remarkable. Just thinking out aloud- what if Bathsheba was pregnant before David even saw her?

    I read this while playing John Mayer’s Stop This Train on repeat. It slapppeeed!

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  14. wow, wow! you really know how to right them. I don’t how am going to hold my laughter next time a preacher uses this story.

  15. wow, wow! you really know how to write them. I don’t how am going to hold my laughter next time a preacher uses this story.

  16. DAVID, YOU LITTLE SHIT. YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT! NATHAN? NATHAN? WHERE IS NATHAN!? GET IN HERE!

    in 2nd Samuel verse 12 it starts with the Lord sent Nathan to David….you can read the full verse.

    Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift” (Ephesians 4:29, MSG).

    (John 10:33). Cursing is one form of blasphemy, because it treats God casually and ignores His glory and honor.

    Kindly give respect and honor to God and His Word..

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  17. I consider myself an avid reader and I can say with absolute certainty that I haven’t read a piece this well written and entertaining
    You have outdone yourself Biko

  18. Maybe you should consider doing a re-edition of the holy book….
    Day made!!
    I have had a good laugh…

  19. ohhhhhh damn this hits a Lil different coz I have being reading about David’s exploits
    This is like the Kenyan version of “The lamb” The Gospel according to Bliff jesus’s buddy

  20. That and I quote “The world is a bewildering place for those who wake up from long afternoon naps to a setting sun. The concept of time and space is whittled.” couldn’t be further from the truth.

  21. I read this earlier on while at work and was fighting so hard not to burst out laughing that I got teary-eyed. Great read, Biko.

  22. What an excellent spin on one of the most famous characters in the bible. I’ve really enjoyed reading this.

  23. First time I could not finish your text. Retelling an old story was interesting but writing style chosen was cheap. Biko I prefer it when you “….go high”

  24. This was needed. You broke a rib or two here and the nose was blown. such a breath of fresh air.
    Thank you.

  25. I almost shouted “Nathan, the king wants to see you”
    Thanks Biko for the trip to David’s palace, it was so real.
    Beautiful writing,

  26. May you not find someone to interview as you continue give us bible stories, BTW, have you read the story of Samson and Delilah?

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  27. wah it is the mara Moja for me lol!
    and then in the end God himself went about kicking things in heaven. Absolutely incredible, I almost activated my writing gene

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  28. Who would have thought it was King David from the first few lines?

    Hahaha! Good one Biko… Bible story hilariously told! Please keep doing more of those!

  29. Maybe,just maybe Uriah got to know.
    “Tajiri ametembea kwako,” blurbered Wafula.
    “Unamaanisheko nini?”
    “Sitaki kuingieko kwa shita”

  30. We have always had several Bible versions or translations (NLV, Msg, KJV, NIV, AMP)

    Now we have Biko Zulu Hilarious Translation (BZHT) version, in a store near you!
    Nice read Biko.