Monday, January 18, 2016

At a Coffin Shop--By Ndongolera C. Mwangupili--Malawi

At a Coffin Shop

‘How much a coffin?’ Ask I. ‘Status
matters here,’ replies the coffin seller.
‘executive 100 thousand, standard
plain formica 40 thousand and
with no formica 20 thousand.’

‘Standard plain formica and on credit.’
‘on credit 45 thousand, sir. And
how do you pay? Cash
after burial or month-end?’
with a fallen face respond I, ‘month-end.’

We bury and month-end comes;
 I pay cash. The coffin seller produces a receipt:
‘being cash of 45 thousand only in payment
of a coffin, standard plain formica.
thank you for doing business with us.’

Ndongolera C. Mwangupili works as a Senior Inspector of Schools in Malawi. He has vast experience as a teacher of English and Bible Knowledge. Many of his short stories, poems and essays have been published in the Malawi News and Weekend Nation. His stories are anthologized in Modern Stories from Malawi and The Bachelor of Chikanda and Other Stories. His poem “The Genesis” was anthologized in The Time Traveller of Maravi: New Poetry from Malawi. His other poem “Letters to a Comrade” is published online in India on He believes that there is a thin line between fiction and reality. All that people write is a re-creation of what is already known to the writer and exists not only in the mind of the writer but also outside the writer, therefore, fiction is actually facts written as if they are not facts. He is married to Angella, and they have two daughters Mary Magdalena and Princess Cleopatra.