It is not usual for anyone to drink alone on a lonely Tuesday night with no UEFA Champions League match airing be it the high pressing Ajax Amsterdam, over possessing Barcelona, counter attacking Liverpool, Napoli’s compact defending or guess work after guess work from Fudbalski klub Crvena zvezda.
This is the prime time for ‘serious’ business people (those who do wash wash,drug peddling,tax evasion, tender selling,title dead forgery et al) in this city to come out of their hibernation in their respective rat-holes to cut deals with there associates victims or otherwise at a neutral venue where no party has an ‘added advantage’ real or perceived.
Tables and chairs outnumber the patrons,flesh peddlers have no targets to rice up their drinks leaving them for dead as they make away with valuables whereas bartenders focus on updating their mobile application with the lounges wifi such days rarely come by during the regular football season.
Regular days are very demanding calling for high fitness levels snaking around the floor serving drinks,taking orders,enduring all forms of sexual harassment from thirsty men married or otherwise determined to have a piece of them there and then at whatever price forcefully taking their numbers not caring whether they are single,married,in a relationship or celibate. There are no celibate bartenders anyway….
Today was not a regular day the supervisor seemed to know it thus she left early there were no targets to be achieved just the regular sales before closing business at 10 am slightly early than the regulated Mututho time 11:30 pm though they open till the bottle wins and revelers surrender even if it is at 6 am so long as the local state presence is taken care of which comes at a price surcharged in the drinks alongside sin tax and VAT.
I shift my base from a lonely dimly lit corner to the counter after an associate we were to meet up with stood me up with the normal Nairobi nonsensical last minute excuse of ‘something came up ,so I won’t make it today kindly reschedule to another day I will make it up to you’ accompanied with a lot of kizungu mingi and catwalk shenanigans as supporting documents.
It was a her, they are the only human beings who use the something came up as an excuse. Something which can’t be explained further because there is nothing in that something…
Consoling myself it wasn’t a big deal being stood up at least I hadn’t sent her fare for me to be stupidly angry as a man’s whose fare had been eaten by this ‘Tuma fare ‘ welfare group.
Normally I don’t meet up in places where booze and boobs are in unlimited supply temptations may creep in leading me to Sodom and Gomorrah rerouting from my journey to Damascus. It was her ideal place as she had suggested the venue, I didn’t probe any further.
Watching highlights from the just concluded rugby world cup where Siyamthanda ‘Siya’ Kolisi became the first African to captain a South African Rugby team to World Cup glory. You all know how South Africa is when it comes to racial segregation, class caste system or xenophobic attacks which are hangovers of the apartheid regime.
Sitting on the counter eliminates the chances of your drink being spiked up with local Mwea Pishori rice or imported Pakistani grade 1 rice sending you to Tarshish yet you had intended to go to Nineveh after the drinking spree. Being I a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites I don’t partake anything alcohol save for the holy communion.
Everyone seems to have their eyes fixed on the counter admiring the expensive dual name drinks such as Famous Grouse they can’t afford galloping the cheap single named drinks Kibao specifically which is within their reach imagining its the expensive one out of their reach buying tots in the middle of the rounds to get a feel of elegance.
At the counter you are likely to meet lone rangers those who specifically came to drink their ones and twos before heading home with no hidden agenda such as robbing you immediately you step out of the watering hole.
Minding my own business after being stood up he joined me at the counter ordered bottled water which he poured in his whisky glass. Who comes to a local to drink distilled water? Distilled water when ordered in such an establishment is used to mitigate the scorching feel caused on the throat by those 40% alcohol content refreshments. Ordering water alone was somehow out of order.
The last time I ordered Fanta in a public house I was reminded by the cocktologist that am not in a hospital. So I always take my Sprite its the only soft drink created by The Coca-Cola Company stocked in such places and maybe Coca Cola, maybe.
We started talking about the rugby world cup highlights analyzing strengths of teams,individual brilliance,tactical formations,blunders to previous South African stars more so Bryan Habana. He was well informed on matters sports I could tell not all men understand rugby but all men understand football.
His phone was always vibrating, everyone seemed to be calling him so he ignored all calls to an extent of switching off the phone with the ‘hawa watu husumbua’ look on his face before turning to me with a statement “These people assume that when you are a public figure you have made it in life,they don’t know my current struggles.” He seemed troubled thus he just came in to unwind from a probably long day.
Who are these, people I inquired.
Friends,family,relatives and everyone who knows me. They assume I have loads of cash stashed somewhere to pluck for them anytime they have a financial need..
We hadn’t exchanged pleasantries the conversation just started without any proper introductions so I took this opportunity to introduce myself.
I am Sospeter Shiundu I work for Kenya Commercial Bank sales division. This is how I introduce myself nowadays I moved from being an immigration officer after realizing how most of the people I meet have issues with their passports,birth certificates,national identity cards and never registered for Oduma Namba (Huduma Number) thus they need my intervention which I can’t offer since I don’t work for the Immigration Department.
Before that I used to be an ‘Insurance’ agent a cover I abandoned since nobody wants to have any conversation with you the moment you mention insurance. I also stopped introducing myself as a businessman after the description was taken over by city con men,drug dealers,socialites and wash wash wheeler dealers.
I am (Let me just call him Jesse father to David killer of Goliath the ruler of Israel) he introduced himself a news anchor with one of the popular radio stations. A familiar name but I hadn’t seen the face. Who even knows these radio presenters face to face save for Gidi na Ghost pale Patanisho. Their voices and names are more popular than the faces so putting the name,voice and face together is an herculean task.
Here he was the man,the name, the voice and face all together.
You know people assume we have a lot of money once you make a name in the public sphere it comes with mammoth expectations from all circles. Most of the celebrities you see around are very troubled socially and economically thats why I crawl here to drink on such a day hoping not to stumble across someone who knows me.
Forget the social media frenzy on our Instagram posts we are a very troubled lot you can’t show up at a friends social event without a certain vehicle,contribution and attire all which come at a cost leaving dents in your wallet and bank account.
Everyday I receive calls from all quarters requesting for financial assistance last week alone I parted with 30K which is half my salary to bankroll activities I have no interest in just because they know me, they have my phone number and if I fail to contribute they will accuse me of being mean spewing all kinds of negativity which bloggers will use to milk anything ‘meaningful’ ruining my name.
Imagine I have been invited to two fundraisers back in my village this month where am the chief guest. Here they expect me to fork a minimum of 10K, furthermore am in two wedding whatsapp groups where they also expect me to bridge the budget deficit.
I am always added in funds mobilization whatsapp groups day in day out without my consent being introduced as a big fish from a leading radio station thus the expectation has already been set.
Most of us are living in debt, changing phone numbers, avoiding people by staying indoors, wearing caps and shades to conceal our faces, living in solitude with nowhere to find solace from since everyone who sees us just sees money nothing else.
What if you tell them you are not in a position to channel that amount of contribution.
With a plastic smile he explained that they will not understand he was not in a position. How can you claim you are not in a position yet you have a car parked on your doorstep it will be seen as a lame excuse of not wanting to assist those who are in need of your assistance.
It’s 10 minutes to ten I had to get home so I excused myself paying our bills leaving him there watching cricket as his phone remained switched off forgetting his ‘enemies’ will get the notification that he is now available the moment he switches on the phone. The problem hasn’t been solved it has been put on hold temporarily until he switches on his phone today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow…