It is two days to Christmas and the office just closed. In front of me is a pot of shisha and two pitchers of beer. When you work a normal 9-5 there’s always that excitement when you don’t have to show up to work. It’s not to say anything about the job. It doesn’t mean it’s boring or you hate your boss you’re just happy. You feel like a high school kid that’s out for the holidays. It’s somewhat liberating, you can have as many beers as you want without worrying how you will wake up the next day.
Christmas, for me, doesn’t mean much, there has been too many reasons for the season so I just brush it off as any other day. I don’t have any summer bunnies that are coming back to the motherland for some home cooked free range chicken and lard soaked chapattis. It’s just another Friday for me, drinks and more drinks. Waking up on a Christmas morning having been raised in an African home meant putting on the newest clothes and marching off to church. I’d listen to the pastor rant about being thankful and something about remembering the poor during the festivities.
So here I was, two days before Christmas, having a drink and listening to Salsa. I don’t get salsa, it has a nice danceable beat but as a guy dancing to salsa you look like some flamboyant gay person that should be acting a heterosexual sitcom to give it a tinge of diversity. Knowing someone gay in this time and age has become a fashion statement – it’s the equivalent of a white person having a black friend. It gives you some depth. It tells people that you are open minded and not judgmental. The music was filling up the room and the shisha pot was burning slow letting out its apple flavored aroma.
Next to me was a group of three gentlemen, they had pitchers of beer on their table and a pot of shisha as well. They were pretty jovial and they kept breaking into laughter. They had an accent, which was nowhere Kenyan, and they spoke in loud voices. With four seats to themselves they graced one with a newspaper like it was one of the guys A subtle way of keeping unwanted people away from their table. Each time the waiter passed by their table, one of them built like a Greek god, would fish into his pocket and pull out a passport. Inside the sleeves of that wanderlust document were crisp thousand shilling notes. I later learnt they were from Ivory Coast.
A few glasses later one of them turned to me and asked for a light. When you’re in a bar you realize a light is fast moving currency. A light determines whether or not the person seating next to you should feel inclined to buy you a round. I handed him one, he smiled. His smile was not the kind that are full of appreciation, no, his smile spoke of a tirade of questions.
“So…” he started “Kenyan women, yes?”
I don’t know what he meant by saying “Kenyan women.” That they are beautiful? Of course they are.
“Yes, Kenyan women.” I agreed
He laughed like he had no idea what I was saying and pointed at a table next to them with two girls and a guy. He wanted to know what it would take to have them at his table. I’m not a Casanova, I couldn’t get girls to my table if they were nurses and I was about to suffer a huge cardiac arrest. He had pockets deeper than Morgan Freeman’s voice from what I could tell and I guessed it shouldn’t be such an issue to get them over. So I suggested he sends drinks their way.
Sending a girl drinks to their table and expecting to spend the night with them is pretty presumptuous. But this is Nairobi, you can smell their stinking weaves a mile away. They go to clubs dressed for the ball and armed with enough money to buy themselves one drink. The rest they say will sort itself. You can spot them from the way they give inviting looks at gentlemen and toy around with one drink in their hands. They also know how to get attention – dance. When no drinks are coming their way they will shake their full buttocks and wine those lithe waists until a deep pocket decides to sponsor their night out. As a struggling writer, I have no business with such. The moment they realize I am taking a mat home, yes mat, not drive or at least cab, they will leave me faster than their accents when their mother from Kirinyaga calls to check up on them.
So this guy sends them drinks and voila they are at his table arms around his neck and teasing him with little kisses. Guy has no use for me anymore, so he turns his attention and money to these ladies. One looks like they are from the amazon. She is tall, well built with shoulders broader than her thighs would be that night. She has distinct facial features – a prominent chin and well cut cheek bones. Her eyes are wide and they bulge when she shouts over the music. She is wearing heels making her stand even taller and literally looks down on the men at the table. She makes all sorts of demands for her drinks. For instance she didn’t want a mug, she needed two pitchers for her and her friend. She looked like the kind to bark orders during coitus and have absurd demands like having you wear feathered boxers to tickle her fancy.
I’m curious so every once in a while I’d throw a glance at their table just to see how they were doing. So I turn to look at them and or eyes meet, mine and the Amazonian hulk of a woman. I’m scared to death, what if she asks, no, orders me to buy her a drink? I can’t say no, she could smother me to non-existence between her humongous bosoms. She goes into her purse and pulls out a cigarette and shouts over the music
“Light this for me!”
She is not asking, I can tell. She wants her cigarette lit, by me of all people. I don’t even have the light anymore and I’m afraid if I tell her this she might just break my arms and start a fire the old way from my dry bones and light the damn cigarette. So I take the cigarette from her fingers and do the unthinkable, I get up and light it from the glowing flames of coal on our shisha pot. I know what you’re thinking, no I am not Chuck Norris the black version. I swear if you saw me I looked cave man. It felt brute, like something a real man would do. I was proud of myself as I handed her the lit cigarette.
“Did you pop it?” she asks
I give her a bewildered look before realizing she was talking about her cigarette, it was one of those Dunhill switch things that you pop and release a menthol flavor into your lungs as well as a double serving of cancer. I nodded in the negative and she smiled as she popped it. It was one of those smiles that let you know how lucky you are to be alive. The kind that tell a sad story of what happened the last time someone popped her cigarette. Puffing away looking content she paid me no more mind – a welcome relief as I let my lips kiss the brim of my beer glass I felt that urgency in my bladder, full of urine knocking at the gates. I hate how beer makes me want to piss every few minutes, so I got up to leave for the bathrooms and then I met her, a lady that thought I was what’s wrong with all Kenyan men…