I had just gotten to university. Wet behind the ears. Hadn’t really danced with the devil. Tango. Then, like a weed. A virus. An idea snuck up on me. Weed. I had to try it. Everyone else was doing it. The stories I heard were fascinating. Especially the munchies. I’m a skinny dude so packing some extra pounds wasn’t such a bad idea. Then there was the promise of artistes utopia.
Spit bars like Kendrick, free style like Lupe, write like an inspired bible man, dress like gaga. You know? The whole works. So I needed to get myself a doobie. Joint. Sensei. Shash. And all the other cool names we all call it. Apart from bangi. No one ever calls it bangi unless it’s the police, your mum, that uncle from shags that’s a pastor or the news. Also no one ever admits ‘kuvuta bangi’ it’s something cool like ‘session’ or ‘skunking’ or ‘meditation’ and whatever other terms people use. It has to be cool to be cool. Like taking a shit. No one very says they were from dropping feaces.
There’s always that friend that’s always spaced out on his keyboard banging away with dreadlocks heavier than a congestina punch and earphones even heavier hugging his skull tighter than the jeans on a Kardashian listening to Anthony B meditating. He smokes weed. Maybe. That earthy smell isn’t a new brand of cologne. Imagine. There was a time I didn’t know how it smelt. Weed. So just to look cool when we’d pass some place and a guy stops. Sniffs in the air like a sniffer dog. Let’s out a cool sigh. And asks
‘Do you guys smell that?’
The rest would repeat the ritual. Sniff. Made us look like a pack of wolves. I swear I thought one day we’d turn. Rip out our shirts and live the Kenyan version of Twilight. Only girls aren’t fascinated by that shit here. Get a job have money and buy Java fudge cake. Leave the wolving to the wolves. Plus imagine dowry?
“Babe, dad said the cows went missing”
“Cows go missing a lot”
“It was a full moon…”
“Why are you looking at me like that? I don’t like cow blood. You know that. I’m a rabbit person”
“More like *coughs* rabid person”
Plus her periods and what not. Wait. I think I’m describing vampires. Okay back to weed. So I mimicked. Also sniffed in the air. Lungfuls of decaying waste from a dump. Rotting rat flesh. The pungent scent of pubescent sweat on one of the guys college jacket that he never seemed to take off or wash. The cheap deo on another guy that smelt of deep fried ocean air. The smoke coming from a burning pile of papers leaves and ideas of dilapidated living. Then I would also sigh and agree. I had no clue if weed smelt like a butt crack or crushed rose petals. I also don’t think the guy knew. But at that point in time it was as useful as a fridge in an igloo trying to ask him what weed smelt like. So we played it cool.
Then you have miss sophisticated. Smart. Always in heels. Calm. She’s collected. Like the offering in the offering basket on a Sunday afternoon. There is an air of mystery about her. The long breaks she takes in the bathroom. Her slow walk. She doesn’t show up for drinks with the guys. Never does. Promises to the next time. Maybe she indulges. Has one of those fancy electronic vaporisers. You’ll never really know. Finds it peaceful and relaxing. Only way she can deal with the HR’S bullshit. Or with Jane from PR. Maybe Mark from IT. He’s always hitting on anything in a skirt. Or anything that looks like a skirt. There was that funny moment in the office when a Scottish investor came in. Okay there never was. Mark is imaginary.
Where was I? Ah. University. Wet behind the years. No beard to my name. Face as smooth as the curves I got. But at least I knew what weed smelt like. Theres always a bright side. It was going to be a party. The first I was attending since joining the Nairobi academic elite. The Comrades. And their so called power. They should change that to comrade energy. All they have is energy to shout and hurl stones at motorists for no reason. Oh the marmalade was lumpy. Let’s break a windscreen. And take our shirts off.
I was put in charge of drinks. Given a budget. Then there was the weed guy. Didn’t have a budget. His agenda was just to buy as much as he could with as little as possible. I got a lot of cheap vodka. Because let’s face it, at campus parties no one has the developed palate to distinguish between Belvedere and Blue Moon. They couldn’t even spell it leave alone pronounce it. If they did they wouldn’t even be at the party. We were just a bunch of goons in two hundred bob t-shirts and ladies in dresses half that amount.
After minutes titrating lime juice into buckets adding proportionate amounts of water, strawberry syrup and cheap vodka the drinks were ready. Punch. That’s what it’s called. Sweet and deadly. Like a woman’s lips. It’s up to you to decide what lips. Cups were pulled out and drinks distributed. Want to know if you were/are cool? You doubled your cups. Always double your cups. Plus makes good for conversation.
Me: Hey couldn’t help but notice your double cups.
Her: Aww Aki thanks.
Where was I?
Ah, party. So with drinks, music and hips on heavy rotation it was time for session. Get the party to a higher level. Weed guy pulls me aside. Away from this mama who thought I was gods gift to drunk women. Whispers something in my ear about only there being two joints. I’d never smoked. So I didn’t know exactly how big a joint was. I thought it was those rocks of bhang we saw on t.v. so I assured him it would be fine. He insisted I needed to see them. So we go out and he pulls out two emaciated looking white sticks. They looked like they needed aid. First aid. Food aid. Band aids. Badly put together. Green leaves, darkish green seeds and parts of twigs sticking out. That was about it. They call them slims. Like our chances of getting some more at that time of night. Contrary to popular belief we were men. Not fuck boys. So we played it cool. Called up a few concerned parties and deliberated. Some guy who had been a first year for the past three years suggested we go to some spot he knows.
Ever been to Kabete? Green place? Looks kind of lush then breaks into rural setting? Smells like a dairy farm? Cold? Accents heavier than the blankets they use for the cold? That place is okay. But at night it’s scary. The place this guys was asking us to go was somewhere in Kabete. It’s interior. A place where corners lurked with promise of life poverty. Life poverty is when your body and soul are separated from the contents in your pocket. But back at the party there were murmurs. Whispers. People asking. No, demanding. We had to answer. It was our higher calling. So we set off. Sticking to the main road when we could and when we couldn’t stuck to whatever we stuck to. For some it was the promise of more booze back at the party. Others the dancing ladies. Me? I had no idea why I was there. I didn’t even smoke.
But we got there. Transacted. Had enough substance to have us expelled and sentenced to a maximum security facility. On the way back we made out silhouettes in the dark shrubs. The guy that brought us told us they were thugs. He was huge. More fat. Told us that if need be we’d fight them off. It was my punch talking. I had seen him swig a few cupfuls and drink out of the bottle when I was prepping and he thought I wasn’t looking. Sk my punch, the drink, was the only punch I was capable off. So fighting was a no. I was not ready for life poverty. This guy didn’t seem to be getting the memo. He kept puffing up his chest. At some point he hurled insults. Daring them. Asking them to come and attack. They did. The only thing I remember was bolting. Usain had nothing on me. A few jumps later. Going down hill. Tripping and falling. I found myself at the main road. One guy ahead of me legs flailing in the air. His steps muffled by his sports shoes. I followed suit. Gaining till I was right behind him. Behind me I could hear the labored steps of the huge guy. Running and laughing. Weird fella. But I guess he can say he laughs at the face of danger. Simba, is that you?
Back at the party RDX was at its peak. What people were doing was not dancing. It was just sex with clothes on. Some looked prehistoric. Homo somethings trying to start a fire by friction. I smiled. The punch was packing itself. *chuckles to self* I go in to the house. People have no idea we just ran for our lives. They’re in drunken hazes willing their waists and groins to the whims of eno eno eno. Or whatever that dilapidated mind congruent with marijuana and moral decadence conjured in those lyrics. The running had sweated out most of the alcohol in my system. So I was a tad sober. We bring out the sensei. Excited chatter fills our ears. Mr Weed man takes out a crisp thousand shilling note and proceeds to roll them up. It’s going to be my first time. I’m excited. Scared. I’m almost about to ask it not to dump me after. Leave me feeling low. Not to break my heart. Promise to marry me. Shit. Im about to drop a Drake album. It’s lit, the weed and the party *chuckles again. It goes round. My turn, I inhale. Pull on the herb. Draw it in like I was an artist. A cloud of silky gray smoke fills my lungs. I’m told to hold. It’s my first time. Ofcourse I’d hold that m******. Hold it close. Never let go. Sing ballads. Serenade it. Okay. So I hold for a few secinds and bam! An instant heaviness hits my lungs. Like an anchor has been dropped. I cough. My eyes water. People laugh then the room spins. I don’t know who or even what I am for a second. A really long second. Until it’s in my fingers again. I’m urged to take it. I do. The rest is a blur. I wake up in the morning on a mattress on the floor thinking where the fuck my phone is at. My phone. It was the first thing I thought of. Swore to never try that stuff again. If it didn’t kill me getting it it would’ve killed me smoking it. Toxic relationship. But we all know right? There’s always a second time. If I’m feeling writeous I’ll tell you all about it.