I was so drunk when she came over to the bar to look for me and drag me out.  I don’t know if there are levels of being drunk, but do the math of about twenty shots of rum? You don’t expect me to remember. Though I feel like twenty is still an under estimate. Well for one, I’m glad she came because had she not come, I would have been a victim of foolishness in a bar fight. Talk of losing two to three teeth, a broken nose, black eyes and maybe a cracked skull. Yes bar fights can get that bad. Drunk patrons tend to have energy that is beyond their senses for obvious reasons. Neither do they have senses that advise them on what to use and what not to use during a bar fight. That means the fate and actually death of their opponent is in the least of their worries. That is on the brighter side.
On the other side of things, I’m toast. She now talks to me selectively; when it’s very necessary for her to do so. I went to see her today. “So you’re still mad at me? ” Silent. I assumed the silence implied that that was an obvious question. “What can I do to make it right hun? ” Silent. She kept on changing channels on her 42 inch flat TV. Don’t mind, her dad bought her that. I used to make fan saying that that TV is worth her bride price already.
She’d reply, “So I’m that cheap to you huh ?”
I’d say, “Was that TV cheap wewe ?”
She doesn’t give up easily, “So mimi nakaa TV kwako? Ukiniona unaona TV eh? ”
“Si I enjoy watching you, like a TV. You look pretty like the girls in soap operas.” She clicks.
It didn’t seem like I was going to get an answer any time soon. I understood why she didn’t want to talk. She has never thought that I could ever go to the booze kingdom , especially after I got to know how much she hates that place. She is a straight forward lady. I like her for that. So it was a shocker for her which I bet will remain traumatizing for her. To make matters worse, I didn’t tell her I was going and she found me a thousand miles away from sobriety. I know she can’t find ways to forget what I was said to her after she showed up in the bar and in the car while she drove me to her own house. I can’t remember what I was saying all the way though. I only remember talking too much which is enough to conclude that I wasn’t saying anything useful and clean. I felt bad and sorry for stooping down so low – to her more than I was to myself. It felt like judgement day.
I looked at her but she wasn’t looking back, like she didn’t care. But I know she cared, only that this time, I had taken things a little or way too far. I contemplated with myself over kneeling down to repent. Sincerely I could feel a sting in my eyes. I convinced myself that I had to man up and tell her what really happened, like a man. And like all other ladies, a sincere explanation would smoothen things half way. Yes, half way. The other half would be completed by a combination of luck, the advice of her girlfriends, time,your proof of change and what she really loves you for.
“Okay bae this is what happened…” She placed the remote at the edge of the couch, folded her arms and drew a slight zigzag with her head. I hate it when ladies do that. Thank heavens she didn’t finish it off with ‘mscheeew’. I’d have gone wild but I couldn’t risk the talisman of a chance I had to make things right.
“You see…” I began, “Johnny came…”
“Johnny!” She angrily attacked like a viper when she heard that name.
I had forgotten she hates my buddy called Johnny. She used to say all Johnny’s have issues and this one is no exception. She knows my buddy Johnny is bad news and she hates hearing about him. I had been friends with Johnny for as long as I can remember.
“Ata sijaanza story na usha…”
“Ah okay continue,” She did the zigzag thingie again.
Here is what I told her.
Thursday, 8.10pm Johnny’s chiq called me.
“Hi Vick. Sasa? ”
“Poa sana Sonia. Wssup.”
“Okay kesho is Johnny’s birthday and we want to throw him a surprise bash at…”
“So he will be so happy to see you there. All his old friends especially you, I know you guys are buddies.”
“Were buddies…”
“Okay forget about the incident in Naks. Sorry. But he is changed now.”
So I bounced over to the grand place on Friday at 10 pm. I had promised myself that I would not drink since I was way past that now. Furthermore, I would only be there until midnight. I realized later that booze does not care about your personal principles and decisions. Booze should have asked me what my intentions were for the night. That way, we would have struck a deal on how to go about things. But I can’t entirely blame booze. You can guess who I blame.
It was long since I went to such a place. I felt like the prodigal son going back home. Okay the bar is not home as such. It used to be, in those good old days of campus. A wind of raveling spirits slapped my face when I walked in. The place had low lighting as expected. Nobody can stand being in a bar with lights like a stadium at night. The bar is a like a dungeon where patrons come to feed and entertain the beasts in them. A waitress quickly passed ahead of me. I didn’t see what she had on the tray she was holding but it smelt like rum. Rum used to be my favorite. I could smell it from a mile away. I pinched myself however. I constantly reminded myself that I was only there to honor an old buddy, nothing more and nothing less. In fact the first thing I’d say to him when I see him is, “Leo nacheza sober Johnny.”
I took the stairs to the floor above. Old school hip-hop music played on the speakers. Before I knew it, my former squad spotted me mapping around for them. They shouted my nickname, “Mjangooo!” They sounded like they were expecting Tupac and I was the Tupac. I went over to the side of the lounge they had reserved. I was glad to see some mjangos I thought I’d never see again. I could tell some of them had never left the bar. They were right there where I left them. Some got married, I could see only one lady with a ring though. We used to call her Karma. She never entertained nonsense. One time I remember she kicked a mjango on his nuts for following her around the club. She intentionally headed for the washrooms just to be sure he was following her for the wrong reasons. So now she has put a ring on it? I wonder who her hubby is. He then must be a Mayweather of some sort. Others maybe were married but didn’t want the ring to stand in between their ambitions for the night.
“Heey mjango, weh umepotelea wapi bana?”
“Wewe namna gani wewe?”
“What do you do nowadays?”
“You can’t even call me out for lunch!”
“Wah! Umenona…”
“No you look handsome.”
“Do you have any kids?”
“I heard you went to majuu. Kwani kuliendaje?” Were among the many queries in the questionnaire I was given by my former patrons. Some definitely annoying; like the ‘Kunona’ one. Before I could answer them all, Johnny showed up, led by the voluptuous wench he calls his girlfriend, Sonia. Anaweza kwelikweli. She was all smiles and Johnny was having his mouth agape and hands at the back of his head. He looked like he wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. These people said I had gained weight, they took that back when they saw Johnny. He almost walked with a thud on every stride.
In campus Johnny was a celeb. He drove ladies crazy with his Nick Mutuma – category kind of a look, fancy cars and party nature. He always knew where the party was going to be next. He organized most of them. I won’t say the scandals he got himself into, risking discontinuation twice. I was his right man. We went through Sahara and Amazon together. As he took his time to familiarize with everyone one by one, I couldn’t help but flashback to the things I have been through in my life with Johnny.
Talk of life and death situations. We survived a car crush on Mombasa Road, we were robbed and beaten by thugs in Kileleshwa, I was almost stabbed by a hooker he insulted in Mombasa while he was drunk, we got locked up in a club in Westlands after he ordered for more than we could pay and many others I’d rather not say here. The final one that made me call it quits with him was in Naks. I had warned him about making deals with drug cartels. I didn’t know he had made arrangements to meet with them at the same club I was going to meet with him. I got there only for the cops to pounce in and round up everyone in there for associating with a drug cartel; allegedly. What did I realize later? Johnny wasn’t even in the club. He was too scared to even come bail me out. I was released two days later after investigations proved that someone like me was not actually involved with the cartels in anyway. That was a wound that went deeper than any other. He apologized later but our lives took different paths eventually.
“Eh Mjango. Vipi brathe.” He had finally reached where I was. Everyone was looking to see how I would react. They knew our history as former best buddies. I don’t know how, but I had missed this mjango. I felt nothing heavy about him. So I smiled and shook his hand mightily as the rest cheered on. I had missed seeing Johnny that happy. I decided to throw the past back and believe that Johnny was different now. There and then everyone called for a toast between Johnny and I. Almost immediately as I was trying to say no, a waitress in nine inch heels, a booty shot, an off shoulder top and faux locs appeared with a tray of rum and two small glasses. These attires waitresses have on in bars surely!
Now my greatest fear and temptation for the night had just been brought on a silver platter. How could I resist while in the midst of all those fellas I went through real life with? How could I tell them that some caring woman would kill me if she found out that I had a date with rum? Sonia filled both glasses and Johnny handed one over to me. I am not the one who stretched forth my hand to take it. Do you hear me? It wasn’t me. We clinked our glasses in a toast, and down our guts it went.
I felt a part of me that I had not felt in a long time – just resurrect like a mummy. He resurrected with thirst since I had given him a taste of what he had missed. From nowhere I shouted, “Happy birthday to Johnny!!!”
They shouted back the same to Johnny as we laughed and threw our arms up. Bottles of all kinds of expensive drinks were brought by more of those lovely waitresses. Some went to the dance floor to remind themselves of old moves and come up with new ones according to how the booze in them instructed. On our side, I cannot remember the one who came up with the idea of a rum contest. In fact I had forgotten all about my midnight curfew. But I remember I was almost winning after multiple shots against Johnny when Sonia came to whisper something in his ear.
I saw his face change drastically, “Nani? Ako wapi?” He said. He folded his fists and stood up.
“Johnny ni nini?” He didn’t answer me. Neither did he even look back.
I carried on with my rum business. I had missed it for all I cared. Just after two more shots, Sonia came back crying. “Mjango! Aki its Johnny. He is in trouble. Harakisha watamuumiza.”
“Ati watafanya nini?” I was tipsy, so it took time to load that. She repeated like three times for it to sink in. I dashed for the other side of the floor.
There was already a crowd surrounding to make a ring of some kind. In the middle was Johnny, kneeling on one leg and spitting blood with some mjango, tall, masculine and bold headed – a Kenyan model of Dwayne Johnson-The Rock. I got pissed off. How dare he beat up my best friend?
Funny enough, I was courageous enough to think I could throw a challenge at that guy, almost twice my size. Instead of realizing that Johnny had just gotten himself in trouble again and I was about to make myself part of that trouble. Oh what booze can do, no other thingamajig could do. The crowd there seemed to have been enjoying the show. Some of our friends helped Johnny.
This huge mjango noticed that I was looking at him with rage – suggesting I wanted a piece of him. He began walking towards me and the patrons around began to cheer the unfolding smack-down show. He had the ‘bring it on nigga’ kind of a look.
Suddenly, someone gripped my hand so tightly. For a moment I thought someone was trying to hold me firm so I’d be beaten up like pulp. I turned only to see her, also wearing a no nonsense face.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She said as she slapped me
“How did you find me? ”
” Just shut up and let’s go! “


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Written by The Mjango

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