I know I have a very forgetful mind, which is why on several occasions I have left the house with a well pressed trouser and a vest minus the shirt.
But even if my memory can be compared to that of a drunk cockroach, I still remember that there was a time I told you I will let you know what happened after my wife, that tough woman from the plains of Mbeya, threw me headfirst into the street.
That day I returned home from Zakayo’s Pub, my local watering hole in Manzese, and found that Mama Boyi had invited members of her sect for a ‘mkesha’, which happens to be an overnight prayer season. My only sin that night was to doze off at the dining room, because I suddenly realised that the distance to the bedroom had increased dramatically, so I decided to cool off and gather enough strength to stagger to the bedroom.
But my peaceful sleep was cruelly cut short by the Nyakiusa woman who calls herself my wife, as she practically frog marched me to the door and kicked me out, and as I told you, that was when I discovered that a human body can practically bounce on concrete.
The shouts from inside told me that I was not needed, because after throwing me out unceremoniously, I heard Mama Boyi leading her sect members in waging holy war on the devil, and screams of ‘toka’ filled the night air. I further realised that I was not needed in my own house because I discovered that I was categorised as a demon, and this discovery dawned on me after I heard the names of some of the demons being exorcised that night.
“Pepo la ulevi…..” Mama Boyi shouted, and the sect members screamed “tokaaaaaa!” “Pepo la kunywa mpaka unarudisha chenchi….” the response, “tokaaaaaaaa!” I had to leave. I called Jatelo, that Luo fellow from the lake region, and he happily informed me that he was heading to Zakayo’s, and I told him that he will find me there.
The funny thing about the liquid gold is that when you are overly excited, you suddenly become sober, even if you have swallowed enough liquid to float a small boat. By the time I re-entered Zakayo’s, I was dead sober, and I headed straight to the counter where the old man was busy polishing some glasses.
He looked at me suspiciously as I approached, a pained expression on his face, and I knew he was inwardly calculating the number of bottles I had swallowed previously without paying. “With that expression on your face, you look like a mheshimiwa in parliament deliberating on his private motion.
I really wonder why you don’t run for parliament, because I know you can win hands down!” I told him, and I sounded as if I meant it. By the time I was through with him, I had convinced him that I could swallow a crate or two of the brown bottle and pay him before the week was over.
Mwajay, the muhudumu who made all the men have daytime dreams, sauntered over balancing a tray with the precious brown bottle on top, and she gave me one of her famous smiles.
“I am sure your wife has just thrown you out, because that lump on your head is very fresh, and don’t try to convince me that the local boys jumped you, they are wiser than that!” she told me, and I made a point of changing drinking spots, because it is not healthy for the wahudumu to read you like an open book.
The music was too loud, and the ladies on the semi-circle in the middle which is usually used as the dance floor were seriously doing justice to the taarab music blaring on the speakers, and I had been informed earlier that the show was called ‘kanga moko’.
It was the first time mzee Zakayo brought the kanga moko group, and patrons were amused, with countless taking crumpled money to the gyrating ladies, and where they put the money remains a mystery to me. I was shocked to see a very familiar figure heading to the dance floor, doing some strange moves in step to the loud music.
When he got to one of the nearest dancing girls, he pranced and jumped, holding the delicate waist as if his life depended on it. It was my domestic thug, Boyi himself, a. k. a Papa Dog Killa, or ‘mtoto wa Ngwasuma’, as he calls himself, and it was obvious that he was either drunk on the lethal brew he usually drinks or he was high on his illegal grass, which he prefers to call the ‘Holy Herb’.
I moved closer to satisfy my suspicions, and I confirmed that indeed it was the young thug. It is at that time that he saw me, and for a few seconds he froze, before regaining his composure.
“Vipi mshua, naona mambo levo, nilikuja kumpiga tafu jembe langu linapiga shoo leo, ila ndo mi nasepa, kama vipi potezea…barida!” he said, and I can assure you I did not understand a single word he said, I just knew that he mentioned ‘jembe’, and for a moment I wondered whether the boy was trying to tell me that he has finally decided to become a farmer.
Before I could place a well-aimed boot on his silly backside, the boy had slipped and disappeared, and it was at that moment when Jatello appeared in his usual loud entrance. He spotted me and came over, and within minutes he was on the dance floor, harassing the girl who was wearing a very flimsy khanga with his Luo war dance mixed with his version of taarab dancing.
“Omera, did I ever tell you that Koffi Olomide almost drafted me in his band? I had to turn him down because the pay was outrageously poor, how can he pay me a measly 800 dollars a month!?” he shouted when he came back to the table. If there is someone who can scare you by big talk, then Jatello takes the lead, because the man can come from the toilet and inform you that he was chatting with Biden on his ‘private’ line.
Before Jatello could tell Mwajay to ‘smother’ us with more beer, suddenly the music went silent, and I saw the young girls in their flimsy khangas disappear through the back entrance. The men in khaki, a. k. a the police, had suddenly decided to raid the premise, and before I could say ‘Mama Boyi’, I was dashing to the men’s toilet, and Jatello was close on my heels.
The men’s toilet at Zakayo’s is very tiny, but I can assure you that that day more than 30 of us crammed comfortably in, as the police outside frog marched the remaining unlucky patrons into a waiting municipal truck, their crime……. drinking after the official hour.
“I will have to tell the president about this omera, because this is pure harassment yawah!” Jatello said quietly in the dark.