BED 10, 11:44 A.M.

 

Thomas Omondi Were

 

 

(My Father died exactly three months ago, on a date like today’s – 23rd – and at the exact time this blog post will go up – 11:44 a.m. These are some of the events leading to his passing. As well as my way of dealing with it.)

 

 

I stay with my father for two or three weeks at home; making him shitty porridge and humongous Ugali that he doesn’t even touch and helping him type work stuff on his laptop and sending mails on his phone and acting as his escort to wherever he needs to go because he’s weak and could fall at any given moment and would need someone to pick him up when that happens.

 

 

Then he leaves for the airport one brisk morning on his way to a hospital in Nairobi West; he’s accompanied by my Mum and one of his best friends in the teaching profession who offers to drive them to Kisumu International Airport (you have to say it full like that) in his car. That morning, he wakes up weaker than he has throughout the entire time I have been with him. His legs are swollen and he’s shaking and he only points at stuff he wants brought to him because he feels pain every time he speaks. My Mum tells me she’ll call me soon as they get to Nairobi and I wish them a safe journey. That evening, my brother texts, telling me the old chaps never made it to Nairobi and are still in Kisumu. I call my Mum and she says Mzee could not be allowed into a plane in the situation he was in; and so he was admitted at Aga Khan Hospital – Kisumu – ward, Bed 10.

 

 

***

 

 

For the first couple of days he seems jovial and settled and comfortable. He takes all the medicine provided by the doctor and even asks for more. He smiles with everyone that comes to visit him and tells them not to worry because, “…I’m fine, I’ll be back on my feet in no time.” And then he laughs so loudly it feels like the heavens are pulling apart. He talks to the Luo nurses in Luo and the Kikuyu nurses in pathetic broken Swahili because if there was one thing that man could not do even if it had a billion-shilling reward was speak proper Swahili; and he was unapologetic about it because he came from a place best known for sugarcane and the highest number of chang’aa drinkers in the whole county. A place the government – in 2009 – recognized as the most rural place in Kenya. A place people pay to be signed onto WhatsApp and Facebook. A place people could not pronounce the President’s name if they tried so they just call him ‘Ouru.’

 

 

He asks me if the money he left us for food and basic necessities back home when he was leaving for the hospital has run out and I say, “No, we’re still good for a couple or so days.” He makes as if to reach for his wallet and my Mum stops him, tells him to rest and not to bother himself about big boys. He laughs and tells me, “You heard your mother, you’re big boys now.” I say, “Yes, we are, we’ll find a way.” And, with that, he leans back on his chair and my mother walks me out as one of his best friends comes in to see him. Two seconds later, the laughter coming from his ward could deafen a family of bats. I say to myself, “Ah, he’ll be good.” And I run downstairs to the hospital cafeteria for a soda. Then I go back home in the evening because my kid cousin is alone at home and he’s already texting, asking what we’re having for supper.

 

 

I do not go back to the hospital for a while (and regrettably so) because, at some point, my Mum lies to me that the hospital has slapped a ‘no-visitors’ policy on my Dad. Then my brother texts one evening asking why I do not go to see Mzee and I tell him Mum said visitors are not allowed at the moment and he tells me that was a whole load of bollocks; that she was probably only trying to protect me because Mzee was getting bad. Real bad. I scrap around for fare from friends and make my way early the following morning.

 

 

I get there and my father does not recognize me. Just stares at me blankly, breathing in and out, stomach fattened. There are only a few things that can hurt a man deeply – texting the girl you think is your soul mate in 2015 and she replies in 2017; rushing into marriage with a woman because you ‘love’ her only to later realize her Chapos taste like tissue paper; and then there’s sitting two-feet from your father and him having absolutely no clue who you are, or why someone who looks like a Solex padlock is shedding tears next to his hospital bed. At some point my brother – who had spent the entire night by his bedside, together with my Mum – drops by and notices him struggling to turn over so he helps him do so, and then shouts in his ear, “Have you seen Ian? That is Ian seated back there.” But, still, he does not acknowledge or even make any movements in the affirmative; he just lies there shaking like a leaf in the winter. And nothing has ever broken my heart like that. Nothing probably ever will.

 

 

I continue coming every day after that.

 

 

And then, on Thursday – 23rd March – I get to the hospital and, after one look at him, excuse myself to go to the Gents. And I cry in there till a stranger comes in and, without even saying a word, offers me a tissue. And I say to myself, “No, that in there is not my father. Can’t be. Impossible.”

 

 

Let me explain;

 

 

***

 

 

The man I have known my entire life has always been Strong. The man we have all known has always been Strong.

 

 

In the wake of the very first year when my father took over at a little-known school in Siaya County – Rang’ala Boys Secondary – as the Principal, succeeding a hugely popular man, the students went on strike. One night, at around 10 p.m. (I remember because it was just after the News and we had been sent away to bed so the adults could watch ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’) the students – about 50 of them, by my rough estimate – surrounded our house and started pelting us with stones. At first, we hid in the bedrooms but soon as a stone went through and hit my sister, we converged at the corridors – as we figured stones could not pass through the walls – and we waited for the tension to die down, all the while taking care not to shit our pants. But those boys were determined to pelt us for as long as they could. So my father went into his bedroom, wore a heavy grey jacket, picked up this monster torch that was so popular in those days, grabbed a big ass rungu, told us to stay in the corridors and walked out the door. Alone. Less than twenty minutes later and those boys were back in class and silence and peace had been restored and he came back. One old man with a torch and a rungu; against over fifty students armed with stones. Folks, you can’t make this shit up.

 

 

See, that was my father. That was Thomas Omondi Were; a strong man; a fearless man; a man with balls of steel; a man who faced problems head on and almost always won; a man with a black belt in karate that he never even bragged about.

 

 

(I don’t know about you guys but if I had a black belt in karate, I would drop that shit on every conversation. I mean, we could be talking about how tasteless chicken smokies are or how shitty Infinix phones are and I would just blurt out, from nowhere, that “By the way I have a black belt in karate guys.”)

 

 

***

 

 

I exit the gents, head back to the ward and say to myself, “Yes, that is definitely not my Father. That man shaking like a frail bird with tears almost welling in his eyes and hooked onto endless pipes to aid in his breathing CANNOT be my Father.” And I say that over and over again in my head until the ward is filled with people – Aunts, Uncles, Friends – and the nurses ask some of us to make room. So I leave and go take a seat at a park near the hospital’s entrance.

 

 

About an hour later, I notice my Aunts and Uncles and Sisters coming out of the hospital breaking down. And I think to myself that maybe, like me, they’re just in denial over his present condition. But I decide to go check it out anyway.

 

 

I pass my mother in the hallway crying against a friend’s shoulders and, dreadfully, walk into my Father’s ward. I find my brother covering him while singing a song that, for the life of me, I just can’t get out of my head; “…I will sing the wondrous story, of the Christ who died for me…” And, at that moment, even though I’m in denial, it hits me that he’s gone. But I still need someone to confirm it for me. “He’s Dead,” my brother says, amidst his singing. I hear him clearly, but I pretend not to have, so I say, “What?” and he repeats the same words (just this time louder and clearer); He’s Dead.

 

 

Time Stamp: 11:44 a.m.

Date: Thursday, 23rd March, 2017.

 

 

And so, the story goes, my Father would die a week to my Birthday.

 

 

Here’s the thing; I will never understand Death. And I don’t know what criteria God uses to decide whom He takes and whom He leaves in this world. But what I do know is this; my Father did not deserve to go like he did. My Father did not deserve to die that way; frail, half-unconscious most of the time, unable to recognize his own son, unable to walk to the loo so pissing himself in bed and having my Mum and brother clean him up, with his stomach so swollen someone would have thought he swallowed an elephant whole.

 

 

The man that raised me – Thomas Omondi Were – did not deserve to go out like that.

 

 

Fuck Cancer.

NURSING MY FATHER

123

 

 

He sits on a plastic chair at the center of the living room; his legs – swollen as a balloon – hoisted onto a stool in front of him, his left hand supporting his head, the right on the armrest of the plastic chair. The T.V is on, to full volume, and some flimsy Nollywood film about a Prince falling in love with the Princess of a rival land is on. His eyes, unflinching as ever, stare directly at the T.V screen. And, for a second there, it beats me how a man as old as he is would be enjoying such a distressingly pathetic script about how a Prince and a rival Princess fall so deep in love that when their two communities go to war, they jump into the middle of the battle and declare themselves sacrifices for the sake of Peace. Because, “Love trumps All.” Such baloney.

 

 

And then I take a closer look and notice that he’s really not watching the television or paying attention to the Prince’s incessant whining about how great Love is. He’s staring into space. He’s staring into thin air. He’s staring at empty nothingness.

 

 

***

 

 

My Mum called me sometime mid last month but it went straight to voice mail. So she texted, “Your Father is Sick. Get back to me.” I called her that evening and, after her usual shouting and bickering over what I really do in Nairobi, she said, “I need you to come back home.”

 

 

“Why?”

 

“Didn’t you hear me, Mzee is sick?”

 

“Sawa. Wacha I come kitu next week.”

 

“Kama hutaki wacha. Utamwona kwa coffin.”

 

 

Then she hangs up. That was Auma Nyar Keya being her usual self; dramatic as ever. I called her back.

 

 

“Sawa. I’ll come Monday or Tuesday.”

 

“If you cannot be here by Monday morning then just let your brother come. Hakuna shida kama hutaki kuona Baba yako.”

 

“Sawa. I’ll travel Sunday night and be there by Monday morning.”

 

 

She didn’t even acknowledge what I had said, just hung up. And so, that Sunday night, I hopped onto a Busia-bound bus and was home before the dogs evenwoke up for morning glory. I sat next to this pretentious loud mouthed Luo chap in a stinky white hoodie, ugly dark sunglasses (but why are some Luos hell bent on embarrassing us?) and these ridiculously shiny shoes who seemed to want the whole world to know he was going back to Kisumu. He called close to 12 people and the script was always the same (and you have to read this part in a Luo accent);

 

 

“Omera narudi Kisumu bwana.”

 

*Other person*

 

“Eeehh. Tunaenda kuangalilia Baba ground bwana.”

 

*Other person*

 

“Ntakaa wiki moja hivi alafu nikirudi ntakupigia.”

 

“Eeehh. Hahahahah. Si unajua lazima ka-GlenFiddich kaanguke nikirudi.”

 

 

By the time he was on his fifth call, I could recite his conversation word by word. So I fell asleep and, gladly, woke up as he was alighting. I almost poured libation to the goods in gratitude.

 

 

***

 

 

“Ian…” he goes, “…what’s someone got to do to get some porridge around here?”

 

 

I put aside the book I had been reading and head for the kitchen. I have never made any porridge all my life. Shit, I don’t even like porridge. But, for my ailing father, I will learn how to cook squirrels if he wants me to.

 

 

Thirty minutes later, I serve him a bowl of what, in my mind, is the most kick ass porridge human hands could ever make. He takes a sip, twitches his face and says, “This is the shittiest porridge I’ve ever tasted.” Then he attempts what sounds like a laugh, but only a cough comes out. A long strenuous cough. A painful cough.

 

 

The old man has been ill ever since we buried my Grandfather – his father –in September, 2016.He has grown thin and weak. He barely eats, only drinks porridge, and rarely speaks.He coughs 973238 times an hour and, when he walks, takes every step like it could be his last. There are days he can barely get off the plastic chair – never sits on the sofa – and then there are days he gathers some little strength and drives around.

 

 

The other day he had to pick up a parcel from the Post Office so I took shotgun while he drove. We arrived at the Post Office at 12:58 p.m., exactly 2 minutes before their lunch hour. He parked, we got out of the car and as we headed for the door, we saw the Post Office guy close. And we know he saw us see him close because we were right there, literally less than five steps away. And I got so pissed off I remember saying to him in my head, “Makes you feel pretty good, doesn’t it? Denying an ailing man a simple thirty second service?” I imagined him going home that evening, tucking his children into bed, kissing them on the forehead, and hopping into bed with his wife. And she would ask him, “How was work today?” And he would sigh and say, “Great. I sent away this old sickly man and his bushy son at lunch time today. You should’ve have seen them beg, it was hilarious.”

 

 

“Kijana,” he began, soon as we got back from the post office and I was assisting him back to his chair, “would you do me a favor?” I said, Sure. He said, “Shave that bloody beard.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “Because you’re young yet too old?” And that’s the most confusing thing my father has ever said to me my entire two decades of existence.

 

 

Get Well Wuod Agatha.

HIGHLIGHTS 2016

1

 

There’s just five of us at the bar.

 

 

I’m at the counter with my phone in hand and a glass of local brew staring me coldly in the eye. I’m on my second glass, to be precise, and the ground is starting to feel a little shaky. Could be a mild earthquake or just the brew kicking in, I don’t know. All I know is my ex called me sometime during the day and wished me a “happy new year” in a voice so sweet it almost sounded divine and I find myself unnecessarily thinking about her now. (Okay, scratch the earthquake, it was the booze, it was definitely the booze.)

 

 

There’s the Waiter behind the counter. Some chap in a dull black t-shirt written ‘Under 18 asipewe’, eyes red as a monkey’s ass, nose bloated, and eye brows hairy as a pedophile’s ass crack. His face reads frustration; like, you know, those times in high school when you were pressed and had to use the loo but it was the deputy head teacher’s [Math] lesson and you knew he wouldn’t grant you the permission even if you asked so you just sat there and hoped, in the very least, it came out as a trifling fart instead?

 

 

The DJ is on the corner to my right. There’s a packet of what appears to be a million greenish leaves on his decks and his mouth is so full you would think a Brazilian bee bit him on the lower lip. He’s playing a lot of Konshens and Tarrus Riley and Vybz Kartel (believe me, I’m ashamed I can even spell these names right); which is pissing me off but he seems to be enjoying himself just fine.

 

 

There’s this chap at the table right behind me. I think he’s on his gazzilionth glass of the brew. He looks higher than the peak of Times Tower. His eyes are half open and his hair is disheveled and his mouth is warped in a not so great way and his trouser has multiple holes that look like breathing points for his ding dong. Basically, this guy is the perfect guide book for scoring a Hollywood zombie role.

 

 

And then there’s the mami at the other corner. She has sunglasses (I don’t know why) perched to her forehead and her nails look longer than the Nile and scarier than the ending of ‘Night On Elm Street’ and her face has loads of make up on. She’s in a fine red dress and her chocolate thighs are sticking out for all and sundry. She’s drinking from a can of Red Bull and has her eyes glued to her phone. Sometimes she glances up and her eyes meet mine and she blushes and goes back to her phone like she didn’t just awaken emotions in my heart (read: pants). She’s not even eti cute or anything. She’s just hot. I don’t know if you guys get the difference? Like, say, Anita Nderu and Huddah Monroe. Anita Nderu is cute; her face looks like a cup of Vanilla ice cream, I would lick that baby till dawn. But Huddah Monroe is hot, like Game of Thrones Season 7 hot; I want to bang her till all the fluid in her body comes out via her nose. I understand that that description might have been a bit too graphic for some of you but do you guys understand the difference now? Good.

 

 

I want to know what she’s doing here. And, most importantly, why she’s here alone. Is it the music? Is it the ambience? Is it the warm seats? Or does she just like hanging out with guys who look like Mahatma Gandhi (if he smoked weed and chewed mogoka, that is)?

 

 

“Hey there, waiting for someone?” I advance and say.

 

“Not really. Just having some ‘Me’ time,” she replies.

 

“Aha. Me too. What are the odds?”

 

“Ati?”

 

“Never mind. So…nice sunglasses by the way.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

“I dig the dress too. The color blends in well with your skin.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

“Do you like the music here?”

 

“It’s not bad.”

 

“But it could be better, right?”

 

“I guess.”

 

“Can I get you a glass of something stronger?”

 

“No. I’m fine.”

 

“Okay. Well…uhmm…how about some breath mints and a new attitude?”

 

*Looks up. Startled, and pissed off* “Look, dude, niko kazini hapa. Kama huongei pesa songa. Izo lovie dovie pelekea kuku zenu.”

 

*Also startled* “Excuse me?”

 

Unanidinya ama haunidinyi? Chit chat baadaye.”

 

 

And then it hits me. Homegirl here is actually the resident hooker, waiting on some drunk horny chap to take home to bang the few hours left of 2016 out of her brains. And I looked to the sky and said to myself, “Lord, is this how I’m really ending my year? Is this how you’re really going to let me go out? With a glass of fifth generation liquor in hand, a stoned Mahatma Gandhi in the distance and an arrogant hooker with an Infinix and a choking breath?”

 

Ladies and gentlemen, these have been some of moments of 2016. Some happy, some sad, others just a complete waste of your time.

 

 

Losing Mzee

 

Even at 86, he still went to the shamba and herded his own goats. He was old and weak and you had to use 99 or more microphones to speak to him. But he was the kindest soul. He spoke with a calm voice; one of finality, no less.

 

Gramps finally succumbed to his age-long battle with Cancer this year. On his deathbed, in his final hour, they say when they requested he be returned to the hospital for further medication he said, “No. Call me a Preacher. I’m ready.”

 

Forever in our hearts Mzee.

 

Nominations And Features

 

A friend of mine going by Irvin Jalang’o and I began this other blog in February, this year, where we tell all the silly stories people go through. Like Irvin talks about misplacing his socks in the pad and I rant about women who can’t cook kick ass Chapo a lot. By the way, Kenyan women, let’s just come to an agreement today, every single one of you is learning how to make Chapos in 2017, sawa? Kick ass Chapos; not Chapos that taste like unleavened bread and look like a goblin’s ears. You are not going to get a husband hell, even a boyfriend if you can’t cook kick ass Chapos. Okwabisecho.

 

 

We called the blog Mister Left. And, midway, Mister Left was nominated in the OLX Social Media Awards under the ‘Best New Blog’ category. We didn’t win, but the overwhelming support we witnessed from some of you guys was enough for us. We will forever be indebted.

 

We Mister Left were then featured in Couture Africa Magazine’s ‘Male Gaze’ section. And Irvin and I shared a beer and reminisced on how far we had come.

 

 

Awards

 

Fresh from losing the OLX Social Media Award, I was nominated in the Jomo Kenyatta University Student Awards as the ‘Blogger of the Year.’ I was scared and expected the worst, so I didn’t campaign much. And so when my name was called out as the winner that Thursday evening, I took a second to thank The Good Ol’ Chap Above before strolling across the stage to receive my award. I was in old faded jeans and an oversized trench coat but I didn’t care. I had won. We had won.

 

Asanteni sana to everyone who voted. Here’s to many more.

 

 

Graduations

 

A lot of my guys graduated this year from the school of Academia to the unforgiving School of Life.

 

Earnest ‘Riccobeatz’, Owiso, Ken Jacks, Roy Omae, Daniel Katana, Brian Gitonga, Eric ‘Dogo’, Kevo ‘Juicy J’, Caro, and the entire Bsc. I.T Class of 2016.

 

Guys, go kick ass out there.

 

 

Tony Mochama

 

Tony Mochama is an award-winning Author and Poet of over 3 books and a Standard columnist, but most of you guys might know him as Pulse Magazine’s Smitta Smitten; the chap who writes in a language only he knows.

 

I ran into Tony in a South B jav juzi. He held a book in his right hand and was in a fitting vest. He was walking by when I called out, “Ontita” and he paused to shake my hand, saying, “Niaje Boss.” All I could get out was, “Big Fan.” And he smiled and replied, “Asante sana.” Then he walked to the back of the bus. And as I was alighting, he waved at me in the air and smiled and I waved back; like we were teenage lovers who had their own language or some shit.

 

The lady friend I was with asked me, “Who was that?” and because I knew she wouldn’t recognize any of his books, I said, “That’s the guy who writes for Pulse as Smitta Smitten.” And she screeched and said, “Oh, Shit, that was Smitta?” and I replied, “No. That was a unicorn riding a bicycle.” Okay, I didn’t, but I really wanted to.

 

 

Lost Friendships And Relationships

 

I’m a selfish egotistical prick who loves nothing but words, Chapos, and aged whiskey. And sometimes, that gets in the way of people I care about [Look at me getting all mushy and shit.]

 

I may have offended a few friends in 2016; some unintentionally, others intentionally (let’s face it, some of y’all dicks too.) Some cut ties with me, some stayed.

 

To the ones who stayed, I’m sorry. Shit happens. Nothing we can’t solve over a bottle of beer and nyama choma.

 

To the ones who cut ties, I wish you all the best in 2017. I’ll be here if you ever need me. If you never do, just remember this: vegetables are healthy for you.

 

 

Gigs

 

I have been privileged to bang copy for a few publications this year. But the highlight of those has been being the Chief Editor of JKUAT’s upcoming Student’s Magazine. We did a kick ass job guys, look out for that mag. in January 2017. I’m literally breaking protocol just telling this to you guys.

 

 

Mentions

 

The female friend I was with when I met Tony (up there), her name is Brenda. Lovely mami. Has the smile of two moons, the laughter of a new-born cricket, and the soul of a gold coin. But she’s also loud after a couple shots of vodka and needs to stop thinking she can drink more than I do. Hehe.

 

Anyway, homegirl here bailed my ass out of ‘jail’ a couple months back when I was nabbed in town for doing literally nothing. I wrote a ka-small piece about that incident on social media the next day but may or may not have blacked out her role in it. I met her the weekend after that and she gave me a hard time about it.

 

So, here, Brenda, bless your soul. And can I just have my whiskey already? Madeni za 2016 tusiingie nazo 2017 tafadhali.

 

 

More Mentions

 

Also, there are friends, and then there are chaps like Tom Chacha. Chaps who will call you during the weekend like;

 

Unafanya?

 

Hakuna. Nimelala tu.

 

Aya. Toka kwa nyumba.

 

Say what?

 

Toka kwa nyumba.

 

 

And then take you to a joint in Westlands and ask, “What do you want?” and you will say, “I feel like a little Jack Daniels today” and he will say, “Knock your face out.”

 

 

Bless you too, Sir. To more debauchery.

 

 

Even More Mentions

 

There are also guys like Brian Ogenya. Guys who will accidentally take you to a gay club in Westlands and call you a ‘bitch’ for being mad about it. Like, dude, it’s a fucking gay club? What, I’m supposed to be glad? I’m supposed to buy you a beer and pat you on the back and say “Atta boy” for taking me to an all whites gay club? Hehe. Lok Pachi Baba.

 

 

And, as always, You Guys

 

I realize I haven’t posted as much as I would have wanted this year. But there’s always room for improvement, right?

 

Thank you for always wasting those five or so minutes of your time to come here for a giggle. This blog wouldn’t be what it is without you. And, for that, I will forever be grateful. You’re going to keep coming in 2017, Yes?

 

 

Folks, that’s my time, have yourselves a blissful 2017. And go slow on the bottle, will you? Because I won’t. And one of us has to stay alive to witness the Trump Presidency.

 

 

THE MAN AT THE BAR

Man in suit sit at bar counter

 

 

He sits at the bar counter in silence. Head lowered, eyes staring straight at the cold hard bad floor, right hand holding a bottle of beer and the left holding onto an empty glass. He’s dressed in a suave fitting black suit, a tie with cute polka dots, and those multi-colored socks Larry Madowo wears. He looks deep in thought – or loss – like the burdens on his shoulder have finally outweighed him and he wants nothing to do with the world anymore. Like he has given up and surrendered his whole-being to his inner demons and they’re having a field day with it.He takes out an iPhone from his breast pocket, fiddles with it for a couple of seconds and shoves it back with a disappointed look on his face. Perhaps he was to meet up with someone and just realized he got stood up. Maybe he just got a work mail reminding him of that report the Boss needs on his/her desk by 8 a.m. the following day. Maybe, the wife had finally had enough of his broodiness and texted, “I can’t take it anymore. I’ll be at my sister’s place if you need me. I took the kids too.” Or, maybe, the mpango wa kando had gone through Huddah’s Instagram account and was now demanding her own line of lipstick as well. I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling here.

 

 

He lifts the bottle to his face, stares at it for a while, mumbles a quiet “Fuck It” (I assume) and in just one long swig, downs the whole goddamn beer. He then lets out a loud careless belch, summons the waiter and says, “Another one.” (Like he’s DJ Khaled or some shit) And as the waiter walks away to fetch his order, he summons him back and says, “You know what, bring me two more.”

 

 

It was a frosty Monday night, I was at The Alchemist Bar in Westlands (great place, their food is shitty, but great place). I was at the bar because, despite already being jobless and broke and single, I had just lost a gig that would have well set me up for at least five months’ rent and I needed something, something stiff, to get my mind off it. I was meeting a friend here but he left after the second double because he had to go in early for work the following morning. I joked that the missus had put a curfew on his ass and he said he was just tired. So he ordered me another double, called an Uber, and disappeared into the fickle night. Now I was alone; Angry, depressed, slightly drunk, and starting to wonder when Adelle was releasing her next album.

 

 

Usually, when I’m troubled, I always just get shit-faced drunk and then go sleep it off. But not that Monday. That felt different, I felt different. For the first time, I actually wanted to talk to someone about my shit. And, maybe, that was in some way connected to the two doubles working their way up my system but, I needed to talk to someone who was nearly as messed up as I was that night.  Or much more. And I wasn’t going to call the boys because they would think I’m just a sissy who needs to suckle his mother’s tits and calm down. My Counselor was out of the question because she once told me I wasn’t as tough as I pretended to be and that deep down my heart was just as soft as everyone else’s and I’d hate to make her feel like she was right. But, Mister-Polka-Dots over there at the counter seemed like just the right fit. So I grabbed my glass, walked over to the counter, sat a chair away from him, sighed and said, “One of those days, huh?”

 

 

He took a quick look around as if to ascertain he was the one being addressed and when he saw no one else within earshot, he hissed and said, “Yeah. Tell me about it.” I moved from my seat to the one next to him and chimed, “You look like you could use something stronger than a beer, brother. Name’s Ian.”

 

 

“Sam. The beer is just because I still have to drive home.The last time I drank whiskey and drove, I ran over my wife’s dog. You a fan?”

 

“Of what, whiskey? We’re practically in a relationship.” He lets out a quiet struggled laugh, sips his beer then shouts to the waiter, “Double of whatever my new friend here is having on my tab, please.” The waiter turns to me and I say, “Singleton, neat.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is called breaking the ice.

 

 

“So, was she mad?” I ask. “Your wife, I mean, when you ran over her dog.”

 

“Mad is an understatement. She went bonkers. You know, sometimes I think she loved that thing more than she does me. Can you believe she bought the damned thing a casket, buried it at our backyard and had me read the bloody sermon?”

 

“Damn, that’s cold.”

 

“Yeah. She got over it eventually, though. At least that’s what she said. Methinks every time I do something wrong her mind still races back to that day, and then she gives me one of those looks…you know.”

 

“Women, huh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”

 

“Don’t I know it. So, what about you, son. Why are you here on a Monday? Girlfriend troubles?”

 

“Little bit of that, but mainly work problems. I lost a major deal today, can’t think straight.”

 

“Don’t sweat it, you’ll get another one. Believe that.”

 

“Amen.”

 

“What exactly is it you do?”

 

“Oh, I write. Anything. Everything.”

 

“Hmm. Good for you mate. Me I’m in Real Estate. And, between you and me, I hate every second of it.”[Sips beer.]

 

“Why? Real Estate seems fun.”

 

“Yeah…from the outside.”

 

“Well, what do you want to do then?”

 

“I have absolutely no idea, that’s why I’m drinking. All I know is I hate that shit, but I can’t really quit because I have baby shoes to buy, salon and reckless shopping expenses as well as rent to pay. Whatever settles the bills, son; A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

 

“You plan on talking to your wife about this?”

 

“Been there, done that. Says if I quit I’ll find divorce papers on the table when I get home. The nerve. And the sex is not even eti that good anymore.”

 

“Hahahah. What do you mean?”

 

“She gives pathetic head and won’t let me bang her doggy style bana. Says she wants to make love, not just fuck. The hell does that shit even mean?”

 

[Still laughing.] “So it’s just missionary, huh? Yeah, that doesn’t sound any good.”

 

“It’s shitty, I tell you. I mean, I don’t want to look at the pimples on your face when I’m climaxing bana. Psht. Anyway, enough about me, what about your girlfriend troubles?”

 

“Oh, yeah, that. Well, it’s not really girlfriend troubles per se, but…I think I screwed it up with this girl, man. She was there for me, I wasn’t there for her, one thing led to another and now we’re complete strangers. And you know what pisses me off in all this? Chic could make kick ass Chapos, man.”

 

[Laughs.] “Ouch! You don’t leave a chic that can make kick ass Chapos, my friend. Those are rare these days. Lord knows my wife has a stick far up her ass but the one thing I can always look up to are her Sunday evening Chapos. Makes everything better. You gotta get that chic back, son.”

 

“Yeah, I’m not so sure I wanna do that.”

 

“Why not? You’re here drinking over her, aren’t you?”

 

“It’s complicated.”

 

“Two words said by every loser I know.”

 

 

Sam checks his watch and says, “It’s running towards midnight now, gotta get home.” He then beckons to the waiter, settles his bill, pats me on the shoulder and says, “You’re still way too young to be having lady troubles, son, so I have no advice for you on that end. But as far as work goes, if you love what you do then keep holding on tight; something will always come along eventually. And when it’s time for marriage, don’t marry a woman with a stick up her ass; otherwise you’ll be served your food cold when you get home past midnight. Warm night, son.”

 

 

As he walked out, I remember thinking to myself, “Lord, if the woman I marry ever chooses to bring a dog home, in as much as I will want to, please prevent me from running over it.”

HONORING MZEE

kwara-2

 

 

Thursday, September 15th.

 

 

Something was strangely unpleasant in the air that afternoon. The winds didn’t blow, the sun shone faintly, the surrounding stank funny; like Lucifer was having an orgy with kina Jezebel in a swimming pool and wicked ole’ Jezebel kept farting in there (although, to be fair, I live in Juja so that might just have been the smell of weed). It was cold – it always is in my pad, I live on the ground floor – and I was broke and my neighbor was playing one Drake song after the other like his heart had just been broken and he was trying to move on but had no idea how so he thought, “Hey, you know what, let me listen to a Drake album, On a bloody Thursday afternoon.” I had been bedridden for close to a week by then; my toes were swollen – making it hard for me to even walk past the gate – and they smelled of a cocktail of rotten eggs, Athletes’ Foot and Jägermeister. I was in bed, all covered up to the chin, phone on flight mode, watching some series about Women and Drugs and Power. And Sex. Especially Sex.

 

 

Then I got this burning feeling to check my phone and the first 14 text messages that streamed in all read “I tried calling you…” And they were all from my Mum. And as I lay there trying to figure out what it was I had done wrong this time (because Auma Nyar Keya doesn’t call you 14 times to commend you for saving the world or to ask if you need money for beer), the 15th text message came in; and with it, a defiant gust of cold and gross indifference. It read;

 

 

“Your Grandfather is No More.”

 

 

Friday, September 23rd.

 

 

The setting is a remote village deep within the heart of Ugenya – Siaya County. A village so remote Google Maps won’t help you find it; a village so remote those chaps probably pay to join WhatsApp Groups.  I just got here. I’m saying hello to cousins and sisters I haven’t seen since the cold war and exchanging pleasantries with aunts and uncles here and there and they’re telling me “You look famished. You don’t eat?” and I’m grumbling and rubbing my hands against my belly and responding “Nairobi si mama ya mtu” and those who like to brag how they wiped my ass – even those who didn’t – when I was young are coming at me like “Na si you’ve grown” and I’m just there stroking my beard in silence like I’m the shit.

 

 

We just came back from the mortuary with Mzee’s body. Wailing has taken over the entire compound. Men and women I have never seen before are mourning my Gramps, and I’m just standing there lazily, with my crutches in hand, looking like a Maasai in the Sahara; struggling to fight back tears. And, you know, nobody ever thinks they’ll be that guy; the guy that cries and kicks and bites and scratches after viewing the body. Something takes over you, and for a minute or so, it no longer becomes your body. It becomes the universe’s body; and the universe does whatever it wishes with it.

 

 

My Dad appears from the main house with my big bro beside him. He looks weak; he looks defeated; he looks like he wants to throw his hands in the air and ask God, “Are you happy now?” He had been there with Gramps – his Father – through it all. They had gone to hospital after hospital and visited native doctors and been prayed for but still, here we were. A single tear trickles down his cheeks and he wipes it away then forces a smile. His walk is frail, his voice shaken, and his facial expression is downcast. Yet he still forces a smile. Because he’s a Man; and Men must be strong; Men must not cry. Not in the presence of their wife and kids.

 

 

My big bro has a well of tears in his eyes. My cousins are crying their lungs out; some are fainting and regaining consciousness and crying some more. My Mum cries with her hands on her head but not a sound comes out. My Aunts mourn and throw their lesos in the air and mumble words of grief. My Uncles spot a few tears in their eyes in silence; their faces tell it all. I see people who worked for my Gramps cry out for him. I see his friends and relatives and fellow elders mourn his passing. I had promised myself I wouldn’t tear up, but a voice inside me tells me I owe Mzee at least that much. I walk into the house to view the body and a couple drops of tears appear. That voice inside me comes back once more. It says, “It’s Okay, Son. It’s Okay to Cry.”

 

 

Saturday, September 24th

 

Atogo Michael Were was a man of very few words. Mzee preferred to do his stuff alone. Even at 86 years old, Mzee would take his goats out to herd in the morning and bring them back in the evening by himself. Mzee cleaned up after his cows shit up their shed by himself. Mzee liked his meat tender and cut into humongous pieces. Mzee liked the meals served communally; he never liked the idea of someone pinching ugali from their own plate. And if he noticed you eating faster than the others, he told you to take it down a notch; to come slow. Mzee liked his uji served hot in the morning. Mzee was big on cleanliness as well; before showering, he scrubbed his legs with bucketfulls of water – that is, one bucket per leg. He spoke slowly and warmly, never once raised his voice no matter how pissed he was. And when you needed to speak to him, you came armed with 99 microphones because his hearing had gone to the dogs.

 

 

My Dad wore the white shirt my Mum bought him (look at them being all romantic) and gave the story of his last days with his father during the funeral. He got his shit together and spoke about watching his father slowly fade away. And I don’t know where he got the strength from but he did. He spoke of how Mzee hated hospitals and of the midnight phone calls he would receive because Mzee couldn’t go to sleep. He narrated how, often, Mzee would speak to himself and he wondered whether he was going cuckoo as well. He talked about watching the Cancer tear his father apart – bone by bone, fleshy by flesh, strength and mind – yet he could do absolutely nothing about it. He spoke about being with Mzee to his last day, when he would notice Mzee in so much pain and offer to take him to the hospital – again – but Mzee would say, “No. I’m Ready.” He talked about being called in to work that last day, and looking at his phone almost three hours later to find a gazillion missed calls and – knowing what that meant – saying to himself, “Rest, Baba. Rest.” When I grow up, I want to be an inch the man my father is today. I want to have half the strength he embodies.

 

 

Mzee’s lips looked wrinkled and dry. His face, astute as ever, was bony and fragile and his nose had been stuffed with cotton. Dressed  in a cosy black suit, he just lay there; Still. And Peaceful. Dead as a dodo. He was Gone. Gone, Baby, Gone.

 

 

That evening, after we lowered Mzee down to rest, we downed local brew and recounted memories with my big bro and cousins. And we made memories (It’s funny how English just rolls out of the tongues of city people after one too many.) And as I lay in bed later on that night, sleep evading me, a tear dripped down my cheeks and I said to myself, “Go On Well, Mzee. On To A Better Place.”

‘ONE’

 

ONE

 

 

There are just three things I consider myself good at in this world; Tearing through Chapo, Skipping morning classes, and Pointing Out Good Music. See, I listen to a lot of music – local, especially – and there are those that make me smile; and then there are those that make me want to shoot myself in the nuts. I can smell talent a mile away. For instance, 90% of Kenyans only recently came to know of Vicmass Luodollar; after he did the ‘Bank Otuch’ remix with Octopizzo. But I had heard of the guy even before Obama flew down here. Same applies to Jay A; most guys only knew him after ‘Dumbala’. Me? I had listened to his first track – ‘Clap yo hands – even before I stepped out of high school. I remember telling a couple of my classmates the kid would be a star and they would look at me the way Americans now look at supporters of Donald Trump; like I was batshit.

 

 

 

A few weeks ago – on a lazy Thursday afternoon – I walk into an apartment in Juja belonging to a friend of mine. Warm fellow, sharp as a serial killer’s blade. He comes from Coasto; which means he says words like ‘Kakangu’ a helluva lot. The first thing I see as I take my seat on the couch is a tall Sheesha pot, peeping from the kitchen door; which totally makes me want to blow a few smokes, but I hold myself back. You don’t go into someone’s house and just right walk into the kitchen. There is a small keyboard on the table, a couple medium-sized speakers at either ends, a laptop at the centre, and a microphone lying lazily beside it. He has another friend over; an overly tall dark man with the humility of a pregnant bee. They’re logged onto YouTube, sampling a couple tracks of his (my host’s) latest E.P. His name is Rashid Beduni; but he goes by Rash Raww. A music Producer, as well as an Artist.

 

 

 

Rash was in Germany for the better part of the last three months of 2015 on a school project. Says he enjoyed himself. That the activities were fun. And the people were amazing. And the food was kick ass. I want to chime in, “I bet they don’t make better Chapos than ours, aye?” But, instead, what I find myself asking is, “And Racism?” Says he, personally, wasn’t a victim and neither did he witness any traces of it. At least where he was. So we can assume the Germans are cool peoples. I ask him how the German mamis were and he refuses to comment. Says he was too busy. I ask, “Doing what?” And he says, “Making music.”

 

 

 

Apparently, while in Germany, Rash Raww ran into 5 other really cool chaps – including one very beautiful lady – with the same passion and drive in music as his; Christian F⍤rster (Germany), Keyboard P (Germany), Lynn (Germany/Phillipines), Mattan (Mattan), and Chidi (Nigeria/Germany). It may also be of note that Chidi sings in the African Gospel Choir, ‘Voice Of Joy’, whereas Mattan says he’s a Rapper working on solo projects – including an L.P – under the artist name ‘Mein Name ist Nase’. Don’t beat yourself up, I don’t know what that means either.

 

 

 

Anyway, so the six of them hooked up at the studio many a night and, at the end of it all, they had a six track – five, out of which, were produced by Rash Raww here – E.P. to show for it. And because they met in Flensburg, they decided to release the E.P under the collective name, ‘Friends In Flens’. And they named the E.P, ‘ONE’.

 

 

 

So I asked Rash to play me the E.P and he did. And we listened in silence, and the other guy and I offered our criticisms and opinions where we deemed fit. Rash switches between English and Swahili throughout the whole E.P while the rest of the guys rap and sing mostly in German, with a little English here and there. The E.P has a smooth feel with free-flowing easy to comprehend lyrics; save for the German parts. It’s sort of like a Sunday afternoon playlist. It’s a collection of soft tracks that you listen to when your mind is at peace; probably when you’re laid out on the sand, facing the beach, glasses blocking your eyes from the sun, and a bottle of sting Whiskey standing boldly beside you. My personal favorite in the E.P is the track ‘My Name.’ Simply because, in it, the guys ask, “When I’m gone, would you remember my name?”

 

 

 

“So, why the name ‘ONE’ though?” I ask soon as we’re done.

 

 

“Well, because the whole point of the E.P is to promote peace and oneness throughout the entire world,” says Rash. “We may have different colors on our skin; we may speak different languages; we may come from different parts of the universe; but what we MUST never forget is that, at the end of the day, we are all ONE people,” he adds.

 

 

 

I mean, look at it this way, blacks are being shot down in the streets of America like stray dogs every minute; innocent law-abiding Muslims are being treated as terror suspects even here in Kenya; Trump has vowed to kick Mexicans out of the States if he comes to power; yet we all just smile and drink and dine and make merry and post Facebook statuses of Game Of Thrones like it doesn’t matter. Like the world isn’t coming to a rot. Some people drive while the rest of us here walk; some like Pizza and others like yours truly here love Chapos; some women want tall, dark and handsome men while others just want chaps with dreams; some guys want women with big tits, others like us just want women who can make kick ass Chapos.

 

 

 

But, beneath all our individual differences, we are all the Same; we are all ONE.

 

 

Be so kind as to preview the E.P via this LINK.

STORIES FROM AMBOSELI

CHEF WANGA

 

 

A little past midnight – a couple Saturday nights ago – I’m stumbling into my boy’s place in South B. I’m a little high. The door is wide open, he’s blacked out in the bedroom, mouth ajar, hands crossed over his chest, snoring like an Albanian field wench. That’s how you know someone had a good night. I make myself comfortable on the sofa, make a few drunken calls and soon doze off. People tell me I sleep with my eyes half open, that I scare them. My only questions to them always are, what the hell are you doing awake in the middle of the night looking at people who are already asleep? What, you want something? Something you can only get from me in the middle of the night? When I’m dead asleep? Shit.

 

 

Tom – the chap I’m at his place – wakes me up at 9 a.m. the following morning. All dressed up. Says he’s on his way to some hotel in the middle of Amboseli. I ask why and he goes, “Some of us actually work.” I hate it when people tell me things like that, it makes me feel idle. It hurts my feelings. It makes me feel like applying for license to carry. Because I’m pissed off, and I’m still nursing a persistent hangover, I want to ask him, “So why the hell you gotta wake me up? You want a goodbye hug or something?” But I don’t. I just roll back over on the sofa and go back to sleep. Then I hear him say, “You know what, you don’t look like you’re doing anything today, get up, let’s go.” I turn to see if he’s pulling a fast one on me and he gives me that “I’m serious, fool” look. And then he adds, “All expenses covered. Get your ass in the shower and let’s go.”

 

 

Tom runs this cleaning and pest control outfit – Imagine Care. He started it soon after campus, he says he has never wanted to work for anyone. Wants to get off bed when he feels like it, not because he has to. Has always wanted to be the one running shit. Now they go round the country to some of the best hotels helping them handle their pest problems. As I bang this down, they just got back from the Mara and are off to Mombasa before the weekend. He’s the C.E.O and Founder of the outfit, which basically means he doesn’t do jack. He walks around in a blue suit supervising as the work is done, and cashing six figure cheques. He gets the best hotel suites and dines with Chief Chefs. Sometimes I joke that he has the best job ever and he says, “No, Bikozulu does. And Larry Madowo.”

 

 

We pitch up at Sentrim hotel, Amboseli, circa 8 p.m., after a five hour long drive on tarmac and another hour on a rough road through the Amboseli national park, with hyenas running and howling beside us. Sentrim hotel is located right in the middle of the Amboseli. The only thing separating them from the park is an electric fence that is supposed to electrocute the elephants’ nozzles when they come too close. Half of the staff down there are Maasais, which means this is not the place to cause trouble. At night they walk around in shukas and sandals probably made out of leopard skin, carrying rungus the size of my head, talking in hushed tones and laughing loudly. One of them told us he had been bitten by a snake before, and the way he said it was like it was nothing. Like it was no big effin’ deal. There we were, scared out of our hoots, talking about how afraid we were of snakes, and then this guy with very big earrings hanging from his ear walks by and goes, “Mimi nimeumwa na nyoka by the way,” while smiling, like it was normal; like it was cool. You know how in high school Math was such a pain in the nut, yet there was always that one cocky chap with the long nose and the stinky breath who always seemed to know everything? Like, you would be there, fidgeting in your seat, all sweaty, trying to solve for ‘x’ and he would show up behind you, grab your pen and go “This is actually quite easy” then go ahead and solve the bloody sum in 30 seconds. A sum that had already taken you 5 hours yet you hadn’t even gone past the second step. Pricks!

 

 

They put us up in these really cool tents designed in the shapes of actual houses. Like, they were normal houses, but instead of cemented walls and a mabati roof, they had tents. Cool, right? The floor was made of wood and there were a set of seats and tables  – all wooden – outside looking into the wild that would have made for a good spot to smoke a cigar, if you’re one of those people, or down a bottle of Whiskey. There were a couple of beds in each room – tiny comfy beds – with a Bible on a stool beside each bed for the occupant to read some scripture from before hitting the sack. How thoughtful! There were also three bottles of water, in case, for some strange reason, you got thirsty in your sleep. And then there was a fan as long as the Eurobond trail on the farthest corner of the room. Here’s the thing, me I come from the ghetto; deep down in Eastlands. We shower in basins using kina Geisha and Flamingo soaps gikmakamago. But here, to turn on the shower sijui you tilt this ka-metal thingamajig to your left – for cold water –and to your right – for hot water. Alafu their bathrooms are so clean I almost said, “Hell, bring me a mattress in here, this is where I’m napping.

 

 

There are just two things I don’t understand about Sentrim Hotel; Every night at 10 p.m., they shut the lights off. Complete blackout. If you’re one of those people who have to use the gents in the middle of the night, you’ll be lucky if you don’t knock the stool containing the Bible on your way. Two, They have minibars, only problem is they’re not stocked. I mean, si that’s like having a girlfriend you ain’t even smashing, No? I’m just saying. But, in their defence, they said it was low season. Ati that’s why the minibars weren’t stocked. Sawa, I’ll let it go, Mr. Manager.

 

 

The following morning Tom and I were called to have breakfast at the main restaurant. They first served us a glass of passion juice, and a plate containing well-arranged slices of mangoes, oranges, and an apple. Basically, it was just fruits. The ghetto in me blurted out, “The hell is this?” and Tom replied, “Welcome to the life,” like he was some kind of a Saudi Prince used to this kind of life and shit. As if his shagz is not Tanzania down here. After the fruits they served us tea along with an omelet and a small round bun, this time the ghetto in me smiled and said, “Now we’re talking.” Then the Chief Chef, a nice chap by the name Livingstone Wanga, comes and sits next to us, asking how we are faring so far. Deep down, I want to say, “Well, now that you ask, Sir, how do I eat this bun using a fork and knife?” Hehe. But what really comes out is, “Fantastic. Thank You.

 

 

He – Chef Livingstone Wanga – then goes on to tell us about his career and what it’s like to be a full-time Chef. Says most people, especially bachelors – like yours truly here – think cooking is just about rounding up the tomatoes and the onions and pilipilis into one sufuria and coming out with something edible. Apparently it’s more complicated than that. He shows us a sample of his own unique creations and we’re left wondering how people are even supposed to eat that. I mean, do you use a fork and knife or do you just dig in, you know, like a normal person from the hood? “What do you call that?” Tom asks. And he goes, “This one here is flakes of beef stir fry in a blind baked pastry case on tomato soufflé rice, and then the other one was pan seared perch fillet set on a warm potato salad, green beans and laced with doria lemon butter.” Okay, I’m not even going to lie to you that I understood any of that. The whole time I was just thinking, “Where’s the bloody bar?” So we asked him to repeat those names but by the third time we still hadn’t gotten anything past ‘beef stir fry’ so we just said, “Listen, Sir, just WhatsApp us the names, Sawa?

 

 

Some of you guys here must think I’m making this stuff up, ndio hizi hapa;

 

 

BEEF FLAKES
Chef Livingstone Wanga’s ‘Flakes of beef stir fry in a blind baked pastry case on tomato souffle rice’

 

Pan seared perch
Pan seared perch fillet set on a warm potato salad, green beans and laced with doria lemon butter’
avocado fan
‘Avocado fan salad with a 1000 Island dressing’

 

 

Chef Livingstone Wanga (you have to address him by all three names like that) is a man with an interesting perception about life. Takes every day as it comes. Does his work to the best of his ability, leaves the rest to the customers. And, Chefs also go an attachment. Whodathot? Chef Livingstone Wanga says when he’s on leave, he likes to go to the Norfolk to sharpen his skills. His work is not as easy, because he has to ask for feedback on how the food was from every customer that tastes his meals. This Chinese couple dined while we were there and when they were done, he went to them and asked, “How was the food? Good?” The Chinese couple said, “Food good.” Then he asked them, “Food too much or too little?” And with a straight face the man said, “Too little.” We just laughed that one off, as Chef Livingston Wanga assured them of an increased quantity at dinner. I almost walked up to that Chinese guy to ask, “How much did you want, Sir? An elephant?” But it wasn’t in my place now, was it? Besides, we were also just visitors here.

 

 

Sentrim Hotel has this spot from where you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro that is just the most beautiful view I have ever seen. Go there early in the morning, when the grass is still wet (no, not in that way) and the birds are still singing from the trees. Go there in your sweatpants, or your boxers if you have to, and enjoy that view. Breathe in the warm smell of the morning mist, enclose yourself in the beauty of nature and let it reel you into captivity. From that view – and for that split second – all your troubles will go away. They will fly away with the birds and disappear, like  Nairobi men after getting under your pants. During the day, go to the swimming pool area and if you’re scared of drowning, or are just a terrible swimmer – again, like yours truly here – just sit by the bar and order a mojito or a cocktail named Monkey Dance. If your Boss calls you at that particular moment, just laugh and tell him, “I’m at Dik-Dik Bar.” He won’t get it. Chances are he’ll probably say something like, “You’re fired.” Keep him calm, tell him you’ll work overtime next week, then say, “No, seriously, it’s called Dik-Dik Bar.

 

 

When the guys who were doing all the work were done and we were about to leave, Chef Livingstone Wanga (Ok, I see it now, the name is a mouthful, hehe) took Tom and I to the bar and told the guy behind the counter, “Wapatie soda baridi,” which we downed while bothering the bartender with silly questions. Say;

 

 

“Which guys drink the most here? The Whites or the Africans?”

 

“The Whites. Especially the Germans. Those guys love the bottle a tad too much.”

 

“But which ones misbehave the most after one too many?”

 

“Oh, The Africans, most definitely. Once the Whites have had to their limits, you’ll just see them walking out of the bar towards their rooms. But the Africans, man, saa hizo ndio sasa anataka kukuonyesha ako na pesa. And they become arrogant.”

 

“Na wagani hawatoangi tips?”

 

“Haha. The Chinese. Those ones are tough to crack.”

 

“Who is the most famous person that has ever walked through these doors?”

 

“Wako wengi sana. We’ve even hosted some Saudi Billionaires here, and those guys come with their own security, hawa wetu wanawafukuzanga waende walinde wanyama. But Michael Rannerbarger has been here. Even Serena Williams was here sometime back.”

 

 

Guys, this is me begging, if any of you goes to Sentrim Hotel anytime soon, book the room Serena Williams slept. I’m not asking for much, just bring me the towels she used. Sawa?

BLANKETS & WINE

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

The first ever edition of Blankets & Wine went down almost seven years ago. The event, a brainchild of Muthoni Ndonga – famously known as Muthoni The Drummer Queen – had a simple but creative concept, the first of its kind this side of the Equator. It wasn’t one of these ordinary events where chaps in Versace sweatpants and mamis in booty shots went to get stupidly inebriated and listen to loud music from Konshens and grind and twerk their butts off. It was more of a family event that, unlike most Kenyan events, happened during the day. It was an event you could take your whole family, including your kids, to. It was an event you could bring with you that sacred bottle of wine or that aged Whiskey you had been saving for a special occasion, and enjoy slow sips from. It was an event that had the concept of a picnic; folks would come with their shukas and lessos and blankets, spread them on the soft grass, unwrap their packed lunch, pop their bottles of wine, and dine and wine with loved ones, all the while listening to mature music; music you didn’t need to shake your ass to, to enjoy; music you just had to move slowly to, groove with it’s rhythm, and if you were a poor dancer like myself, all you had to do was shake your head from your seat. Nice and easy.

 

 

But last year, Blankets & Wine sort of took a sabbatical from the Kenyan events scene. We waited but it never came. We waited some more – until it almost felt like what Raila goes through before election results are announced – but still, we got nothing. Instead, they took it down to Museveni’s home turf. Sources claim the sabbatical was caused by slight disagreements between Muthoni The Drummer Queen and one of her silent partners, a well-known billionaire businessman in the region. The businessman is said to have later come up with his own event to rival Blankets & Wine. When asked for comment – early this year – by some local daily on the validity of these rumors, Muthoni is reported to have said, “Blankets & Wine is unstoppable. We’re coming back this year, bigger and better.” Well, come back they did. Bigger and better they are. I mean, while some guys are bringing in Ali Kiba and sijui Koffi Olomide, Blankets & Wine is bringing in kina Aloe Blacc. You can’t argue with that.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

I’m strolling into Ngong Racecourse circa 11 a.m. this past Sunday with my usual Photographer; Sammie Andre. I’m in light blue Khaki trousers and some checked long-sleeved shirt [not the best outfit for a Sunday event but what the hell], Sam is in a white Good Vibes T-shirt, a trench coat and jeans [with a bag carrying his camera hunched to his back] I have been to Racecourse exactly twice my whole life; during Jameson Live and for some photo shoot I was invited to. Sammie says he’s been here twice as well, both times on duty. So this would make the third time for both of us. Look at that, what are the odds? We are here today for the 59th edition of Blankets & Wine. Before today, we had only heard – and read – about it. We don’t know what to expect, we’re just hoping it’ll have been worth getting off bed on a Sunday – and abandoning ‘Lucifer’ series – for.

 

 

Numbers are slowly streaming in. A few Land Cruisers and Range Rovers and Subarus can be spotted in the parking lot. An ambulance and a firetruck are parked on either side of the entrance, in case shit hits the pan, and you can even hear some chap in a blue suit howling on his iPhone, “Come straight ahead after passing the cemetery, you will see some ka-billboard inscribed Ngong Racecourse up ahead. Find a nice spot to park that Mercedes and find me inside bwana.” In all honesty, I’m beginning to feel a little out of place. Chaps here are sharply dressed and holding onto gorgeous lasses with accents; it’s kind of like being the only person who wants Chapo-Madondo in a table-full of Pizza enthusiasts. You feel like you’re not wanted; like you’re a plague. Son of Were is a very simple man, my wardrobe is pathetic, and so is my hair cut. I board matatus and drop whiskey in my coffee and watch ‘The Blacklist’. The one thing I do not do is dress sharply. Okay, and listen to Adelle. That woman nearly destroyed my life after my last break up.

 

 

And, like I’ve said a gazillion times before, I do not bring ladies to events like these, and not just because the entrance fee is 3000 baab, but because of all the other things I would have to buy after paying that entrance fee. I mean, soft drinks, whine, Pizza, chicken, popcorn, hell, even, clothes. And attitude. So I roll up alone – or with my Photographer – and I enjoy the music, then when it’s time to go back home, I hurl my ass home. No fuss.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

I had heard that this was going to be Just A Band’s last show as a group. That they would be taking a two-year break after this, to focus on individual projects. So when Sam and I ran into one-third of the group – Daniel Muli – I asked him what the cause of the break up was and he just beat about the bush. He said, “It’s not really a break up, it’s more of a time out, you know, to focus on our own things.” Which is, basically, what every group that’s breaking up says, ask Camp Mulla and P-Unit. “But for two years? Isn’t that a little too long?” I push. He gives me the most vague answer anyone could ever say. Ati, “It is, but then again, it’s really not.” Is it just me or is that just the shittiest response ever? Si that is one of those break up lines you tell to a nagging woman? A woman that wants to come over all the damn time but just won’t let you smash, sindio?

 

 

Scores of people have arrived by now. There are white guys – with their families – and, you know, regular black folk, smoking Shisha and holding glasses of booze. There are groups of light skinned ladies drinking Chardonnay and eating burgers at the V.I.P section. They look like the type of ladies who buy their own drinks in a club. Those types of ladies that don’t need a man to take care of them. The kind that say a whole bunch of nothings about being Independent and call themselves Feminists even though they haven’t the slightest idea in the devils balls what that means. The kind you walk up to and say, ‘Hey, you look nice’ and they roll their eyes and say, ‘I know.’ The kind you really want to punch on the chest but you remember FIDA will come for your broke ass.

 

 

There are tents all over the place. There is a PWC tent somewhere, there is a HelloFood tent somewhere, there is a Afri-Na-Ladi tent somewhere, there is a WhatsGood Live tent somewhere, but the sexiest of all is the Ciroc tent. They have these neat white seats in their tent, plus half a dozen or so beautiful lasses in tiny shorts walking around, that just make you weak on the knee and invite you in. But you don’t go in because maybe they might bring you a double of their vodka and Lord knows that bill would send your whole family towards bankruptcy. So you walk onward. Towards the backstage. Guys, let me tell you this first hand, like Sam puts it, there’s no greater joy than trying to get through to the backstage at a high-profile event but the bouncer holds you off and tells you you’re not allowed back there, so you just whip out your ‘All Access’ wrist band to his face and watch as he crumbles and apologizes and tries to kiss your ass. You feel like pinching his nose and telling him, “Know people,” but the last person that did that to a security personnel is now out of a job, so you just smile and pat him one the back and say, “It’s Okay Boss. It’s Okay.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

When Mayonde gets on stage, the first thing you notice is not her curves, or her figure hugging dress, or her boot [pun unintended]; it’s her smile. You can tell a lot about somebody by their smile. You can tell if someone is happy, sad, broke, or just undergoing a dry spell by how they smile. Mayonde has an amazing smile. If I were married to Mayonde, we wouldn’t even have to talk when I was sad. I’d just ask her to smile and everything would be Okay. And I’m not one to put my hands in the air for a performing act but for Mayonde I did. You just can’t resist it, her voice has such kind of power over you. It soothes your soul, and makes you feel like giving yourself up to her, so she can do as she pleases with you [hopefully something dirty, hehe]

 

 

Whatever happens to Just A Band, these guys are still the Shit. I don’t care if Sauti Sol perfoms for Obama or the Queen, they will never be as good – or even half as creative – as Just A Band. That’s all I will say about that.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

Khaligraph Jones and Kagwe Mungai were supposed to join Muthoni on stage during her set. Before their time came, Sam and I are talking to Khaligraph backstage about music. I ask him why they excluded U.B from the ‘Iz Vipi’ video and he goes;

 

 

The only thing that sets you apart in this industry is discipline, my man. The guy never showed up for the shoot. On the day of the video shoot, I was in Bondo for a show myself. And I caught the first flight back immediately the show ended and I went on set. But U.B stays hapa Nairobi West and he can’t show up for a bloody video shoot? C’mon. I don’t have a problem with drinking, as long as you do it responsibly and have your priorities correct man.

 

So you’re saying you don’t drink?

 

I don’t. And it really pisses me off to see artists mess themselves up on stage, because then whole world believes all artistes are like that. And that gets to me because there are those of us that don’t roll like that. Mimi ntaanza tu kupiga wasanii hapa Kenya waache ujinga.

 

 

When Khaligraph says something like that, you don’t know whether he’s just joking or he’s really serious. Because he says it with a straight face, and he’s tall, burly, and dark as night. Khaligraph is the kind of guy that can diss you in the studio and still come whop your ass in your house. So you don’t really laugh, you just chuckle and move on.

 

 

About this beef you and Octopizzo have, is that personal or it’s just business?”

 

At some point it was personal, but right now it’s purely just business. He’s not on my level, I’m not even looking at the Kenyan market anymore. But, the bottom-line always is, Octopizzo and I can never be friends. Never.

 

 

 

Then the mood of the conversation changes and he starts asking Sam and I the questions. He stares at us for a second and asks “So, what gossip blog do you guys work for?” and we say, “Just personal blogs, basically.” Then he asks, “How’s that going for you? These guys paying you well?” I smile and say, “Well, we get by.” And then he notices my phone charging from a power bank and he jokes, “Well, my nigga, if you can afford a power bank in Nairobi then you must be doing quite well.

 

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

 

Muthoni Drummer Queen does not take her performances lightly. She shows up and she shows out. She sings and she raps and she dances, all in one set. She even had Khaligraph and Kagwe singing and dancing along to ‘Nai Ni Ya Who’ backstage for a while there. And she came with a full band, dancers, and a choir bana. No kidding, she has this choir that calls themselves ‘The Individuals’. It consists of about three ladies and two men, and those guys sing so wonderfully they make you want to repent all your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. They sang this song titled, ‘No Man, No Cry’ that ironically, only made me feel like shedding a tear. It was beautiful.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

And then came the man everyone paid an arm and a leg for; Aloe Blacc. And, I swear this is not a diss, but Aloe looks like your ordinary Luo friend who comes from somewhere on the shores of Seme, except he has an accent. Like myself [ahem] he doesn’t dress sharply. He had on an official black shirt and trouser, and shoes you can fetch at Ksh. 1000 in Gikomba. And I know I’m not supposed to say this about a another man, but I love Aloe Blacc. He’s simple and cool and, shit, brother can dance. And when I say dance I don’t mean Dab, I mean really move his feet. At one point he was talking about Nairobi traffic and he was saying how L.A is cool and there’s no traffic. Then he said, “One of these days I should invite some of you guys in L.A to experience how smooth traffic goes. But we gon’ need one or two white people in the car, just in case the cops pull us over.” I thought that shit was hilarious. I even laughed just typing that statement, seriously.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

Aloe Blacc is easily one of my favorite artists at the moment. Because at a time when guys are trapping and shit, he still writes and sings from the soul. Aloe Blacc is The Man, and not just because he sings it, but because he says things like, “A Hit Song is not a song that tops the charts, but a song that Hits you every time you hear it.”

 

 

PHOTOS: SAMMIE ANDRE PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

 

HER PLACE

3

 

 

You are with three of your boys at some swanky joint in Westlands. One of these joints where they ask you for I.D at the entrance and, if you’re below 25 years of age, they tell you to go back home and suckle your Mummy’s breasts, do your homework, watch a Mexican Soap or something. It is packed, the DJ is playing some Wizkid song [something to do with bending down and pausing], ladies – with their already short skirts pulled way up to their thighs – are breaking sweat on the dance floor; shaking their asses with all their might, shaking so hard you’d think they were auditioning for a Konshens video, shaking and grinding their butts against the loins of pathetic lazy men just standing and making foolish grins behind them. I’ll admit it, like every man, I sugua too [mostly because people insist I’m a  buzz kill, so they’ll send some bold mami to come sit on my lap and dare me to a dance and I’ll be forced to prove I have balls too]. But I will never understand the obsession with twerking and grinding. How do people enjoy that shit? I will never understand why everything has to be explicit with this current generation. Why can’t people just dance the good old fashioned way our grandfathers – and theirs before them – taught us? Face the lady, lose yourself in her eyes, put your hands round her waist and her arms over your neck, move slowly – to the left, then to the right – and engage in a simple conversation. Talk about how much you love her necklace [even if you don’t], let her tell you how firm your grip is and ask you if you’ve been working out. Nowadays people don’t even talk while dancing; you just walk to the dance floor and jump behind any random lady you find, without as much as a “Hi”or a “What’s your name?” Nowadays women are bitches and men are…well…bitches too [going by the whining on social media]

 

 

There is a bottle of Jameson Whiskey [because everyone wants to be seen drinking Jameson these days] on your table, and three bottles of Kingfisher – for one of your boys’ cat. Normally, it’s just the boys, but she insisted on tagging along tonight. She said she wanted to see what ‘Boys Night’ was all about. That she wanted to witness the tomfoolery men engage in away from their women. Your boy – her boyfriend – had asked her if she’d be OK sitting in the midst of all the idiocy and she said, “Sure, Honey, I’ll be fine. You just have fun, do whatever you want.” When a woman says she’s fine, she’s not; especially when she says it with a smile, worse when she touches you on the arm while saying it. When she says, “Do whatever you want,” it’s a setup. Don’t you even think about looking at some fine piece of ass walking by, because when you get home and you try to get some, your hand will be slapped off and you will be given that look of “Go touch that bitch you were looking at.” So sit tight, hold your liquor to your chest, look only at her, stroke her gently on the thigh,tell her, “Have I ever told you how lucky I am to have you?”and watch her gloat and say, “I know.” Sip your Whiskey, refill her glass, and – every once in a while -recite the ‘Hail Mary’. Maybe then you’ll get lucky.

 

 

You like your Whiskey neat. If you have to drop something in your glass of Whiskey, maybe just a couple ice cubes. You consider men who add soft drinks to their Whiskey to be pussies.Pussies who watch ‘Jane The Virgin’ and ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’. Pussies who secretly wish to rock skinny jeans and Mohawks. Pussies who call their Mummies twice a day.Pussies who follow Sauti Sol and Nick Mutuma on Instagram. Pussies who suckle on PinPops and call their girlfriends ‘Bae’. Pussies who bring their women to the club on bloody ‘Boys Night’.

 

 

Three or so glasses in and the Whiskey is beginning to kick in. You know because your eyes are blurry, your head is going round in circles, and you feel like telling the DJ to play you some Drake. You also feel like dipping your face into a pair of boobs; a pair of firm, perky, beautiful boobs.  Two of your boys are at the dance floor by now. They have shitty moves, they couldn’t dance if it was the last thing remaining to save humanity, but because we have Jameson on our table – and women love men with Jameson on their table – they’ve already scored some mamis, who are now busy groping and making out with them like their rents depend on it. It’s pitiful, and disgusting; sort of like listening to Octopizzo’s music while driving.

 

 

You get up and head towards the Gents to do your business. It smells like shit – because it’s where people shit anyway. There is some chap being told to cool off in there. Blue cap, hairy knuckles, red eyes, crappy shoes. He looks mad at something, or someone. These guys are telling him, “Hatuwezi pigana hapa na sisi ni maboyz maze. Kesho bado tutakunywa tu pamoja.” He looks like those guys who really like starting fights but don’t even know how to fight. Those chaps who just want to appear vexed so they can be pulled back and sweet talked; it gives them some sense of authority, it massages their ego, it makes them feel important. Mimi I never start a fight because I don’t know how to fight. I talk big, a lot, but when shit hits the fan, I get my ass the hell out of there. Real quick.

 

 

“So what do you guys normally do anyway? Do you just drink and make fun of people and dance like robots all night?” Your boy’s cat asks when you get back to your seat. She’s alone at the table, Frank must have followed you to the loo, or gone outside to pick a call, or finally decided to hit the dance floor regardless of the consequences, Whatever. Now, because you’re drunk and you’re feeling like a smart ass [also because you never liked her ass from the get-go and have just been waiting for an opportunity to embarrass her], you say, “Nothing much. We usually just walk around the club tickling all the ladies’ nipples.”

 

 

“Uhmmm, Excuse me?”

 

“Okay. Well, we also spank them on the ass and kiss a few but I didn’t think you’d wanna know all that.”

 

“Are you serious right now?”

 

“It’s Boys Night. What do you think we do? Braid each other’s hair, drink Chardonnay and watch The Good Wife?”

 

“I thought maybe you guys just played FIFA and talked trash about women or something.”

 

“Oh, Yeah, We did that too. Before coming to the club.”

 

“What? Why wasn’t I invited to that?”

 

“Technically, you weren’t even invited here, you just bloody showed up. Secondly, you’re not a Boy. And thirdly, invite you so you can hear all the complaints Frank has about you? Hells to the No.”

 

“Complaints? What complaints? What bloody complaints?”

 

“Well, for starters, your food tastes like ass, that weave on your head stinks, and you don’t even know how to give head.”

 

“The Fuck? But he says my food is perfect.”

 

“Every man says that because they don’t want to sleep on the couch.”

 

“I’ll have you know, nobody gives head like I do.”

 

“Well, do you want to try it on me? I could be the judge, from neutral grounds, you know”

 

“You wish.”

 

“The only thing I wish for in this world is a lap dance from Rihanna. Naked.”

 

“Oh, grow a pair.”

 

“Already did. Wanna see those too?”

 

“You’re disgusting you guy.”

 

“I know, right? I wonder what women see in me.”

 

“They don’t see anything in you. Something’s just not right with their heads.”

 

“Something’s not right with Frank’s head either.”

 

“Why? Because he sees something in me?”

 

“No. Because he’s been seeing that thing in you for two whole years. I dont know how he does it.”

 

“I hate you, Ian.”

 

“Oh, I hate me too.”

 

“You know, when I first met you, Frank told me you were a nice guy.” [She’s beginning to get mad. Which means you’re succeeding.]

 

“But why would he misinform you like that? I’m a total ass.”

 

 

Frank comes back to the table. “Take me home, Babe. Take me home,” she says. Frank turns to you and goes, “Chief, what did you do this time?” You say, “Nothing, man. I only said her hair looks amazing.” They walk out. And that’s when you lock eyes with her.

 

 

Over by the counter, seated alone, drinking something – wine, presumably -from those really long glasses, dressed in a classy blue dress that transcends to just above her thighs when she sits. You notice each other almost at the same time. She smiles, then shifts focus back to her glass. She looks beautiful. She looks happy. She looks free. You grab your glass and walk up to her and say, “Excuse me, is this seat taken?” She smiles, again. “Well, it is now,” she says.

 

 

“I’m Ian. Can I buy you a drink?”

 

“Lisa. And that line only works in movies cutie-pie.”

 

“Oh, you think I’m cute?”

 

“I think flowers and puppies are cute. I don’t know about you.”


“But you just called me cutie pie?”

 

“Who says that necessarily means cute?”

 

“The Urban Dictionary.”

 

“The Urban Dictionary was written by a human being, just like the Bible.”

 

“What, you don’t believe in The Bible too?”

 

“I believe there is a God. I just don’t believe someone gave birth without getting down and dirty under the sheets.”

 

“The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

 

“So does the government.”

 

“What’d the government do now?”

 

“What didn’t they do? Have you been living in ice?”

 

“Okay. How about I buy you that drink and we talk about something other than the government and the Bible and puppies, aye?”

 

“Like, what, crappy pick-up lines?”

 

“Maybe. That could be a start.”

 

 

Three tequilas later, we’re talking like old pals. She’s telling me about her stubborn folks and her brother – he’s a rapper – and her schooling – she’s in Medical school, she hates it – and how her ex-boyfriend left her for some top government official’s daughter. She’s yapping on and on about how the world is twisted and she’s pissed that Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump and all the things she would do if she were President for just a day. You hate people who talk too much after a couple of drinks, but you just sit there and listen, because it feels like it’s going to be a good night.

 

 

An hour later, she says, “Let’s get out of here. I stay not so far away.” And you let out a silent sigh of relief. So you call an Uber and, about 20 minutes later, you’re pulling up in Desai, Ngara. A neighborhood so shitty it looks like one of those places that receive relief food from the West. Ngara doesn’t move an inch at night, it just stays still, like a month old piece of dog shit. She walks you across some corridors and into some building that looks like government housing for the homeless. She fumbles with her keys and when she finally opens her door and turns on the lights, you want to scream for help.

 

 

You walk in and you wonder if this is where Hitler plotted his moves during the World War. The place is a mess. There are clothes tossed all over, all manner of dirty dishes are piled up in the sink, the floor looks like it was last cleaned when Museveni was a teenager, hell, there’s a family of roaches on the wall. What kind of woman lives like this? I’ll tell you what kind of woman, the kind that harvests balls and armpit hair and ships them off to Timboroa for auction. That’s what kind of woman lives with a family of roaches. Lisa disappears into the bathroom and comes back with only her bra and undies on. You want to ask her if she’s homeless, but that sounds offensive even in your head. So, instead, you ask if she shares the room with someone else [like a freaking vampire, maybe]. She chuckles and she says, “No, I stay alone. Don’t worry.”

 

 

“You’re not a serial killer though, are you?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Forget it. The roaches, they don’t get on your nerves?”

 

“You’re scared of roaches?”

 

“I’m scared of snakes and my mother. Roaches? I just don’t think it’s healthy sharing walls with them.”

 

“I don’t mind them. There’s probably even a rat here somewhere, eats all my bloody food, but it’s nice having them around.”

 

“A rat? You stay with roaches and a rat and you’re cool with that? I wonder what’s under that bed, a bloody zoo?”

 

“I didn’t say it was cool, I just said I didn’t mind.”

 

“Well, you should.”

 

“Fine. I’ll do something about it tomorrow. For now, just come closer.” [She’s taking off her bra, slowly, seductively.]

 

“No. I think you should take care of this now.”

 

“Now? It’s the middle of the fucking night. What do you want me to do, call the police?”

 

“I have a guy.”

 

“You have a guy? I’m taking off my bra, getting ready to have sex with you, and you’re telling me you have a guy? Well, what the hell were you flirting with me for?”

 

“No, Shit, I didn’t mean it in that way. I’m straight. I meant I have a guy for this sort of thing. Pest problems.”

 

“Oh. Can’t that wait till morning?”

 

“No, I want you to call him now.”

 

“Jesus Christ. Well, do you have a bloody card or something?”

 

“Not really, but I have his details. Just take out your phone and punch them in.” [Puts bra back on. Takes phone out from her purse.]

 

“Okay, Shoot.”

 

“His name is Thomas Chacha, but – when you ring him – call him Tom, he likes that better. He runs this company that deals in cleaning and pest control, it’s called Imagine Care. Their email address is imaginecarekenya@gmail.com

 

“Too much information. Just give me his bloody phone number damn it!”

 

“Right. 0734 912 982 . That’s 0-7-3-4-9-1-2-9-8-2…….”

 

“I heard you the first time, Idiot. So, taking care of pests, that’s all they do?”

 

No, actually, they also do indoor cleaning. Say, you had a party and you’re tired of doing the dishes, call them. You spilled food or wine [or blood from one of your victims, hehe] on your couch or sofa or car seat, call them. Bedbugs keep you up late at night, call them. Or, maybe, rats keep running around in your office when you’re trying to work, call them.”

 

“Okay. Oh, and just so we’re clear, I’m not interested anymore. You can go sleep with the moon tonight for all I care.”

 

“I texted my Taxi guy the second I walked in here.”

 

“You’re an asshole.”

 

“Funny thing, I’ve been told that twice tonight only. But, hey, at least I care for your well-being. Now, you promise me you’ll call that Pest Control guy tomorrow, aye?”

 

“Whatever. Get out.”

 

Why do people always have to be so mean even when you’re just trying to be helpful? Ama she was just angry she wasn’t getting my balls and armpit hair tonight? Hehe.

BECAUSE WHO’S GOT TIME FOR BAD VIBES?

IMG-20160207-WA0059

 

Between you and me, I hate photos. I strongly hold the opinion that men should not have too many photos of themselves in their Gallery; or make duck faces in front of a camera; or take a lot of selfies. A man should know his rightful place in the society; like playing FIFA or drinking Whiskey or kissing random girls under the influence. A man should know how to polish his shoes and eat a sandwich without spilling things on his shirt and throw a punch and duck from one. But a man should never have to take a lot of selfies. Or walk into a joint and say, “White Wine, please. With a slice of lemon on the side.”

 

 

A couple of years ago, my boy – Dennis Wyre – introduced me to this modelling agency; Versatile. You chuck 2K for Registration and all you have to do is go for photo sessions every other Saturday and they’ll call you when a gig comes up. Now, first of all, I drink like almost every other Friday [even when I’m dead broke, especially when I’m dead broke], which means I’m always too hung-over on Saturdays to even leave the pad. Secondly, I don’t know how to pull off fake smiles. Photo sessions require you to smile, even if there’s a spiky snail crawling up your butt-crack. You have to smile; you don’t want to be the guy that comes out looking like Ice Cube or Bifwoli Wakoli when the photos are released. The only [amusing] thing I loved about Versatile photo shoots were the ladies. Chics love photos; chics can kill each other for a moment in front of the camera. They put their best foot forward, literally. They smile like goddesses and wear heels taller than the Eiffel Tower and walk gently; like they’re pieces of glass or some shit. They put on loads of make-up that conceal the pimples and signs of Athletes Foot disease growing on their faces. If there’s one piece of advice I can give men it’s this, don’t marry a model; with make-up, they look like Megan Good, without make-up, even Young Thug’s got bragging rights before them. Marrying a model is like marrying two completely different women; when she’s all dolled up for a night out, you feel proud walking her by your side. You want to hold her close and look into her eyes and see stars twinkling in them and never let go; but when she wakes up the following morning, after all the make-up has wiped out beneath the sheets, the only thing you want to look at is your face in the mirror when you’re saying, “How the hell did this shit happen?”

 

_P1A6306

 

 

Suffice it to say, I went for a couple of photo shoots and then stopped. I just faded, away, into oblivion, without as much as a goodbye or an “It’s been real guys” quip. I know they don’t miss me, but sometimes I just wish they would at least text me. Even just to ask how my day was. Chips Fungas, you guys understand this, right?

 

 

Anyway, so Dennis Wyre invited me to an outdoor photo shoot of his clothing line a couple of weeks ago, at Arboretum Grounds. You guys should know Dennis Wyre, right? Co-founder of DilRay Inc , now runs Good Vibes clothing line. I once asked him why he settled on the name ‘Good Vibes’ and he simply said, “I just wanted a feel good lifestyle brand.” Then then he added, “Besides, who’s got time for bad vibes anyway?”  Hence, the title of this piece. Catchy, eh? No? Okay.

 

_P1A6261

 

 

By this generation’s standards, Wyre is a bit of a cool kid. He has over 10K Instagram Followers; his pictures come with hash-tags like #InstaFresh, or #ShoeGame, or #FeelingMyself; he calls his peers ‘Fam’; and he introduces himself on camera as “It’s yo’ boy…” I went to that photo shoot for three reasons; One, Wyre is my boy, and boys always come through for boys; Two, I like the hassle ladies go through to appear perfect for photos. I like how they pose and the faces they make when cameras flash and how they brood when a Photographer is delaying with a shot; Three, the invitation text read “Beautiful ladies only”. So I asked Wyre if I could bring a plus one and he texted back, “Send me her picture first.” Ladies and gentlemen, this is where you scroll through your contact list and shit gets so real you decide to just text back, “You know what, I think I’ll just come by myself. Si that would be less baggage?”

 

 

I swung by town circa 11 a.m. and Wyre and his peoples picked me up in this bluish sexy Rav4 whose insides stank of pizza and burgers and Hugo Boss cologne and…you know, just rich people stuff. You know you’re doing something wrong in life when a guy you shared a room and broke bread with in first year is driving a Rav4 and you’re just there at the backseat, reeking of Vaseline jelly, staring outside the window and marveling at how tall Anniversary Towers is.

 

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[Quick Pause, Guys, Can we all just agree that this chic has nice legs, aye? Hehe.]

 

 

Before cameras began clicking, some light introductions were done and when Adam – the talkative chap who was introducing us – got to me, he said, “And, guys, this is Ian Duncan, he’s a very cool Writer.” I smiled, felt like a million bucks, felt like Donald Trump’s hair, and – for a second there – almost blurted out, “Oh, Staaaahp!” But then he added, “He’ll be manning the clothes for today” and I went “Great, watchman duty. Just perfect.” But Adam is a warm fellow; he’s those guys you will meet on the first day but feel like you have been boys all your life. He will engage you as you walk down University Way, and at some point he will ask you where you stay – just for shits and giggles – and you will say “Juja.”  Then he will let out this boisterous laughter, give you a certain look of sympathy – like that one we give those street kids who ask us for cash near Archives – and say, “Man, How do you survive in that place? It’s like a bloody desert down there.”  And you will restrain yourself from saying, “Well, seeing as we’re camels, we get by.” Hehe.

 

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I have a confession to make; I’m a boring guy. I’m not as funny or as cute in person as people think. People come here and read my shit then draw their own images of me in their minds. I’m that guy that minds his own business; I don’t talk to a lot of people, a lot of people don’t talk to me, and – as weird as this may sound – I like it that way. At events like these, I sit at some corner and look at people creepily and judge their hair styles and make snobby comments at their weaves and giggle at their walking styles and – occasionally – when some girl with a packed ass walks by, I just smile and say to myself, “Damn, Whoever said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach was a fool.”

 

 

This one time this model came to my station [I was entrusted with the very heavy responsibility of manning the clothes, you guys remember, right?] and started ransacking the sack of clothes, looking for something to wear. I was standing right there, she never said a word to me, just went about looking for that crop top and sweat-pant that she really wanted to take pictures [possibly for the ‘gram] in. Then when she couldn’t find it she looked around and asked, “Excuse me, who’s here? I’m looking for a pink crop top but I can’t find one.” Adam pointed at me and said, “Talk to him.” Then she gave me a cold hard stare – like she had just seen a friggin’ cyclop or something – and went, “But he’s not even talking to me.” I swear, I was a second away from grabbing her softly by the arm and saying, “But I was standing right here when you came. What, you thought I was just some fucking statue? Or you wanted me to bow down and say ‘Welcome, Princess. What can I get for you today?’ like those waitresses at Java? Maybe also massage your feet and kiss your palms in the process?”

 

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Also, I have a problem with men walking around bare-chested. I mean, fine, we get it, you have a six-pack, you have a ripped chest, you go to the gym and we don’t, yiddie yaddah, but just put some clothes on for crying out loud. This is a public place, not your bathroom.

 

 

I have met and interacted with a lot of young Entrepreneurs, but I have never met any other as driven as Dennis Wyre. The guys knows what he wants in life, he’s motivated, he pushes himself to the limits, he knows his shit, and – sometimes – he’s also full of shit. Hehe. Like sometime back he told me he was looking for another business to invest in. I asked, “But why do you need another business? The clothing line is already doing so well” and he said, “The average Millionaire has at least seven sources of income.” I texted him back three lines of those laughing emojis with tears spurting out of their eyes.

 

 

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But, in all respect, the photo shoot was a success. The ladies were a sight to watch [I mean, guys, look at those pictures though] and the gents – save for that walking bare chest thingy – deserve pats on their backs as well. My hats are tilted. Wyre also brought these two guys to make an after movie out of the photo shoot. Mimi, in all honesty, I thought those guys would do a whack ass job. No kidding. But then I was WhatsApp-ed that after movie the other day and I said to myself, “Shit, Khaligraph Jones should hit up these chaps to direct his next video.” [But, seriously though, Khaligraph really needs to stop shooting every damn video in Kayole.]

 

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I don’t know, maybe you guys will differ, maybe you will agree with me, but for what it’s worth, watch the VIDEO – it’ll take barely five minutes of your time – tell Wyre what you think, and while you’re at it, also mention you got that link from this blog so he knows I’m a bigwig in these streets. Hehe. Also, because I’m terribly lazy, I can’t post all the photos from the photo shoot here, so if you’re one of those men who get high on a lady’s smile, or you’re one of those mamis who go cuckoo over a guy’s abs, then just view the rest of the photos from HERE

 

 

Before I wrote this piece, I asked Wyre if it was OK to publish. He agreed, under one condition. Apparently I have a reputation of never writing anything positive about women here. So he asked me to be nice, that some of the ladies are sensitive and can easily catch mafeelings. Guys, you don’t think I was so hard, do you? No, Really, do you?

 

 

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VIEW FULL PHOTO SHOOT

WATCH AFTER MOVIE 

 

PHOTOS: COURTESY