Caveat: This story does not go anywhere. It dips and when you think a high is around the corner, it dips further. If you’re looking for a robust read you might want to skip this one. (Skip to the end and read my small announcement though.) If, however, you’re looking to get lost in something that mimics life and how mundane it can sometimes be, go on and press play.
Midnight finds you at Forty Thieves, a club on the shores of Diani beach. Thatched of roof, hot and humid of air and full to the brim with white revellers; women and men with wisps of blonde hair, skin as pale as milk and dance moves crooked to the tunes of African music. All of them speaking through their nose in that accent urban Kenyans try to mimic, to the chagrin of their mother tongue and upbringing.
You’re bored stiff. The dance floor, dank with pheromones, doesn’t excite you. You have had enough walks on the beach. You want something different from the sand underfoot and the sound of the ocean tide in your ear. You find your novelty at the pool table. Two white men and one blonde woman fill up its spaces.
For some reason, all Europeans look the same to you. The blonde lass is in a little black dress with acres of exposed skin. For all purposes, that dress should make her look haughty, salacious, even sultry, but it doesn’t—at least not to you. You could pass her the same way you would a jug of warm milk. One of the guys is lean, a nicotine stick dangling from his thin lips. He looks like the dominant one in the group judging by his pool table skills. The other one is chunky, bearded. He can’t shoot pool to save his life.
“Can I play next?” you find yourself saying, a green Heineken bottle in your hand. Later, a girl will think you’re mature because you drink green beer but really you just don’t like the hangovers and the headaches that come with brown bottles.
The two chaps look at you as if you were a statue. Ms Little Black Dress is nowhere in the background. Has she turned into a jug of warm milk? Outside it has started drizzling but people are still out there because on this side of town rain and heat live bosom to bosom like husband and wife.
“I will pay for it. What is the cost, like a hundred bob?” you say and place your green bottle on the wooden edge of the pool table.
“Tell you what?” Nicotine Stick sinks deeper into his alpha boots. “You can play all you want if you pay five hundred bob for the white ball.”
You had enquired about it at the counter earlier. Yeah, you pay five hundred for the white ball and a hundred bob for the game then after you’re done you get your five hundred bob back. It’s a trick to keep the white ball safe. Apparently it’s a coveted item. The club is called Forty Thieves after all.
A smile curls up your face. There is nothing that evens the scales like a negotiation; it says both parties know they have something to gain from the other. The problem comes when you come across people who give you cold looks or dismissive no’s, or worse, phrases like, ‘We’re just really having nice conversations.’ More on this in a later paragraph.
“See, that’s the clincher. I want to play the game while riding on your five hundred bob deposit,” you say without flinching, with all the confidence girls use to ask for pocket money from their boyfriends.
Nicotine Stick looks at you as if saying, ‘The nerve of you Negros’ but then he adjusts his demeanour.
“Okay, you can play. You don’t even have to pay a dime.” He signals his bearded friend who nods in approval.
If silence is golden, honesty must be it’s sexy cousin.
“You can’t put your drink on the pool table,” a shadow from your side roars. You turn your neck and look into the eyes of a middle-aged woman, round of frame, sharp of tongue, as if she owns the place. Later, the girl who thinks green beer speaks to your maturity will tell you a white man left the establishment to the angry woman’s management.
You take your beer meekly and put it on a shelf. You shake hands with your new white buddies and make introductions. For the life of you, you can’t remember their names. You only remember the brief conversation you had with Sir Beard.
“How long have you been here?”
“How are you finding Kenya?”
“I am Kenyan, mate. I have been to the Mara.”
You remember sniggering; if going to the Mara makes you Kenyan then seeing the Thames must make you British and visiting the Statue of Liberty, American.
The game ends up being underwhelming. You partner with Sir Beard and Nicotine Stick partners with some black chap who turns out to be a ninja at pool. He puts all the balls in the holes in less than four minutes. You realize you can’t joyride on another free game nor indulge your new buddies on the wonders of the Mara, and you take your exit.
You find yourself on a sofa with three white women. One is in a black jumpsuit with the rounded face of Asian descent. She looks knackered, as if she’s been running the length of the shore all day. She’s lying on the sofa on her back thumbing her phone. The other is slender in a short green skirt and a simple blue vest. Her consort is in short shorts and a green blouse that cuts shy of her belly button. This is attire that would make the simplest African girl look bawdry but not these European women. It makes them, well look like human women.
You allow images of coupling with one of them to race across your mind. You conclude that it would be an adventure to wine and dine one, even bed one, but that’s as far as it would go. You can’t see yourself walking down the road of matrimony like many black men have done in the quest to boast their status in society and sire ‘beautiful’ white kids, not knowing that really, it speaks to how lowly they view their own race and in a broader sense, themselves. You may be talking out of turn though. You’re on your third bottle of Heineken after all.
“Hello, how are you, where are you from?” You find yourself singing to Short Shorts and Green Skirt. The Asian on the opposite sofa is now lying in a foetal position, drooling on the cushions.
“We’re just really having nice conversations,” Green Skirt says dismissively, speaking for all three of them in a single swoop. You want to say you wouldn’t mind nice conversations but you decide not to push the envelope, I mean they are nice, not great conversations.
You stagger to the pool table once more. Two different men have taken residence there. They seem to be of Arabic descent. Robust, intimidating. They are a scandal away from becoming the Artur brothers.
“Can I play next,” you go begging again.
“No,” Artur One says sternly (They both really look like twins).
“I’ll pay,” You drop your golden line that lays golden eggs.
“Pay for your own game after we’re done,” Artur Two follows up.
‘Go where you’re wanted,’ or so many a tweets go. You exit and contemplate calling it a night when you see her sitting by her lonesome, sucking a straw dipped in a bottle of Smirnoff Ice. Short, oval face, chocolate skin, short grey dress and silver gladiator flats. You can’t remember your opening line but you remember her telling you her name is Shee, and from there, the conversation took off. Was it a nice conversation? You be the judge.
“I like your choice of drink, you must be very mature.” You remember her flirtations vividly because like everyone else you are a sucker for compliments.
“What do you do?”
“I’m a Chef, pastry chef. You?”
“I’m a writer,” you stammer. You never lead with your writing. Whenever you talk to girls you tell them something like, ‘I’m Jay Gatsby, I do billboard advertising.’ It throws off their scent when they go looking for you on social sites. You especially love Jay Gatsby’s story, one of reinvention. It doesn’t matter that he was a bootlegger; it matters how he lived, on his terms.
She looks at you not knowing what to make of your career choice. You have seen that look many times, a look of confusion and uncertainty. You plough on, “So tell me, what does a pastry chef do around here for fun?”
“Fun?” she chuckles, “I swim. I also have a small white dog.”
She doesn’t say another word before the club is uproarious. A European reveller has apparently been injured. Not badly but her white cheek is bleeding and her belongings she claims have been stolen.
“It must be the maunga,” your new friend informs you.
“The maunga. Thieves lurking on the beach, preying on the vulnerable. My mzungu… ahm, a friend of mine suffered the same fate.”
You don’t press on about ‘her mzungu’ even though you remember images of an old wrinkled man catering to her needs lingering in your mind. You instead end up talking and laughing. You talk about the owner of the place, about her shagz, she’s from Murang’a. If you were Jay Gatsby you could have been from Botswana or Ghana or Uganda but not tonight. Tonight you’re Kev, a simple writer.
“Oh, that’s my shagz as well,” you say, letting the warmth of familiarity engulf you. By the time the night is winding up, you’re holding her tiny waist, her scarlet lips a hair away from your dry ones.
“Let me kiss you?”
“Take my number,” she says, breathing hard.”
You lean back, smiling.
“I’m happy, really happy.”
You don’t remember how long you lingered in that state of euphoria: was it until her third or fifth Smirnoff Ice? You only remember her tapping you and saying she wanted to leave. You remember hugging her a bit too long and telling her you would talk but would you? On the morrow, after your mind wasn’t buzzing from the influence of the green bottle and her seductive dress wasn’t there to confuse you, would you still want to see her or would the din of, ‘mzungu wangu’ be louder than that of laughter and nice conversations?
Wollap sexy friends,
It’s been a while since we had one of this intimate small council meetings. How are you? Good? The book, the book, the book. Yeah, covers should be dropping any minute now. In the meantime read the second one. The first draft is done. I will be dropping a chapter or so every day. Find me on Instagram as well. I have taken a liking to the platform, especially the stories. Catch me there for updates, along with the Behind the Scenes of my drab lifestyle.
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