The beginning of the end came on a fine Sunday afternoon. Yes, I now worked weekends too. You will remember the crate of Tusker that lived underneath Njoro’s bed, the one that was a bottle short? Turns out Beatrice had developed a taste for it. It soothed her after a long day of being bossed around, and that was how she found her hand stuck in the cookie jar, time and again.
She would later tell me that she was frightened at first. She took a sip and spat it back in the bottle then tried to seal it with sap from a nearby tree in vain. She did not spit it back the next evening and after that, she started clearing a bottle every time she pulled out the crate.
There were no stories of women who drank alcohol in Churo village, not even in whispers. It was only after I visited Nairobi that I came across women who loved the bottle so much it was always stuck in their hands. Women who smoked and cursed and made what Beatrice had done seem insignificant. But not in Churo. Here, she was about to break a record, a record that not even Bobobo could challenge.
That day with the ladder I had thought something was off with her. It was how she fell and gave into me too quickly. Beatrice is the kind of girl who doesn’t give in, as you will later learn. The more I want her to do one thing, the more she insists on doing the other. Unless it involves trouble, then she is usually all in.
That Sunday, Njoro had invited Timo and Freddie, remember them? The ones who stole Sheila and Winnie from me? He had invited them to celebrate his hotel (which was really an inn) before it opened its doors and he had decided they would do it with bottles of Tusker. This was after a long argument with Mama Linda who insisted that it was a bad omen to get drunk on the day of the lord.
Before Njoro went for the Tusker, Mama Linda served the men boiled goat meat first. I would later learn that ¾ goat meat had been bought that week for this celebration but Mama Linda had not been able to control herself and she had woken up at midnight for two consecutive nights and fried ¼ for herself every time—it was a wonder that there was something left for Timo and Freddie. This development made Njoro win the alcohol-on-a-Sunday argument.
On this particular day, I had been given the precious job of chasing kids and some adults away from Njoro’s establishment. The smell of meat in Churo village attracted people from far and wide and it was my job to make sure they did not disturb the peace even though I did it while salivating. Beatrice was responsible for wiping the table and catering to the men. Although I had not seen her since she served them each a plate with small chunks of meat and huge amounts of soup and ugali.
After they had cleared their plates Njoro stood up and rushed into the house. The next thing I saw was Beatrice staggering towards us sucking onto a bottle of Tusker, “Look at my breasts, video vixens in Nairobi have round breasts like mine, do you want to squeeze my breasts, Katana?” she said with slurred speech, and this time she had lost her brassiere. “Dance with me Katana,” she continued. “Don’t be shy. We have done it before,” she added as Njoro looked on dumbfounded while holding the empty crate of Tusker.