So i had set this to automatically be posted on Wednesday but something went wrong. Here it is, Part 13:
I expected him to feign shock or even disbelief in order to look angelic and thus push up the price higher for making him do such a “dirty deed.” They all sold something or the other contraband in addition to the peanuts; if they didn’t sell it they knew someone within a two-minute difference that would have it. At a price of course.
He smiled and did the gesture with his eyes that any man, woman or child that has ever done anything illicit has seen. He raised his eyebrows twice and motioned towards the nearby bus stop. I quickly scanned the surrounding and walked with him to the bus stop.
The derelict rusty pink shelter that probably advertised a product from a bygone era looked perfect for this clandestine deal. I threw my half smoked cigarette on the ground, dug my hands into my jacket and waited for the transaction to begin.
The peanut boy but his blue basin on the floor and pulled out a brown rolled up paper from his jacket pocket. Dirty stuff this was going to be, but desperate times call for desperate measures. He counted out the pre-rolled joints more for his accounting records than for my viewing pleasure.
“Wataka ngapi?” How many do you want he enquired off me in swahili. I put up two fingers indicating that wanted two. I only wanted to get a little buzz going and as it was this stuff would be burning my throat for hours. Urban legends were rife that some of these dealers would soak the weed in a little petrol to make it more potent. I had never come across that kind of stuff and thus naturally I did not believe in it.
“Pound, pound,” he said; slang meaning twenty shillings each. Extremely reasonable I thought, especially given the day, the hour and even more so because I was brown. I knew I could have haggled him down but I did not bother. I gave him the crumpled fifty shilling note that I had saved for tipping the bouncer and declined the change. I would score some peanuts on the way out.
Without caring much for personal safety and not really thinking into the hygiene practices of the person who rolled the joint, I licked the tapered end and put it to my lips. I quickly lit it as the peanut boy stared at me with undue interest. I took a long drag and held it in until the acrid smoke burnt my chest.
The blue grey smoke came out in a thin wisp and disappeared in the cold night. The peanut boy requested for a ‘fagi.’ A cigarette. I gave him one and held my lighter up for him. He declined and stuffed the unlit cigarette behind his ear and walked away.
As he walked of, I felt more alone than I ever had. The glowing end of the joint just under my cheek, the cold air around me, the solitude of being alone under that bus shelter, it all felt overwhelming. I wanted to cry. There was a burden in me. I felt human. I felt normal. Ironically reflecting on it, I became happy. Or maybe it was the weed kicking in. I took a few more long drags of the unfiltered joint and let the smoke stay in as long as possible with each puff.
The effects started sooner than I expected. Light headedness, dry mouth and the sudden mood change were all the signs I needed. The lights from Jimmy’s looked less inviting than the dark road behind me. The faint music felt more inviting than ever. I took one last long puff and flicked the remaining joint into the dark. I pulled out a cigarette to smoke as I put the joint away into the box. My mood was lifted, I wanted to party.
People were still flocking in. singles, couples, groups of guys, groups of girls and groups of only what could best be described as trolls. The peanut boy was busy trying to peddle his wares and he winked at me as I passed him. I acknowledged him with a thumbs up and carried on. I wanted to go in. I wanted to drink. I wanted to see that girl in the mini skirt.
Then main entrance to Jimmy’s was manned by regular security guards but the entrance to the bar was manned by two behemoth bouncers. One was called Jeremiah and the second, sadly Jimmy. I knew (and regularly tipped) both well enough to skip the body search or the one hundred shilling token entry fee. I jumped the queue with the demeanour and gait of the asshole that I was. I fist bumped Jerry and Jimmy as I called them and entered the club.
“Daddy is home!” I said to no one in particular and made my way to the bar. The poorly lit interior, the mirror lined walls, the blaring music, the grinding bodies, the smell of alcohol and cigarettes, yes indeed, I was home. I made a beeline for the bar, raising my hand in mock salute to Daniel the barkeep. I was such a fixed asset in this place that I didn’t even have to tell them what I wanted to drink. he came over with the whisky and coke and we palmed hands and swivelled them over each other’s thumbs; a gesture of brotherhood. Look after me and I’ll look after you it meant, or so I was told.
I lifted the glass to my lips and looked around. The display of flesh was like a smorgasbord of sinful delights. From the ‘pay as you go’ to the ‘leech onto you for weeks’ from the ‘poor college girl trying to make a living’ to the ‘city girl out to let her hair down,’ they were all her. There were also men; men looking for women; men looking to be found and men just looking.
Weed and whisky has an effect that I am yet to find the right words to describe. All in all, it hits the spot whether you are happy or sad, dejected or elated, up or down. As I stirred the glass listening to the faint clinking of the ice in the glass, I looked around the room to see if I could spot the girl.
I was disturbed by a movement at my hip. A pickpocket, I thought and grabbed my jeans at the spot where I had felt the movement. It was the loaned phone. It was ringing.
I pulled it out. It was the number I had dialled earlier. I was staring at it wondering whether to pick it or not; and if I picked, what I would do or say. I remembered one of Jemo’s quips: the longer you stared at a phone, the bigger the lie you will tell when you pick it.
Something inside me steeled my resolve and I answered the phone. All I said was “yes?” but what the answering voice said scared me shitless.
“How are you enjoying the whisky at Jimmy Choo’s?”
<< To be continued >>