A skillful-massage grasp by my left shoulder startled me…it had to be a lady’s hand because the fingers felt rather soft as they dug leisurely into my flesh. I was electrified. I briefly prepared my deep bass to seductively attack my admirer. I didn’t turn instantly like inexperienced fools. No. I took in a deep breath even as I closed my eyes for a second or two. When I exhaled, I felt ready. So, I faintly smiled as I turned slowly. Shock on me! 

I met the unblinking brown eyes of a tall bearded man. He had soft and long hair that seemed to have taken in a lot of Avocado oil. It had been curled backward like a lady’s. He wore a grey coat, a blue pair of jeans, and a brown pair of army boots.

I slapped his hand out of my shoulders in disgust. 

But, he continued smiling sheepishly. He raised up his hands as a sign of surrender.

“The next round is on me”. He said.

I didn’t answer. I just stared angrily.

He pointed at the waiter and said “Johnnie Walker Odyssey” on the rock! [FYI-700ml costs about Kshs. 140,000]. 

I softened on the inside but, refused to show it on my face that I badly needed the drinks. I will explain.

As always, I had come to drink myself out of stress. I think I had even fallen into depression! In this Town-Nairobi, employees have always been a cheque/pay away from poverty and suicide.

I, like most other hard-working Kenyans, lost my job in January. The dismissal email came on the 28th just when I had been paid. It read…

Dear Mr. Mwangi,

We cherish you. We will always do.

Since the Corona pandemic hit, we have been adversely affected. That’s why we had no choice but to take this decision.

Please find herein attached your recommendation letter.

As soon as we get back to our feet, we will always contact you to check whether you are still available.

Please hand in company books and property.

Thanks again.

Yours,

***

Human Resource,

*** (company name).

I later discovered that I was the only one fired. My supervisor, Annette, had used Corona as an excuse to throw me out just because I refused to cure her loneliness in ways I am not willing to reveal.

…. look at that sentence…. we will always contact you to check whether you are still available.

Yaani, they expected me to seat at home and wait to be available! And they couldn’t inform me even in a month’s time, how could they abruptly let me off! I didn’t need their stupid recommendation letters. 

I’m sure, to this day that Annette’s intentions were geared towards ensuring that I died with my “property”! Either way, the fake laws of survival for the fittest were going to automatically eliminate me…how could I survive with a nagging wife and two over-eating children in standard 8 and 6 respectively. 

But, I had no choice… I packed and left the company office. I handed over a few books and papers. I intentionally left with their laptop; a fairly new Lenovo ThinkPad and my boss’s MacBook air that he had given me to take to his office.

After all, they owed me more!

On reaching home, my acrobatic wife realized immediately that something was wrong. She served the kids and as they ate, we went aside to talk. I informed her that I had lost my job. 

She didn’t even wait for more details! She started shouting…” nilikwambia! Unakuja usiku baada ya kuona hao wanawake wako!” 

Shauri yako! 

How did she find the connection between losing a job and having affairs! 

She dwelt on the issue for almost an hour, non-stop.

Then, she started weeping. She cried so bitterly, so emotionally, so uniquely that the children had to stop eating and join her in sobbing.

Even my last born son had the guts to say, “mummy, usilie. We shall overcome.” 

They were all huddled together. Crying.

I was watching and wondering. I didn’t make sense of what was happening… I am the one who had lost a job! I should have been the one to be sympathized at…not this liar of a wife whose intentions were to “spoil” my children and force the narrative that I was the “bad one”.

Clearly, she had already out-maneuvered me.

And my huge bubbly sons wouldn’t think! Even after I had bought them bikes about two weeks ago!

It is at that moment that I decided that I was going to sell the bikes.

I could also raise money for secret DNA tests.

Clearly, I never had a family. It must have been an elaborate con game where I was feeding and fattening three individuals who were waiting for me to accumulate wealth for them before killing me.

I walked out and never returned that night. I drank myself to a black-out.

It is the ladies in the bar who carried me to one of the softer seats. They had to take care of me because I hadn’t paid. I had given them my bank card and phone to hold onto as security.

If that wasn’t enough, they had my life!

As usual, when I went back home the next day, Ragael spared her one hour to “lecture me” on irresponsibleness.

I didn’t listen to any of her “nonsense”.

 Our marriage hadn’t been working well. Ever since, I noticed weird conversations on her phone, …conversations with various men, I didn’t find the energy to even look at her as a lady. No. Not me.

I was particularly annoyed with one man she had saved as Njoro…

Njoro: Nitabanja na mundez. Tumeet moshatha Kanairo digwara…shanshuka.

[I also didn’t understand]

Ragael: Sawa Bazenga. [Kiss and Love emoji]

After I discovered her theatrics, she became extremely sensitive and secretive. It just confirmed to me that she must have been cheating.

So folks, with a cheating wife, sons that didn’t love me, …. without a job, elusive friends who had run away after my dismissal… I turned to what I thought could console me…. alcohol.

I had this specific joint at Valley arcade where I sat and drank in peace. 

It had an open balcony with soft leather seats that made one sink in. You could also see the latest Mercedes vehicles as they cruised by with a show of elegance or as people entered the joint and packed theirs next to my old Toyota Premio KAT…! Are we now not in KDD…, mmm?

I was seated at the same joint when the hand squeezed my shoulders.

After promising to buy me more liquor, and expensive ones for that matter, I surrendered. “My name is Fernando”. He pronounced his name as Ferrrrrrrrrrrnando.” I’m new in town, I don’t have any friends yet!”

My goodness! I almost lost the opportunity because of my anger issues. As far as I was concerned, I had struck gold.

This newcomer was going to buy all the drinks I needed. My work would be to show him various joints. It was a good plan, right?

I shot up to my feet and also held him by his right shoulder as he had done to me earlier.

After consulting my memory, I said…si Senor.

It is good to learn one or two words of any foreign language.

I had initially taken the time to know that Senor is referred to a man and Senorita to a woman! 

We took our seats happily. I was happier than anyone else in the room.

When the drinks were served, I took them all in quick succession and ordered more.

We talked jovially like old friends.

Fernando didn’t drink as much as I. He compensated it with smoking. Because of his expensive look and accent, every girl wanted to join us. Some even sat on him and wriggled themselves with intentions I can’t explain. He didn’t like it. He respectfully pushed them away and bought them drinks.

I immediately registered that he had to be an honest and faithful married man. Otherwise, how else would we explain why he rejected those ladies even with their enticing body parts that had been trained to attract men, the living, and the dying.

They didn’t approach me mainly because of the awkward way I had dressed. I mean who puts on black official trousers, with brown official shoes and a white T-shirt!

Such people are either mean or just too poor. 

I don’t know how it started but, we spoke widely about our lives. Fernando explained to me that he had come into the country to invest in Textile, silver, and rubies. I didn’t understand the combination. He insisted that he was looking to establish an office in Westlands and partner with a Kenyan guy who could help in “internal” maneuvering as this was a new country to him. He might have also mentioned that he had three other friends who were willing to invest $7,000,000 into the business. 

At one point he turned to me and said, ” Mangi [he couldn’t pronounce Mwangi], can you help me get a partner, three employees and the office space. I will pay you $1,000 for your services. Knowing that I could just make two or three calls and find even 1,000 employees, and walk to Westlands checking out free office spaces… I smiled and agreed. 

But after a few seconds, I came back to my senses… I had to be one of the employees or his partner.

Daaamn it! Knowing that I had almost lost one of the biggest opportunities in life… I recollected myself and started narrating my troubles to him. I insisted on the part of losing a job. For the 15 minutes, I spoke… Fernando didn’t interrupt me. He seemed wounded at heart. His eyes sparkled with a layer of forming tears. 

When I heard, ” you can be our partner here in Kenya”! I jumped in great joy. He toasted to our partnership. I even started smoking for the first time in a long while.

My happiness could have continued…! 

How I wish it continued!

In the ecstasy and celebration of our partnership, he moved to my seat. That was okay…. men can sit and do sit on the same sofa. It is only that his hand “accidentally” touched my thighs. I didn’t think much about it. I moved aside. Then, I noticed his hand on my head…as if he was brushing my hair.

I started wondering if men in Spain touch other men’s hair. I almost googled it….in Kenya it is weird. Again, as a good friend who wanted job opportunities, I slowly pulled his hand down.

Then, he moved closer again…. aaaaaaaiii. It was beginning to get strange. Even the alcohol I had drank melted away. He opened his shirt and exposed his hairy chest. Imagine, his eyes were on me almost 80% of the time.

To capture my attention further, he threw his hand into his pockets and pulled two $100 notes, and put them in my trouser pockets. He didn’t pull his hands out immediately. 

Some of the men who were closer to us, had instinctively stopped talking and were obviously looking at us.

When he started wriggling his hand in my pocket. I jumped up like a cat and shouted “Wewe”! The men who had watched the entire ordeal burst out laughing. They literally fell on the floor with laughter.

I was no longer interested in wealth. I chose poverty. I loved poverty more. I wouldn’t pay the prize.

I went home to be killed by my two overweight sons and their nagging mother.

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