When a man opens a car door for his wife it’s either a new car or a new wife ~ Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh.
For as long as I could remember Tuesday evenings at the local had always been quiet. If you wanted a bit of peace or perhaps you’d planned to meet a friend or work client you could more or less guarantee a decent noise-free environment on Tuesdays.
No bands ever played on Tuesdays and the large television sets on the walls were locked on a news channel with the volume turned right down. The management did not do promotions or other fancy stuff on Tuesdays so the crowd was mostly male, mostly older, mostly local die-hard regulars. There was the usual mix of people; those who sat to drink alone and those who sat with their mates to share beer and gossip.
You will understand my surprise and horror, therefore, when I pushed open the door last Tuesday to find that the place was heaving with standing room only. They had a live DJ spinning discs and the patrons were shouting themselves hoarse trying to speak above the stirring strains of ‘Hello’.
Babu was seated on a high stool at the bar. He smiled when he saw me, raising his shoulders apologetically. He knew how much I hated drinking at the bar, perched on those uncomfortable stools. I much preferred to sit in the deep sofas where you could all face one another talking. You see when I was a teenager I had ignored all the advice about listening to music at high volume levels. I loved my dub and the louder it was the better it felt. It seems that my misspent youth was now catching up. My hearing had deteriorated considerably over the years and I had been forced to learn my own jua-kali version of lip-reading to take part in conversations in noisy environments. This was not very easy seating at the bar.
Babu turned back to the man he had been chatting to. “Allow me to introduce Mr Woolie Kondoo, my associate”, he said to the man. Then he turned to me and said “Woolie, meet an old friend of mine, Mr Jeb Waithaka.”
I almost laughed out loud. Jeb Waithaka, Really? I did not laugh though because when Mr Waithaka turned to look at me I had to use all my powers to stop myself from shouting out loud in horror.
Jeb’s face looked like he had been in a terrible road accident just recently. He had cuts and bruises a huge black-eye and a very broken nose. His swollen lower lip was cut in several places. He had that purple stuff (Iodine?) that they put on wounds all over his face. This man had been through the wars but one thing was clear: he would not allow a swollen lip to stand in the way of a good pint. He was drinking his beer using a straw.
“Woolie Kondoo, eh?” He asked, taking a long draw on his straw. “Are you The Woolie Kondoo? Do you have a small blog? I have read your blog, I’m sure I have. This is so amazing.”
He took my hand in both of his. (memo to self:Never drink beer with a straw) “I have read All your posts.” I glanced at Babu who was taking a sip of his beer. He seemed to have missed what Jeb was saying. I wanted to steer the conversation away from blogs and posts so I said, “Mr Jeb, were you in some sort of a car crash?”
“Hahahahaha car crash? No way. No I wasn’t. But even the nurses and doctors at the hospital thought I had been knocked down and run over by a big bus.”
Babu said, “Woolie, I’ve been asking him all evening but he wont tell me how he got his injuries. Personally I think he was caught by his new girlfriend’s husband. Hahahahahahaha.” He took a long sip of his beer.
Jeb shook his head dismissively saying, “Rubbish Babu. And I know that you don’t even believe that. I will tell you guys what happened….IF!” He paused and shifted his gaze from me to Babu and back to me again, saying, “I will tell you how I got these injuries if Woolie here (he jabbed his finger into my chest) promises to write a short post about it. Write a small passage even. I don’t mind but just make sure that you write what I will tell you.”
“I want you to think a little before you write about Bigotry and Hate and all the stuff that you guys all find uncomfortable. Why do you giggle at homophobic jokes and then turn and declare Racist jokes are Hate Speech? Do you make jokes about disabled people? All these people you see gathered here today want to know who wins the most Republican votes for Super Tuesday. What does it tell us about our world, our country, our county that the American presidential election is exercising so many minds?” He put his straw back in his mouth and pulled a long draught.
“Babu, Woolie, my friends, I love you. I love you both like my Own brothers. Blood brothers. Hahahahahaha.” Jeb was laughing hysterically now.
They say that when you drink with a straw the beer fumes go straight to the head. Jeb Waithaka was clearly on a higher level. He ordered another round for the three of us and when the drinks had come he looked at Babu and said. “You know my new girl-friend, Andrea. You met her last month at the races, remember?”
He looked back at me and brought his wallet from his back pocket to show me a passport snap shot of a lovely young girl with a nose piercing.
“She’s a modern girl, as you can see Mr Kondoo. Very modern”. He nodded to himself and then said “Babu, si you tell Woolie how much this woman means to me. Tell him how I met her when I was at a bad place, and how she gave me back my life. She showed me that life is what you make of it. She said to me you can take the messy innards of a goat and make delicious mutura. She showed me how to take life’s lemons and make lemonade.” We all three laughed at Jeb’s witticism and sipped our beers.
“So Listen Woolie. My sweet Andrea has this really adorable thing of walking up to me from behind and placing her little hands over my eyes to say “Guess who?” Hahahahaha She’s so funny. She also likes to slap my behind. You know, I’ll be bent over, perhaps at the fridge door looking for something inside and she just loves to come up to me and give me a playful slap Pap! Just like that”. Babu looked at me, quite bemused.
Jeb was clearly itching to tell us his story. He drew on his straw and then said, “Anyhoo the day before yesterday we went to off to Prestige to do a bit of shopping. Andrea was wearing this beautiful pink top that she’d bought in Milan. She had tied back her hair in a large pony tail. At the store she went to look at some pretty table cloths and I wandered off to the section where they had all the paints and brushes and things.”
I was reading the information label on a tin of paint when, from the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of my dear Andrea in her pink top, walking past the aisle. I don’t know what came over me. I was swept along by this modern touchy touchy affectionate emotion and stuff and I ran to the end of the aisle to see Andrea turn left into the body building foods section. I came up behind her and placed my hands over her eyes. I then whispered something really private and really fond into her ear.
Just as my mind was trying to process why Andrea’s perfume should now smell like very masculine aftershave the guy in the pink shirt grabbed me by the wrists and removed my hands from his face.
“You dirty filthy bleep bleep bleep!” He said.”How dare you say that to me you bleep!”
He had thrown me to the ground by this time. I tried to apologise and explain my mistake but even as he swore and cussed at me he was raining kicks and blows all over me and all I could do was to roll myself into the foetal position to protect my head.
I risked a quick look at my tormentor’s face. From his distorted features I realised that this six-foot something homophobic brute was going to kill me and the onlookers were going to let him do it. Just then Andrea pushed her way through the crowd. She jumped onto Mr Saskwach’s back and grabbed him by the eyes. He groaned and tottered around the aisle like a mad bear before he was tackled down to the ground by a posse of security men. An ambulance was called soon after. Andrea accompanied me to the casualty department where I was treated and later discharged.”
“But isn’t also time we accepted that democratic elections by definition, can and sometimes do, produce unexpected and even undesirable outcomes.” ~ Woolie Kondoo