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It’s 10:30 at my local on a weekday. It’s drizzling outside and the good old beer makes the Nairobi ‘winter’ bearable. Still, this is not a favourable moment to venture outside and meet the biting cold. I do not smoke, neither do I fly high on weed. (They apparently keep you warm)See, I treasure my lungs and my mouth and my pancreas if you catch my drift. Smoke has been known to do ghastly stuff on human body. A quick glance at the charts which are displayed in hospital halls, corridors and rooms is perfect recipe for a heart attack to a smoker. I chose the easier path which means nothing which emits smoke one end and tasteless on the other will ever venture in to my mouth. But I drink. I can award myself a C or 5/10. What you may call average, manageable, leisure drinking, just for fun and many other colourful verbs and phrases but not alcoholic. I don’t have a drinking problem and my work is not affected by drinking. I can safely say that my drinking mates have a work problem. Work affects my drinking.
Back at my local, the barman starts shouting it’s time to pack and go but everybody at this juncture goes deaf but loud. It’s clear nobody is willing to clear their table. It’s too early. Our girlfriends and wives are waiting at home to nag and torment. A little more time would make that bearable, but not 10:30, or 11:00 for that matter. It’s a little problem that needs a simple solution. “Haya mkubwa, we can drink in the dark, you know” Somebody shouts above the din. Everything slows down as this registers on the drunken brains. It seems some invisible power is moving everything and everybody in slow motion. This is clearly a solution, a stroke of a genius. Shouter, I think congratulations are in order. The barman is clearly delighted. He switches of the lights and unwritten pact is signed among the drinkers. No noisemaking, like a high school class.
The hitch is that happy drunkards cannot keep their mouths shut. Whispers abound in the first few minutes. Then the din rises slowly and steadily and soon enough the noise is in full force with some not so cleaver chaps questioning why there are no lights, others cursing KP. Majority of drunkards have a short memory and it seems the greater percentage is here with us.
It would take a retarded, holier than thou policeman who has never licked a well oiled bribe to ignore the noise coming from a lightless house and it is past mututho stipulated hours. Soon enough the boys in blue shine their torches on our faces. Many resemble deer’s struck by numerous headlights somewhere in M road mtito-a-ndei. I can imagine how happy the cops are. They are already salivating. It is their pay day, they might even call for mad back up. The scene resembles a church when the congregation is offering. The only difference here is that you are not to offer anything below 5 sock. Failure to which the black maria ships you to the cells. Many chose the first option. It’s painful, corrupt and clearly a rip off.
There are only 5 cops and about 40-50 of us. Two are stationed at the entrance and the exit. Two others are kicking our butts in order to hurry up in offering. The last one is extorting the barman. 50*500=25000. 25000/5=5000. The bastards rake in 5000/=in a matter of minutes. Excluding what the barman will have to chuck out.
Now this is a drunken problem.