Bars opened again. Thursday I went back to my local for the first time. It was supposed to be Rhumba night, or Rhumba evening seeing as bars close at 7pm now. Uncannily, the parking was nearly empty.
Chris, the barman, was happy to see me. I was happier to see him. At the back balcony, sitting on a table usually reserved for the bar’s directors were two ladies and a big man with his butt crack showing —not the kind of welcome you need after a long hiatus. I’ve seen worse.
A tall slender girl with a very small torso sat three tables away, drinking a soda. The deejay booth was empty. The flat-screen TV above his booth was gone. Robato was missing in action. I ate my mbuzi dry fry as the resident cat came and started meowing. He also looked sad. I tossed him a piece of meat and said, “eat my friend, life is but a mirage.” That made me sad, talking to a cat in parables like that.
A friend joined us. He is always in a suit. He looked tired. He was being sued for child support and if he did not pay over half a million shillings by midnight he would be thrown in civil jail. He showed us the papers.
The cat looked up, probably thinking, ‘sucks to be him.” My lady told him, ‘I hope the woman gets everything due to her. I’d sue your pants off if I was her.’ I ate my goat in silence.
Another friend showed up. He had on a beautiful blazer and a black shirt with his name stitched on the helm of the sleeves. He was finishing a Zoom call from his AirPods. [Yes, I’m an island of flashy men].
I threw another piece of meat to my ally. Later, two of the bar’s directors showed up and sat at a different table. One told me Chris Bitok would be playing Saturday. Death had visited this bar and taken one of its directors. We avoided that topic at the table even though it was palpable.
“Stop feeding the damn cat,” Mr Black Shirt said.