The usual sots are back at the local. Nothing much has changed with all the kujibonda that punctuated the festive season which has ushered in the usual endless kusota-kulia out-of-money experience.
The expensive whisky bottles are gathering dust in-situ at the top corner of the pub from where Nyambu, the waitress, has been warning Kang’ethe: “usilete mkojo.... na deni za last year hapa!”
Kang’ethe, the old metal at Wa-Hannah’s has been trying to reopen kitabu ya deni 2016. But Nyambu laments that her salary, which only allows her to live 100 metres below the poverty line, will witness deductions if the likes of Kang’ethe skives with escalating bar bills.
“Sitakatwa mshahara juu yako,” she shouts in a way of warning anyone else with similar ambitions of reopening kitabu ya deni. “Alcohol is a luxury, not a basic need!” advises Nyambu, drawing from her storehouse of maternal wisdom and years of seeing men ruin their livers and lives from hitting the bottle with unending percussion.
“Alcohol is a luxury, not a basic need!” is also the only one sentence in English Nyambu has spoken in ages without adulterating it with Sheng, Kiswahili, or Kisapere.
Indeed, alcohol is a luxury at Wa-Hannah’s where Diameter, the political analyst has devised the ‘single finger salute’ as the cue for Nyambu to just serve him one onywaji and no one else.
Kot-Kot, drinking in the same table as Diameter, in turn, thanks, waving at an imaginary buyer for throwing him one round. It is very comical since the only drinker capable of throwing helicopter rounds include Kot-Kot and Owish - who now drinks alone at the counter and mostly quarter bottles of ‘Rotich’ with ndimu, honey na maji moto.
Owish knows drinking from a quarter bottle means, he won’t buy anyone. Few will throw him any round either. This state of affairs gives ‘Jakom’ ample time to admire the expensive whisky bottles gathering January dust at the counter- where Nyambu is casually drinking ‘old stock’ like a scion from a family that made mad cash in alcohol distribution when the pound was a pound, a dollar was a dollar, a shilling was a shilling, the Euro was a rumour and the rupee was a bad Indian joke!