This holiday season, Jackson Biko learns that no one is immune to the December craze and sometimes, that little person on your left shoulder should not be listened to.
My pal, Ken, is back from the US. He comes in secretly as most of the summer bunnies come into the country, with the 1am flight. When the sun comes up they are here, jet-lagged and calling you at 6am. “Why don’t we do drinks later today? He asks. “I don’t drink today,” I say piously.
“ Why the f*** not?” (Can you tell he’s from the US?).
“Because it’s Monday,” I say. “I don’t drink on Mondays.”
“Oh for f***ssake.”
That evening one of our friends calls me around 7:20 pm. I was doing nothing. Actually, I was thinking of where I can get a Bonsai. (If you know anyone selling one, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org). I could hear a hubbub in the background; music, people laughing and making merry, clinking glasses, basically how it sounds right before the Second Coming. (It will happen on a Monday)
This particular friend who was calling is the type who starts all conversations with “Ala.” He says, “Ala, Ken says you don’t drink on a Monday?”
“That’s right,” I say pompously like I’m more responsible than him and Ken. Then I add, “But you already know that, Chris.”
“Even on Christmas holidays?” He asks.
I can hear someone in the background ask him a question to which he answers out of earshot “yeah, it’s him – Sabbath boy.” Girls laugh, either at that statement or at something else in the bar.
“I’m not a Sabbath boy,” I say. “Who is there, anyway?” I ask casually, like I don’t care.
He mentions the names of guys who are there, most who I haven’t seen in ages. He mentions a name of someone who I had thought was born again. It’s a full house. The little person standing on my left shoulder says, “Wear your shoes, the hell with the stupid Monday rule. Come have a drink.” The little person on my right shoulder says, “If you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for everything.”
So I decide to stand for something and wear my shoes.
At the bar, Ken is seated amongst a knot of other guys, some I don’t know. We embrace. He smells of lavender. He says shoving me playfully, “So you still have to be seduced as a girl to come out.” I tell him, “You have grown fat.” One of our friends says, “I told you so!” There are two or three more summer bunnies in the crowd. They all have sneakers. One is in shorts, like a tourist. They are talking about Summer Bunny things and drinking the official summer bunny drink; Tusker. They are also talking about Trump and asking whatever happened to that chick who used to make and sell that gothic jewellery. And what happened to that car yard along Ngong Road? And why do you guys still allow these politicians to play around with you? More beers come to the table. More people come to the table. It gets louder. I go to the washrooms and hear someone say in the phone, as he pees on the urinal; “Come on, you can’t tell me it takes you thirty minutes to pick a dress!”
Back at the table, I find someone seated on my chair; a lady with some sort of a badass hairstyle. The type that can dance to dancehall music. She says, “Oh, I’m sorry, did I take your seat?” Ken tells her, “It’s okay, he doesn’t mind standing.” So I stand the whole time drinking and listening to summer bunnies talk about stuff that I can’t relate to. When I can’t stand standing anymore, I pay my bill and that one friend says, “Ala, kwani you are leaving already?” The little person on my right shoulder says, “See what happens when you don’t stand for anything?”