Something happens to a man when he stays for more than 5 months without a gig. He sends unanswered applications and those that bother to reply seem more confused than he is. He loses himself to his surroundings and he trickles slowly towards the road that many called broken. His savings dwindle, his circles narrow with his savings and not because friends are fickle people, barely, its just that this man is just not the kind of chap that is used to burden his mates with his own shit. He lives in a chauvinistic mans world which is defined by men living in their own frame, writing their own fortunes and squeezing lemons from their own cups, these kind of men are the ones that die with their burdens.
Thus, a man will learn to enjoy solitude as a compadre, even for a second to drown out the noise of the mayhem that is his uncertain life.
I am the man.
And I will tell you that being unable to fend for yourself is a different kind of low blow.
Your tastes all dwindle because you have no appetite for food, or money to afford the class you previously stashed in your backpocket. It creeps in almost innocuously and you entertain it thinking it is an adult thing but it isn’t, there is nothing mature about not craving a meal for days on end. The thoughts you mull over feed your ravishing mental appetite but your physical body becomes a clusterfuck on a satellite dish, a broadcast of your desperation. It wears you down like the world itself on Atlas’s shoulders, only that you are no giant to bear this load. You are a simpleton from a sleepy village that simply wants to stay alive. Your tastes trickle to almost base which means you will be the chap that will go to look for Mutura just before the curfew minutes come to a close because you can and heaven knows, you never gave much squat to anything else, you morph into one of those street cats with nothing to lose.
Joblessness comes with the territory of a lowlife. You are the dregs of the society, the bottom of the barrel lowlifes that live like rats in dumpsters and sewers. It comes with a habit that is stored in a bottle and the one time villager who would never touch a bottle of liquor is the same villager that will write a scathing review of all the bottles you can ever find on a bar counter because he allowed life to carry and drop him where it desired. Being a low life has its perks. Drunks are generous with their poison. The bar tenders find you quirky because you read books in bars and so they stop by to beat stories and give hugs one off. You are a hug person, so you stay alive.
You try every substance that you were ever warned against. Weed lulls your senses and you develop a disdain for it simply because you want to sleep whenever you drag on a spliff, and you hate sleep because everytime you fall asleep, there is a niggly fear you won’t wake up.
Of reviews, Chrome is chang’aa in a bottle- it makes you call people you are not supposed to call. Wine with time evolves to a soft drink and Vodka in your minds eye should be left to the Russians (it is the mother of all bitches). Whisky flows just fine but a tot above your mental limit and you become a deranged nitwit and trust me no one likes a drunk that curses like a fucking sailor and can’t be told anything. Brandy is sweetened whisky, beer is for irredeemable souls and Ciders make good chasers. You try ciggies once and you understand why nicotine hooks.
Gin is your beloved. She is your company whenever humans frazzle the fuck out of your soul. She keeps you when you are listening to music and want to dance, Gin dances with you. She stays with you deep into the night when sleep is elusive and doubts overwhelm your mind, she sticks close, like a quill to a porcupine. Gin writes stories with you, reads books with your needy soul and holds intimate conversations you would never have with people because you are that fucker that doesn’t believe in all that claptrap about vulnerability. You were born alone, you will roll solo until the day you die solo.
You tend to enjoy these walks at night when everyone is haggling to sleep because it allows you to see a world in its nakedness and it kind of turns you on. You want to soak in every bit and write about it but half the time, you are too knackered to even type a sentence let alone a story.
Where you stay, the girls walk at night like a bunch of gung-ho honchos and they huddle in little posses of three and four. You don’t trust them because they look like the kind that would clear up your room in an hour if you allowed them in your house and you would wake up in a thicket in Roysambu. At night when curfew hours are past, you love the corner which is the centrifugal point of action for the nocturnal illegalities. Two weed peddlers sit side by side, their wares in full display as if to say that they have the authorities by the nuts. A large crowd gathers here because this might as well as be considered a business center of lung-based transactions. A peddler calls me Ariff because potheads are down to earth the most amiable souls you can ever bump into. He asks whether I want to make a purchase. I tell him I am good which is a necessary lie because I am off the reefer and I hate temptations.
There is a mutura dealer hawking her barbecued wares on a stretch of unfinished tarmac, some ample bosomed mama with a genial personality and an easygoing Ras for a hubby. The men just seem to flock around her and however drunk they are, she engages with everyone like a favorite child, everyone behaves. I am holding a Cider in my hands and she makes a comment about it which flips over my head because good ol’ Gilbeys has worked her charm.
The lady is multilingual. She speaks fluent Maragoli, Giriama and Kikuyu and I ask her how it came to be so. She says she is married to a Kuyu blaggard, but was born to a Giriama and a Maragoli. She sells mutura, a cows stomach which looks like an oversized chicken gizzard and roasted fats which are quite the delicacy. I opt for the stomach of the cow and mutura on the side. Just beside her Jiko are two battered mongrels, ones that have never been touched or patted by human hands because folks over these sides of the world believe that sticks and stones are made for dogs and vice versa. We eat together, me and the dogs. The mutura has a hue of a fecal taste and so the dogs have it all. The stomach doesn’t taste all too bad and as a bonus the mama adds me a few pieces of roasted fat on her bill, that’s the thing with being lovable.
Your friends fathom you broken because they have seen you inebriated. You don’t think you are. You will only be broken the day you start sharing those motivational quotes by Les Brown on your status or communicating to people via your media handles which is like a moonlight gig for pansies in this city.
The law career is a done and dusted thing, you hope to never wear another suit or cavort around in the name of being a lawyer, you have an allergy to neckties. You will die with words whether they make sense or not, because every man will have to pick a tree to hang on.
Here is to new beginnings.