ARTY

by bantuh

I pride myself in being the saint patron of all the lowlifes. I love experiences in whichever form they come. I like taking walks in alleys in which I will likely end up a victim of involuntary organ donorship, places where, peddlers and hookers sell their wares for a real pitiful penance, places where Clarah would turn in her grave if she ever knew I had set foot in, places where even the devil himself would not venture without a legion of demons as bodyguards. I love places where life bustles and throbs like a lacerated artery, draining the stiffness of boredom and drenching the earth with vigor, a funny skeleton and a knack for the highlife on a strained budget-proper hedonism on a fast lane.

Friday was good day for me, I met a senior writer I really admire and he wasn’t a prick. I mean with all the fandom that hangs around him, he was a real genial chap, engaging, down to earth and a cat I would break a bottle with on a Monday morning, you heard right, Monday morning…

Brian on the other hand met a nemesis, he started the day on the hook, a swinger on a jaw and he had to nurse his feels all day long. You ever met someone you don’t particularly like and had to suckle your ego and give man hugs and back pats and exchange plastic smiles all in the name of civility? It is unpardonable. Listen, the lad can dress, ripped jeans showing bits and patch of skin here and there, neat sneakers, maroon in color and a black tee, casually spiffed, he doesn’t dress like a writer, too clean to the bone marrow. I digress. Look its bad to dress up and start the day on the wrong foot and part of me swears that Mbanacho bears the spirit animal of a bat and an owl, one on each shoulder.

The afternoon had us at African Yuva’s shop. Bev owns the place and she is dressing up this sorry bunch of miscreants for their show, I tag along like an empty byline also because Ashioya really wants me there, I feel married without a wife. I have met Bev before, I had had one too many and the only thing I remember is that she was a pleasant personality with sister locs and also that Kenn really isn’t as brown as I thought him to be, that if I peered really keenly enough, I would be able to count Bevs arteries on her forearm.

Everyone gets a pick of what they want to wear, and Ashioya is angling for something that will be compatible with a screaming pair of print pants he is yearning to showcase.

It is interesting watching Bev take measurements for the lads and the lone bird here Arty. Arty is late, and she is grumpier than the entire Mbanacho age-set. I am guessing her day job was a torrid affair or she is hungry- a hungry girl is a constantly moody and angry girl. Girls get fly measurements. This is where Bev takes the tape measure and runs it from near Arty’s navel, all the way to the small of her back- fly measurements like there are sizes. I am ignorant on this front. I request for one with Ashioya and this is all a dick measuring contest, no pun, one for low blows when the son of three women is on a roll and I have no comeback save for fly measurements. He chickens out. Sissy…

We head home. No one is happy. All wanted to take a bus, I suggested we take a walk through down town. We wade through piss and shit and half sobered mechanics and I cant help but feel something for Mbanacho. Now Arty keeps mentioning that she needs to make a pitstop. That we will catch up later on. What the pitstop is all about is neither here nor there, comme si comme sa. We were all raised by women of upright standing, and this is especially I. My nanny would kill me if she ever heard that I left a lass alone in such a dinghole, so we unanimously vote to tag along with the girl child.

Arty breaks off from the crowd in an alley that gives me a bloodrush. I have been to seedy alleys in Nairobi but this one is not just a seedy one, it’s a crime scene. We stick out the moment we walk in. Forget the quirkiness that half about every writer wears like an emblazoned brooch, we appear lost, Kenn glowing like a falling meteorite, Ndugu all cultured and still tapping on his phone and Don all in his ripped Jeans and Vans, these 3 are likely the first to get robbed if it all goes south and that is a consolation I can carry home. I have dreadlocks, I am right at home, no one except for police officers ever bothers a chap with locs, we get away with nearly everything, it takes a real nincompoop to hassle a Ras.

Arty enters a building with a staircase with no lights. It is 7 in the eve, and so we stand outside the building, posterchildren of the gawkiest humans on the planet, everyone that enters or exits that building eyeballs us. Ndugu stops taping his phone and any call which goes through is met by a dismissive “naeza kupigia baadaye kidogo?” Smart lad. This alley is a proper rathole. There is a shop selling vehicle spares, side mirrors, bumpers, headlights and anything with the appearance of a stolen vehicle part, it is a fence shop.

After 30 minutes Arty shows up, a dozen phone calls later, we had to switch locations and when the ghetto girl shows up, it is without an apology, we roll on as if nothing happened. We walk towards Coffee Spot, a rendezvous point for this crowd and Arty disappears again and appears 15 minutes later on with a pack of uncooked samosas. That girl is a map of this town and if you laid your eyes on her, she doesn’t cast that vibe. A dangly frame, accentuated curves, a fizzling mind, coupled with a shade fair skin tone, she looks pampered but she isn’t. She is a bird who holds her fort well with both the bourgeoise crowd and the bandwagon of misfits and no one really knows what her preferred crowd is…

I am not saying that Arty came out of that buggered place cheered up. And I am not saying she was generous with the wares from downtown. For all its worth, I merely ended up hungrier than I was during the day, munchez…

Where is Arty?

Where is Arty?

Ashioya you were walking with Arty side by side where the hell is she?

Where is Arty? Ashioya asks.

You were with her you tell us where the hell she is…

Arty is Nairobi and Nairobi is this girl…

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