There is a big game going down. It’s on a Sunday evening and we all feel lethargic, except for the thought of the Manu-Arsenal game that is on the count- an hour to go. In the house, there is a cousin of mine with his wife who’s very pregnant, another cousin who is a sibling to the one with a pregnant wife, another cousin ( a summer bunny) and I. Legs are all over the tables and all these men are snickering and some bored at the same time.
Somehow we get on our way to go and watch football. It is one thing that makes men tick. There is a decent club nearby called Wamuthondio’s special Hangout. Just like it sounds, it’s all kiuk head to toe. Nothing special except beer (which I don’t drink) and big screens that you can watch even in bottoms up position. Czar (the one with a very pregnant wife) is dependably the chauffeur. His skill behind the wheel is fleeking. And I always feel safe. He has an experience of over 7 years- in a good job, someone with such experience earns close to 300k compensation per month.
We pull up at the parking, it is half full. People around there came by foot, or public means, as it looks. Most of the cars are Probox and Noahs- owned by men who wear leather jackets, checked shirts, Savcos and Sahara leather shoes. And our beast finds a way among them.
Inside there is energy. Men around tables, others in the bar sipping modestly. There is a drink on every table. And every arm is holding a glass or a bottle.
Wamuthindio is on the other side of the bar, his eyes roaming to new customers who need to be hooked with a spot or something. He has a toothpick in his big fat lips, resting comfortably. That already tells you he has zero neck, has a belly that hangs like a heavy sack and generally has no hurry whatsoever. He can only breathe hard and heavy.
We grab some spots at the back. No one among us drinks, so we each take soda madiaba. Our summer bunny is always good with cash. The game goes on.
It is very typical that a Kisii will be born supporting Arsenal. That is on a 90% scale. The 10% will side with Man United for no other reason because just as Man U, some kisiis are very conceited and proud people. If there is a kisii supporting other teams apart from these two, then they deflected in their junior or senior years after discovering these two teams are like premature ejaculation. But they will tell you they had their first love that was mostly arsenal. And the four of us were licking Arsenal by the ass.
We’re in the middle of the game when Russell buzzes. I pick up the phone somewhere in the parking lot. He tells me we need to meet.
Okay, it’s a bad thing to pull a man out of a game he loves, unless it’s an emergency. It’s similar to someone knocking on your door repeatedly when you’re having sex and you’re right in the corner of last lap near the tee off line. It’s really annoying.
Begrudgingly, I hit a bus because Russell has to be seen. Be it what time of the day or night. He’s always on long trips- it’s what businessmen do. And he’s one of those who go by the clock. You miss him by the minute; you kiss the road back to your place until another time which might be a month or so.
Russell is entering into the deep thighs of 35 years. In there, as he says, thighs are no longer snug and toasty as they used to be at the age 18-25. At this point, they are what they are depending on many factors.
He has a wife, beautiful one, and a kid, who you’ll wanna adopt the first time you see it. And as a married man, those thighs I talked of were marriage. They’ve been married close to four years now. Everything has been good but not always balanced. But they are beating it.
I meet him somewhere in Yaya. He picks me up in his E-class Mercedes-Benz model. It’s sleek and clean, so clean that I feel I might mess the crisp white leather seats with my clothes. One thing with this guy is that he always wears a wide grin that is infectious. You’ll wanna smile like him. When he does that, his pretty teeth wave at you and steal your heart. You might wanna kiss them if you’re a girl.
Per se, Russell is doing well. He fends himself well and jogs every other morning. I borrowed the concept from him. He is fit and healthy. Looking good and living well I suppose because you never know what ails a man on the inside. From the exterior, we can say he’s doing fine.
He drives to The Western Premier in Hurlingham. To be honest, I’ve never been here. But I’ve seen the place often when I roll to town. I had dreamt that once I get my own money and wean off my daddy’s pockets, I would swing by and do some swimming in their rooftop swimming pool.
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Let me tell you who Rusell is.
Rusell originates from a family tree of the Scotland’s great logician and mathematician Bertrand Rusell. At least you can trace his roots to this great man’s shoes. His mother Katherin sired Rusell in a dalliance with a black Briton she had encountered in London. This now makes Rusell a breed of a Scot and Briton.
He partly grew up in Edinburg, Scotland’s main street, before he started his travels around the world. He landed in Kenya in 2009. Then, he was oscillating around 30 years old, feeling fresh and wild.
At the age of 21, he graduated from Cambridge with a finance major before he proceeded to have his masters in Business Administration at Leeds University which is part of Rusell Group. At 25 years, he was operating a family business, a bakery in his homeland where he worked as a manager for two years in a row.
A year after that, he moved to London to pursue a career in finance in Google’s Tech City office. Tech city is like the Silicon Valley of Britain. He made a name for himself while at Google. This also came with an upgraded life- six figure salary, a name up the door, a regal residence, among other things.
Then there was a big shift in Google’s operations a year after which saw him relocated to Johannesburg. A place he says he never liked. He found it hard to work in South Africa as it was away from Europe and the culture was quite unique.
In one of the trips organized by Google for its employees, he landed in Kenya’s Masai Mara in 2009, a year after the country had revived from post-election violence. Although he had fears of coming to a hotbed of hoo-hah at that time, there was a strong conviction that pushed him to come. And that was the start of his love for Kenya. The seed started germinating at that point and his urge of getting back to south Africa receded. Although he went back to sort things out.
At around August 2009, Rusell resigned from his prestigious job and walked into the airport to board a KQ plane to Kenya. His dream was to go back to admiring the vast Mara. Something he confesses to having done until when he realized he was running out of cash due to heavy spending.
In order to sustain himself, he had to find entry into the Kenyan job market. He recalls his credit card having only 4,000 British pounds. For a man who used to be paid six figure pounds as salary when he was at Google, 4000 pounds was equivalent to 4000 bob. So he set to liberate himself and save his sinking economic boat.
When you convert that kind of money into Kenyan tender, it comes to around half a million. Being a smartass right from Cambridge and Leeds, plus two years experience in one of the world’s biggest tech firms, it was easy for him to maneuver the market.
In 2011, he moved briefly to Scotland to establish fresh contacts with his family and friends and also discover new opportunities. In Scotland, he found his family business had expanded and now had its headquarters in Glasgow. If you know the famous McGhee then you’re with me. He stayed in Scotland for another year before again moving back to Kenya to continue with his business. In that year he had repudiated, his company slipped into a 20% loss, crashing some of his investors’ trust and motivation.
2012 proved to be a year he calls “cumming outside.” He compares it like ejaculating outside after a long beautiful ride. He moved from one thing to another, not wanting to be spoon-fed by his folks who were flourishing, to find a way through the murkiness of that year. He went to bed with so many deals that never materialized.
Looking at him now, he tells me fortune comes to those who knock. To a man whose net lies between 500-800m, success is the only thing that he can say to have achieved. It is not easy at his age to be that affluent. But he attributes his success to years of labour and input, lessons and experience in the arena of business where the real battle lies.
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So as he swims, he is not doing so because of leisure but rather there is a client who wants to be impressed. He is at that level. If Rusell beats him in the 300 metres swim, then they can have a talk. As I sit there, looking at this man doing all he can do to secure a deal, then I see men who know what they want and those who sit on the fence and complain about the prices of flour and sugar. There are men in this world who drink from rooftops, up there where the view is panoramic, men who never know the price of Scotch leave alone a packet of flour, men who never care if the prices have gone up or low because they can afford to pay for anything in this world. One of them is Rusell.
How I came to know him? Simple. He and Mama Elsie are distant cousins. And that is where I come into the equation. Rusell travels often. He is the link that connects Elsie and I, and the mother, who I don’t give much damn about. So every time he jets home he passes by Mama Elsie to drop messages and bring return messages to me. He is like this pigeon that I keep sending to deliver messages tagged on his right foot.
And today was one of those moments. As mentioned earlier, Rusell has no time to waste. He makes deals anywhere, and you can talk anywhere. I swear I like his effort. Something I think I adopted from him because when, as a man, you hang around a man who is endowed with wealth and you’re not, you feel inferior. This is to say that every man should work hard to become someone in society.
People will say that it is not all about money. But I say it is all about money. Even if you’ve got the nicest character on earth, without money you might not amount to much. A poor man has no friends. Without friends your life is vacuous.
Thirty minutes down, Rusell and the geezer were having a chat by the roof top swimming poolside while sipping from tall glasses. I was lying on my back on a chaise lounge chair by the pool, looking at the now darkening sky, and the albatrosses flying over the sky headed north. All I needed was that soft breeze that wafted by on that top. Some few scattered men and women of class stood by and enjoyed the aerial view of the city that was some distance away.
We went down to the bar after around an hour. Rusell had sealed an investment deal for his new agribusiness project. He had bought some huge junks of land in Laikipia and wanted to plant flowers for export. You can ask why more money yet he had enough to run greenhouses full of flowers. I would ask the same, but a businessman will tell you that you need other people to succeed. You need someone who knows someone you need to know, someone who understands the market, someone who knows where to get the best seedlings, another one who knows who makes the best greenhouses, another one who has planes to airlift your produce in time, another one who knows paperwork and all sorts of connections to enable you thrive.
There was a man seated by the bar, drinking to himself. He had a soft chin- no beard that is. He wore fitting pants that bespoke of things you might know. He was well off if you ask me. But from the way he was drinking, it didn’t look like he was enjoying any bit of life. His soft face wore melancholia and his grip on the beer glass was tight. He was in deep thought, but not deep shit.
So I take a seat near him and order a warm cup of coffee. We are drinking because businessmen toast to a deal well sealed. On hearing that I am ordering coffee in a bar, the guy looks at my direction.
Since I don’t know how to shut up sometimes, I blurt out.
“What the fuck man, what are you looking at?” He smirks and shrugs. He continues taking his drink. But for an observant person, I would say he started getting edgy.
Rusell is seated a seat away from me and this guy keeps stealing secret glances at him. You remember me saying that Rusell is attractive. He’s half white half black with a light British accent, which is lovely to listen to.
The waiter takes long to serve me a pot of coffee. As I wait, we continue exchanging with Rusell now that we’ve got time for a real conversation.
Me- nice deal huh!
Rusell- how do you know?
Me- a man drinks to either success or failure. Which one is it?
Me- you’re right. The folk made me a hefty deal. I wanted to hug him.
The nigga at the bar looks to our side when he hears the word hug.
Me- and you didn’t?
Rusell- hell no. It could’ve been dicey.
Rusell- yeah. Come on man. Don’t wanna be known as the dude who hugs old folks.
Me- what about me, would you hug me?
Rusell- are you serious?
Me- come on man. I just wanna know if you would.
Rusell- I would. But on one condition.
Me- which one?
Rusell- you don’t cry on my shoulder.
Me- why would I cry on your shoulder?
Rusell- because I would only hug you if I’m not sure I am gonna come back.
Me- do you hug your wife?
Rusell- of course.
Me- how many times a day?
Rusell- I really don’t know. It depends.
Me- with what?
Rusell- if she wants it or not.
Me- do you get mad when she doesn’t?
Rusell- nah, I just get into my suit and find my way out. Maybe that’s her on a bad day.
Me- what does your bad day look like?
Rusell- doesn’t have any. But one looks like that bitch who’s been eyeing me since we got here.
Me- which bitch? (I pretend not know).
Rusell- The one next to you. Don’t you see his skinny pants? He loves men.
This guy next to me freaks out. There are only three of us at the bar, with the barman some few legs away wiping his glasses clean. The guy fetches his bag and hurriedly leaves. A moment of silence engulfs us for a while before I catch the ball and roll on.
Me- I was waiting to see what he was gonna do to you. Hehe.
Rusell- I hate that. (He bangs his fist on the counter).
Rusell- because of my half brother who is gay.
Me- what about him?
Rusell- he’s gay, damn it! He’s gay.
Me- and then what?
Rusell- he tries to behave like he’s not. He is into men.
Me- when did he start being unmanly?
Rusell- since 16. He used to hang around men so much until one day we discovered he had this peculiar behaviour. When we confronted him on the same, he denied the fact.
Me- what did you do then?
Rusell- ask me what he did.
Me- tell me then.
Rusell- he started feeling like we do not understand him. To which he distanced himself, drinking himself out to take care of his misery. He tried to date here and there, which of course didn’t work because girls weren’t his pie. He wanted a man’s ass.
To fit in, he tried more and more girls to cover his tracks. Hanging out with girls hit rock bottom so he decided to tow his ass to drinking dens. He spends time alone, drinking and thinking that no one understands his muddle.
Me- well, do you?
Rusell- I do, but to me it is unacceptable.
Me- what would you do if you were in his shoes?
Rusell- go and think again about my life. If I wanted to spend it hunting men’s butts or getting back to my senses. I would pray hard and dedicate my life to finding where I went wrong and fix it.
Me- ever tried to fix your half-brother?
Rusell- yes. A number of times. I’ve even sat him down and asked him why he can’t wean off his carnal behaviour. All he could do was behave like a cat crying for milk, that no one understands how he feels. He stormed out of the house.
Me- so how does he face life?
Rusell- since he thinks no one understands him, he has married the bottle. He drinks all day to drown his ‘misunderstood’ life.
Out there in this Kenya, there is a man who is swigging grog by himself. Not because he enjoys doing so but because he feels the world doesn’t understand him. He feels that he has no place in this world as no one loves men who are attracted to fellow men. So what has he done? He has vacated from his life. His life now rests in bars, drinking by itself. His life is turning into an old soul. That soul is now wearing sorrow. When it wears it becomes dark. It becomes tattered and it houses vengeance.
Seating by himself breeds cheerlessness, indignation, resentment and the feeling that he should avenge the world for not understanding him. Every day he wakes up there is a feeling that he should take a whip and bring it down on every body’s back. He sees everyone as a foe.
If he had powers, he would love to have his share of the world, move it somewhere where undercover and live among primates, because with them, he shall have no vexation. They shall not judge him for not being straight. But that share of his world now is intolerable misery that corrodes his inside with spirits and killer drinks.
He does not find peace. Nor does he sleep enough. He doesn’t know the feeling of a beautiful rest. Dreams of him taking the cup of revenge fill his sleep so that he has to wake up every other night and curse the world.
All his days are spent on observing other men if there are similar men with whom they share this problem. It is his prime job- to inspect men’s dressing, walking styles, accessories and faces to undress any hint that may convince him that he is not alone on this. He goes into towns and joints where there are many people. A place where he can spy. And when his day ends in utter crush, torment sucks him. It sends him to the lonely spot in a pub where he continues drinking himself out.
To all gays, we love you, only that we cannot love dislike your behavior. It’s detestable.
by Mzangila 2017.
When all the stories have been told, then we shall be no more.