SINDAN SUBCUTENEOUS

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There’s always something off with young bloods in these contemporary times. Perhaps our parents (for us born in early 90s) felt that we were shit heads the same way we look at these knuckleheads born late 90s and early 2000s. In my experience, these millennial have become more inclined to getting themselves into trouble every time without first considering the consequences that will ensue.

We pop into a chemist along Kenyatta Avenue right next to ICEA building. Tagging along is one of these knuckleheads I am talking of, a friend and apprentice of mine. Having come from a well off family, the kid is mostly reckless. He’s half luyha, half Kisii. I have to mention this because there’s something to it. His genes belong to those of most Kisii men- he loves women and money. The difference between a Kisii man loving money and a Luo man loving money is that a Luo man will spend it whenever he can, and a Kisii man will stingily spend it when he can. For quite a while, I have studied him. We talk often, because as an apprentice, he spends most of his time in my shop helping with chores as they come.

When it comes to work, he’s industrious. He very much likes getting his hands on work given, so is his ability to hump women when they come along. Romping women isn’t a problem because for us, Kisii men, it is a tribal curse (an inheritance to the community we were born into); the problem is shagging women raw, without any form of protection. He’s a young and attractive kid, so he mostly doesn’t have to struggle trying to seduce a woman. Women seduce him. Just picture that. As long as I have known him, he doesn’t turn down free pussy. Meaning he doesn’t have to put ‘responsibility’ in his head when undertaking his actions because it is the women that initiate the process.

The reason we are in a chemist is because he’d shagged a girl he didn’t know without protection. Let’s not call the girl a girl because she was almost 30. She qualifies to be called a woman. This is how it happened so that you get the picture. My young blood here is a student in a national polytechnic here in Nairobi, studying electrical engineering. At this time, he’s been on attachment, which for them lasts a year or so, I suppose. He finished his attachment at Agha Khan Hospital in Nairobi in early January. Since then, we’ve been working together.

Occasionally, he gets gigs here and there, mostly in people’s homes, to help solve their electrical faults and things along that line of work. This time round, a certain woman calls him and tells him she needs her appliances (don’t know which ones) to be fixed. He leaves for the place and gets to attend to whichever problem he finds there. A little talk happens. A silly talk, when you think of what happens later. The woman has a sister, who likes my young blood. The sister had gone to Eldoret to visit an aunt or something.

My nigga leaves after getting his work done. He also gets to be fed before he leaves. At around 8.30pm the same day, the woman calls again, this time claiming her remote control isn’t doing shit. Since my nigga can’t turn down an opportunity to earn a few coins, he leaves immediately. I close at 9.00pm so I hang around to attend to early night customers that may need me.

On reaching there, the bulb isn’t working either. So he fixes the bulb first and then as he turns around to reach for the remote control, the woman emerges from the bedroom donning this sexy nightgown that leaves nothing for imagination. If you’ve been following the story closely, then you can easily predict what happened. My nigga’s brains migrated from his head to his testicles. He wasn’t going to be the first man, with the right thinking mind and good sight to let the rest of the wide world of men out there by saying no when the woman went ahead to kiss him. You think men are horny, but you have it all wrong. It’s only that women don’t talk about it the way men do and behave when they get horny.

He spent the night. So I get his conquest stories the following day, narrating to me how he made this woman cry and beg him to stop. Well, I entertained him because I felt he needed someone to tell his shit. I know men hardly discuss their sex escapades unless they are seeking assurance.

“You can’t go around fucking women randomly without protection man,” I told him. I feel as his senior, I bear the role of driving sense into him, being a role model he can look up to. “You need to be careful.”

At the age of 21 years, he’s already a father. I thought if he continued with this recklessness then he might be the deadbeat of the year, or even contract a disease along the way.

There was some kind of fear lodged in his eyes when I observed him closely that day. Perhaps for the first time in his life, it dawned on him that there are consequences to his actions. He was afraid. So I comforted him with my own story from back in 2015 when this girl, luo girl, after finishing her business at the Laikipia Fashion Gala, came over and offered me free pussy. The next day, I was so scared shitless that I went to the hospital immediately for this medicine they give you in case you had unprotected sex with someone you suspected was infected, or even the fact that you wanted to be on the safe side. It was the first and only time I ever had unprotected sex with someone I barely knew, or without getting tested first.

So he suggested we go get the meds if possible.

There are a few things we need to do in town. I suggest that we can pop into one chemist in town and get sorted quickly before we proceed to tackle our business. It is a busy chemist. It is dotted with customers here and there. We wait until most leave for us to narrate our ordeal because this is not something you go shouting about. You need to get as close as possible to the attendant and explain yourself in the lowest voice as possible because some of us get embarrassed when telling some things. Don’t we? We need privacy. We can wait until all customers are gone, even if it takes hours, to tell our woes. This knucklehead is scared shitless so I do the talking. He is the kind who doesn’t know how to even order a condom from a shopkeeper. You know those kind of dudes, right? The ones that don’t have balls to do what is manly (if there is) without behaving like a bitch.

We approach this slim dude in specs. I didn’t think he was smart or anything, I just felt that he would help as compared to others that were there. He was light bodied with whiskers dotting his young face. He could have been in his early 30s. I do the normal introductory greeting while arranging words in my mind as to what I am to say, without mincing words or appearing an asshole.

“My friend here had unprotected sex and he didn’t know the status of the woman. Any way you can help us.” I enquire.

He doesn’t answer immediately. He looks past us, as if thinking of something yonder, for a while before he gets back to his work. He keeps talking to his mates as he types something on the computer on the counter.

“I could help you with that… but it is expensive. It would cost you around 10k to…”

“Son of a bitch!” I interject.  The stingy Kisii part of me is wide-awake now. I can’t imagine spending 10 large on something like this.

My friend also agrees with me. “I better die of that AIDS than spend all that money on keeping it at bay, as if I know I have it.”

“Listen!” He continues. “I have a job to protect here. But I am willing to help you.” He motions for my buddy to come forward.

“Have you been tested recently?” He asks.

“Most certainly, not one I can remember.”

“Okay, then this is what I am going to tell you. I’ll send you somewhere you get help for free. The only way you can pay me is by have safe sex next time. That’s the only thing I can ask of you.”

My buddy nods in agreement. I don’t know if he takes this serious or he’s just like, “Let’s get it done with.”

“You are going to take my number. Then you’ll walk towards Hilton Hotel. As you do so, send me a message so that I can give you the direction to the place where you’re going to receive help. Once you get there, you’ll ask for Wambui. Once you get her, call me and I talk to her.”

I hand over my phone to him. He saves his number under the name Sindan Subcuteneous. Oh blind me! I’ve never come across this name since I was born. I think to myself this guy must think highly of himself.

Going back to the conditions he gives us, at first I feel that he might be involved in human organs trafficking. There’s a way that he gave them details to us that made him appear a sketchy dude. He had also added that after we’re done, “This never happened. You don’t know me I don’t know you. You never met me.” It is this statement that rattled my insides.

Since we need the help (badly), we choose to trust him and follow his instructions. We’re men, aren’t we?

We get on the move. We end up in Ivory Clinic, which is opposite Hilton Hotel. It is a decent clinic in the middle of town. It is bigger than most government hospitals I know. I do all the talking when we get there. At the reception, I ask for Wambui and do as instructed by Sindan Subcuteneous. Can we just call him SS?

Wambui requests us to sit as she puts my guy up on the line. He’s to undergo an HIV/AIDS test. This test costs 300 bob. I like teasing people and sometimes making them uncomfortable. So I ask him what will happen if he tests positive because the chances are high, I mean he’s been eating without washing his hands, you know.  I wanted to drill fear into him, so that next time when he’s about to eat without first washing his hands he remembers this fear and does the necessary.

You don’t want to hear what answer he gave to my query because you and I can tell it was immature. “I don’t know” would suffice for this question. For something we’ve never experienced, there’s no particular way to handle it. You’ve to be in there in order to understand what strategy works out and what a waste of time is.

The worst part of a HIV/AIDS test is the period where you’re waiting for the results. It is the moment of truth, putting your life in perspective for once. A fear arises in you, mostly driving you to believe in the possibility of testing positive. That kind of fear is none like you’ve ever had before. It is a game changing fear. You fiddle with your fingers, trying to control the now racing heartbeat. You can actually hear your own heartbeat drumming through your ears. Even if someone told you something at that moment, most probably, you might miss it out wholly.

It is the heartbeat of death, dinging in your ears like an elevator of death coming to pick you. You soak in there uncomfortably, praying perhaps, or even hoping that God gives you this one more chance to make things right. Oh man! Eh! Make things right.

Your heart dedicates all its energy to pound on your rib cage. It wants out. It wants to leave you. Maybe it feels desperate or every betrayed. But in most cases it is playing games on you. Even as you stare at the kit waiting for the second red line to form, you can’t see clearly. Your sight is blurry, not because you’ve an eye problem; fear blurs even your sight.

And finally when the doctor says you’re negative you emerge from this world of nightmares in utter disbelief.

“Oh thank God. Thank God!” You murmur to yourself.

Happens that my young blood here is negative. He becomes himself again, the bounce in his step returns.  The smile returns. His fading voice now becomes alive. Wambui gives him some meds for 30 days.

I bet most of you don’t know that there’s something like that. If you’ve unprotected sex with someone you suspect and you don’t know what to do, kindly visit the nearest health centre within 72 hours (I guess) after you’ve had sex. You’ll be given some meds, which will clear any possibility of you getting infected.

I called SS and let him know we’d been sorted out, and thanked him. I still don’t know what SS means.

As we continue with this quarantine, I am unlikely to be writing because my mind is also in quarantine. I am planning to go to shags, away from this mish mash of the city life, to go and get rest. I won’t be carrying my laptop or pad. I want to have a quiet time while there. To rethink about my life, even if it’s for a little bit.

I want to get in touch with nature, to have a better conversation with self, to sort things out with my burdened life, and work out my priorities. So I am not going to be the loudest person out here. If you need me, call me. My line will be open.

If you want to be writing here while I am gone, and you’re conversant with managing a blog, I’ll create you an account. Get in touch before the week ends on +254716503589.

Stay safe

Stay at home

Wash hands

Practice social distancing

Take care.

Mzangila Sir,

Where shall we go, we who wander in this wastelands in search for better selves?

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