When some men and women waste years memorising some articles and caps in a voluminous book called the Constitution, they are finally called to the bar and consequently admitted into a list of the chosen few called lawyers, who henceforth call one another ‘learned friends’.
This missive, however, is not about lawyers, but about how yours truly was called to the bar at Happy Valley and consequently admitted to the coveted club of CDF – Club of Drinking Friends. For me, I did not require the unnecessary torture of memorising history for years on end. I just acquired my Concorde and armed with driving experience in the ‘roadless’ terrain of Happy Valley countryside, I was in the list.
You may not believe it, but the truth, and nothing but the truth, is that before my calling to the CDF, I was for all practical purposes and intents a teetotaller. I was a social drinker and took intoxicating drinks only on special occasions, only that the occasions came rather regularly. But the demands of fulfilling the financial obligations at the Palace as a loving husband to Queen and doting father to our future leaders forced me to think outside the box that is my boxlike house at the Palace. It was while outside the box that the highly bright idea of the taxi business was born.
The taxi business, as I came to learn, is a risky and secretive one which calls for a lot of trust and confidentiality between the taxi driver and his customers. This oath-like trust is cemented through sharing of common drinks. In the initial stages, I was taking my favourite Krest, to obey my thirst, which was bought as a waiting charge as my customers finished their last drink. But later, the soft drink turned into ready fodder for demeaning and provocative jokes directed at me.
“I won’t buy sodas for a man. Sodas are for women!” declared Mhesh, a dethroned MCA and high ranking official of CDF.
“Who can trust a man who takes women’s drink?” This was from Kimunya, the manager of Aberdare Sacco, who got the name at a time an MP from the region was Minister of Finance. Many years since the original (Amos) Kimunya lost the hot seat rather unceremoniously, our ‘Kimunya’ retains the name in a way that suggests his financial muscle. When the original Kimunya began making a comeback journey to national limelight, our Kimunya started becoming exceedingly philanthropic at buying beer.
“These are the sell-outs who spy for our wives!” said chairman.
Chairman is rumoured to be the power behind Mrembo and his word is law at Happy Valley. To be allowed to do business in Happy Valley, I had to be in his good books.
“We know you have no money to buy beer. It is our money, why are you taking soda?” asked Kimunya.
And that is how I was called to the bar at panga point, and consequently admitted as a member of CDF. My business relied on the fellas who call the shots at Happy Valley. To make matters even more enticing, the moneyed members were buying the beer for me as waiting charges as they finished their ever changing last one.
But as you can expect, it became extremely difficult for me to convince Queen that although I smelled like a brewery, as she put it, I was not using my money. Before I could explain what waiting charges are in the language and practice of taxi business, she hit the roof, “How can a man accept drinks from another man? I am asking, what for?”
Queen protested. I could sense the dangerous direction that her questions were taking. At such times, silence is the best weapon. I decided to suffer without bitterness.
Now, an elephant is never overpowered by its tusks. To ensure that I had enough peace at the Palace, I had to ensure that Queen got sufficient reason to open the door for me when I arrived home at the usual unholy hours that define the business. I had observed the members of CDF buy Mango juice for their female companions at Happy Valley, which looked very romantic. I decided to try that at home. That is how Queen’s two litre packet of Del Monte mango juice came about.
And that is how I was called to the bar at Happy Valley Grills.