On Friday my friends and I decided it was about time we went out, drinking indoors wasn’t quite working out. Let me mention in advance that this was, as usual, an alcohol motivated decision that was largely influenced in part by absence of female company. Being in absolutely no state to drive, we decided to travel to town by public means, though that may also have been due to failure to secure a car earlier on, a story I will recap once I am over the trauma caused by Mr. Malenje’s dogs.
The journey was uneventful, although we almost got thrown out for singing. According to the conductor, we were scaring all the would-be female passengers away. Nobody moved an inch. Not even Elvis, who soon befriended the conductor when he generously offered him a couple of gulps of the concoction we had been consuming… Don’t worry; nobody lost their sight… yet.
Anyway, one hour later we reach Thika, our preferred destination for our drinking spree having paid nothing for the trip. We conclude the conductor is either really drunk or he knows not to bite the hand that feeds him. We get to the club and there is some ‘big star’ performing so the entrance fee had sky rocketed. This we did not mind until we realized the conductor did charge us but he didn’t return any change and we forgot to ask. Conniving bastard drank our Ksh. 2000 alcohol didn’t return change! Now, if you’ve been with a drunk, you will know that reasoning is at a minimum, especially if another drunk is with him. In this case, we were four of us. It was unanimously decided our drinking spree could wait; we needed to find this conductor, fast.
We hit the streets once more but he is nowhere in sight. At this point somebody comes up with the brilliant idea of reporting the idiot to the police. We agree they will help us best. Somehow on our way to the station one of my pals notices a Pesa Point ATM machine and like sheep in the big city, we follow. After all, more money can only do us more good in alcohol terms once we have accomplished our quest for justice. We are almost done when a police Land Rover passes by. Somehow in our stupidity, we decide to yell that they should come back. We were on our way to see them in any case and now that they found us, it would mean we wouldn’t have to walk to the station. A good omen!
What we didn’t realize is that the police are sinister people. In fact, if a man ever steals your wife, don’t tell them; to them, there is no better punishment than to let him keep her. The police happily drive back to where we are standing yelling after them. Two of them jump out of the back and from where we are standing; I notice that the back of the truck is loaded beyond capacity. It’s barely been one month since Michuki left and the police themselves are flaunting the same rules he fought so hard for. Anyway, I decide the people in the back are idiots for getting caught. By this time the two men are with us.
“Vijana mnafikiria nyinyi ni nani kusumbua watu usiku?”
“Afande tunahitaji usaidizi wenu….”
“Nyang’au nani amekuuliza!? Jibu maswali na majibu sio vitisho!”
“Apana, si vitisho…”
“Kwanza mnafanya nini nje ya bank usiku?”
“Hawa wanapanga kuiba!”
At this point we start protesting in earnest because it now occurs they think we are the criminals. We decide to proceed to the station to see their boss. These idiots clearly don’t understand we are the victims here and we need a man who poses grave danger to society apprehended.
“Kama unaeza kimbia haraka kuliko bunduki toroka!”
We stop dead in our tracks, not quite believing what is unfolding and alcoholic levels in my bloodstream have suddenly fallen enough for me to vaguely understand what is going on. You see, in Kenya, the police assume everybody is guilty of something until proven otherwise. Here you can be charged for anything including ‘Loitering with intention of murder’, ‘Looking at government buildings suspiciously’, ‘Smoking with violence’, ‘Soliciting for sexual favours from unwilling female customers’ and ‘Smiling like a terrorist.’ I found myself panicking but the worst was yet to come. We were ordered into the truck which was almost as depressing as the man that was arrested for indecent exposure then released for “INSUFFICIENT evidence”.
I need not describe our state at the back of the truck. Two armed policemen at the far end, people on the floor and those that did manage to find a seat were seated in twos- one on top of the other- even PK doesn’t have it that rough. The journey wasn’t really long, but when all you can smell are people’s armpits and feet, it is unbearable. It wasn’t uneventful either; a fat woman was fighting with a boda boda guy for ruining his bike. Apparently she was so big the bike literally, got smashed, ‘ilibondeka’. The police didn’t want to know whose fault it was- they were both dumped into the back with the rest of us and told ‘The issue will be sorted out at the station.’
I think I may be the only person who still knew the whereabouts of his phone by the time we got to the station. Anyway, we try to explain ourselves to the police once more but they hear none of it. According to them, we were going to be booked for standing outside the bank with intention for pulling off a heist in addition to being drunk and disorderly, but we could be let free if we knew what language paper talked. It didn’t take very long for four drunks to pay up. Quite literally, fools were soon partying with their money, just not the way we had hoped. It was the same case with everyone else except the poor girl accused of prostitution. I hoped her freedom wouldn’t have to be purchased along the lines of what I was already thinking.
We did eventually have our drinking spree; it was to end with me in hospital with severe alcohol poisoning characterized by loss of vision for a full day thanks to the same ATM machine that got us arrested in the first place. The difference is that we were accompanied by our new body guards, the police, whom we learnt are a kind lot once you are fluent with this language of paper. They even offered to catch the conductor and inform us the moment they did. We also learnt two things; never get arrested in front of an ATM machine, and if you do get caught, don’t panic and cause headlines by turning into a goat like the Nigerian man back in 2009; there is a language spoken by paper that you should be fluent in – bribes. It has no rules, no grammar ninjas, nothing. Oh, and if you don’t drink and drive, don’t drink to die either.