Oranges and Cactus, short stories

Just imagine this, will you? You are at Club Mist in town on an early Friday evening, and next to you are two empty seats. It was not your idea to go out today because it is that time of your month when everything is on a roundabout, never mind that it is end month. Being a rebel blogger means that you do not know the joys that come with having constant pay at the rise of every new moon. But for guys like your friend, it means something completely different. That is why he called you and said, “Buda! Vipi bana? Si tukutane Mist tukunywe kamoja tu?”

Because you know Pato, you also know that there is no such thing as ‘kamoja tu’, and so you say no at first. But then he insists and says drinks will be on him; a mouthwatering offer which you pretend to begrudgingly accept. “Haiya basi. Tupatane 7?” “Sawa.” It is now 7.30. In front of you is a Coca-Cola you ordered thirty minutes ago. You are fiddling with your phone and realize that you haven’t rated the cab driver who brought you to tao. You tap on the fifth star and ignore the question about what displeased you most about the ride, because it is irrelevant to you.

Given your fiscal (always wanted to use that word) position, you would not have taken a cab, but then Little Cab had that offer where they gave a 500 bob discount on rides that Friday. Quick Math; a cab ride from your place to tao would be between 480 and 530 bob. In the worst possible scenario, you would only have to pay 30 bob. But then in actual fact, the ride cost 510 bob. You did not take a taxi because you had money. You only took it because it is good math. Fifteen minutes later, you call Pato and he says his boss gave him one of those annoying last minute joboz to sijui draft a plaint for a new client, so how about you give him an hour? You say sawa. Because in your pocket you only have a kathao that is supposed to be your supper and transport back to the diggz, you order another Coke and start sipping. Slower, this time. Eyes fixated on the TV that is showing a different music video from the song that is spilling from the speakers.

As time goes by and darkness creeps in, the music gets louder and the club begins to fill. You decide to book him a seat. You take off your jacket and place it on the chair next to you. It is not until an hour later, when you are almost finishing your soda and the straw you were sipping on is almost chewed through, that your boy walks in. You know these lawyer types; always in a suit even at the club. He is wearing the grey one. The top button of his shirt is unbuttoned and the black tie is hanging a few inches lower. He looks like someone who has just been sentenced to death by hanging, waiting for a priest to pray for him before he is dangled on a stage. At first, when he appears, you do not pay any attention to the chick next to him. You get up, give him one of those man hugs that involves shoulders tapping and backs being slapped painfully as if there was a mosquito on it, for which he has a warrant to kill. Then he turns to her and says, “G, this is Brenda. Remember her?” You had not noticed they were together. Of course you remember Brenda. Who doesn’t? She was in Stream One in the same you as guys in campo, but you never really spoke. Regally good looking. Pillowy lips. Wore her hair in a knot that caressed the nape of her neck. And when she spoke, you could tell her passport had been touched by immigration officers. Rumours in campo said she was the scion to a family with the kind of money that buys loyalty.

“Oh yeah. Brenda. From Parkie, right?” you say, extending your hand.

“It’s been long.” You say that simply as a matter of common courtesy, not fact.

“Yeah. How have you been? Blogging treating you good?” she asks.

“I am not complaining.”

You notice the softness of her palms, among other things, like the way she still ties her hair. She is wearing a brown skirt suit. Not so high heels, sparse make up, except for some lip gloss and eye shadow. When she sits down next to Pato, she does that thing that chicks do where she sort of wipes her ass with her palms before sitting. It has always amused you, when girls do that. It is weird. We dudes just sit. But girls have to wipe their asses first. Brenda sits with her legs crossed and then leans close to Pato. “You guys are together now?” you ask nobody in particular. Four startled eyeballs stare back. “At the same law firm, I mean. You work together?” “Eeeeeh bana. She joined us like a month or so ago.” Pato replies and then holds her hand, then strokes it gently with his thumb. She smiles. “You finished that plaint you were drafting?” you ask him. “What?” “Ah, never mind.”

Small talk is useless. A waitress comes and takes away your empty bottle of Coke. She asks if you would like another and you say no. “Beer please. Tusker baridi.” Pato asks for the same, while Brenda orders a Black Ice. The bottles come pretty fast. It is incredible, however, how when you order for beer at a club, the waitresses always bring two. It is almost second nature for them. And then they rush to open the first one, before slipping away and being swallowed into the madness of the night club. The alcohol lubricates conversation. You observe the two. How Pato occasionally whispers something to her and she giggles. How she finishes some of his sentences. And how awfully close they sit next to each other. It is undeniable that they have something going on, which would be none of your business, except for the fact that you know Pato has a mama; Monique. Who you have taken to simply referring to as Mo.
via Daily Prompt: Awkward


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