The month-end is here. It’s time for everybody—including those who normally have issues with their wallets—to play big. Long time readers of this column will recall Wa Muyanza’s old ndugu and occasional drinking buddy, Zollo, who would mock us, the salariats, that we only have money a mere 12 times a year!
Scornful? Maybe, but it was a statement of fact, for there’re only twelve month-ends in a year and it’s only at such periods that the likes of Wa Muyanza would have any cash worth talking about.
After a period of virtual pennilessness spanning three weeks-plus, people will have to understand when you make it clear to all and sundry—during mwisho wa mwezi—that you too are a real man. Or a woman of substance!
Money oils the engine that makes the world go round for everybody, including small people like Wa Muyanza whose “manness” is only realisable when it’s mwisho wa mwezi.
Today, you’re at this “grocery” in your neighourhood that’s normally a quiet place, explaining why you generally prefer it to most others around.
Upon your arrival here, you had taken a seat at the counter and ordered a small, warm Serengeti. You’re drinking it in your usual slow speed as you go over the day’s paper.
Right in front of you is a huge speaker, separated from you by the counter grills. At the other side of the counter, to your right, there’s a group of four young women who are soon joined by a chain-smoking young man.
They’ve been provided with a tall-legged table from where they’re having their beers and cigarettes.
Each of them has four unopened beers beside the one they’re drinking.
Everything is okay until when this Diamond song, ‘Jibebe’ starts playing. One of the ladies, the one who’s most endowed physically — says: “Increase the volume!”
The akaunta, Jacky, knows you well and she’s aware you always complain when the music is maddeningly loud.
“Mzee, should we increase the volume a bit?” she asks.
“But it’s already very loud,” you say. She readily agrees with you and tells the big lady, “I won’t increase!”
“If you won’t increase the volume we’ll return all these beers, pay for what we’ve so far taken and move to another bar,” she says.
“Yes,” another drinker agrees, “this is a bar, and bar music must be loud, if Jacky wants to please her mzee we’ll leave this place—or what do you say guys?”
“Oh, yeah!” the rest of the group say in unison, after which Jacky reaches for volume button and pushes it up to the highest possible volume.
You’ve no choice but to finish your Serengeti in a few big gulps, pay for it and head home.
This is a month-end and big buyers rule.
At this particular period, the choice of small time drinkers like you cannot override that of five people, each with four bottles before them. It’s grocery democracy.