It’s not like him to play the kind of music you appreciate, that’s why he has really surprised you today. You’re talking about Rick, the self-styled DJ at this grocery in your neighbourhood.
Rick does the dee-jaying for free because, apparently, he loves it. Which is, okay. The way many scribblers fill newspaper pages without payment, their motivation being the love to inform, educate and entertain. God bless them.
The young man’s choice is usually coarse Bongo flava, Naija, Amapiano, Singeli and such kinds of stuff that you generally consider sheer noise... Often vulgar.
Unbelievably, Rick is playing real music today: Marijani Rajabu, Tabu Ley, Msondo Ngoma, Luanzo Lwambo Makiadi, Don William, Kenny Rodgers…imagine!
And what’s more, the music volume is low. A patron doesn’t have to step away 150 metres to have a phone conversation.
You’re so impressed you tell Angela the barmaid to give Rick a drink on your bill. Soon after, Angela comes to report: “I’ve already given the DJ something; he says thank you.”
“What’ve you given him?” you ask.
“K-Vant, with Bitter Lemon.”
“But he was having a Coke!” you remark, somewhat angrily. Why, the difference is huge, from the anticipated bill of Sh1,000 to a whopping Sh5,000!
“He switched to something better,” Angela says, very casually.
Being the gentleman you purport to be, you say okay even as you gnash inwardly like a mad dog.
And then, on this other day at a certain grocery, you‘re having a beer at your own table and loving it, for you’re busy reading a newspaper.
At one point, you lift your head up and turn it this way and that way, paparazzo style.
Your eyes meet those of Chiku, a lady who’s somewhat familiar to you. She waves and shouts a hi. You respond in the same manner. She’s in the company of two respectable-looking fellow ladies who are neither too young nor too old. They must have arrived when your head was buried in your newspaper pages.
She beckons you to join them. You politely decline, giving the lie that you’re expecting a group of business associates. However, you play the gentleman and ask Claudia the barmaid to give Chiku and her friends one-one.
As soon as the beer lands on the ladies’ table, Chiku shouts a hearty thank you. You acknowledge her appreciation with the usual thumbs-up sign and say: “Tuko pamoja.”
You’re on your second beer when Uncle Kich arrives to join you and you immediately order him a Kasichana with water since he has been ordered by his doctor to give beer a break because gout is killing him.
Then, Uncle orders a half chicken for the two of us. The guy’s doctor has also banned him from taking red meat, poor guy!
We’re half way through the chicken that’s being demolished alongside roast bananas, when Claudia approaches you and whispers: “Your friend Chiku has told me to tell you that they too have not eaten!”
That’s the price of the rumour which has it that scribes are always loaded with cash for “buying stories”. What a cruel joke!