After a nasty experience with a new barber i beat a hasty retreat to Aleki my long time shearer. You see, unlike most people who may be reluctant to take you back after eloping with another barber, Aleki is not one to exhibit such ‘unbarberly’ behaviour. No complains, no castigation, just a drunken smile. He is always high on something, nursing a hangover or planning to down a few ‘botos’ before heading home. Either way he is a good chap.
The last i saw him 95% sober was when his wife was in maternity; he had a 5% hangover from lack of sleep and fatigue. He had to keep running to and from the loo every time labour pains kicked in.
PS: Maternity wards literally scare the shit out of me; takes a lot of guts to witness the delivery.
Then there is this dark dude called “Thug” who has sub let a ka quarter piece of Aleki’s barber shop. This has become the trend in Mombasa, pirates of HD subletting spaces in barber shops. He sells ‘new’ music and movies. I had been asking him to get me Game of Thrones since i dunno when, then just the other day he brings me Season 2 claiming that it was the new and fresh like the morning dew….mind you i had already completed season 4!
Aleki was a fairly good chap until Thug came along. Thug does so much weed i think he even farts Marijuana, i swear. He has a terribly loud speaker over which he plays the most lurid rap/hip hop joints. Si you know the knd of music with lots of Efs and Bs and niggers?
If i was thug’s parent i would not even be sure what to do with him.
We get into our usual banter with Aleki, he stops midway while shearing me to show me pics of his almost 12 month old daughter, a gorgeous bundle of chocolatey joy. Am looking at the pics and stealing glances in the mirror at my half shaven head seriously praying that we don’t get a power blackout.
Lemmy get you a full picture of the half shaven scenario. Am experiencing an unsettling catastrophe of a 2 pronged balding attack from the front and centre. Ultimately they will meet to form a small, shiny airfield on my head. Aleki always starts shaving from my lower left side, so in case of a power blackout i would be left with a unique sideways Mohawk.
A few customers are seated on the few available chairs. Since there are no newspapers or fashion magazines at Aleki’s the waiting customers spend their time stealing glances at my reflection in the mirror and staring at some women in the hair salon opposite Aleki’s. They also get into conversations on entertainment with Dj Thug!
Another fellow walks in, he scans everyone’s face and his drunken stare lands on the mirror, takes a bit longer here. I wasn’t certain whether he was staring at me or his own reflection. I winked, he did not notice. I deduced that he was pretty much scared at how his drunken face looked in the mirror.
Suddenly his eyes brighten as if torched by a life changing idea, an idea that the GoK and Donald Trump would not hesitate funding; an idea that does not involve quitting on the alcohol.
“Yes Aleki!” he shouts. Aleki just nods; the kind of nod a mafia Don does if an idea is good for the ‘Familia’.
The drunk, let’s give him a name for humanity’s sake; let’s call him Sokomsova for now.
Sokomsova moves close and his breath reeks of stuff that would make the devil retch. Aleki pushes him away. He laughs! I cover my mouth with the cloak around me then drop it instantly when i remembered it could be having minute particles of some foreign hair……perhaps even Sokomsova’s!
“Am really praying that the Good Lord Above saves you from your pathetic condition.” Aleki tells him.
“What condition?” Sokomsova.
“You are always drunk, that’s a disease!” Aleki.
“Hahaha!” Sokomsova. “Disease? Aleki you don’t even know disease!”
“Really? And you do?”
“Yes!” Sokomsova. “Diseases do not attack poor people like me!”
“Ha! You call yourself poor?” Aleki. “Man, you drink ever day. I cannot afford to drink like you. Wewe si ni Sonko!”
Sokomsova pulls a plastic chair from Thug’s area and sits facing my reflection. His face assumes a ‘sagacious’ look. He speaks.
“God gives everyone trials according to their status,” am not surprised by a drunkard uttering these words, they are always so in touch with their ‘spiritual’ side!
“Let’s pray!” Sokomsova announces. We laugh out loud. He is not deterred.
“Oh God, i pray that you keep me away from diseases like Diabetes, cancer and gout!” pauses a moment to arrange his thoughts.
“Grant me diseases that i will adequately brush off with Paracetamol and Brufen and Amoxilin!” Aleki shakes his head.
“Because God,i am just a sufferer. If you throw Cancer and Diabetes my way that will be the end of me!” he looks up as if an angel is perched on the rooftop waiting to deliver his prayer to The Lord.
Finally he rubs his hands together and walks out. We are left hanging to his words and wondering whether his prayer will be answered.