Shebeen Queens Who Make You Broke

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By Elvis Mboya Many Lewinskys think that by offering a friendly drink, you have invited her entire clan. Lisa introduces cousins – that you don’t want to know – in the hope that you will help oil their corroded dry throats and fill their bellies. You will find them sharing a bottle with a halfway empty glass that yearns for refill. You order a round and she abruptly changes taste and orders those fancy drinks whose names she can hardly pronounce, leaving your wallet in shock and awe. Lisa ends up stuck on you as if you just paid the bride price. After being glued on a chair, a screen and a keyboard for ten straight hours effectively, there is no harm in a brother massaging his nerves for the next day. And the only way of doing this is through that magic swallow of taste the good times. Served in the right place at the right temperature with the right audience, it rekindles smiles, exposes dimples and brings back the real you, and, once again you are allowed to speak your mind without the fear of your bosses or nagging mates. You can sure bet on someone’s ears, if you can buy. However, this time around I got the wrong attention. As a faithful member, I found myself positioned at my favorite hideout with something to smile on. After being marked absent for a week, concerned members thought I was backsliding and insisted on inviting me for a Wednesday retreat. This is the occasional ‘Bachelorhood Brainstorming’ session. To simplify it, bachelorhood brainstorming refers to a mainstream discussion focusing on the empowerment of bachelors and their immediate interests. Public Relations Crisis A friend once told me that to be marketable on such days as ‘Ladies Night’ you don’t hurry for Katutura bottles, alias three quarters, rather you settle for an impressive tot of gin or brandy and even better a dumpy, sip it as if you are dieting, waggle a bunch of keys (provided it resembles an opener to a mobile toy that drinks gas and gives away fumes) and let your PR speak for itself. However, I had no time for this money-wasting experiment not at the time when I am not good friends with the ATM and the only answer she gives is, ‘Wait until payday’. So I tried rubbishing this thought, until I stopped thinking and tried. Next, I noticed a Lewinsky strategizing with an empty glass tilting towards my direction. This was not a Lewinsky you come across everyday here but that ponytail genre that you will meet oscillating through lecture halls buried in a library of books, a full package that the Creator took his time carefully designing and you wish to hurriedly introduce to your parents for security reasons for fear that she might change her mind – you know Mswatis are attracted more to what they see. At the back of my head, I got lost day-dreaming how her genetic materials will neutralize mine to produce a junior whose blood is free of Tafel and who doesn’t waste time writing stories of swallowing mates but rather moonlighting in science laboratories to discover the cure for babalas. Well, I introduced myself and she didn’t have to ask for a drink; a plain coke, what a plus! In the midst of the intro, I got the feeling that science books that you and I read would deduce as normal (neutrons and electrons equal magnetism; I stand to be corrected, if I didn’t read from the same page). I nearly anticipated meeting her parents just to thank them on how they have raised their daughter until disaster stroke out of the blue. I ended up being surrounded by an army of her friends and cousins and neighbours who could only chorus ‘buy me a drink’. Since when did ‘buy me a drink’ become the Land of the Brave’s greeting? Well, for the sake of ‘my new discovery’ I assumed a Mr Generous until my friends who just arrived whisked me away. Miss Shebeen, Be Careful What You Wish For Being among Bachelorhood Members again, I quickly came back to the thick-skinned realities facing us in our daily endeavours. This time around, I heard, they almost emptied their ATMs going around the country for events and chiefly, the Windhoek Show that they reminisce about with nostalgia – cheap booze and Miss Windhoek parade. Before that it wasthe Miss High School, Miss Polytechnic, Miss University of Namibia, Miss World … They said the experience reminded them of ‘Reed Dance’ in the land of His Majesty the Mentor. After pouring out their sorrows on how they are broke and can’t afford the next drink, I kindheartedly shared what I had in the spirit of brotherhood as they protested aloud why there is no Miss Shebeen. Look who stroked my back – the previous thirsty clan whose throats I helped oil resurfaced with even more demands. They assumed in-law status since ‘I like their daughter’ and I seem to be generous with my wallet. So goes the vote of confidence. Where else would you get that after a short duration? However, what infuriated me is that they quickly ordered some tots of kill me quickly that proved unfriendly to my pocket. Well I swallowed that bitter pill hoping they would get a life somewhere. But they stayed. So, there we were at the Shebeen alter; the willing bride and the perplexed and tipsy groom, eagerly waiting in-laws, the barman as the arbitrator, friends as witnesses and drinks to sanctify the occasion. Well, this was far from what I wished for – a Miss Shebeen waiting to be crowned. Imagine in future, a junior asking where I met mom – ‘Well, son, I met your mom in a nasty Shebeen in a group of some yellow socks punctured-faced buddies ready to sell her for a Tafel.’ I quickly excused myself to the bathroom and wasted no time locating my exit. Later, there were numerous missed calls and text messages reminding me of my cowardly performance. Well, I’d better be a coward not committing to a whole thirsting clan than being broke the next day. Carry your own baggage!