“With such an ass my guy, you’ve the jackpot,” It was Chonjo. I sipped my bear, listened and watched.
I had arrived at the CRANKIE’S twenty or so minutes ago, intentionally, had chosen not to bring any company. It was now quarter to nine. The place was scattered being a Wednesday, quite perfect for some winding time. Normally I would have ordered a quarter nyama choma, chillies and kachumbari just as much plus my usual tusker. Then later would have danced with one or two girls, before I retired. But not today.
Today, I wanted to drink my beer like a grown up – quietly with less hustles. So I had chosen this table at the furthest corner but was cautious to maintain at the door – so I could see who’s coming and going – of these places you never knew. Luke Brian was gracing the waves and the dim lights created a blue ambiance, just like my thoughts were at that time. An attendant had just finished setting my table when Chonjo walked to me, bouncy as ever. From where I couldn’t tell.
He was a curious little man; this man Chonjo, and ordinarily the sight of him was enough to cause laughter among the rest of us. He dressed always in old American pants, with the shirt hanging out over them, and the pants, which were much too long, falling in pleats around his sandals. He tugged constantly at an old cap with a broken visor.
Much curiosity was with his name. From the way he pronounced it, to the way he got it. None could actually tell how he came by that name, it’s almost as if it just happened. Some said he called himself that, others that it was from his frankness, especially after his podipodi.
Nobody really minded nobody here; this place being a common rendezvous. But for Chonjo, questions were silently asked. Nobody knew how he got here leave alone how long he’d been here. It almost seemed like he’d arrived with time and erased its past. Rumors had that it he must’ve been a scholar, married twice and divorced once. Those who knew said he had lost his first wife, remarried and it was the latter who left him together with the kids. They said the first wife had kids too but no news had come of their whereabouts and Chonjo rarely mentioned her or them.
Heck they knew a lot about him: of the many times he’d been in and out of the cells, pretty much for loitering as it was known, and of how he helped himself at the back streets. The ladies there liked him and the guys back there also spoke of him. And just by that popularity came with it a lot of rumors. By the look of him he seemed like one who knew what was thought of him but just didn’t give a care. How men craved to get such confidence!
I was still chewing on his ice-breaker but my mind was very far away. I’d seen the waitress’ big nyash alright and complimented it. However, the thought that he might have regarded me was making me uncomfortable. So I nodded at it once more and watch him give it a spank. The absurd act received a joyous acclamation from the mates who for some reason were watching us. I had waited for a resistance but the shorty just gave a desirable moan, seemed to like it. Seeing me surprised he grins, “Them damsels know me my guy, them girls want me. Chonjo sana.”
Simultaneously, I lift my glass to salute him amidst uproars from the surrounding tables. This night I had meant to go under but he was pulling my masks off. In his world, such an entrance couldn’t go at a waste and it didn’t wait long. Some overly excited ninja offered him a round of whiskey, much to Chonjo’s delight. He loved his bottle and he often knew how to get around at it, ‘no sweats’, he’d called it.
He didn’t wait to ask for room; he just went ahead and plunged himself into one of the seats, pretty much the Chonjo I’d come to know. Sometimes I found him annoying of which am sure he was aware. You could think he did all that on purpose. The aura around him smelt of mischief and crudeness you’d want to hate but yet found it hard to resist. He had a way of making the undesirables look and feel very desirable.
Had I mentioned that people a little feared this guy for a government spy? From his rumored education and the kinda polished lingo, the folks around here at times saw him as those underground spies in the movies. He certainly didn’t belong in the ghetto. I hadn’t thought of Chonjo as any snitch, but if at he were then he was very good at his games. More so it was him who showed me around on the safe ruts that cops could rarely come knocking. CRANKIE’S was of such, not safe parse but more of ‘feared.’
Not that I regarded him as a drinking buddy, he was just that guy you could have at your table discuss manly nothings – from the mundane to the madly insane. In short he offered good company, a reason why I didn’t resist his intrusion especially tonight. But the most interesting of Chonjo were his perils. Often you wouldn’t plan what to talk about with him especially when he was on a drink. So having him around was surety enough that I would be entertained.
To be continued….
Have a pleasant week…