My mother thinks I live in a secluded rustic-cabin convent in the remotest part of Karen, Nairobi.
She slaughtered a chicken for me when I was awarded a partial scholarship at an obscure Catholic-sponsored university. The fact that even my father was not allowed to escort me to the hostels told her that she had nothing to worry about. I was protected from university corruption and debauchery.
“God answers prayers,” she quipped. “God loves you.”
When I finished high school without a scandal, and scandal here means being spotted with a boy, she recited the rosary, prostrate before the image of the Madonna and the child. She repeated the joyful mysteries in earnest. At times like this, she wished for the virginity of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, but the Lord had blessed her with open legs.
A month later, she still called me for hours in the evening to remind me how much God loved me and that He had told her I would be a nun. It was one of these evenings after she had hung up when the girl next door talked to me for the first time.
“Look at you, wishing mama was here to breastfeed you.”
“Why do you care?” I asked. “Ever heard of ‘mind of your own fucking’ business’?” I used the lines I had wanted to use all my life.
“Oh, she is badass, a bitch! Kumbe it’s all meekness for mama. Do you wanna grab a drink? It’s contraband, I know, but that’s what smugglers are for,” she said.
That night, I met my partner in crime, my confidant. Sharon had seen through my fakeness and called me to it. When we drank all her two six-packs of Guarana, she didn’t complain. When I French-kissed her, she blamed it on the alcohol.
The maximum security Catholic-sponsored university was not as secured as I had thought. Every night we made money exposing fake cleavages and shaking fake asses at Club Seen in downtown Nairobi. We sat on swivel chairs, uncrossing and recrossing our stockinged legs, giving men flashes of black or white G-strings, sometimes the pussy. The drinks would keep flowing, which, on most occasions, we poured when the drunken sods left for the washrooms. In their state of intoxication, the money was easy to get by making them believe they would have the night of their lives only for us to disappear on them or lie we were on menses.
Downtown Nairobi was not ideal for the life I craved. Sharon was just comfortable in the gutter, but I wanted more. When I suggested we try clubs in Westlands, she did not approve or disapprove. Club Galileo’s was the perfect place for the middle class, but I still wanted more. You know the saying, ‘You date whom you interact with?’ I wanted the crème de la crème.
That’s how I found my way to the international franchise Billion Club (B-Club), where the media said champagne washed hands and Lamborghinis dropped guests home. Once, social media was awash with receipt photos of bills of five million Kenya shillings spent on drinks only by the president’s son.
“Sorry, Madam, you can not enter dressed like that,” said a muscular, friendly bouncer. No, scratch that. In these places, they are not bouncers. They are security.
Against Sharon’s advice, whom I had thought had the grit to do what it takes to live this life, I raided my meagre savings and upgraded our wardrobes. Investments are about taking risks. Next time, we were granted entry without a fuss.
When you enter the compound, you would be forgiven for thinking aliens live amongst humans, what with machines and gizmos brimming with futuristic allure you only see in sci-fi movies—a stretch Lincoln limousine, a Tron bike rumoured to cost over 50 million Kenya shillings, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Rolls Royce Phantom. A long stretching red carpet, which gives a sense of importance to everyone visiting the club, welcomes you.
I, we, felt out of place, like a nun who has stumbled into a brothel. A smartly dressed server spotted us and saved us the embarrassment. She showed us around, asking us whether we had booked in advance.
“That’s the VVIP section,” she said with syllables falling in place like magnets. “Victor Wanyama, and his brother Mc Donald Mariga, had booked it for a party with family and friends.” The Kenyan international professional football stars were in Kenya to celebrate their signing with Tottenham Hotspurs.
“And that’s the VIP section,” she pointed. “The Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs has booked it for the evening. He will be coming in any time.”
In the regular area, men looked sharp in their designer suits, their women Barbie dolls. I spotted the youths who had made it to the new government, keen on pushing the youth agenda. The just-appointed Youth Fund chairman was at the VIP upper area. Four of the 10 nominated youthful members of parliament were in the regular area. Gawd? The regular section is the VVIP of most clubs in Nairobi. And the buggers were all about representing the youth? Wajinga sisi!
From where we sat, we had an unobstructed view of the guests entering and leaving. Cashless, I, the brains behind this endeavour, was still figuring out how to proceed when the CS for Foreign Affairs entered, accompanied by the grossest man I had only seen on TV. His vast belly swung into the room, draped in a smock-like garment that only extraordinarily talented tailors could make and fail at. Folds swagged over his neck, and his feet seemed forced into his shoes. He scanned the room, and the mottled curtains of his cheeks swished back as he nodded and smiled at us. No, me.
I knew what that meant; he had chosen me. But no, thanks. He was a well-known serial polygamist. Do I look like I could be a seventh wife? I did not move.
“He wants you,” Sharon nudged.
“If he wants me,” I retorted, “he should come for me.” I know beggars are not choosers, but I did not want to appear desperate.
He seemed to read the mood and crossed over to where we were. He thumped down on the banquette opposite us, removed his handkerchief, and mopped his face.
“I suppose you would love someone to buy you a drink,” he said when he had settled.
“Thank you, that would be lovely.” I still had manners.
“What’s the most expensive champagne?” he asked the waiter.
“It’s—” she began to say.
“Just get it,” he said. “For the ladies, and Macallan No.6 for me.”
I avoided his eyes just in case he saw the hunger in my eyes and changed his mind. The Macallan was an obscene six hundred thousand shillings. When our champagne was brought, it was Armand De Brignac Ace of Spades Brut Gold Champagne, a staggering Ksh.70,000. Okay, Uncle Awiti. Wanna spend that National Social Security Fund (NSSF) money, I will help you. I don’t think there is a woman who isn’t prepared to hawk it when she spots a certified billionaire. I wasn’t about to let the womenfolk down.
“Take it to the VIP,” he told the waiter. “Let’s go,” he said, heaved himself up, and waddled ahead.
He was physically repellent, yes, but there was something about his confidence that got to me. He believed in himself, or rather, in what the NSSF squandered money could get him.
When wealth courses through your bloodstream, it becomes poison. It changes you, your posture, your walking style, and the way you talk. From the moment we stepped into the VIP section, there were handsome uniformed men and porcelain-skin beautiful women to do everything for me, even holding a napkin to sneeze in.
All the men, no matter how ugly, fat, foul-smelling, or unsightly, had a beautiful girl by their side, the girls draping their arms around the men’s shoulders or pregnant bellies. It seemed B-Club wasn’t the place men took their wives.
A fast learner, I read the ambience. The girls laughed coquettishly at the men’s humourless jokes, and touched them inappropriately on occasion, but the men didn’t mind the fake public displays of affection, creating a force field around their man so no other girl would penetrate.
I forgot about Sharon. Our moments of complicity belonged to another world, to populous, sweat-drenched, squalid downtown Nairobi nightclubs. At B-Club, we had climbed to the next tier, which meant strategising how to remain in the grace, never to fall to the grass, an intelligent girl’s smart career move—don’t let the accoutrements distract you. I’ll either get a ring on it, I decided, and be the seventh wife to this corrupt yet generous chairman of the NSSF, or I will become his exclusively. After all, business is business, and men are creatures of comfort, so they cherish exclusivity.
That night, when Awiti called it a night, he left me with a wad of cash. ‘You never count your money, when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done’, Kenny Rodgers sang. Back at our filthy hostels, I found out he had left me with Ksh.100,000. So did he the subsequent nights, without ever asking for the value of his money.
The saying goes, ‘There is nothing like free lunch, especially from men’. I wondered what this old sod wanted with me. He never indicated he wanted to pop my cherry, or perhaps he just wanted someone to talk to, which I was good at as I created my force field around him, so no other girl dared think of attempting to penetrate. The more I received his money, which I used to upgrade my life and save the rest for the inevitable rainy day, the more anxious I became. Why was he not hitting it? Sexual satisfaction was not my concern, but the concern of what he would ask me to do when he came collecting his debts. So, I decided to be upfront with him one day.
I let the alcohol sink in and gave me the guts I needed, then asked, “Awiti, how much would you pay me before you fuck me?”
He was astounded and glimmered with disgust like I was his daughter suggesting incest.
“Stella, I don’t pay for sex.” He said and looked at me.
Instead of asking why he was giving all that money, I apologised. “Sorry for thinking ….”
“It’s okay. I get that a lot,” he said and continued drinking his favourite Macallan, laughing boisterously with his friends, spittle flying all over the place. Before leaving, he asked me how I felt about shopping in Dubai and left a bundle of Ksh.300,000. I will take Sharon with me.
With his signature slob look, he was waiting for us at Dubai International Airport. We went to the upscale DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Dubai on Jumeirah Beach.
“This is lovely,” I said.
He had booked two separate rooms, with doors opening to balconies overlooking the grand private beach. Whatever he had in mind, I hoped he knew I had no intention of sharing a bed with him.
“Do you like it, my dear?” he said, reaching for my hand.
My dear? Here we go now.
“It’s beautiful,” I said, avoiding being touchy-touchy.
“I bought you this.” He produced a package, which, when I opened, was a sheer negligee. “For later,” he added.
Gawd! No matter.
When I exited the bathroom that night, he was spread out on the bed, looking like an inflated toddler, his weight a challenge for the mattress and bed. For the first time, I had used mchele on him. Sharon had ground eight tablets of Midazolam, just in case his big body did not feel the effect immediately, and I had poured the powder into his drink during dinner when he took a bathroom break. The drugs were taking long to take effect.
I looked at his streaked hairy belly. I’ll have to lift a skirt of flesh to get to his dick. Does he even have it?
“Come to daddy, darlin’,” he said. I forced myself not to chuck.
I removed the negligee and played with the nipples of my tits for him, climbed on the bed, and put my hands on the flaps of fat around his body. I had massaged my vagina with Fatush Miski oil. The perfume wafted like smoke all over the room. I tried to go 69, not for simultaneous cunnilingus and fellatio, but so he could see my pussy split into two by the G-string. His dick was a two-inch stub poking jauntily from a thatched cushion of flesh. Try as he may, there was no way it could get into me.
Hardly had I taken his dick in my mouth when I heard an unmistakable locomotive roar. Thank God. The drugs had taken effect. I dashed to the other bedroom, took a long shower to wash away the memories, and climbed into bed into the arms of Sharon. When she flipped her tongue on the inner lips of my pussy, I screamed.
When Awiti did not appear for breakfast, Sharon looked at me with a wink. “Last night must have been awesome,” she said.
I gave her a disgusted look, and she raised her hands in surrender.
I knew something was wrong when he had not woken up by noon. At 2:00 p.m., I started to worry. What if he was sick and couldn’t get up? I decided to go and check on him.
His body was immobile, with hollow features and no sign of vitality. Though he could have been in slow-wave-sleep (SWS), where you are almost as dead, he didn’t appear as though he was sleeping. He just looked dead. If there are any skills I ignored learning, it’s first aid. But I had watched enough movies to know how to check if someone was dead.
I shook him—nothing. “My love, wake up. Babe, wake up. You have not eaten—”
I placed two fingers, index and middle, on the side of his neck. Nothing.
“Fred,” I hissed, trying to control the thumping of my heart. “Fred!”
And I knew.
I went to the bedside table and picked up the telephone to call reception. Perhaps they have an in-house doctor or medic. No sooner had I thought of it than I stopped in my tracks. He had booked the two rooms in his name, using his passport. He had not mentioned us anywhere. No one knew about us.
I would have to be there, oversee his body shipped back to Kenya, and answer questions from the media and his family. The Kenya government pathologist will conduct a post-mortem and find the mchele we, I, had put in his drink. That’s manslaughter. I will go to prison for a long time. If I’m lucky, my sentence might be commuted; if not, I die in prison.
I froze and sat down at the foot of the bed beside his thick-nailed feet sticking out of the sheets. Think, Stella, think.
To be continued …