Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sabina's Joy: Experiencing a Hooker's mind...and Bed

In the marriage that wed me to my humanity, my brain usually accepts the typical Kenyan stay at home single mum type of role. Broke, bitter, easy to agitate and open to anything my humanity has to offer. I have to say it's a role it has learned to play with such natural ease, so as you might imagine, impulsiveness comes very naturally to me. I don't think about it. In the words of Prince Nike II, son of His Majesty King Adidas the first, I 'just do it'.

However, as I walk behind Mystique, watching her sultry curves wave to her every step, I suddenly can't help that deer-in-the-headlights gut reaction you get the second before a mugging; when you realize that someone's walking right behind you (an analogy I draw from bitter experience). I muse at the complex simplicity of emotions the past 15 minutes had taken me through. Fear of mistaken identity (and the mob justice that would follow in the way of taunts from my pals on my SJ going ways); relief once I was in; anticipation of what lay ahead; repulsion for the girl who lay legs parted ahead; bemusement at the price of beer; lust, surprisingly, for Mystique...well actually now that I consider it, it shouldn't have been that surprising to discover a well-marketed sales pitch in a brothel. Fast forward through the thrill of actually paying for a room with a  --whore, poko, langa, harlot, kuro, malaya, streetwalker - check whichever name tickles your arrogance-- and we get to the door.

Truth be told, before I got to Sabina Joy, my mind had edited an entire script on Kenyan brothels, set in a dingy neighbourhood with crammy little rooms. I saw layers of used CDs piled  at one corner, strongly pervaded with the kinda putrefaction it takes a compost heap to order Kenyan highlands into fertile submission. I saw women trampse around dressed in next to nothing, cornering every potential client like street hawkers; "Bei ni saw moja customer..."

Nothing had, or perhaps ever could have, prepared me for the impact of the next one hour of experience on a bed with a prostitute. It was a bit like stepping off a state-of-the-art spaceship, and onto the blackened piece of pandora swimming dead in the middle of her eyes.

I have agonized on a way to describe what happened next that would depict the very essence of what it felt like, yet it still feels like I am somehow trapped by that look. The look she gave me as she stood in the middle of the room the very moment I walked in and spoke to her. It was really out of surprise that I uttered those words. Surprise at how quickly she had stripped down to her underfashions, styled in the frugal ways of our very own Ngara's Secrets.

As I studied her solitary figure, crouched in the middle of the room taking her shoes off while her jeans sat on the bed neglected, it occurred to me that I had not even paid her, yet here she was already kicking into gear, her servant body and nonchalant appearance set to their workplace default. What would stop me from paying her once I'd had the conventional shot? That was the precise question I asked. Ok. Maybe not in that wording.

It seemed, for a moment, like the lights went off in her eyes, short-circuited - as she would later reveal - by memories of deals gone sour. She reached for her trousers, and only then did I realize what that thoughtless statement might have sounded like to her. I quickly pulled out a two hundred shillings note and watched the sun come out from behind the clouds that had momentarily clouded her eyes, a curious sparkle replacing the glaze in their brown.

She was now seated on the bed, unwrapping the condom in what I can only imagine was her norm, waiting for me to relieve myself of the abundance of my clothes. So I seat right next to her and ask, "Na hiyo saw mbili ni ya nini?" Mystique explains the rules of the shot to me. It's plain and very simple. Two hundred shillings buys you one position - missionary, I gather - and should you choose any more extravagant positions (say doggy, for instance) you pay an extra two hundred bob. Think of it as a car hire service...the 200 bob would be to rent the car, the extra 200 bob would be kinda like fueling the car. The farther you wanna go, the more rwabays you'd have to spend.

Yet that was not the whole story. If you chose to drive the rental, there was a time limit to it, kinda like a charge per day. Ideally, that two sock buys you around ten minutes, or whatever time it would take you to...well...you get the point.

By this time I had pulled out a cigarette, a bit taken aback at how clean the room actually was. Save for a few daddy long legs and roaches popping in and out of the darker crevices in the room's floor, it was actually rather decent, and far from anything I had pictured on my way in. Pulling a hefty draught from the stick, I mused at the irony of it all, triggered by a conversation I'd recently had with a friend who refers to the brand of cigarettes I smoke as Sigara ya Malaya (SM). 

Having agreed that I would pay her the equivalent of two shots for a drive through her mind, she sits back, still in her drawers, and tells me how she often gets in to trouble with drunks who take their sweet time with the shot, then an hour later decide not to foot the bill. Guys who complain that they came too quickly, so they should be allowed a free encore. Funny thing that. Guys have a thing with directions. We take great care not to ask for them, and Mystique claims that if any of her clients actually did, she could easily guide them through the ten minutes to their fruition.

Campus guys, apparently, had given her a fair deal of trouble. This one time she was desperate to make some cash. It was kinda like a 'last call', the hour when many Kenyan hookers will sleep with any man anywhere and cut their losses after a bad run of business. She'd been drinking with a couple of UoN guys at the SJ pub, and they wanted to leave without taking the shot. So she asks where they're staying, having figured out that they did not want to pay for a room there, and offers to go with them if they pay her 500 bob each.

When they get to Hall 6 (fiction alert), however, and the services are rendered as promised, the guys - now playing on Home ground - decide not to pay her. Cue the conversion of the guy's room into a minibrothel, with Mystique having come up with a plan to make up for lost cash. It was just before Campus exams at UoN began, and it would seem that many of the guys there were on some sort of msusio wa ngono, for as soon as they heard that there was a gal in Hall 6 offering free shots at a hundred bob each, the entire queue for lunch shifted to Kenny's room.

Curious as I was to hear more, however, I tried to remain on course and asked her about @Suenairobi. As I'd pretty much expected, she knew nothing about Nairobi Nights, save for her very own rather interesting version of it. She did however open up about her friends who stole from clients, justifying the fact that they drug customers and rob them clean to make up for days when they themselves got the wrong end of the stick, costing them the serious side of  a thousand bob or two for services rendered. It's all simple logic, really; kinda like Kobil hiking petrol prices when the government raises the fuel levy, and holding them when the levy goes down. Or matatu drivers charging 500% the usual fare when it rains...

As we walked out of the room an hour later, I caught a few glimpses from some of her workmates; they had this "he's a 60-minute man" thing going on in their eyes. I smiled, beat a hasty exit and disappeared into the Nairobi crowds. And loath as I am to admit it lest you think this mug smug, I had chosen to go out of my way to make a prostitute's day. I did. And I will do it again soon...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are highly appreciated.