POSTED 12/29/2017 09:58:13
Those were the words that kept ringing in my head as I drove home that day. Not much of a story to tell, what does that even mean?
It was past 7 and for some reason I didn't feel like going home. I could go to mother's but I also didn't feel like going there either. Felix's doors were always open but he wouldn't be home at this 'unholy' hour; it was happy hour for him every day.
I could go to a bar but this particular option got me worried. Was I spiraling out of control? I mean, what would even make me think of going to a bar right after work?
I was still battling with those thoughts when I pulled into the parking lot of a moderate-looking establishment which had the sign BAR AND RESTAURANT lit up in some sort of string with tiny colored bulbs. It wasn't necessarily a parking lot as much as it was an open place where you could park your car while keeping a close eye on it.
The neighborhood seemed quiet, it was Monday so most of the traffic went home. The bar wasn't as crowded as the weekends and this suited me. I locked my car and paused in front of it, wondering if any burglar would be able to maneuver it quickly before I ran up to him. I concluded it was safe.
The establishment was a sort of make-shift rectangular building which I suspected served as something else in the day, probably a church (this was not uncommon). There were plastic chairs and tables arranged neatly outside, most of which were empty or occupied by someone sipping lazily at his drink.
This was perfect.
As I picked a table in a quiet corner, away from the speakers, those thoughts came back again. It sounded like a hundred versions of me were yelling at the same time, inside my head.
"Look at you."
"In a bar at 7p.m."
"You're losing it, getting out of control."
I ignored all of them, none of the voices told me why I was in this bar at the moment so I didn't listen to them. They're just my thoughts after all, I'm in control.
"Sir." Someone called out.
I looked up at the young boy in a red polo shirt tucked into a dark jean, he was looking at me weirdly. How long has he been there?
"Huh?" I shook my head indicating that I may have missed something.
"I said what will I bring?" The young boy said.
He looked bored with my act, he'd probably seen all the types, especially the young business types who consumed alcohol foolishly and ended up dead in a river someplace; there was nothing new here.
I thought of what to order. I sincerely had no idea why I was here but I still considered my options. If I was here to speculate then I would need a light alcoholic wine, but I didn't think so. Maybe I felt depressed or confused, both of which were easily remedied with whisky or Scotch. Again, I could end up at mother's place tonight and she would not be happy if she knew I'd been drinking; she was very sensitive to the smell of alcohol.
The young boy was getting impatient. I still hadn't decided so I thought of an idea.
"Bring me anything."
The young man rolled his eyes and left with a tray tucked under his arms. He'd probably really seen them all.
I became worried.
"What am I doing?" I said out loud.
I fingered my car keys and toyed with the idea of rushing to the car and getting out of here. I could still hear the faint sound of crappy music escaping from the speakers. The loop of the key chain was hooked into my finger and as I was about to stand to my feet, the waiter came.
He placed the wide tray on my table and didn't glance at me as he removed the things on it. He'd brought a bottle brown whisky, the type I hated, and a whisky glass. He'd also brought a bottle of ice water and a bottle of orange soda.
When the tray was empty, he chanced a glance at me as if to say 'there, it's all in your hands, kill yourself'.
"Thank you." I muttered and watched him walk away.
My gaze was now on the things on the table, whisky and orange soda, maybe I was depressed after all. Did the waiter notice it, was it that obvious?
I heard the voices again.
"It's here already, you might as well drink it."
A soft sigh escaped from my throat, I wish those voices were not so sarcastic and so–me. My watched said 7:37, I better get started. I wondered what the bottle of ice water was for. I poured myself a mix of the whisky and soda, and kept staring at the deep brown liquid.
"Do it already."
It was Monday evening and I was at a bar, I certainly didn't care anymore. I arched my head back and threw the liquid down my throat. Not bad, I thought, the orange certainly gave the unpleasant sourness of the alcohol a mild 'bearable' feel.
I poured another and downed it just as fast. After the third shot, I told myself to slow down. Once in a while I glanced over at my car, half expecting not to see it or to hear the engine start and watch it zoom off in haste. It was still there.
Alright, it was time to think. Why was I really in a bar at the moment? That seemed to be the big puzzle and I still couldn't get around it. Maybe a few more shots would help.
After some rapid-shots filled twenty minutes, I signaled the waiter.
"It's time to get going." The voices said.
"You're not the boss of me!" I said–or shouted, probably the latter because some guy smoking in a corner actually stopped and looked my way, I coughed and made it seem as if I was on the phone. That seemed to work.
"You're making a fool of yourself."
"Quiet," I said, "I'm the boss of me, not you."
The waiter was standing in front of me, I hadn't even known when he arrived, and he had this pitiful look on his face. He must think he'd seen yet another crack-up.
"My friend," I slurred, feeling everything around me shoot forward like in a telescope. The music playing somewhere around me was even more muffled now, I couldn't make out any words. The alcohol was hitting me now, I felt it, and it was great.
"More...of this," I stopped my speech, trying to force the words out of my mouth, "...please, more."
The waiter nodded and walked away. He never came back. That was certainly not businesslike, I'll have a few stern words with the manager and then with him. But first, I had to get up.
I pushed the chair backwards and gripped the arms. My knees felt weak and I felt a bit light headed, although I didn't feel drunk. I finally managed to get up from the chair, the problem now was keeping steady on my feet, and then actually walking.
The air felt unusually cold on my face and my throat felt itchy, and then bitter and then clogged. I shook my head in an attempt to clear things up, bad idea. My hands gripped the grass as I fell on my knees and threw up for a few seconds.
"I told you this was a bad idea."
"Shut up!" I said, between waves of vomit.
"You should drink the water?" I heard someone say.
"What?" I asked and slowly got up. My shirt was half tucked now and there were brown earth stains on the knees of my trousers.
"The cold water, drink it." It was the waiter and he had the bottle of ice water in his hands.
"Thank you." I said and opened the bottle. I rinsed my mouth twice, feel waves of nausea pass through me and another vomit threatening to come out. I drank the rest of the water. It was relieving.
"Thank you." I said again. The waiter just shrugged. He gave me the bill for my drinks and I paid him.
"Keep the change." I said gratefully to the waiter. The drinks cost 3000 naira and I'd given the waiter the exact amount (three 1000 naira notes), I wonder where the change would come from.
He thanked me though. I can't recall the rest of our conversation but I think he offered to park my car in a locked garage at the bar, which he did, he said something about me not being in the right state to drive.
"You can pick it up in the morning." He said and dropped the keys in my hand.
"Okay." I muttered, my head still a little bit cloudy.
I walked up to the road and waited for a taxi. The night was still alive, with people moving about and businesses showing slow signs of closing for the day. It was just 8:00.
A taxi stopped in front of me and I stepped in.
"Where?" The driver bellowed roughly.
I ignored the smell of stale vegetables and palm oil and tobacco and tried to think of where I was headed.
"46, Sams Avenue." I said and rested my back on the seat. The driver eyed me keenly, accessing my worth.
"That na 500 naira." He said.
I waved my hand and nodded. It was probably 200 to the place but I was in no mood for 'pricing'. The driver smiled and drove off, he'd probably recount his wonderful tale of how he caught a 'mugu'–which is a sort of slang for novice, or someone naive.
The taxi halted in front of a long well-lit street.
"There, we have reached." He said.
I shrugged and paid the man. I watched the car drive off and was amazed I'd gotten into such a beat up ancient-model taxi. The fumes from the car made it literally invisible.
I felt a lot better now, albeit shitty and stupid, but a lot better. I walked into the street, watching the numberings on the rows of bungalows arranged neatly on both sides.
Number 46, I found it. Now to ask myself the big question: what exactly was I doing in front of Cassidy's house?
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