I have thought long and hard about this and I am compelled by your insistence to write about my meeting with Nicholas . Unlike his meeting Guess he did not offer me cubed sugar cane in fact he offered me nothing at all!
Most of you have read what Guess had to say about Nick. I know you are all wondering whether her portrayal of Nick was truthful or just plain flattery. Read on.
Nick agreed to meet me not on neutral territory but in his home area. He must have been scared of meeting far from home and hence chose Wab Hotel in Buru-Buru as the place. This is a quiet estate hotel frequented by gentlemen my age and a little older. In fact at 26 Nick would probably be the youngest male here. He asked me to be there promptly at 7 PM.
I was there at 1800 hrs and I scouted the area for snipers, booby traps and anything that looked remotely out of place. I parked my car in the parking lot of another building and identified a suitable vantage point at the gas station across the street from the Wab Hotel.
At the gas stationed I questioned the attendants and showed them a picture of Nick in his spider mask and Milo in his kid- Ninja- Shaolin- Sumo wrestlers outfit. I felt relieved, as none of the pictures were familiar to them.
I then made my way to the Matatu stop on the main road and engaged a couple of Matatu touts in small talk- keeping my eyes peeled and my back against the wall. I watched the vendors selling fruit and other wares. They were all busy selling their bananas, oranges, mangoes, shelled peas, cut up sukuma wiki, pineapples etc. My heart skipped a beat when I noticed a 20 something year old kijana selling cubed sugar cane. This brought to mind Nicks date with Guess. The young man was dressed in faded blue jeans, a well-worn Michael Jackson T-shirt. His hair was surprisingly neat in dreads. An oversized rock seemed to weigh down his left earlobe. I heard him ask a young lady in sheng- ‘sasa kasupu? niku-undie ya mbao leo?’ He flashed her a smile and I could see his fluoride stained brown teeth. This teeth colouration is common amongst the Kikuyus from Murang’a but I remember reading somewhere, that in some parts of Kieni the fluoride levels are equally high. Was it possible that I had found Nick in his undercover disguise? (I had heard somewhere that young Nick was studying to be dentist- could his earth coloured teeth be his motivation?) I slowly moved away from the toothy sugar cane vendor, keeping him in sight at the same time scanning the numerous faces for Milo or any other assistant/assailant. A Matatu sprayed with all imaginable colours pulled up to the bust stop and a tout yelled out “wewe Kamash, leta ya kumi!!” The wanna-be Rastafarian rushed a plastic bag to the vehicle and I knew he wasn’t Nick.
Having certified the area clear and since I had about 20 minutes before my enemy number one was due, I decide to walk into the hotel and screen the patrons just in case Nick was one step ahead of me and had planted a mole in the bar. This was my first time in the hotel and I was cautious as I entered the main bar. There were groups of elderly men and women engaged in drinking their favourite Kenya Breweries drinks- loudly in a manner that only Kenyans know how to. From the melodious din of the drunkards there was little doubt as to their origin. There was no one under 30 in the bar full of Ndukos and Mutisos. On any other day I could have been at home here. The two television sets were blaring out Mexican soaps- “cuenda ses mia” on KTN and on NTV “secreto di amore.” A number of patrons were eagerly engrossed in the simplistic story lines. I was at loss as to how they could follow both shows at the same time. The bar was filling up with people coming in to wait for the 7 ocklock news- it has never ceases to amaze me how Kenyans will religiously drop everything they are doing to watch the news.
There were a number of unoccupied tables and I mentally selected two that I would lead Nick to. The tables were positioned at the rear in a covered verandah where I could see who was coming into the bar. Satisfied that my mission was successful and that Nick hadn’t pulled any surprises, I exited Wab Hotel. I found a truck parked by the entrance and used for cover as I watched the driveway.
After full 10 minutes beige Toyota Corolla pulls up and parks in a vacant slot opposite the truck I am using for cover. I watch it as the driver turns on the interior light and pulls out what at first looks like a weapon. I realize quickly that’s it one of those Afro combs. He combs up his fro and pats it into place and places a call on his cell phone. A second later my phone vibrates in my coat pocket and I look at the screen. Caller ID indicates SPIDEY. I say hello and he says: “sasa! Uko wapi!” I tell him I am at the entrance of the hotel as I cross the street. He says, “Sawas- I have just arrived give me a sec.”
Dark khakis and a round neck sweater covered the well-built 6ft frame of Nicholas . A light skinned attractive young man with an infectiously shy smile walked up to me. He reminded me of Todd Bridges of the ‘80s sitcom, Different Strokes. He had a firm handshake that was inconsistent with my first impression of a shy young man. As I sized him up I suspected that he must have been a fat little boy in his youth and this weight had now filled into his frame. I looked to see if he was squinting or maybe wearing contacts but found no evidence of that. I was pleasantly surprised.
In my normal manner, I took immediate charge of the meeting and invited him into the Hotel. He seemed to be okay with this and followed me through the maze of tables to the rear of the resident’s bar. I am sure that he felt slightly patronized by me at this point.
We took seats opposite each other at one of the pre-selected tables. I sat with my back against the wall watching the entrance. The last thing I wanted was to put myself in a position where my reaction time to the entry of Milo and Co. would be restricted. I could see Nick studying me with a bemused look on his face. I managed to get the attention of one of the establishment’s garcons and asked Nick what he would like to have. Nick ordered a FANTA- I kid not- a fanta orange! I ordered a cold Tusker Malt.
Our drinks were delivered without much delay and we got talking. I did most of the talking at first as Nick was restless and kept shifting in his seat. I told him of my experiences in the Kenya Army- which seemed to amaze him. He was in utter shock when I told him that I had retired 10 years ago. I studied his features as I told him I had a 21-year-old daughter. I could not find any obvious physical genetic flaws and I actually thought he would not make a half bad son in law. Nick told me about his family- he is a single child (I am sure spoilt rotten by his mother since the age of two to date.) I learnt that Spidey still lives at home and is actually a dentist. He adores his mother, his computer and his job.
After about half an hour Nick begins to feel more at ease and his sense of humour starts to show itself. He laughs a lot, critically analyses every word said and remembers every comment posted on his blog. I had three beers in the hour that we met and he declined another Fanta.
I am not trying to prop him up but this enemy of mine came across as a very nice and intelligent young man. Single ladies out there- I think you will find him good looking and quite a charmer.
If he is willing to learn from this old fart I will seriously consider handing my baton to him.
He is a truly worthy opponent.