‘Smokie Choma’ Chic… My Love

We, men, are untidy folk. Straight up. We don’t know the first thing about cleanliness. Our nails look like witches’ knives. We keep our hair tall and shabby and so ugly they could scare a stray cat out of its skin. We go through the week with two trousers and three t-shirts. We visit the loos at hotels and clubs and do our business then walk away without even washing our hands, and we leave the bloody toilet seat up. We don’t even know how to properly arrange our socks at the digs [some of us don’t even wash our socks, I have a friend who has this one pair of socks that looks and smells like it served during the cold war].

Some men will scratch their balls and still shake your hands immediately afterwards, with no inch of shame whatsoever. Some will even dig into their asses and then use those very hands to split a piece of Hotdog with you. Devious bastards. I used to have this Nyama Choma guy at one of these joints in Juja. Nice chap; short, stout, dark as night [he was Luhya, I’m telling you this for no reason at all. Hehe] We got along well, until I went to place my order one fine Saturday evening. I found him working on someone else’s order and – get this – he dipped his fingers into his nose, dug out some disgusting things that still keep me awake at night to date and then he…wait for it…used those very fingers to take out the meat from the fire and into a plate for a customer. And then he licked those bloody fingers. Without as much as a dip in water. He didn’t even wipe them on his coat like normal people. And I stood there – while he asked “Nikuwekee ya ngapi?” – the whole time just thinking about all the pieces I would chop his body into if I had a machete with me. I mean, how who in his right senses does that kind of shit? I’ll tell you who; A Man; A Disgusting Devious Man.
To this day, I don’t buy food substances – especially Smokies and Nyama Choma – served by men. Okay, save for Moha; this warm fellow who sells Smokies in Juja. But, in my defense, I make an exception for Moha because – and believe this – nobody in Juja makes better Smokies than his. I repeat, nobody in Juja makes Smokies better than Moha does. You ever get that feeling like somebody was born to do just one thing and do it perfectly? And I don’t mean this in any offensive way, but Moha was born to make Smokies. Also, I only buy his Smokies whenever Habiba is not around. And this piece is about Habiba; my official on-the-books Smokie lady.

Habiba is a nice, beautiful, yellow yellow lass with lips as soft as those of a baby cat and the eyes of a Greek goddess. I like her, always have. She serves Smokies and Viazi at the entrance to the den where my boys and I drink. She has a welcoming voice and, most often than not, you will find her in a hoodie. She speaks softly and laughs cordially. Even her name alone gives me butterflies; I mean, Habiba, sounds like some Indian belly-dancer, right? Or, probably, some edgy Zilizopendwa singer from the Coast, aye? If you say it right, ‘Habiba’ even sounds like the name of one of those cuisines whose recipes they give on T.V. alongside Royco ads.

Given that she works at the entrance of a liquor den, Habiba gets hit on by drunkards a lot; some genuine, some just shit-faced drunk out of their wits. And she knows how to handle all of them, she understands that it’s nothing personal, it’s just booze. Some guys even walk up to her and tell her they would buy every single smokie remaining so she can close early and escort them home. And you know how drunkards have loud mouths. “Habiba come with me today and you will be driving a Range Rover come morning,” they say. “Habiba I will open for you a boutique, wachana na maneno ya smokies, kwani what is money? Pesa otas,” others add. Sometimes she chuckles, other times she just smiles, looking down. She knows that these are just empty promises of drunk horny campus final years. She knows that these guys offering to buy her expensive jewellery and take her on road trips to Naivasha are – in reality – just broke chaps who, probably, their parents still pay their rent. Or buy their undies.

Habiba and I never talk much. I normally just stroll up to her, say, “Hey, Sasa. Niwekee Smokie moja” and while she’s working on it, I’m scrolling through my Twitter Feed or double tapping on all of Sarah Hassan’s Instagram updates. [By the way, Dear Sarah Hassan, Follow a brother back yo’. Damn!] Then when she’s done, she hands it over to me, I hand her the cash and walk away, nibbling like a three-year old with a candy addiction. That’s it. But last night, ladies and gentlemen, something happened. Something happened that just swept me off my feet and left me with a smile I can’t seem to shake off.

I wasn’t even planning on buying anything. I had only Ksh. 100 in my pockets and was just on my way to pick up some movies for passing time from this blonde chic’s place. I was passing by Habiba’s place when I heard a voice I know only too well shout, “Ian, Sasaa…” But because there are tons of chaps in Juja named Ian [some who even rock Mohawks and listen to The Weekend, shame] I ignored and just kept on walking, posting some stupid meme on Twitter. Then the voice insisted, “Iaaannn.” “Iannnn. Mambo.” So I glanced and I saw Habiba waving towards my direction. I had to look behind me to confirm if there was anyone there or it was me she was referring to. There was no one. “Ni wewe nasalimia Ian.” I was taken aback [Damn, I haven’t used this expression since my High School days] So I calmly walked to where she was and said, “Poa sana Habiba, Mambo?” We engaged in some small talk for a while and then, out of friggin’ nowhere, I just found myself whipping out that Ksh. 100 I had in my pockets and saying, “Niwekee Viazi tano.” True story. I used the last amount of money I had to buy shit I didn’t even need. How do you explain that? Anyone?

Also, for the first time in a very long time, I slept soundly and had a nice dream. I’m not going to tell you what the dream was about; just that it was Habiba and I in it and – for some reason – none of us had our clothes on and there may or may not have been some moans too. Hehe.

Mimi I think I like this girl; I think I want to marry her. Si she’s independent? And she’s beautiful? And she knows how to cook [going by those unnecessary Viazi I bought, ate them this morning]? And she knows my name yet I didn’t tell her? Which means she took it upon herself to find out, donge? Baas. Case closed.

Let no one spoil this for me. My mum specifically said not to bring a non-Luo to her doorstep but this one…hehehe…this one she will have to kill me first and dip my body in acid if she refuses to give us her blessings owada. Mapenzi kizunguzungu!



  1. Baba Kabura 14 March, 2016 at 17:38 Reply

    Haha. Nice one Ian. BTW I know Moha. He was my high skool buddy n true his smokies are mad nice. I will look for Habiba ..

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