Tuesday, October 14, 2014

B is for Bubbles Bouncers Bullies and Buggers...and breasts too.

Bubbles O'Leary's Kampala

My friend is a bit of a bully. Actually he's more of a bully than he realises. He's my friend though and to give the old adage about birds, feathers and flocking it's due, I must have a bit of bully in me too. My friend, who we shall nickname "Haggar the Horrible," can be a bit of a snobbish asshole too and as a result of these endearing qualities, he's wont to find himself embroiled in arguments with friends foes familiars and strangers alike every time he gets a bit inebriated. When he ventures further north of inebriation, the arguments elicit higher decibel levels and are more like than not to involve a more physical expression of the finer points.

A couple of weeks ago Haggar, myself and a few others of the tribe, were at Bubbles O'Leary's chilling as we do once in a few Fridays. For a long while now, it (Bubbles) has been a favourite haunt of mine; less so in the last couple than five years ago. I have fond memories of many a day and night there: dancing on tables and counters, the girl in red, kush and Corinthians, band nights, Colbie Caillat, last meals, tears and delirious laughter, oh the pleasures of youth. *Sigh*

There was a time I fell in love, or to be precise, when I discovered I was in love. I was sitting in a favorite corner, chatting up this cute, sexy girl when I saw her walk in and developed "tunnel vision." I made a beeline for her and several colourful drinks later we were locked in one of those PG rated embraces. There have been blue nights too. Dull listless hours spent staring at a dark starless sky, imbibing kush and ale looking for one meaningful conversation. There have been nights of confessions, of coming clean and letting go of the past. Of eating steak and washing it down with a good ale. (That was the night we christened 'The Beefeaters Club') Nights to the gods and goddesses, when we raised our voices in love and adulation, screaming ourselves hoarse praying to all the gods in the pantheon that that damn free kick enters.

So yes, we were at Bubbles having a good time. I had been to the dance floor, shaken my limbs every which way to odd stares from my fellow limb shakers (my sense of 'riddim' is on point despite what my friends may tell you) and had retreated to the more gab friendly environs of 'the balcony' for some ale and a 'Beefeaters' session with another of my tribesmen. Spirits were high. I was steadily moving past inebriation and was busy eyeing the hunk of 'steak' on my plate, listening to my tribesman entreat me to cut a piece and savour it, when a kerfuffle broke out inside the bar. I don't know how it started and to date, there are several conflicting theories and 'eye witness' accounts of what really happened but all of a sudden, Haggar and another tribesman emerged from inside the bar at the wrong end of an angry vociferous mob.

I hate violence. I hate violence in all its forms but most especially I hate the wilful use of disproportionate force against a clearly disadvantaged enemy. I hate more than that the gloating that comes afterwards, the gratuitous chest thumping and moral masturbation of the victorious bullies. I therefore find myself rooting for the underdog, and are more likely to find myself on the side of bullied. Don't get me wrong, I am no saint nor do I have a 'mother Teresa' syndrome like some of my friends think, it just rubs me the wrong way when someone uses their natural advantages to take advantage of those less endowed by nature. I fight it, wherever I can. I lose most of the time, but I fight. "Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength."

Bugger that!
Mob justice and bar fights have simple rules. One: Loyalty; no matter the cause, the offender and/or offence, stick with your niggas. Two: You're either with the mob or on the winning side or, gods forbid you're on the other side, you've got a few flashy moves, a fast mouth and faster feet. So with all this in mind (not that I thought about it at that precise moment), a roar and "nooooo", I jumped into the fray and separated the two parties, my friends and the mob. My thinking was simple. Distract the mob long enough for calmer heads to prevail, while a smarter and much calmer head sneaks the offending party away out of the conflict zone. Normally it works. Normally I find myself standing in front of a few angry wolves saying 'there there, it's not worth it, have a pint, you'll feel much better,' and the wolves sensing their prey has slipped off, begrudgingly saunter off to find new amusements.  This time however there were many wolves and not nearly as many calmer and smarter heads behind me, and I perceived too an unusual cruelty in the eyes and snarls of the wolves before me. They wanted blood and nothing was going to put them off. Amidst all the shouting screaming pinching and shoving, I spied the current 'manager' of the establishment with whom I imagined I had a passing acquaintance. I attempted to appeal to his sense of casual camaraderie. I failed. Apparently I have a forgettable face, something I normally revel in, but not this time. I tried a couple more times to appeal to the more pacific of the mobsters. Once, twice, thrice, I thought I had it; then I heard some bugger say something that ticked me off and I lost it. I launched into a tirade against the manager and the mob that was hanging onto his every word. I brought my fast mouth to the fore and gave it full reign. I was captain Haddock and these goddamn bashi bazouks were going to get a piece of my mind. I railed against every injustice I have ever perceived; slavery, sloth, rape, murder, torture, war, the iniquity of men, the making of other seasons of Heroes, reality television, the Kardashians (because they deserve a special place),climate change, FGM...okay, I might not stop and you'll have no choice but to be on the other side. Oh, and racism, too. I threw that one in.

At some point I found myself surrounded by four bouncers. Okay, I don't like violence and I think that most of mankind's challenges can be solved by a good "Beefeaters" session, but at this point I wanted to fight. I was channelling my ancestors, goddamn it!   However, there were four bouncers. So I let the mouth go again. I ranted about real niggas, loyalty to the race and flag and then I gave them the finger. Some of the bouncers were my friends, niggas I'd said hi to and smoked with, I gave them stick too.

Events from here onwards are a bit fuzzy, but I clearly recall being lifted by the four aforementioned bouncers, by my troggies, horizontally. It was a bit peaceful, the first few steps of it, until I spied Haggar by the outside bar as I glided by. He was sipping a pint. Damn bastard!

I assisted gravity to pull me down, struggling against my pallbearers and demanded to walk out of the fuckin bar. Naturally, I was dropped, landed awkwardly, heard my 'kabiriti' splinter on the ground and had someone kick me once or twice. The gods are kind to this man that I will never know him. Maybe they're kind to me too.

 I got up, sat by the stairs, put my phone together, got up, walked up two stairs, turned around and let fast mouth have a parting shot.