The Black Wine of Mama Pima

The Black Wine of Mama Pima

By Cecy Gaitho

“Pewa kama mlivyo!” A clearly drunken voice shouted from the back of Mama Pima’s den. He spoke in a slurred manner, having spent the whole morning in here. He was a regular and his name was well known among the patrons. His name was Gichohi but they all called him Cash Cow. He was loved by all and sundry for his generous manner. Whenever he had some little cash, he would spoil everyone at Mama Pima’s. Except that he couldn’t spoil his malnourished children with some little food.

The day had been good to the regulars of Mama Pima. Coffee bonus was out and Gichohi was here to show his generosity. He likened himself to Jesus, the man who could feed 5,000 and still have some left. Tonight, he was going to prove that he indeed was the master. Gacheri, his mistress sat beside him. Occasionally, he would sneak his dirtied fingers beneath her short skirt, maybe to mark his territory. Not that anybody cared about Gacheri and her unproportioned body. Her shaggy weave had not come into contact with a comb for several months and the smell emanating from her was suffocating. Yet, Gichohi found pleasure in her. Rumors were rife that she had the ability to make a president beg for her cookie. Her bedroom prowess was said to be on a higher level, which is why Gichohi had stuck to her like a tick. Whenever he went broke, Gacheri would leave him for other better men, until he recovered from the financial setback and he would come crawling to her. Initially, their affair was the talk of the village, but not anymore.

Young men who had decided to waste their youthful years flocked at Mama Pima’s to while the evenings away. Here, they would discuss women, football and a little bit of politics. A drunken brawl would ensue when two young men clashed over a girl they both wanted to take home. It was a normal happening at Mama P’s, as the den was commonly referred to. Free drinks were also always welcome, and were looked upon as gifts from the gods. The “gifter” would be praised for days on end, until someone else rose up to the challenge. So was life at Mama P’s.

Mama Pima was a big woman in her late forties. She had come to the village ten years earlier and her business had thrived from the first day. Nobody knew of her background and she never bothered to talk about herself. Her deep dimples and a lovely gap between her teeth had men reeling with lust but she wasn’t one to be lured easily. In fact, no man in Majuto village had managed to bed her. She hardly entertained men who could not pay their bills. “Utamu wa pombe ni kulipa. Madeni huumiza” (Beer is sweet if you pay and debts hurts) were her famous words to her customers. Those who did not have money therefore would hang around waiting for a “gifter” or go home early. She was in the good books of the policemen, who occasionally would sneak in the den for a “quickie” glass, during the day. Probably, refusing to sell beer on credit was the reason Mama Pima had managed to stay afloat for those ten years. Tonight, she was going to do things differently.

“Round two is on me. Cheers!” Shouted Mama Pima from her “sina taabu” stool where she sat daily observing her customers. Gichohi had bought a first round and a second one was here. It indeed was going to be a merry making night. Hangers around had already flocked the club and were cheering amid the noise. It was going to be the first time for Mama P to offer free drinks and they were going to enjoy the offer to the brim. Her three workers were going to have a busy night, satisfying the big number of customers.

Jicho 2 smiled at Gacheri as he handed her a drink. He hated her with vehemence since the day he took her home, only to wake up to an empty house. His phone, cooking stove and some two thousand shillings that had been in his pockets the previous night were missing. When she resurfaced two weeks, she denied all allegations.

“Tonight, she is going to meet her Karma!” Jicho 2 thought happily.

Superman was known for his unmatched strength. Besides being an attendant at Mama P’s, he also doubled as a bouncer when things became so intense. He had protruding forearms and his coal black complexion added terror to his looks. He spoke less and little was known about him.

“Foolish drinkers! They all must pay the price. Ten years is such a long time to be here.” He thought as he poured Mizengwe his third drink.

“Cheers to 10 years of business!” Mama P urged the patrons.

“Cheers!” Rowdy voices answered in unison.

Mama P was overly jovial tonight. Her mission in this village was coming to the climax. She had been working for a resistant Killas group, whose mission was to destroy. The government had given up the chase to arrest its leaders as their tracks were well covered. Tonight, she was going to poison her drinkers and then leave the village as soon as she could. “Tomorrow, I will be crowned the Ultimate Killer!” She smiled deviously.

Kidomo was the first one to cry foul. “Wacheni za ovyo. We will drink till the end of the world!” He was known for his love for free alcohol while he was the meanest patron at Mama P’s. Whenever there was a free round, he would drink himself silly, sleep on the roadside, until his wife carried him home in a wheelbarrow. Children would make fun of him but he was always too drunk to give a care about anything. Little did he know that his vision was gone for good.

“Put on the lights, man!” Man Swagger shouted. He was known for his “swaggerific” tendencies. Despite his fifty-four years, he claimed to be the only real “dot.com”. He preferred dressing in torn trousers, which he called “rugged” and oversize T-shirts with profane writings. He had a tendency of hanging out with young men, the reason why his wife had left him seven years earlier. Man Swagger was also going to be among the statistics of people gone blind from consumption of poisoned beer.

One by one, the drinkers of Mama P’s black wine lost their eye sight. Gichohi blamed Jicho 2 of putting off the lights so that he can steal his muhiki. Everyone fell into a mocking laughter as they made fun of the shapeless woman, who was rumored to have bewitched Gichohi. Gacheri lay on the floor frothing on the mouth, from too much a drink. As quickly as they could, Mama P, Jicho 2 and Superman made their way out of the village they had called home for 10-damned years. Together with their comrades from Killas group, they were going to celebrate, another mission having been completed while another mystery for the government of Mizeituni had just been unraveled.

“At least two people have died and a 100 others gone blind in Majuto village, after consumption of beer allegedly containing harmful substances…” Reverend Lucia Gathukia of Worshippers and Believers church smiled, as the news presenter continued to give details of the ordeal and describing the perpetrators of the heinous crime, who were still at large.

“I am Lucia Gathukia, The Destroyer! The black wine of Mama Pima has done it again! Let them continue searching for Mama Pima…” She let out a devilish laughter that shook the whole of her enormous sitting room. Tonight, she was going to be crowned the Ultimate Queen!

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