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Whose Manifesto Will Increase My Chances of Getting Employed, and then Some?


I sit in the bar, allowing the music to wash over me. Gosh, this year has been crap so far. Thank heavens people have stopped with that happy new year nonsense coz I was just about ready to punch the next person that dared utter those words to my face in the nose. This is not the night for violent thoughts, though. I have been having plenty of those recently. Joblessness and an idle mind can do that to you.

3 years out of campus and I still have nothing to show for it. 3 freaking years. Does any of you know what that feels like? Your parents walking into the house every day and you can sense the frustration on their faces. They are pretty cool people, my zeyis. They’ve never made me feel like this unemployment is my fault. It’s the government and its policies, they keep on telling me. My dad has all these stories of how one was guaranteed a job as soon as they left university back in his day. I don’t know if he realises this make me feel worse. I don’t believe this government-blame talk though. Society is rotten. Nepotism, tribalism, friendlisim and all those other isms have ensured that I’ll stay jobless.

My zeyis, bless their souls, throw me the occasional lifeline when they can. It has become an unspoken rule at home that no one asks me for balance (you fancier people call it change) when they send me to buy household items. I think they must have discussed this at the beginning of 2014 because that was the time they started refusing the change when I offered it after a trip to the supermarket. I am also the go-to person when any relative needs an odd job done. Picking kids from school, supervising workers, running errands…that’s all me. This way, I have been able to save and buy myself a few things once in a while without totally being dependant on the zeyis. I mean, technically speaking, I’m still dependant on them seeing as the change and gigs come from them, but fuck you and your technically speaking.

This is how I am able to afford a beer for myself tonight. I have 20k which should give me 4 beers. 4 beers should be enough to get me buzzed enough to forget about my worries for a while. I have to ration this frothy stuff so I don’t end up turning into those chaps that drink their sorrows away, even when they can’t afford the pombe. I’ve witnessed several of my peers go down that road and it’s not pretty. I really don’t want to sink that low. It’d destroy me, and more importantly, destroy my parents. So 4 beers it is.

I chose to come out tonight because the presidential debate is happening and I’d rather not listen. I know how my parents are going to turn into expert pundits on all things Uganda, if the last debate is anything to go by, and I’d rather be in a loud bar. I need to take my mind off things. I take a swing from the beer and close my eyes as I feel the sweet sensation of the cold liquid make its way down my throat. Sigh, a true reward from the source of the Nile indeed. I tip the beer in a virtual toast to the brilliant chap that came up with that slogan for Nile Special.

I turn around to see the action in the bar only to find everyone’s eyes are now glued on the screens. Bloody bastards have changed the channel to the freaking debate. Looks like one can’t escape this one tonight. I sulkily head out to the gardens section of venue and sit on one of the plastic seats there. At least, the music is kinda loud here. Guess I’ll just have to enjoy my beers here till the debate is over and people get to dancing. The one night I escape home to have a good night and everyone chooses to focus on the thing I am trying to escape. Why didn’t they just stay home and watch it from there. What a wasted night! Wabula life has jokes.I take a few more swings from my Nile and begin to settle into my zone. The DJ knows what’s up and is mixing some old school reggae ragga jams. I wish I could buy him a beer.

A girl walks into the garden area, makes her way to where I am sitting and takes a seat a few meters from me. She pulls out her phone and starts fingering it aimlessly. I wait 10 minutes to see if anyone is joining her but no one comes. Hi, I say to her. She turns and says hi back. She isn’t what you’d call pretty. Sure, she has a bod to kill for, which I can clearly make out through her figure hugging dress, but her face is there there. I notice a certain resemblance to Jacky Chandiru and tell her as much. She smiles and says she has heard that before. Her smile reveals her teeth. She has awesome teeth. I want to kiss her. I tell her of my intentions and she smiles an odd smile. A, I’m-flattered-but-slow-down-dude kind of smile. As you may have noticed, my thirst is real and I seem to have run out of fucks to give regarding protocol for hitting on the ladies.

I ask her to come close which she does and we start chatting. I pour the last drops of my beer down my throat and signal a waiter for the next round. As I’m telling him to get me another cold Nile, I notice for the first time that my new lady companion doesn’t have a drink. I ask her if she wants one and she says she’ll take a Nile too. As the waiter heads of to get our beers, I teasingly tell her I’ve heard girls who take Nile are hardcore. Even more hardcore than the ones that take Guinness. She rewards me with a big smile and blinds me with her magnificent dentals. I tell her the effect her smile is having on my eyesight and add that I should have carried my stunners. My compliment is met with an even bigger smile that does further damage to my eyes.

Our beers arrive and I follow up on the hardcore line by asking the most hardcore stuff she has ever done. She tells me she has been in a foursome before. Woah! This I wasn’t expecting. I ask her for more details and she regales me with her bedroom adventures. I like her, for all the wrong reasons. I put her hand in mine, intertwine our fingers and give a small squeeze. She squeezes back and leaves her hand in mine. I’m in business. I lean in to whisper something naughty in her ear and notice for the first time how great she smells. Instead of whispering, I go further in and gently bite her neck. She starts breathing heavily and I erect. I hold her chin, place my lips on hers and we kiss. I let my tongue dart across her magnificent teeth and I’m pleased to hear a moan emanate from her throat. She pulls away and starts fanning herself while I lean back with my mostest resting-mischief face plastered across my face.

I never used to be this fast. Heck, I haven’t been intimate with a girl since Martha, my campus sweetheart and only girlfriend ever, dumped me after 2 years of being jobless. She had a job as a teller and I guess she got tired of financing the few outings we had. Turns out she was not meant for that ride-or-die lifestyle. I couldn’t blame her really. Several friends had told me how they’d spotted her around town hobnobbing with various gentlemen that had cash to splash, so when the breakup speech had come, I was expecting it and hadn’t bothered asking her to stick it out with me. The experience had screwed with my self-esteem though and I’d been afraid to holler at anyone since then to avoid an encore of the Martha experience.

My new lady friend finally manages to calm herself down and tells me to take it slow. I tell her it going to be hard for me to take it slow when her hand is on my erect junk. She looks down and quickly withdraws the straying hand as I guffaw at the guilty expression on her face. We drink our beers as we pretend to watch the debate. I don’t know what her mind is on but mine is in overdrive trying to work out logistics. With the way things are going, there is a high possibility this could end in humpty dumpty land. But with only 5k in my pocket, I don’t see how I am going to pull this off. It’s just 11 pm and I don’t see how I can convince her to leave now so I don’t have to spend any more on drinks.

I ask her where she stays. The tone of my voice is the same no-effs-to-give-are-we-doing-this-or-not one I’ve been using the entire night. She replies that she stay with two cousins, one of whom has a baby and I see that plan evaporate. There is obviously no way I can carry her back to the parents house. With the way they are glued to the debate, I could possibly manage to sneak her past them, desperate times and all that mode, but I can’t risk being caught. Not with the way they had been very accommodative of my circumstances. This is no way to pay them back. A lodg…that thought is aborted before it can fully develop. Sure there must be lodges for 5 k, but I’m not that desperate. FUUUCCKK!!

Her hand is back in mine now. Ha, she is the initiator this time round. The fact that she seems to want to as badly as I do makes the frustration even worse. I grab my bottle to take another swig and I’m sad to realise that it is empty now. I look over at hers and notice that there is very little left. I sigh, loudly. She asks me that the problem is. There is no point in telling tales so I continue with my absence-of-effs-to-give tone and tell her I have only 5 k on me so I can only buy one more beer. She looks sad. Genuinely sad. I like her some more. I suggest that we go to the bathrooms and mess around some more, or to one of the dark corners at the side of the bar. She gives me a smile. The smile has so many emotions mixed in it. Understanding, sadness, wistfulness… She looks towards the restrooms, like she is actually considering it, then looks back at me and tells me to get myself a beer. She will go to the bar and keep herself busy. She makes as if to rise and I tell her to stay. We’ll share the beer and go at once.

The waiter brings the beer and we chat about our ‘careers’ as we share the beer. I tell her my frustrations with being jobless and she tells me she is a marketer with some obscure furniture shop. They give her commission on every item sold and this is rarely enough to last her halfway through the month. I ask her why she comes to the bar yet she has no money and she tells me, while raising her beer glass and with this knowing smile on her face, that she doesn’t need money when she is at the bar. Touche, I say as I nod understandingly and raise my glass as well. I place my arm around her and we settle in an easy silence as we watch the presidential candidates debating their policy things. I ask her if she is going to vote and she say no. Me neither, I tell her. I add my overused argument that I believe none of the candidates will bring any actual change since society is too rotten. Do you think we are fools for not voting, she asks. I mean, look at us here whining about our crap job situations and yet we are proudly saying we won’t vote, she continues. I look into my glass and ponder on her words for a bit.

I finish the last of my beer and tell her I should get going. She finishes hers as well and rises. She begins adjusting her dress which had managed to ride up her hips while I stay seated and marvel at her curves. Pangs of regret at what could have been hit me hard so I pull her back down and sit her on my laps. I kiss her deeply and make sure I etch the memory of her teeth into my mind for later reminiscing sessions. I stand up with her and we walk back to the bar. She is ahead of me and my eyes are so focused on her ample backside that I almost trip. I notice several guys heads turning from the debate to appreciate her and I know she will probably have several people offering to buy her a drink once I have left. She turns, rummages through her bag, gives me her business card and tells me to call her, maybe.  Then she gives me a side hug of the zone variety and disappears into the crowd.

I look at her card and see the name Leah. I realise we hadn’t exchanged names since we met, and she has left without knowing mine. Leah, I like it. I really like her. I’ll call her, maybe. I doubt it will be hard for her to remember me even if she doesn’t know my name. I head towards the exit and I’m hit by a cold breeze once I’m outside the bar. I ignore the bodas asking to take me and start my slow walk home which is a few corners away.

Leah. I think about the things I could be doing with her right now. Maybe we’ll finally get to do it since she happens to stay nearby and I usually have the house to myself during the day. Hope springs eternal. I think about what she said regarding voting. Maybe I should vote. This vibing while broke business is not sexy at all. But who to vote. I have no idea what any of these guys are promising seeing as I’ve been ignoring all the election hullabaloo. I make a mental note to look at all their manifestos tomorrow and see who has the best ideas for getting me out of this unemployment rut. It’s not like I have anything better to do.

Civic duty inspiration sure does come from the strangest places, I muse as I enter our house and sit with my zeyis to watch what is left of the debate.


Written by Byagaba Roland (3)

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