Husband is away in Nairobi for a few days so instead of hanging out at home alone I thought I’d take some mates up on an offer to go out. We all meet at The Lively Lady. Its one of those places that is a bit of a diamond in the rough. In town, just off the main road up a rickety back road; dirt, potholed. Right next to Mitumba – a big open warehouse of second hand clothes and surrounded by other tin shack shops and bars. It’s a funky place, small, neat and kind of surprising really. You know the way finding a pretty pebble or a shiny trinket in the mud is. Something like that! When you drive up you think “okaaay, is my car going to be safe here?”, but there are guards and the place feels like a little oasis. Clean swept, lots of pot plants, mats, funky pictures on the walls. There is a little outside bit with varnished tables and we pull three up together and all sit there outside and have a merry evening.
One by one, two by two people start to leave until there are 7 of us left. Just as I get up to go too a gunshot goes off at the little makeshift bar fifty metres away. It’s a little tin shack bar lit by paraffin lamps so its hard to see what’s going on. A woman shouts and falls to the ground. Lizzie says, “I think that place has just been robbed we should get out of here.” Someone else says “Ah, maybe that’s not the best time to go. All of us out and exposed in our cars? People with guns?” Good point. A moment of limbo. More shots. Two, three. Then three in quick succession from two feet in font of us. Turns out that’s a customer (or owner? Owner’s friend?) who has let off three shots. As in “don’t even try to come here, we’re not to be messed with”. Everyone still standing up in limbo, wondering whether to be British about the whole thing* and not cause a fuss or to hide under the tables. A couple of people get behind a small counter and as more shots go off Kim says to me, “Miranda, get inside, you’re two for the price of one!” And suddenly everyone is around the pregnant lady pushing me to safety! Well, relative safety. What friends I have!!! While all this is going on there is a table of four big burly Sikh men who are watching us with great amusement and just stay put.
So anyway, we get inside and then think. Hmmm, now what? Another drink? So everyone has another drink coz really what else are we going to do? I’m thinking, okay if they do come in here next they’ll probably want our bags so I’ll move my car keys to my pocket so they don’t get those. The barman/owner is very nonchalant “Don’t worry, it’s a domestic,” he says. "I bet there's some woman in there with a man she's not supposed to be with". The waiter has been outside to investigate. Miracle of miracles the police/rapid response people are already there. He says that it was indeed a domestic and a lady has been shot. In the hand I believe. Lizzy wants to go and do First Aid but the owner stops her and says that there is someone there doing it, not to go out. The barman/owner says “ah, women are very bad here” I look at him then look at us. We are a party of 7 and 6 of us are women. “I think you’re outnumbered” I say. “Oh no no, I don’t mean women like you I mean the local women, I mean…..” That she deserved it? Is that what he is implying? I don’t want to go down that road, doesn’t seem anyone does either. So we neck our drinks and decide to call it a night.
*Did you hear that thing on the BBC today that said that more British people died on the Titanic than anyone else coz they all stood in line for the lifeboats and said “no, you first” “No really, I insist” !!!