It’s raining and I have to get inside some nook, anywhere. Industrial area does not offer many of those so I am drenched by the time I discover this tiny place. I enter and there’s no announcement of my arrival. Don’t care. All I want is a warm meal and a place to sit.
But the action is unfolding in a queer way. The chicks that are supposed to serve me are looking at me like I am the human equal of chicken pox. I feel like it would be better for me to go back into the rain; maybe I will feel even warmer.
This place must be a private thing; in-crowd and all these beefy guys strutting around in oily overalls. The place has fish smells mixed with car smells and that must be the reason the mechanics like it so much. Or it could be because it is right in their back yard.
The huge blue flies are part of the establishment (which establishment?) and they too seem to be regarding me with suspicion. Who is this new guy who thinks he can just walk into this place and take up space? The level of interaction must be higher than this, surely, on days when I am not here.
The waitress takes her sweet time. But that’s what waitresses do in Uganda. Must be one of the things they learn in Waitressing 101. She drags her feet and sets me thinking of bad things; where has she been just before she walked in? In fact, I saw her coming out of the dark place just over there. And just behind her, a huge guy came out looking sated.
Anyway, when she comes over, she raises her brow and tries to be Dwayne Johnson. Bad stunt. It instead comes off like she is in pain and the source of her ailment in right in the middle of her head. She cannot reach it to rub the pain away and the best she can do is grimace.
“What do you have, Madam waitress?” I ask.
“Emmere eweddewo,” she replies
“Okay what can I have as I wait for the heavens to give up this ridiculous game?”
“Tulina chips n’obunyama.” Now that is scary. Have I come to one of those whispered about places that slaughter all sorts of meat (probably even human) and sell it to their customers then they run and hide behind the blinds and giggle as the customers wolf down the food?
“Okay, since you don’t have proper food, give me that chips and obunyama”
Grate, grate, grate, her slippers go, as she moves back to wherever she came from. I wait and look all around me at the wooden thing under which I am sitting. The wind seems to be on the verge of crushing this thing any time now. Should I wait for the food, really?
Some guy comes in and he asks for food. Sorry mate, you are l.a.t.e. But what do you know? The guy gets a full plate of steaming stuff! Can u believe? I get the bunyama and this bloke gets royal treatment? I’m walking out. I’m protesting…but it’s raining and I stop at the door. Can’t move in this rain. As I turn back to my low bench, my gaze collides with the cruel stare of the waitress. There’s something in her eyes like “Sit your skinny behind down, you punk. You aint going nowhere.”