CHRISTMAS time is the time when Christians remember the birth of their savior Jesus Christ and for dedicated Christians it is a must that they go to church to listen to the Word of God.
On Christmas Eve, most Christians flock to their various churches to pray and listen to soul touching carols which start in the evening and end around midnight.
But while this day is supposed to be dedicated to prayers and to rejoice and celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is the time when many make merry and eat all types of food, and drink all sorts of alcoholic beverages.
To make Christmas memorable, some husbands take their wives and families to some resort places where they do not take them in normal circumstances to celebrate together. Others prefer to go to plush guest houses with some women other than their wives with whom they share extra-marital affairs.
On Saturday last week (Christmas Eve) I and some two other friends were invited by a friend at one of the plush guest houses in Ndola.
I don’t usually go to guest houses because of restrictive prices of not only food, but of other things like beer. Since I was just invited and it was not me who was to dip into my pockets, I found no reason to turn down the invitation.
It was around 21.00 hours when we got to the guest house and we found a number of guests most of them in pairs – perhaps some were husbands and wives and others boy friends and girl friends.
Once inside, we found the friend who had invited us with two other friends in the company of two women who did not look like their wives.
Opposite where we were seated, was another pair – a man probably in his 50s and a woman probably in her teens or early 20s. Five tables away from this table was seated a young man who also appeared to be in 20s and there was a bottle of wine and a glass on his table.
Although the young man was all alone, he looked quite happy and he appeared to be enjoying his evening in that state.
After some time, the man who was seated with the young woman got to his feet and headed for the direction leading to the gents. As soon as the man disappeared, the young woman also got to her feet and quickly dashed to the lone young man and whispered something to him and quickly walked back to her table and shortly, the man came back and joined her.
Minutes later, the lone young man beckoned the waiter who came and after talking to him went to the counter. When he came back, he was carrying a bottle of wine and a packet of cigarettes.
When the waiter put the bottle of wine and a packet of cigarettes on the table, I saw the young man point at the table where the young woman and the man were seated.
The waiter nodded his head positively.
I don’t know what the two were discussing, but it seemed the young man was telling the waiter that he was getting whatever he was getting on the account of the man who was seated with the young woman, and through his gestures, it appeared that the waiter knew about the arrangement.
Moments later, the lone young man got a cigarette from the packet and lit it.
It was when he dragged on the cigarette for the second or third time when the waiter went rushing to the young man and this time I heard him politely say while pointing at the notice stuck on the wall where there was a cigarette and a cross: “Excuse me sir, it is no smoking in here. You can go outside if you want to smoke.”
The young man got to his feet and said:”sorry, sorry,” as he walked out.
Some time later after he had come back, another waiter came to the young man’s table with two plates, one with a big chunk of roasted meat – it could have been pork or beef – and another one with what looked like half a chicken and chips.
The young man washed his hands and started eating.
On seeing the young man eating, the friend who invited us told us that we were free to order any food of our choice and we did so later.
After the young man finished eating his food, he poured the last dregs of wine in his glass. Then he called the waiter and asked him to bring another bottle of wine.
It was about one hour since we came into the guest house and when we just got in, we found the young man with a bottle of wine. He ordered another one a few minutes after we had arrived and this was the third bottle.
Three bottles of wine downed within an hour and may be he had taken more before we came! This young man was strong, I thought.
It was while I was thinking like this when the waiter walked to the table where the man and the young woman were seated and produced a piece of paper which he gave the man.
Upon looking at the piece of paper, which I later came to know was a bill, the man opened his mouth in surprise and protested:”No, it can’t be. This is too much.”
Then the young woman looked at the piece of paper. She got to her feet and looked at the direction of the young man and exclaimed: “Oh no. How can the bill be this much? We have only taken two six packs – one of Hunters and the other one of Castle Lite and a bottle of wine?”
Then the waiter pointed at the young man.
“He has taken four bottles of wine, a packet of cigarette and some food,” said waiter.
The man looked at the young woman and shook his head disappointedly.
“This is too much. Look at what your brother has done. I don’t have this kind of money to pay,” said the man.
The young woman who now looked shocked replied that the young man was not her brother but a friend who was the next door neighbor.
At this point an argument ensued between the man and the young woman with the man telling the young woman that she had told him that she would come with her brother and not a friend from the neighborhood.
“You said he was your brother. How can you now say he is your neighbor friend? Where will this kind of money come from?” the young man complained.
As an eavesdropper, this was interesting! You said he was your brother. How can you now say he is your neighbor friend!
At this point, the waiter joined in and asked the man to pay the bill. “You told me to be attending to that young man sir, just pay,” said the waiter.
All of us who were nearby paid attention to what was going on.
When the man turned to probably call the young woman’s neighbor, the young man had disappeared and his table was bare. He had taken the bottle of wine with him. It seemed that he had sensed danger and in the confusion, he bolted out.
Another man who we later came to know as a guest house manager came and asked the waiter what had happened.
After the waiter explained his part, the guest house manager asked the man to explain his side of the story. The man said he had invited the young woman who was his girl friend and she told him she would come with his brother but he was surprised with the amount of things the young man had taken.
Then the young woman pleaded and explained that the young man was her neighbor and she would tell him to come and pay for what he had taken.
It was at this time when the man turned to the young woman and told her that it was not the young man who was supposed to pay for what he had consumed because he was an invited quest .The only problem was that the bill was too much and he did not have that kind of money to pay just there and then.
Then the waiter told the manager that the wine which the young man was taking was expensive. Apart from taking the wine, he got three packets of cigarettes and some food.
The guest house manager then asked the man what was the way forward.
The man then pleaded with the guest house manager to allow him to pay the bill a few days later after getting paid. Fortunately, the man happened to be a regular and good customer at the guest house and it was for this that the manager accepted his plea.
This was indeed a memorable Christmas party for the man and his young girl friend.
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