The African Club
harvested will a good man make, the hidden smile playfulness will partake. It
is one thing to laugh freely and unhindered, but it is something entirely
different to bring out the hidden sunshine of the soul in others, leaving a
smile on their face, giving them hope, and momentarily raising them from the
darkness of gnawing problems. To have this ability to elevate others might be
regarded as being on par with the rare individuals who can inspire others to
greatness. But these select few are rare and usually overlooked by history.
human beings have the capacity of laughter and yet many lose their will to
laugh, believing it is childish or immature. The stern face, the look of
constant worry, the serious demeanor are all adult faces. Humanity needs
comedians, our artists, our stand-up comics, who have historically been the ones
invited to the King's court and the emperor's palace. There are so many noble
qualities in man yet the one universal constant is that strange reflex to
laugh. It is humankind's Sublime Leveler, the Bonder of Brothers, the Great
Mother of man reminding us that it is all right, that love is better than war,
that honesty is better than guile, and that we can all work together. In a
darkening world of overpopulation, food shortages and toxic pollution, our
gifted comedians need to find a voice to shout across the rooftops of the world
to unite us all as brethren and to alert us of the empyrean and put us back in
touch with the infinite drop of goodness in our hearts that all peoples are
work can be channeled into polishing wit, identifying what makes others laugh
and thus become your own expert to make others laugh. Learn to bypass
impressing others with achievement and material gains; know that the skill of
raising another to the natural state of momentary abandon is a gift more valued
and more sought after. It is a form of emancipation into the realm of magic,
and an animation of the spirit. It is magic because it's involuntary, as if a
divine sprite is tampering with your skeletal musculature. But the uncentered
man is too fractured to focus on polishing his ability to make others laugh.
Get into the mix, employ courage and know your true character to find your
center. Only then can you become a giver to humanity and a maestro healing
others through laughter. With ones freedom of self, one then has the ability to
laugh at themselves, which is the first way of making others crack up. It is
not playing the fool; it is an indirect way of showing others your mastership
is so thorough that you have come out on the other side, an exuberance of joy
from life and a confidence of knowledge that is impenetrable to insecurity and
were Noble's thoughts the night of the African Club party.
that one act of kindness that had produced the invitation to the African Club.
Noble had heard about the African Club from being in the pub scene in Mariscal,
but few non-members were allowed in. He was flattered to have been invited but
was relieved the Dane had been included. He knew why the club was so valued
among the African expatriates: the blatant racism in Quito was shocking.
Whenever a cop or an undercover searched someone in Mariscal it was
always a black with dreadlocks. Not only could he see it, he could feel it too.
So the blacks stuck together and to remove themselves from the glare of bigotry
they culminated in an old Spanish casa where they could order good food cheap
and play music and relax.
Friday rolled around the Dane had sequestered himself with a new woman in his
hostel, choosing to forgo the African Club much to Reno's chagrin, but there
was no way he was going to stand up Solomon and Max so he went to Finn's early
and met David the Irishman who could belt out laughter with the best of them.
Reno was going to create his own posse to land in the African Club, fully
supplied with tech, bringing Paullina who the Africans might like to
look at since she was once Miss Ecuador.
the Irishman, Paullina and her boyfriend from Britain arrived with Solomon at
four o'clock in the morning to an empty house except Patrick Campbell, the club
manager. It wasn't until Reno placed the white powder on the table that the
pace of conversation picked up until everyone was speaking and no one was
listening. Classic coke party. When the African music filled the room, the vibe
enhanced. Only Paullina was a dud. She made it plain that she didn't like or
trust blacks in a voice loud enough to be heard. Crass and rude, Reno took the
initiative and encouraged her to depart with her British boyfriend. Once they
left things really loosened up, the conversations started to take root and
flourish. Time passed as the lines were demolished with ferocity until they all
reached a soft and fluffy level of intoxication.
morning arrivals were Max and two of his women, one soon breastfeeding her
daughter across the table from Noble without a hint of embarrassment. After
seven hours of snorting, drinking and robust vocal exchange, members began
arriving, many shocked at the number of bottles and quaffing still in play.
Since Solomon was the DJ, he made a point of introducing every member to Noble
and the Irishman. Noble didn't think he and the Irishman would be embraced so
sincerely but he was wrong. All of the fifty or so members who entered the club
on Saturday shook his hand, each man looking Noble right in the eye, making an
effort to welcome them both. Never had he been shown so much respect. Every
member had a quality of kindness that showed an open mind that ceased to
surprise him. Noble had expected a cold shoulder or hesitance from some but
every single man welcomed him and the Irishman with class. Not once did he
sense resentment that two very pink, white men were in their sanctuary. It was
a members-only club based solely on race yet the two whites were treated as
equals, many showing genuine happiness of their presence.
was early on Saturday that Noble started to be aware of overstaying his
welcome, readying to leave at any time. But Solomon was adamant that they
remain in the club. Noble called the Dane several times but he had turned his
phone off to avoid coitus interruptus, but he couldn't ignore the great
time he was missing. It was Saturday midday after snorting lines from the table
that Noble realized that a dominant characteristic of the members was their
individual style, each having an individual look. Each look was original; each
expressing the look they liked; none a variation of another's or even similar.
Like an unwritten acknowledgment that personal style was valued, it was the
identification of their true character that was valued over socio-economic
members sat around in the main room and chilled out from the ruckus and
oppression of Quito, finding comfort in the ease and laughter generated by the
Noble, David and Solomon. Noble on alert to vamos so he didn't mar the
great party they had had, with each new greeting the handshake was firm and the
impetus to depart never reached the action point.
Irishman had never done nose candy before so he was on cloud nine, going with
the flow and not afraid to ask questions regarding technique and etiquette
around the coke table. Clearly a man who knew how to have a good time, it was
his laugh that made all feel at ease, particularly Solomon, who was gaining
brownie points for his invitation to two spenders. Max sat at the table and did
the line and drank a beer cool as cool could be, plain for Noble to see he was
one of the most respected men in the club. A son of a Nigerian king who had
been ousted during a struggle for power, he now called his home South Africa.
He was thickly built and had the natural poise of royalty, never moving for
others if he didn't have to but never insolent or rude.
was the opposite. Soon becoming drunk from the beer, he was loud and interacted
with everyone, choosing the music to suit the mood, provoking some to react in
order to get their blood going. If any non-member was every to be brought to
the club, Solomon was the best man to do it. Fearless and a talented jester, if
he wasn't joking around he was smoking his pipe of base or drinking beer or
bent over selecting the next song. And this day he was enlivened by the
politeness and good humor of his guests. He had given a nod to Reno for booting
Paullina out. The Africans were just sick and tired of non-thinking prejudices
that were rampant here in Ecuador. It was a real family at the African Club.
getting low on our tech," he said to Solomon, who had been indoctrinated
into the language already.
where to go, but I need cash." Solomon had the gift of extracting money from
Noble without ever asking directly. But it was their mutual belief in God and
respect for Him that joined them in trust. It was one of the first things he
had brought up with Noble, and it was Noble's nature to reply with direct honesty,
now ever more direct and clear after observing the Dane's technique. It didn't
take Solomon more than a few songs to come back with a the largest amount of
base Noble had ever seen.
had gone underground with all the people around, the intake taking place in the
washroom one at a time. A football match came on the big screen above the
mirrored far wall so the Irishman and Noble followed Solomon upstairs to one of
the four open rooms where there was a party going on. Noble bought some Abuella
Rum and Coke and proceeded to solidify his platform and laugh at the
stand-up comic routine Solomon was trying to do. But more than that, it was the
comfort and acceptance of the members to join the party with most of them
shaking Noble's hand a second time and restating their name.
a strict etiquette smoking the smelly base from a pipe. Not allowed inside the
premises, there was a balcony that was partially hidden from the road where
doobies and pipes could be undertaken briskly, with no loitering. Solomon was a
vacuum, and enjoyed the tangy bite of the pink-colored base, instantly causing
his eyes to become like pee holes in the snow. Jousting and light-hearted,
there were no long faces in the room, each trying to raise the other's spirit
in a country that didn't want them.
Then Lawrence showed up.
have some rum?" he asked Noble, head dipped and face acquiescing.
"Absolutely." With skin dry and
rough like sandpaper, his curled hair whitening and drying out like the stubble
on his face, he towered over the table with his polite manners and soft voice.
But Noble could see he was a man who had lived, and he wasn't going to think of
him as a child. He said he was Nigerian but had grown up in Brooklyn.
ever been to Africa?"
he replied. "So many places and not enough time." Lawrence slapped the table.
make time Noble! Make time to go because there's no other place in the world
like Africa. Ask anyone and they'll tell you the same thing. The sky is bigger
and the land is richer in color. But!" His hand shot upwards. "But what country
should you visit? That's the tough one to answer. But I know where the best
country is. It's also the country with the best marijuana in the world."
thought the best was from California or up the West coast around Vancouver in
Canada. Hydroponics or whatever it's called."
No!" Again the slapping of the
table with his fleshy hand. Then eyes turning empathetic. "You don't like the
grass?" Noble had to take a step back to let Reno answer with wit.
lots of different kinds but I don't think I've tried Nigerian weed."
then you have that to look forward to." The laughter electrified the room, many
so accustomed to eruptions of mirth that they hardly noticed. "No but trust me.
Nigeria has the best of any country. Ask anyone."
is full of Nigerians. What else are they going to say?"
Like a hair trigger, ready to sprint at the sound of the starter's pistol,
Lawrence let the piano-key teeth shine with confidence, knowing that that
moment is the best of any part of the twenty-four-hour cycle of time. Just
loved to laugh. It only brought out more from Reno.
"But seriously now Lawrence, if I were to go
to Africa, where in Nigeria would I go? The capital? What is it? Lagos?"
no, not there. But of course you arrive there and then you go north up the
mountains to a plateau. That's where you can get good weed and enjoy smoking it
very flat. Where you can see all of Africa. Sit there and smoke the ganja and
ponder life's bigger questions."
something Lawrence, that sounds very appealing to me." Noble stroked his
growing beard, and entertained the possibility of taking a trip to Africa.
Trust me. You will like it."
is this place called? This plateau? Can you write it down for me?" He took his
pen and wrote it on a piece of paper. "But you know if I go there and the weed
is crappy I'm have to hunt you down and chop off one of your limbs." Again the
hair trigger. Booming sub-woofer sound of joy. Didn't really have to be funny,
only needed to make the attempt.
Reno was holding the baggies, Solomon asked him if he wanted to smoke some
more. Lawrence was curious.
you like to have a pipe?"
base. Very pink base,"
touch that stuff," he replied, shaking his head. "Clog your lungs and the high
isn't high enough, if you know what I mean. Noble knew exactly what he meant.
You keep on smoking it and you never get higher than you are after the first
have said it better myself." Noble, once square now drug connoisseur.
is the best in my opinion. It's so clean, and that taste."
brother I hear ya! That smoooooth taste! Gotta get me some!"
had some baking soda we could cook some up."
Not here. Some other place maybe. But I have a line on some great stuff. Powder
white. The White Lady!"
nose candy. Hmmm. I could be interested." Money being spent but why not? As the
Dane once said: when you spend a hundred you have to believe you will get
eight hundred in return - or something like that. Some old Danish
pure lady this cracker bitch." Deadpan. It was Noble's turn to let loose. Face
flushed. The relaxing of orifices and the loosening of the bowels.
good cracker bitch is she? Well then I might want to sample this cracker's
goodies if it's fluffy and untainted." The massive body contorted like a
crumbling deck of cards, folding into itself, letting the head dangle so as not
to obstruct the flow of joy through the tensing of muscles. Lawrence drooled by
mistake on the table.
man!" Solomon was trying to act pissed off.
Lawrence forty bucks and a half hour later he returned with the strongest White
Lady Noble had ever ingested. But it was poor David the Irishman who reeled
from one of the long lines Noble left on top of the toilet. First Noble, then
Lawrence and then David, but when David came out his face was redder than what
would be comfortable, his voice quivering and his words jumbled. He had tilted
the machine. He snuck out some time after that leaving only Noble standing. He
and Lawrence laughed and listened to music as Solomon took requests and bitched
with everyone who came into his sphere of influence. It was dark out when Noble