There’s this restaurant in Kampala where you walk in and take a seat. You then do that eye movement used universally to catch a waitress’s attention. She scoots over. You make another eye movement that says “Hi, how are you (insert name read from her slightly-tilted name tag)?” She throws you a smile. You catch it, still with your eyes. She says something but by this time the hunger you walked in with is screaming for more attention than The Red Pepper. You do that innocent wink that says you’d like to look at the menu, all according to the International Restaurant Gesture Book.
Nothing unusual so far so before you close the page to go read soccer scores, here’s the juicy bit; in this restaurant, each table has a flag. You are served till you drop that flag. The temptation to name the restaurant is very big…suffice it to say their menu isn’t exactly one for vegetarians.
So if you keep the flag on your table flying even after rounds and rounds of food, we investigated what will transpire.
First off, a small team of men in expensive shades and black suits come and menacingly whisper a few things they’ll do to you if you don’t drop the flag. You gasp. They take seats. Their leader removes his shades and stares you straight in the eyeball. You are unfazed. You swallow another morsel of beef while holding eye contact. Beads of sweat form on your now oily forehead.
Your phone rings. Your funky ringtone startles you. One of the pieces of crocodile meat you are holding falls to the table and hits the flag on your table. You act fast and stop it just before it topples. You answer the phone. It’s Gorretti, the girl you’ve received several resounding NOs from. She’s crying. She says if you don’t drop the flag, bad men holding her hostage will mess up her nail varnish. You try to explain. A hoarse voice comes on to the phone saying you have five seconds. You swallow a piece of camel meat as you think it over. A shrill scream forces you to twitch
Out of nowhere, a helicopter is hovering above the restaurant with a reporter rapping your every move as a camera beams your picture on the news with running commentary about your life story and what has led to this moment. By now you are swimming in your own sweat. A lot of the salt in the meat is from your sweat. You still don’t drop the flag.
A negotiator is brought in to speak to you. Find out your demands. Even then, you refuse to budge, only responding to his questions between mouthfuls.
Seeing their restaurant on the brink of being eaten out of business, they do the last thing any entity in this situation would do; give you hippo meat. They reel it in on a crane. And hand you a saw, a hoe and a power drill to dig in.
Your hand moves towards the flag…flag slowly makes its way to the ground, your life flashes before your eyes…but then…