PARTY TURN INTO NIGHTMARE

December fever has caught up with Nairobians as thousands prepare to leave the city next week for their rural homes, Naivasha or Mombasa for Christmas. Domestic flights, SGR, buses, and hotels in popular holiday spots fully booked. Ordinarily, I would also be part of this migration, however,  I have barricaded myself in the house on a Saturday night absolutely terrified of what awaits me. How did a night of fun turn into a never-ending nightmare? This is how it all began.

Tuesday 11th December 2018, as Kenyans ushered Jamhuri Day celebrations in various ways a good number of my friends and I were looking forward to a soiree set to go down that night at a rooftop of a housing complex in Kilimani organized by one of the members.

Being a Bring Your Own Drink kind of party, I arrive at exactly 9:00 pm with a bottle of rum. I find the rest of the invitees sitting around tables next to a swimming pool. I’m exhilarated to see some pals I haven’t met in a long time. After exchanging pleasantries, we catch up while imbibing and eating assorted snacks on the table.

At 10:30pm the host and I decide to take a dip. We are the only ones who dare to dive into the pool on such a cold night. Half an hour later, we get out of the pool change clothes and join the rest of the crew on the poolside shooting breeze.

Minutes to midnight, the crew disperses to various joints spread across the city. Closer home. Four of my coworkers – two gents, two ladies – and I end up at Space Lounge, Ngong Road.

The guards would let in one of my pal’s Edu, who also happens to be my neighbor, because he didn’t carry a national I.D. We haggle for a while, finally grease some palms before we are all allowed in.

DJ Joe Mfalme is on the decks and the lounge is packed. It takes the intervention of a number of bouncers before we could get an empty table, on the first aisle to the left of the main entrance. Having settled we order two bottles of whiskey and mixers.

The two gents and I move to a larger aisle in a bid to get some dancing space. We do this a few times, always coming back to the table down a few shots before going to dance it off.

At 1:30 am, one of the chap and lass in the crew bids us farewell and gets a cab home leaving the three of us. I head out to the washrooms. While walking back to our table I notice none of the pals I left are around. Probably on the dancefloor.

Just before I reach my seat, a man of medium height steps in front of me. He grabs me by the collar.

“Why are you looking at my lady inappropriately?” He barks.

“What?”

“Mbona unaangalia dame yangu ivo?”

“Mgani huyo?”

He points at the table two feet from ours occupied by two ladies. One is in a short white dress with hair tied into a ponytail and looks like she is in her mid-thirties. The other one was sitting in a dark spot so I couldn’t make out her face. I hadn’t noticed the trio sitting very close to us. It hits me, this is probably an overly insecure man or the violent kind always spoiling for a fight.

“I don’t fight over women!” I shout back.

Before he responds, I shove him off my face. He knocks over a seat, regains balance then charges at me. Luckily, a bouncer standing close by intervenes in time. He picks the bloodthirsty idiot and throws him out of the club. The bouncer then comes back and leads me back to my table.

“Najua wewe ni msee mpoa.” He says to me.

I take a seat, quickly gobble down the contents in my glass.

“Man, si unisort shot moja tu ya whiskey.” He begs.

Seeing how courteous and leveled-headed he was I pour him a generous portion then stretch the glass to him.

“Zii, hapa kuna CCTV niletee hii side.”

He goes a few paces then turns right to the staircase. I carry the glass full of whiskey, walk up to him midway up the stairs.  He knocks it down then hands over the glass to me. I turn to go back down to my table.

Going down the stairs my body starts feeling weird. Everything is moving in slow motion. Suddenly, I forget the basics of walking. I put my right foot forward but couldn’t recall whether I should swing my left or right hand forward. Hands and feet lose coordination. I struggle to hold on to the stair railing with my left hand. The whiskey glass in my right-hand slips off smashing on to the floor.

‘Dammit dude, stop being clumsy!’ I curse under my breath. Close my eyes.

When I open my eyes I find myself sprawled on my bed, fully dressed with my watch still strapped on the wrist. On checking the time it reads 1:23 pm Wednesday. The room is spinning around. I’m totally disoriented.

I quickly check my pants pockets only to find all cash and ATM cards but not my phone. After looking for the phone on my bed without success I grab a laptop in my closet and try to trace it via Google Find My Device. Can’t reach the device. I give up.

The confusion is only getting worse. I mean just a second ago I was going down the stairs at Space Lounge and the next one I’m in bed on the other side of the city. I move to the kitchen to grab a glass of water. On moving to the living room I find out my main door is wide open and my phone lying on the doormat. A quick scan reveals nothing is missing.

Feeling super dizzy I go back to bed only for hunger pains to wake me up at 5:30 pm. I head out to a nearby restaurant get a meal then go back home and doze off once more.

My buzzing phone wakes me up at 9:30pm. Too disoriented to have a coherent conversation I ask the person on the other end to call me back the next day.

On checking the call log I’m shocked to find out I called four different people including my folks between 2:30am and 3:20am. They had called back six times but I never heard or picked.

I call Edu to find out how I got home. He tells me he called an Uber brought me home before going to his place. I ask him to send me a copy of the Uber Receipt, which shows we left the club at 3:53 am.

I have no idea what I was doing in the club between 1:30am and 3:53am. Did I collapse to the ground? Did I make it back to the table? For the hours was I sitting or dancing? Did I sleep on the table or did I go back to drinking?  Lots of questions without any suitable answer. I sleep well then go to work the next morning.

Thursday 13th December, throughout out the day I’m feeling strangely anxious. Edu tells me it is all good. I got home safe so I shouldn’t worry unknown to me that was the beginning of my ordeal.

In the evening, I get home early, make dinner, catch two episodes of some espionage show I’m currently watching then go to sleep. On closing my eyes I’m thrust into the most horrifying nightmare ever. It is like I got a front row seat to a 3D horror movie where I am the subject tortured.

Unlike typical nightmares, these ones feel too real. Every moment I close my eyes I find myself in a dingy part of town fighting thugs. Some ruffians are strangling me as I fight for breath. I am forced to stay awake for the rest of the night.

Come Friday 14th December I’m still unusually anxious. Fast forward to the night my nightmares are back even worse than before. This time I can actually see, smell, touch and even talk to my assailants. At times I feel like I’m falling off a building. Since the nightmares are so intense I wake up each time switch on the lights go around the house confirm the windows and doors are locked in an effort to reassure myself.

“Dude it’s just a nightmare, see you are safe at home. All the doors and windows are locked. None of it is real.”

The moment I fall asleep again all the drama ensues. The most terrifying hallucinations haunt me.I’m getting to experience my greatest fears. One time I was convinced there was a tall man in an overcoat and hat standing on the bedside staring down at me. I quickly wake up, flick on the lights only to find out I was staring at the bedroom curtains.

Unable to endure this anymore I went to the hospital this morning. My body temperature and heart rate are off the charts. 94 beats per minute, maybe it is the anxiety.

The doctor I saw suspects that I was drugged with a benzodiazepine a.k.a mchele, most likely when I left my drink unattended. I am mildly relieved to find out the vivid nightmares I am having are simply hallucinations, a side effect of that class of drugs. However, it is difficult to treat these effects as there is no way of telling what drug they used and the dosage given unless I do a toxicology test. What makes it even more complicated is that there over twenty types of benzodiazepines hence will have to test for each plus I have already surpassed 72 hours, which means the drug is probably already excreted.

She prescribed to me Lexotanil 1.5mg, which is a derivative of benzodiazepine to counter the side effects. Essentially, I need to take a mild dosage of a drug almost similar to what my drink was spiked with and it is freaking scary. I am having a massive headache due to sleep deprivation yet I’m afraid of sleeping lest I begin hallucinating.

In retrospect, I am freaked at the thought of what would have happened had the unscrupulous partygoers succeeded in drugging both my friend and I? What intentions did they have with me? The futility of not knowing what transpired between 1:30am and 1:30 pm is traumatizing. Having heard of tales of the same thing happening to a number of people I am so grateful that my pal made sure I got home safe. Nonetheless, I am worried about how cheap Lexotanil is. Ksh 24 per tablet for a drug that could cause so much damage?

Pharmacists, are these kind of drugs controlled to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands? If not then hanging around bars is akin to playing Russian roulette!

Have you ever had your drink spiked? Any lessons or remedies you could share with a brother?

By Mark Maish

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