• This is a continuation of a series revolving around a fictional police post in the village
• Staying at home with one's loved one can only be tolerated for so long in Jiji Ndogo
Day two of my assignment at Jiji Ndogo Police Post begins with a crisis: witchcraft.
“Makini, someone doesn’t want me here,” my boss, Inspector Tembo, says soon as he comes in.
“But we’ve only been here less than a day, sir,” I tell him.
He looks around as if afraid to be heard. “I haven’t slept a wink,” he whispers. “Something kept biting me the entire night. But I turn on the light, it disappears!”
“Well, that could be…”
“Witchcraft, son. No other explanation. No wonder I was posted here from Nairobi. Someone has it in for me.”
I have to think quickly. “I’ll take care of it, sir.”
“You will? Splendid, son. You do it. Get me out of this awful place.”
Before I can tell him that’s not the kind of fixing I mean to do, a woman walks in — or rather, pushes a hapless man into the OB area. Both seem to be in their fifties.
“There, you can have him,” she says and turns to leave.
I call her back. “What’s the matter, ma’am?”
She plants her arms akimbo. “You’re the government, right?”
“You ordered people to stay home, but I can’t stay with him anymore. So, either you let him go back to Eldoret, or you can have him.”
“And who is he to you?”
“Her husband,” the man says softly.
“Ma’am, we can’t…”
“Do you know what I have to go through? I have to look at him all day!”
“And what’s wrong with that?” says the husband. “I’m your husband.”
“Do you know he chews exactly 33 times before swallowing,” she shouts. “Thirty-three times! Who does that?”
“You counted?” I wonder.
“Do I complain about how you brush your teeth?” the husband chips in. “Up and down, up and down, eleven times per tooth. And what’s the point? Look at her teeth, officer. The last time they were white Thika Highway was just a road.”
“Okay,” I say, pushing them apart. “I know these times can be hard, but…”
“Hard?” the woman asks. “It’s impossible. He used to come over for a couple days then leave. I could stand his snoring for that long. Now it’s every, single, day! It’s like sleeping next to a posho meal.”
“Maybe it’s because of the cold after you hog all the blankets,” the husband wonders. “Have you thought of that?”
“I can’t stand it anymore, officer,” says the wife. “I’m going nuts.”
“You’re lucky it’s just snoring,” Inspector Tembo says. “I have invisible ghosts biting me at night.”
We all turn to him, looks of wonderment on the couple’s faces.
“Ghosts?” the woman asks, looking genuinely afraid. “You mean there are ghosts in Jiji Ndogo?”
“I have bite marks all over my back to prove it,” the inspector says. “Here, take a look.” He lifts up his shirt and turns around.
Inspector Tembo is fairly light-skinned and sure enough, there are red marks all over his back. The woman begins to backtrack towards the door.
“I hate ghosts,” she says, eyes big as marbles. “Anything but ghosts.”
The man wraps a protective arm around his wife. “That’s why I’m here, honey. To protect you.”
“Let’s go home,” she says as they leave. “Maybe your snoring keeps them at bay.”
“And that’s how you solve cases,” Tembo says proudly.
I pluck something from his shirt and hold it up to him.
“What’s that?” he asks.
“It’s a bedbug,” I tell him. “So, I guess your case is solved, too.”
Edited by T Jalio