• Denying responsibility is an age-old trick to avoid being cornered, Sgt Makini learns
Heavily pregnant, Millicent sits at the post, having been kicked out by her gun-loving father, Chief Mwamba. He thinks I’m responsible. So, I’m supposed to find the culprit or I’m saddled with her.
Inspector Tembo, my boss, only makes things harder.
“Sgt Makini,” he says. “You work fast, son. You’ve been here two weeks and already knocked up a girl?”
“Not you too! We only just met.”
Tembo pulls me aside.
“I understand your confusion, son,” he says. “Same thing happened to me.”
“I slept with my wife only once and she got pregnant. Can you believe that? I thought two, three times maybe. but once? But apparently, that’s all it takes.”
“I know how it happens, but...”
“Good. Are you sure it’s yours?”
“I know it’s not.”
“Good. The first thing is to deny it. If you don’t, soon you’ll find yourself with a woman who hates your toes.”
“I know, right? I mean, who does that? If it’s your hair you could do something about it, but your toes? Before you know it, she is talking about your toes to her girlfriends.
“Telling them how your toes are small and wrinkly and ugly. How your toes don’t rise to the occasion. How she’s not satisfied with your toes. That her ex-boyfriend had bigger, more enjoyable toes.”
“Boss, are we really talking about toes?”
He grabs my arms. Stares into my eyes.
“Don’t do it, son. It’s a trap. They lure you in, then BAM! You’re hooked.” He swivels me towards Millicent. “Look at her. With her pretty face, long, gorgeous legs, ebony, flowing hair, hourglass figure… Wait. Damn, son. She’s really pretty. Maybe...”
“You were saying it’s a trap, Inspector?”
“Yes! Yes! A trap. Soon you’ll have to meet her parents, who’ll think you’re nothing but a low-life thug because one day you and your homies stole a goat and slaughtered it in the forest.”
“Inspector, I never stole a goat.”
“Right! Because you didn’t. You saved it. Poor thing was wondering in the dark. Anything could have happened to it. Like being eaten by a lion.”
“But you still ate the goat.”
“That’s not the point, son. What I’m saying is: run, son. Run and never look back.”
“I can’t do that, sir. I work here.”
“We don’t have to, see? Tonight, we distract her. Tomorrow, we pack up and leave. I’ll call and have a vehicle come pick us up.”
I now get what the Inspector is up to. For once, I find myself tempted.
“Boss,” I say, “are you still trying to leave Jiji Ndogo?”
He looks around.
“Look at this place, son? Why would you want to stay here? The bedbugs?”
“We got rid of those, boss, but we’ve been posted here. Where else can we go?”
Inspector Tembo beams.
“All we need is a really good reason not to stay. You’ve shot down all my plans. So, since you think you’re smarter, think of something.”
“I don’t know,” I tell him. “But I just got promoted. I can’t jeopardise that. I’ll find a way to sort out this mess with Millicent.”
Suddenly, a crash from where Millicent is seated. Inspector Tembo and I turn towards her.
“My water broke,” she says.
“Oh, no,” Inspector says. “Quickly, son. Call an ambulance.”
“There are no ambulances here, sir,” I tell him. “The midwife is a big, scary woman called Bertha. I'll go get her.”
“It’s not that, you fool,” Millicent says. “I meant the glass I was drinking water from fell and broke.”
Edited by T Jalio