Inspector has a secret

There is plenty to dread when a man's phone goes missing

In Summary

• The question of accepting responsibility proves a tall order for Inspector Tembo

Some things are hard to stomach
Some things are hard to stomach

So, Inspector Tembo comes to hide in my house when his wife comes to visit him at Jiji Ndogo. She comes after him, only to find us all, Millicent, the Inspector and I, in our night clothes.

To save Inspector Tembo from his wife’s suspicions, Millicent declares, against my wishes, that I’m her unborn baby’s father.

“You’re a good man,” Mrs Tembo says. “A good man accepts responsibility. Unlike my useless husband here. Cornelius Matumbo, why did you run when I came?”


Millicent laughs.


“I still can’t believe your boss’ name is Matumbo.”

Inspector Tembo puffs up his chest.

“I'll tell you why I ran. Because you like bossing me around. And your family hates me. Thirty years we’ve been married, they still think I’m not good enough for you. Last time we visited your parents, they gave me the goat’s neck! That’s reserved for boys!”

“Cornelius,” Mrs Tembo says softly, “You love neck meat. You’d told me it is the sweetest meat.”

“So? That didn’t mean they should give it to me!”

“And what do you mean I’m controlling?”


“Because you always…”


“Did you iron those shorts, Cornelius.” Mrs Tembo uses her hands to iron out the Inspector’s shorts. “How many times have I told you not to wear wrinkled clothes?”

“See? This is what I’m talking about. And I also know you’re here to fight about my phone.”

“What about your phone?” Mrs Tembo asks. Arms akimbo.

Realising his error, Inspector Tembo changes the subject.

“And another thing,” he declares, “you should’ve told me before coming. You shouldn’t ambush your husband like this.”

“Ambush? I kept calling but you weren’t picking my calls. I was worried about you, Cornelius. That’s why I came.”

“Ooh,” Millicent coos, “she loves you, Matumbo. What’s wrong with that?”

Inspector Tembo points a stern finger at Millicent. “Nobody calls me Matumbo.”

“I'll call you whatever I want,” Mrs Tembo says.

“Apart from my wife,” Inspector Tembo corrects. “It’s Inspector Tembo to you, young Missy.”

Mrs Tembo punches her husband lightly on his bicep.

“Don’t be mean to her. And what was that about your phone I should be angry about?”

We're all eager to hear. The Inspector paces about. Searches for a suitable answer.

“It's just that… I lost it. I lost my phone. And I know how you get when I lose things.”

Mrs Tembo rummages in her purse. Fishes out a phone.

“That’s the other reason I came. Here, I found your phone.”

Inspector Tembo takes the phone warily. His eyes on his wife.

“Did you… look inside?”

“What for? It's your phone. Besides, you have like a million passwords on it.”

Now the Inspector assumes a stoic pose. No longer looks afraid.

“That’s because… it has top secret police business on it. Top national security stuff.” He grabs his wife’s hand. “And now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to take my wife home.”

Inspector Tembo walks out with his wife.

“What do you think is on Matumbo’s phone that made him so afraid of his wife’s reaction?” Millicent asks as I close the door.

“You heard him. Top national security stuff.”

“Nope. Your boss was having an affair and he thought his wife had seen incriminating evidence in his phone.”

“You think so?” I say, opening the door. “Maybe I should go ask him.”

“No way, Jose,” Millicent says, grabs my shorts from behind and pulls me back into the room. “I know you’re trying to run away. Not happening. Today you sleep in the same bed with a woman. Let’s see if it kills you.”

Edited by T Jalio