New year, new faces

All-male post gets first female officer, and Sgt Makini cannot hide his excitement

In Summary

• After a torrid 2020, Sgt Makini could not have a better start to the new year


While everyone will remember 2020 as the year a tiny virus from Wuhan, China brought the world to its knees, a couple willingly gave up royalty, football happened in empty stadiums, the king of Wakanda died and a quasi-dictator refused to accept American election results, I had a few milestones of my own.

I was promoted to Sergeant, shipped to the remotest part of Kenya, caught my boss night-running with a chicken, shared a room with a woman who wasn’t my relative, lost my virginity at 25, and learned that although baby poop may look like scrambled eggs, it smells nothing like an omelet.  

Yet, nothing hurt more than my roommate-cum-semi-girlfriend Millicent ditching me for her old flame over Christmas, forcing me to spend the holidays alone. To cheer me up, Inspector Tembo convinced me to play an elf to his Santa Clause at a kids’ Christmas party. The rascals had no idea what an elf was, showed no interest even after Tembo explained I was his helper. So, to spice things up, he told them I was there to steal Christmas.

Long story short, a bunch of mucus-slurping, pointy hat-wearing, cake-smearing brats mobbed me. More salt to the injury, Millicent’s father, the chief, threw a monster party for his prodigal daughter, attended by everyone in the village. Minus yours truly, of course.

Karma came to my rescue when the party was rained out, or so I thought. My celebrations died when, to escape the floods, a colony of ants sought shelter in my house. I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I’m not much into prayer, but Lord, did I pray for the year 2020 to end!

My boss Inspector Tembo worked on Christmas Day, apparently to avoid accompanying Mrs Tembo to church. I was on duty alone the day after, when a letter arrived at the Post. Though addressed to the Inspector, I opened it, like I did all his correspondence. I read it twice, maybe thrice, before my mind accepted what my eyes were seeing. 2020 might end on a high note, after all.

Eager than a groom on wedding night, I could hardly wait to close the office and share the good news with Tembo. I didn’t have to wait. The Inspector showed up looking like he’d gone through seven levels of hell to get to the Post.

“You have no idea what bullet you dodged when Millicent left you,” he said. “Some sorta demon possesses women during the holidays. If I never have sex again until next Christmas, it’ll be too soon.”

“TMI, boss,” I said. “Anyway, great news is afoot.” I handed him the envelope. “New personnel will be joining us next year.”

Tembo’s eyes lit up.

“My replacement?”

“Sorry, boss. Third member of staff.”

I cannot, for the sake of civility, report the next string of words he unleashed. Suffice to say, he didn’t share my enthusiasm.

Fast-forward to today.

Busy at the Occurrence Desk finishing up last year’s reports, I don’t hear the guest walk in.

“Is this Jiji Ndogo Police Post?” she says.

“Yes.” I don’t care to look up from my writing. “What can I do for you? Lost a cat or something?”

“More like you will be losing your job if that’s the attitude you carry around here.”

I look up ready for a good confrontation, but words escape me as I behold the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen in a police uniform.

“I’m Sergeant Sophia M Kali,” she says. “Your new partner. You can close your mouth now, soldier.”