When a math test is illegal

Hustler baffles Sgt Makini with his sheng, but Sophia shows she's street-smart

In Summary

• A slow day at the police post is livened up by a suspect complainant


Jiji Ndogo Police Post can get a little slow. If no one is looking for their stolen chicken, or someone’s dog hasn’t been munching on a neighbour’s maize, we tend to spend a lot of time watching the shadows move. So when my mother calls me out of nowhere, it’s double joy for me.

“I’m doing well mum,” I say. “How about you?”

“Have you met someone yet?”

“Yeah, mum. I meet a lot of people. It’s my job to.”

“You know what I mean, son. Every mother wants to see her grandkids.”

“My sister, Kanini, she has lots of those, mum.”

“What about that police lady you were telling me about, huh?”

“Bye, mum. Thanks for calling.”

When I hung up, Sergeant Sophia is throwing eye daggers at me.

“What police lady was your mother talking about?” she asks.

“Um… She works in Kericho. She’s an inspector.”

“Is that so? What’s her name? Jane Doe?”

Luckily, Kevo walks in and saves me from having to make up more lies. His eyes are bloodshot and he looks like he is ready to kill someone.

“Kevo, what’s going on?” I ask, eager to assist.

Kuna msee amepiga hao ya mine koto, jo,” he says. “Ameishia na stock ya-mine ka yote.”

Sophia looks at me.

“What’s he talking about?” she asks.

“He means someone broke into his house.” I turn to Kevo. “Nani?

Kwani huyu dame ni wa wapi?” Kevo looks at Sophia as if she’s a whale walking on land. “Huelewi Sheng aje?”

“Some of us stayed in school,” Sophia says.

“So… Unasema mimi ni fala, huh?” Kevo turns to me and that’s when I realise he is higher than a kite in December. “Huyu mresh wa kwako ana za ovyo sana. Mimi si fala. Naeza pelekana na yeye mao mbaya.

“Try me,” Sophia dares him.

Sawa. Let’s say uko na nusu kilo umenyaka na miti seventy. Mbili kila gram, unatoa finje, uko na faida ya ngapi?”

“What kinda math is that?” I ask Kevo. “Nusu kilo umenyaka na 70k? Nothing costs that much. Kwani ni gold?”

Ni mao, yo. Si mresh alijifanya vile ni odinare kwa masomo. Sisi tume-learn kwa streets, yo. Hiyo ni mao ya—”

“Thirty thousand profit,” Sophia says.

Damn! Mresh, uko odinare pia.

Sophia shoots Kevo a look I know all too well. A look she reserves for suspects. “What did you say your name was?”

Kevo smiles, licks his lips, and nods his head suggestively at her.

Naitwa Kevo. Na wewe msupa?”

“Sgt Sophia is my name. You came to report something about someone breaking into your house?”

“Yeah, men. Wamenidu zii sana.”

“I’m sorry they did you wrong. I believe your merchandise was stolen, right?”

Kevo turns to me.

Huyu mresh ananipima, ama? Si nimetoka kuroroa hiyo risto saa hii tu?

“He says you’re repeating yourself,” I tell Sophia.

“I’m sorry.” She grabs Kevo’s hand. “Come with me. We have some stuff we recovered yesterday. It’s in here. See if you can pick out yours if it’s there.”

I’m totally baffled as I watch Sophia lead Kevo into a cell, but once there, Kevo realises there is nothing.

Hey, hakuna any huku.”

“What are you doing?” I ask Sophia. “He’s a complainant. Wait! Is it because he looks high? We can’t even prove he’s on drugs or anything.”

“Kevo, what was stolen in your house?” Sophia asks.

Msee aliwahi stock yangu yote ya ndom, jo.

I look at Sophia, amazed.

“Someone stole his drugs? How did you know?”

“He made me calculate the profit from half a kilo of weed.”