Is there a cure for loneliness?

Sgt Makini is flying solo after Sophia left and villagers are seeing the impact

In Summary

• Sgt Sophia was not kidding when she declared she’s quitting the force


Someone once said, “We came into this world alone, and alone we shall leave.” I believe he or she got the last part wrong. It should be, “And alone we shall live.” That’s how it feels to me at Jiji Ndogo.

I’m back at the Police Post all by myself. My boss Inspector Tembo is back in Kipipiri, still mourning his recently departed wife. I thought my colleague Sgt Sophia was kidding when she declared she’s quitting the force. Turns out she was her usual solemn self. She’s gone.

“You’re dead!”

I look up from the desk. Our village idiot is giving me a somber look from the door.

“What did you say, Mwendaa?” I ask.

“You’re dead, and you’re a twart.”

“A what? Are you insulting a police officer?”

 “I said, ‘You’re in Tuat!’  The ancient Egyptian hell.”

I shake my head. “You just made that up, didn’t you?”

“It’s real. Osiris rules over it.” He offers me something he’s extracted from the folds of his filthy coat. “Wanna piece of my bread?”

“No, thanks. Besides, dead people don’t eat, do they?”

He looks around. “Know what? I think Tumbo is Osiris and he brought you to Tuat.”

“You mean Tembo, my boss?”

“And that woman cop, Saphira? She looked very suspiciously like Hathor.”

“Lemme guess. That’s an ancient Egyptian angel?”

Mwendaa shakes his head. “And to think you guys call me crazy. Everyone knows there are no female angels, copper, and Hathor is the goddess of fertility. Did you notice the boobies on Saphira? Mama mia!”

“That’s it.” I walk around the desk. “I won’t have you maligning my partner.”

Mwendaa’s eyes grow to the size of kienyeji eggs as he backpedals out. “Jesus on a boda boda! You haven’t hit it yet, have you? Chill. I know how you can get Hathor back.”

“I’m in no mood for any more that.” He walks away, laughing his head off. “All women love pots, you know.”

Dr Selitol, our resident Indian merchant, pants his way to the post, a small package in his hand. “Sophia iko? Mimi taka yeye.”

“Sophia is no longer here, but I can help you.”

“Kia bakwas hai!” He slaps his forehead. “Wewe talipa deni yake?”

“She owed you money?”

He indicates the parcel. “Yeye natuma mimi hii mizigo. Nasema talipa cash on delivery.”

Hope floods my heart. Now I have a reasonable excuse to reach out to Sophia. “Leta. I’ll pay for it.”

He hands it over. “Mia saba.”

“The invoice on the package is for four hundred!”

He reaches for it. “Sawa. Mimi narudisha. Mwenyewe talipa storage fees akirudi.”

I give him Sh500. “Next time I’ll arrest you for extortion.”

A regal smile on his face, he counts the money, pockets it, then scans me from head to toe. “You don’t look good. Iko shida gani?”

“What is it with all of you? I’m fine.”

“Hapana, my friend.He takes out a thermometer, points it at my head. “Tsk, tsk. Wewe iko hali mahututi, lakini Dr Selitol kwishajua. Migonjwa yako naitwa autophobia.”

“Auto-what now?”

“Kwa lugha ya kimombo, hao naita upweke.”

“Is loneliness written all over my forehead or something?”

“Leta mili yako kwa Mla Chake Chemist. Dawa ya autophobia iko, lakini hapana pesa kidogo.”

“There’s no cure for loneliness.”

He grins. “Aare yar. My friend, kila kitu iko dawa yake.”

“You have something for stupidity?” Mwendaa whispers harshly over the Indian’s shoulder, startling us both. “Imagine this cop doesn’t know Inspector Tumbo is Osiris.”