I’m a toothless lion in a cage

Makini is forced to take up domestic roles after losing his job

In Summary

• You know you are out of luck when the people who feared you now mock you


My dear reader, it truly sucks being a cop without his gun and badge. It’s akin to an attempt at being a farmer without a jembe. But at least as a botched farmer, the crops don’t laugh at you in your face.

In case you’re in the dark, I’m on administrative leave because I’m under investigation since my stolen gun was used in the murder of a Jiji Ndogo citizen.

As I walk home from the market, toting my vegetables and a small bag of unga, I chance upon Kevo, our regular small-time miscreant, and his buddies, chilling under a tree, sharing a joint.

As is often the case, I expect them to beat it for the hills as soon as they lay eyes on me. But do they? Oh, no. In fact, Kevo does the one thing I would never in a million years have thought him capable of.

“Yo, rastaman,” he says, offering me the blunt. “Utachambapata kidumbitipi na simbitisi?”

“Has that weed totally eroded your brain?” I ask. “You can’t even speak clearly.”

The other young men laugh. Denno says, “Anauliza kama utachapa kidubi na sisi.”

“That’s not what he said.”

“Achana na Kevo. Anajiskia Oyole sana na hata hujawahi kanyanga Kanairo.”

“I didn’t understand half of whatever you said either, but you guys do remember I’m a policeman, right? Or has that fact disappeared within the smog in your corrupted brains?”

They laugh once again, this time more contemptuously.

“Hiki sasa kinasembetema nimbitimi? Si kili chumbutujwa?” Kevo bellows.

“Eeh! Kilishachujwa job. Ona. Hata hakina mchuma.” Denno attempts to hand me the weed. “Come on, Mr Policeman. Wewe ni raiya ka sisi. Onja moshi. Acha kujifanya odinare hapa.”

Oblivious that I no longer carry the items that bestow state authority upon me, I jerk Kevo and Denno up by their belts.

“Sasa unadu nini, msee?” cries Kevo.

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m arresting you for possession of illegal narcotics.”

“Come on, man. You’re not even a cop no more.”

“Oh, I see the prospect of arrest has taken you out of Oyole. And as to your question, I’m making a citizen’s arrest. Move!”

“Acha za ovyo, mzae. Tia vako. Bibi yako akikam home apate hujapika supper halafu?”

“What did you say?” Now I’m getting annoyed.

“Acha kujifanya huradi,” says Denno. “Si after kutoka ndani tunajua wewe ndo manzi wa keja. Ama unadhani haturadi mbona umebeba mboga na unga?”

Now I’m definitely mad. I haul Kevo and Denno—and my, ahem, mboga na unga—towards the Police Post. “Once I have you both locked in the cell, we’ll see who gets the last laugh.”

“But hiyo si poa, mzae. Kufungiwa kwa keja ka dame,” Kevo says.

“Kwanza kufungiwa na dame,” adds Denno.

“Kwani unataka afungiwe na chali? Acha zako pia. Hiyo doba imekuingia mbaya, nini?”

“Shut up! Both of you,” I scream. “I’m having a headache just listening to you.”

“Sambatawa, mzambataee.”

I’m all too glad when I get them to the Police Post.

“Makini, what are you doing?” Sgt Sophia promptly asks.

“I arrested these two for smoking weed.”

“You can’t do that. You’re not a cop right now.”

“Tulikuambitia ambataje mzamba—”

“Shut up, Kevo.” To Sophia I say, “Can you just book them? Call it a citizen arrest.”

Sophia frisks them and finds rolls of marijuana in their pockets. “Good enough. Put them in the cell.”

Once I’m done, I turn to leave, but she calls me back.

“Makini, last night’s spaghetti wasn’t well done. Make sure the ugali is better tonight.”

I leave Kevo and Denno laughing like fools.