• People have different interpretations of this alphabet soup in this village
I’m alone at the police post, what with my colleague Sgt Sophia out on “undercover” duty to investigate a shady new resident in Jiji Ndogo by the name D Siva. But I mean, come on. With a name like D Siva, the man must be a plain liar, right? Case closed.
I’m only too glad for a little distraction when a young man drags his wife into the police post.
“How can I help you, good citizens?” I say in my most affable “Utumishi” part of our police motto.
Husband shoves wife forward. “Mwambie.”
“Nimwambie nini?” wife says. “Wewe ndo uko na maneno.”
“What’s going on?” I prompt.
“Huyu mwanamke amekuwa akiongea vitu sielewi.” The husband looks ready to burst with anger. “Kwa muda sasa imekuwa Elji hii, Elji ile. So, I asked, ‘Huyu Elji ni nani?’ You know what she told me? ‘Ni rafiki yangu.’”
“So, she has a friend called Elji. What’s the problem?”
“For a while I thought it was a man. You know, like she was cheating on me or something.”
I have no clue where this is leading, but anything to kill this boredom. “Ma’am, have you been cheating on your husband?”
“I should be.”
Husband throws arms in the air. “I should be cheating. Unaskia vile anaongeaga?”
I stay on the wife. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I mean, with a husband like this, one should be allowed to seek smarter pastures.”
“You mean ‘greener’ pastures?”
“I meant what I said. Ask him what he’s talking about.”
“I’ll tell you what I’m talking about.” Husband shoves wife aside and gets in my face. “The other day nikaskia our esteemed President akiongea kuhusu huyu Elji. Nikauliza my wife, kwani huyu Elji anajulikana hata na wakubwa?”
Now I’m stumped. “The President knows your wife’s friend?”
“Yap. And guess what her full name is—Elji B Tikiu.”
I’m momentarily confused until I remember thinking of D Siva’s name as “Deceiver.” “Wait! Are you talking about LGBTQ?”
The husband almost loses his mind. “You know her, too? What is this, a conspiracy?”
The wife and I exchange a look and burst out laughing.
“Oh,” says the man, “you find this funny?”
“Son,” I say, although the man looks about the same age as me, “LGBTQ is not a person.”
“She is, too. And apparently, the High Court has allowed her to marry my wife.”
“The High Court allowed same-sex couples to have a voice. That’s all.”
“Yeah? Then mbona my wife says she likes her? That it’s about time everything came out in the open?”
I turn to the wife. “Did you say that?”
“Of course, I did. It’s about time we were respected.”
“Yes. I’m bi.”
“You’re by? By who or what?”
Husband flaps his arms again. “See? This is what she does. Talking in riddles. She should stand ‘by’ me, right? Not by this Elji person.”
“Now she’s by Sexual.” Husband shakes his head. “She’s by everyone but her husband.”
“Sir.” I pity the man but it must be done. “I think what your wife means to say is—”
“I like both men and women. The ‘B’ in LGBTQ stands for bisexual.”
The man grabs me by the collar. “You see what I’m saying? Elji is a woman, and my wife fancies her.”
I pry his hands off me. “Look, man, you’ve got to get a grip, okay? You and your wife—”
Smiling, he let’s go and approaches his wife. “That might not be such a bad thing after all. Babe, I could be bi, too. That way, when this Elji woman comes by…”