Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Makini fears being deployed 'in the line of fire of al Shabaab'

In Summary

• A classic case of fight or flight results in stressed couple getting an unlikely ally

In case this comes as news to you, I’m going through problems with my in-laws, and it doesn’t help matters much that my marriage to Sgt Sophia is a common-law arrangement instead of the more traditional ‘walk down the aisle in a white gown’ affair.

Both my wife’s parents feel I’m not adequate for their daughter. My father-in-law is a little more subtle, while his wife doesn’t mind slinging mud straight into my face.

Now a situation has arisen where they may have a bit of traction in their ploy to get me out of their daughter’s life. The government, through its messenger Superintendent Chege, is shutting down our small police post, and my mother-in-law (who once dated the superintendent) might at the very least delay the decision. The only condition? I leave their daughter alone.

“Maybe I should just bail,” I tell Sophia as I close the window and climb into bed next to her.

She turns to me with the same look she bears if I leave the bed undone in the morning. “Two things, Makini. First of all, you just missed out on sex tonight, and just so you know, I had something special planned. Second thing, my parents always call you a coward. Don’t justify it.”

I swing out of bed, open the window, close it, and then get back into bed.

“The hell are you doing?” she wonders.

“I just used a time machine in my head and went back a few minutes.” I caress her shoulder. “So, dear wife, that was a lovely supper you made.”

Perplexed, she rises on one elbow. “Makini, are you trying to make-believe that your cop-out statement a few seconds ago didn’t happen?”

I shrug. “You can’t blame a man for trying, can you? I’m worried for us. If the police post is shut down, we’ll be transferred to different stations, probably miles apart. I can’t imagine living without you.”

“Usually, they don’t separate spouses.”

“Hello? Common law, remember? We’ll probably have to sue the Inspector General before he recognises our marriage. And I can’t survive as a cop in Garissa.”

She makes a face. “Why do you think you’d end up in Garissa?”

“Your mother. She’d make sure I’m constantly in al Shabaab’s line of fire so there’s no chance of us ever getting back together.”

“You think she’s that bad? Don’t answer that. I, too, can’t put it past her.”

I turn to her with the sexiest look I can cram into my eyes. “You know what we should do? We should make sweet, sweet love right now, then deal with all this in the morning.”

She sneers. “Nice try, Mr Coward. That shop is closed. But tell you what? The sooner you come up with a solution to our relocation, the sooner the shop opens.”

“Why me?” I mope.

“You’re the man in this relationship, aren’t you? Find a way.”

“What’s that even supposed to mean?”

“Isn’t that why you make me sleep on the side of the bed next to the wall? Because you’re the man and should be able to jump out in case of any problem?”

“Yes, dear. In case someone breaks into the house or something. Not so I can perform miracles.”

As if on cue, there’s a loud bang on the door.

Sophia turns to me. “There you go, loverboy. Time to earn your keep.”

I pick up a mwiko and stand at the door. “Who is it?”

“It’s me, Makini,” says Inspector Tembo, our boss and Sophia’s father. When I open the door, he adds, “I’m on your side now, Makini. Sophia’s mother just left with the Superintendent.”

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