“Good morning, sunshine.” Baison was giving me such an uncomfortable stare as we walked into the police station.
My mechanic had brought my car as soon as I was done bathing so no, Baison hadn’t given me a ride this morning. I had driven myself to work.
“Morning to you too, officer Daka.”
“Oh come on, Ali, there’s no need to be so uptight this morning. You know what,” whispered Baison flirtingly. “I didn’t get an ounce of sleep tonight. I was yearning to have you back in my arms. Oh Ali, stop playing hard to get and let’s just start going out already. As it is, you are single and I’m an eligible bachelor myself so I see nothing wrong with us hanging out together.” he cleared his throat. “As boyfriend and girlfriend. Yeah, I know that sounds cheesy for our age but I can’t help feeling you and I were meant to be.”
“So you’ve finally shut your mouth?” I snapped in a hushed tone. On the desk at the reception was Helen and she was one rumour monger so I couldn’t risk her hearing what I was telling Baison. “As I told you last night, what we had was just sex. Now if you treasure the friendship we share one bit, Baison, you’ll forget you and I did anything last night, you hear?”
He chuckled and saluted, mocking me of course. “Yes, boss. But one day, you’ll be mine.”
I shook my head in defeat. “You’re impossible.”
“Good morning, Helen.”
“Morning, officers Zulu and Daka. My colleague just signed his shift off. He really had an emergency.”
“It’s fine, I understand.” I flashed Helen a genuine smile. “You look exhausted, you must go home too.”
I just couldn’t seem to get used to the title, ‘boss.’
Helen was about to leave when she came back and said, “Lest I forget, two of the boys you caught last night have just been bailed off. The other one’s still in the cell though. Officer Sibajene and I asked him to phone his guardians or parents but the boy shrugged saying he doesn’t want to. He seems so scared I wonder what he was doing at the bar in the first place.”
“Peer pressure, my sister,” it was Baison who spoke up, perusing some files.
Helen nodded. “It’s sad what peer pressure can land you in. Anyway, I’m off now.”
Once Helen was out and Baison and I were fully settled, I decided to pay the boy in question a visit.
I found him seated in a corner, hugging his knees.
Startled, he sprang to his feet. “I.. I didn’t hear you come in. You startled me.”
“That wasn’t my intention. I’m sorry,” I politely said. “I hear you’ve refused to corporate with the police, why is that?”
The boy came closer so that him and I now stood face to face. The only barrier between us was the bars of the police cells. I looked him straight in his dreamy brown eyes and there was so much, no. Let me rephrase that. There was too much sadness written in his eyes.
“My.. My guardian… He-”
“It’s alright, boy. There’s no need to be afraid of me. I know Baison gave you guys a scare last night when he said I was hot tempered. That’s true but I’m in a pretty good mood today so relax and feel free to talk to me. What are you called?”
“Logan. Logan Meleki.”
“Are you Zambian, Logan?”
“No. I’m Kenyan.”
“Okay, Logan. Nice to meet you. Now please tell me why you are so afraid of informing your guardian that you’ve spent the night in police custody.”
“Because he’ll skin me alive,” said Logan dreadfully. “Come what may, my uncle mustn’t find out I spent the night here, please.”
“But how come your friend’s parents’ didn’t at least bail you out?”
He shrugged. “To be honest, I only met those guys a few days ago so they aren’t really my friends. I don’t have any friends. Most people call me a weirdo and as a result, I’m a loner.”
“Sad to hear and yeah, this is tough,” I folded my arms across my chest. “But you need to get out of here asap or else you’ll end up going to jail for six months. And you and I both know what a bad place jail is.”
“I know,” Logan swallowed. “But officer, I don’t want things to go that far. Help me out, please. I promise I won’t go clubbing at inappriopriate hours, ever.”
I paused to ponder things through. “I’ll help you.”
“You will?” his eyes lit up.
I nodded. “Yes, I will. On one condition though.”
“That you promise to be a good boy.”
“I promise I’ll be a good boy.”
“Great,” I said as I unlocked the cell. “come with me.”
I was the one who handed him his belongings at reception. I stole a glance at his ID, his driver’s license to be precise. Indeed his name was Logan Meleki and he was a 19-year-old Kenyan.
“Might I ask who’s going to pay that dude’s bail?” Baison asked me as soon as Logan was out of earshot.
“My God, Ali. Why would you do such a thing?”
“First of all, I’m not Ali. I’m Alicia so call me Ali one more time and you’ll have your balls for supper.”
“Ouch,” Baison winced. “That would sting like a b—h.”
“And I’d enjoy every minute of castrating you. Secondly, I’m using my hard earned money so you have no right to question me as to how I decide to use it. You’re not my father and neither are you my husband so please stay within your lane.”
“Someone’s got a nasty temper today. I hear women get heated up whenever they are expecting. OMG, don’t tell me you’re carrying my child, Alicia?!”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Some people are just impossible. Baison was one of those people.
“What’s funny?” with a serious face, he inquired.
I had to suppress more laughter. “We used a condom, remember? And we had sex only last night so there’s absolutely no way I’d be pregnant today. Things don’t work like that, buddy. Are you sure you really are 38 years old?”
“You don’t act 38.”
I could smell bickering coming our way but we were saved by the scene that entered the police station. 3 women were holding a fellow woman by the wig, calling her all sorts of abusive names.
“Here comes drama,” Baison muttered.
I stood firm, bracing myself for the drama. Drama came our way everyday and that’s why I kinda loved my job. It was quite entertaining.
I muttered, “I wonder what this drama’s about, though.”
It was a Saturday and I was doing night shift so I’d decided to take Faides out as I had free time on my hands during the day. We’d gone to Manda Hill where we’d watched Frozen and then gone to shoprite to grab some stuff.
Faides insisted she push the trolley and I pick the stuff we needed. She was quite a bossy child so I had no option but to oblige.
We were in the row that stocked liqour and I grabbed a bottle of Amarula and placed it in the trolley. Faides groaned.
“Nothing,” she shrugged. “It’s just that my science teacher says alcohol is bad for your health.”
I smiled and rested a hand on her shoulder. “When taken in excess, it is.”
“Oh, ok. I guess it’s okay for you cause you don’t end up getting as drunk as aunt Mule gets sometimes.”
“If Mule hears you say that, she’ll skin you alive.”
“She won’t. Unless you snitch, mummy.”
“Oh c’mon, sweetie. You know I’m not a snitch!”
“Yes, you’re not. So I’ve been meaning to ask you something, mummy.”
We’d left the row that stocked liquor. We were now in the one that stocked chocolates and such. I picked Faides’ favourite, Dairy Milk. “You know you can ask me anything, baby girl.”
Faides swallowed. “How come I don’t have a father?”
How do I answer this one? “Um, Faides. I-”
I turned to see Monde headed our way. Did I mention she was now living in Lusaka too? Well, her husband and her now lived in Lusaka with their two adorable kids.
“It’s been ages since I last saw you,” Monde piped up. “Hi there, Fai.”
“Hello, aunt Monde.”
I had never been more glad to see anyone in my life cause Monde had just saved me some embarrassing moment. “Long time indeed, boi. You know my work keeps me busy and all that. So, what’s popping?”
“Nothing much, you?”
“Nothing. Just out spending some quality time with my Faides.”
“How lovely. Aha, Alicia, lest I forget. Have you heard our favourite author’s in the country?”
“You lie,” I said a little too loudly. “As in, the one and only Curtis L. Maliti?”
“Who else if not him? You know I only read his and Sidney Sheldon’s books and Sheldon’s dead so I’m obviously talking about Curtis. In fact, he’s hosting a book release tonight, at Protea Hotel. Alicia, are you sure you live in Zambia? Let alone Lusaka? Girl, this is old news!”
“Whatever, Monde. All I know is I’m going to that book opening come what may and I’m definitely getting Curtis’s autograph. This I promise you.”
There was so much ghost reading in the previous insert. Ghost readers, a simple like, reaction, tag or comment won’t kill you and it’ll definitely mean a lot to me so let’s motivate one another, please. And to those who drop feedback, I’m forever grateful.
TBC…. Please drop your comment thanks.