I exaggerate, guys. No one put me in handcuffs or punch me in the groin – but for a moment, it felt like a possibility.
So I’ve just gotten home from shags* and my mum, who stayed back, calls to say she didn’t carry her medication and I have to send it over. I’m game. All I need to do is stand by the road with the parcel, and this matatu* guy will pick and deliver it. Easy peasy, right? I thought so too.
There I am by the road, on my phone – believe it or not – reading a novel, waiting for the guys. They say they’re close. This green, unmarked police pickup drives by where I am standing and slows down. I look up, and this big-shot police guy is looking at me. I’m not worried; maybe I remind him of his daughter. Or maybe he’s just being a man. I couldn’t find my bra today, and the girls are just chilling, so maybe he’s a breast doctor, you know?
All is well with the world from this side. So I turn back to my book and forget about Mr. Cop.
About 10 minutes later, I get that feeling you get when someone is staring at you, so I turn to the suspect side, my left. Alas and behold, Mr. Cop has parked his car in the next corner and is honest-to-God staring at me. Now, as I said, I’m just from shags, so there’s really nothing eye-catching about me at the moment. I mean, I understand a single stare, but stopping your car? My girls aren’t even that big.
I’m starting to worry. But I don’t want to make any wrong moves, so I look back down. I wish the guys get here fast.
It’s him! He has driven by, right next to me! Now I’m about to pee myself.
How are you
Scared. Fine, thank you.
Where are you going?
Okay, he’s definitely not hitting on me. He’s all business, and I can tell because he’s not looking at the girls, not even a glimpse.
Nowhere really, just dropping a parcel by the road.
He is not saying anything, but his eyes look like they’re already picking out my cell.
You probably don’t know why I’m scared if I haven’t committed a crime – and I haven’t – so let me give you a back story.
Two weeks ago, some unidentified people terrorized residents in a residential area close by. Local gossip says they even killed two people. The only description the witnesses could give the police was ‘they had dreadlocks and escaped to Six Street*, which is where I live. So since then, local law enforcement has been rounding up anyone with dreadlocks, man or woman, taking them in for questioning, and shaving their locks. And guess who decided she wanted dreadlocks early this year? And then decided they weren’t long enough, so got artificial dreadlocks too? Yep me.
I remember the first week joking with a friend of my mum’s, who has dreadlocks that are long and to die for. I was telling her, ‘they’re going to shave you and then mine will be longer than yours.’
We laughed; there was nothing funny about it now.
Okay, Mr. Cop grumbles and, alas again, drives into my compound! Now I’m shitting myself. I can’t rock bald. Have you seen my forehead? I’d never survive it.
10 minutes later, the guys come, and I hand over the parcel, all the while biting my tongue so I don’t scream and ask them to ship me to my mum too. I walk to the gate. This is it. Walk with confidence; look him in the eye.
I open the gate. This guy is not even subtle. I mean, he’s parked the car facing the gate, and he’s just staring at me. Can’t he pretend to be on a call or something?
I don’t want to look like I’m hiding my face, so I take off my mask when I get closer to our house. I really wish I’d tied these locks back. Then I do the only thing that feels natural, I ‘call’ myself.
I just gave out the parcel. They’ll bring it to you. Ahuh, ahuh, okay mum, bye love you.
I’m thinking, someone who loves their mum can’t be a criminal, right?
I ‘cancel’ the call and pass by the car. That’s when I realize Mr. cop has a partner cop in the car, who is also staring daggers at me. They look ready to call for backup, so I glance at the three homes before me, then slowly walk to the small back gate by the side. If you want me, you’ll have to find me. Good luck figuring which house I walked into.
Once I’m inside my house, I run over to the window, give my brother the short version of the story, then watch what could be my ride. Partner Cop walks out, stares at the small gate, and calls the guard at the main gate.
I want to say that the only thing that saves me is that I always say hi to the guard. Just today, I was telling him to share whatever meat was left from his Christmas. Anyway, I don’t know what he says to Mr. and Partner Cop, but they nod, point to my small gate, ask a few more questions, then get in the car and drive off.
Now I can actually piss. And not on myself.
I’ve not left the house since. I think I’ll let things cool off a little before I go wig shopping.
Shags* – Upcountry. (I could have just said upcountry but my African readers would have thought me a snob)😁
Matatu* – A 14-seater van used for public transport in the parts of Africa I’ve been to.
Shags* – You understand, right?
Six Street* – Name has been changed because I fear stalkers. Can’t even stand random visits from people I know.