How did I end up here? she mused
Life indeed had proved itself the head rolling rollercoaster, the endgame of all rides. Her soiled hands were trembling so much that she was fearing she had lost grip of her sanity. She kept on fumbling with her glaringly empty ring finger in trepidation even as she stared in the crackling fiery flames. Her head was spinning so fast. She didn’t try to hold back her tears. She couldn’t if she tried. So while she was getting thrown into an already overcrowded
Maria police van for a second time that night, she held her head with her trembling hands and wailed a river all the way to the police station in the dead of night.
Hours following being bundled up aimlessly like a sack of potatoes, Pam couldn’t believe she was locked up in a holding cell. Miss-goody-two-shoes, never-broke-any-rules Pam, as her friend Jane had donned her. A square cell for her square self, how appropriate. She should see me now, she huffed. Finally got to tick off the wild card off her stoic bucket list.
The stench that enveloped the square inch pitch black cell was hot and pungent. The night darkness did little to guise the horrors. For one, the cell was overcrowded with a thronging mass of immigrant women and their multitude of children, some who were clutching to their mothers’ bare breasts as if for dear life and others crying out hoarsely. There were also the ones with the blankest of stares just zoned out. Those were the eerie ones that creeped Pam out, dead in the eyes and bony skeleton framework protruding, wanting to jump out of their coarse skins, looking like something off some horrific thriller series. They wouldn’t even be bothered with the raging flies and Lord only knows what other filthy insects crept about that persistently sought residence in their cracked feet and arms. If that wasn’t bad enough, the pit latrine next door whose door couldn’t be shut was the messy cherry on top, wrecking havoc on Pam’s senses.
Pam couldn’t tell if she was trembling from the biting evening cold or the freezing fright that threatened her on-edge sanity. Not only was she still reeling from a botched marriage by way of her philandering ex husband who couldn’t be bothered to step out of their matrimonial home before stepping out with her maid, she now had jailtime to add to her woes.
The thought of her 2 babies all alone and frightened in the house at night utterly depressed her. Her former maid had succeeded in leaving Pam with an unhealthy dose of Post Traumatic Disorder with regard to having a full time nanny, so she’d have a cleaning lady never so often but she juggled everything on her very able and stiff shoulders. Quite often, she was overcome with the desire to smoke a cigarette, a closeted vice that she had sworn to be done with enough times already. She supposed that was the only thing that would calm her nerves. Turned out all those legal shows she loved to binge over that had her believing that she was entitled to a phone call was just that – fictionary and imaginative TV tales. The potbellied askaris could give the rats’ ass that were scampering around about anything other than feeding their bellies with literally anything they could feast their shifty beady eyes on.
Desperation steadily gave way to building fury. Only in Kenya could you get apprehended because you ‘addressed the police disrespectfully’. All because she had been driving from Nextgen Mall at 8 pm where she’d gone to buy groceries for her children. No sooner had she joined Mombasa Road than a trailer had rammed into her causing her to swerve off the road and land into a ditch on the side of Mombasa Road. Typically, the driver of the trailer couldn’t speed fast enough escaping the scene of the crime, leaving a semi-conscious Pam in a blaze of soot, stranded, bruised and alone amidst a flurry of activities. Typical of Kenyans, a crowd was quick to form, some to satisfy curiosity most to rob you blind, accident injuries be damned.
Her entire windscreen had been smashed in and as a result, there was cut glass everywhere. Some taxi drivers had helped to hoist her up from her seat that seemingly had been stuck to her courtesy of the seatbelt that was now wrapped tight. Ignoring her pains, she had vehemently tried to trace her mobile phone to call for help and a towing service for herself. Fortunately, she had found her phone lying in the grass, in the nick of time too because some lad had been reaching out to it and acted suspiciously drunk, hollering about causing way too much ruccus than necessary before conveniently dissapearing in the thinning crowd.
The traffic police absolutely wasted no time showing up with their breakdown in tow. As loud as Pam got trying to explain that she wasn’t in the wrong and had a breakdown of her own that would cater to her vehicle, her car was already clamped and being dragged off. And that predictably would attract a sum of about Kshs 15,000
“What the hell is wrong with you people? Ni kizungu hamuelewi?”
“Mama leo utajua haujui kuongea” came the brute response from the askari in charge
That was definitely not how the high and mighty police want to be addressed by a mere mwananchi, especially a woman. The next thing she knew she was being cuffed and loaded into the police van with no care of whether she had just been hurt. And they confiscated her phone too
She was getting more and more agitated. She did not do well in confined small spaces. And mama bear was coming out in full swing
“We mathe acha kelele.”
“I need to get back to my kids. Please!” She was banging against the bars that held her back, forming the most vile of expletives. She morphed into the crazy black woman to her fellow women cellmates who were having a ball if their pointed hushed conversations were anything to go with
“Who are you all staring at?” She demanded to no one in particular before getting back to the business at hand – trying to shout down the building.
She was distraught and visibly shaking. But she was beyond caring. She was rattling against the metal bars holding her captive.
One askari finally approached her after a staright hour of screaming, crying and threatening all and sundry
“Mama toka nje.”
“Oh thank God! Finally,” she couldn’t wait to get out of that hell-hole she’d been in
“Chukua virago vyako na uende na kelele yako. Na bill ya breakdown usisahau”
She muttered only under her breath as she sped away.
She took an albeit expensive cab and arrived in the estate only to notice another hullabaloo in formation. What now? Her night just kept proving a new low every few hours. The entire block leading to her house was stark awake
“What is it?” She asked to no one in particular as she tried making her way to her house
“Kuna nyumba inachomeka.”
Oh dear God. She could feel it before she saw it
She rushed only to confirm her worst fears. Her house was burning down in front of her eyes. My children!
She was running to get in when she was held back by some strong arms. She reached close to her door when there was an explosion that burst open her front door and out to her feet rolled her ex husband’s decapitated head
Pam could only vaguely hear her being pointed at as a person of interest as her scream pierced the night