Breakfast in Jail.

Most of my cell mates were up already and talking in hoarse voices. This was probably because of the cold cell. I was in a worse situation and I was scared I would get some bad respiratory infection courtesy of this cold. For hours with a shirt only, I was on that cold and damp floor. I was scared of other things as well. I had held all my body excretions for the longest time ever and I was sure I would go into toxic shock or something. Holding number one and two together was not easy… trying to act hero and proud that I could not ask the door to be opened for me to take a leak at least.
We heard footsteps and the cell went silent. The loud clanking of the metallic door echoed in the room as the door was unlocked.
“Wapi walevi wangu?” asked the officer.
Arrested man and cop, Officer arresting manThe now sobered up guys arose and followed the cop. The two last tenants of the cell were still fast asleep. I wondered what they had taken. He closed the door behind them, escorted them to the common area, and told them to wait for him there. I then got back to my corner. After several minutes, Ndung’u from last night came and opened the cell.
“Wapi mwizi wa gari?”
*Silence* but I knew it was me he was looking for and I decided to just sit there and act dumb.
“Kip!” “ile mkora ya jana ya jeshi ilikuwa inaitwa nani?” Shouting towards the occurrence desk, which was directly ahead of the corridor.
“Itana Maina! Ataitika!” “Ama Kikosi” followed by a mocking laugh.
“Habari ya asubuhi?” I asked him
“Yangu utaweza kweli? Eh!” He responded. “Kuja basi tumalize hii maneno yako!”
I was led to the common area, limping after him. My joints creaked from the cold and awkward positions on the hard floor the night before.
“Wewe sasa unatakaje?” “Ongea na sisi vizuri”
“Kuongea vizuri aje?” “Statement niliandika jana imetosha kwa sasa.” “Hio kuongea vizuri ni yako!”
“Ata simu hautapiga?”
“Nipigie nani na mbona?”
“Kesi yako ni kubwa kijana. Rudi huko ufikirie tukingoja OCS!”
I led the way to the cell. It is not that I did not know what they wanted and what ‘talking nicely’ meant. I knew he wanted me to butter him, which I would not do. I did not even have money on me even if I wanted. As anyone ever been through a Kenyan Police station knows, it is never that easy. That is if you are part of the hoi polloi like I was. I detoured to the toilet that was at the corner of the corridor, just next to the men’s cell. I was so relieved. A short call once eliminated, I would hold No. two for as long as possible.
Man in Jail, jailA few minutes after I got back to the cell, tea and bread came through for the remaining state guests. I was hungry and cold. The sunrays that managed to penetrate the common area had warmed me up a little bit, but I still needed that heat, that came from food or just something warm inside. The tea was not all that, but I highly appreciated the government’s hospitality at the point. It was white unsliced bread with a hint of margarine on it. The last time I had unsliced bread was in 2013, or so I think. This was back in the day when we used to buy the hot loaves from the TuskysDeli at Tuskys Embakasi. I used to have a whole loaf, – whole meal that is, and a packet of milk, then head for night shift. This brought memories from back in the day, especially what happened after the loaf and milk had settled warmly in my belly. Sentry roles at the main gate.
I finished my share and I got to my corner. At some point, I thought of eating the share of the other two suspects with me but opted to make that decision later. At this point, I knew people might have started to get worried. My phone had been off for too long. There was another bang on the door and the other two inmates forced to wake up and dragged out of the cell. They did not even have breakfast! Wait, I did not pity them, I was dancing inside! More bread for me! Chance had just made the extra loaves decision for me. The guy who brought breakfast was not even a cop. A random person who I think just brings around the food for the inmates. He was the same one who brought the uncooked ugali yesterday – I know and I still pinched it severally. I needed it! I crawled to the spot where the breakfast had been placed on the floor. Just those few minutes and the tea had already gotten cold. I compressed the two pieces together and quickly ate them with the cold tea in one of the cups. I then thought to myself that I would tell whoever asks that they had already had their share only that they were too intoxicated to notice. Nobody asked.
For another very long period, I stayed in that cell alone. I cannot even remember what I was thinking about. Cannot remember the last time I washed my hands… but I still ate as if I was the cleanest chap out there! ‘Brace for the diarrhoea that will be coming our way young man!’ said an inner voice. But at some point I remember thinking how messed up my life was, or how foolish some decisions are. Who would have known things would turn out this way anyway? After a moment of internal self-harangue, the cell door opened again and another cop came through.
I stood up, followed him to the office we were in yesterday, and seated there in his fake majesty was Onkwani. At the back of my mind, I told myself ‘this clown should have died in his sleep last night!!!’ that was replaced with another thought! ‘Never again…!’
Call me a hate monger, or tribal but should I need to do business with a man again, I should not cross the border by too far. I could see the stereotype he attached to my case and hatred radiating from his eyes. This is the typical product of fed-and-drunk-belief that people from central region are thieves. That we do not like working hard but love money to the North Pole and back.
The police officer stepped outside and Onkwani was the first to speak. He was wearing a grey oversize suit that still had the labels on and black shoes ‘idiot, I said inside’. He had his legs crossed and his hands around his knees. I loathed his demeanour, which was so fake I wanted to kick him in the face. Trust me from my standing position, his wife would not have recognized him. That is if he had one. But then again this was a police station, and I did not have a shoe on my best foot. He spoke first.
“Young man! You should know this is Nairobi, and there are people of all types.”
“Your point?”
‘Seriously, what is the problem with this guy and the people of Nairobi? Did he just get here from Masimba?’
“Why would you want to steal from me?” “I have worked hard all my life, doing business humbly here and there only to meet you. I have never faced a cunning person as you.”
“Now that you have already become the Judge and the Executioner, how did I plan to steal your car? I paid you, right?”
“Noooo! Paying me is not the issue, your cover story is!”
“So when you look at me, top to bottom, you see a thief right?”
“Alright Onkwani, let’s see how this will turn out then.”
I was still standing there looking at him. My face is not a scary one, so scaring him was out of the question. Talking nicely was also out of the question. He was so full of himself and had issues of his own that he needed to let go. I being the medium of course. I let him have his field day.
“Maina keti chini, relax tutatue hii maneno!” said Ndung’u as he entered the office followed by two other officers.
‘Hmm, that was unusually polite,’ I thought to myself.


I took a seat. It was so comfortable and such a relief that I almost wheezed with pleasure. I haven’t had a decent seat in hours! 


Breakfast in Jail.

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