What up blood, what up cuz, what up gangsta…
According to Microsoft Encarta dictionary:
noun (plural gang·stas)
1. gang member: a member of an urban street gang
2. music rap performer: somebody who performs gangsta rap
I am of the second category!
Well I got arrested and now I might qualify to release a gangsta rap single like Fiddy up there ;-). It was the morning of Thursday of March 27th 2014, I woke up earlier than usual so that I could pick something at Muthaiga then head to work, killing two birds with one big stone ey? Well ladies and gentlemen oh wait am gangsta, I should speak like one! Well homies that was not going to be. It was one of those mornings I am upbeat without a care of the troubles in my life, you will notice these as I am unusually loquacious, I say hi to everyone I meet from strangers in the bus and guys at the bus stop well I may have exaggerated with talking to strangers at bus stop but I do smile and stare at the beautiful derrieres as we have conversations with the owners in my head, that counts as conversation right? So when we get to Muthaiga bus stop the bus passes and stops about 100 metres farther, this is Kenya that happens a lot. I look at the footbridge and decide am not walking my behind that far, after all the doctor told me that my BMI is 23, which is good, if you are wondering, yes I managed to lose weight and get to my target, one goal for the year achieved :-). Where was I? Yes, since my BMI is good I didn’t feel like sweating my ass going to take the footbridge when I could easily cross the highway and get to my destination faster. I see a guy cross the highway ahead of me and midway he stops and returns, my instinct was to follow him, but then again I brushed it off, you know that thing where you are told to trust your gut feeling? It’s completely true, never ignore it. I hop skip jump the first lane, hop skip jump the second, hop skip jump the third and get to the other side. Now, there were these two cops standing on the other side, probably the reason the other guy had gone back, but with my silly gangsta ass I went right ahead, you know how they say fools walk where angels fear to tread? I think they had me on mind when they said it.
You are under arrest!
There was this lady who was calling people, she calls me once I had crossed, I thought maybe she wanted directions so I go to her but my guts were telling me all was not right. When I get to her she tells me that she had crossed the highway like I had and had been arrested therefore I too was arrested, then one of the cops calls me and starts questioning, “What’s your name? Where are you from? Where are you going? Do you know you have broken the law? Are there no footbridges where you come from? But you live on the highway, you should know this! Mackel you are under arrest and we are going to lock you up, because we care(you care damn right, is all I thought to that, locking me up because you care? Yeah right, like my math teacher told me before she whopped my ass… some care this is).” And that was it! No one read me my rights or anything maybe that happens only in the movies. As he told four others and I to follow him to the police station, it never registered that I was really being arrested (maybe if he had cuffed us it would have), I thought they would tell us you are forgiven and we get to learn our lesson. As we got nearer the station I started persuading him, but this cop was not to be persuaded he had this smile, maybe he was thinking how cool his life would be if he just told people you are under arrest and they follow him un-cuffed without even an intention of running away maybe I should leave the cuffing part out to preserve my gangsta cred. He calmly tells me I can explain all that to the OCS when we get to the station, his partner was the quiet one following us from behind.
Locked up; Ignorance of the law is no defence
We get to the station and we all are clueless on our charges as we are made to stand in a straight file. They take our names and write on the Occurrence Book, then they start taking out valuables, this is where it hits me that am in shit and am not coming out easily! We are then herded to the cells, I wonder how we are going to be locked with ladies but I find that it has a partition for male and female arrestees. The cell is fairly clean, it seemed to have been recently washed, there were blankets where people slept, some two crates on the common room, two rooms which I guess are for hardened criminals and then the corner which serves as the bathroom. When we get in the cell, the cop who is locking us up asks us if we know what we are up for, we say no. Seems the smiley cop, knew this and wanted to surprise us by keeping us in the dark on what was coming all the while he was arresting us. This new cop tells us that we would be booked to appear in Milimani law courts in the afternoon or the following day and answer our charges, if any of us had KES 5,000 bail we could be let go and appear in the court, if not we would have to wait till we get to court and then hear what the magistrate would determine of our cases. He asks if we had the money, none of us had, plus the month was at that time when you are dead broke just anticipating the next pay cheque. He asks if we had informed any of our people if we had got arrested, still none of us had, in his head he must have been wondering what kind of daftness this was, I think we were on level 99 of daft. He tells us to call family and friends and tell them that we’re arrested so they can come and bail us out, alternatively they can send the bail via Mpesa and we would be let go. He goes and brings us our phones and then leaves.
The time then was 9.31am, I call my boss to let her know I would be late, she asks if there is anything she can do to help, but the gangsta in me is just calm throughout the call, “I am good, I will sort this out, I will keep you updated, thank you, bye”. Now that I had work sorted it was time to seek the bail money. I call our neighbour who is a cop back at home who promises to send someone over (see how good it is to know and keep good relations with your neighbours? The reliable ones not the good for nothing ones!? Well he sort of owed me and what better time is there to remember that a dentist owes you than when your tooth begins to ache right? Because then he is the best suited person to sort you out, yes?) I then call my cousin, who just laughs at me and we laugh about me being behind bars, the laughing helped very much W(I understand women may not comprehend it, but men have weird ways of showing empathy! Very weird ways!!. I don’t want to get my mom worried, so I keep procrastinating as I think of what to tell her, heck I even went and took a leak on the bucket that served as the loo, I just had to do it just to get the feel, you know? That was so gansgta, peeing on a bucket, weh! I finally decide it would be better if she knows, the sooner the better; I always demand people keep me on the loop on issues that may affect us (me and them) I should be able to do the same too and let her know that her son is gangsta haha. As I guessed she is a bit worried, well more worried than I was, I seemed somewhat indifferent, being in that cold room didn’t scare me like I thought it would, see told you I was gangsta. She calls two of my reliable cousins who in turn call me and within a few I get MPesa texts with bail money. Now one of my uncles has a funny bone and asks why I should waste such a huge amount of money, I should just wait till I get to court and defend myself maybe the fine would be less, I laugh it off and tell him he doesn’t know what he talks about; being the only one who peed on the bucket I didn’t want to be the one to do lavatory cleaning duty haha, I hear it is assigned to one of the arrestees. Yeah yeah, I know I got it dirty; I should also clean it yes? They should try to make the loos better, it is 2014 for crying out loud, but going by the living conditions and quarters of the cops I guess better loos for the police cells is the last thing on police bosses agenda.
I make new friends in the cells, we talk till all stories get finished. We all muse how we should have run away from the cops, however I am not sure how prudent that would have been and since the cops had Kalashnikovs hanging from their necks. I don’t know if they can shoot a minor offender but I was not about to try to see, if they had just batons we could have engaged in a game of “who can sprint faster now”. One guy who had been in there for two days had a Nakumatt paper bag on one leg, they had taken one shoe, he tells us that we would also have to give up one shoe if we decide to stay, I couldn’t imagine my feet on the cold floor full of black ants, because of breadcrumbs from the previous arrestees breakfast. Everyone becomes a comrade when you get behind bars, if you don’t talk and keep away from feeling sorry for yourself you might get too overwhelmed by the self-pity which can make you go crazy.
11.59am I hear my name being called, apparently my neighbour had come through for me and I was let out of the cells. As I am leaving the OCS asks to see me, in my mind am thinking “what now, I hope he doesn’t refuse my bail and return me in there”. He is a nice gentleman who asks for my name and what I do, he goes on to tell me that he got tired of accident cases involving pedestrians crossing the highway instead of using the footbridges erected for that purpose. “You know Mackel, you are human made of flesh and blood, you cannot compete with a metal cruising at 100 km/h, if you survive you may never be normal again” He tells me I should tell people not to ignore the importance of the footbridge. I promise to spread the message, well when I get enough money for studio time I will release a gangsta rap single and become a one hit wonder like MIMS of this is why am hot fame. You can contribute to this kitty via PayPal or my Mpesa account number… And I will release my behavioural change motivated rap single just like T.I did after getting out of jail.
When I got to work at 1pm I was given leave, which I didn’t take, because had I come home I would have started with the self-pity, I worked through the afternoon and by 5.00pm I had forgotten about the events that transpired that morning. My mother, my boss and a few other ladies probably won’t understand my refusal to take leave, this being something small I didn’t feel the need to.
Thankful that I got arrested!
One thing has changed for good now, using the footbridges comes instinctively rather than choice, I will alight at the designated bus stop and walk all the way to the footbridge regardless of how tired or how far it seems, no more shortcuts for me.
Friday 4th as I was heading home, we encounter jam near Ngara, as we pass what is causing the Jam, we find out that a young man had got hit as he tried to cross the highway and had died on the spot and the police were trying to evacuate him. On the back of my mind I was thinking “that could have been me”, I said a little prayer for him and thanked God for letting me get arrested, because Two hours and Twenty eight minutes in that cell is serving as lifelong lesson to choose life, not to hop skip and jump on the highway since no human body can compete against a car body made of metal, plus no matter how good they are, human spare parts will never beat the original. This I should have learned since my mother has a piece of metal through the bone marrow holding the bones of her leg together and cold weather isn’t the best times for her same with extreme hot weather; if you did basic physic you know how metal reacts to heat and cold… All am saying is, be safe, love your life enough to want to preserve it, choose to live! Walk that distance, use that footbridge and be safe.
My good friend Chiry thinks I should have been arrested on Friday afternoon, stay the weekend till Monday for court then I would be a certified G with a Gangsta diamond mark of authenticity, hahaha. For now am good being an uncertified G, watch out for my Gangsta rap single coming out soon…
BE SAFE HOMIES, PEACE!