I still haven’t found a remedy for the inspector’s bedbug problem.
So, I’m excited when a nice man called Kicha tells me of a tree bark I should boil then pour the water on the bugs. Problem is, the tree isn’t found in the village. So, I go on a quest for it.
Outside the village, I meet Dr Kanzu, now permanently assigned the government doctor at the village. I tell him of my predicament. First, he laughs his head off, then he tells me the man’s name is not Kicha, it’s Kichaa, the village mad man.
It’s pitch dark by the time I’m walking back to Jiji Ndogo. And I’m feeling pretty stupid. How could I fall for a trick from an insane man?
But he didn’t look dirty or anything, I console myself. He was in a suit. Even had pens in his pocket.
As I walk home, I see something white floating a short distance away. I hurry towards it. It makes a clucking noise. What? A chicken? I recognise the clucking. Definitely a chicken. But a flying chicken?
I hurry some more. The chicken clucks again and flies faster. I run after it. If I’m going to tell anyone I saw a flying chicken, I’ll have evidence to prove it. The chicken is fast, but I’m faster. As I get closer to it, I hear heavy footsteps.
Probably just my own, I think.
I few feet from the chicken, I dive for it.
The chicken clutters away, but I fall to the ground holding something slithery, oily and very stinky. I curse myself for leaving my gun. What if it’s a dangerous animal? I feel around: a hand, a leg, a hairy torso, a bald head… It’s a naked man! So, the chicken had not been flying. A naked man was carrying it. I’ve heard of night runners, but in Jiji Ndogo? This is a first.
I haul the man to his feet.
“Who are you?” I demand.
He grunts but says nothing. I ask him again with the same result.
“Maybe you’ll talk when we get to the station.” I handcuff him. “Let’s go!”
A short distance away, we find the chicken.
“Get your chicken,” I order him. He picks it up and we proceed.
At the police post, I open the door and push my suspect inside. I order him to sit on a chair as I light our kerosene lamp. There is no electricity in Jiji Ndogo yet. I’m having problems with the matches. Probably because I am shaking like a leaf in a gale. I’ve never encountered a witch in real life.
Finally, I manage to light the lamp. I shine it on my suspect.
“Oh, dear Lord!” I cry out. “Inspector Tembo?”
It’s my boss. Completely in the nude, with a hen on his lap.
“What are you doing naked running around with a chicken?” I ask him.
He lets out a huge sigh.
“I really want to get out of this place, sergeant,” he says, “but I can’t get them to transfer me. So, I was talking to this guy and he told me there is a traditional way I could get them to approve the transfer.”
“It’s not witchcraft, it’s traditional,” he says, irritated. “All I had to do was lather my entire body with pig oil, grab Joseph and make one lap around the village perimeter. Sounded simple enough.”
“The chicken. His name is Joseph.”
“It’s not a ‘he’. She’s a hen.”
Inspector Tembo pats the hen. “Her name is Joseph.”
“And what’s the name of the man who told you this?” I ask, grabbing a pen. “I’ll arrest the bastard tomorrow.”
The inspector continues patting the chicken.
“I believe his name was Kicha,” he says.
Source: The Star