So I am about to cook. The second time in two months. Last time I cooked twice in two months Ebola had not yet hit Liberia. Anyway, funds a depleting faster than I can acquire them so I really have to consider cooking more often now. I have decided to cook Spaghetti. Now don’t be fooled for one second – Yes I don’t cook, but boy don’t test me at all. My culinary skills are second to none when the meal to be prepared is Beans and generally I am quite a good cook (yeah I am my own judge), so I might as well get this cooking started. I just need to work myself through the fear of an impending arrest. Yes. You heard me right. ARREST. The last time I cooked (which was also a Thursday and Spaghetti), four heavily armed Police Officers came knocking on my door the next morning.
***note to self- get some foodstuff from wherever it is people get them from. There is nothing other than Spag and Garri in this house***
I had woken up late (late means 8/8:30 am) after the long night that had been ushered in by the first meal I had prepared in almost 20 months, and decided strangely to go outside to stretch my legs and get some fresh unelectrified air when I heard someone knocking. In two quick seconds I remembered a friend was to come pick up some files from my PC and she had said she’d come very early. So I dragged my drowsy self to the gate and for the next 5 seconds I wasn’t sure of what I was seeing. When I came around I acted like the INNOCENT citizen I am and lead the men to my sitting room.
Everything that transpired did in an animated way. It felt like I was in a cinema watching an unbelievable 3D movie. It was not until the cold wind, whizzing past the police van as it speed towards where I was later to find out was the State Police Headquarters hit me that I realised that I had been in a trance for a while and the wake up jerk I was expecting was never going to come. Shit was real. It fully dawned on me that my house had just been raided. It was not a movie, neither was it a dream. My flatmates were at the back of the van handcuffed and the not-so-strange jagged metal object that was pointing at any direction the potholed road directs it was not any of the two canes I had ceremonially kept as mementoes of my NYSC service year. It was actually a gun and we were heading to the station. Instinctively I tapped my pocket for my phone and then remembered it had been seized alongside my flatmates’. It was coming back to me…not only were our phones seized but also laptops, “shit…” I thought I never bothered to print any type of receipt for the laptops in my room. I shrugged a slightly as possible so that the rambling officers won’t take notice of my confidence. Too late. One turned to me and…”You what is your name???” he asked curtly. “Innocent” “Where you from???” “Sir???” “Which state you from” “Imo” I offered after briefly debating if I was to tell him my state of origin or my state of residence. The origin won for obvious reasons. Next he asked, “So wetin be your title for Alora???” “Sir???” I pressed him for an explanation of a word I knew the meaning all too well, because making the officers aware I knew what Alora meant was to bury myself deeper in a case I still didn’t know what it was woven around. At this point all my “sir”, “sir” was already making me feel like Brett from Pulp Fiction and I had no plan to end up the way he did so I took the initiative Brett never did and shut the hell up and thought of what might have prompted the question. My mind went back to the fuzzy raid. Yes, one of them had exclaimed when he asked myself and my two flatmates for our names and one of the flatmates produced the name “Chuks”. This must all be about him and the weed that was found in the sitting room. It is important I reiterate, I am Innocent. The weed belo…wait…what is smelling…damn…my spag.
Okay…I still have a dinner…back to my story.
The weed. The weed was the most implicating substance found in the house and yet my first redeemer. The officers had taken me back to the house to pick up some exhibits (just more weed) that they had forgotten on the centre table in the sitting room and by the time we returned, the other flatmate (not Chuks) had truthfully owned up to the officers that every single ounce of weed found in the house was his. I was relieved, but only slightly. A more senior officer had come (to whom the arresting/raiding officers lied to that they had search and arrest warrants for us) and he had started the first stage of interrogation. Please note. It is not like you see in the movies, be it Hollywood or Nollywood. After these interrogation, came the statement writing and no one had told us what exactly we were in for. I on the other hand had gleaned that it had to do with suspected cultist acts. It took Chika (the other flatmate) 3 hours to finish writing his statement and the god of mathematics descended on me and I realised that if we continued at that pace, I was definitely going to sleep in the cell room we had walked by and trust me it is not like the ones you see in Nollywood movies. Sheeeeet it was 19 times worse.
As God would have it, I know people who know people, who know people who know people who knew I was arrested. They had swung to action while we were impatiently waiting for Chika to finish his 3 hours of snitching or was it statement writing. I saw Lekan Osundina through the window and knew my blazing chariots had arrived and nothing was going to make me spend the night there. As if on cue Chika finished his statement and Chuks was called in to give his. Lekan had come along with someone else (names withheld) who is a high ranking member of the State Governor’s cabinet and the presence of family and friends of a detainee seemed to make the officers hasten up as my statement was taken almost simultaneously with that of Chuks but in different rooms. I won’t even go into the details of the statement or how the officer tutoring me on how to write a statement kept on forcing me to commit heinous grammatical blunders.
During the interrogation that then ensued – this time there was a much more senior officer there – I had tried to use my knowledge of the English language to excuse myself from completely telling on my flatmates and their ways of life (if the Police were one bit smart they’d know) because of the image of Riley that kept on popping into my head warning not to snitch. But the time came when I realised that all that “Don’t snitch” nonsense was for the screen and not the scenes. Boy oh boy, my flatmates had turned on each other and were singing louder than the twitter bird, so why the hell had I been employing evasive techniques??? I mean there was obviously no case against me. They wanted Chika for the possession of marijuana and Chuks for cult related activities. Also, Lekan had been called up to corroborate my story and his testimony was so spot on you’d think I was speaking to him through a Bluetooth headset, telling him what to say.
I checked the time. I was released after 9 hours of detention and after having the egbon Lekan had brought along sign for my bail on a form that said I was held as a suspect of cultism. That didn’t matter. My bail was free and I was the only person returning back from the station of all of us that were arrested. I was the only one who had the cherubs in flight watching out for me and fighting my battles. It didn’t matter that the whole day had gone to waste with me sharing a detention room with a couple of kids no older than 12 who had shot someone (presumably to death but accidentally). What mattered the most was that I had finally discovered that I had people watching over me.
I better eat this spag before it gets cold. I have a feeling I am not going to enjoy it. Not because of the likelihood of another arrest tomorrow – that some serious superstition shit – but rather because I might have put too much salt in it.
Hey, I’m still a great cook.