ZAMBIA: From CAUGHT to COURT.

Gordon went to court a couple of times. His lawyer got him off the assault charge, but he was rearrested for attempted murder; something to do with firing the Uzi, but he was not too worried about that. He thought it could be proved that he was a very competent shot and if he had attempted to murder anyone, they would be dead.

The P.I-ed Englishman got his new passport and was successfully deported.

My fortnight dragged by slowly. The food was awful because everything was cooked in rancid fat. I palled up to the cooks, borrowed a little pot and boiled whatever offerings I could get, which was usually rice and beans, sometimes some cabbage and occasionally a one-inch cube of beef which was so tough, it was hardly worth the bother. Rice was a dietary requirement for Europeans and Indians, while Africans got nshima (stiff maize porridge).

I had long interesting chats to some members of the Opposition Party who had, of course, annoyed Kenneth Kaunda at some stage. African politics…

In the second week, I was summoned to the office. With apprehension, I went. There was a young wannabe lawyer there, offering his services to represent me. He said he needed the practice. He suggested I change my plea to guilty as there would, in all likelihood, only be a fine, if he did his job properly.

At last, the day came. The cells at the court house were so crowded that nobody could sit down. If I had fainted, the press of bodies would have prevented me from falling. The loo was a hole in the cell floor in one corner. One got used to the stench, eventually.

 My case was quickly dealt with. My attorney did his thing; said I was sorry, was drunk, was stupid, never do it again, learned my lesson, etc. I was given a five-pound fine and had to remain in custody until the end of the session. The only problem was, I didn’t have five pence, never mind five pounds.

The lawyer-fella said he’d pay it for me, then. I asked what I owed him for representing me and I would send it to him. He said, another five pounds, but I could see that he’s just mentally kissed his money goodbye.

I was told that I could get some police transport but I was too excited to wait. I walked away from the courts, whistling. There was a young woman pushing her pram along the pavement. I wanted to go and shake her and share my news.

Free! I’m free!

And the birds were singing so loudly, too.

Hitch-hiking from the edge of the city, I passed the prison, laughing and waving it goodbye. My lift must have been worried, but he took me all the way to Kafue. I stood outside the Robin Inn and raised my thumb again, hoping the owner would make an appearance, so that I could raise a finger, but as I had seen him in court, looking sour at my light sentence, he may not have returned, yet.

Fraser Blake

When I crossed the border at Chirundu, Rhodesian Immigration Officer, Fraser Blake, stamped my passport R/R, which was Returning Resident. If it had been a certain other individual, that one would have declared me a Prohibited Immigrant. So he had been telling everyone at the post.

(I was to spend a couple of nights as a guest of Fraser Blake’s three years later in Manchester. Good bloke.)

Back in Salisbury, after some deliberation, my superiors decided not to fire me, but send me to Gilberts Gin Distillery as an Excise Officer, if I still wanted to work for them. They helped me to send the lawyer his ten pounds, which, because of tight foreign currency controls after U.D.I, was not normally allowed. However, I decided to go home.

I had written to my parents from prison. My dad had gone to Pretoria to see if there was anything the Government could do to help me, but South Africa had no consul in Zambia, then. When I asked my mum if she had been worried, she said no, the letter had been so cheerful and interesting, she thought there was nothing to worry about. She kept that letter until she passed away in 2009.

A couple of months later, I read in a newspaper that Gordon had been released and P.I-ed back to Rhodesia.

The lawyer wrote to say that his faith in humanity had been restored.

About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 4 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom' and 'Medicinal Purposed Only', all from Southern Africa.
This entry was posted in Backgrounds, developing characters, Shaping a writer, Writing novels and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ZAMBIA: From CAUGHT to COURT.

  1. Nigel Rollo says:

    A couple of my buddies got to do a bit of time in Lusake, one of them in a cell at Makeni Police Post, next door to where I was to live for 6 years, accused of spying! He too was released after a couple of months.

  2. peterjearle says:

    Thanks for that! Do you think we should start an “OldBoys Club’?

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