Authors: Casey Christie
“Then why did we arrest him? But anyway he will go to jail for assault so he won’t be able to hurt her any more. She’s safe now. We saved her. And we arranged the WAG people for her. She should be thankful.”
“She won’t press charges. We will, as the State. But then she will bail him out. We will be back there again and perhaps one day we will find one of them dead or dying.”
“So then why did we even get involved?”
“Because we were called. Our job is to maintain civil order. In the moment, when we are called.”
“Then who cares? Why do we care?”
The Black Bastards were quiet. None of the men had the energy or desire to explain any further.
The police radio came back to life.
“Any November Whisky vehicle for an 11 Alpha in Waverly come in for Control.”
Sergeant Night answered the call. “Send for November Whisky 50, Control.”
“Thanks November Whisky 50. We have a report of a couple fighting at the back of a property in Waverly, 76 Argyle Street. The home owner has called it in saying that her domestic worker is fighting with her boyfriend. Please respond” said Lisa.
Night started laughing. Constables Shaka and Stanislov also started to laugh.
“What’s a 11 Alpha? What’s so funny guys?” asked Dlamini.
“Night’s girl tricked us! She gave out the call as a fighting in progress when she knew full well it was a domestic dispute. And she knew we wouldn’t respond to another one. Haha.” said Stanislov.
“Did you copy my last November Whisky 50? Did you get those details?” asked Lisa.
“Roger that Control. We are en route” said Night.
Night was in no mood to argue details with Lisa. He was already in mediator mode anyway and thought the domestic violence calls were good learning exercises for his student. He knew from his own experience and that of all the male students that he had taught that empirical experience in the realities of dealing with situations of domestic violence was an absolute necessity. He knew that Dlamini would want to charge in and beat up the man in defence of the woman. As he once wanted to. As all the young male students did, it’s a natural male instinct, for good men anyway. But that will all change, Dlamini will learn that even the man can be the abused and battered one. And that even if the woman is the victim she will most likely still defend her abuser from being brought to justice. And will very likely physically attack the police if she gets the opportunity.
“Kitchens and frying pans Dlamini, always remember to watch out for kitchens and the frying pans” said Night.
November Whisky 50 broke on scene to the 11 Alpha call seven minutes later. 76 Argyle Street in Waverly was a high walled white mansion. The owner of the property, a housewife, a white woman in her late forties, immaculately dressed and well groomed, opened the electronic gates for the police vehicle and ushered the men inside.
She explained that her maid, Beauty, had been drinking all morning with her boyfriend, Philemon, and that they had been arguing loudly in her small one bedroom flat at the rear of the property. She had heard glass breaking and she was scared for the safety of her two poodles which she had locked inside the house.
“They are at the back, through there. Just get them to stop and get off my property! She can come back when she’s sober. I don’t need this nonsense in my life! Bloody people, it’s impossible to get good help these days!” said Mrs Corbett.
Sergeant Night led the way down the narrow passage between the house and the property wall, through the garden and past the washing line with clothes hanging from it from the previous night. As they approached they could hear the sound of local Kwaito music playing from a small radio. Night saw blood on the floor and a broken beer bottle next to a man and a woman who were sitting quietly on large upturned cleaning buckets listening to their music. The woman was in her early thirties, she wore a typical South African maid’s uniform, pink in colour. Her eyes were glazed over from the consumption of alcohol and her face was battered and bruised, blood dripping from her nose. Not that it seemed to bother her though as she took another swig of her drink and greeted the approaching policemen with a superb African smile.
The man sitting next to her looked a lot worse. He was of roughly the same age and was wearing blue jeans with no t-shirt. His head was caked in blood that ran onto his bare chest. A pool of it had formed at his feet. He too didn’t seem too bothered and was sucking hard on the end of a large joint. He looked up and saw the officers and nearly choked on his smoke. It burnt his lips, he jumped to his feet and the joint fell down his chest and into his loosely fitting pants. He skipped around in a panic trying to remove his denims. The woman laughed loudly and rolled on to her side from the effort of laughing so hard. Night grabbed a hose pipe that lay nearby, instructed Dlamini to turn it on and he watered the man down who gratefully fell at his feet and enjoyed the cooling feel of the water against his body.
“Thanks Baas!” said Philemon.
“No problem my friend. See, dagga is bad for you my man.”
Constables Shaka and Stanislov grabbed a couple of garden chairs that lay nearby, reversed them and sat down, apparently looking forward to hearing the couple’s story. All they needed were some large sugary beverages and a fat box of popcorn.
“Beauty, what’s going on here hey?” said Night.
“Hello Baas, we are having party! It’s my birthday! You want some beer Inspector?” said Beauty as she offered Sergeant Night some beer from her quart bottle.
“No thank you I am working. Happy Birthday Beauty.”
Night walked over to where Philemon was now sitting on the floor with his legs flat against the ground in front of him. He noticed that Philemon had a large, open wound at the top of his head. Night could see some brain matter at the bottom of the exposed injury.
“Control, November Whisky 50.”
“Send for Control, November Whisky 50.”
“Ja Control, this Domestic is positive. Please send an ambulance, I have one Bravo Mike with a head injury and a battered and bruised Foxtrot.”
“Roger that Sergeant. Will do.”
“What happened to you my friend?” Night asked Philemon.
“Ah nothing baas, I’m just enjoying!”
“I hit him with my beer, you see, that one on the floor” said Beauty as she pointed to the broken bottle of beer on the ground. “I hit him nicely. Pow! On top of his head. Hehe.”
Night looked across at Dlamini who seemed confused and stood silently for once, just watching and learning.
“And why mama, did you hit Philemon with your beer bottle?” asked Night.
“Ehe, of course because he was beating me!” answered the domestic worker.
“Is this true Philemon were you hitting Beauty?”
“No baas! She is liar. I was only disciplining her! Because she didn’t want to give me beer! Stupid woman” said Philemon.
“And how were you disciplining her Philemon?”
“Of course I was not beating her with my fist. Open hand like this.” Philemon demonstrated by slapping himself across his own face. “Pow, you see. I was being a man and showing the woman I am boss! I wasn’t beating her like that, in the bad way my baas, only disciplining.”
“Ah, In the good way hey Philemon?” said Night.
“Ja exactly baas. You see, you are a man, you understand.”
“And then she hit you with the beer bottle on the head? To defend herself?”
“Yebo baas, she beat me.”
“Nice work Beauty!” said Stanislov.
“And now is everything okay with you guys, everybody happy?” asked Night.
“Ja, it’s fine now. It’s okay. I can deal with this man, he is too skinny. But the Madame called you I think hey Inspector?” said Beauty.
“Ja Beauty, exactly. She wants you to leave her property for now. But you can come back later when you have finished your party. I have an ambulance on the way. I think they should look at Philemon’s head. The glass from the bottle has cut deeply into his skull.”
“Ah, it’s okay baas, I’m okay. I just need another beer and I’ll be okay baas” insisted Philemon.
“Okay that’s fine. But first I need you to put a t-shirt on Philemon and then the ambulance can check you out and fix your head and then you and Beauty can go party at your place, do you have a place Philemon?”
“Ya baas, in Alexandra but my wife is there so we can’t go there” said Philemon who was now stumbling to his feet apparently looking for his shirt.
“Ja, don’t go there then Philemon. Then you will have a real problem” said Shaka who got to his feet and walked over to Steven Dlamini and slapped him playfully on his shoulders, almost knocking the young student off his feet.
“This, my young friend, is why we don’t want to deal with calls for Domestic Violence. It’s a waste of our time!”
Constable Shaka turned to Constable Stanislov. “Come my friend, let’s eat. I am starving! Mike if it’s okay with you we will take the vehicle and get some food, man I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!”
“Ya, that big one probably could eat a horse” said Beauty who shot the Zulu warrior a playful wink.
“Mama, now you listen to me. You are lucky that my Sergeant is dealing with you today. If it was me I would take you both by the neck and throw you out of this house so that I can continue doing real police work. I have no time for this nonsense. Next time if we ever have to come back here I will ask my Sergeant for permission to deal with you my way, the African way and I promise you I will show you what disciplining is all about…” said Constable Shaka.
Philemon cut across the police Constable and stumbled toward him.
“Hey wena, fuck you, you bloody stupid! Don’t talk to my woman like that. I will…”
“Here we go” said Stanislov.
CRACK! The sound of the policeman’s almighty PoesKlap reverberated around the property’s garden walls and a flock of birds took flight from a nearby tree. Philemon froze mid stride as the slap made impact, his eyes rolled back into his head and he fell forward, the ground rushing up to meet him. But Daniel Shaka bent down and allowed Philemon’s body to fall over his shoulder. He then heaved the man up and stood straight up on his feet once more, Philemon lying across his great shoulders like a limp sack of potatoes.
“All right Zulu, take the man outside and leave him on the pavement, Dlamini will stay with him until the ambulance arrives while I wait for Beauty to collect her things and we lock up here . You and Stani go get some chow… what are you going to get anyway?” said Night who just realised he was also hungry.
“I need some Chicken Licken man, some spicy wings…” said Shaka.
“Is everything okay out here?” Mrs Corbett had come out of her house to investigate what she thought sounded like a whip being cracked. She had a white Maltese Poodle under each arm. They were both growling.
Night realised how absurd the whole scene must have looked to an outsider peering in. Here were four police officers, one of them a giant who carried an unconscious semi naked man on his huge shoulders. One of the other policemen sat on a garden chair with a fully automatic assault rifle in his hands. A young student constable stood silently, bemused by what he was seeing. A domestic worker sat on a bright yellow bucket in a pink uniform happily drunk and stoned, smiling from ear to ear. The Sergeant in charge of the whole scene was talking to the colossal policeman who carried men around like a gentleman would carry a suit jacket over his shoulder on a hot day, and they were speaking about Chicken Licken and the day’s lunch.
“Hello Madame.” said Beauty.
Night spoke: “Everything is fine here mam. Beauty is just going to collect her things and lock up here and she and her friend will be leaving for the day. I have called for an ambulance to look after Beauty’s friend, which we will do outside, but they will both be fine… so you can go back inside mam, everything is in order and under Control.”
Mrs Corbett went back inside her house. Constable Shaka took Philemon outside and gently laid him on the pavement grass. Philemon, now conscious and considerably more sober, apologised to Shaka for his bad behaviour and threatening words. The ambulance arrived quickly so November Whisky 50 waited together for the paramedic to examine Philemon before going to get the lunch. Philemon had refused medical treatment even after the medic had stuck a gloved finger into the wound and pulled it out showing Philemon just how deep it was -The medic’s index finger went joint deep into the wound.
“We can’t just leave him like that?” Dlamini had said.
“Yes we can, as long as he signs this refusal to receive medical attention form” Stanislov replied.
And so Philemon declined any assistance from the state ambulance insisting that all he needed was another beer. The police officers gave the couple a lift in the double cab prisoners’ cage at the back of the vehicle to Louis Botha Avenue on the border of Alexandra Township and Sergeant Night issued them formal pocket book warnings to not assault each other in the future, which Night suspected they would end up doing anyway.
After much deliberation the hungry men had decided to eat at the Dolls House in Highlands North. Night would eat a burger and chips. Stanislov was on a diet and had only a salad, which he was teased about. Dlamini and Shaka had chicken, Constable Shaka ate 37 spicy chicken wings. Still well under his record of 60 in one sitting.
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
Thirty minutes later and November Whisky 50 were back on the road and on the beat. They were patrolling down Grant Avenue in Norwood. Student Constable Dlamini was asking his field training officer why they even bothered getting involved in cases of domestic violence if they didn’t arrest anyone or the person that they did arrest would just get out of jail a little later and be able to do it all again --usually bailed out by the very person they were arrested for abusing in the first place.
“Our job is not to arrest people Steven” said Night. ”Our job is to maintain order and keep the peace. In South Africa we are luckier than a lot of our colleagues around the world, especially in first world countries like England, because we have a certain amount of discretion that we are allowed to employ while carrying out our duties as Law Enforcement Officers. Yes Beauty and Philemon had both broken the law, so to speak, but our complainant was neither of the two. The person who phoned the police was the landlord and she was not complaining about the assault taking place and not looking to press charges for these reasons. She only wanted Beauty and Philemon off her property and that is what we achieved.”