When people find the word “busted” anywhere in their line of sight, like say, while they take an easy Sunday stroll and bam, it’s there seated on a rock eating bananas, they start panicking and open conversations with the word.
“Shit! Who sent you?”
“Your wife. She knows.”
“Shit shit shit SHIT! What should I do?”
“I don’t know, man. I’m just a word.”
But I’m not here to talk about that level of busted. That’s some indomitable, manic, weed-infested, kumanyirious, hot iron, charcoal stove, chocolate milkshakey, coffee and tea leaves…level.
My level of busted is typically Ugandan. No, not the I-tripped-and-accidentally-had-sex-with-the-house girl level. We’re taking this one to the road, also known as getting busted by traffic cops, Ugandan style.
So I got busted, as has already been established by the smart folk in the audience (Government people are encouraged to read at least four more times) for driving under the influence of zooming past a zebra crossing.
These six guys on a pickup truck stop me, then one of them walks over, enters the car and asks me for my driving permit. I politely tell him no, I’m not giving it to him because I left it at home. Inside my left jacket pocket, I can feel the permit poking me on Facebook like, “Duuuude! Smart!”
The cop insists that I should produce it now now or go to jail and I insist I swear upon the living things on earth, the permit is not here with me. Ask it. He then reads me my rights. “I can take you to police right now, my friend,” he declares and pulls out the police penalty book, a dilapidated Picfare exercise book in its retirement age.
I immediately know he’s bluffing and just wants some money to go out with the boys. I ask him if he wants some money and he gets unnerved. “Do you have a recorder? Are you a reporter, my friend? Are you a policeman?!”
I tell him no, I in fact work for… ”But why do you ask me such things in public like this?” he cuts in, before lowering his voice. “Now me am a good person. Even in the police where I work they know it and they thank me. So am going to let you go. But…why don’t you first speak English?”
I use the driving mirror to look at my tongue and check which language I’ve been speaking this whole time and my mouth looks Englishy. So my superfast ninja thoughts correct me that he’s in fact referring to money.
A panicky cop who reads me the wrong rights and uses a Picfare book to charge me? He doesn’t deserve to get paid. It’s a Sunday and I have all the free time in the world, save for my date that’s waiting for me.
So I ask him to please help me and arrest me chapchap so I clear my fine and go home to my aged mother who owns the car and needs to be picked up. We drive to the nearest police station while he insists he wants me to speak English.
I give him the phone to talk to my aged mother (Played by a very good friend whose career in acting is yet to kick off) and my mother convinces him that my good boy is telling the truth, sir. The cop lets me go after making a promise that I’ll call him for a drink some time.
At which point I reach my word limit and pose the question, “Is the patrol police supposed to stop people for traffic offences?” Love, an ignorant traffic offender.