I summoned the courage to call the policeman this afternoon. I suffered the wait of four long ringing tones before he answered his phone.
‘Sasa.’ His hello was calm, the breathing from both of us measured. I sensed he had been expecting my call.
'It’s me – Mike,’ I replied, using the name printed on my bogus business cards. It’s also my homophobic best friend’s inconspicuous name, a contradiction that makes it easier for me to remember my necessary lies. A cheap thrill.
‘What are you doing tomorrow night?’ I asked, then without waiting for a reply, ‘Can we meet?’ It’s a technique I regularly employ; two questions in rapid succession to maintain ambiguity.
‘Sawa,’ he agreed in response to my last question. His voice had that gentle masculine resonance that is music to my ears.
‘Where?’ I liked this guy already.
I had still not decided on a venue. I doubted it but I had to ask whether he owned a car, just to be polite. He didn’t.
Then a bolt from the blue. ‘Pick me up,' he said. Just like that. ‘We can go to my place for a drink'. Bingo. Road to Damascus.
So we settled on me picking him up at 7.30pm tomorrow night at a street corner outside a bank. Just before we finished he added, ‘Niko poa’ which translates to he’s ok but which I interpreted as ‘I am cool, don’t worry’. We are after all in the country of Hakuna Matata.
Afterwards my over-active imagination started thinking that perhaps I had just triggered the sequence of my abduction, followed by torture and ending in death. But I also know that nothing ventured, nothing gained so I’ll take my chances. However if I don’t turn up here on Friday with an update then those chances are that I’m in some serious trouble.
At the moment I’m quite excited as to what tomorrow night brings. I am fighting conflicting interpretations – he said ‘my place’ – meaning his home or did he mean his local pub? No doubt I’ll rearrange this equation in my mind a few dozen times before the date.
Wish me luck.