By Musa Bah
Chrrp, chrrp chrip! Went the sound of the night creatures. You know what the Wolofs call Xaaji Guddi, when everything is quiet because people are asleep, the only sounds you hear are those of the crickets trying to make themselves heard as loud as possible, Aisha was stealthily moving into the store which sold cosmetics and other stuff. She was trailed by Amadou who had earlier used a sledgehammer to create an opening through which they could pass and do their deed.
This had become Aisha’s wont that she would seek to convince any of her by-the-side boyfriends to go with her and rob one of the stores around her residence in Kanifing South. She lived a flamboyant life which saw her as one who was elegant and wealthy. This picture though was false. She came from a poor family of honest and hardworking parents. Her parents, Alieu and Fatou, were simple people who prided themselves on honesty and integrity.
Everyone in the neighborhood respected Alieu Faal and his wife of twenty-five years. They had only three children and Aisha was the last born. She was advised to follow on the footsteps of Maimuna who was now happily married to Saja Bojang, a distinguished Member of the National Assembly. He loved his wife very much and did everything in his power to ensure that she never lacked anything. In fact, he did not stop there but went ahead to provide for her family and even pledged to pay the school fees of her sister, Aisha up to university level.
Aisha, though, had other plans. She had earned herself the unenviable name of Party Girl. She was always out to party and enjoy herself. She tricked any friend who got close to her into believing that she came from money. The amounts of money she took to school and the dresses she wore on non-school days convinced all her gullible friends that she was loaded.
She kept up appearances using the money she always got from Saja and her own sister who was also working at the Guarantee Trust Bank and was earning a good pay-cheque. They pampered her as they had thought that she was studious and will make them proud. They thought that with her access to books and the number of private teachers they provided her, she would come out with excellent results in order to attain university entrance. That was their intention for her.
She kept partying and living large, so to speak, and as a result, forgot her primary purpose of going to school. Her grades began going down and she started failing many of her subjects in school. Anytime they called her to address the issue, she was able to convince them that she was doing well; that it was only this teacher or that who had her in his black book and failing her.
“That teacher hates me,” she would tell them, ‘he always finds fault with whatever I do.”
As human nature dictates, people believe what they want to believe. And so it was, that she had them fooled every other time. When however the grade twelve results were released and Aisha could only show a result of one credit and one pass, the reset being fails, they washed their hands off her. She became desperate. She became recalcitrant and threw caution to the wind and became a bad girl openly. No more pretenses. She displayed her shamelessness as a badge of honour. She dressed like a street girl and went out at all hours.
Having lost her source of income, she had to devise ways and means of getting money with a view to continuing her flamboyant lifestyle. She started deceiving men and dating them to get their money. She succeeded in getting many respectable men to part with a lot of money and giving it to her. When she happens to have a married man – sugar daddy she called them – she would threaten him that if he does not give her money, she would go to his wife. Thus, she extracted money from them like this.
This method of getting money backfired one day when one man called her bluff and told her to go his wife and inform her of whatever she wanted. She lost her nerve and as such, the men understood her. That door was also closed. Her mind began working like a clock. One thing she did not want to do openly was being a working girl. She came up with the somewhat brilliant idea of dating boys who were courageous enough to break into people’s shops for her in exchange for sex.
On one such occasion, she tricked Amadou, a school dropout who hung around their house, into picking the lock of one store which sold cosmetics. As they were thus engaged and because it was near the house of Saja, her sister’s MP husband, and as fate would have it, he (Saja) happened to be passing by. He heard the noise from inside and came to verify what was going on. Haplessly, he entered the store only to have a gun pointed at him by Amadou, who thought that it was the owner. Saja did not see Aisha at first and just went on his knees pleading with Amadou to spare his life. Aisha came out from behind the counter only to face her brother-in-law.
There, Aisha screamed… they couldn’t tell whether it was out of shame or fear. Saja, Always the gentleman, tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. He told them to go home and pretend that it never happened. They went away and he called the police and told them that he had scared the robbers away but couldn’t describe them as it was dark when he saw them.
The police assigned Detective Inspector Musa Jallow, one of the shrewdest and most successful detectives in the country to investigate. The reason for choosing DI Jallow, a topnotch detective, was that the store belonged to a distant relative of the Minister of Justice. The minister was watching the case closely and DI Jallow was under pressure to deliver the suspects in the shortest possible time.
His investigations revealed that the MP knew more than he was letting on. Unfortunately, one of DI Jallow’s officers let it slip to the MP, that there was a CCTV camera in the store. When the MP heard about the CCTV camera, he sent Aisha and her minion-boyfriend to break in and retrieve it before it reached the hands of the police.
To be continued…