Saturday, 6 August 2011

How I defended a woman and lost my good name doing it

Okay, here's more or less what happened.

About a week ago, we moved out of our previous place due to it being sold and so on. Long story in and of itself, and not entirely relevant.

On Sunday past (31 July), my wife and I moved into a room in a flat around the corner -- literally -- on the invitation of the residents there, a couple we knew from before. Let's call them Mr S and Ms K. We'd helped them here and there, as and when we could. He's an unemployed blacksmith, she a full-time mother of their 2-year-old girl. She apparently suffers greatly from a hugely swollen ganglion on her hand. The appliances we brought with us -- a dishwasher and an automatic washing machine -- were a boon and blessing to the "poor woman" who struggled to handwash, what with the hand and all.

Things went okay for the first few days... they were both very friendly, though we didn't quite "get" them. We were soon to find out why.

On Thursday 4 August, I was folding some clothes in our room when I heard the sound of an argument rapidly escalating into a fight. Not only were there raised voices from the next room, there were sounds of repeated impacts and shouts of pain. I decided to investigate. At my knock on their bedroom door, mister S opened. He was wild-eyed and obviously upset. I asked him what was going on. He replied -- relatively incoherently -- that she (Ms. K) wouldn't go away or do what she was told. Throughout all of this, their daughter was crying madly.

Before I could even answer, he walked over to Ms K and started gesturing wildly. When one of his gestures turned into a raised fist, I asked him whether he'd raise his hand to a woman that way. He immediately started screaming at me to fuck off and to get out (of the room or flat, not sure which -- either way I wasn't exactly about to leave). The few minutes were a bit of a blur -- there followed a whole bunch of screaming from both the adults (ha! adult my ass) and a lot of crying from their poor daughter. When he picked up a chair and aimed at K with it, she threatened to call the police. At that, he ripped the phone from the wall and threw it across the room -- damaging the phone jack in the process, as we later found out.

I picked up the little girl from where she was sitting screaming with crying and carried her to "our" room. Having calmed her a little bit, I came back out -- S and K had in the meantime done a lot more screaming at each other, and some shoving around on his part before I re-emerged. My having called the police by now, S took off. I tried to keep things calm. The police arrived soon after. They took K's statement and asked her whether she'd like to open a case. She apparently decided to do just that; said he'd been doing this to her for years and that she couldn't take it anymore what with having a daughter and all. I wasn't called for, so I left them to it. The police were there for some time, then left. In the meantime, my wife arrived. We were all fairly nervous, not knowing what would happen. Later that evening, S came back in; K hadn't locked the front door (at the time I thought this was accidental, though I doubt that now). She yelled at me to call the police as soon as he entered, which I did. He left after grabbing some socks.

We were just starting to settle down when the police called me -- they were looking for the address. (New shift.) While still on the phone with the police officer, I stepped out into the street to wave the police down at the right place, I saw S just about 20 meters up the street. I informed the police about this and seconds later saw the car racing after him. For safety's sake, I retreated to the flat again.

Minutes later, to our great surprise, S and the police entered the flats' grounds. "Odd," I thought,
"surely he'd be on his way to the cells by now." When the police entered the flat, however, they didn't ask or tell K anything. Instead, they asked whether they could search our room and stuff. Being off balance, and not having anything to hide, I assented. The officer mysteriously went directly for my laptop backpack. To everyone's great surprise -- or at least mine -- they found a stash of dagga, exactly where (I learned later) S told them it would be. Convenient, eh? Of course, they'd heard the "I've never seen that before in my life!" defense a bajillion times before. They weren't buying the truth I was selling.

With little further ado, I was escorted to the Mowbray police station "to make a statement". (Protip: Cops lie.)

First, I was put in the basic lockup cell. No amenities, just a bright light. I lost track of how long I was in there for. (There's no clock to be seen from within the cell -- I'm sure this technique can be found recommended in every handbook, from KGB to CIA to SS.) My fingerprints were taken a couple of times. This was a blessing in disguise, as this would also be when I could visit the toilet and drink water. This would only become clear to me in retrospect. Waiting in the holding cell, time passed -- I'm unsure how much, but judging by bladder pressure it was two hours easily. My repeated requests to be allowed to use the bathroom met with much hilarity and obvious lazing about of the front desk officers. Eventually I was told that they couldn't let me use the toilet -- despite my being in serious bladder and kidney pain by now -- because "the person who is responsible for taking me to the toilet isn't here right now." It took me quoting from the paper they make you sign (the one with the rights of a detainee) -- a few times -- before they did anything about me. (One thing about that holding cell: it has excellent acoustics; my baritone was amplified wonderfully.)

About then, they decided they'd put me in a proper cell where I could go to the toilet "as much as I wanted". They confiscated my shoelaces, I was led to the back of the yard, made to grab some bedding, and put in a cell. I was almost pathetically grateful when they let me choose whether I wanted to share a cell or be alone. Choosing the latter, immediately hobbled over to the toilet and barely heard the slamming of the cell door over the sound of the tinkling metal toilet.

The bedding was surprisingly comfortable and warm... much more so than I expected. There being no pillow given, I worked out about a half-dozen ways my shoes could form a pillow. The lights stayed on all night; I was ever so glad I'd worn a hoodie for some portable darkness. The less said about that night the better, save that I slept better than I thought I would. Had I had any cell mates, though, I'm sure things could have been much different.

In the morning around 7AM, we were roused and marched into the main building. The other prisoner was put in the (now packed) holding cell, but lucky for me the detective working my case recognised me while outside on a smoke break. He took me up to his office to fill in some paperwork. Apparently I could either pay an admission-of-guilt fine and walk free, or I could choose to contest the case in court. My evidence of my own innocence being somewhere between thin and nonexistent, I chose the former. A (borrowed) R200 fine later, I had a criminal record and I was standing on the sidewalk with my shoelaces in my hand.

During the night, my wife returned to the flat -- only to find herself locked out. Wife-beater had returned and things seemed to be hunky dory between them. K called my wife "crazy" for wanting to take our stuff away. Thankfully she had brought a friend of ours along. Long story short, between them they got most of our stuff out save the bed, a few boxes, and the appliances. (These we fetched in the morning; that's a less exciting story. They were still using both these when I arrived to fetch them, though -- the audacity! -- and I took a certain amount of pleasure in removing the wet blankets and greasy plates from my machines before taking them away.)

Now we're staying with a good friend for a couple of days -- but we have to leave soon. Couchhopping isn't much fun if it's involuntary. We have a place to stay as of 14 August. Until then, I have to rely on friends' kindness.


  1. wow dude
    what a story... trying to do a good thing and get jailed for it... welcome to planet earth ;)
    and good luck with your current situation.

    1. Just started reading your blog Arno. I am so sorry this shit happened to you and your wife. Fuckers fuckers basterdly fuckers! Wanted to say though - I like how you write. I love your mind, how your writing flows and and your radical ideas.I am a real fan. Will create a twitter pseudonym to follow you tonight. Have and interesting article I want to share about the Yakuza clan's involvement in the Olympus corp. AND Winnie Mandela's involvement with the Capetown Jewish Mafia (cops drugs, daimond dealing and MORE!)

    2. Thanks muchly! Sounds like intriguing reading.