By Ted Malanda
Our flats have the craziest of watchmen. Last week I got home at 9pm and the chap was snoring like a tractor.
I flashed my lights, but that wasn’t enough to rouse him from stupor. I honked gently, but that only deepened his snores.
Because I was also impatient to crawl into bed and frighten the frogs in the pond behind my house with my snores, I stepped out of the car.
It took me a bit of time to open the gate because I had not spent the evening drinking water. But as I fiddled with the lock, my heart kept thumping against my ribs.
I was half expecting a band of armed men to spring out of the darkness and say, “Money or your life.” I had no money, which meant I would have had to part with my life — something I’m strongly opposed to.
But when the gate creaked open, the watchman jerked awake, rushed out of his cubicle and ‘swung into action’ towards me.
In between musing how a married man can fall into deep slumber on a broken plastic chair with three legs, I realised I was now more frightened of him than of thugs. There is nothing as dangerous as a sleepy coward armed with a rungu.
The next morning, I crept out of my house at 5am and true to form, the watchman was still snoring away. Once again, I, his employer, ended up opening the gate.
As I drove off, it occurred to me that the watchman has, like some civil servants, a dream job — he merely turns up.
Not that I blame him. At the wages I assume he is paid, he would be a damn fool to die for me. Put differently, I would forever hold him in contempt if armed carjackers pounced on me at the gate and he rushed to my rescue and ended up stopping a bullet.