Thursday, March 7, 2019

Of Watchmen and their Bizarre Tales


Watchmen, or security guards for that matter, have emerged as a force to reckon with. With the insecurity on an upsurge countrywide, you're sure to find this cadre of employees in almost every building entrance. From public buildings to private homes, gates are nowadays manned by security guards with menacing eyes aided by four legs canines.

  The high and the mighty dreads stepping on their toes let alone pinching their noses or lecturing them on values of 'knowing people' lest they find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
  And like your maid, or house manager as has become the common term, who becomes an integral family member of your household, and who you can't easily dispose off with, the same is true with watchmen and security guards. In an era where everything appears contractual, your powers to hire and fire at will are greatly curtailed. Oral agreements are now admissible in courts as bidding as formal ones. Thus, you can't dispense 'casually' with this lot unless you're willing to part with an arm and a leg in termination settlements.
  And where crimes are committed, watchmen and security guards are usually the first suspects. In some cases, this is true and despite the ordeals they suffer at the hands of the thugs, everybody takes their stories with a pinch of salt.
  It doesn't take rocket science to realize that some corroborates with thugs and have minimal harm inflicted upon them to convince even the sceptics they were on the outlaws receiving end. Some, like Musikali Muthengi, can self inflict the harm upon themselves and advance a cock and bull story to their employees.
  In the book, 'A Good Different', Musikali recounts his days as a watchman in an Asian firm at the outskirts of Nakuru town. In his days, there were no security training firms like is the case today. It all required one’s steel nerves, bloodshot eyes and a grating authoritative voice to qualify. It mattered little whether one had a Papa Shirandula beer gut so long as one displayed a resolve to work.
  The mono-eyed pastor with a Free Area township church in Nakuru County recalls how, to endure the cold nights that were a contrast to the warm Mwingi ones in Kitui County, he'd carry beer to work. He'd conceal it in his person and spend the night drinking to 'fortify himself and steel the nerves' for any possible confrontations with thugs.
  In the book, the former watchman took one too many swigs of chang'aa (illegal brew) and passed out. When he awoke hours later in the numbing morning cold, his good eye perceived there was a gradual reduction of the pipes piles he was guarding. Thugs had made good use of his hibernation and carted away valuable pipes.
  Beer cobwebs cleared instantly and his brains went into an overdrive. When the day watchman arrived, he met a beaten up, bruised and bloodied Musikali with clothes torn a thousand places and buttons missing. He was trussed to a tree 'helplessly' with a cloth gag to his mouth. Upon being freed from his own doing, he walked with a pronounced limp, evidence of a heavy weapon applied to his hipbone.
  The 'limp' miraculously disappeared upon stepping out of his employer's office. His Convincing spiel however saw him retain his job.
  That some watchmen or security guards are really insiders can be seen by the ease thugs access rooms with. Take the case with banks strong rooms or private homes where robberies are carried out with precision of one stepping into a candy shop and getting out in shortest possible time which is indicative of inside information.
  Interestingly, others can be terrors even to their employers. Story is told of a strict landlord who instructed his watchman to have the gate to his residence always locked up before 9 p.m. daily. Every tenant was supposed to be inside the compound before then and no excuses would be entertained.
  According to the story, none other than the landlord flouted the cardinal rule. He drove in after 9 p.m. one evening reportedly carrying a young clandestine with him. It wasn't without much drama that he managed to access his residence.
  In adhering to the stricture, the watchman adamantly refused to open the gate for his employer. It was beyond the set time and there was no emergency to vitiate why the gate should be opened to a rule flouter. The employer too well knew this and had to take this 'lying down' as his watchman explained this to him through the peep hole.
  Speak of one being guillotined by your own invention!
Photo: credits

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