We were quite happy to be back-benchers in Court Q at the High Court. It was a welcome reunion. We did not really mind that the court was obviously too small for a case as big as this and that most of us were standing against the wall. We had occasion for a reunion, chance to gossip and giggle. The judge is a junior lawyer`s archetype for most things: pouncing (we call them cats), harassing, motion court drama, and among the guys, pure “eye-candy”. To us ladies we simply dismissed her as a pretty face prone to drawing attention to herself unnecessarily. As I often put it in sanctimony, she lacked judicial temperament. Not that the girls did not have their teddy-bear selection of favourite male judges. The ones you just wanted to hug after an appearance. We definitely did. There was Musiya J, Munyaka J, and of course “moomin papa” Mhou J. All time favourite. The guy would literally smile as you droned on and on about trivialities. No interventions, no judgy questions, no Chimhakure J frowns. The perfect judge. I know at least seven of us who would totally marry him, in community of profit and loss too. But of course both sexes agreed we were missing out on Justice Mutongigava who was exiled to serve as Chair of the sham Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) while doubling as some other Constitutional Commission head, talk about casting pearls to the swine. That lady, as George would put it, “though not Prettyface J pretty, is a lady I`d love to watch”. Let the men be erectile if their blood pleases. For me Justice Mutongigava typified Dworkin`s Hercules. Back to the day`s celebrity judge. George remarked that she was expected to be fashionably late hence he came in at 10 instead of the appointed 9:30. I made a snide comment about how she needed to make sure she looked prettier than she did yesterday so she was probably still on the first layer of her makeup aka foundation. The guys made faces. We all laughed. We digressed a bit to the story of the old lady who stood up at a burial just before lowering of the fishcoffin to rescue everyone there after a protracted time following the Pastor`s request for someone to lead in “a word of prayer”. Following the embarrassing silence the old lady is said to have prayed, “Bless us and what we are about to receive from your bounty O` Lord, in Jesus` name, Amen.” Hysteria. Someone argued that since Zimbabweans were ever hungry and desperately poor the only time the ordinary person remembered to pray was in thanksgiving for a meal meagre though it may be. As a result the old lady must surely have just automated to the last said prayer. Or alternatively, was so hungry that she was already looking forward to the customary post-requiem meal. The lady charged with perceptive witchcraft had secured herself competent counsel. Stories about death took us back to the President`s having been presumed dead only just the previous week. I say presumed dead as in presumed dead by all such that even Resident Magistrate Mahwe down at stables (the term of art for the Civil Magistrates Court along 4th Street or as it has been lately christened Simon V. Muzenda Street), anyway Mahwe must surely have been on the ready to sign the Order or whatever certification is required for us to proceed with life without Resident Gabriel. Tich, infinitely cute Tich was going on about how he had got to town that morning. Madanhi, Thuli, Skumbu and George were listening intently. Tanya was too far ahead on the second row. She was missing out on the banter. Our intern weighed in on how we had chartered a Funcargo from Avondale shops to drop us off at the very entrance of Mapondera Building for the awesome price of just US $2.50. Negotiation de Harare. Finally Prettyface J strides in and we all fall silent. The police we all love to hate are arguing their point. Tarie Advocate pops in. Nice blue shoes by the way. Tendai Biti is submitting now, “I`ve gone to Kenya, I`ve gone to South Africa, I`ve gone to America, I`ve gone to China my lady. In none of those jurisdictions do you have an antipeople law like that. For a mere policeman, a naked copper to claim to father an instrument of such import my lady…” Chirikuseva chiBiti. The police we all love to hate are sanctioned by her Prettyship. Not just a pretty face after all. Then she gives them leave to correct their mistake. Phil can`t help it, “We can have sex but there shall be no ejaculation!” It`s a shout of a whisper. The giggle rises in me like that devil-induced pew-side fart that ascends or is it descends at exactly that point when all souls are silently contemplating God. We leave the courtroom. Prettyface J has given a technical victory to the people who love to hate the police. The police whom we love to hate will no doubt counter. But, for today it`s in your face to the Uncle. Tomorrow it’s something stupid from the Herald. This is Harare. We flounder. The sun rises and sets.
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