Not a colour

Imagine, for a moment, that you are consumed by some shameful and strange desire – not a criminal one, just something that you can’t voice out loud.  Already you’ve stepped over an internal line, and given yourself over to something that’s not altogether acceptable.

Then you get rejected.

Instead of it sobering you up – acting, as it were, like a faceful of iced water – the rejection triggers a wave of rage, a tsunami of wounded pride that shatters reason.  But you don’t withdraw.  That’s not who you are.

On a night you meet two Nigerian men, and you make an assumption.  Based on what you think you know about Nigerians, you ask them to remove the object of your desire and pain.

For those of us watching after the fact, we can’t know if this young man’s death would have hurt your daughter, we can’t know if that’s something you weighed up in this weird plan.  All we’ve heard so far is that you offered these two men, who you didn’t know, an astonishing amount of money to kill the young man.*

There are a lot of errors in this line of thinking, not least being your terrible mistake in picking men who don’t kill, and they figure out a way to warn the intended victim.

They take a huge chance in this land of hit-and-miss-the-good-cop, this land of part-time xenophobia, this land that thinks it has a handle on how all Nigerians work.  But they realise they have been inadvertently involved in something not of their choosing, that you may find someone else to do this heinous thing, and so they warn the young man.

It’s a testimony to Grace that the three men in this story hit the mother-lode of good cops, and you have no idea that the picture  you see of the young man’s blood-soaked body is a set-up.

And so they arrest you.

If it was a crime of passion, a terrible moment of red-misted craziness, you’d still have to do the time, but I think we’d understand it a little better.  But this took weeks, it took phone-calls, it took arrangements.

This is when I remember that darkness is not a colour, a shade or a hue – darkness is just the absence of light.



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