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For All Nails #51G: Victoria's Secret (Part 7)

by Jonathan Edelstein


Magistrate's Court

Nairobi, Victoria

16 April 1973


"Good morning, Mrs. Madoka," said Magistrate Ian Douglas. "I must say it's a pleasure to see you in your accustomed place."

"It's a pleasure to be there, your Honor," answered Victoria Madoka. "It's certainly more comfortable at the counsel table than the dock."

"Your Honor," objected the public prosecutor, "I take exception to this familiarity. Need I remind you that Victoria is the defendant in a pending criminal prosecution before this court, and that it is incumbent upon your Honor not to give the appearance of partiality?"

"Oh, be quiet, Mr. Hodges," the judge said. "I'd tell you I was pleased to see you too, if you ever gave me a reason. Let's get on with this - please call the case."

"Petition for hearing," read the bailiff. "Number 73-1442, State of Victoria on relation of Michael St. Cyr against Commissioner, Central Prison."

"I take it this is a petition for habeas corpus?" Douglas asked.

"Yes, your Honor," answered Madoka. "My client has been held without charges at Central Prison since April fourth." There was no need to specify the reason why he had been arrested; it would be years, perhaps decades, before the nation forgot what had happened on that day. "Twelve days' detention without charges is clearly ultra vires the Criminal Justice (Pretrial Detentions) Act 1957; so clearly, in fact, that I don't think there's a point in debating the matter. The public prosecutor had seven days to charge or release Mr. St. Cyr; he hasn't done the one, so he must do the other."

"A forceful argument, certainly," said the judge. "Mr. Hodges, what say you to that?"

"Your Honor, I beg your indulgence in the matter of Mr. St. Cyr," Hodges began. Both Madoka and the judge noted Hodges' use of her imprisoned client's honorific; unlike most of those detained in violation of the Pretrial Detentions Act, he was white. In the days since the demonstration, white liberals as well as blacks had begun to fear the knock on the door, and it was amazing how suddenly they had come to the conclusion that the criminal justice system was an arbitrary and frightening thing. Yesterday's Guardian editorial had warned the Prime Minister not to turn Victoria into a police state. It's several years too late for that, but thanks for the support.

"The civil disturbances of April fourth resulted in a very large number of arrests," Hodges continued, "and processing all the arrestees is a regrettably time-consuming endeavor. We are deciding on the appropriate charges for all those arrested, including Mr. St. Cyr, as quickly as we can..."

"That's all very well," interrupted the judge. "Is Mr. St. Cyr being held in violation of the Pretrial Detentions Act, or isn't he?"

"I believe that the Pretrial Detentions Act contains a provision relaxing the seven-day deadline in cases of public insurrection..."

"Public insurrection?" repeated Victoria. "Do you hear shooting outside, Mr. Hodges?"

"Of course not, but there have been rallies in several cities in support of the rioters killed on April fourth. At the moment, Mombasa is under military jurisdiction..."

"Then if Mr. St. Cyr had been arrested in Mombasa, you might have an argument. But since he was arrested in Nairobi - in a city that has been peaceful as the grave since April fourth - then there is no state of insurrection to prevent his release."

"Your Honor," Hodges appealed, "once again, I beg your indulgence. The crowded judicial docket simply makes it impossible to arraign all the April fourth arrestees in the time provided..."

"In case you haven't noticed, Mr. Hodges," Douglas said, "I am a magistrate. If you're ready to charge Mr. St. Cyr, then why don't you bring him in here and arraign him before me? His counsel is already here, so there will be no delays, and that ought to solve the Pretrial Detentions Act problem very neatly."

"I'm not sure we're prepared to do that just now..."

"Because there isn't any evidence against him, is there?" Madoka finished. "He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, on his way home from work. He's served twelve days in detention. Isn't that punishment enough for the crime of walking on the wrong street - and more to the point, isn't that punishment enough for anything he might possibly have done to violate the Riot Act?"

"Mr. Hodges," the judge said, "I think I agree with Mrs. Madoka. The petition is allowed; the writ is granted; the relator is to be released forthwith. The court stands in recess..."

"Pardon me, your Honor," Madoka interrupted, "but would it be possible for us to speak privately for a few moments in chambers?"

"Your Honor, I object," Hodges said. "It's highly improper to communicate ex parte with a defendant in a forthcoming case..."

"Nonsense," Douglas replied. "I trust that Mrs. Madoka knows the rules well enough not to discuss her case with me, and I certainly don't intend to discuss it with her. Five minutes, Mrs. Madoka."

"Thank you, your Honor."

"All right, what is it?" asked Douglas five minutes later.

"I'm trying to find Letitia Ntimana," Victoria answered. "She worked as a maid for an... acquaintaince of mine, and she was arrested a few days ago in connection with the April fourth march. She's not at Central Prison, and thus far nobody's been willing to tell me where she is. She has two young children..."

"Alone?"

"At first, yes. Now they're staying with me, but they're still without their mother and they're very worried."

"And you hope a judge can find her where an attorney cannot? Very well, I'll make enquiries." He paused and breathed deeply. "And now, I'm going to have to break the promise I made to Mr. Hodges, and discuss your case. I've been instructed - unofficially, but reliably - to tell you that the government is willing to provide a sizable settlement to you and to your parents on condition that you leave the country and renounce your nationality. I've also been told that your emigration status has been discussed with the North American embassy, and that you'll be welcome to stay."

"I'm sorry, your Honor, but I'm afraid I can't accept."

"Somehow I knew you'd say that, and I must say - in this room only - that I admire you for it. It's more than I'd do in your place, I'm afraid. Very well, then, I'll see you on the thirtieth?"

"Promptly at nine, your Honor."



West Nairobi, Victoria

19 April 1973


Antonio Marques learned about the political meeting from one of his workmates. He had lived in Victoria slightly over a year - long enough for a white immigrant to become a citizen, but not enough to become familiar with the vagaries of Victorian politics. He'd actually never had a reason to be political even in Esperança; ARENA had been the ruling party longer than he'd been alive, and the few splinter parties that sat in the National Assembly didn't matter. The only real choice in Esperança was between ARENA and the FNLE FN1, and that decision wouldn't be made by election.

Victoria, though, was different; from all Marques had heard, the upcoming general election would be hotly contested. He took his new Victorian citizenship seriously, and intended to vote in the election, but he had no idea which party to support.

Marques decided to remedy his ignorance one day at the construction site. Hesitant as always about revealing the limits of his knowledge, he had approached a fellow worker who lived in his district and inquired as to the relative merits of the candidates. Somewhat to his surprise, his co-worker - Blackford by name - had neither mocked him nor dismissed his question.

"Good thing you asked, Tony," he'd said. "As a matter of fact, there's a Conservative meeting tonight right in our district, at the Daughters' hall. You should come along; you'll learn a lot." Antonio hadn't realized there were any Founders' Daughters in West Nairobi, but he'd nodded his assent.

The meeting was already in progress by the time he and Blackford arrived, and they found their way carefully to seats in the darkened hall. The Conservative candidate, Michael Ruffin, was at the podium, and he clearly had his audience mesmerized.

"White men built Victoria," he said. "When we came here, we found a collection of mud huts and cow pastures - and left to itself, this country would never amount to more than that. We - men like you and me - built cities, railroads, schools, hospitals - we built this country, and we raised the niggers out of the mud in which they were born. And now, it's we who get the short end of the stick, while the niggers we've allowed to become citizens lord it over us.

"For instance, let's take a name you may have heard in the news recently - Victoria Madoka." Ruffin held up his hand and waited for the chorus of boos to die down. "All of you hard-working white men, unless I miss my guess, labor like mules for four or five hundred pounds a year. Did you know that the Madoka woman, who never did a thing for this country, sits in an office on four thousand?"

Ruffin was answered by the shouts of a hundred voices - including, Marques realized, his own. This nigger lawyer made almost as much money in a month as he did in a year? This was as bad as - no, worse than - that black teller being hired in his place.

"Gentlemen," Ruffin continued, "the Conservative Party is the only party interested in doing anything about this state of affairs. The Democrats and Liberals actually want to extend black citizenship, and the VUP isn't any better. Yes, I know they call themselves the party of the white man, but they're really the party of the big companies - the same companies that would rather hire a nigger than pay you a living wage!

"Gentlemen!" he went on through the baying of the crowd. "The Conservative Party is the only party that is committed to revoking the niggers' citizenship rights. We're the only party that will reserve the professions for white men, keep the niggers from moving in next door, and guarantee a good job with a decent wage to every white worker. Vote for us on May seventeenth, and we can reclaim this country together!"

Afterward, Marques made his way through the crowd to join the multitude congratulating the candidate. "Senhor... sir..." he faltered.

"Don't be embarrassed," Ruffin said. "You're from Esperança, aren't you? It's people like you who will restore this great nation. I congratulate you on becoming a Victorian citizen, and I hope I can count on your vote."

"Oh, yes, you can, sir," Antonio said. "What you said... it's true. I used to work for a bank in Esperanca, but here... they hired a black woman in my place."

"If we're elected, then no company will be allowed to hire a nigger when a qualified white candidate is available," Ruffin said. He paused, thinking of something. "You say you worked for a bank, Mr..."

"Marques. Yes, sir, I did."

"Can you keep accounts?"

"Yes, I can."

"Then I may have something for you. I have a friend who has a payroll service in Kibera, and he's looking for an assistant bookkeeper right now." He pulled a card from his wallet and handed it to Marques. "Why don't you drop by and tell him I sent you? And if it works out, why don't you come by party headquarters this Saturday? We might have some work for you there as well..."



Carrollton, Victoria

22 April 1973


"Please answer the telephone, Sharon," commanded Caroline Boyle.

"Yes, madam," answered her maid, and walked across the room to comply. "Boyle residence... yes, I will. Madam, it's Mrs. Madoka."

Caroline accepted the receiver from Sharon. "Victoria!" she said. "It's so good to hear from you. Can we expect you at the rally tonight?"

"Not tonight, Caroline," Victoria said, "and not ever."

"Victoria? What's wrong? We have the rally all planned, and everyone's expecting you..."

"Letitia Ntimana," said Madoka. "Does that name mean anything to you anymore? Do you know where they've got her? Do you even care?"

"What does Letitia have to do with..."

"They're keeping her in Nyeri camp. I remember the speeches you've made about how terrible Nyeri is, and how it should be closed down. Does it even matter to you that you put her there?"

"I didn't put her there," Caroline said. "The police had a warrant, and she was accused of involvement with the VNC. What else could I do?"

"You might have told them she wasn't in," answered Victoria. "Told them to come back later. Given her a little time. But no, you sent them right back to the kitchen to get her. I heard the story today, from the arresting officer. This is the woman you've called your 'dear friend,' Caroline - surely you could have done that much for her."

"But she was accused of supporting the VNC. I could hardly tolerate that, could I?"

"Remind me again, Caroline. Exactly why am I currently facing a sedition charge?"

"Because you spoke at a bar association meeting and praised the... but you didn't cause a civil disturbance."

"And where's the proof that she did? She may have helped plan the march on April fourth, but she certainly didn't turn it into a riot. You're supporting me because you value my free speech; what about hers?"

"Victoria, do you think I wanted to hire a new maid?"

"I won't dignify that with a reply, Caroline, and I really don't want your support any longer, unless you want to do the right thing for Letitia's children. They're staying with me, and they'd appreciate your help in getting their mother back. Of course, if you'd rather report me for violating the Resident Nationals Registration Act FN2, please go right ahead."

"Victoria, I..."



The Guardian

Nairobi, Victoria

27 April 1973


"So how was Mombasa?" asked Olivier de Ruyt.

"A bloody holiday, what do you think?" answered Anand Rajaram. "What with the buttons checking passes and the Red thuggee breaking heads FN3, it was an absolute bloody joy. The only times I wasn't afraid of ending up in gaol was when I was afraid of ending up in hospital."

"Better than I expected, then," said de Ruyt. "I was hoping the Reds would dust you. Then I'd have one less stubborn Marathi bastard to deal with."

"I'd make the obvious connection between Flemings and phlegm," Rajaram replied, "but I'm too bloody mature."

De Ruyt enfolded Rajaram in a bear hug and clapped him on the back. "You bloody raghead bastard. That was a damned good job you did. Dispatches from Martial Law - I had all the other national editors and half the CID wondering how I got someone in there."

"And the other half are probably wondering how you got it all past the censors."

"I didn't," de Ruyt admitted, "but the miracle is that I got any of it through. Those were some scary stories you sent me. Was it really that bad?"

"More or less," said Rajaram. "The soldiers went back to barracks three days ago, but the police are still keeping a very tight lid on things. They had non-citizens under curfew for six days, and groups of more than three are still forbidden under emergency regulations. That's scheduled to expire at the end of the month, but I'll believe it when I see it - and anyone darker than you had better carry their papers with them. The only time I've seen anything like it was in the westlands after a VNC raid."

"How are people taking it?"

"That depends. The Reds are having a jolly good time, as you might expect. Most of the All Citizens and Liberal party workers are under arrest, so there hasn't been any major protest. It's hard to tell what everyone else is thinking - nobody likes soldiers on the streets and the Democrats are worried that so many white people were arrested, but the protesters didn't help their cause by looting stores. I think most of the people - at least most of the people who count - actually believe the official story about the military being there to restore order.

The editor nodded. Rajaram was an active member of the All Citizens' party, but you'd never know that from his reporting; he was as cold-bloodedly objective as any journalist de Ruyt had known. "No idea how it will affect the election, then?"

"Not really. I think it might be a wash, but I'd be a bloody fool even to say that."

"Good enough," Olivier said. "At any rate, I've got something quieter in mind for your next job. Victoria Madoka's trial starts Monday, and I want you there..."


(Forward to FAN #51H: Victoria's Secret (Part 8).)

(Return to For All Nails.)

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