By Your Rambler Friend*
Greetings from your rambler friend, especially to all the Pas and Mas. But you know not every pa is Pa. Some become pa simply by dint of the number of “calendars they have torn”, others as a tribute to the wisdom they drew from their years, however few, and by which they impacted their communities.
A common denominator to both categories of Pas is that they become more sedentary with time – in a what-have-I-not-seen sort of way. But not this our one pa who has “chop dog foot”.
He just fell bush again – for the nth time in one year. And, as usual, Njanga people are too small (as their name suggests) to be told what is taking their pa out. Bren Achakassara has not given birth, so it is certainly not “amugbo”.
But it never rains – it pours. From Bren’s whetting of a knife, through a limo that stages its own show(down) for the cameras, and now (did someone say?) to Ma Cha who is “holding grass” in a stay-out strike – things are in a whirl for pa.
From the Rambler’s gecko on the palace wall, Ma Cha is balled – even galled – by her old boy taking too many half-baked decisions lately, prompted amiss by a coterie of tribal henchmen led by the former swallow-tail.
Ma Cha says these blokes don’t just have her man’s ear; they have virtually made a yoyo of him. One of their machinations that irk her, says the gecko, is the fate of, amongst others, the Bakingili Bird whose other half is known to have been disturbingly close to her – too close for the clan’s comfort.
The clan caucus was green-eyed over the prospect that the Bakingili bird, who had already soared to the highest appointable height, could one day inherit “the unthinkable”.
Recalling how pa Po himself chanced his way to the chair when Pa Nkassang had to hurry out, and fearing that the “children’s meat” could be given to a “dog” this time, the conspirators’ imagination ran riot.
And that, says the gecko, is how they framed the Bird in some phony take-over scheme, and fired pa into such a frenzied fury that he nodded his head, just like he told Eric Chinje he could, and the Bird was flung from Star House to the cage.
Now it seems pa’s house is having medium-to-major tremours – aftershocks from the old nail-and-finger affinity between the Bird’s and pa’s better halves (the former was godmum at the other’s nuptials).
Conscience and loyalty to her old friend are welling up fireworks in Ma Cha and she is demanding (for want of a stronger verb) that the Bird be let fly. And it’s “palais mort” until the cage gets unlatched for the Bird to fly out, says the gecko.
The French say what woman wants, God ends up wanting. But how does pa Po accede to Ma Cha’s exigence without losing face? Assuming he finally bought into the presumption of the Bird’s innocence, he needs a suitable, subtle subterfuge to be able to single him out for release without triggering an avalanche of demands for all the other birds to be let out of the cage.
But even before Ma Cha voted with her feet the gecko claims to have overheard her voice rising in favour of Biyexit. The young Ma must be smelling the rat – seeing from her youthful tree-top what the ancient is too comfy in his seat to see. Like most of us, she can see pa’s growing irrelevance and loss of touch – the disquieting herald of a potentially dishonorable endgame.
But Pa Po doesn’t get it. Just keeps tripping on his own toes, eyes wide shut – instead of making that timely stitch that would redeem his image and spare his progeny the stigma. And Ma Cha is seemingly not one to join a stubborn fly to follow the corpse to the grave.
But beyond Pa Po – he is a spent force, damn it – I wonder who put it in anyone’s head that the tallest chair in Njanga must henceforth fall to a clan of dancers and storytellers?
Even their name which is a scrambled BITE bespeaks this illusion. Now they say 1182 was not a mere error of Pa Nkassang’s but the unfolding of a divine design to correct a mistake, and give them what is theirs to have and to hold “till death do us part”.
And so, they it must be, to provide another dancer storyteller should pa Po quench – that being the only exit door they can brook. And he seems to have bought into the illogic. Or is it mere happenstance that one sees and hears them in virtually all the lynchpin positions in Njanga? This Njanga yi back go come straight so? To console you and help you digest, your rambler friend sends you a cup of coffee.
Culled from The Rambler Cameroon