An Unforeseen Accident

An Unforeseen Accident

-“Babu, what can you tell me of the accident at Ouaga Sisi”

-“There was no accident, Policeman sir. The river took what she needed.”

-”Babu, do you not see me? It is I, Soe-Tehpoe, son of Boryee who is your very own first son.”

-”I know who you are, Tephoe, you dammed baboon, but that uniform is not you. It talks out of your mouth, but in nonsense words. Evidence and motivation, justice and crime scene. Why cant you just see what is in front of you eyes and tell it in words people understand”

-“Babu, you tell me what you saw with your own eyes, today?”

-”I saw the river god swallow up two souls. Two of the white people that come in a bus from far away, where there is no sun and no sense. A man and a boy the river chose, and led them to Ouaga Sisi”

-”But was it not you who led them to that place?”

-”They came to me and asked me to take them. What fool asks to go to such a dangerous place. ‘Can you please be showing us the way to the birth place of the great river.’ It could only be the voice of the river god herself wanting such a foolish thing. And they gave me fifty francs. Could I refuse the words of a god”

-”And you watched them die?”

-”I saw nobody die today Policeman. The boy went right up to the place where once I saw an animal disappear. A gazelle; she was standing very still, ready to spring away, when she spoke to me. She asked me if I was hungry and if I was going to kill her with my kuba. ‘Not today my friend’, I told her, ‘we still have bread left from the feast.’ And then I saw her legs had gone. Disappeared, and as I looked, her body too, was slowly eaten and then her head, until there were just these two beautiful spiral horns sticking from the ground like maize shoots. And then they too were gone.”

-”Stick to the facts Babu, what about the white boy”

-”The facts, the facts, are these not the facts. The fact is that everyone knows the birthplace of the Ouaga is a dangerous place. My brother Njebe tells everyone that two of his cattle were eaten by the river god in that same place. But he is a fool and probably was drunk and forgot where he left them. Nobody goes to Ouaga Sisi, Policeman boy, because the river is greedy and she will eat you.”

-”But what happened with the white people”

-”They wanted to go there, so it must be the river god that told them to. First the boy was swallowed, and then the man ran to the same place, and he disappeared. But no one died, they were just gone.”

-”So it was just an unforeseen accident”

-”No it wasn’t an accident, you idiot child! Why would people leave the village they know, the words they understand, and the world they know, to travel for a month in a smelly noisy bus to get to a place where they know nothing and have no friend to look out for them. Its the river gods doing. She whispered a word of calling, and they came. No one here is foolish enough to listen to the word of a god, so they came from afar. But you know all this Tephoe. Tell it to the uniform”

-”Death by misadventure I will put in my report, Babu”

-”Death by stupidity I will put in my song”

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