[By Prince B M Kaping’a]
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen…” a fresh and sweet-sounding voice of a lady intoned in the intercom. “My name is Sabrina. I’ll be your hostess for the duration of this trip. I’m glad to inform you that our very own Captain Chakolwa will be on the wheel to safely steer us from the Promised Land to our own chosen destination. This journey is expected to take us seven hours. Please relax in your seats and fasten your seatbelts as we’re about to take-off, very soon. Thank you.”
For some obscure reasons, Captain Chakolwa was trembling uncontrollably as he desperately clutched the steering wheel. A towering and muscular fellow in a muscle T/shirt hiding his bloodshot eyes behind some dark glasses bent over and whispered something in his ears. He was one of the coterie of individuals who had clambered aboard the bus to render any help…although their main interest was to eat and drink, for there was more than enough for an individual.
The whisper seemed to elicit magical effect on Captain Chakolwa… his face lighted up immediately. He reached for the glove compartment and fished out a bottle. It was one of those expensive beverages – 100-year-old-Jameson, fine liquor brewed with utmost care and precision back in the ancestral land of the muzungu occupying the passenger seat.
“I always tell you Chakolwa,” the muzungu protested as beads of perspiration traced the wrinkles of his aging, ashen face. “It’s not wise to start drinking so early in the morning especially if you’ve to drive all these people around. 7 hours isn’t a joke. You’ve to remain focused, otherwise we lose it!”
“Ninshi alesabaila uyu buuga? Twala mwikatamo…” one of the goons chipped in and flexed his impressive muscles.
Captain Chakolwa was lost in his own world. He snapped open the bottle using his teeth and took a swig at the bottle which seemed to last forever. He slammed the bottle on the cover of the engine and raved the engine incessantly, as his retinue cheered him on excitedly.
“Are you sure you can do this, Captain…” the muzungu wondered as he lighted his second cigarette. Captain Chakolwa ignored him and proceeded to engage the bus in full gear.
“Captain I am demanding that you stop the bus and I be allowed to disembark, immediately,” he was already on his feet. “Traitor!” a diminutive, plump man who kept on smiling for nothing, shouted.
It was rumoured he always traveled to a neighbouring country to dig some roots in the mountains for the captain which somehow made him develop mystical powers to fend off any threats. Now, these roots had affected the diminutive man such that the smile never wanted to leave his face. Others argued that as he was growing up, he didn’t have front teeth and when he became friends with Captain Chakolwa, he took him to a good dentist who fixed the little problem for him. From that moment onwards, he was always eager to flash his teeth around at whoever cared to take a look at him.
“Mulekeni aleya catile…” a man with menacing eyes, clad in colourful expensive outfit said as he majestically puffed a cigar, closed his eyes and blew the smoke into the air. By the time he opened his eyes, they weren’t red anymore, some of the smoke had found its way into his eyes and were burning with fire.
“How many of us agree that we should proceed with the journey without that foolish man…an agent of the imperialists?” A man adorning a dress and a funny hat like one of those favoured by lawyers when they appear in court, jumped to his feet. “Those who agree with me, show your agreement by raising your hands…”
They immediately punched their fists into the air, in unison. “In this case…let’s roll on Captain!” he roared, excitedly.