There was a lot to celebrate at the den that day. He had gotten his bullet proof vest and one of his boys had bought his first car. Every new acquisition was celebrated with the procurer buying drinks and food for everyone. If you could afford to buy a car you could afford to buy drinks for all your friends and you were expected to, that’s the way it was. Otherwise they might go and pray for you to have a ghastly accident in your brand new car.
The beer was plentiful and the proprietress kept a steady supply of fresh hot cow tail and cow leg pepper soup coming out of the kitchen. The men were happy and rambunctious, the easy women that kept them company at the beer parlor that was their den were happy. They knew they would make good money that night and eat and drink all they could. Wives never ever came to such establishments except to reclaim erring husbands.
The boys envied their Chairman his new acquisition, they too had heard of the bullet proof vests that their ancestors had used. City living meant most of them had lost touch with the rural folk that practiced the ancient art of making them. The practitioners that lived in the city were rarely so powerful as the rural ones, city living had corrupted them and diminished their authority to persuade men and spirits.
Chairman was in an expansive mood enhanced by a bottle of whisky that sat on the low rough hewn bench that served as a table in front of him. Their den, the beer parlor was little more than a shack made of planks and metal sheets. It was stifling hot and as the drinks flowed and the sun moved across the sky more and more of the revelers took off their tunics which they hung on nails stuck in the walls and wore only singlet’s.
Under the influence of the alcohol Chairman couldn’t help boasting about his newly acquired armor. Imagine, he said to them, I will never be afraid of any bullet penetrating my body ever again. Taju his best friend and confidant slapped the Chairman’s shoulders in a hearty congratulation.
“Well done my friend!” he said good naturedly “but are you sure that it works?”
Chairman thought of everything he had gone through in the forest with the old man. He had experienced and participated in things that made him, a hardened veteran of bloody, brutal ghetto warfare and tribal politics queasy. He had no doubt that it worked. It had to work!
“My friend what do you mean? O course it works! Do you want to see? Who has a gun there?” he bellowed loudly to the assembly.
One of his boys quickly brought out a locally made pistol and gave it to him.
“Here, Taju. Shoot! I say shoot me!!” he shouted as he stood up abruptly, pressed the pistol into his friends hand, flung his arms wide like Jesus on the cross, threw his head back and stuck out his singlet covered chest.
The gathered assembly shouted their encouragement at Taju to shoot, others hailed the Chairman with his many praise names of bravery and courage. The uproar could be heard at the end of the street and covered the sound of the pistol going off.