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Juda did not feed, shelter or treat Confucius any better than a dog. But, for some strange
reason no one would ever understand, Confucius would have died for him. The only
attention the dog got from his master was the occasional kick in the ribs, when it was time to
go home, and, although they spent a lot of time in discussion, Juda selfishly doing all the
talking, Confucius would never understand him. It was increasingly clear to the dog that his
master had read one book too many for his own good.
“Why do you call him Confusions?” Pesa wondered, on the rare occasions they exchanged
anything resembling a conversation. “He’s less confused than yourself.”
“He’s not,” Juda said. “And the name’s Confucius. Con-fu-cius.”
“Why?”
“Confucius was a thinker.”
“A thinker?”
“Philosopher.”
“Philoso … what?”
“Philosopher,” said Juda. “Someone who thinks great thoughts. It’s Chinese. Confucius was
from China.”
“Choma Choma too is from Chania.”
“China, not Chania,” said Juda patiently. “China is farther than Chania. You can’t walk there.”
“How did he come here then?”
“Who?”
“Confusions?”
“The man or the dog?”
“The man.”
“Confucius never set foot in Kambi,” Juda informed. “He lived thousands of years ago.”
“Why do you call your dog a man’s name?”
“Because he is wiser than many men I know,” said Juda. “He’s loyal to family and friends and
treats others as he would like to be treated.”
“He’s just a dog,” asserted Pesa. “Why don’t you call him dog like other dogs?  He’s just a
slaughterhouse mongrel, isn’t he?  What makes him different from other dogs?”
The same question from a friend in Fujo Bar had started a brawl that had lasted late into the
night. But Juda did not have permission nor the energy to thump his father so he let the
remark go.
“He’s a thinking dog,” he explained patiently. “You have heard of seeing dogs, and rescue
dogs and police dogs, haven’t you?  Confucius is a thinking dog. More than that, he’s my
dog.”
“You got him so confused he doesn’t know he is a dog anymore,” Pesa complained. “Do you
know what I saw him do?”
“I don’t want to know.” Juda was slowly getting angry. “The dog is my brother.”
“Don’t insult me, boy!” barked Baba Pesa.
Their egos suddenly inflamed, they would have been at each other’s jugulars in a flash, had
Mama Pesa not suddenly appeared to inform them that Confucius had ran off with the leg of
lamb she had grilled for their lunch. Pesa went for his shotgun and, Juda, relieved that there
was no reason to hang about anymore, left for Kambi. Along the way he was joined by
Confucius looking well fed, happy and in no way remorseful.
"I’d stay away until things cool down,” Juda said to him.
Confucius barked acknowledgement and accompanied him down to Fujo Bar where they got
drunk and rowdy, and caused so much trouble the Chief had to call the police to sort them
out.
And so it was that Confucius came reeling home alone, in the early hours of dawn. Baba
Pesa saw him come and was too intrigued to fetch his shotgun. The dog looked old and
ragged and was limping from the wounds he had received in the bar fight. The whole
household worried whenever the dog came home without his master. What happed to
Juda?  Only Confucius could tell them what had happened to Juda, but he was not talking.
He slunk to the kitchen bin to forage for food and to tell the house cats about it.
When the war which Juda started was well and truly underway, Confucius told the cats, he
had as usual gone to his master’s aid, biting heels and ripping up trouser legs, and causing
so much havoc under the tables Fanya Fujo had to kick him outside. Then, continuing his
anarchy, he had raged on out of control, biting and tearing at anything that moved. His
drunken frenzy had carried him to the centre of market square where the oldest and
meanest village mongrels resided. They were lying under the collapsing windmill hating their
existence and resenting the fact that only Confucius was allowed inside the warm, stuffy bars
while they froze to death in the open. Then they suddenly found Confucius in their midst,
fighting mad and spoiling for a fight, and they went after him with a vengeance. By the time
the policemen arrived from Ngobit to haul Juda away, Confucius had decided enough was
enough and fled up Pesa Way with the whole army of mongrels in pursuit. It had taken
cunning and determination to shake them off and head home.
Baba Pesa was the first to see him crawl home, in the goat-milking hours of dawn, and break
the news to Mama Pesa. While she sought Mutiso to send him down to see if Juda was lying
on the road somewhere between home and Kambi, Pesa watched a police car make its way
up the road. It came slowly and ominously, like a hearse, it’s shadow appearing to shimmer
on the road, though there was not enough light for a shadow leave alone a mirage, and
Pesa had no idea what to expect of it. He watched the car drive past Baru’s place and finally
enter his compound to stop by Mama Pesa’s rose bushes.
Four policemen stepped out of the vehicle and looked around as if expecting trouble. They
were led by a smartly turned-out young officer in meticulously starched khakis and carrying
his cane of office with confident authority.
Pesa stepped down from his veranda to meet them and ask them to state their business.
The officer greeted him respectfully and, without wasting time, went straight to the point.
“We are here about your son.”
“Is he dead?” Pesa asked him.
“He’s under arrest.”
“Why?” Pesa demanded. “On what charge?”
“Charges,” said the inspector. “Drunk and disorderly, drinking after hours, inciting to
violence, behaving in a manner likely to cause a riot, resisting arrest and …”
The list was endless.
“Where is he?” Pesa asked.
Two constables helped Juda out of the car and stood him face to face with his father. When
they let go, he swayed and leaned on the vehicle.
“What have you got to say for yourself?” Pesa asked him.
Juda finally focused on his father but, though he found him as comical as ever, he did not
have the energy to laugh.
“Walking forward is easier than walking backwards,” he said. “Progress is, therefore,
inevitable. As Confucius says, everything under the sun is relative.”
Baba Pesa failed to make sense of the gibberish, but nodded uncertainly and turned to the
inspector for an explanation.
“Drunk,” said the inspector.
“Very drunk,” he agreed. “Disorderly too, maybe, but as for resisting arrest, you got him
here, didn’t you?”
“Not without a fight,” laughed the inspector. “Your son’s a combative personality.”
“A what?”
“He’s a warrior.”
“Whom did he worry?”
“A gang of town thugs with no qualms about beating his brains out,” said the inspector.         
“Which brings us to convening an illegal gathering.”
“Illegal,” Juda stirred awake, shook his head heavily. “The barman gathered them. All I did
was address them.”
“Why?” asked Pesa.
“They were there,’ he said. “So I told them.”
“Told them what?”
“I told them think with their heads, not their stomachs. I told them they were foolish to go on
growing tea when there was no food to buy with the cash they got for it. I told them …”
Pesa shook his head. He had heard it all before, for his son was obsessed with telling
people what was good for them and things they did not want to know. He never tired of
helping people who were better off without his help. Pesa had once found him experimenting
with alternative hard-luck diets such as chopping up green tealeaves to see if they could be
used as a salad when times were hard. That project too had died instant death when
Confucius quit as the chief taster.
“My son thinks he knows everything,” Pesa revealed.
But some things Juda did and said were far from those of an even slightly sane person.
While Pesa wondered what to do with him, Mama Pesa appeared on the veranda and stood
watching the proceedings.
“I told them to think or starve,” Juda rambled on. “I told them a man with one goat was richer
than a don with no goats. You can’t slaughter a university degree for your father-in-law, can
you?”
Baba Pesa shook his head, in spite of himself, for his son’s eloquence never ceased to
amaze him and impress him. Turning to the police inspector, he said to him,         “All that
sounds true to me.”
“True it is,” the inspector agreed. “But it’s not what he says, it’s how he says it.”
The inspector belonged to a new generation of police officers, all young men who
understood that police work was a job like any other, not a licence to assault people, and
had to be approached with prudence and civility. The days of the brute force that
characterised the colonial police were over and done with. He loved his job, and he did it
without fear or favour, but he planned to rise to commissioner or better, and was smart
enough to realise that by then Baba Pesa could be the minister of Government in charge of
such promotions.
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Copyright  © 2014 by Meja Mwangi.com                                                         All Rights Reserved
308 pgs
Baba Pesa
Striving For The Wind
$ 14.35
HM Books cover of Baba Pesa by Meja Mwangi
Book Code:    BP
KSh. 350
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