“Nothing but bricks” The Chief exclaimed as he pointed at the smartphone, “well without the internet that’s all it was really, just a brick.”
“Dear boy, do not look so worried, bricks are a good thing. You see stones build houses, but homes are built by bricks”
“I do not understand grampa”
“Remember when you let the cattle graze in the headman’s field?”
I groaned, how could I forget that? I would not easily forget and it was barely a few weeks past, it had been an incident to say the least.
“You were doing something on the twittergram or is it the Whats Up? That’s what you youngsters call it when you are just staring at your phones and laughing with imaginary people.”
“It’s simply called twitter grandad, and they are not imaginary they are online people on the internet”
“So this internet-web does it catch anything, the way a spider’s web catches insects?”
“I guess it captures attention” I mumbled too embarrassed to speak up.
“Ah, I see now” grandpa said after a moment of reflection. “And now that internet is gone, you people do not know what to do with yourselves and your attention?”
“And these clever phones of yours, they are all dead?”
“Yes someone sabotaged the network that gives the internet world wide, they are trying to fix it but so far haven’t managed to do anything”
“Well if I was in charge I would make sure they never fixed it, when was the last time you spoke more than two words to me?”
“You cannot even answer, yet you came visiting so you could learn, about the old ways but all the while you were here you have been busy on the phone… googling. Now that the internet is broken, Google me this, why did the cows you were supposed to be watching stray and end up in someone’s field?”
“I think it was because I was not paying attention granpa”
“See this Google of yours does not know everything. You were simply a cog in a machine you have been negligent in learning about. What can you tell me about Mbudzi?”
“I know it’s the month of November and the name mbudzi also means goat and that you are not supposed to do marriage negotiations during that month.”
“Good what happens if one does do marriage rituals?”
“I, I do not know”
“It is good you admit you do not know. Any breaking of this law of the land results in the ancestors punishing us. It can be anything from a drought, a flood, wild animals stampeding into the homestead or livestock grazing in your fields while someone is supposed to be watching them. That is why you were not reprimanded for your negligence.
You see the headman without my knowledge had begun marriage talks with a chief from beyond the hill so that one of ours, possibly you, may marry his daughter, and tie our clans with blood.”
“Me? But I don’t love her, I have never seen her, I don’t know her, I mean marriage___”
”Slow down son of my son, the talks begun at an inopportune time and that you were the instrument of the headman’s punishment is a sign not lost on us. Like I said to build homes you need bricks, and good bricks are tempered with blood, handover that phone of yours.”
I handed him the phone, wondering what if he was taking it away from me forever but he only punched a number into it then gave it back.
“It still makes phone calls right?” he asked and I simply nodded my head.
“Excellent” he said clapping his hands “There is the number for the chief’s daughter, call her sometime walk her to the stream, help her fetch water, invite her to the next full moon dance. We will tell stories then, and who knows one day you might be the chief of two lands. Now run along.”
Clearly I had been dismissed. The headman showed up from where he had been hovering in the background and waved me away on the pretext of having business with the chief.
I stood outside staring into the horizon and there was a distant rumble, it could have been thunder but there was not a cloud in sight except for some hazy wisps of smoke over the mountain Zanje, it would rain soon, today even, it always rained when the mountain rumbled.
This week’s entry for the #BlogBattle theme Bricks