A host of hooves claps and raises dust in the horizon… dry blades of grass stuck between their teeth, seated on a hot black rock whiling away the time, two friends cool off under an umbrella tree.
Bunduki: Have you ever known despair?
It cloaks you like the musk of a young bull elephant in heat. Pierces the soul like the tip of a stout tusk!
Ah! My friend, is there a being that has not been driven mad by the affections of despair?
Bunduki: Sighs sadly…She is a cruel lover!
Tembo: … a fleeting affair.
A light breeze blows… a swirl of dust flies about their feet, like a beautiful dancer running off gently.
Bunduki: Sighs sadly, loudly.
This affair rips the air rat-a-tat-tat. It drives me mad!
My desire hides out in the dangerous Savannah lands; rips my being apart. I long for my desire to fly away to the land of dragons. My desire longs to adorn the hilts of its admirers with stark ivory trinkets; conquering the lengths of their darkened barrels!
Tembo: What causes this level of despair? Are you struck by an illicit love?!
Smiles brightly, cheekily.
Bunduki: No. Yes. No. No.
Looks embarrassed. Shuffles feet raising a small dust storm.
My children cause me despair, they yearn not for the settling of their shiny bodies resting in their organised wooden beds. They yearn for the heat on their bottoms… they yearn to bring me shades of jade.
Shades of jade to adorn my palace and cloaks of three-fourths of cotton and linen. This is my despair.
The trees sway slight. A bird call in the distance warns of danger; the lions are on the hunt.
Tembo: My friend, you speak in twists and turns. What is this despair you speak of?
Bunduki: Stands and turns suddenly. Paces back and forth.
Clenches and unclenches fists then blurts excitedly
Sacrifice! Your beauty! You my friend!
Tembo: Looking nervous, cringes, shifts and moves away slightly, tentatively…
Bunduki: Yes, sacrifice.
Tembo: What type of sacrifice?
Bunduki: Gesticulates wildly.
You my friend. The sacrifice of life. You. You who will travel to the land of Saigon, to decorate beautiful women and give mythical healing.
Tembo: Stammers … b-b-b-but you are my friend, my sworn protector…
Bunduki: That is why I must have you!