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Theo Arrives in Africa

Written by Adam Green on Sunday the 27th of November 2011
Theo was nervous about Africa.  It is no place for a scholar. Let not his
boisterous war-cry fool you, for when the Top Gun riff faded out he was left a
sense of disquiet. Some people say that it was from Africa
that we all originated. Theo sided with the more Lyellian perspective - that we
came from the sea, and if so there is a perfectly nice beach in Norfolk. Sadly there was
little time for cold feet now as the smoothie splattered over the pod and it
screeched to a halt and squeezed back into three dimensions to drift over the
red continent. He prodded his body, moved his limbs and blinked his eyes in
disbelief.  The Beagle was at an altitude
of 15,000 feet which was slightly high but the radiator maintained an even
temperature and the compression equaliser kept the air kosher.

An hour later he touched down in the
market-place of Accra, capital of Ghana. As the
canopy swung open he felt the sun blare mega-heat upon black skin, amidst
streets awash with disease and the sick smell of boiling milk. Curious bony
dogs whimpered in open sewers, broken cars farted noxious exhaust fumes and the
smell of frying plantain was giddying. 
Brawfonyo! shouted stunned children at the mysterious white man who
appeared out of nowhere. Market sellers mauled him, gleeful boys leapt onto the
Beagle and Theo tried to shoo them away with his walking stick, wrestling through
the crowds to find some space to gather himself. Hassled and hounded, he
finally reached an outhouse on the periphery and took out the map Spinny had
drawn for him.  He approached a
non-hysterical old man and asked for directions and he looked at the paper with
infinite dark eyes and pointed Theo towards a dirt track that ran along the
distant beach. Leaving the heaving masses behind, Theo dragged the heavy pod
through the dust and debris. It took an hour to reach the beach and Theo kept
choking on the sandy wind, his translucent skin sizzling in the equatorial
glare. 'Jeez' he muttered 'this is lunacy! What the hell am I doing?'.  He had spared little thought for the
magnitude of this expedition and the task that now confronted him. 

He followed the dirt track and the hand-written
sign-posts to Mamprobi and arrived hours later in the Charlie Parker of
night-fall.  Inky blackness hung over the
adobe huts and the slow-burning lamps shed glimmers of light over the shanty
settlements. Men spoke intently under flickering street-lights and the atmosphere
was thick with language while grandfathers sat on crates with their legs
crossed and watched the shooshing Atlantic
wash its foamy surf on to the shitty beach. 

Theo approached a group of fisherman and asked
if they knew Chaplain. They looked at Theo and shook their heads, and he moved
on to ask several other men. His fifth inquiry was met with a nod and he was
directed towards a large and complex hut perched on a sand-dune overlooking a
dilapidated pier. As the philosopher neared, he saw two figures sat on a porch
beneath the choppy shine of a faulty light bulb, enshrouded in a plume of smoke
and studying a book. Their chanted prayers were hypnotic in rhythm yet reggae
in their rumbacity.  Not wanting to disturb them, Theo parked up
the Beagle and changed into some clean clothes. 
When the prayer ceased, a chalice of weed was lit and a lighter mood ensued
so Theo advanced through the bushes and approached their residence.

came the salute from Chaplain as the pale philosopher emerged from the

*Whilst rumbacity is not recognized by lexicographers, when they
finally see the error of their ways they will include it in our English canon
as an adjective describing a chanting sound somewhere between boisterous,
severe and rhythmic*