Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Parable of the Shotgun

The Parable of the Shotgun
It was Sunday morning, and we were having a nice lazy lie in. Or so I thought. Until Sara suddenly leapt out of bed with a start. ‘It’s half past eight! We’re supposed to be at the nine o’clock service!’
‘Oh Christ,’ I said. ‘Can’t we give it a rest? We’ve already been to three funerals this week! I must be going to church more than the Pope!’
‘It’s Independence Day,’ said Sara.
‘Yes, dear,’ I said. ‘Independence. I remember that.’
By the time we had taken our seats on the hard penance of a wooden pew, the priest was already beginning a reading from the Holy Book. ‘The lesson this morning,’ he was saying, ‘is taken from the Gospel according to St Kalaki, Chapter Thirteen, Verses 1-25, commonly known as the Parable of the Shotgun.
‘And the Pharisee said unto Jesus, When you talk of independence, are you not inciting rebellion against the Romans? And blaspheming against your God who demands your obedience to all earthly authority?
‘And Jesus answered him, saying, There was once a peaceful land called Zombia, a land of milk and honey, where land was as free as air, and all the people respected one another, and where all disputes were settled amicably by the Chief.
‘But one day there came three wise men from the east, who had shotguns. And the citizens marveled at these strange weapons, for this was the first time that gunpowder had been seen in Zombia. So they called these strangers Shotguns, because they all carried shotguns.
‘And the peaceful people of Zombia were jerked out of their peace and tranquility by these shotguns, which could kill animals and even people, and which made such a loud bang that some people died of fright.
‘And because of their brutality, the Shotguns soon took over the previously peaceful land of Zombia. For the Shotguns had come looking for the copper which lay deep underground, which they needed for making more shotguns.
‘And the people were sore afraid of the Shotguns, so they went to the Chief to complain. But the induna at the palace gate spoke to the people, saying your Chief has gone up in a big machine in the sky to visit the Republic of Shotgunia, and won’t be back until next month.
‘So the people came back a month later, with a petition saying the Shotguns are paying us only one talent a day, but it costs ten talents to feed a family. Our wives have to grow the food to support us miners. And on top of this we have to pay hut tax, income tax, drinking tax, eating tax and everything tax. So the Shotguns are getting our copper free of charge and taking it to Shotgunia where they become rich. Whereas we, who used to be rich, have now become destitutes in our own land.
‘And every morning before we begin work on the mine we are forced to salute the Shotgun Flag and sing the Shotgun song:
Stand and shoot the Zombians,
How they flee,
See them dance in agony.
Victors in our struggle
For their rights,
We saw freedom’s flight.
Praise be to shotgun,
Shoot them, shoot them.
Praise their great copper,
Steal it, steal it.
Captives they stand,
Under the flag of our land.
Shotgun, praise to thee,
Zombians, work for free.
‘Please, O Chief, return our land to us, so that our copper may be ours, and so that we may never again be slaves of the shotgun.
‘But when the Chief came out of his palace to hear the people’s complaint, the people saw that he was also carrying a shotgun, and was wearing heavy copper bangles on his ankles. And the Chief threw the petition aside, and instead pulled a scroll out of his pocket which he read to the people. This is the Title Deed by which I have given all the copper to the Shotguns, and anybody who causes trouble will be guilty of treason!
‘Then the people were sore annoyed. But there arose amongst the people an Old Lion who was immune to bullets. And he organized all the young men to steal all the shotguns at the dead of night, and dance the cha-cha-cha upon the guns until they were all broken. And verily I say unto you, from that time no shotgun was ever allowed again into that land, and nobody ever again succeeded in stealing the independence of the good people of Zombia.’
Now the priest closed the Holy Book and looked up at the congregation. ‘The lesson today shows us that we must always value and guard our independence, or it will be taken away from us.’
We all sat there in silence. Until there came a great choking sob from an old man at the back. Then came a terrible wail. And then there rose up a great howl of grief from the entire congregation, filling the church until the roof began to shake. As people threw themselves onto the floor in despair, the priest crumpled into his chair, put his head in his hands, and wept. Then up stood six pall bearers, all dressed in black, picked up the coffin, and began to carry it slowly from the church.
And on the side of the coffin was written ‘INDEPENDENCE’.


  1. This is a msterpiece Kalaki - you sure are a genius!!

  2. Too creative... Too true... And too funny!!! Lol

  3. Satire par excellence