Short Story – The Steel Python

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Short Story –  The Steel Python

Call me Foromana

The schutztruppe yoked me to clear a narrow track through a clump of bushes. 

The governor schooled us on how to use steel hollowed-out blades and L-shaped toothed tools. 

Soon dark-skinned villagers cleared the spiky bushes. 

My lord paid us greenish bottles of classy water. Besides the grape-squeezed water, he handed out brown ginger cookies. Afterwards, we crackled the ginger rusks and sipped the bottled brown-foamed drink. 

Our contract came to a stop when we turned up at the chief’s homestead. 

Thereafter, the cow-skin apron men blocked the rail work. 

The landeshauptleute tutored the chief to pave way for the railway. 

“What’s an eisenbahn?” asked the wrinkle-faced chief. 

“It’s a pathway for the train,” said the governor. 

“What’s a Zug?” asked the headman. 

The commander grabbed a picture of a steam engine and flapped it towards the raised-eyebrow villagers. 

“In four months, time, a steel python will pass through Okahandja,” he said. 

“It looks like a double-legged earthworm,” the chief said, tumbling from his three-legged stool. 

“This python swallows people,” warned the governor. 

The whiskery-bearded man waved pictures of tearful-eyed toddlers trapped inside the steel python’s carriage and sobbing mothers waving at their death-bound children. Then, the governor lifted another picture of the steel-python spewing dusky smoke and yellow flames. 

“This is a fire breathing python,” he said. 

“We don’t want stick houses near the railway,” I said. 

The governor gestured for the contractors to flatten the thatched-roof huts on either side of the tracks. We grabbed our shovels and tore up the cow dung plastered huts. 

“My great-grandfather was buried here,” said the chief, as tears welled up his eyes. 

“We’ll make a plan,” the commander said, faking tears about the chief’s loss. 

“Let’s squeeze the cemetery between the rail tracks,” the governor said. 

“The steel python’s noise will awaken the ancestors,” whined the chief. 

“The python will vomit guns and hoofed-racing creatures to protect your black and white cows from the raiders,” the governor tutored, pressing his bushy chest against the pro-colonial chief. 

The curled-hair commander cocked a revolver and shot several cow-poop plastered huts. 

“You’re not safe,” he said. 

“Ink your name four times on this paper,” said the governor. 

“Four …?” quizzed the chief. 

“To impress Kaiser Wilhelm that you’re the only schooled native,” he said, blinking rapidly. 

Finally, the perplexed chief penned down his name on the Protection Treaty.


* This is historical fiction