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Blood Is Thicker Than Wine

Guest Jo Jo

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Guest Jo Jo

“Blood is Thicker Than Wine”

(One Never Embraces the Leopard)


Kimba Sjoujke was a strong person, both inside and out. Her artwork was the envy and pride of the village. She was a little on the shorter side and of an average weight. She was wiser than most her age. She was so wise and had such good advice that people came not only to watch her at her work, but also to ask her advice on their problems.


The Elders became jealous of her vast knowledge. At such a young age, she shouldn't be more popular than the elders. They unanimously decided to suppress Kimba. They needed to find a traitor.


Kimba was aware of the Elders' jealousy. She tried to keep her head low, but loved to help the people even though she had problems of her own. Kimba's family was falling apart. Her older sister, Chance, with whom she was very close, would be leaving soon to be married. Her mother was always taking some pill or another and her adopted father was as evil and harsh to her as he was nice and favorable to his eldest daughter. Her father, as that is what she calls him, was almost never home, but when he was, he would make it a point to make Kimba miserable. Kimba's brothers and sisters were too young to understand what was going on and didn't help her with anything when it came to the upkeep of the home. When she wasn't at work, she cleaned, washed, clothed and fed the younger ones. Chance and Samba, her best friend, were all she had left.


Samba was always talking to Kimba about her problems. She would try to keep her happy, but no matter what she said, Kimba was becoming more and more depressed.




Every evening, when Kimba would return home, Chance would be the only one to greet her upon her return.

"Kimba! Welcome home. How was your day? The food is ready and waiting on the table. Take off your shoes and sit down. We shall enjoy a feast tonight."

"What's the occasion?"

"There is no occasion, just a good meal for my sister. You work all day. You should be able to enjoy a filling meal when you come home," replied Chance. When her sister worked late, she would prepare the meal.

"There's talk of you all around town. I went to the market today to get some more yam root, and everyone was talking about how you had helped them someway or another."

"Yes, the people come with their problems, and the least I can do is give them advice from what I know."

"Would you like chicken with your yams or would you like fish?"

"Fish please. It's good for the mind."

As the two eat on in silence, unrest is rising at the Village Council.


The Village Council was a meeting where the respected villagers came together underneath the old wild fig tree. Not very many people from the village were there, but among the few was Samba. She listened closely to the whispers at the beginning of the meeting from the Elders. They would not be addressed until after they had come to a decision about what to talk about first, and after that, what was to be carried out.

As Samba listened, she heard a very interesting and devious plan.

"We must suppress her!"

"She must be stopped!"

"Kimba must be trampled out and filtered! Like juice from grapes when it is time to make our fine wine!"

"Hush. Hush. We must discuss this in an orderly manner. If we can manage, we should try not to destroy her to the point where her art is no more. We need to merely quiet her."

This was Head Elder Wraith. He made all the decisions in the village. Not only about what was said and done, but about who did what, when and where. Wraith was an old, decrepit, hunch backed, wrinkled, dictator of a man. He was like an old witch doctor. The gods supposedly willed everything he did. Wraith was feared and respected, but something was hidden behind his hooded eyes.

"She is a threat and is taking away a part of our power over this village. She will begin to make the people less fearing and more daring."

"What do you suggest we do, Wraith?"

"How about we find a way to deter her from wanting to help the people of this village again and turn her head back to her art alone... perhaps, a traitor?"

"Yes, but who? Her sister, Chance, would never betray Kimba. What about her friend, Samba? She has to be at least somewhat jealous of Kimba and her newfound glory and her art?"

"We can feed her lies about Kimba and make her even more jealous of Kimba and her spreading evil."

"Kimba's tongue is forked like an adder's. Her words are as deadly as the poison of the black mamba. We must stop the flow of the poison by cutting off the source," Wraith concluded.





The next morning, her friend Samba joined Kimba on her walk to the village. She and Samba usually took different routes to work. Kimba wondered what was so important that it couldn't wait until they got to work.

"Jambo1, Samba."

"Jambo, Kimba. What a fine morning it is. You weren’t at the village meeting last night. Neither was your sister, Chance. In fact, none of your family was there. May I be so intrusive as to ask why not?"

"I wasn't there because of working so late…" At which point, Samba cut her off.

"Typical of you. You are always working. You never have time for anyone else but yourself. If you would stop interrupting your work to talk to the people, and if you would stop taking in other people's problems, and you worried more about your own problems, then maybe you wouldn't forget about so much!"

"I help the people because they ask me for help. They come back because what I tell them is true and helps. If I could make them go away, I wouldn't because I enjoy helping the people."

"The Elders don't like what you are doing. They are becoming afraid that you are trying to take away their power. If you had been at the meeting last night you would have heard. They are going to make you shut your mouth to the people at any cost. The Elders will make you. If I have to, I will help them. They aren't the only ones that you are making angry."


With that, she stalked off without another word. Her words were sinking in like a rock in a stream. Kimba's thoughts floated back to a conversation they had had months ago.


“Kimba, why do you, a master of art, ask me for advice on your masterpieces? Is it that you think you aren't good enough, or are you trying to rub my nose in the dirt with the fact that I can't draw worth beans?”

“I am a master, yes, but I ask you your opinion and advice on my work to get an outside view. I like to know what others think as I do my work and after it is 'finished.' This way, I can fix the things that others suggest. I am not trying to rub your nose in it. Merely try to see things the way you do.”

“So that is why you keep me around. To keep you in business?”

“No, I just merely want your opinion on the way you perceive my work. As a friend. My sister, much as I love her, has no eye for detail. You, do though, and that is another reason why I ask your opinion.”

“So, you keep me around to make yourself look better. Whatever, ask whoever you want about your art, but don't ask me.”

With that, she had walked away, just as mad.




“Kimba, what should I do about my goat? She will not give any more milk. All my goat's cheese is gone. What am I to do?”

“Try this, Manni. Breed your goat with a billy, and then, she will begin to produce milk for her baby. When the kid is born, take him or her to the market and make a profit.”

“That is a good idea. I wonder how much Samanj would charge me for breeding her to his billy goat...” Manni's voice floated back into Kimba's studio as she left the small hut full of pens, ink and paper. When all was quiet again, Kimba was once again, alone with her thoughts.

“What did Samba mean by the Elders weren't the only ones getting angry over me sharing my knowledge with the rest of the village? If I want to help the people, why does it matter? I am not hurting anyone.”

“What did Samba mean when she said that bit about 'if she had to' she'd help them keep my mouth shut? I will find out later.”


It was beginning to darken and there wasn't sufficient light to finish her work. Kimba washed her brushes with sand and water in a bucket, cleaned her pallet, and then locked the front door. As she left, she took one last look at the piece she had been working on. It was of Chance and Vadeem, her husband to be, underneath the old fig tree, holding hands. In the bottom corner, if you looked hard enough, you could see the beginnings of a small, fanged snake, sunning itself on the rock by Vadeem's hand.




As the evening progressed, so did the situation with the Village Council.

“Will you help us, Samba?”

“Yes, Head Elder Wraith. I will do my best. If she cannot be beaten with wit, I can beat her with the tongue.”




Pacing back and forth in her small room, Samba continued to think about how to get Kimba to stop helping the people.

“What should I say? Should I tell her to concentrate more on her work? Should I threaten her? What can I use to get to her?”

“Hmmmmmm. I know. I've got it.”

“I'll get her to talk about Vadeem and Chance. She's bound to be jealous of that, or at least have some ill will towards them.”




“Just follow through with the stroke. You'll get the hang of it.”

“Thanks, Kimba. I need all the help I can get.”

“Not a problem. I like to help people who ask.”

“See you.”



“Jamba, Kimba.”

“Jamba, Samba.”

“What brings you here? Are we still friends?”

“For now.”

“Can I help you with anything? Is there something you wanted to talk about?”

“Yes, actually, there was something that I wanted to talk to you about. How's Vadeem and Chance's relationship going?”

“Um, it's fine. As far as I know that is. Why do you ask?”

“How are your feelings towards their relationship,” she continued ignoring Kimba's question.

“I don't know. In a way, I don't want Chance to go, but I know that she loves Vadeem. I don't want to lose my relationship with her. It's kind of weird. I don't really want to talk about it.”

“Okay. I understand that the loss of a loved one can be hard. I want you to know that even when Chance leaves you behind to start a new and better life, that I will always be here for you.”


Her words stung like a cut from a thorn. Tearing deep and hard into Kimba's heart. Samba's cruel words had hurt. She didn't know what to say. She was truly astonished at what had just aspired between them. Saying nothing and trying to hide a few small tears of pain, Kimba turned back to her work.


The snake was now complete, and the colors of the dress that Chance was wearing were white and black, with splashes of red that looked very similar to blood spatters. On Chance's hand were two tooth marks, and a trickle of blood. Vadeem's face was finished also. His eyes were black, with a small speck of white to show reflection. Other than that, they looked quite dead. His skin was a sallow wax color with bluish veins. It was an evil looking painting.


“What is with this picture? It looks to me like you do have ill feelings.”

“It's none of your business what I paint.”

“But as a friend, it is my business to help you with your problems. Kind of like what you do to the people.”

“Maybe so, but why should I entrust my feelings to you?”

“Because we're friends. We used to be so close. I don't know what happened. Maybe it's because you're so wrapped up in your work and helping the villagers that you haven't noticed this.”

"I am not wrapped up in that. I just don't like to talk about my problems with someone who only listens for the benefit of possible gossip. It's not like I don't hear what others have heard from your mouth about me. It's not like I'm blind, deaf and mute. You need to mind your own business."

"I am minding my business. You are my friend, which makes your business mine. So, please, tell me what you are thinking."

"Fine. I don't want her to get married. I want Chance to stay home. I want her be happy though. I don't know what I would do if she weren’t happy. I know that they are a good couple, but I don't want her marriage to interfere with the relationship that we have. It sounds so selfish, I know, but I don't know what to do about it. I don't even think there is anything that I can do."

"But there is something you can do. Tell Chance what you are thinking. Tell her what you just told me. Show her this picture. It's amazing, and it shows how you feel."

"I don't want to hurt her. I couldn't live with myself if I ever hurt her," Kimba said sadly. Her head was down and her hands were folded in her lap.




"She has confided in me. Kimba has ill will towards her sisters upcoming marriage."

"Good. You have served your purpose well."

"Thank you, my Liege"



Proverb: "One does not embrace the leopard."



To Be Continued


please let me know what you guys think

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