a new inspector

A new inspector

 A new police inspector
had been posted to the town,
and one day he got in his jeep
with three of his men
and drove to the end of a road
in a nearby jungle in Kerela

 We’ll have to walk from here, sir

 How much farther is it?

 It’ll take about an hour
to get to the village, sir

 We’ve got to let those tribes know
who’s in charge around here,
said the inspector

 Yes, sir
Right you are, sir,
replied one of the constables

 Lead the way

 Yes, sir

 And so the men set off
on foot
to pay a visit
to one of the remaining tribes in the jungle

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Is it always this hot around here, constable?

 Yes, sir

 These mosquitoes are ferocious

 Yes, sir
Quite ferocious, sir

 And there sure are a lot of ganja plants around here

 Yes, sir
I think they’re native to the region, sir

 How much further is it to the village, constable?

 We’re almost there, sir

 Then the men fell silent
and continued on their way

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 After a while they came upon a settlement
and saw a man sitting alone

 Hey, you
Come here

 The villager remained immobile,
so the inspector walked over
to where the man was sitting

 Are you deaf?

 The villager looked at the inspector
and said,

 Do you know whom those ganja plants over there belong to?

 Their mine
Beautiful, aren’t they?

 They’re illegal

you’re insane
Everything in nature
has a purpose
and a place

 According to the law in Kerela . . .

 I am the law around here

I’m the new inspector in town
and I’m in charge of enforcing the law

 And what right do you have
to be on our land

 The state of Kerela
has invested in me
the power to do as I please,
and now I am going to have to take you in

 Let me put on some clothes first

 The villager went into a nearby hut,
and some time later he came out again,
this time wearing his chief’s costume
and carrying a large drum

 The policemen stood dumbfounded
as they stared at the chief in his ceremonial outfit
complete with jangling bells
and a large feather headdress

 The chief began to beat his drum,
and within minutes
all of the men in the village had arrived

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The chief allowed the inspector and his men
to soak in the shift in power,
and then he spoke

 Tie them up

 The policemen protested,
but they realized that they were outnumbered
and outspeared,
and soon they found themselves bound
to tall poles that appeared to have been made
for just that purpose

 You won’t get away with this,
said the inspector
I’ll have the lot of you thrown in jail
Just wait until I come back with reinforcements

 It’s nap time now,
so you’ll have to be quiet for a while,
said the chief

 I’ll talk as much as I want

 You have two options:
If you like,
you can voluntarily be quiet while we rest,
if you prefer,
we can gag you

 The inspector reflected for a moment
and then chose to remain silent

 We’ll talk more later,
said the chief

 He put a bit of cow dung
in each policeman’s hair,
and then he and the other villagers
left the policemen to roast
in the hot sun
and attract flies
for a while 

♫ ♫ ♫

After a couple of hours,
the villagers began
to reappear

 Some of them brought out a large brass cauldron,
hung it over a firepit,
filled it with coconut oil
and made a fire underneath

 They don’t still boil people in oil around here, do they?
asked the inspector

 I don’t think so, sir,
replied the constable
I’m pretty sure they stopped doing that a few years ago

 My grandfather used to bury policemen
up their necks near an anthill,
said the chief,
and then he would put a bit of honey in their hair
Do you see that anthill over there?

 He pointed to a nearby anthill,
where four men were busy digging holes

 And my father preferred to burn them at the stake

 What do you usually do with them?
asked the inspector

 Have you ever tried tree frog poison?


 It’s great
It kills within seconds
Fortunately we’re all immune to it
because since we were toddlers,
our mothers have given us a drop every year
We put it on the tips of our spears and arrows
Would you like to try some?

 No, thank you

 There are quite a lot of things
that can kill a man
in the jungle

 Yes, I’m sure there are

 You see,
we don’t like foreigners coming on to our land,
land that we have lived on for centuries,
and telling us what to do

 We’re not foreigners

 Do you speak our native language?


 Then you are a foreigner
And you outsiders have been rapidly destroying
everything you set your eyes on,
whereas here in the jungle we maintain
the balance and flow
The less of you there are,
the better off the planet will be

 If you let us go,
I promise we’ll never come back

 I wonder if that’s true
I’ll consider your request
Meanwhile I’ll let some of our cobras
keep you company

 The chief signaled to one of his men,
who then opened a basket,
took out four cobras,
and draped one around the neck
of each policeman
The cobras greeted the policemen
and then made themselves comfortable
The policemen felt very uncomfortable,
but they chose to remain
as still as possible

 The chief then returned to his hut
and stayed there
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

said the chief,
shall I set you free,
or would would prefer to spend the night
with the cobras?

 We’d prefer to go home

 And never come back?

 And never come back

 If you ever come here again,
I’ll call a tiger
and invite him to eat you
Or perhaps I’ll ask an elephant
to stomp on you

 I promise we won’t come back

 And it seems that the air
in the tires of your jeep
has gone missing
I suppose you wouldn’t mind walking
back to town

 We wouldn’t mind at all
You can keep the jeep

 If you hurry,
you can get out of the jungle before dark,
which is when the wild boars come out
Ever been stabbed by one?


 Hurts like hell

 We’d be happy to leave right away

 And never come back

 And never come back

 The chief nodded to a group of his men
and they untied the policemen

 Thank you
May we have our shoes and guns back?


No problem
We were thinking of getting new ones anyway
we’ll be off then –
with your permission, of course


 And so the policemen
slowly made their way
back to the road,
trying to avoid all of the thorns that covered the path,
thorns that they could not recall
having seen that morning

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 I don’t think they’ll be coming back, Chief

 I think you’re right
Go put some air in the tires of the jeep
and then park it in the cave
where we keep all the other ones

 Okay, Chief

 And then chief
and the rest of the villagers
celebrated the departure of the police
by smoking a bit
of Idukki Gold

 ♫ ♫ ♫