Babakar went out to the country with his horse Amadou. He was going for forty days to fast and meditate. He only brought enough provisions to last 40 days eating at a predetermined rate. He allowed only a small amount a day. Most of what he took with him was dried fruit and peanuts. He knew how to procure water out in the country so he did not take large amount as it would be too heavy and he did not wish to burden his horse with the load. Of course he also had plenty of food with him for Amadou, including carrots and apples. He hoped he would not be tempted to eat them but then again the battle against temptation was a good thing. It would steel his will and make him a better, stronger person. Of course he wasn’t going to make Amadou fast. He was his friend and companion. He had lost his first horse Lester a few years ago and this saddened him but since he had met Amadou they had been drawn towards each other naturally and Amadou truly loved Babakar. Thus Babakar rode Amadou out into the Senegal country side with a pack of provisions that mainly were for Amadou. He wondered why he did this sometimes and the answer always came back to him that until it was over it didn’t make sense but once he had done it he knew it had been a good thing. So he rode off wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses a thin sleeveless shirt and some string pants his tailor had made him just for this journey and a good pair of sandals. He would head south toward the Gambian border. The first 5 days he traveled early in the morning and then later in the day stopping to rest in what shade he could find during the hot portion of the day. Eventually he found an area that he thought they would settled down for about a week. He would do some writing and meditate and occassionally ride Amadou just because they enjoyed doing that. They had found a good spot in the shade of a magnificent Baobob tree. It was huge and as the sun moved so too would the 2 move to stay in the shade of the massive trunk. Babakar did not tie Amadou up as he knew he would not try and leave and this allowed the horse to seek out a more comfortable area if he chose to do so. Occasionally Amadou would head over to a slightly more forested area and stand occasionally nibbling at the grass. There also was a small river near by that Amadou would drink from.

They ended up staying in this area for most of the forty days. His meditations had taken him deep inside himself. At one point Babakar was so seemingly distant that he was pulled back to reality by the large nose of Amadou nudging him. He slowly came back to the world Amadou existed in and he looked up at his friend with a distant look in his eyes. Amadou whinnied softly.

“Thank you, Amadou, you must have realized what was happening.” Babakar said. At the time the horse was nudging him Babakar had been having some rather frightful hallucinations. The combination of the fasting and meditation had led his mind off in directions that he wasn’t in total control of. This was not something that normally happened to Babakar. He was generally very good and controlling the path of his thoughts. He was glad to have been brought back by his horse.

“Amadou, I don’t know exactly what these visions meant or if they meant anything but there were many disturbing things in them.” Then he leaned back against the great Baobob and started to tell Amadou of his visions. “At first my friend, I was seemingly walking along a great long road and the sun was high but it was cool. It was not here but somewhere else where the temperature can be cool even with the sun bright and high, I was wearing a sweater in fact, an Irish knit sweater. I was feeling wonderful. Perhaps I was in Ireland or the British Isles somewhere because there was a lot of green and a lot of rocks and there was the scent of the sea in the air although I could not actually see or hear it. I felt very very good but then I was hearing thunder in the distance and the clouds were starting to form. This did not disturb me too much as I had an umbrella with me plus I do not mind getting wet. The sky got very dark and it was so dark that cars passing on the road had their headlights on, and it continued to grow darker with each passing moment. Then the sky started to light up but the lightning was not normal. It flash was a different color, some red, some blue, some green. It was magnificent and yet frightful. It did not seem to me to be a good sign. This was just a gut feeling. Then the clouds parted and American planes from WWII were swooping down on me and firing their weapons. The weapons too all shot with a different color in the flash. All around me the weapons were. Then I turned and there was a dark hunched man talking out of the side of his mouth, on both sides even, and he was telling me to surrender, that I didn’t have a chance and that I should just lay down my arms. I was telling him I have no arms and that I want no trouble. He looked at me and said “Then what are those???” and he motioned to my bodies arms. I had to admit “they are arms, but I have no arms in terms of weapons, you must realize that” But he would not hear what I was saying. And a large chorus appeared behind him and the sky turned blood red and they started to sing “He has No Weapons” over and over but he would not hear them either. He turned to a smaller man behind him. Now this man was not someone who was very intelligent. In fact when he spoke he often seemed, perhaps, mildly retarded. The dark hunched man spoke to the dumb man, who must have been his lord master as incongruous as that might seem, “See he admits that he has arms, we should kill him before he attacks you. My God we don’t have much time, its gotta happen now, your life is in danger... now, now, now..................” With that the dumb man nodded and then on the horizon appeared a large army of lizard like men riding a beast that was a combination of a bull, with its horns and large back and a dragon with its long flexible neck and its wide spread legs and they were advancing on me and all I had to defend myself was these two human arms. Then the light in the sky was covered and I looked up and saw flyng beasts that looked like reptilian eagles. They passed down at me and out of their mouths were weapons fire that scattered all around me though I was never hit. Finally after many seemingly hours of assault by all these force the dumb man said “Bring it on” the dark hunched man nodded to some lizard officers and they signaled to some others who signaled to others until finally flying through the air was a giant elephant like beast with wings and it was carrying a cylinder in its claw like feet it was trumpeting a great noise through its long trunk and the sound echoed across the land. All life stood still in fear. That is when I realized how mad everything was. That cylinder would, if the elephant dropped it, destroy everything. How I knew this I am not sure but it was the truth. It seemed everyone knew. It seemed to be common knowledge. Only the dumb man and the dark hunched man were not stilled with fear. The dumb man continued to gaze with a lifeless look in his eyes while the dark hunched man sat off to the side of the dumb man jumping quickly up and down clapping his hands and laughing hysterically. It was then that you started to nudge me and brought me back. Honestly Amadou I believe that if you had not done that and the cylinder had been released in my vision I well may have died. Thank you my friend, thank you.” And with that Amadou made a low noise and Babakar stood up and patted his friend on the neck. Amadou nudged him gently with his nose in return.
“Perhaps a carrot is in order for you” and he went to his pack and pulled a couple out. By the time he turned around Amadou was right behind him in anticipation. Babakar gave him a carrot and pulled some nuts and dried apricots out and ate them and drank some water from a wine skin he carried with him. This would be his dinner for the night. It was all he would eat today. He handed Amadou his second carrot and then went and sat down. He was tired. The vision had physically taken a lot out of him. He drank a little more water and decided to sleep. As the sun fell across the Senegal country side by the base of a large Baobob a horse looked over a man sleeping soundly. The horse looked down on his friend and just thought. He was a good man and he was treated well by him. He could sense the day they had met that he was destined to be with this person. He was not a horse who took easily to people for he had been treated poorly during part of his life by a man. When he had been turned over to the 2 women who were friends of Babakar he felt like life was taking a turn for the better. Then as soon as he had seen Babakar he knew it was a pairing that was destiny. He was happy to live this destiny out with his sleeping friend. He would watch over him while he slept for these 40 nights. He could sleep at ease knowing the horse was there.

There was still about 6 days left in the sabbatical but Babakar eased up on the amount of serious meditating he was doing. He had gone a little too close to the edge and was disturb by the visions. He did not want to go that way again and wondered just what the visions meant and where they came from. Instead he did a lot of writing in his journal and recounted his visions there and tried to figure them out. He did a lot of gazing at the Senegal country side and he spent more time with Amadou down by the river. In another day he would start to travel again. He was 3 days from Banjul and would start heading that way. Amadou sensed that travel was due. He liked to travel so he was noticeably excited. “Soon very soon my friend” Babakar said to his friend. That night he made a fire. He did not normally do that. The sun was up long enough to light most of what he needed to be lit but tonight he just felt like gazing into the flame and eventually the glowing embers. He just made a small one that only lasted a little. He sat and thought about his group The Headwhiz Consort. They would soon congregate to plan a small tour around the Mediterranean starting in Gibraltar. He was excited about the tour. They had put an album out about half a year ago and had toured briefly in support of it in Europe and then they had disbanded and gone to their own projects. Barney Cole had a small tour with his group “The Swingin’ Shards” up and down he east coast of the United States and Mairead O’Connor was doing some avant garde shows in Dublin. He was still concerned about Samba and Robert. They had been detained at the U.S. border because Samba had a recording of Cat Stevens “Peace Train” and Robert was with him. Perhaps when he got back to his village there would be word, or better yet Samba would be there and he would assume that Robert had made it back to Israel. Vladimir was no doubt back in Russia and Lady Bret was hobnobbing somewhere in the world. He wondered if she thought at all about Robert. He clearly loved her but she was oblivious to it, or at least that was what she projected. Then there was Art. He had gotten a negative vibe from him during the last tour. He wasn’t quite sure why. He seemed angry all the time. He could only hope that if he had a problem he would bring it to him directly and not let it stew. Hans and Jean-luc were no doubt back in Germany and France respectively. They stayed probably the most active musically then anyone except Barney who gigged a lot in the States. “Amadou, if Samba and Robert aren’t released in time for the tour should we cancel it?” Amadou whinnied and shook his head up and down. “I agree, if we are a group we cannot go on without all the pieces. It is too bad that we are not more famous or perhaps the press would take note and question why these 2 innocents have been kept so long, alas J. Kinslow has his lawyers on it. I trust he is doing all that can be done.” With that he got up to go to sleep. “Tomorrow Amadou we head towards Banjul. It will take a few days. Then we can rest for awhile and perhaps splash some in the ocean. Perhaps our dolphin friend will appear. It has been awhile since our paths first crossed and it was in The Gambia that we first met so perhaps.” With that Babakar lay down for the night and once again as the sun fell across the Senegal country side by the base of a large Baobob a horse looked over a man sleeping soundly.

The next days they rose before the sun and got an good jump on the day. They ended up covering more ground then he had anticipated. “Probably Amadou was getting restless. He moved well today and had not had to do much for the few weeks. He is strong and has great will.” he thought to himself. Eventually they got to Banjul. Babakar stayed at a hotel that allowed for him to tie up Amadou “It’s only for one night friend. Then we will go camp by the sea. I need to have a couple Guinness before we head north again. Amadou nodded his head in agreement. He had seen Babakar drink a cold Guinness on other occasions. He could see in his face the enjoyment he got from it. For that reason he did not mind being tied up over night, besides he didn’t tie it tight enough that Amadou couldn’t get away if he wanted.
Babakar’s first stop was the African Heritage on Wellington Street. It was a place he could get a Guinness or 2. It was located on the second floor and he got a table that was on the long porch that overlooked the street. He could see Amadou standing tied in the shade. When his beer was placed down in front of him he thanked the waiter. Then he whistled. Amadou turned his head and looked at Babakar who was holding up his pint in a toast to his friend. He sat relishing the pint. It’s heavy taste and the coldness of it was heaven after 40 days of fasting. He also ordered some food, a plate of chebou-jen which had not been delivered. When he was served his food he asked for a second pint. The food was delicious. He ate it eagerly. It was his first ‘meal’ in 40 days. He felt good for having done the sabbatical although he was still troubled by his vision. He wondered what would have happened if Amadou had not been there. He looked over at his horse and noticed a man by him. He watched as Amadou did not seem troubled by him which was unusual. Then he noticed a familiarity. It was Samba. Babakar stood up and called to him them went dashing down the steps and out to the street where Samba was. He grabbed him and gave him a big hug. “Samba you, you are, you’re here!? Where have you been what has been going on” Samba looked at his friend and smiled a very tired smile. He was clearly glad to see Babakar but it wasn’t the robust smile that he normally had. “I thought I recognized Amadou. A fine steed Babakar.”
“Indeed, but where have you been? J. Kinslow has lawyers out trying to find out what happened to you. Does this mean he was successful?”
“Yes it does, sort of, I think, but I will tell you about it someday. I cannot go back through it right now. Please understand. I am too tired.”
“Of course, what brings you to Banjul?” Babakar asked
“All I will say for now is it is where they dropped me off.” Samba said quietly.
Please come into the inn and I will get you some food”
“Thank you, Babakar, I am very hungry. What brings you to Banjul?”
“It is the end of a 40 day fast and sabbatical. I have been out in the country.” he answered.
“Let us go in and you can tell me about that. I know you wish to know more about me and Robert and where we have been but for now you tell me of you 40 days. It may take a long time for me to talk about this. Perhaps Robert will tell you sooner. He was not a Muslim or a black man in America.”
They were both silent for a bit and just looked at each other. After some moments Samba motioned that they go in. They went in ascended the steps and sat at the table Babakar had. There was a warm ½ pint and a plate of room temperature chebou-jen sitting there. There was a fly on the chebou-jen.