It was a sunny day in Cleveland, which at the time was kind of an anomaly. None the less it was still cold. Babakar Wade was walking up the street enjoying the cold as it was such a different thing from the country of Senegal. He was inclined to revel abundantly in the snow to the point where he was often looked at as odd by others who lived in Cleveland and for whom the cold was a scourge to be dealt with rather than celebrated. None the less Babakar did not care. He was in the United States, in Cleveland, to work on an album with his group The Headwhiz Consort Moderne Internationale. He had just walked up to the local coffee shop on the strip near the studio/offices of Mind Fry Enterprises and was carrying a cup of french roast with him and enjoying the sun and the cold. It was late November so it was not the brutal cold that often overwhelmed this rusting Midwestern city in February. He got to the offices of Mind Fry Enterprises and stopped briefly in front of the small house. He loved this place. It was his home away from home. If he stayed here too long he would, of course, miss his village, and the peanut fields and the Baobabs and of course his horse Amadou. None the less he truly loved the people here at Mind Fry. J. Kinslow the President and his secretary Lisa Sue Dannon were always very good to him and treated him almost like royalty. Then of course there was John his good friend for whom he owed all these other relationship too. Of course there were the cats. Originally there was Scum the venerable grey cat who was John’s first and long time friend. After that there was Mairead, named after the Consorts keyboard player, Spot the sickly one named for after a stray John had often fed when he lived in the Italian section of the city. She was sick when he took her and did not last long. Now there was little Erin, or Erin the Runt as was her official name. It was all a blessing Babakar felt to know these people and to be able to bring his ensemble here to make music.

His musing was interrupted by a knocking on the front window of the house. It was Linda Sue motioning to Babakar to come inside. There seemed to be a tension in her eyes Babakar felt. So he put the top back on his cup of coffee and went up the front steps and into Mind Fry. His mood had quickly changed to concern.

He entered and close the door behind him and asked "What is it Ms. Dannon, is there something wrong." With that J.Kinslow walked into the living room from the control room and said "Babakar, we just got news that both Robert and Samba have been detained in New York."

"Why, is there a problem?" Babakar asked.

"Right now we don’t know much and the government isn’t being overly open about what is going on. Supposedly Samba was carrying something that the authorities felt could be a threat and they removed him. As far as we know they took Robert also because they were traveling together."

"Guilt by association" Lisa Sue chipped in.

"There has to be a mistake. Samba is no terrorist. He is perhaps the most peaceful person I know. He generally has little interest in things political. He would never do anything like that. This is not right. Have you told John about it?" Babakar was clearly stressed. One rarely saw worry come into his brow but it was there now.

"No, I’m not sure where he is right now. He is suppose to be here soon. Needless to say we won’t be doing the sessions we had planned."

At that they heard footsteps coming up the front step. It was John he had gone up to the Lucky Diner for breakfast. In his usual loner fashion he didn’t invite any of the others to join him. It was understood that this was not intended as a snub just the way he was. When they told him John too was stunned by the news. He hadn’t known Samba as long as Babakar but he had known him longer than anyone else in the Consort. He had first met Samba on the same trip he had met Babakar. He was shocked.

"How can our government do that" He wondered. "I mean what could Samba possibly be carrying that would imply that he was a terrorist. And I say imply because it seems with this president you didn’t need real hard core evidence just ‘something’ to make them think you are a ‘bad guy’. A ‘Bad Guy’ what a freakin’ joke! This country has resorted to language of children to describe this alleged war on terror to the American Public... why are so many in this country so frickin’ clueless. " John was going from being stunned to being pissed off. He looked at Babakar and saw the worry in his face. He realized his getting angry wasn’t going to help and it might cause Babakar more stress. So he tried to tone it down. But he was livid. He had always been suspicious of this particular administration. They had lied to start a war and continued to propagate the lie. Anytime someone questioned them they denigrated the questioner with accusations of being unpatriotic, much like the Nazi Goering said could be done at the Nuernberg trials. This was what John was thinking but to ease the stress on Babakar he kept it to himself.

"Well right now there is nothing that we can do" J. Kinslow interjected trying to keep a sense of control on the situation. "Right now. I’m going to have Linda Sue keep in touch with the offices in Washington and New York that are handling this to keep as updated as possible. We’ll have to make our own coffee and possibly our own lunch. I can’t imagine this lasting real long. I mean we know Samba is not a terrorist. It has to be just a mix up. It will get straightened out and Samba and Robert will be in Cleveland soon." and as he turned to the coat rack to grab his coat he mumbled "I hope".

"Well maybe we should just keep working as we can. There is plenty to be done" Babakar suggested.

"Yeah, let me fire up the studio and we can see what we have to work on." John said and went off into the control room. Lisa Sue went into the office to make some calls. This left Babakar and J. Kinslow alone in the living room.

"Don’t worry Babakar, we will do everything in our power to see to it that both of them are returned safe. Don’t worry. I suspect it is just a mix up. The absurdity of it makes me think it will all blow over, although my dark side can’t help but think that something is terribly wrong."

"This is true. It is hard to imagine that this could happen in this country. It would be a genuine refutation of all the ideals this country stands for. I hope that it is only a mix up. If it is just an error that is a forgivable thing everyone makes mistakes... if it is not..." Babakar said with his voice trailing off.

"Don’t worry Babakar"

"Indeed, it is not productive, but it is also difficult not to." Babakar said and the 2 men shook hands and J. Kinslow stepped out the door into the cold Cleveland sunshine. Babakar closed the door and paused for a moment with his hand on the door knob. "Samba and Robert a Jewish man and a Muslim man traveling together. How can that be wrong. It ought to be a symbol to the world of what is right" he said softly to himself. Then he felt something against his legs. He looked down and it was Erin the cat. He picked her up and held her and gave her a big hug and then she pushed away from him having gotten what she wished . John then appeared at the door and said. Studio’s fired up Babakar.

So the two of them spent the next 4 hours working n the studio. Around 3 in the afternoon they broke for lunch. John made curry pancake sandwiches for the 3 of them. It was one of his specialties. He would take pancakes (he uses a mix) and add some curry powder to the mix. Then you use the pancakes as bread and add lettuce and tomato and green peppers and onions and some cheese melted in it with a touch of ground pepper. He served this with a glass of Pinot Noir and he also cut up some apples into segments. It was an excellent meal and made them feel a little better. Still the whole time John and Babakar had been working it the studio their conversation was of Robert and Samba.

It was about then that Linda Sue came in with a progress report. Samba and Robert have been taken away from the airport to be questioned. That was all the government was letting out. This was not good. When J. Kinslow returned Lisa Sue updated him. He was starting to get angry. He had hoped it was just a mix up but now he felt something was wrong. They should have been able to figure out that he was just a musician coming to the country. He had all his paper work in line, work permits, visas, passports etc. But they had now removed them to another location and were not telling anything else.

"Linda Sue book me a flight to New York as soon as is possible and pack me a bag please" J. Kinslow said as he started to slowly pace the main room. Now it was J. Kinslow who was having a difficult time withholding his anger. "We need someone there on the ground to deal with this. Seeing as I can’t play an instrument I’ll go. Oh, Lisa Sue let Barney know I’m going to be in town maybe I can check out the ‘Shards while I’m there. Barney was Barney Cole the Consorts lead guitarist. He had his own jazz/rock band in New York "The Swingin’ Shards"

Through it all Babakar remained calm but worried. He knew all that could be done was getting done but they were at a disadvantage that they were in Cleveland and his band mates were being dealt with in New York. He also knew that the best thing to do right now was immerse themselves in the studio and try and get as much done as they could. If things were to go well they could have a bunch of tracks ready and waiting for Samba and Robert to work their magic on. Robert was a programmer extraordinaire and Samba was the Consorts percussionist. They worked well together. Often Samba would lay percussion tracks and then Robert could sample them and then they could be used on one of the compositions the Consort was working on.

Babakar went to the front door and pulled up the Venetian blinds to look outside. It looked cold out and it there were very light flurries coming down. The sun from earlier was now hidden behind the grey clouds that had blown in.

May 12, 2007