Take a crude little doll fashioned out of some cloth, coir, hemp and thread, transform it into a likeness of your enemy, take a fat pin and stick it violently into the doll. And if you have done your math and got your equations right then horrible things should happen to your enemy when you do so. That is Voodoo.
If you are out on a leisurely walk and step into some soft squelchy smelly thing that is doggie-doo. But that’s another story.
Back to sticking pins into a representational likeness of your enemy. In addition to sticking pins into that doll, you could also do other things to it like dipping it into boiling oil, pulling out its ears, stomping all over it, squeezing its throat between thumb and forefinger or plain simply twist its head off. It would have the same effect. Horrible things will happen to your enemy.
Talk about the long arm of vengeance. This one could stretch to be a really long one. Your enemy could be on the other side of the planet and you could bite his nose off from the comfort of your living room. There are no geographical boundaries or limitations of any kind involved here. No line-of-sight or co-ordinate correction or global positioning systems involved here. What is involved is plain simple old-fashioned voodoo magic. Stick a pin into a doll in Bilaspur, India and your enemy would rise in Gaborone, Botswana.
There was an official conference on the Impact of Modern Advances on the Art of the Voodoo that I happened to attend recently. Only it wasn’t official. It wasn’t even a conference. And it most certainly had nothing to do with the impact of anything on anything. It was a cookery class teaching how to cook low-cal diet food. In the centre of the room were two huge cauldrons being stirred by the cookery instructor. At least that’s what a casual observer would have seen if he had happened to walk into the room. But the same casual observer, if he had happened to look a little more closely, would have seen that what appeared to be a cookery class was only a clever front for a far more exciting gathering. Namely the official conference mentioned earlier. Very clever deception. The cookery instructor was actually a gatekeeper minding the entrance to the secret conference and the cauldrons were actually a secret entrance to the same. And to gain entrance to the secret conference one had to walk into the hall as an eager student of low-cal high-health recipes, sidle up to the gatekeeper disguised as the instructor and mutter the secret password to him. If you had the right password, the gatekeeper would allow you to climb into the first cauldron which had a false bottom leading to a large conference room. If you had the wrong password, the gatekeeper would kick you into the second cauldron which actually was a real cauldron in which a stew was being cooked. Double bubble toil and trouble.
There were many learnings from those sessions. New techniques learnt, old techniques improved upon. Armed with all that knowledge I walked out of there brimming with confidence and on a high not experienced in a long time. I was very happy. I had enough arsenal now to take on an army. And I only needed enough for four.
For the enemy of mine amounted to a group of four. Four fearsome fiends forcing their way in from beyond those far-away frontiers, flying in on fearsome dragons with a ferocity many would find fearful in the extreme. Actually nothing like that happened. It was me, fool that I was, who actually went out and approached them with a proposition. I commissioned work and we agreed upon a price. They proposed the price, I agreed. They proposed the terms of payment, I agreed. And that was the first of many mistakes I made. And by the time I realized that it was a mistake I was in too deep to be able to do much about it. Then began the long and painful road back to recovery. It took its toll, and I had to pay. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want it, but I had no choice. Maybe I could have handled it differently, maybe I could have ensured that things turned out different, maybe I could have worked some magic that would have made things ok for everybody. That was wishful thinking. None of that happened. And that was reality. And before I realized it I was well and truly on the road to perdition. And dangerously close to losing my soul; facing eternal damnation.
That was then. And this is now. Now is when I sit back in my chair, with a glass of my favorite beer, and think back to that time. And when I do I cannot help but allow a smile to spread itself all over my face – and then some more, and humor it further by adding another one of my own. I know how close I had come to getting even then. I was armed. And dangerous. And soon enemy mine would have known what my name was when I had laid my vengeance upon them. But then again, that was then, and this is now.