By Aaron Aroriza:
I hate suspense – I really, really hate it and that's what madam doctor subjected me to for all those thirty minutes. And no, I don't mind ironies at all.
I don't mind ironies, I don't mind thirty minutes of introspection seated in a very uncomfortable position and, I don't mind having someone try to solve for me a problem I don't even know I have. But I'm very bothered by things I can't, things I don't…understand.
When madam doctor came back into the room, she removed the banana leaf over the pot-bellied man first. He and I were the only men in the room and I had already suspected – nay – concluded that the car with the red government number plate belonged to him. Save for the beautiful innocent looking young girl who sat just across, the rest were all middle aged women. Moses muzimbi wa buloka would try to explain later why it's the women that frequented this shrine. But in the meantime, in my thirty minutes of forced introspection, I had drawn a well thought out and much meditated-upon conclusion that women are more suggestible than men and therefore find it much easier to believe in things they can neither explain nor understand – things like love. If you don't believe that, neither do I. But you could forgive a brother for coming up with such thoughts in a shrine full of half naked women.
The expression on the face of the pot-bellied man with the government car was a mixture of shock, fear, disgust and worry…but mostly disgust. His small eyes narrowed into a slit as he tried to focus on what was in his bowl. His oversize nose almost sucked and swallowed his moustache covered full lips and you could have forgiven anyone in the room for thinking the witch had bent over backward and opened her sewers tap directly onto the guy's face. I craned my neck to check out what was in the bowl and when I finally had a small peek at what was in there, got a mixture of nausea and fear.
Fear at the thought of what would be in my bowl; Nausea at the sight of what was in Pot-bellied government man's bowl. It was as if his whole kidney had moved from his belly to his toes and then moved to the bowl through the rosary. A big mass, brownish in color lay in the centre of the bowl surrounded by smaller masses of slimy coagulants that looked like mucus mixed with spittle and then darkened a little with charcoal ash. Strands of hair floated atop the liquid in the bowl completing what, by any standards, was the most disgusting spooky scene in a bowl.
“You sure have so many haters,” madam doctor calmly said as she poked at the disgusting substances with a stick. The government man, looking like a scared innocent seven year old nodded his head slowly, “Yes, I have so many enemies and it's evident they are out to finish me”. He agreed and I saw what I could have sworn was a happy and satisfied look on madam doctor's face!
She motioned a young girl who all this time had been standing at the door way to take away the bowl. I later learnt she was her daughter. The rest of the people didn't have much in their bowls and were told they were fine. It's only the young girl who was seated across me who also found something exciting in her bowl – a chewed on tooth pick! Jesus Christ…a whole tooth-pick passed through her toes and then navigated its way through the rosary to the water in the bowl!! Amazing…huh?
Before madam doctor could even say anything, the young girl, quite animated, started to narrate how a friend at school had once poked her with a tooth-pick she had been chewing on. It's from around that time, she spoke on, that she started to have constant head-aches and declining grades.
My heart was beating very fast. It was now my turn to have the water in the bowl reveal all my troubles. She carefully removed the rosary from my toes and then whisked the banana leaf off the bowl…magician style. I couldn't wait to see what my body had, for the last thirty minutes, been brewing into madam doctor's magic bowl.
To be continued…
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