THE ages-old adage asserting that money is the root of all evil resurfaced at the watering hole when a patron revealed that Lazzo’s erstwhile mate in the neighbourhood had been duped!
The man with a penchant for a particular spot at the counter narrated to imbibers that his acquaintance had approached a witchdoctor who claimed he could manufacture money for him.
He told the client that if he deposited K7,000 to the magic man, he would double the amount!
The fortune seeker was led to a cemetery where he had planted someone to speak from behind a thicket.
When the witchdoctor spoke, the hidden man would reply to all questions asked. “Great one, this man wants a fortune, what should he do?,” asked the witchdoctor,”
The voice behind a thicket replied:”Let him give you K7,000 and he will have that multiplied three times,” replied the voice.
After this, the witchdoctor turned to the client and said:”You have heard for yourself and now its up to you,” echoed the witchdoctor.
The witchdoctor and his assistants including the fortune seeker returned to the hood and the client went away to find the money.
The following day, he went to the witchdoctor with a wad of K50 notes and paid the demanded cash.
He was told to return the following day to repeat the cemetery repertoire of talking to the voice and getting answers.
When they arrived at the site, the witchdoctor told the ‘voice’ that the riches seeker had complied with the ‘Great One’s” demand.
Instantly, the voice replied:”The person who seeks fortune should not tell anyone about coming here and this time, he has made a mistake.
He should come tomorrow,” said a voice behind the thicket emblazoned with some scarlet red cloths.
This repertoire was conducted at a considerable distance from the site where the voice was coming from. Again he was told that he had heard for himself and he should now prepare to come the following day.
He also told that as a penalty, he should prepare to double the initial payment for business to continue.
The affluence seeker now found himself K15,000 all in the hope of reaping a quadruple amount.
It transpired that eventually, in the process of postponements, the witchdoctor shifted from the hood and disappeared.
As he enquired from the neighbourhood on the whereabouts of the witcdoctor, someone told the fortune hunter that in fact, everyone thought his frequent visits were about discussions on occupying the house in which the witchdoctor lived as he had indicated intentions to shift earlier!
It soon dawned on the hapless affluence seeker that he had been duped and now a relentless hunt for the witchdoctor had begun!
Lazzo listened relentlessly to the unfolding mystery which was punctuated by music blaring from the gigantic speaker just above his head.
Meanwhile, it was the usual rigmarole of a television announcer moving her lips and occasionally flashing pictures of a paved road in the hood with residents occasionally being interviewed.
He tried to break the custom deep rooted in history by asking the bartender to switch on the volume and avail patrons a chance to listen to the news and there was an immediate protest from a majority of patrons.
“No, we have come here to enjoy ourselves and not to listen to the news,” said a patron whose sentiment sounded representative.
The bartender smiled and told Lazzo,” You see, the people have spoken and you can’t listen to the news and so the music rambled on.
Lazzo began to think about old habits dying hard and the vain attempt to break tradition in the hood.
The narrator continued:”In fact, the last day, the riches man was told to buy a new suitcase in which he should stash the money when he discovered that the witchdoctor had shifted.
A man at the far end of the bar room said:”Are you sure in this age and time, there are people who can be duped this way?
It baffles me how a man living in the city can think that money can be multiplied for him!,” he stated amid chuckles from some patrons.
Another patron suggested that the witchdoctor should be tracked down using his cellphone.
“But how does he convince patrons to a point where they become gullible?,” asked another listener who also appeared to have been troubled by vulnerability of persons duped by the witchdoctor!
The narrator who was getting overwhelming attention also disclosed that in fact, the duped man was in the process of tracing the runaway witchdoctor.
There was an attempt to veer off course the enthralling story by another patron who wanted to know the difference between a witchdoctor and a herbalist.
But another with intent not to shift the flow said:”In modern times what the witchdoctor had done was in fact money laundering!” His assertion was met with a flurry of laughter from a moderately inebriated patronage.
Lazzo began to analyse that belief was as old as tradition as history indicated that all is a product of the mind – the abstract and concrete.
Belief was an expression of a person’s aspirations, hopes and fears and was deeply ingrained in the believer’s psychology.
He also thought that the ‘street money syndrome’ had taken over the city as many sought it from there!
With few jobs to go round, it was incumbent upon one to create their own job and he thought this was the bedrock of private enterprise and this included the witchdoctors.
Everytime he passed a particular point in the central business district, he would be passed a paper inviting clients to find answers to the supernatural problems afflicting them.
It was evident, society had reached a stage where permissive behaviour was getting rampant!
For the moment, the witchdoctor episode was becoming the talk of the day in the hood and few would miss it especially when it made a resident of the hood a laughing stock.
Indeed, the love of money was leading many to self-induced afflictions!