“Ha… Haa… Haaa!” Kasino laughed continuously. His school teacher, Miss Curtis, a young American missionary, watched helplessly. No one could understand what had become of this young boy. He was only twelve years old. His grades were excellent; always ranked first. At home, he helped his mother to till her garden. However, he was now a mental wreck.
He had developed a hysterical condition that left everyone baffled, including his teachers. He could get into a fight and laugh uncontrollably. This really astonished his peers.
“Sugu, I think your son needs urgent medical attention. He cannot continue learning while in this state,” Said Miss Curtis, looking down pitiful at Kasino’s father, who was equally devastated by his son’s condition.
“I don’t know what to say, madam. I have taken him to several hospitals in Shimoni, but he is not responding to medication,” He said, slightly shaking his head before leaving with his son. “Thank you Miss Curtis.”
He couldn’t help being embarrassed when they walked out of the school compound. People stared with puzzled faces. Desperately looking, he broke the news to his wife upon getting home.
“What are we going to do with this boy!” She cried.
“Wait a minute… What about Baba Joho?” she chimed, wiping away her tears.
“Yes, you are right!” He said. “Baba Joho’s powers may do what the white man’s medicine has failed to do.”
Baba Joho was a fetish priest, famous for his powers to drive out demons. He inherited this occupation from his father, Baba Charo, who was famed at driving out demons too. He had helped many victims, including the Chief of their village, who was once possessed by demons. Before he died, he taught his son all the nuggets in this unique profession.
There were taboos associated with this practice which ought to be held strictly; without which, the powers would diminish or invite calamity. He was not supposed to share the bed with his wife during her menstrual period. Additionally, he was supposed to lead a humble life, free of covetousness.
Shimoni was known for her many cultures and traditions. This small island was awash with fetish priests, soothsayers, witchdoctors and palm readers. As a matter of fact, the British who colonized her hardly succeeded in influencing the natives to do away with some of these customs.
At dawn, after a very long struggle, Sugu managed to pull his son out of bed. Baba Joho’s home was several miles close to the sea. Subsequently, they had to leave very early, just to beat the monstrous queue of people who visited him on a daily basis.
They trudged along narrow alleys, braving the early morning chill. When Kasino made his outbursts, it consequently awakened all the stray dogs in the village. They all began to bark.
Finally, they made it to Baba Joho’s compound, tired and sweating. They were the first visitors of the day. Sugu knocked on the door persistently. Baba Joho’s wife finally opened.
“Jambo, Mama!” Sugu greeted, with a visible feign smile on his face.
“I am fine, thank you!” she replied, alarmed by Kasino’s shrieks. She maintained her calm, as she had gotten used to such cases. She let them in.
When Baba Joho came out of his room, he stood next to Kasino and looked straight into his eyes.
“What do you want from this boy?” He addressed the demon inside him. “Speak up before I cast you out!” He said with an ascending voice.
“I want him to win the Shimoni Lottery Draw worth 100 million Shillings. This draw is happening tonight!” The demon said. Baba Joho was dumbfounded. Sugu looked mesmerized.
Apparently, buying lottery tickets in Shimoni had become the order of the day. Many people tried their luck. Before Kasino was burdened by this strange condition, he had managed to sell groundnuts at the market, earned some money and bought for himself a lottery ticket. Surprisingly, Baba Joho was not left out of this game.
“Baba Joho! Please let the demon remain in my son.” He pleaded. “I beg you… Do not cast it out!”
“Belee! Keep calm, I am the one in charge here!” Baba Joho asserted. Sugu’s plea fell on deaf ears. Baba Joho refused to relent. “Do I look like someone who suffers from money allergy?” He asked, scornfully. “The demon is mine!”
They argued for some time. And when they had finally reached an agreement, Baba Joho promised to give him a big cut, enough to buy him a house and a car when he wins the lottery. Sugu, accepted the deal whole-heartedly.
“Demon, come out of him and enter into me!” Baba Joho commanded the demon. In a split of a second, he had become a transformed entity; laughing uncontrollably, with shortness of breath in between. At the same time, Kasino was delivered. He sat and watched Baba Joho in amazement.
In the evening, when Sugu and his son tuned in their radio to follow up on the draw, they were shocked to hear the news of the draw’s suspension, pending investigations into the mismanagement of funds. They looked at each other, smiled continuously and embraced tightly.
As for Baba Joho, that was the demise of his occupation. He remained Shimoni’s laughing stock until eternity.
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