He had a good reason to believe the stories his mother told him. This afternoon as the sun beat on his bald pate, and he felt the urge to go home, he remembered some of those stories. She had urged him to bring his first pay home.
“We will need to ask the gods to make the money yours”, she had said with that anxious look about her person. Bode was not so sure he was ready to hand over all the money to a god who had taken its sweet time getting him a job.
Eight years of pounding the streets, scraping and enduring insults and by a freak chance he gets a job. Bode shifted in his seat and fixed a suspicious look on the priestess, wondering why he was feeling irritated and afraid. The irritation he understood, not the fear. What did she mean all the money? He definitely had no such intention. First off all, he was buying his mother that scarf she had wanted, the last market day before he got the job. He was going to open an account, save some money for a decent coat. He also intended to fatten his skeletal frame to get some decent skin not the wrinkled rag that wrapped his frame making pretence at a skin.
He dragged his mind to the room and shifted as he felt a trickle close to his crotch. He always sweated there anytime he was uncomfortable. He wondered if he should scratch the sweat and… her mild voice interrupted his thoughts again. “It is your mother’s request that you ask the gods to bless your job and do something with your first pay”,
That is it he thought again, do something with his money. His mother had asked him to dip his hand in cold water when he was to receive his first pay. Bode had at first been amused and explained to her that the money would be paid into his bank (which he did not have then), and he would then need to apply for an ATM card. His mother looked at him and smiled,”the cash is given to you during one of these processes right”?
“Yes” he replied still mystified.
“Good just ensure you receive the money with a cold hand. I have appealed to Yemoja, the goddess of fortune to ensure that the money stays cool in your hand and is not frittered by the wind. In fact, I asked the priestess to ensure that for you. She is expecting you tomorrow before you need to collect the money”
He gave the priestess a suspicious look and sighed. She returned his look with a what he thought was a strange look, seconds later he understood the mischief. She asked him to undress and his jaw dropped. He stared wondering if he was asleep and going through a nightmare.
“Eh, I didn’t quite get you; did I hear you say I should undress?”
The priestess laughed. “I am giving you a spiritual wash, which means I have to dip you in the pool” then she gave him a thorough once over look, “nothing to get excited about you know, you need a new skin as it is and food will do most of it but you need to have a new skeleton maybe”
He tried to swallow his rage and found that he felt a personal shame that he was brought to this pass. A graduate in quantum physics and I am grovelling before a half-baked priestess.
Bode took long seconds to calm down and uncurl his fists, he shook his head slowly to clear his mind and stood up. In a quiet voice he explained that he had no intention of undressing nor taking a dip in the cool puddle in front of him. Oh Mother, not even for you.
, The priestess shrugged and handed him a piece of soap, “go over to the back of the building and you will find a bath tub filled with water. It is in a covered shack by the way and you can dip with all your clothes in the bath tub, would be interesting to see how you intend to get home in soggy clothes” She spoke in perfect cool English. Bode’s jaw dropped and he stared, but she had disappeared to the inner room with a quiet click indicating she had locked the door. Bode stood transfixed. The priestess is educated. A thousand thoughts rushed over him as he walked slowly to the back of the house to find sure enough that there was a bath tub and everything was laid out as the priestess had said.
It was a chastened Bode that gave a timid knock minutes later when he had finished the bath. He felt like a fool and wondered how best to apologize for his crude behaviour.
The priestess didn’t seem to have noticed the new awkwardness but simply laid a hand on his chest and spoke a few words silently, then she touched his head and asked that Yemoja might bless him in his new endeavour.
Bode was silent throughout, until she tapped his shoulder gently and asked him to stand up.
“You are free to go now. Learn to sow more with your thoughts and the fruits will depend on the seed. You have Yemoja’s blessing”.