[August Short Story Contest Winner] The Witch Doctor’s Blessing by Isaac Kal

Thank you to everyone who submitted work for the May Short Story Contest. The winning entry is:

The Witch Doctor’s Blessing

Isaac’s entry was in response to the writing prompt: A Short Story Inspired by Your Favorite Song.

Born in 1958 , married and has 4 daughters. Isaac is an international businessman who lives in Toronto, Canada.

Isaac used to work for the Israeli Prime Minister office for over 20 years. Today, Isaac is running a business development company based in Toronto. Isaac holds a Bachelor of International Relationships. He is active in sports and likes to jog and go sailing. In response to the repeated requests from his readers, he is currently writing and planning to publish his third book.

Please Enjoy

The Witch Doctor’s Blessing

It was five o’clock in the evening. The phone ringing distracted me
from the pile of papers that I was immersed in reading. On the line was
a Lebanese princess who had invited me to an unexpected meeting
with the ambassador of one of the African countries.
About an hour later, I was headed toward the ambassador’s house.
She lived with her two eldest sons in an upscale suburban villa. The
guard at the gate was aware of my arrival and approved my entrance.
I was welcomed by the Lebanese princess and the ambassador, a big
woman in her fifties. We exchanged mutual greetings and pleasantries
and soon moved on to business matters.
The ambassador mentioned that she had heard about me and about
the projects that I was involved in and noted that she was interested in
bringing me to her country for the sake of a new national project.
Once I was briefed on the details of the project, I consented to go to
her country. We agreed that I would leave within a few days after a
meeting with the President was arranged.
Before we parted, the ambassador told me that she was a religious
woman and requested that I join her and her son for a special prayer
for the success of the project.
I found myself joining hands in a circle with the Lebanese princess, the
ambassador, and her son. Very quickly, the ambassador entered into
some kind of spiritual ecstasy and began making sounds in an
unfamiliar language, her son echoing her.
The meeting was set for two days’ time. When I started to take care of
the travel arrangements, it became clear that the only option to reach
the meeting with the president on time required a layover in another
country.
The problem was that I would have to be issued a visa for the layover,
and in my experience, this process could take several days. I decided
to gamble and buy the ticket, and immediately headed to the embassy
of that country.
In the consular department, I met with the visa clerk. He told me that it
was a much longer process and would take several weeks. The
reason being that I did not live in the country in which I would like to
receive the visa.
I looked at my companion’s face, smiled at him, and said, “I have an
important meeting with the president of the country in your area. And
the only way to get to this meeting on time is via a layover. I will be
back here in three hours, and I expect the visa to be ready. Do we
understand each other?”



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The clerk tried to say that it was clearly an impossible task. I looked
into his eyes for the second time and asked, “Do we understand each
other?”
He smiled, saying that he would do his best.
When I returned after three hours, the visa was ready. I had to pay a
service fee, but I got what I wanted.
Two days later, I met the president. Together we reviewed the project
in question; I got the green light for primary care and went on my way.
In the evening, I was invited with the Lebanese princess to the
ambassador’s village. The distance of the journey was about an hour
and a half from the big city.
Upon arriving in the village, I noticed a huge bonfire that was lit close
to a local church. Dozens of people in traditional dresses were
standing around the fire. The women, I was surprised to see, were
topless.
As we got out of my car, naked women clustered around us, a kind of
local dance troupe parading towards us. They led us to the bonfire
area, where we met the ambassador. She was also topless. I was
slightly embarrassed, but I regained my composure quickly.
The ambassador took my hand and led me to the tribe elders. While
walking, she explained to me that we would undergo a special prayer
ceremony before dinner in order to receive the blessing of the witch
doctor for the project’s success. As we were walking, my shirt was
removed, and I was dressed in a long brown robe with a matching hat
on my head.
All of a sudden, I was facing the witch doctor, a formidable figure, not
pleasant in appearance. He grabbed my hand and that of the
ambassador and marched with us to the centre of the gathering. He
recited a long speech in an unintelligible language during which he
smeared something black on my forehead and through it drew a
triangle and on the ambassador’s cheek a circle.
The crowd roared in ecstasy, and the local dance troupe broke into
turbulent dancing. At the climax of the ceremony, I was forced to drink
an unidentified liquid along with the ambassador as a talisman against
the evil eye. I must confess that I was afraid to taste the drink but I
was afraid that my refusal would offend my hosts.
After a few minutes, bizarre hallucinations started to visit me, and I
was swept away after them. What happened there exactly? I don’t
remember. But when I woke up, leaning over me, was a white
penguin. It seems the drink gave me a strong spiritual experience.
Once I was sober, I found myself in the structure of a missionary
where I was taken the previous night after I lost consciousness. The
penguin, it turned out was a French nun who took care of me. She
explained that I had drunk a beverage prepared from the pogba plant
containing entheogen, a hallucinogenic substance. Apparently, due to
hypersensitivity to the material, I collapsed and lost consciousness.

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How low could I stoop to get this project?
At the end of the day, I recovered and returned to the capital city. A few
months later we were compelled to cancel the project due to lack of
profitability.
Like running, a project like that also demanded looking beyond the
horizon as well as long-term planning.

 

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More by this Author:

An Interview with Author Isaac Kal

Isaac KalBorn in 1958, he is married and has 4 daughters. Isaac is an international businessman who lives in Toronto Canada.Isaac used to work over 20 years for the Israeli Prime Minister office.In the midst of the Covid-19 closure, the author had plenty of time to go through the photos and documents of his family.He […]

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As a thank you for registering for our email list, you’ll receive free printable reading journal templates and a bonus 100 book reading list! Members of the email list also receive an exclusive discount code for my Etsy store: MapleStreetStudioHRS.

Previous Winning Stories:

[January Short Story Contest Winner] My Joe: A Reflection by Phyllis Babrove

Thank you to everyone who submitted work for the December Short Story Contest. The winning entry is: My Joe: A Reflection by Phyllis Babrove Phyllis Babrove, a semi¬retired clinical social worker, has resided in Florida since moving there as a newlywed from Wisconsin forty-six years ago. She likes to travel with her husband and has […]

[February Short Story Contest Winner] Sirens by Lindsey B.

Thank you to everyone who submitted work for the February Short Story Contest. The winning entry is: Sirens by Lindsey B. Lindsey’s entry was in response to the writing prompt: Unconventional Love. I enjoy the double meaning of the title. Please Enjoy Sirens Even in my boyfriend’s shower, I don’t take off all my makeup. […]

[May Short Story Contest Winner] Nothing Like a Relaxing Cruise by Kyra Robinov

Thank you to everyone who submitted work for the May Short Story Contest. The winning entry is: Nothing Like a Relaxing Cruise Kyra’s entry was in response to the writing prompt: A trip with an unexpected outcome. Kyra Robinov is a Manhattan-based writer who works in many genres—fiction, non-fiction, musical theatre, and children’s literature. She […]

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