By ZENTS KUNLE SOWUNMI
John believed the Oracle more than anyone in the community, he cherished his advice and traditional wisdom which was always unusual in his community. He did not open the door to his apartment; he headed back to his car, he placed the CD player, remaining two CDs and unopened medical document he found in Tina’s apartment in his gloves compartment and headed for the Oracle’s place in downtown Memphis.
He could still recall how he met the oracle several years ago, it was by divine interventions, they were standing by the Metro station in Chicago, waiting for the next train, the waiting was killing to him, life was not as good as he expected when he graduated from University of Chicago as a medical technologist.
Waiting for train was equally boring and he needed someone to talk to, he noticed the man next to him, had an unusual band on his wrist and very close to what his anthropologist his Instructor, mentioned in the one of his scary classes about five years ago, Professor James had told the class, Africa was the place the first human DNA was discovered, it contained lot of miseries and unknown works of human creations, what most of them in the Western world often called voodoo but were actually, the unsolved misery of nature, within the hands of tribes that first had contact with nature and probably God himself.
John had missed the opportunity of visiting Africa as a student, his parent could not afford the trip and he had to listen to second class or water down stories of Africa from his colleagues who made the trip, most of them talked about animals, and the people, but he was interested in local beads, the gods, the rituals, and why Africans were not keeping faith with their source like others.
John noticed the guy next to him must have migrated from Africa, he opened up conversation with him, and he complimented him on his beautiful beads and wanted to know more about the reason for having it on his right hand instead of the left hand, he was surprised Oracle explained with details to him, by the time the train arrived ten minutes later, they had exchanged phone numbers, he told him he was relocating to Memphis in Tennessee, if he ever had any spiritual or social problem, he should contact him.
That was twenty years ago, they have been friends since, the bond of friendship was solid, he found him very trusting and sincere, his advice on life and nature never failed, he confided in him like a patient would to his Doctor, he learned more and more about Africa and the people, what a people, what a society, with so much, yet unknown to the rest of the world.
After five years of their friendship, the Oracle took him to Africa, they visited his people among the Madinkes and Wolof in West Africa, he saw how they worshiped their local gods, with palm oil, local kola nuts, the rituals, in the mud plates, the cast of bangles, on the priest, the use of dead animals and bones of lizards to appease the gods, at first, he was scared, but the Oracle told him never to be afraid, only a spineless man would be afraid of local gods in Africa, why should any child be afraid of his parent, that was how the Oracle described the relationship between the gods in Africa and the worshipers
They also visited the local gods in most of the countries in Africa, he told him about Shango and Amadiora, Ogun the god of Iron, the Oracle of caves they must only be talked to in the mid night when everything was quit, with only the whisperings of the insects, and the Oracle of the of Hills.
John was a diligent student, the more he heard the more he wanted to know, he asked questions like a two year old kid on issues pertaining to Africa, sometimes he was surprised about the patience of the Oracle, one of the things he loved about him, he remembered when he asked why he called himself the Oracle, he laughed and never gave him any answer to his question. It was one of his ways of waiving off questions that were not necessary, and that he had accepted as part of the life of his African friend.
The Oracle has since become a very powerful voice on Africa rituals and gods in the City of Memphis, he had his own followers and he was a visiting professor on the rituals and gods in Africa to most of the Southern states Universities with the Department of African Studies and anthropology, he was a man full of energies, sometimes he would not be around for months because of his job and spiritual stock taking to Africa to appease his gods.
John was surprised, when he found the note on his door, a note from the Oracle was not a typically message; it was a note that saved his life. He parked his car on the street as he walked to the House of the Oracle, he never allowed any of his visitors to use his car garage, they all have to use the street, and he never made any exception.
The Oracle opened the door; John noticed his friend had aged a lot since he came back from Africa, for the first time he observed the Oracle had a denture, and was wearing a traditional white on him like a priests coming out of the shrine, he offered him the guinea pepper, with the traditional local kola nut, and palm wine, John took a bite of the kola nut, and the pepper, he washed it down with palm wine drink, and sat down before he could say anything, the Oracle beckoned him to follow him to the inner chamber, that would the second time in the twenty years of their friendship.
John recollected how the Oracle informed him Tina would have a son but the gods of Oluweri did not approve of it from Tina to John, the couple had taken the supplement which the Oracle gave them but what Tina never told her husband was that she was giving the same supplement to the Pastor of the Church and both made love to her at almost the same period and when she was pregnant she could not determine who the father of her baby was.
John followed the Oracle inside the shrine, he walked slowly, with some calculated steps, he told him, what the gods said, he needed to make the best use of ugly situation, before he could do anything by the customs and traditions of the Wolof; he must be bold to ask the Pastor questions before the gods would take actions on his behalf and the question must be asked.
He invoked the spirit of Tina, as he asked the spirit question on her son, her investment and hidden accounts and others that kept the mouth of John opened, he was concerned about the response, the spirit gave on his son, it asked him to contact the Pastors for details, the secret accounts in trust for her son, and the removal of the ring in the left foot of the first lady before he could have access to the millions of dollars stacked away from her years of inequities.
John did not know what of do, either to rejoice for the potentials of getting millions the spirit talked or the reality his only son may not his, he could not even go to check the DNA of his son, because the Oracle warned him not to until he had asked the Pastor those questions the gods mentioned.
John got home, he was too tired, his life had changed in the last few weeks, from grieving to defeat, now to fear and uncertainty that his son may probably not even be his, he brought out the house key from his side pocket, this time there was no note on his door, he opened his apartment, everything were all turned down, every single place had been searched, his closets, all his coats, and suitcases had been ripped off, his international passport was gone, the fireproof box which contained all his letters and vital document was gone, whatever the intruder was looking for was probably not found, and must have left out of frustration.
He called the Police and his attorney, Mikel Zamuba in downtown Memphis.