It is the dead of night. The moon is shrouded with cloud. Eerie Gamalan music is drifting through the trees. We are stalking through mud, smacking into branches and tripping over ditches. The high priestess is ahead of us, springing like a mountain goat over the puddles and broken ruts. She is balancing a basket on her head too. I wonder if the Ouija board is in it. I have no basket and am managing to lose my balance as well as my flip flops. I am stumbling like a drunk and cursing loudly.
John tells me to stop swearing because the spirits might hear. I look at him to see if he is taking the piss. He appears not to be. Huh. Usually I am the superstitious one.
The priestess is old and toothless. She babbles something at me. I smile and nod. She could be saying anything. In fact she could be anyone. I have a niggling suspicion that the landowner has just brought his mother along, told her to say some gobbledegook, light some incense and chant. There are no chicken bones or Ouija boards involved, not even a slaughtered goat. I have to say I’m kind of disappointed. Instead after about five minutes of us standing in the silent darkness our translator comes over and tells us ‘The land is good. She says it is good place for build.’
I look over at her. She is laughing with the landowner.
I lean over to John. ‘She’s saying these stupid ferengi, they believe all this voodoo shit? Now, how much are you going to pay me for this nonsense? I could be at home right now in my slippers watching corrie.’
John tells me to shhh again.
‘I think we should get the arsonist priest over here. You know, for a second opinion,’ I say.
I’m guessing he’ll do some real voodoo shit. Or at least some pyrotechnics. Then at least I’ll feel I got my money’s worth.