All the people living in Green Grove were afraid of Dorothy. It was not because she was warrish and aggressive. It was not because she would cuss at the drop of a pin. Everybody was afraid because they believed she was working Obeah.
When Dorothy and Ruby were at war and Ruby’s cow ups and died suddenly, people nodded their heads in confirmation. She wuk pon de woman cow. The time when Albert cuss she up and threaten to give she two hot boxes in she face and next day he right hand break in two places, heads were nodding again.
Dorothy couldn’t care less what others were saying. The fact was she did work Obeah. Many of the same people now doing all the gossiping had been forced to go to her for help in fixing their problems.
She was not ashamed of who she was. For a woman of 68, she looked no older than 45. She had two sons who were grownups now. They had stopped coming to visit her because she refused to give up the skill and knowledge passed down in her family.
People came to her for all sorts of reasons. When they were sick, when they suspected that someone was trying to harm them, when they wanted protection from evil and when they wanted to be successful at something: Riches, job promotion and marriage were among the most popular. She never turned anyone away. It had become a very lucrative business.
Twice a year she disappeared from Green Grove for one month on each occasion. When she returned she was always full of energy and life. Then something went wrong. This time when she returned she was angry and quarrelsome.
Cliff lived next door and was always on very good terms with Dorothy. He did not believe all the rumours he had heard. As far as he was concerned she was a Spiritualist. He respected her religion. After her return and the change in her behaviour he decided to go and cheer her up. Ruby stopped by and told him that her cousin-a customs officer at Molson Creek-saw her go and return from Suriname. According to Ruby while in the Dutch Republic she met and consulted with some very powerful spiritual figures. Cliff decided to give her space.
Dorothy had visited Paramaribo and gone to her regular Gurus. The trip was a success as usual and she crossed back into Guyana happy with the things she had been able to accomplish. After clearing customs at Molson Creek crossing, she stopped at a cousin living in Berbice. Needing to do some business in New Amsterdam she left her baggage at her cousin and headed into the nearby township.
Dorothy’s cousin was notorious for minding other people’s business. Dorothy’s locked suitcase was like a magnet for her. While her visiting cousin was in NA Hazel was in her baggage.
After a few hours running around Dorothy went back to her cousin. She was about to ask for her baggage when she was greeted with distressing news. Her cousin’s home had suddenly descended into chaos. Glass wares were smashed, furniture upturned, food thrown everywhere, bricks on the roof and broken windows. Nobody seemed to know where it was coming from or who was causing all the trouble.
Dorothy however, knew immediately what had taken place.
“Did you open my suitcase?”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course! I would never do dat.”
Dorothy knew she was lying. She was sure that all the things now happening in the house were the result of someone opening her luggage. Serves them right.
Crash! Bang! Pow! Smash!
Drinking glasses, spoons, bricks, books and bottles were aerial heading in all directions. Dorothy tried again.
“Hazel tell me de truth. Did anybody open my suitcase?”
“A tell yo NO! Don’t ask me no dam stupidness again!”
Dorothy asked for her luggage and when it was brought she checked it. Even though the smallest padlock was closed, as soon as she opened the suitcase she knew that it had been tampered with.
Her well packed bag was like the house; in total confusion. That did not bother Dorothy much. What held her attention was the three small bottles that lay at the top. Two of them were open.
More confusion ensued. Calling her cousin aside she gave her the bad news.
“I think you got Baccoo in yo house.”
Hazel looked guiltily at her. She knew she could not admit that she had opened the luggage and the two bottles. She realised that her own actions were the cause of her present misery. Still she refused to admit her culpability.
“What I gat fo do fo get rid of it?”
“Feed it well. You can’t get rid of it.”
Hazel glared angrily at her. She knew the Baccoo had belonged to Dorothy but she could not say so to her face.
“If yo open more dan one bottle, den is more dan one Baccoo hold on pon yu.”
“Yo gat fo help me Dorothy!”
“Not me! I not getting between no spirit an de person who open he bottle an let he out. Yu think I want buss head?”
Hazel became desperate and started shouting at Dorothy.
“Look lady I don’t want no *#**#** Baccoo!”
From inside the ransacked house a voice thundered.
“WELL WHY YO OPEN ME!!”
The loudness and evil in the voice rattled the small wooden structure and made both women jump in surprise. Hazel headed into the house to see who had shouted. Of course, nobody was there. When she returned to the front door Dorothy was gone.
“O Gad! Is wat Dorothy put me in today!”
Dorothy was a few yards down the road and heard her cousin’s accusation. Her reply rang in Hazel’s ear as Dorothy disappeared around the corner.
“Is good fo yo. Is jus dat does happen to fast fly!”
(By Neil Primus)