Boogie Loogy ©
Joe Miller worked as a clerk in Hott & Tott Bank, Mombassa. Having worked some twenty years the same tasks and with the same customers he hated it. He wanted to see some well-fed faces for a change and he knew it made him feel better to receive compliments or some gifts from them. The Board members always got presents during Christmas and special days. Instead he got to see only the pensioners, widows and indigent store keepers who came always and asked with their pinched faces, ‘Will the President give us an interview?
‘No he is unavailable.’ he always insisted. Mr., the president was in his narrow world the presiding deity and it was his duty to stop his customers from wasting his time.
One morning he said to his colleagues,’ My daughter Lalwani is the cleverest girl. She is an accountant in a London Bank.’ He narrated how she saved the bank from an imminent collapse. No one could make the books tally but she could. He relished the looks of their faces when he narrated the story. So he added, enjoying himself, ‘She did what others thought impossible. In three days, mind you! My daughter Lalwani saved the bank.’
On the fourth day his hearers thought he would change the subject. But there within the Bank their accounts were totally out of line. It often came up in their conversation. So later in the day he found an occasion to repeat himself. ‘She is a miracle worker, no doubt of it.’ His coworkers giggled and made appropriate noises to tell him they believed everything he said. In fact they knew a girl of the stock of Miller could not be any better than one who wore a pith helmet even after the last white man had gone some thirty years.
The week’s gossip however reached the ears of Mr. LG. He called his lieutenants and asked if there was some truth in Joe Miller’s boast. No one was sure. The President of the Bank said, ‘We are in a mess. What with a few revolutions we let the matter dither. We must make our books tally.’ The president of the Bank’s fears was well founded. The Auditors appointed by the dictator were expected to drop in any day. If they ever found the lapses the members of the Board would have been rounded up and shot. ‘It is the book or our lives!’ Mr. L.G shuddered.
So Mr. LG called Joe Miller next morning to his office. He insisted that his daughter put the books in order.
For once Joe Miller regretted he had spoken out of turn.
The clerk frantically got his daughter come to his rescue. When Lalwani came home all the books from the Bank dating from five years back were stacked in the parlor. She fainted when she heard what she was supposed to deliver. ‘In three days, papa,’ she cried,’ impossible!’ She stared at all the bills, vouchers, bonds not to mention the books that made a thick heap.’
‘I am yet to pass one part in the examination for Negotiable Instruments in Practice and theory.’
But her father would hear none of it. He said, ‘Go to work!’
She beat her chest and cried, ‘Impossible!’ Her father said, ‘It is not a word Mr. LG will want to hear.’
He said the president would throw him to the gutter if he failed him. He shut the door behind him and went to the bank.
She wrung her hands in despair and cried. While she paused to catch her breath she saw a toothless bushman from Kalahari sitting on the pile of books. Swinging his feet in air he said her fairy godmother had called him up from the other world to assist her. ‘I am a shaman.’
‘But my god mother cannot add four and four!’
‘Now in the world beyond she can count and write.’ said the shaman, ‘I will go in trance and she is going to make this little problem go away ‘.
‘To whom do I owe thanks?’ Lalwani asked somewhat cheerful, ‘What is your name, little man?’
‘I cannot utter my name myself lest I go up in flames.’ he said terribly in a confused state. She said he could help her problem go away. He nodded.
The bushman went on and on reciting his spells while an unseen hand put the book in order. In three days she had made the books tally. ‘Impossible!’ Mr. LG gushed when he was told the books were ready. Joe Miller got a golden handshake and also a generous bonus that was amounts owed to him for ten years or so.
He retired to his village to buy more sheep and cattle. He had become a VIP in his village.
The dictator of the country Colonel Usambi came to know of Joe Miller and his daughter. He sent for Lalwani and treated her as though she were a talisman.
After supper he told her to make all his ill-gotten wealth disappear from record. ‘I am Col. Usambi and not Charles Taylor’. He wanted her to make him look good and not as a crook. ‘The world must believe I am a benefactor to my people and not a thief.’ he added grimly. Lalwani thought her head reeled and death squad coming to get her.
Meanwhile the colonel took her to his office in his armored limo and showed the bonds, and other instruments he had in his hands. A thick sheaf of it was in fictitious names. He showed her bullion, blood diamonds and he said, ’All these must be made legit. Here are chests of currency derived from drug deals. You shall make it white.’
She pleaded headache and wanted time to think over. ‘Oh no!’ said the colonel, ‘I have a pistol and once I pull the trigger it will not ask time to think over. It does what it must. Understand?’
She knew she was at his mercy. So she said she will get down to business. ‘One week you have.’ the dictator left her to work it out.
Lalwani cried, ‘Oh little man from Kalahari Help!’
Instantly he was there. He laughed and said, ‘I shall help but I want something in return.’
He wanted her for his bride.
‘O I love the idea very much’ she cried and thanked him. Only that as one who studied law of taxes she was sure always there were clauses by which one was exempted from paying taxes. ‘Is there a way in which I can claim exemption?’
He understood the general drift and said, ‘I cannot tell you my name but you can tell me what it is. Then you are free to do as you like’.
She agreed. She called the colonel privately for certain help. He agreed.
Lalwani sat with the bushman who was once again in trance. He said, ‘The matter is much more serious. But I am holding a séance with Skilling, Lay, Madoff and a few others.’ He assured the matter would be taken care of. ‘I shall tell you how. You just do as I tell.’ She agreed.
In the end she was ready. Her godmother’s shaman had done it second time. She sat with the dictator and told how to keep his wealth she asked if he could find what she had asked. The colonel gave her a piece of paper.
The bushman was meanwhile waiting for his prize.
She read the name. ‘Boogie Loogy.’
The bushman stamped his foot in anger and asked how she managed to find his name.
‘You hold an account in Hott & Tott Bank, Kalahari. Is it not?’
He was disappointed and with a yell he disappeared. (Brothers Grimm)