I wish to acknowledge inspiration from "Downing Street" and someone else who does not wish to be acknowledged without blaming them for the execution. I also wish to thank "Gary Grant," who ought to be writing himself, and who will recognize his input.
Although this story is somewhat self contained, it basically ties up loose ends from earlier stories, of the "Examination" series. So far as I know my own mind, it will be the last of the "Examination" stories (although a wave of adulation could turn my head). If you have not read the others, you will probably want to postpone this one until you have read, preferably in order, "The Examination," "On Further Examination," "Wonder Woman's Examination," and "Examination of a NAG".
Dr. James Bock moped about the clinic, making everyone feel even worse than they did anyway. All the women had loved Janet. Long after she withdrew from the practice to bear and care for her and James's four children, she remained a mother hen to the women of clinic staff. No one could understand why Janet allowed herself to become obese; it seemed beyond even James's ability to control. Thin before her first pregnancy, she added more and more weight as James Jr., Clive, Sophia, and Susana arrived in quick succession. With increasing weight came less activity leading to still more weight gain.
A heart attack, unexpected, massive, definitive, had taken her. James's sadness affected Amaka most of all. As her culture and human feeling directed, she had stepped in to see to James's and Janet's children. The house Mamma kept for her and her brood was small, but Mamma's heart was large and she smothered the little orphans with affection. They would be OK. It was James that worried Amaka.
The relation between a man and woman is mysterious, Amaka thought. "Good" marriages sometimes are hell from the inside. Men and women cling to partners that "everyone" knows are wrong for them, bound by love, desire, custom, who knows what? Amaka did not pretend to know what had gone on between James and Janet. It was another universe from the one she and James inhabited. In theirs, James was her master, as he was Janet's, but he was also her friend, business partner, lover, and father of her children. Amaka felt herself married to James even though he went home to Janet every night and was married to neither woman. James made love to Amaka at the office frequently, usually more than once daily. Amaka believed that he continued having sex with Janet, too, even when she grew fat. In a way it was like the culture of her childhood homeland in which James had Janet as his Senior wife and Amaka was his Junior wife. The passion had gone from his relationship with Janet, only love, duty, or whatever it was that bound him, lingered.
Amaka was, therefore, surprised that Janet's death had so devastated James. Only with immense will did he attend to clients, leaving Amaka to do virtually all of the seduction and conditioning of the women who continued to be sent to the clinic in increasing numbers. Certainly it affected their love making. The joy, the passion on the infrequent occasions was gone. Amaka felt James had transferred to her the obligatory sex he had with his deceased partner.
James stopped having sex with the other women of the clinic completely. It hurt them all, but especially Suzie and Megan, the youngest women who were highly sexed. Amaka made a few adjustments in James's conditioning of them so that they could at least find some release in sex with each other, but she could not erase their desire for James himself.
This could not go on. It would not be easy. She might not succeed. But she had to try.
When James halfheartedly suggested sex with her in the office the next Friday evening, Amaka for the first time said no. She waited to see if he would just take her. If he wished, he could fill her with an overpowering desire that would make refusal unthinkable. He could make her body move at his pleasure even if her mind remained unconvinced. He did neither, but only looked at her, puzzled.
"Pick me up at my house Saturday night at 8:00, darling. I've made plans for dinner. It's rather formal" Again Amaka waited to see if he would go along. If he didn't want to, he could just make her forget all about the arrangements. She had guessed right.
"OK. Why not?" James grinned almost shyly. It was the first smile of any kind Amaka had seen since Janet's death.
Saturday was a busy day. A lot was riding on this night, the happiness not only of her and James, but of many others. James could make many things right, or, if she failed, leave dozens of people, himself included, in misery. Amaka was glad she was a woman. She had the insight and, she hoped, the charms to make it happen.
Amaka understood James felt guilty about Janet's death, but perhaps even more about her life. He had used his powers, not maliciously, but irresponsibly. He had only just stumbled onto his strange ability when he met Janet. She was the first woman whose life he had remade. Although Janet must have loved James irrespective of his power over her and though she had lived for the children she had with him, her life had been wrenched too far from her own goals. James probably never thought he would fall in love with the woman whose life he had turned upside down. James could give her unbelievable pleasure, but he had not been able to make her totally happy. Now he never could.
Most of James clients were probably happier for his interventions in their lives, but there were a few who had also suffered from James's use of his powers. Amaka suspected that Janet's death had reminded James of his culpability in those cases, too. He needed to face what he had done, but he had to get beyond it without hating himself. To help him do that was her task.
The element of surprise would be important. Fortunately, James knew Amaka only as a beautiful, if exotic, woman who had fallen somewhat accidentally into his power. Typically for a man, he had not been too curious about the woman who had shared her body with him for the last four years. It was time he learned some things.
"He has to fall in love me, Mamma," Amaka explained.
"He already loves you, child."
"That's what he thinks, too, but not totally. I want it all. Give me juju, Mamma."
"It's dangerous girl. Juju could make you evil and manipulative."
"No, Mamma. Just give me the good juju."
"Juju isn't good or bad, Amaka. It draws its power from what is in your heart. If your motives are even a little bad, the juju will root in that evil and it will be multiplied many fold."
"I have to try, Mamma."
"Oh, Amaka! Are you sure?"
"I'm sure, Mamma."
"Amaka you are my first born daughter. I can't believe anything bad of you. If you want to risk juju, I will do as you say."
Mamma went to the corner and pulled a key from her bosom to unlock the ancient chest. Carefully she withdrew several small carved wooden objects. Amaka knew what she had to do and had brought out candles, arranging them in an ellipse with a mat in the center. Amaka stripped and lay naked, perfectly still on the mat, waiting. Mamma went round the ring of candles, lighting each and repeating a chant. Then she danced around the circle of burning tapers, rolling her ample hips and singing softly, before stepping across the invisible threshold. With great precision, Mamma passed one and another of the idols over Amaka's body. The final one she passed three times around each breast and three times around Amaka's mound, intoning the age-old ritual. When she finished Amaka was deeply entranced.
Mamma smiled down at her sleeping daughter, the mother of her four grandchildren; Amaka was still her little girl. "Time to get up, honey. Let's do something with that hair. You need some practical juju, too."
It hurt when Mamma knotted Amaka's hair into scores of tight plaits. Into each she wove in a piece or two of tinsel. It was a five hour job, but when she finished, both women were pleased with the results. Amaka went to her bath and soaked a long while, allowing the oils and unguents to be absorbed by her soft skin. When she emerged, she shown.
Naked, Amaka went to her closet and removed a garment from a back shelf where it had remained for years, awaiting such an occasion. The noble fabric responded to the touch of an iron and became as new. Amaka slipped on a diaphanous blue brassiere and a pair of navy thong panties and began to dress. Carefully she wound the Ukmoh around her shapely hips and drew the top in the same fabric over her breasts and shoulders. It took several adjustments to get the scalloped hem even with her ankle bones as Mamma had taught her. Mamma helped coil the matching Ubaletu around her shining black plaits and fluffed it until it added four or five inches to her height. When she finished, Amaka examined herself in the mirror approvingly while Mamma looked on with pride. The craft of five hundred generations of African women had perfected this look. She would be irresistible.
Mamma opened the door for James and ushered him to the tiny living room to wait. Perhaps she was unaware of the psychology of making a man a little impatient before Amaka made a dramatic entrance. James was just slightly startled when Amaka greeted him from the doorway. "Good evening, darling."
.... There is more of this story ...