JAMMEH: Now, do say more, O worthy Soothsayer! Wilt any mutiny consume my person? Seest thou any treacherous manufacture, perchance bearing contours?
SOOTHSAYER: The dales of Mali did I frequent where do fare the most venerable of seers. For my art and its pedigree owe homage to sages who befriend interlocutors of the heavens. I tarried with those who spread draperies for time and sing madrigals to the sensuous ears of destiny himself.
JAMMEH: Is the end nigh? Will I rot in a coup or not? My ears quake for answers and thou shan’t bathe me in showers of suspense any further. Speak! O ye that prognosticate! And let me bear the wages of those sages!
SOOTHSAYER: Coups charge at those who severe not the jugular veins of victims to be sacrificed with the blood of virgins. For curs are destined to follow masters like those in Gambia’s army chase thy instructions, lest they rot in spells silhouetted on dark canvases.
JAMMEH: Live long, great soothsayer! That army is superfluous with cormorant bellies fed with dog meat and blood. Next we might feed them with phlegm of swine.
SOOTHSAYER: Sacrificial blood shall thou keep oozing. Fail not in that as did fail Nino, the Guinean and Gadhafi the Libyan. Of late did err Compaore, the Burkinabe whose multitude thenceforth detonated his departure.
A ghost of Gadhafi appears which only Jammeh sees. He briefly disengages as if ready to flee.
SOOTHSAYER: (Perturbed) What unsettles thy composure this hour? What force—what ramshackle?
JAMMEH: (To ghost) Alack, fiery fiend! Prithee retire or with spontaneity, announce what omens thou augur! Jammeh shall never vanquish till Kanilai woods march to Nyambai forest.
Ghost: Those woods will move for thy vanquisher, my friend. Presidents were beguiled by dark occults before thee. Some had to spill human blood to please demons. If I were in thy shoes, I would untie their laces this minute and handover Gambia.
Enter ghost of Nino Viera
JAMMEH: The Jinns from Mali announced that no mortal shall seize the Banjul orb from me.
GHOST: They announced the same to me earlier about Bissau. I fathom thee in perilous theology of the psyche.
JAMMEH: You were Nino. I’m Babili Mansa, Sheikh, Professor, Naseeru Deen, Doctor. I invented oxygen and founded Google. That’s why December 30th served its roughest hour, and yet passed feebly.
GHOST: If I were in thy shoes, I’d untie their laces this second and relinquish the seat too addictive.
JAMMEH: I shall never run out of dog meat and virgin blood, O thou that become too sententious this hour.
SOOTHSAYER: What voices engaged thee? What monologue—what ephemeral possession?
JAMMEH: Even the dead envy my longevity. Where they limped, I sprinted like a Pegasus—where they grew breasts like females, I swelled with manes. Yet they preach to my crown about power?
SOOTHSAYER: Let cheeks red of winter’s cowards envy those tanned with summer’s sun. Let limbs fettered with leprosy ogle at an energetic toddler reaching at the rainbow. For Yahya shall fall not till Kanilai woods march to Nyambai forest.
Nino’s ghost reappears
JAMMEH: (To ghost ) My future basks in decrees encrypted on destiny’s staff of steel. From thence, I dread no uprising or coup.
GHOST: Arrogance corrupts—absolute arrogance corrupts absolutely. Your soothsayer plays thine favorite music as did mine in days gone—days I wish I could change. Twenty-two years is a lot, my liege.
JAMMEH: Hark, O thou that glisten with rays of death! ‘Tis carved by destiny on his staff of steel that Yahya shall never perish in a coup, mutiny, or their similitude.
GHOST: Yahya shall fall from directions he least espies, O Ozymandias! Where’s Pharoah? Where’s Idi Amin? Why do African leaders prefer to learn not on land, but under land—in graves with gashes too deep to sew or souls too damaged for easy resurrection? Hark, King of Gambia, hark! For I wait for a day to knock on thine sepulcher to remind thee of these same words you take in jest.
JAMMEH: (harangued) Wouldst that thou deliver this sermon to those less valiant. Like a Merovingian warrior, I’m sworn to veritable valor and preternatural strength. I bear the sword Excalibur!
GHOST: By our own disdain are we sentenced. We African leaders are shrouded in drapes we soiled with our excesses, and later carried on hearses burdened with the nation’s curse. Your end may be very near. Your dark occult bears scriptures with hermeneutics sometimes ambiguous, O thou that exult at hearing from fortune-tellers.