The Curse That Came With A Benefit

Ezra Azra


© Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra

Photo by Cole Keister:
Photo by Cole Keister: Photo by Cole Keister at Pixabay.Photo by Cole Keister:
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By her family's primitive belief, Cass Viveka was cursed from birth because she was born with black spots on her tongue.

By that primitive belief, black spots on a tongue were a sign of a treacherous character.

By later primitive belief, family members practised draconian measures to protect themselves from being victims. At the same time, they believed it was their righteous obligation to keep the accursed family member away from strangers.

By earlier primitive belief, as soon as the curse was identified, the child was burnt-offering sacrificed to some randomly selected almighty god. In order to protect the world from the curse forevermore, the ashes would be buried very deep far away.
Over the years, more than once, Cass contemplated suicide as a way to freedom from the curse. She had thought up an Ingenious Suicide Way she could compel "the gods" who had allowed her to be cursed, to do her bidding to meet death at a time and in a place of her choice; not theirs.

The only reason she was able to put aside her Ingenious Suicide Way was the knowledge she had acquired in the School subject of "Legal Responsibilities," a subject to which she took "as a duck to water," and in which she excelled; one-hundred percent in each of all thirteen of the school year's written assignments; the only student in the history of that school in that subject, with that highest level of excellence.

That acquired knowledge was that at eighteen she was legally allowed to go away from her family and her Community to live alone.

As well, along the way, she had found out that some religions required women to wear masks over the mouth when in the presence of strangers. She was determined to convert to one such religion immediately after she left home for good. No stranger would ever see the black spots on her tongue. She promised herself that there would be no limit to the number of her personally designed masks to hide her spotted tongue.

When she reached eighteen and stated she should leave home to live her own life far away, all her family whole-heartedly approved. Many of them helped strengthen her resolve by giving her money. One male cousin sincerely offered to marry her if, within five years, she found a way to free her tongue of the curse. She, in equal sincerity, took him up on his magnanimous proposal.

What nobody knew was that Cass had discovered gradually over the years that she had the ability to see a few days into the future of a person when she witnessed and read a few words written by that person.

Over the years she gained a lot of goodwill by secretly using the ability to help family members avert unpleasant situations to come, and, at times, to benefit the most from fortunate futures. In time, some family members came to accept, albeit reluctantly, that associating with Cass brought them good fortune.

When she left home to live on her own, she immediately put into practice a plan she had long ago decided upon, which was to work as a Fortune Teller in her own stand-alone booth at the permanent Circus in the capital City. When she applied and proved her ability, she was promptly hired.

None of her City Circus employers believed Cass had a real ability to see the future. They believed she had an extraordinary talent at a trick they, for reasons of legal liabilities, did not care to have her explain to them. They were quite content to employ anyone who would bring in paying customers. The income Cass brought in far exceeded the City's expense to maintain her stand-alone booth on the Circus grounds.

Cass's Circus booth was an immediate financial success. The customers were thrilled in their belief that, by some clever trick, Cass could guess their futures over the next few days.

As well, her pretty mouth-covering masks became a rave with women. With Cass's permission, the Circus, at a site not far from and within sight of Cassís stand-alone booth, sold replicas of Cassís mouth-masks. The City, in grateful thanks, paid Cass a percentage of the income from the sales of her mouth-masks.

Cass always had difficulty when she saw disaster in a customer's future. In those situations, whenever possible, she would advise the person to avoid actions, or places. Sometimes when there was no other way out, she would, painfully, resort to lies in order to persuade the customer to take action that would avert the coming disaster.

Her worst times were when she foresaw a customer's impending death within days. She continued searching for a Life Insurance Company that would complete a policy sale within days. She never found one. She resolved, although subliminally hopelessly, that if she ever could afford it in the future, she would start such a Life Insurance Company.

One Customer proved to be a goldmine. The Customer, a single woman with no family and too little formal education to find gainful employment, had a natural talent.

She had enough random luck in betting on race horses to eke out an almost adequately comfortable living. She never could afford betting on more than one horse a week. Most times, albeit not enough times, she won a little more than rent money.

Her first visit to Cass's Circus booth was on credit. She had asked Cass for a free reading. She wrote her name on the page Cass offered her. Cass gave her the number of winning horses, and lent her the money to cover all the bets.

Their friendship grew. Cass persuaded the Circus authorities to hire the Customer as assistant to Cass. Cass continued to give the Customer readings that enabled the Customer to bet on winning horses.

Sometimes, Cass was tempted to suggest to the Customer that they live together in the same home, but she was deterred by the reality that if they lived in the same home, the Customer was bound to see that Cass had a tongue with black spots.

The Race Track owners became suspicious of a person who was placing winning bets so regularly. An official secret investigation was launched. The Customer was questioned. When the Race Track authorities found out the Customer worked for a Fortune Teller at the City Circus, they become more suspicious. They reported the matter to the City Police. Undercover police officers investigated Cass.

When the undercover officers, posing as harmless casual strangers, approached members of Cass's family, they were met with silence and polite nonverbal resistance. The family were not about to have anything to do with Cass who they had long ago washed their hands of, for their safety.

The family's almost invisible nonverbal resistance was not lost on the undercover police officers; after all, it was a main part of their official training to divine such "almost" invisibilities.

The undercover officers intensified their investigation of Cass, and extended their investigation to include her family. In a short time, their sleuthing, professional and skullduggery-wise, revealed the curse of the black spotted tongue.

Some officers who shared the Viveka family's primitive belief, were fired up by the determination to work for the destruction of the spotted tongued person. This fired-up determination infected the aura of their work, and served Cass, without her knowing it.

The Customer attended her usual weekly reading at the Circus booth. She penned her name, and slid the page on the table to Cass. Cass looked at the name. She saw, in addition to the numbers of the winning horses, uniformed angry police officers with guns drawn. And she saw Something Else.

She informed the Customer of the winning numbers. When the Customer left, Cass closed the booth, and went home.

At home, she went about enacting that Something Else she had seen on the Customer's page: that Ingenious Suicide Way she had thought up when she was trapped at home.

She sat at the kitchen table; made and drank tea. She wrote her own name on a page. 


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