Belief in a higher power will not always protect you against the forces of darkness. -Intellectual Shaman

The vice principal leaned back in his leather armchair, eating his cobb salad. He proudly advertised his cross to the terrified boys who awaited their punishment. He was doing God’s work. Mr. Burt thought that listening and eating made him seem unconcerned with the fate of the guilty. It was important to maintain an aura of intimidation. He was a big man with a gentle soul, but his desire for advancement kept getting him into trouble. He wanted to rule with an iron fist, but the more he tried, the less the children respected him. One of the teachers, and also the worship leader at his church, sent a well-behaved boy to his office.

“What did you do?” He asked.

“Nothing,” said Doohani.

They always said the same thing Mr. Burt thought. He swore he would pardon the next kid who confessed.

“Why do you think you got sent down here?”

“I brought a doll to show and tell.”

“That’s strange for a boy to do. Did the other kids laugh?”


“Well, you won’t do it again, will you?”

“I guess not.”

“Let me see the doll.”

Doohani handed Mr. Burt a female teacher. It looked familiar.

“That’s Miss John,” the vice principal said. “Where did you buy it?”

“I made it.”

“No, really?”


“What for?”

Doohani held out his hand for the doll and pulled a pin from his pocket with the other. Before the vice principal knew what was happening, the pin went into the head.

An all call came from the intercom. “Miss John has a splitting headache. She just fainted.”

The vice principal looked horrified. “Give me that!” He said. He pulled the needle out of the doll and immediately a voice came over the intercom. “Never mind. Miss John is alright.”

Mr. Burt realized he had real power in his hands. It is very tempting for a man who feels like he doesn’t have enough. He put the doll in a temperature-controlled drawer in his desk. He didn’t want Miss John to get heat stroke on the way home from work.

“Does your dad know about this?” Mr. Burt asked.

“No, he’s on a business trip in Haiti. He’s never around.”

“What about your mom?”

“She works three jobs as a seamstress.”

“I guess she taught you about sewing?”


“Well, who taught you about voodoo?”

“My older brother.”

“I need to speak with him the first chance I get,” Mr. Burt said. “Now you can go back to class.”

The vice principal could not stop thinking about the conversation he had had all day. Miss John was a Christian. Maybe she wasn’t in right with the Lord. He would go to confession; that’s what he would do. Technically he was Presbyterian, but he was raised Catholic.

“Father, I want your blessing and protection from the forces of darkness.”

The holy father absolved him of his sins and the vice principal went on his way.

The next day was one of those really bad days everybody has at least once in their career.

“Mr. Burt, get in here!” The vice principal knew he was in trouble. Despite years of being “good”, every time the principal called him into his office, it felt like he was back in middle school again.

“You’ve mismanaged athletic funds. Either you embezzled money or you’re incompetent. I’ll need to bring this to the next board meeting and you’ll probably be fired. Now get out of my office.”

“But I have house payments, car payments, and three boys to put through college,” the vice principal cried.

“You should have thought about that before mismanaging funds.”

Mr. Burt began to sob. Taco Time always made him feel better, so he decided to make a run through the drive-through. What was he to do? His wife might leave him. Then the voodoo doll entered his mind. The next board meeting wasn’t for another three weeks. He still had time.

Mr. Burt went back to his office and looked at his phone. Did he dare? He dialed Miss John’s room. “Send Doohani to my office please.”

The boy showed up with a smile on his face.

“You’re not in trouble,” the vice principal said. “I need a favor.”

The next week went very slowly. Mr. Burt ate Taco Time twice a day and gained ten pounds. On Friday, he found a neatly wrapped rectangular box in his bin. He grabbed it and walked into his office. His fingers shook while tearing the brown paper off. He lifted the lid. It was a perfect likeness of the principal. Did he have the guts? Well, he didn’t have a choice and he walked next door and knocked.

“Yes,” came a curt voice.

“I need you to retire.”

“What did you say? Have you lost your mind?”

The vice principal held up the doll in his right hand. He pulled the needle out of his left pocket.

The principal thought his associate had gone crazy.

“You will retire and never speak about what happened to the athletic funds.”

“To hell I will.”

“Then you leave me no choice.”

The pin pierced the principal’s heart. It felt like a never-ending heart attack.

The vice principal yanked it out and the principal caught his breath.

“You will recommend me to be the next principal.”

“Whatever you say.”

The next school year, Principal Burt greeted Bridgewater Middle School. “We are starting a new tradition in our arts department. Along with picture day, I require each member of staff to sit for one hour in the arts and crafts room. You will soon know why. It might come up in your end of year evaluations.

Later that month, Principal Burt entered his office and closed the door. Bridgewater was the top performing middle school in the State, thanks to his leadership. He looked at his shelf that skirted the ceiling and admired his staff. The dolls stared back at him with fear on their faces while he nervously fingered a needle in his pocket.

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