Warren Murphy: Voodoo Die

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    Voodoo Die
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Under the Communist President-for-Life, a voodoo priest named Generalissimo Sacrist Corazon, the natives of the Caribbean Isle Baqia aren't complaining, thanks to a delicious drug they call "mung." When shot through with radiation, however, mung becomes a powerful weapon: it literally liquefies the opposition, and Generalissimo Corazon has no qualms about using it. After an innocent missionary becomes the latest victim of Corazon's mung machine, the world is alarmed, and deadly forces are inspired. The Chinese, the Russians, and the CIA all vie to control the mung machine, while CURE's own powerful weapons, Remo and Chiun, make their way to Baqia and further discover nuclear warheads aimed at the United States. Sacrist Corazon must be stopped, but has the Destroyer met his deadly voodoo match?

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Copyright (c) 1978 by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy


Nothing in Rev. Prescott Plumber's past prepared him for making death so easy for anyone who wanted to die, and if someone had told Plumber he would devise a prized war weapon, he would have smiled benevolently.

"Me? War? I am against war. I am against suffering. That is why I became a medical doctor, to use my skills for God and mankind." That is what he would have told people if he had not ended his life as a puddle on a palace floor.

When he left for the small jungle and volcanic rock island of Baqia, south of Cuba and north of Aruba, just off the sea lanes where British pirates had robbed Spanish treasure ships and called it war, the Rev. Dr. Plumber explained to another graduating student at medical school that serving God and mankind was the only worthwhile medical practice.

"Bulldooky," said his classmate in disgust. "Derma-


tology, and I'll tell you why. Unlike surgery, your insurance premiums aren't out of sight, And nobody ever woke a dermatologist up at four A.M. for an emergency acne operation. Your nights are your own, your days are your own, and anybody who thinks they ought to have a face as smooth as surgical rubber is always good pickings."

"I want to go where there is suffering, where there is pain and disease," said Plumber.

"That's sick," said the classmate. "You need a psychiatrist. Look, dermatology. Take my advice. The money's in skin, not God."

At the Baqian National Airport, Rev. Plumber was met by the mission staff in an old Ford station wagon. He was the only one who perspired. He was taken to the offices of the Ministry of Health. He waited in a room, whose walls were covered with impressive charts about ending infant mortality, upgrading nutrition, and providing effective home care. When he looked closer, he saw the charts were bilingual advertisements for the city of Austin, Texas, with Baqia stickers pasted over Austin's name.

The minister for health had one important question for this new doctor serving the mission in the hills:

"You got uppers, senor?"

"What?" asked Dr. Plumber, shocked.

"Reds. You got reds? You got greens? I'll take greenies."

"Those are narcotics."

"I need them for my health. And if I don't get them for my health, back you go to the States, gringo. You hear? Eh? Now, what you prescribe for my bad nights, Doctor, greens or reds? And my bad mornings, too."


"I guess you could call them greens and reds," said Dr. Plumber.

"Good. A pickup truck of reds and a pickup truck of greens."

"But that's dealing in drugs."

"We poor emerging nation. Now what you do here, eh?"

"I want to save babies."

"Dollar a kid, senor."

"Pay you a dollar for every child I save?" Dr. Plumber shook his head as if to make sure he was hearing right.

"This our country. These our ways. You laugh at our culture, sefior?" ,

The Rev. Dr. Prescott Plumber certainly didn't want to do that. He came to save souls and lives.

"You get the souls free and because I like sefior and because you are my brother from way up north, and because we are all part of the great American family we let you save the babies for twenty-five cents apiece, five for a dollar. Now where else you get a deal like that? Nowhere, yes?"

Dr. Plumber smiled.

The mission was in the hills that ringed the northern half of the island. The mission hospital was cinderblock and tin roofed with its own generator for electricity. Only one Baqian city had electricity and that was the capital, Ciudad Natividado, named for the Nativity of Christ by a Spanish nobleman, in gratitude for five successful years of rape and pillage between 1681 and 1686.

When he had first arrived at the mission, Dr. Plumber was amused to hear drums thumping in the distance. He decided it was probably the natives' signal system to alert everyone that a new doctor had ar-


rived. But the drums never stopped. From morning till night, they sounded out, forty beats a minute, never stopping, never varying, steadily insinuating their sound into Dr. Plumber's brain.

He was there alone for a week, without a patient, without a visitor, when one high noon the drums stopped. They had already become such a part of his life that, for a moment, Dr. Plumber did not realize what had happened, what strange new factor had intruded itself into his environment. And then he realized what it was. Silence.

Dr. Plumber heard another unusual sound. The sound of feet. He looked up from his seat at an outdoor table where he had been going over the mission's medical records. An old man with black trousers, no shirt, and a top hat, was approaching him. The man was small and hard-looking, with skin the color of a chestnut.

Plumber jumped to his feet and extended his hand. "Nice to see you. What can I do for you?"

"Nothing," the old man said. "But I can do for you. I am called Samedi." He was, he explained, the hun-gan, the holy man of the hills, and he had come to see Dr. Plumber before he would allow his people to visit the mission hospital.

"All I want is to save their bodies and their souls," said Dr. Plumber.

"That is a very big all-I-want," the old man said with a faint smile. "You may have their bodies to treat, but their souls belong to me."

And because that was the only way he would ever get any patients, Dr. Plumber agreed. At least for the time being, he would not try to convert anybody to any religion.

"Fine," Samedi said. "They have a very good reli-


gion of their own. Your patients will begin to arrive tomorrow."

Without another word, the old man got up and walked away. As he left the mission compound, the drums began again.

The patients arrived the next day, first a trickle, then a flood, and Plumber threw himself into the work he knew God had meant him to do. He treated and he healed.

Soon he installed an operating room with his own hands. He was a bit of an electrician, too. He rebuilt an X-ray machine.

He saved the life of the minister of justice and was thereafter allowed to save babies for nothing, although the minister of justice pointed out that if he saved just two good-looking female babies, he could put them to work in fourteen or fifteen years at the good hotels, and if they didn't get diseased, they would be good for at least $200 a week apiece, which was a fortune.

"That's white slavery," said Dr. Plumber, shocked.

"No. Brown is the lighest color you get. You don't get white ones. Black ones, they don't make too much. If you get blonde white one by some accident, you made, yes? Send her to me. We make money, no?"

"Absolutely not. I have come here to save lives and to save souls, not to pander to lust."

And the look the Rev. Dr. Plumber got was the same as the one given him by the medical student who planned on dermatology. The look said he was crazy. But Dr. Plumber didn't mind. Didn't the Bible tell him he should be a fool for Christ, which meant that others would think him a fool, but they were those who had not been blessed with the vision of salvation.


The dermatologist was the fool. The minister for health had been the fool, for right here in the Lord's dark brown earth was a substance, called "mung" by the villagers, which when packed against the forehead relieved depression. How foolish it was, thought Dr. Plumber, to deal in narcotics when the earth itself gave so much.

For several years, as he rebuilt the mission clinic into a full-fledged hospital, Dr. Plumber thought about the earth called mung. He made experiments and determined to his satisfaction that the mung did not seep through skin and therefore it had to affect the brain by rays. A young assistant, Sister Beatrice-unmarried, like the doctor himself-arrived at the mission one day with the distinction of being the first white woman to pass through Ciudad Natividado without being propositioned. Her stringy brown hair, thick glasses and teeth, which looked as if they had collided beyond the ability of modern orthodontics to straighten them out, had more to do with her freedom from pesty men than her virtue.

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