"Come pick a religion! I've got plenty to choose from!" cried the hawker on the street corner, “The best deals in eternity! Original Sins and Voodoo dolls, all at half prices!”
Maya and Samir stepped up to examine his wares. “You can get some excellent deals in the black market,” said Maya, “you just need to know how to bargain.”
The lazy flea market settled down in this corner of the city every Wednesday, catering to the religious needs of one and all. The Rich Ones visited the North side of the market. They parked their Jaguars above the street, its gorgeous underbelly sharply visible to the envious crowd below.
Maya took a step back and glanced down the street. A year ago she wouldn’t have dreamt of visiting this – the East side of the market. The Poor Side. No air conditioned “official” vendors like the North, here hawkers and knock-off salesmen reigned supreme.
Samir followed her. He saw salesmen of all sorts - some in brightly coloured attire, others in black sober suits and a cornered minority, stoned and stark naked. They handled different segments of the market ofcourse. He was shocked by the variety and the noise. It was his
first visit here after all.
He caught the glint off the golden teeth of a holy preacher. His robe and missing fingers immediately gave away his faith. Sometime in the past, not content with merely disfiguring hidden parts of the human body, some bold faiths had resorted to birth-sacrifices of toes, eyelids and even fingers. These sacrifices were not only for differentiation, but also a cost-effective way of preventing conversion.
Maya circled back to the street corner. A dense but radiant design in the corner seemed interesting. Bright colours and paganism was in vogue again these days.
She pointed. “How much?”
“20% of your income for the next two years."
"Whaat? That's too high!"
Ah, a bargaining tactic thought Samir. Inexperienced in recreational religion as he was, he knew this was a steal! Plus if serviced properly, it would easily be a few years before they bored of it.
They settled at 5%. "Well back to the University", she thought, as she hid her most recent purchase within her. It was illegal on Campus ofcourse.