For the past three weeks, nobody has a clue where Corruption is. She was seen for the last time on a Saturday night at a private club in Grand Baie, and on Sunday morning her brand new Ferrari was found near a park at Floreal. But of her, there was absolutely no trace!
And then two days later, the news had fallen like a bombshell: She had been kidnapped and the kidnappers were demanding one billion rupees for her release. Honesty, her arch enemy, who had been living all by herself in a slum of the suburbs – neglected and ridiculed – was at last seen roaming the streets. She had now become a force to be reckoned with, and since then a breeze of change had been blowing over the whole country.
In a much publicised interview on a private radio station, Honesty had this to say : “For too long I have been gagged and muffled. Now I am free to speak and with your goodwill and cooperation, I can assure you that we are on the verge of a brave new world…” The first to react was Hypocrisy who gave the assurance that Honesty could count on him to get all the support that she needed. Hypocrisy is particularly known to have the gift of the gab, and in a marathon talk full of resounding rhetoric he had declared that everyone should be glad that Corruption had at last been disposed of. “Good riddance!” he had ejaculated. And in full view of TV cameras he had added: “It’s been a long time since we’ve made an appointment with this golden age, and now, at last, this age is upon us.”
And indeed it was. At the customs, all goods imported were being declared in due form on Bills of Entries. Some officers, who secretly prayed for the release of Corruption, were tearing their hair in despair but there was nothing they could do. All duties were being paid as they should, and millions were finding their way, at long last, into the government coffers. Information which circulated only in certain closed circles were now being made public and everybody was making good use of this turn of events to postulate for plum jobs – hitherto reserved for a privileged few – or to apply for scholarships usually denied to ordinary mortals. Acts of notaries and insurance policies were now written in such plain language that everybody could now clearly understand what the documents said. Income tax forms were being filled with scrupulous honesty and lawyers, doctors and traders were making it a point of honour to declare all their emoluments and assets. So much so, that the MRA was thinking of shutting up shop altogether.
But it was the crumbling of some edifices that grabbed the most attention. Three in the capital had already collapsed. Only a few days ago, they proudly towered over the other buildings around, but now they were just a mass of rubbles. An earthquake, according to the Met, could not have caused more damage. At first nobody could understand why, but then somebody pointed out that these buildings had been built with funds that could not exactly be accounted for and that Corruption might have something to do with it. Oddly enough, some places of worship, too, had suffered the same fate and it began to dawn upon a few that there might be some grain of truth in the saying “many houses erected to the glory to God have been built with the devil’s gold”.
For some this “truth” was becoming too much to bear. After all, it is a country where religion holds sway and some were beginning to say that it was time Honesty should mind her own business and go back into hiding. It was a signal, it seemed, for those who had been secretly negotiating with the kidnappers for Corruption’s release to emerge from the shadows, and quite soon their followers (who were not very bright) had taken to the streets shouting “Liberate Corruption, liberate Corruption …” with placards and all.
Well, after that things evolved quite fast, and before you could say “Jack Robinson”, the billion rupees were collected. It was not even considered to be that exorbitant and there was much opacity concerning those who contributed. After all, as the French say ”Toutes les verites ne sont bonnes a dire”, and Corruption was once more on the loose.
But according to the official news, it was alleged that “Corruption had taken advantage of her captor’s inattention to escape … much to our deep regret”. Those who pretended that it was otherwise would be charged for spreading false news and would be liable “to pay a fine not exceeding …”