“If you’re a pimp,” said Earl Marlowe, the old hoodoo man, “you in the business of sex and money, and you gotta pump up both to keep things steady. Best way is with a mojo hand.”

We’d parked up in a back street in Islington, London, and were sitting in Earl’s beat-up BMW before delivering the mojo hand Earl had fixed up for a pimp called Cornelius, a regular client,  whose business was more profitable than drug dealing – but he wanted more.

“He a greedy mofo,” said Earl. “He been plaguing me to fix something up for him for months. He don’t need the money, and he’s got the cream of girls working for him. I said to him you gotta know when enough enough. But he don’t listen.”

So Earl sorted him out with a working to increase business.

“See here,” continued Earl, showing me the mojo hand – a red drawstring bag filled with arcane items – he’d fixed up. “Went over the graveyard when the moon was near full, called up the spirit of a successful businessman who buried there.”

Earl had filled the red-drawstring bag with various ingredients, including a buckeye nut, juniper berries, a piece of ginseng root, sassafras, and a sigil drawn by Earl with a dip pen. His sigils came from “unknown tongues,” the language of the spirits. These helped him summon spirits when a hoodoo working called for that.

“I’ll have the guy breathe deep into the bag before we tie it up,” Earl went on. “We’ll sprinkle a few drops of Power Oil on the bag ‘fore we kick it into action. He’ll make the money, but he’ll always want more. Ain’t never satisfied.”

With that we got out of the car and went over to the Cornelius’ place. “Hey Earl! Come on in,” said Cornelius, who was all flashed up wearing a black Italian suit, mirror shades, and dripping gold. “I see you got Doc with you, ain’t certain if he too refined for hanging out at a pimp’s establishment…”

“No, no, he like his books, but he ain’t fussy,” said Earl.

Cornelius ushered us into his sitting room and began rolling a joint. “This some prize-winning weed, endorsed by connoisseurs worldwide. It pack a punch like a cruise missile.”

Earl, who liked his weed, said, “Roll that mofo fat and wide, we gotta get into the right headspace, get this job done.” He pulled out the mojo hand, and added, “You gotta breathe into this, fill it with you life force.”

Once Cornelius got the joint burning, he took a deep draw, then handed to Earl. While Earl was toking, Cornelius followed the hoodoo man’s instructions and breathed into the bag seven times. Earl then took Cornelius’ hand and uttered an indecipherable chant over the mojo bag.

With that he was done, and told Cornelius to never let anybody see inside the mojo bag, and to carry it with him at all times.

“You already in the money,” said Earl, “but you gonna have a lot more of it.”

Cornelius smiled, “That what I wanna hear, my man.”

Earl then looked sternly at him. “But remember to treat them girls well. Ain’t an easy life.”

“Have to keep ’em in line,” replied Cornelius.

“Yeah, well, don’t be too hard on ’em,” said Earl.

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