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The Five Aspects of a Witch

THE FIVE ASPECTS

OF A

WITCH

 

THE FIVE ASPECTS OF A WITCH

By PORPHYRO

Published by PORPHYRO at Shakespir

Copyright 2016 PORPHYRO

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Table of Contents

 

1. The Jinn

 

2. Three Failed Wizards and a Heist

 

3. The Very Model of a Loving Family

 

4. The Mischievous Spirit of the Fox

 

5. How to Explain the Cuckold Desire

 

 

 

1. THE JINN

 

Use your imagination for a moment and pretend that jinn exist. “But what’s a jinn?” It comes in a bottle and produces such a dizzy spell that oh! to explain it does it no service. You can’t see it, but it’s a powerful, powerful sorcery nonetheless. “Oh! You mean gin! As in the toxic stuff that makes a giddy brain.” Gin, jinn, jeans, genie! Whatever you’d like, it’s the same. One’s a THING (in our case, a WOMAN), another a drink.

Yeah?

Good! Now that that’s settled, let us continue.

Let the STAGE become a magic forest. No need for trees or pine smells—just the feeling of total isolation will do. “Forlorn” is the word I’m looking for, and the effect as well. A completely empty stage is just fine, then. Nothing is more depressing.

This is an ancient forest, seldom visited. And for good reason, too. Everyone knows the forest is haunted. Everyone, that is, but PEEP.

Peep makes her way from left to right. She BANGS her walking stick on the ground with every step.

 

PEEP. Lada-da-dee-da-da-da-dum! Lada-da-dee-da-dooooo! What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful walk! If only birds would coo! Where are the sparrows? Where are the bees? A strange forest. Very strange, indeed. But what a wonderful hike! What a magical place to be! Lada-da-dee-da-da-da-dum! Lada-da-dee-da-dooooooo!

 

The GENIE sees Peep from afar. We’ll call her…oh, I don’t know.

Let’s call her JEAN.

Well Jean sees Peep and immediately gets a mischievous smile on her face. She rubs her hands together with glee.

 

JEAN. (with a booming voice) You’ll finally win your freedom with this one, genie! Oh! How lucky you are! Lucky, lucky, lass! Offer her three wishes. Offer her ten. Either way, you’re sure to hoodwink—

 

Peep. Oh!

 

She rushes up to Jean.

 

Peep (CONT’D). Why hello there!

 

JEAN. (incredulous) …what?!

 

It sounds just like a venom snap. “….what?!” Just like a snake bit you on the shin. “…whattttttttttt?!” Ouch, that t!

 

Peep. I haven’t seen anyone in days!

 

Peep takes the genie’s hand and shakes it.

 

Peep (CONT’D). It’s nice to finally talk to someone, even if it’s a genie.

 

JEAN. Y—you can see me?

 

Peep. I can hear you, too!

 

Peep does her best to imitate Jean. (A dog does a better job sounding like a cat.)

 

Peep (CONT’D). (imitating jean) You’ll finally win your freedom with this one, genie!

 

Cough, cough, cough! Peep has hurt her throat.

Jean still doesn’t quite believe it. She walks around the stage, observing Peep’s eyes. Are they following her? Do they really see her?

Well Peep does her one up. She sticks out a finger and points at wherever Jean goes.

 

Jean. Stop pointing at me!

 

Peep. You’re right there.

 

Jean. (darting away) Stop!

 

Peep. And right there!

 

Jean. Stop it!

 

Peep. Fine. But only if you give me my wishes!

 

Jean. What wishes, you presumptuous little terror?

 

Peep. You said it yourself. ‘Give her three wishes, give her ten.’ Well I want twenty, please.

 

Jean. …and what if I refuse?

 

Peep. Then you’ll never hoodwink me, silly!

 

Jean. You’ve magic about you, girl.

 

Peep. I do not.

 

Jean. You must.

 

Peep. Nope!

 

Jean. Then how did you see me?

 

Peep. The same way you felt THIS!

 

Peep, feeling more courageous than ever, reaches out and GRABS the genie’s nose. It comes right off, boogers and all.

 

Jean. Oh! Oh! You horrible girl!

 

Peep. So? Do you see?

 

But Peep looks at the nose pinched between her fingers and corrects herself.

 

Peep. Or, rather, do you smell that?

 

Jean. See what?! Smell what?!

 

Peep. This!

 

Peep RUBS THE NOSE on the bottom of her dirty soles.

 

Jean. Oh, you terrible girl! You terrible girl! Stop it! Please! I beg you.

 

Peep. There’s nothing magic about the senses. They’re just there. I can smell you as easy as you can see me.

 

But Peep looks at the nose pinched between her fingers and corrects herself.

 

Peep. Or, rather, it’s the other way around. You smell, I see. Those are just the facts.

 

She rubs the nose against her elbow.

 

Peep (CONT’D). What does that smell like, by the way? I’ve always been curious. I’ve never been able to see for myself. Or, rather, I’ve never been able to smell it. Gosh! That’s three times in a row!

 

The genie looks at Peep with terror in her eyes. Who is this grand witch?

 

Jean. What must I do to get you to stop?

 

Peep. Give me my wishes!

 

Jean. Who are you?

 

Peep. Me? Ha! Wait until you hear this one. I am…!

 

Jean. Yes?

 

Peep. Well. I’m…!

 

Peep looks at the nose pinched between her fingers.

 

Jean. Yes?

 

Peep. Hmm. To tell you the truth, I don’t know who I am.

 

She tosses the nose back and forth.

 

Peep (CONT’D). Curious, isn’t it? I’m just like a dream that suddenly starts.

 

Jean. A nightmare more like it! Give me my nose back!

 

Peep. Is that one of your wishes?

 

Jean. …you can grant wishes?

 

Peep. Well sure I can. Why not? If you can do it, so can I.

 

Jean. But I’m—

 

Peep. So…? Answer the question!

 

She squeezed the nose tight.

 

Jean. Oww, oww, oww, oww!

 

Peep. Is that your wish or not?

 

Jean. How many do I get?!

 

Peep. I don’t know. As many as I want. THREE BILLION!

 

She raises her arms impressively.

 

Jean. (fearfully) Yes! That’s my wish! Give me my nose!

 

Peep. Yep!

 

Peep, true to her word, sticks the nose back on.

 

Jean. …thank you.

 

Peep. Say, what if you’re just lonely?

 

Jean. What do you mean?

 

Peep. What if you just conjured me for company? What if you’re in want of friends?

 

Jean. (she spits) Pah! Friends! As if!

 

Peep. Well tell me about your life, genie.

 

Jean. Is that one of your wishes?

 

Peep. It’s one of my commands! Tell me!

 

The genie is shocked. Nobody has ever spoken to her like this. After the whole stunt with the nose, though, she’s too scared to be insulted.

 

Jean. I…have lived a better life. I haven’t always been like this.

 

Peep. Like what? A little overweight?

 

Jean. A genie! I was a normal girl once! Just as you are now, I was—

 

The genie looks at Peep up and down. This is a demon, not a girl.

 

Jean (CONT’D). Well, never mind about that.

 

Peep. Huh? About what?

 

Jean. (changing the subject) I was hoodwinked into this misery.

 

Peep. By who?

 

Jean. By a genie. A wise man. A philosopher.

 

Peep. He questioned you so much you learned some magic? Eh? How does that work?

 

Jean. No, no, no. The genie offered me three wishes.

 

Peep. Three wishes.

 

Jean. That’s right. Three.

 

Peep. What is it with you people and three? Can’t you think of any other number?

 

Jean. Because! Three is perfect.

 

Peep. Three is boring.

 

Jean. Three’s enticing.

 

Peep. Yeah, if you’re boring.

 

Jean. No, listen—

 

Peep. I’m snoring! (she snores)

 

Jean. One wish is just one quick taste of magic. Two wishes and you’ve gotten a good sample; most importantly, you’re hooked. The third wish becomes ever more necessary now that you know how it feels….

 

Peep. But how is that hoodwinking anybody?

 

Jean. Because. You have to set conditions on the third wish.

 

Peep. Like what?

 

Jean. Like ones that work. Like, for instance, the one the genie used on me.

 

Peep. Ooooo! Now I’m sorta enticed. Go on, go on. I’m listening.

 

Jean. Not snoring?

 

Peep. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. You’re still pretty boring.

 

Jean. Then I won’t tell you.

 

Peep. Fine. Then you won’t.

 

Jean. Oh shut up, you little terror!

 

Peep. You want to tell me! Admit it!

 

Jean. (as though she didn’t hear her) He said he’d grant all of my wishes, but only if I used my third wish to wish him away.

 

Peep. So by “all of your wishes,” you mean two?

 

Jean. Yes.

 

Peep. Just two?

 

Jean. Yes.

 

Peep. Hmm. Well what happened if you tried to be greedy?

 

Jean. If I didn’t wish him away? He said I’d still get the wish.

 

Peep. Well that’s kinda nice.

 

Jean. Yes, but he would also take my place.

 

Peep. Huh?

 

Jean. Those were his conditions.

 

Peep. Huh?

 

Jean. He would swap with me!

 

Peep. He’d…become a she? Huh?

 

Jean. No!!!

 

Peep. (sniggering) Huh?

 

Jean. As his final act as a genie, he would grant me my third wish. And then he’d be liberated; he would go on and lead a normal life. I, on the other hand, would be disallowed to leave these wretched woods. I’d be trapped as a genie forever! He warned me of this. Trapped forever!

 

Peep. (she points to her own nose) Or until you find a sucker.

 

Jean. Yes, that’s right. …but why am I telling you all of this?

 

Peep. (as though she didn’t hear her) So you had to wish him away? Like…away away? Dead?

 

Jean. (shaking her head) No. Just away from me.

 

Peep. Why didn’t you do it? Sounds pretty darn easy; pretty damn easy, too.

 

Jean. The temptation is too much. It’s an impossible game, girl! Don’t you ever gamble on yourself! Your willpower is not enough! Believe me! Don’t even start with the first wish! He himself was hoodwinked by a genie as well.

 

Peep. He told you this?

 

Jean. Yes.

 

Peep. And you still played?

 

Jean. Oh, girl! We all think we’re stronger than we really are!

 

Peep. How was your genie hoodwinked?

 

Jean. What he wanted most in the world was wisdom. Before becoming a genie, he fashioned himself to be something of a philosopher. A rather clueless one, but a philosopher nonetheless.

 

Peep. Oh God! He was boring!

 

Jean. Well his genie resolved two puzzling paradoxes. And the philosopher was mightily impressed. He was in awe, in fact. He didn’t know—

 

Peep. Thoughts could think that way?

 

Jean. Yes. I suppose that’s right. Or something like that at least.

 

Peep. Poor old guy just needed to stretch his neurons! He didn’t have to come all the way out here to do that.

 

Jean. Mmm. (she nods her head)

 

Peep. So what happened next?

 

Jean. The philosopher decided he’d rather infinite woe and knowledge, than temporary health and ignorance. He reasoned he’d rather be a genie and know it all than stay a man.

 

Peep. Then why did he end up hoodwinking you? If that was the case, you’d think he‘d have stayed a genie and “known it all” forever….

 

Jean. We jinn know many things unknown to men. But there are even more things unknown to ourselves.

 

Peep. …huh? Wait a minute! That doesn’t make any sense.

 

Jean. Of course it does! Think of an ant, you stooge!

 

She catches herself.

 

Jean (CONT’D). My apologies! I didn’t mean to—

 

Peep. Continue.

 

Jean. Think of an ant. For every question it has in its brain, you must have a thousand in yours.

 

Peep. …this is so boring!

 

Jean. Well it’s not my job to entertai—

 

Peep. So you mean to hoodwink me, huh?

 

Jean. I can’t stand this existence anymore! I’m tired of these wretched woods!

 

Peep. Hmm. Well I can’t see what wish is so important I can’t contain myself to two. I get two wishes, right?

 

Jean. (hungrily) As long as you wish me away on the third one, yes!

 

Peep. Hmm. Well, I only need one!

 

Jean’s interest is piqued. Her face lightens up.

 

Jean. Yes? What is it?!

 

Peep. Give me your nose!

 

Jean. …what?!

 

Peep. I said give me your nose!

 

Jean. …but!

 

Peep. Now!

 

Peep snaps her fingers

 

Peep (CONT’D). Give me your nose!

 

The genie can’t help but oblige. She takes off her nose and hands it over.

 

Jean. (slyly) …would you like me ears now?

 

Peep. Nope!

 

Peep walks away.

 

Peep (CONT’D). Lada-da-dee-da-da-da-dum! Lada-da-dee-da-dooooo!

 

Jean. But wait, girl! Wait! Wait!

 

But nothing. The girl keeps humming away, proving that a certain amount of insouciance is utterly inhuman.

 

 

THE END

 

2. THREE FAILED WIZARDS AND A HEIST

 

§1. Inside a shabby hut, a few miles from the crime:

 

Here are three reasons to kidnap the Witch, none of them very good: 1) to learn from her; 2) to eradicate the threat she poses (that is to say, to kill her); and 3) to possibly obtain an enormous ransom.

“An enormous ransom? From who?” Well somebody must love her. She must have come from somewhere, right? Or, to be more precise: she must have come from someone. There must be a mother and a father of some sort. And if there are parents, then there must be grandparents, too. Aunts, uncles. Friends!

See how quickly we normalize the Witch? If she has friends, she might have lovers as well. There’s even a tiny chance that they are rich.

In fact, there’s even a tiny chance that she herself is rich. Yes, perhaps she has bags and bags of golden coins hidden in her house. Under the bed, inside her socks….

Well, a man can only dream so much. (And this man, Nader, was certainly dreaming. Sigh!)

Because none of the above is necessarily true of the Witch. For all he knew, she could have sprouted from the swamp like a shrub of poison berries. Aye, she could have come to the world fully-formed and awful. No one who loved her, and no one she loved. No long genealogy, no aristocratic romance. To put it bluntly: no one to ante up a ransom.

“Well,” Nader thought to himself, “if nobody else, then perhaps these two will pay for her. After all, much money’s wasted on ‘education’ these days. They might think she’s worth the millions!” He drummed his long, delicate fingers on his chin.

Brett the scholar certainly looked like he had millions. “He’s so elegantly dressed,” thought Nader. “And so handsomely put together! Well, I mean his face. Look at that! Good chin. Smooth black skin. And eyes! What piercing eyes! What intelligent expression. What a nobleness of soul! Why would such a man waste his life on books?”

Because the books weren’t an end to themselves. They were merely his portal to magic. If you could read how to make an ocean from a single drop, wouldn’t you dedicate all of your hours to the pursuit as well?

Too bad that none of them had learned anything at all.

Nader realized it was likely that none of them ever would, either.

Which is why he was desperate to cash in his dreams and show something for a decade of fruitless study.

The three of them weren’t friends. They were merely associates in the eldritch pursuit of learning magic. Ten years, it had been! Ten years of useless meetings! A sacrifice of romance, time, and money. And for what?

Brett was the most advanced among them, but even he could barely change a color blue to a color purple. From yellow to another yellow—that was the extent of his sorcery.

Still, Brett was a persistent one. Right now, for instance, he was--as per usual-- reading and re-reading the same passage over and over again. He was having an impossible time keeping awake, but he wouldn’t ever dare admit such a thing to himself. “The ‘Overman Schedule” admits no flaws!’ he’d say. So what if he only takes two naps a day? It allows him more time to… zzzz.

Huh?

Oh!

It allows him more time to read! Yes, to read and read plenty and plenty of books! All sorts of them, too! Uh-huh, uh-huh. Because, see, Brett reads manuals on dragons and spells and summoning fairies and fairies and…zzzz.

Frye, too, was asleep, albeit he was more honest about it. Instead of drooling on some open book of ancient lore, Frye was nicely tucked in his bed, dreaming. And what dreams they were! Violent, horrible dreams! Bloodshed and axes and…oh my. Such terrible things!

But nobody would know that by looking at his smiling face. He looked as if he were having the very fuzziest of dreams.

That doesn’t mean he appeared all that harmless, though.

He was a huge man in possession of a frightening mustache and an even more frightening strength.

On the other hand, he had such a nice smile…. And he had innocent dimples and…oh! You’d never guess his viciousness. You really wouldn’t.

He eats chicken bones like they were the fingers of his victims: with relish. Munch, munch, munch, crunch.

Frye was the one, of course, who planed to kill the Witch. If asked why, he’d say, “She’s a menace. The world is better off without such a creature inhabiting it. The threat is too much.” A selfless man!…perhaps.

All in all, though, one had to admit that—surprisingly—the most useful one among them was actually Brett.

Brett, for example, had built the hut they were staying at. We won’t pretend he came out here to the edge of the woods and sawed the trees himself. Nor will we insinuate he took to hammer and muscle and sweated the hut to completion. No—he had builders, of course, and laborers and decorators (though they were awful). What he did was he surveyed the location. Not too far from the Witch’s house and not too close, either.

 

So then here we are, the three of them dreaming, scheming, and aching for smarts.

“I hope I’ll learn!”

“I wish she’d die!”

“How I yearn for those billions!” (Wasn’t it millions before?)

These are the happy words. The happy, happy words before everything goes wrong.

Oh! Why won’t they stay as they are? Why go seek out the Witch?

 

 

§2. Outside of the Witch’s house:

 

There’s never a worse time to kidnap a Witch than when she isn’t home. Not only is she unavailable to nab, she’s incredibly peeved if anyone dares touch her stuffs while she’s away. And her stuffs include the blades of grass on her front yard, the air that surrounds her porch. Yes, she’s a territorial one, the Witch. Come uninvited and…oh! Be prepared to give your fingers to keep your hand! (What I mean by that is you’ll come out of the encounter alive, but what’s the point? After what she’s done to you…what’s the point?)

The three wizards had no way of knowing she wasn’t home, though. After all, they weren’t really wizards. They couldn’t have possibly divined such a piece of knowledge.

It is true, though, that they could have planned things a little bit better.

Brett peeped through the windows. “It’s too dark in there. Do Witches sleep?”

“Why?” said Nader. “Is she asleep?”

“If she were asleep,” said Brett, “then why would I ask if Witches sleep?”

“Because maybe you saw she was lying there stiff dead and good for the taking.”

“But she’s no good if she’s stiff dead.” Brett stomped his little scholar’s foot. It was evident he was feeling cross. “We want her to be able to talk, after all, and answer our questions.”

Eh. Nader didn’t think so. Her carcass might go for something at an auction. “Perhaps it’s better she’s stiff dead, anyway.” Nader shivered. He couldn’t say why, but he was starting to scare. Did he feel something in the air? A wolf howl that couldn’t be heard from this distance? Wolf howls, after all, disturb the atmosphere. It becomes harder to breathe and…and…. No. It must just be a case of random goosebumps. “Yeah, maybe it’s better that she’s dead. Maybe we don’t even need her. Maybe she has a trove of books we can consult instead.”

“Enough with the books!” This was an exceedingly surprising exclamation coming from Brett. “We’re in desperate need of human tutoring! Don’t you see that?”

“But she isn’t human,” said Nader. “Right?”

“…I’m not sure.” Brett hit his head and moaned. “Oh! That I don’t even know that shows how pathetic our knowledge is!”

“Wait.” Frye was starting to get nervous as well. He couldn’t explain why either. He lowered his voice. “So what’s the plan?”

A good question.

“That’s a good question,” said Brett. “I suppose we should—”

“Now hold on, you spoil sport!” Nader stuck his finger to his lips. “Shhht!”

“Why?” Brett looked around. “Do you see something?”

“No, dumb-dumb. What if she can read minds?”

“She wouldn’t have to since we’re talking so loud!” said Frye.

“If she read our minds,” said Nader, “she’d know exactly what we were up to. No, we have to act instinctively. Not even we should know what we’re doing.”

“Oh yeah, because that’s smart!” said Brett.

“Oh be quiet!” Nader pointed at Brett. “You’re too sleepy to even think straight anymore. Look at those deep, black bags under your eyes.”

Frye was too afraid to look through the window. “What if she’s looking at us right now from inside?”

“Then she’ll get a good one to the face!” Nader picked up a hefty rock from the ground and tossed is through the glass.

Brett nearly fainted on the spot. “…you idiot! We’re dead!”

“Not at all!” Nader screamed. “Act spontaneously! Don’t allow yourself to think!”

But all three didn’t move an inch. They were rooted to the spot, too afraid to move.

Their minds were abuzz with worries. Their anxiety was so loud, in fact, they didn’t even hear the Witch walking up behind them!

As you can guess, she was furious.

 

Nader was thinking he’d betray the other two the first moment he got a chance. He’d forget about the money. So what if he wasted a decade? He’d make another life. Let the others worry about the Witch! Let them distract her and open up the opportunity to run.

Oh! She’d know that was his plan. She’d know it! And she’d go after him first as a result. Oh! “Stop thinking, Nader,” Nader thought to himself. “Stop thinking!”

Suddenly, Brett sprinted towards the door. “I’m going in!”

“But why?!” Frye’s roiling instincts were telling him to dash the other way. “Why would you do such a stupid thing?!”

“To apologize!” said Brett. “I will throw myself at her feet and apologize for breaking her window. Then I’ll beg her and beg her to teach me a spell to fix it. And then I’ll beg her and beg her to take me on as her student.”

“You’re still on about that?” Nader couldn’t believe it. “Just let it go, you fool! Forget your ambitions! Throw yourself at her feet—that’s fine. But beg for your life and beg to be let go. Promise you’ll never read another word of magic nor come anywhere near these woods.”

But Brett would rather die.

He opened the door and charged on through and screamed. “Oh!” He paused for a long time. “Oh!”

“What is it?!”

“Come in! Look at this!”

The others couldn’t help themselves. They followed Brett inside.

 

And to their surprise, it wasn’t the Witch’s house they were looking at. Rather, it was their little hut. Only everything inside was shattered and tattered and ripped to bits. Even the books!

“But how are we back here?” Nader was incredulous. He felt like crying.

There was a note lying on the ground.

“What does it say?” said Nader.

Brett picked it up and read it aloud. “It says: ‘Come back tomorrow to repair my pane.’”

Frye’s heart hurt. “Maybe…!” He stroked his huge, frightening mustache. Maybe she means just him?” He pointed at the cause of all their misery.

“Me?!” Nader shook his head. “No, no, no. She would have mentioned me specifically.” He was desperate for any sort of optimistic spin on things. “What if she was playing with words?”

“Like she’ll play with our bones?” said Frye.

But Nader pressed on. “What if she wants us to come back and repair her pain? As in, she’s lonely and is in need of company?”

“No!” shouted Brett.

“Oh yeah? How are you so sure?”

“Because…!” Brett held up the note. “It’s changed! Now it says, ‘Not at all.’

The three couldn’t help themselves. They huddled together in a little bunch and hugged themselves and cried.

 

 

 

§3. The next morning, inside the hut:

 

For two of them, at least, there had been some sleep.

Frye, with his violent dreams, had gotten rest. And look at him there! Still dreaming! (To tell the truth, though, they were half-dreams by now. Barely any immersive powers to them. The full-fledged ones—those all-consuming dreams—…they had stopped coming hours ago when he should have woken up. But Frye didn’t want to get up and face the day, so he forced himself to continue snoozing. Snoozing, snoring, doze. Boredom was his punishment.)

Nader, too, had gotten rest. Which did quite surprise him, actually. For the first few hours of the night, he kept sitting up and taking a glance around. “Is she here?” he would think to himself. And then he would get up and sneak towards the Witch’s letter. He wanted to make sure it hadn’t changed in the last five minutes. Luckily, it always remained the same. ‘Not at all,’ the note read. ‘Not at all.’ And then Nader remembered how specific the Witch had been; how she’d made sure to state they had to come, ‘tomorrow.’ ‘Come back tomorrow,’ Nader repeated to himself. ‘Come back tomorrow.’ And he said it over and over again until sleep and comfort overtook him.

Brett was the only one who had stayed up all night. He pored through his all of his many books, shred by little shred. He was hoping to learn how to repair things.

What kinds of things? Well his books, for one!

“Perhaps if I show her some skill,” he thought to himself, “she’ll be impressed and take pity on me!” But try as he might, he just couldn’t focus on anything. All of the words seemed nonsense and gibberish. For three-quarters of the night, he kept trying to piece a single page together. It was only once the birds began to sing that Brett realized all of the words had been scrambled as well.

He didn’t give up, though! He stayed up and…well, did nothing, really. He was mindlessly scanning tatters of papers. How could that help anything? “It feels more useful taking a nap!” he tried to convince himself. But the feeling was false and the conviction wasn’t really there.

By the time Nader got up, Brett was sleeping with his eyes open.

 

And so it is that nobody noticed Nader going up to the Witch’s letter and ruining it.

The idea had suddenly come to him like a thunderous epiphany. “If she can write to us, then maybe we can write to her as well!” He looked hard at the note she had left. “But how do I erase what she wrote?” Some of the thick letters had edges that looked like they could be peeled off.

Hmm. Could he?

Hmm.

It wouldn’t hurt to try….

Nader pinched the top of the ‘N’ from ‘Not at all.’ To his great surprise, the legs of the letter began to writhe about. “Oh my! It looks as though it doesn’t want to go anywhere! Well that’s too bad.” He plucked the letter from off the page and threw it to the side. He did the same for the “o” and the “t” and the “a” and the etc., etc.

Now with a blank slate, he got out a pen and wrote: “Can you read this, Witch?”

Within seconds, the letters reshaped themselves into a giant, “YES.”

Nader plucked the letters off the page and wrote: “Forgive me.”

“I won’t,” the Witch wrote back.

“What must I do to gain your mercy?” The Witch took a while. Moments passed, moments passed, and…nothing. Feeling impatient, Nader added another, “?” And another one, too.

“Bring me the hearts of your friends,” she finally responded.

Nader didn’t hesitate for even a second. He wrote back, “Gladly.”

“You would do that?”

“I would do anything for you!” he wrote. It looked a little false and desperate on the page. Oh well. Too late.

“I’m glad to hear that.” And then the letters reshaped themselves. “Hmm.” And then they swirled into: “Before you do that, come see me.”

“Alone?” he asked.

“Of course.”

He didn’t have to be told twice. He embarked on the road to the Witch’s house at once.

 

Thirty minutes later, Frye’s easy, slumbering mind was invaded by a dreadful vision of all the horrible things the Witch was doing to Nader. And Frye couldn’t look away! Oh! It was awful, awful, awful. And so very gruesome, too!

When the Witch was done with him, she suddenly came for Frye with bloodlust in her eyes. He tried desperately to get up, but couldn’t. It was impossible. Impossible!

 

By the time Brett fully awoke and noticed anything, Frye was dried like a prune. “Oh!” Brett covered his mouth. “Oh!”

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.

Brett dove under Frye’s bed and prayed and prayed the visitor would go away.

Instead, the door opened wide. “You’re late!” the Witch said.

And somehow, Brett noticed his stupid mouth yelling out, “You never specified what time!”

“Now! Right now!” The Witch stomped her foot. “Come up from under there and look at what I’m pointing at.”

He didn’t want to come up. He felt safe under the bed. And even if it was a false safety, it was still a comfort he didn’t want to do away with no matter what.

But what if she dried him like a prune next? That man lying above him…he had blood once! Muscles and fibers and bones! He could flex his biceps and grip his hands and, and, and…. Well it didn’t matter what he could do once upon a time. Because as of now, that man lying above him was no man at all. He was disgusting to look at, utterly disgusting. It probably hurt to have all of that done to him! And what if she did it to Brett next? No, better to obey than to stay under the bed.

And so Brett did as he was told and got up. He looked at what the Witch was pointing at.

One of the hut’s walls had been converted into a giant, broken window. “Yes!” he said. He immediately understood her message. She didn’t have to explain herself. It wasn’t exactly subtle, anyway. “That’s true. That’s very true.”

“What excuse do you have for yourself?” the Witch said.

“…I didn’t do it!”

“I don’t care if you weren’t the one who threw the rock. You were involved! I’ll patch the hole over with your skin!” she said.

“No, no, no!” Brett dropped to his knees. “Please! I beg you!”

“What could you possibly do for me? Why should I keep your around?”

“I can….”

“Yes?”

“I can….”

“Yes???”

But Brett couldn’t think of anything. “I can entertain you!”

“How?”

“Oh! I don’t know! I can do anything! Please! Just spare me!”

“You must look at it from my point of view, human. I know what you three were up to! See your disgusting self as I see you and tell me if I should spare you.”

Brett thought about it for a moment. He pretended to see things from her perspective. They locked eyes. “Ah.” He shook his head solemnly. “…I understand.”

“Well? What do you say? Should I spare you?”

“Mercy is a most magical thing,” Brett said.

He winced at her reaction.

“Then you haven’t seen anything properly!” Then, all of a sudden, she was delighted with herself and started to cackle. “But no worries. I can fix your sight.”

She snapped her fingers and then…and then…. He was outside!

 

Only, Brett wasn’t Brett.

He was…she?

And it wasn’t day anymore. It was night.

She looked down. “Oh my! What’s this?” Brett was wearing the Witch’s robe. “And who’s that?!”

He saw a group of three men huddled outside the Witch’s house. One of them was picking up a hefty rock.

“No!” Brett screamed. He rushed towards them. “You’ll ruin everything!”

The Other Nader dropped the rock at once and began to run away. It was a matter of fight or flight and the Other Nader was definitely flying.

Unfortunately for Brett, the Other Frye was definitely fighting. Rather than running away like the Other Nader or cowering in the corner like the Other Brett, the Other Frye was charging towards her.

“Wait!” said Brett. “Wait!”

But before she knew it, the Other Frye smashed her in the face.

The tremendous punch to the nose dropped her to the ground at once. For a second, it felt like excruciating pain. She reached for her nose expecting to touch blood when…when…when…all of a sudden….

…ah. Relief.

She was blissfully out cold.

Not that being out cold is an enviable position. But at the very least, she wasn’t searing with pain. Right? If she’s on floor anyway, it’s better she’s numb than hurting.

All that stuff about unbearable pain—that comes a little later.

 

 

§4. The next morning, inside the hut:

 

This is what would have happened had the gentlemen gotten their way:

The Witch would have woken up tied to a chair. Her nose would have been black, humungous, and blue. Or it certainly would have felt that way.

“Gentlemen!” she would have tried to call out. But it would have come out like this: “Gmmmtlmmmm!” She would have found out that, to her horror, someone’s smelly socks were stuffed in her mouth.

“She’s awake! She’s awake!” The Other Nolan would have been the first to rush towards her.

And when the Other Frye would have approached her, the Witch would have instinctively winced. She would have reached for her nose, but would have found out that, to her horror, she was firmly tied to the chair she was sitting on.

The Other Brett would have kept his cool distance. It would have felt uncanny seeing him standing there from another perspective. Wasn’t that herself? Or, rather, wasn’t that him? The “I” that’s looking through the Witch’s eyes? How were they both places at once?

Gmmmmtlmmmmm!”

The Other Nader would have stared at her face. “What is she trying to say?” He would have touched her chin and tugged on her hair. “She’s so hideous!” Then, without any shame or compassion, he would have thumbed her eyeball. “Look! She’s flinching! Do you reckon she feels any pain?”

Gmmmmtlmmmm!”

“She must.” The Other Frye would have stared at his hard knuckles.

The Other Brett would have finally approached her. He would have studied her as though she were a specimen. “What troubles me most is that she was so very easy to capture.” He would have touched her chin and tugged on her hair as well. “Do you reckon witches lose their magical abilities with age?”

The three of them would have pondered the question for a while.

Finally, the Other Nader would have pointed accusingly at her. “Witch!”

Mmmm!”

He would have continued. “If you aren’t a charlatan, undo your ropes! Vanish from here!”

The Other Brett would have looked at the Other Nader with shock. “Are you insane? Why would you suggest such a thing?”

“Because if she could, she would have already done it by now! But she can’t!” The Other Nader would have grown increasingly confident. “Even if her life was at stake, I don’t reckon she’d be able to wriggle her way out.”

The Other Brett would have gotten an intrigued look in his eye. “I…disagree.”

“Do you?”

The Other Brett would have walked to his desk and would have grabbed some matches.

 

But enough! Enough! No more is needed.

We are back to the real reality—the one in which the Witch has disposed of Nader. The one in which Frye has died in his dreams.

Brett is back on his knees, imploring the Witch.

“Well?” she says. “Should I forgive you?”

Brett was disgusted with himself. He shook his head from side to side and said, “No!”

“Then what shall I do?”

“I repent! I repent!” Brett was no longer afraid of the harm that would come to him. He was an awful person.

“Shall I kill you?”

“If you must!” he said.

“But no. You’d rather be useful, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes!” He looked up at her. “Of course!” And it was true. If he could do anything to actually help the Witch, even the littlest—

“Then be my little bird! Fly for me and contribute some chirps! Tweet, tweet! Tweet, tweet! I want to hear your songs every morning. Though I’ve thousands just like you, if one of you is silent, I’ll notice! And if any of you see some wretched men approaching my house—”

“Then we’ll tell you!”

“Do you promise?”

“I do!” Brett said.

“And do you agree this is fair?”

“I do!” Brett said.

“Then go on and fly!” The Witch pointed to the smashed window. “Right through that hole! Go on!”

Brett looked at himself. “Like this?”

“Yes! Launch yourself through! If you can fit, you’ll be fit to be a bird.”

Something told Brett she was lying to him. But what did it matter? If this was to be his death, then so be it.

He got up from his knees and charged towards the window. And with arms outstretched, he launched towards the hole and…!

For one moment, he felt the glass strip away his flesh. But no, no. It didn’t hurt!

His sliced body hurled onward and onward onto the ground. But he himself was fine.

He was soaring up above, something new. Something new and respectable!

The Witch called out to him. “And remember, my little chirp! Blessed is the sparrow that is thankful for its wings. Don’t wish for anything more and you will find heaven in the skies.”

And though he couldn’t reply, he showed his gratitude by speeding through the clouds and making his way towards the forest nearby.

And though he couldn’t say anything, he showed his commitment by forgetting he was ever a man. It took a few days, but what is a week in the life of an immortal bird?

 

 

THE END

 

3. THE VERY MODEL OF A LOVING FAMILY

 

Count them: 1, 2, 3.

Goldilocks on the middle of the stage. Well, not the blonde girl. No. THREE BEDS, rather.

So let me start all over again: 1, 2, 3. THREE BEDS on the middle of the stage!

There’s one for the son, one for the mom and…well, you get it. One for the dad as well.

There aren’t any bowls of porridge. Nor are there any undersized chairs or humongous ones either.

Just three beds.

And there’s three people PEEKING underneath each one.

 

FATHER. (hollering from under the bed) That stink! That stink! That awful stink! It’s under here!

 

MOTHER. (hollering back) No, it’s right here. I think I see something moving.

 

FATHER. (…hollering) That doesn’t make any sense! If it’s moving, it’s not a corpse!

 

MOTHER. (and hollering…) So only dead things stink?

 

FATHER. The moment it stops thinking, it’s stinking!

 

SON. (standing up) PEE-YEW!

 

FATHER. Bring me a light!

 

MOTHER. But not before you let this rat get away.

 

SON. I don’t think there’s a rat. There isn’t any cheese.

 

The Father FREEZES in place. He’s having an epiphany.

 

FATHER. (standing up) Cheese…. Cheese…. But of course! Cheese!

 

SON. What about cheese?

 

FATHER. It smells like rancid, fetid, putrid, rubbery—

 

SON. Thesaurusy.

 

FATHER. —cheese!

 

SON. Hmm. Otherwise known as sour milk.

 

FATHER. Yes! Rancid, fetid, putrid, rotten curds. We must have dropped some cheese. It smells just like it. Yuck! All creamy and gnarly right up the nose!

 

MOTHER. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

 

The Mother SHRIEKS as she FLINGS something crusty and smelly at the Father.

 

He SHRIEKS as well and plays hot potato with it.

 

The Son catches the stinking object and confirms it’s a SOCK.

 

SON. It’s a sock!

 

MOTHER. (standing up) Wait, but is there something inside? I thought I saw it move. Check inside. But wait, boy! No! Drop it! It’s gross! It’s gross!

 

She STAMPS her legs up and down as though her feet are burning.

 

MOTHER (CONT’D). It’s gross!

 

But the Son presses it to his nose and smells it.

 

SON. Hmm.

 

He presses it to his nose again and takes a deeper whiff.

 

FATHER. …well?!

 

SON. It’s awful. Absolutely rancid.

 

FATHER. Then get it away from your face!

 

MOTHER. My precious boy!

 

SON. But no.

 

He takes another deep whiff.

 

FATHER. Do you like it?

 

The Father looks incredulously at the Mother.

 

FATHER (CONT’D). Does he like it?

 

SON. It’s bad, but in the way it should be bad.

 

FATHER. What does that mean? Bad in the way it should be bad?

 

MOTHER. Oh, the fumes have warped his brains!

 

SON. I mean, this sock smells naturally smelly. Not like the stink in this house.

 

MOTHER. You’re implying the stink in this house is supernatural?

 

FATHER. Perhaps a ghost has come and taken a giant shhhh—

 

MOTHER. Shhh. Don’t say it.

 

FATHER. Why not?

 

MOTHER. You’ll upset the ghost.

 

FATHER. Well, I think we already have. Peee-yeeeew! What a horrible stink! A curse on this house! A curse!

 

MOTHER. (looking around) Has someone let a cat inside? Maybe one of us has stepped on some droppings.

 

All three of them check their feet.

 

SON. No.

 

MOTHER. No.

 

FATHER. Nuh-uh. Me either.

 

MOTHER. Sweetie? Check under the bed for me one more time, please. It seems to be coming from under there.

 

FATHER. Well, I TOLD you that! I TOLD you.

 

MOTHER. Yes, yes…. Perhaps you were right.

 

As the Father squats back down and presses his cheek against the floor, the Mother rushes over and conspires with the Son.

—————————————-

MOTHER. Sweetheart, I think it’s your father. But I don’t have the heart to tell him. I just don’t.

 

SON. You want him to take a shower?

 

MOTHER. Yes. I think it’s necessary at this point. But what do we do? His pride will never recover. What do we do?

 

SON. Let’s just suggest we all take showers.

 

MOTHER. Isn’t that a little too obvious?

 

The Father pops his head up from under the bed.

 

FATHER. Son! Come over here! Come here, come here!

 

The Son rushes over.

—————————————-

SON. What is it? Do you see it?

 

FATHER. Son, I swear to God your Mother’s head was steeped in a sewer.

 

SON. Huh? What do you mean?

 

FATHER. Her hair stinks. Go on and take a sniff. Be subtle about it, though. It stinks, it stinks, it stinks. Her tresses are foul. And when she talks, it’s all cabbages.

 

SON. What do you suggest we do?

 

FATHER. We have to tell her.

 

SON. But it’ll hurt her feelings.

 

FATHER. Well, good. Then she’ll be too embarrassed to let it happen again. This is the worst thing that’s happened to this family.

 

SON. I don’t think it’s Mother.

 

FATHER. Well then it’s you! Get away, get away! You smell of chunky farts!

—————————————-

The Father scurries away from the Son. The Mother, in turn, scurries away from the Father.

 

All three form a triangle on stage—each point as far from the other as possible.

 

SON. Hey!

 

The Son takes a deep breath. As deep as he can breathe without busting a nostril. His breath is so deep, in fact, it ARCHES his back and brings him to the tippy tops of his toes.

 

SON (CONT’D). It doesn’t smell anymore!

 

MOTHER. Hey! He’s right!

 

FATHER. Because he’s far, far away.

 

MOTHER. What do you mean?

 

FATHER. We can’t smell your son anymore. And of course he can’t

smell himself either.

 

MOTHER. You would suspect your own son?

 

FATHER. I would suspect the evidence.

 

SON. I think it’s something else. Here, let’s try an experiment. Everyone plug their nose.

 

Everyone plugs their nose.

 

FATHER. (nasally) Oh, yes. This is a genius idea, Son! We’ll just stay like this forever.

 

MOTHER. (nasally) Be quiet! Give him a chance. This might work.

 

FATHER. (nasally) This might work?! Oh! You’ve always supported him in

every single stupid decision he’s ever made! That’s why he’s so STINKING big but still smells like shhh—

 

SON. (nasally) Shhhh. Don’t say it.

 

FATHER. (nasally) Don’t say what? I’m talking to YOU, not some ghost! Take a shhhh—

 

SON. (nasally) Shhh. Everybody come closer.

 

They all apprehensively scoot towards the middle.

 

Right where the beds are.

 

SON (CONT’D). (nasally) Now everybody, unplug your nose!

 

All three stop pinching their noses. They each take a masochistic inhalation.

 

All three nearly die.

 

FATHER. Oh! Why would you suggest that?!

 

MOTHER. (gagging)Give him a chance! Give him a chance!

 

SON. Here’s my theory: it’s the holy spirit.

 

FATHER. That’s blasphemy.

 

SON. No, listen. The closer the three of us come, the stronger the smell gets.

 

FATHER. The closer YOU come to us, rather….

 

MOTHER. We’ll test it! You two stay over there.

 

The Mother scurries to the other side of the room.

 

While they are distracted, something MOVES ABOUT under the Son’s bedsheets.

 

FATHER. Oh!

 

SON. SEE? Do you smell that? That fresh air? I had forgotten there was a pine forest right outside our house! What smell! What glorious, mountainous smell!

 

FATHER. Then it was your mother…! I knew it!

 

SON. No! That’s not true. It’s not true. Don’t blame her. MOTHER! Come over here.

 

The Mother scurries on back towards them.

 

Something MOVES ABOUT again.

 

FATHER. Oh Christ!

 

SON. Oh! It gets worse every time.

 

MOTHER. It was me?!

 

SON. No! Father! Hurry! Before it kills us! Rush over to the other side of the room!

 

The Father does as he is told.

 

Again—SOMETHING MOVES!!! (A giant rat?)

 

MOTHER. Oh! It was your father!

 

FATHER. It was YOU!

 

SON. It’s all three of us together! Whenever we come close, we produce that smell. I don’t know why. I don’t understand it. But it’s true!

 

MOTHER. Then what do we do?

 

FATHER. Who moves out?

 

MOTHER. You would rather split the family?

 

FATHER. I would rather live!

 

SON. We’ll just…get used to it.

 

FATHER. Get used to it?

 

MOTHER. Yes…. Get used to it. Because we love each other. That’s why. That’s what we’re going to have to do.

 

FATHER. Well…I suppose…! Oh! Fine! Maybe we’ll scoot the beds a little farther apart.

 

SON. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll come to like it.

 

All three approach their beds.

 

SON (CONT’D). Goodnight, Father.

 

FATHER. …Goodnight, son.

 

MOTHER. Goodnight, you two! Sleep as sleep can best.

 

Before sitting on his bed, the Son pulls down his cover. To his GREAT SHOCK, a LITTLE GIRL springs up from underneath. She looks positively mischievous and smelly.

 

Certain she’ll be…eaten? But why? Who would touch such a ragged thing?

 

Well for whatever scrambled reason, the girl makes like a rotten egg and splits.

 

She RUNS OFF in a hurry before anyone can say anything more.

 

 

THE END

 

 

4. THE MISCHIEVOUS SPIRIT OF THE FOX

 

Don’t read any further. Everything’s fine now as it is. Nobody’s been harmed yet. But if you keep on going down the page…I must say you’ll be complicit in murder! So stop!

No?

Sadist. Killer. Fiend! You’re as much to blame as everyone else in the village. Which is to say, you’re a prime suspect. Just as all three hundred of our backwards folk are. That’s right. Everyone in the village is under investigation. Everybody. That’s including the Little Girl Sue as well.

But before we get too much into it, let us review the case thus far.

 

 

INTERVIEW ONESUSPECT: THE FAT MAN

 

Whatever room you find yourself in, shrink it to about shoulder-width, please. Make it impossible for you to outstretch your arms. And you might as well bring the top down to the tip of your head. I don’t want a tall ceiling, no. I don’t want a window either or very much room for your legs at all. I am the architect of your imagination, so I beg you to listen. I want you to construct it just right. Misery between four walls. That’s the blueprint. Think you can build it? ‘Sure!’ you say. ‘I’ll just envision a closet and be done with it.’ But no, you doofus. You little-eared moron. If I wanted a closet, I would have mentioned a closet. ‘You just did,’ you say. But I only mentioned a closet so you wouldn’t dare conceive of one. Instead, I want you to think of a teeny-tiny detention room. Two chairs crammed inside, all snug and such. Yeah? A dim light above—doesn’t have to flicker, doesn’t have to swing. But if you’re not so lazy, at least make it buzz. Have it smell of mold inside. The wallpaper’s more like sandpaper and…got it? Good.

The Detective selected this particular room for a very specific reason. Ah but let him explain it himself.

 

THE DETECTIVE. I selected this specific room for a very particular reason.

 

FAT MAN. I can hardly breathe!

 

THE DETECTIVE. Yes.

 

FAT MAN. <> …that’s the reason?

 

THE DETECTIVE. That’s correct.

 

FAT MAN. But why…?! <> Are you trying to kill me?

 

THE DETECTIVE. Not quite. I’m trying to embarrass you.

 

FAT MAN. No, no! <> You’re trying to burst my heart! <> I’ve never sweated this much in my entire life!

 

THE DETECTIVE. That’s obvious.

 

FAT MAN. You pig!

 

THE DETECTIVE. Me?

 

FAT MAN. <> Me, indeed!

 

THE DETECTIVE. HA!

 

FAT MAN. WAIT! Not me! You!

 

THE DETECTIVE. You? <>

 

FAT MAN. Yes.

 

THE DETECTIVE. HA!

 

(Well, this is getting us nowhere. I’ll be quick with it, then. There’s been reports of a ‘midnight spirit’ going around the village mutilating bodies. The ‘spirit’ takes toes and noses and hairs and even nipples and genitals. It has been known to take a voice or two as well.

The villagers are all convinced it is the vengeful ghost of a mischievous fox that once lived in the forest nearby.

After several terrible mis-happenings (boys being stolen, girls being bugged (that is, girls being turned into worms)), the villagers had enough of it and sent their very strongest men to kill it. Long story short, they killed it. And, long story short, they dragged the body all the way back to the village. And long story short, the villagers cheered and the seamsters among them skinned the fox decorated their champions with the carcass of their foe—handsome hats and fluffy boots, mostly. One of the men, however, requested a little tail for his daughter. And that tail was made and the girl was a happy little bouncy girl. Well, anyway, after all of this, it makes sense that the villagers suspected the fox’s revenge.

The Detective, on the other hand, didn’t believe any of this nonsense. In fact, he never believed in any of the nonsense in any of his cases. As a result, he had a long, strong record of solving various impossible crimes. And so, even though he was born in the metropolis far, far away from the village, he was specifically recruited to puzzle out a living, breathing perpetrator. ‘Fox spirit,’ just wouldn’t cut it.

The Detective was convinced that body mutilation was the key to solving the crime. The ‘mischievous spirit’ hadn’t killed anyone yet. It had merely invaded the sanctity of the private body. How odd. How significant, too.

Here, we must pretend the Detective is speaking to us. ‘Let me ask,’ he says. ‘Who suffers most from this condition? I am not speaking of severity, but of frequency. Who suffers most on a day-to-day basis? Is it not the binge-eater? The one who lacks control of their appetite? The obese man, the fat man? He wants to be thin, he wants to be healthy. But he can’t possibly bring himself to stop eating. There is something inside of him that constantly rapes his inner image. It stuffs meats and beefs into the inner image’s unwilling mouth, and stretches out its tiny, anorexic bowels into immense, never-ending tunnels of fat and grease.’

‘No one understands how very much the binger suffers. “Just stop eating!” they say. But it’s not him that eats. Don’t you understand? There’s two inside of him. It’s that other one that gorges itself, bread after bread, cake after cake. And it feels absolutely disgusting to that first one, the one who’s not in control, but the one who dreams of being fit. That first one can actually feel the fat growing on the sides of his stomach as the second one scarfs.

‘Well these crimes are the binge-eater’s way of expressing himself. He steals into his victims’ homes and maims their bodies and more or less says, “See?! Do you see how awful it is not to have control of one’s body?!”’

Well, perhaps the Detective isn’t quite as wordy as all of that. But all of those thoughts are certainly in his head as he talks to the Fat Man.)

 

FAT MAN. Enough of this! <> I want to get out! I’ve globules of sweat the size of planets. This dark little room is outer space—

 

THE DETECTIVE. And all of infinity can’t contain you.

 

FAT MAN. Fuck you! I want to get out!

 

THE DETECTIVE. You won’t get out until I say you can get out.

 

FAT MAN. You abuse me without cause!

 

THE DETECTIVE. The terrorized villagers beg to disagree.

 

FAT MAN. You have no evidence it was me!

 

THE DETECTIVE. Not yet I don’t.

 

FAT MAN. But eventually you will? <>

 

THE DETECTIVE. Yes.

 

FAT MAN. Yeah?

 

THE DETECTIVE. That’s correct.

 

FAT MAN. You’re gonna get it out of me?

 

THE DETECTIVE. Precisely.

 

FAT MAN. Ah, you cops!

 

THE DETECTIVE. What about us?

 

FAT MAN. None of you are from around these parts. And look how well we do without ya! City boy. You don’t know what you’re dealing with.

 

THE DETECTIVE. I’m dealing with a case of six stolen nipples.

 

FAT MAN. More than six stolen nipples.

 

THE DETECTIVE. More than six stolen nipples? <>

 

FAT MAN. Whatcha writin’?

 

THE DETECTIVE. That’s none of your concern.

 

FAT MAN. I can read upside down, you know. I see it right there. ‘The…possi…bility…of…a…seven…nipple…case.’ BAHAHAHA! More than seven nipples, cop boy.

 

THE DETECTIVE. …eight nipples?

 

FAT MAN. Eighteen, more like it.

 

THE DETECTIVE. Eight…teen?! <>

 

FAT MAN. In one night, perhaps. All in all? Probably a hundred.

 

THE DETECTIVE. <> ONE-HUNDRED STOLEN NIPPLES?!

 

FAT MAN. Now do I have your attention?

 

THE DETECTIVE. But where do you keep all of them? In little bags?

 

FAT MAN. It isn’t me, cop boy.

 

THE DETECTIVE. It is you.

 

FAT MAN. It isn’t! <>

 

THE DETECTIVE. It has to be you.

 

FAT MAN. To make your job easy? Then sure. It’s me.

 

THE DETECTIVE. It has to be you.

 

FAT MAN. But it isn’t.

 

THE DETECTIVE. What makes you think there are one-hundred stolen nipples?

 

FAT MAN. People talk among themselves. But not to cops. <> Six stolen nipples…. That’s what you city scum call an epidemic? An emergency? A spree?

 

Suddenly, the Detective shifts tactics. Whereas before, he could have almost been described as ‘reticent,’ now he’s all talk and sweeping arms and loud emotion.

He explains his theory carefully to the Fat Man. He connects the dots for him and makes him see he’s the culprit.

 

THE DETECTIVE. So don’t you see? <> Well?! Don’t you?

 

FAT MAN. I…!

 

THE DETECTIVE. Come on now! You might as well admit you love this is happening.

 

The Fat Man feels strangely understood.

 

FAT MAN. Yes! I did it!

 

THE DETECTIVE. <> I knew it!

 

Even though he didn’t, the Fat Man screams:

 

FAT MAN. I did it!

 

Because if he could have, he most certainly would have.

But it was painfully obvious he didn’t. As the Detective listened to the Fat Man’s confession, it became more and more clear just how impossible it would have been for the Fat Man to do everything. What? Had he suddenly grown a nimble foot? If not, how had he been able to break into so many houses? How had he been able to sneak up on so many people? What drugs did he have that put them into such a deep, deep slumber? Because they must have felt something, all of the victims. Having your nipple sliced—

And that got the Detective thinking.

The Detective impulsively lifted up the Fat Man’s shirt. And to his horror, he saw the Fat Man was missing both nipples. They hadn’t been removed so much as they had been banished from existence. It was as if they had never existed at all.

 

THE DETECTIVE. …it couldn’t have been you.

 

FAT MAN. But it must have been!

 

But it wasn’t.

From here, I was going to give you the transcript to interview two and interview three. Interview two was going to deal with Little Girl Sue. It was going to expound on the ‘mischievous’ aspects of the fox’s crimes. The Detective was going to focus on the nimbleness of the girl. Eventually, he would have proved to Little Girl Sue that she loathed adults. That authority, for her, meant repression. And she would have confessed to the crime as well. But the Detective would have listened in despair and realized she didn’t have the strength to hang dozens of men from tall trees. Because, yes, the crimes had gotten worse. They were homicides now and of a much stranger severity.

The third interview was going to deal with the local Hammer’s Man. It would have followed the same exact format, except it would have substituted fat and mischief for strength and brutality. There would have been a confession, etc., etc. So on and so on.

Eventually, the Detective would have started to suspect himself.

But there’s no need to get into any of that. We know what we’re doing, you and I. You and I are terrorizing these poor people. And all for the sake of curing our boredom. Who’s the fox? It could be you. It’s more likely it’s me. But if it should be anyone, it ought to be the both of us.

 

 

THE END

 

5. HOW TO EXPLAIN THE CUCKOLD DESIRE

 

Her husband was always an angry one when he awoke. Not that he would punch you or anything if you stirred him up. No. But he would certainly shoot you the meanest looks you’d ever seen. He’d scowl at you like a gargoyle—the nose all bunched into a thousand wrinkles and everything. His fangs would show and—but this is getting excessive. He was a furious man, not a caricature of one. A caricature would at least be funny. But there was nothing funny about her husband waking up. At times, she thought he’d really hit her. She really did.

But I suppose the man had a good excuse after all. You see, his dreams weren’t the usual dreams. Not like the neighbor’s dreams, or his wife’s dreams, or any other standard person’s dreams. His dreams were particularly cruel dreams. “What is a cruel dream?” That’s an excellent question. You’d think they were nightmares, huh? But think again, my friend. Think better this time. Think to yourself: why would the husband be so goddamn livid waking up from a nightmare? No. All that temper and spleen only makes sense if the husband were being taken out of heaven.

And that’s exactly what it was. His dreams were so beautiful and so very, very precious—ah! You’d be frothing too if you wife shook you up. ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ she says. ‘You’re going to miss work!’ Well who cares two blimineys? In the husband’s dreams work didn’t even exist. But that’s not even the most of it. That makes him sound rather lazy. And it wasn’t about that. No, it wasn’t. You see, in his dreams, the poor fellow imagined such a world…. Well, for starters, everybody loved him. His wife cherished him and said the nicest things. She encouraged him greatly and told him not to worry. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said, ‘Don’t worry.’ Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry. And he never did. Not in his dreams, he didn’t.

That’s why they were cruel dreams.

Or, well, at least they were until now.

Recently—this started just a few days ago, in fact—his wife has been shaking him up and doing all of the usual business, the, you know, ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ stuff, only now she doesn’t even get to the first ‘up!’ before he’s all awake. He clings to her arm and kisses her hand and looks intensely relieved. It isn’t at all like him, you understand. He strokes her hair and kisses her cheeks and kisses her bulbous nose and tells her that he loves her, loves her, loves her like no other man possibly can. No, it isn’t at all like him. Some nights, he doesn’t even sleep anymore. He looks so tired, but so miserable and scared as well.

The wife ponders to herself. ‘What could he possibly be dreaming of?’

Well she only needs to look in the mirror to begin to get a clue. Male psychology is a funny, funny thing. All he ever wants is a pretty wife, the male does. Pretty little lips and pretty little hips and the pretty little thing all to himself. That’s what he wants. And why? Not because she’s pretty—no, no, no. That would be too straightforward. That wouldn’t be so pathetic. No, the male wants a pretty, pretty wife so that he can torture himself. Every man who’s ever had a pretty wife eventually goes through it. For some, it starts right away. Before he’s even married, actually. Yes, after the third date—oh, let’s be honest! after only the first date—he’s already in agony picturing that she’s…but I won’t say it! It’s too painful what he imagines. Suffice it to say, he envisions other men. Many, many other men. (And their grubby, greedy cocks as well. There! I said it.) For other men, the anguish doesn’t start until a few years later. Yes, for the first little bit of the relationship, this type of man is fine, just fine. He’s self-confident and self-handsome and has plenty of strength and money. You’d never suspect he’d suspect his wife. All it takes to get him started, though, is getting fired from a job. Or getting laughed at in public. Or making some imbecilic error that calls his intelligence into question. Anything that brings him down a step on the ladder of pride. Suddenly, he realizes he has a pretty wife and it begins to overwhelm him. He begins to have a hunch about her.

The wife ponders to herself. ‘What could he possibly be dreaming of?’ If only she understood male psychology, she’d know immediately he was dreaming of her.

Indeed, ever since a few days ago, the man has been having the same terrible dream over and over again. I’m telling you, every night it’s the same terrible dream. It takes place in some huge, infinite ballroom. And everyone’s wearing the fanciest wardrobes. I’m telling you, they’re all wearing the fanciest dresses and the fanciest coats and—but why did I mention the fanciest dresses? Dresses? That implies there’s more than one. No, in the husband’s dream, the only one wearing a dress is his wife. You see, she’s the only woman in a sea of endless, elegant men. They’re all crammed into the ballroom and they’re all overeager to dance with her. And, lucky for them, she complies. She dances with each and every one of them. It wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t blush before each dance. And it wouldn’t be so bad if she weren’t so easy to seduce. She would be dancing with some fellow, for instance, when her eyes would suddenly meet with somebody else’s across the room. And then she’d blush and lose her step and ask to sit down. And her dancing partner would oblige and let her go. And she’d go sit down and fan herself when all of a sudden, the other gentlemen would appear and take her hand and pluck her up from her little stool like a little rose. And she would blush and she would blush and she would blush. And sometimes, depending on the severity of the dream, they would even kiss.

Oh, it drove the husband absolutely nuts! Given enough nights of the same recurring dream, he was sure he’d lose his head.

After a year of this, what else could he do, then, but love it?

 

 

THE END


The Five Aspects of a Witch

  • Author: Porphyro
  • Published: 2016-06-25 08:05:10
  • Words: 10945
The Five Aspects of a Witch The Five Aspects of a Witch