I had forgotten how completely defunct my brain is when there’s a baby in the house. Butterfly is a champion sleeper for her age, but even 7 hours of sleep does little to straighten out your thinker when that sleep is interrupted every 2 or 3 hours.
Which brings us to today.
I am determined to get back into my regular schedule this week. This means two things: Exercise and writing. I exercised last night; today is supposed to be a blog post. After how well I did with the first, I figured the second would be easy. I managed to forget, however, that playing with the Wii fit takes a lot fewer brain cells than inventing an entire blog post. I’ve been trying to think about this all day, but all I get out of my brain is a faint sizzling sound and the smell of over-cooked inspiration spontaneously combusting.
Ergo: I have a short slice of story to share with you. I’ve always loved this little squirt of writing but never shared it with anyone because it doesn’t go anywhere–today, that seems appropriate. Enjoy.
Agatha stopped her absent-minded crocheting all at once as a knot of yarn caught in her negligently made loop, breaking off her comments to Druce at the same time. The owl, taking advantage of her sudden silence, ruffled his feathers and clicked his beak disapprovingly. “I’ll say it again, Witch, those radishes are disappearing.”
“And what does it matter if they do?” Agatha gave one end of the butter-yellow yarn knot a tug, making the tangle worse.
Druce turned his back, ruffling his brown feathers, apparently with no answer. “They’re dangerous,” he finally hooted, glaring at her over his shoulder.
“Only to an unborn child,” answered Agatha serenely, her already wrinkled brow contracting into deeper furrows as she wrestled with the growing mess.
“Or any apprentice witch who doesn’t know what she’s doing.”
“Or any apprentice witch who doesn’t know what she’s doing,” Agatha concurred with a nod of her head, her gray-streaked black bun bouncing. She gave an experimental tug to one obscure yellow loop, and the knot fell apart. “But I’ve been using those rapunzels for years.”
The owl’s reflective eyes glared down at the loose yellow yarn, then up at the witch. “I think you cheated.”
Agatha clicked her tongue in laughing disgust, then stopped at the sound of tiny, scrabbling feet. “Minty…?” she inquired, and, indeed, a tiny gray nose poked up over the edge of Agatha’s side table, followed by Minty’s furry body.
“…trying to get your attention!” squeaked the mouse indignantly, her sides heaving as she puffed and panted. “But you were jabbering on with that owl.” Druce stirred, flaring his wings threateningly in the firelight, but Minty was too intent on her errand to goad him further. “Agatha, Raymond’s out in your garden.”
“Who who?” demanded Druce, settling back, appeased at the thought of news.
“Raymond,” repeated Minty shrilly. “That man that lives next door. His wife’s pregnant, you know.”
“Yes, dear,” Agatha agreed mildly, intervening before Druce could do more than click his beak. “Frightened of me, both of them, the poor ones.”
“Not frightened enough to keep that Raymond man from stealing your radishes!”
Druce and Agatha froze; Minty’s nose twitched as she eyed her audience with pleasure. “Well,” she conceded with a toss of her little mousy whiskers, “he’s actually frightened to death. But his wife – she wants them. He’ll do anything to stop her whining – I heard him say so.” The mouse paused, then started to groom her fur as she continued reflectively, “Well, more grumble so. But I guess it doesn’t really–,”
“Which radishes?” Agatha demanded, her voice tight. Minty looked up, her black eyes wide with surprise at the unusually interruption. “Which ones, Minty? Tell me.”
And Minty, who usually would put up a fight at a direct order – after all, she was a free mouse, not a house pet like that owl – answered meekly, “The ones nearest the willow tree, that I told you wouldn’t grow since the tree would take all the water.”
“The rapunzels,” snapped Druce, puffing up with indignation. “See here, Witch, didn’t I tell you there’d be trouble?”
But Agatha wasn’t listening. She was already out of her comfortable armchair and through the door of the small cottage, swinging her beaded black shawl around her plump shoulders as she disappeared into the misty night.
Both animals stared into the blackness that the door should have covered, only Agatha left too quickly to close it, and Druce muttered, “I warned her.”
“Warn a witch!” squealed Minty indignantly. “You’re only an owl!”
“Even witches make mistakes,” the owl muttered, turning his head away from her, then silently flying after his mistress. “Even witches like Agatha.”
Minty stood up on her round hind legs for just a moment, her glance flicking from the cold outside to the seat of the armchair – pulled up nicely to the fire and with an inviting mound of yellow yarn – then reluctantly lowered herself to all fours and scrambled out into the darkness.