The Wicked Witch of the Park

Afternoon Blogstalkers.  Today I am going to spin you a yarn about my youth.  So grab a Snapple and a handful of Triscuits, sit back and relax.

Welcome to the south suburbs of Chicago.  A quiet neighborhood.  The scents of sidewalk chalk and hot asphalt mingle in the air and from somewhere comes the faint sound of a jump rope slapping against the sidewalk.  Recently a brand new park has gone in at the end of the street and it is the joy of mothers and babysitters all around the block.  On a sunny day everyone flocks with their charges to this suburban idyll and releases them to the happiness of a tire swing and the sweet mystery of secrets whispered in a plastic tunnel.

In shady gazebo a bit away from the action sits a dark figure, a young girl of about nine.  Her top sports a dragon.  It is the most menacing shirt she owns.  She changed her clothes after lunch before escaping to the park for the second time that day.  Her mother was annoyed by the wardrobe switch, muttering something about five children and laundry but it was entirely necessary.  No one would have truly believed our girl was a witch in a shirt covered with daisies.

A witch you ask?  Yes.  A witch.  Well...ok not really, but that's what she had told the kids at the park this morning.  Admittedly her ruse would be more believable if her mom hadn't caught her sneaking out of the master bathroom with the expensive green face mask or if her dad would finally let her get her ears pierced, because the Mr. Potato Head hoops she's been forced to don today were, she knew it, ridiculous.  But witches wore hoop earrings, everyone knew that, so they'd have to do.

She rubbed her crystal ball, a vestige of her father's elaborate Halloween decorations from last year, and gazed at the ragtag group of freckled playground denizens.  Choosing her victims with care and then concentrating all of her energy on overhearing their names.  For this was her ploy you see, she was going to prove she was a witch and had magic running through her veins by inviting them into her grotto and then plucking their names out of thin air.

Matthew
Andy
Nina
JJ
Hilary
Madeline
Frogger....that one might be a nickname, she thought.

The children have not noticed her return yet but she is patient and she sits quietly, inviting their interest by exuding an aura of pure witch-ness.  Eventually she hears it, "Hey that weird girl that says she's a witch is back!"

Yes, come to me my pretties she breathes.

Suddenly their koolaide stained mouths and their skinned knees are in front of her.  Prove it, prove you're a witch.

Get in line she says in a gravely tone and I will do just that.  They do, gangly elbows akimbo.  Hey! Move! No cuts no butts no coconuts!

Enough! She exclaims and they quiet.  The first child steps up to the bench, a tow-head.  He looks sticky.  She closes her eyes and hums "Mmmmmm turpentine and India ink...." then rouses herself with a start and a sharp intake of breath.  Andy, she intones.  Your name is Andy.

The boy gasps.  She IS a witch.  This proves it.  Irrefutably.  "Do him next," he says and nudges his excited friend forward.  And so she does and the next child and the next child too.  Their awe of her grows greater by the second.

Then an annoying little high-pitched voice cuts in, "Hey, mom says you have to let me play with you, what are you doing?"

"Go away JORDAN, I'm being a witch."

But instead of going away the little girl, with her curly blond hair shining in the sun like a halo turns to everyone assembled and announces that as a sister to a witch, she is a witch too.

Prove it, prove you're a witch comes the all too familiar challenge.

So our girl sighs and seeing no way out of this one leans in and whispers to her sun-kissed sibling, "Just tell her her name is Hilary."  An easy enough task.  So the tiny creature takes the crystal ball and taps at its surface like it is a bongo drum and not an instrument of tremendous power.  She hums a tune eerily similar to Mary Had A Little Lamb.

Your name, she finally announces to the older girl standing in front of her, is....CELERY.

The day is ruined.  The children collapse into a pile of giggles and grape jelly.  The run off back to the playground still laughing, looking for their next adventure.

Our once-witch is left again alone.

Tomorrow, she thinks, I will be a princess.  I wonder if my costume still fits.  Then she collects her sister and they run home to play Curb-Ball, a game they invented.

So that is all for today lovely Blogstalkers!

P.S. The winner of the Inappropriate Candy Heart contest, with 24% of the vote is Summer of George with "I Guess You'll Do."  (With "I Like To Think I Have Ruined You For Other Women" by Laurie coming in a very close second.)  If Summer of George is you, then email me at LaurenRaeGallagher@gmail.com to collect your prize!

26 comments:

  1. First, you need to stop reading my mind because I've had "Love Potion Number Nine" stuck in my head all day long. Maybe you ARE a witch...

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    1. Haha! Sadly I'm not though. I never got my Hogwart's Letter.

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    2. I'm thinking of getting a Harry Potter themed tattoo. Maybe a scroll...I didn't get my letter either. But that is ok, as I would most definitely be a squib.

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  2. Lol, this brings back memories. I used to tell the kids at school who bullied me to watch out or my witch mother would curse them. She dressed up as a witch every Halloween and I honestly believed she was!

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    1. Ahh! There was a teacher at my elementary school that did the same thing, dressed up as a witch every Halloween. And she wouldn't break witchy character and pretended like she actually turned into a witch every year on Halloween. She was awesome.

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  3. Sadly, I have no strange childhood tales of the playground. Our local one was at a grade school a block from my house. The only "interesting" thing that happened there was I fell on my bike and embedded a rock in my knee. I still have the scar 30+ years later. The only other decent playground "story" I have is that I had a dog who loved to go down slides. Big, small, bumpy, twisty... didn't matter. He'd climb the ladder and slide for hours.

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    1. Oh! Your poor knee!

      I love the dog story though. I really wish I had a dog that liked to go down slides. I'd be at the park for hours every day watching that.

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    2. My poor knee is okay. My parents weren't when they saw me limping home bleeding! My dog was pretty cool. The kids at the park would let him cut in line for the slides. :)

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    3. I totally would have let him cut too!

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  4. Geez, those sisters ruin everything.

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    1. And they always ate all of the cookies.

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  5. You are a very good story teller. I could totally picture myself as one of the kids enthralled by your witchy abilities.

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  6. Little sisters can be pests...but I don't know what I'd do without mine. :) Thanks for sharing your stories!

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  7. Love that you wore Mrs. Potato Head earrings!!! Totally something I would have done thinking I was beyond cool!

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  8. HaHa!! Awesome story! You definitely have a talent for telling a story! I never wore a Mr. Potato Head earrings but my sister and I would take the old plastic pantyhose eggs and wear them under our shirts to pretend that we had boobs!

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  9. This was such an awesome little vignette! I hope you are able to turn these anecdotes into a physical book one day - I'll buy it for sheezy!

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  10. Laurie2/27/2013

    Oh MAN! I am the Laurie of "I like to think I have ruined you for other woman" candy heart! I didn't even vote for myself because I thought some of the other slogans were quite catchy. Oh well, second is better than I have ever placed in any other contest except for when I won a T-shirt in a radio call in contest that subsequently got me even more grounded since I had to admit to my parents that I used the phone when I was already grounded from it! And that shirt didn't even have a kick-ass dragon on it. I loved the witch story....when my older daughters were little I convinced them a witch lived in our garbage disposal because I had this crazy fear they would stick their hands in it and turn it on. As if the fear of getting their hand ground up wasn't enough, I was confident a witch in the drain would do the trick! ha ha.

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  11. Ha! I love this story. I was a witch for Halloween for like 4 years in a row.

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  12. I broke my elbow when I fell off the slide at McDonalds when I was little. I wish I had an awesomer play ground story but I did learn two things that day... never climb up the slide backwards and when you get to the top, don't straddle the side and yell " Stupid Idiots!". I am almost certain that is why I fell off. I learned the rules of Kharma at a young age.

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  13. This was such a sweet post! I did a very similar thing when I was about 6, but I was much more menacing than the witch in the park... Lovely writing, glad I stumbled into your blog!

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  14. Bethany2/27/2013

    Loved it! Thanks Lauren Filing Jointly, you're an amazing story teller/writer!

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  15. OK, genius writing. That was great!

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  16. ROFL! The things we do as kids.

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  17. Lol! You can always be a childrens book writer as a part time job. Love this post :)

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  18. When I was a kid, we decided to play Raggedy Ann & Andy. They have freckles & Mother didn't wear makeup so nothing to use. I came up with a brilliant idea....red nail polish! That did not go over very well.

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  19. This is all sorts of adorable. :) I also believed I was a witch as a kid because I kept seeing witch-shaped clouds in the sky, so I thought it was a sign...

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