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6 Jan

Curiosity and Hecuba Shoehorn

I woke up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago and wrote this. I think it’s super cute. Maybe I’ll get an actress friend to do it as a VO??

Curiosity and Hecuba Shoehorn

Hecuba Shoehorn, my neighbor, is always getting into the worst sort of trouble! I typically don’t bother with her much. Since the incident with the lemon tree we remain friends but not as close. Yet, as I heard her making quite a lot of noise the other evening, as she was carrying things back and forth from her house to the woods, I decided to investigate. Curiosity got the better of me, as it almost never does, and I ventured down the path to the woods. I found her having lit 5 torches in a circle of 3 paces in which were stacked quite a lot of men’s boots. This concerned me. Boot burning is banned, as you know, and with the number of elves present I was too concerned that perhaps some darker mischief was at hand. Though I am not sure it gets much darker than boot burning. Hecuba is always getting into trouble. She is not directly responsible for the 70s gas hike, but is for incorrect milk dates and of course summer being used as a verb.

I cleared my throat to announce myself and Mrs. Shoehorn was delighted for my assistance. I was unaware I had offered assistance. Oh no I thought she’s got me in some muck again! Hecuba was transferring these some 22 boots to a friend of her in France. “Why dear?” I asked. “Well” she replied, “I need some of that.. that..that…”

Now as you know, with old people, when they are at a loss for a word you must be very careful helping them. If you say the correct word all is well, but, if you say the incorrect word they get even more frustrated and start hexing everything in sight. As when Penelope Pondered, that’s her name, asked me to bring a flower, ‘the yellow one…..?’ I suggested sunflower because of course it was almost Solstice and she, being she, agreed readily. But what if I had said daffodil or chrysanthemum, or roses, as Penelope has a penchant for roses of a variety of colors, some most unnatural, and if I had said rose, she might have been misled and thus missed the holiday completely! As it was, sunflower indeed needed for the Solstice. I dare not think about what have might been, or not been, if that had happened! But as it were, time turned. Penelope is a calendar witch.

Mrs. Shoehorn had given no indication of what word she might mean. I saw the boots and thought laces? Wax? Polish? Luckily I hadn’t the time to say any of these things because a little old elf said “money!” “Yes I need some of that money!” smiled she. I was relieved.

Most witches aren’t too concerned about money. We make do. But we do occasionally need transportation over short distances, at which magick is not very useful, and whatnots. I adore whatnots. And of course humans are less likely to take barter these days and certainly not with remedies or de-hexed owl feathers. I thought maybe Hecuba needed bus fare or some new whatnots. As Mrs. Shoehorn has aged, like many, magick goes awry with the simple things. Last week she tried to conjure her misplaced glasses and well, let’s just say, if ever you find yourself at the north pole, enjoy the bratwurst. My heart broke for poor old fare-less Mrs. Shoehorn so I knew I’d have to help. Witches do enjoy the bus.

It seems Mrs. Shoehorn was sending these boots to a shop in France that could and would sell them for her. It was a Tuesday at 2:22 the time one should send shoes. Shoe witches know these things. It being 2:12 I thought I’d better help her out right quick. SO! Off we sent the shoes without much fuss. Shoes like to be sent without fuss. I believe it’s a travel item thing.

I had nephew once, well I still have him, brusky lad, and he had recently learned to dematerialize an item from one place to another. NOW as you know, one must be very careful of when and where an item leaves and when and where it rematerializes. He was a bit of a show off. He took an empty bottle of pop and decided to dematerialize it from one hand and rematerialize it in the other. We begged him to stop! This is difficult on the most difficult of days. Glass, as you know is made from sand and sand does not like to travel, truth be told it doesn’t even like to be asked. We warned him but there’s no telling a brusky boy is there? So he spoke the spell and the bottle vanished from his right hand and almost immediately, which rarely happens, reappeared or rather rematerialized in his left. HOWEVER he had not specified very well because the bottle did not land on his hand but in his hand. Yes, it was fused into his left hand as though they were one. Well not much to do about that, is there?

He had to wait 3 years 3 months and 8 minutes from the time to retransfigure the materialization! Can you imagine 3 years 3days and 8 minutes with a bottle as your left hand? To be sure, he was so proud of that bottle hand! I’d have hidden for 3 years 3 days and 8 minutes but not my nephew!!! You’d have thought it was a badge of honor! He wanted to keep it! We begged, pleaded and bribed him to redo the spell and stop looking so foolish. There we gathered 3 years 3 months and 8 minutes later and, as it happened, the rematerialization worked fine and with a rather glum expression, he caught the bottle as it rematerialized in the air. We had begged him not to try to rematerialize it on his right hand. I couldn’t bear to look at a bottled right hand. Although between us I sometimes miss the bottle-left.

I was concerned that Mrs. Shoehorn’s 22 boots might arrive in France and materialize onto some poor person who happened to be at the right place at the right, or wrong depending I suppose on the person, time. She assured me that the shoes would arrive at 3:33 on Thursday morning when the shop would be quite closed! And yes, 3:33 French time, which is tricky because shoes tend to not understand time changes and in France, being French, time is so subjective. I was happy she had figured that out and was relieved again I tell you.

Off the boots went and I was prepared to return home. I happened to ask her to whom the boots went and she said Monsieur Chaussure was an old dear friend and he’d agreed to sell them for her. I asked why not sell her rather lovely collection of women’s shoes? She told me this had been a practice run. She was saving the good stuff!!! Mrs. Shoehorn is quite a businesswitch! Who’d have thought?

It occurred to me however, that she may not have told Mr. Chaussure she was sending boots via magick. I remember once Hecuba threw a lovely dinner party and forgot to invite anyone. I helped her take down the decorations and carry the food back to the pantry and scolded the elves for not reminding her! To be fair, they are quite old themselves. I was concerned I tell you about Mrs. Shoehorn’s shipment. I knew I should stay out of it but I couldn’t let it go, which is odd, for typically I keep my nose to myself and never fuss about others’ businesses.

I found myself on Thursday morning wondering is the shoe shop had gotten them? Leaving no injured party. I wondered if I could find the number? I did. I wondered if maybe I should call and leave a message? So I did. Much to my surprise Monsieur Chaussure answered! My French is unfortunately not very good anymore and I could not remember the French word for shoe because, well obviously it’s in my not very good anymore French. So, I muttered, feigned a cough and put the old pleasespeakenglishspell on Monsieur Chaussure and added a touch of anddon’tworryaboutit to smooth things out. I do not approve of putting spells on French people in general but this was an emergency.

I am so happy I dared to call! Monsieur Chaussure had in fact stumbled into his store a few hours earlier and found a rather lovely display of men’s boots. I knew Hecuba had a flair for display so I was not surprised one bit by the materialization of a display rack. One Solstice her entire front lawn was laid out like the north pole, what is it with Mrs. Shoehorn and the north pole one wonders, well north pole with penguins, I didn’t dare tell her, a neighbor minds their business.

So Monsieur asked how the shoes had gotten there? I couldn’t tell him shoe witch magick could I? So I simply said via elves. He stuttered and then asked what he should do with them? I said, “sell them of course!” He was delighted but who, he asked, had sent them? I said “Mrs. Shoehorn.” “Oh yes,” exclaimed, “that lovely lady!” He hadn’t seen her in some 30 years but remembered the pair of Italian boots her husband, dear sweet Mr. Shoehorn, had bought way back then! People who deal in shoes have wonderful memories. “Oh la la,” he said and I knew my spell was wearing off so I started to say au revoir, and he asked me how much money I wanted. Well, I said it was not my money it was for Mrs. Shoehorn. I was just being terribly helpful. Imagine me worrying about money? So I wrote down his very long numbers and gave it to Hecuba.

3 weeks later I saw her carrying some packages back and forth to her house. She left again a few minutes later and came back with another small bag. I couldn’t see what was in the bag from my living room window, so after the 8th item, curiosity, which never happens, got the better of me and out I went to see what the dear old Mrs. Shoehorn was doing?

She was buying magazines, well, to the point she was making the man at the convenience store think she was buying them. She was taking them home and seeing if that was the magazine she had won. I dared not ask Hecuba what the devil she was talking about, but I did. Well, it turns out she received a check from Monsieur Chaussure and the only time she had ever seen a check was in those publishers clearing junk-mail we sometimes get, why oh why can’t their be an anti junk-mail spell? I scolded her for magicking the poor man at the convenience store. We returned them… all but one. It had lovely patterns that could be made into a floral sort of centerpiece. I figured the walking alone should cover this cost.

I, who am rather matriculated into human society, explained what a check was and is. I also have a bank account and brought Hecuba to my bank and cashed her check. It wasn’t very much but she was delighted. She almost danced the whole way home. I knew I shouldn’t ask her why she needed the money. It’s rude, she’s old and to bring up such a things as her magick failing, the dear, I could never do. As we dance/walked home I decided there were exactly 17 reasons she’d need the human money. Turns out there are 18 reasons. Curiosity, which usually never enters my mind, won and I asked.

Apparently Mrs. Shoehorn has taken a fancy to the man who runs the falafel stand. She needed the $3.45 to buy one in order to have a reason to talk with him. This is not going to end well. But it’s none of my business and I do love pita.

David LeBarron
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