Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bring Out the Silver (15-minute-dash), by Faith E. Hough

(Prompt: Woman meets her son’s fiancé for the first time—and must convince son that fiancé is a witch. 15-minute-dash.)

There’s that old saying women have—about how some young little thing comes and casts a spell on their sons so they’re never the same again… Those women always seemed rather overdramatic to my way of thinking, but I’m afraid to say I now have to number myself in their ranks.
The thing is, anyone who saw Eloise Sylvester with my Eddie couldn’t think anything else. She’s not even a pretty young thing—I almost couldn’t keep myself from staring at the wart on the tip of her pointy, Cyrano de Bergerac nose when Eddie introduced her—but her resemblance to a witch only became more pronounced when I got around to looking at the rest of her.
“Mums, this is Eloise Sylvester,” Eddie told me, with that satisfied tone in his voice that he used to get when I’d made his favorite chicken dumplings and raspberry pie for a meal. “I’m going—that is, we’re going to be married.”
I barely heard him, on account of I was still looking at that nose.
“Mums,” he said again, “Aren’t you going to say something? Congratulations…or pleased to meet you…hello, maybe?”
“Oh…yes. Yes, of course. I’m enchanted to meet you.” Now, why would I say that word—enchanted—if there wasn’t something…amiss…with Eloise? I didn’t plan it—it just popped right out.
Dinner only confirmed my worst fears.
First of all, by some twist of fate, I’d made mushroom soup. Mushroom. It might as well have been toadstool.
“This is divine, Mrs. Paulsen,” said Eloise, “I simply adore mushroom soup.”
“Oh, do you?” I said. I couldn’t help it. “Well, around here, we only adore God…do you?”
And then Eloise Sylvester laughed. Giggled, in fact—as if there were something terribly funny about worshipping God like a civilized person. She said, “Oh, of course, of course,” but I took note of the fact that she never did say “yes” outright.
Next, because I really was curious by this time, I asked her what she did for a living.“Oh, you know,” she said. “Just twiddle around, mixing things up…some of my concoctions turn out better than others.”
There! She had said it, right in broad daylight, so to speak—even though the dining room was lit by chandelier.
I jumped right out of my chair and into the kitchen. I kept my silver teaspoons in there…I’d read in one of those old stories somewhere that witches can’t abide sight nor smell of silver, so I wasn’t taking any chances. Served me right for using the stainless flatware for a guest, I suppose.
I was just opening the silver chest when Eddie followed me in.
“What’s the idea, Mums?”
I put my hands on his two big, grown-up shoulders, but I spoke to him like my little boy that he was. “Eddie,” I said, “You need to watch out for her. You know I’m never one to meddle, and I always let you make your own choices, but I have to warn you. Here, take this.” I handed him one of my monogrammed spoons.
“What? What in the name of—”
“Now, Eddie, don’t you start swearing. Next thing you know, that girl will have you at those Black Masses and everything.
“Mother.” Eddie never calls me “Mother” unless he’s mad. “What are you implying?”
“Implying?” I gasped. “I’m not implying anything. I’m just saying, she’s a witch. All that talk of brewing concoctions and worshipping toadstools, and who knows what else!”
“Mother, Eloise is not a witch,” Eddie said. His hands were on my shoulders now. As though I were a silly child. “She is a pastry chef. And she is a lovely girl. You’ll like her…just give her a chance, at least.”
If that is not the work of a spell, I don’t know what is.

1 comment:

  1. This is totally hysterical, though it does hint at a certain truth. Namely, that one often only sees what they want or expect to see. But I want to know, did poor Eloise Sylvester really have a wart on the end of her monstrous nose?