The International Writers
Put a Spell on You
What do you
mean? I asked.
Pringle and the Witchs Curse
friend and fellow sci-fi writer Al Abrams had been distracted
all during dinner and now, when my wife Ellen had served coffee,
he knocked over his cup, spilling coffee on the table and over
his pants. Ellen quickly mopped up the table and gave Al
a kitchen towel, with which he dabbed at his pants. Are
you all right? she asked.
Yeah, just another little accident. Theyve been happening
all this month. Its because Ive been cursed.
Deviant Art by Cry Baby
Just that. You remember that girl I was seeing, Wanda? I broke up
with here a few weeks ago. She paid much more attention to her cat than
to me. She told me she was a witch and she put a curse on me.
Thats ridiculous, I said.
Thats what I thought. You know I dont believe
in that stuff. But the next day somebody rammed my car in a parking lot.
I slipped on a piece of soap in the shower. A brick fell off a building
and hit me in the head. All the stories Ive sent out
have been rejected.
That doesnt mean youve been cursed. Youve just
had a string of bad luck.
No, something new happens every day. You saw just now with the coffee.
Have you tried talking with Wanda? asked Ellen.
Yes, I called her a week ago. She just laughed. Look at me,
Ive lost weight, I cant sleep, my hair is falling out. I dont
know what to do.
I looked at Ellen. Do you think your Uncle Pringle can help?
Maybe. You can try him
Whos Uncle Pringle? asked Al, curious.
My uncle, Claude Pringle. Hes kind of a problem-solver.
He worked for years in some top-secret government agency.
Now hes retired but still does consulting work.
He helped me with a bad work situation I was in a while ago,
I said. He probably saved my job..
Do you think you can call him? Im desperate. Im ready
to try anything.
Were meeting him in this park? asked Al.
Yes, he says he likes to work here. It gives him a chance
to observe people.
Uncle Pringle was on his usual bench, talking to a plump, gray-haired
woman. As we approached, the woman stood up and Uncle Pringle
said, Youll remember?
Yes. Ill tell my grandson I love him, but he shouldnt
expect any more money from me.
Good. If theres any trouble, you have my card.
Uncle Pringle turned to us and I made the introductions. After
Al had described the situation, he said, Mmm, interesting.
So you ascribe your series of misfortunes to the curse this young woman
has put on you?
I told him it could all be coincidence, I said.
Thats what I thought at first, said Al.
I thought it was all mumbo-jumbo. But then the bad things
started happening every day, one after another.
Well, sometimes its hard to tell, said Uncle Pringle.
So its best to be on the safe side. How old is
this ex-girl friend of yours?
Id say 27 or 28.
Yes, rather young. So she cant have obtained any
great power yet. The solution is simple. Well
counter her with an older, far more experienced sorcerer, a wizard I happen
You know a wizard? I said.
Oh, I know many interesting people.
At this point, Uncle Pringles cell phone rang. Yes,
he said. Ah, good to hear from you, Barack.
He listened for a few minutes, then said, I understand. That is
a tricky point. Ill think about it and get back to you.
? I said.
Just a young friend of mine. Now, where were we? Ah, yes, the wizard. Ill
make some calls and let you know.
It was a rainy night. Al and I stood before the door of a basement apartment.
I guess this is it, he said, ringing the bell.
This is the address Uncle Pringle gave me.
Thanks for coming with me. This is kind of spooky.
The door opened and a large man with white hair and a neatly trimmed white
beard regarded us. Come in, he said. I was expecting
The apartment was dark, the only light coming from an occasional candle.
He led us into what looked like a study, at least the walls were lined
with books. I noticed that many of them were plays, including
a complete set of Shakespeare.The wizard put on a blue cloak, then sat
behind a small round table and we sat across from him. Now then,
he said, I understand your ex-girl friend, a witch, has put
a curse on you. Are you sure about this?
Yes, said Al, and he described the bad things that had
happened since the break-up. The latest was that his tailor
had lost his best suit, his car keys had disappeared and a contract he
thought he had with a publisher had been rescinded.
Publishers are susceptible to bad vibes, the wizard said.
Well, Lets see what we can do. Did you bring a
picture of Wanda as I told you?
I found this one, said Al. The wizard put it on the table.
Pretty girl, he remarked. He reached out and picked
out a large book from one of his shelves. I tried to see what
was on the page but couldnt decipher it. He began to read.
I had no idea what he was saying, but, in his sonorous voice, it sounded
impressive.Then he reached somewhere into the folds of his cloak, pulled
out a wand and touched it to Wandas picture, which disappeared in
a puff of smoke.
Well, that should do it, said the wizard. The curse
should now be nullified.
Are you sure? said Al.
Time will tell.
When we left the basement apartment the rain had stopped and stars
shone in the clear sky overhead. I took that as a good omen,
not that I believed in omens, of course.
Al called me a week later. He sounded elated. Nothing bad had happened
since wed seen the wizard. He was convinced he was no
longer cursed. That morning hed received a new contract from his
publisher, with a letter saying it had been rescinded by mistake.
I met Uncle Pringle in the park a few days later and told him the good
news. Okay, I said. That guys not really
a wizard, is he?
You and I know theres no such thing as witchery or wizardry.
Of course, there may be some exceptions. At any rate, strange things have
happened. A witch doctor puts a spell on a native and he wastes
away. Its all a matter of belief. Your friend Al said
he didnt believe, but bad things started to happen to him.
This meant that beneath his skeptical veneer was a little core of belief.
If he believed a witch had put a curse on him, then hed belief that
a more powerful sorcerer, our wizard, could remove it. Thats
So whos this wizard?
Hes an old Shakespearian actor I know. He was
quite good as Prospero in The Tempest.
Well, he was pretty convincing as the wizard in the basement, especially
when he made Wandas picture disappear. Howd he do that?
You know, said Uncle Pringle, Ive never been
able to figure that out.
© Martin Green March 2007
in the office
Lifestories in Dreamscapes
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