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Fantasticoe 1997

Evil Mrs. Johnson

Mark Lindemann

On another seemingly innocent afternoon in July, the gang was together playing basketball in Joey's driveway. With Joey's mom providing the four of them with all the Kool-Aid they could drink, and not a cloud in sight; there was nothing stopping them from their always competitive game of two on two. It was Wes and Joey against Matt and Chris. Chris and Wes didn't get along very well, they were both ball hogs, and couldn't stand to be on the same team. Today's match-up was no exception. The game had been going on probably a couple of hours, and was as loud as ever.

"Nice shot, for a girl," Wes yelled to Joey.

"Matt, here" yelled Chris. But before the ball made it to Chris, Wes put a foot in front of him and pushed. Chris let out a moan as he fell to the asphalt, and immediately flew back to his feet. He paused for a moment as the game came to a sudden stop. Chris looked down at his sunburned chest, now all scraped up and bleeding.

As he went for the ball, he whispered to Wes, "Don't worry, you'll pay. Ha ha ha." Chris got the ball and walked right up to Wes. Wes stood motionless in awe of the rage in Chris's eyes. After a good ten seconds of standing face to face in total silence, when even the birds stopped chirping and the neighbor's dog stopped barking, Chris finally backed off. But before doing so, he whipped the ball at Wes's head with all his might. Chris saw it strike Wes's forehead, but as he turned to walk away, he didn't see Wes fall limply to the ground, or the ball fly over the high wooden fence into Evil Mrs. Johnson's back yard.

Joey cried out to Chris, "You stupid sonofabitch! How am I going to get my ball back from the witch next door? You know what the witch does to kids! Damn!"

Matt just stood there, looking on in mockery. He was always the wimpy, logical sounding one. This was his moment; it's when Matt finally got brave. He said, "I'll get it, no problem. Relax."

As Matt took off to find a way around Mrs. Johnson's fence, Chris walked back to Wes, still lying on the ground. "Shit, he's still out cold" Chris muttered in appreciation of his strength.

After circling Mrs. Johnson's house many times, Matt say no sign of an entrance thought the high wooden fence into her backyard. But he didn't give up, he just thought to himself, I'll show them. Matt went right up to Mrs. Johnson's front door, rang the bell, and stepped back. Almost immediately the door swung open, and a figure appeared in the shadows of the dark house. Matt instantly understood why all the kids thought this old woman to be a witch. She stood barely four feet while hunched over, was rather fat, and wore only a long black dress. Her nappy gray hair probably hadn't been brushed in Matt's lifetime, and her face was full of pimples, warts, and cysts. She even had the characteristic wart on her big bent nose. While Matt stood there gawking at the old bat, she hissed at him, "Boy, what is it you want?"

Matt just stood there dumbfounded, as she said, "I suppose you've come for the ball" Joey's basketball instantly appeared in the witch's left hand, but before she let Matt take it, she said, "You have been warned, whomever tosses such trash onto my precious herb garden next time will not be so lucky. He will be cursed with a face as horrible as mine. Now be gone." She tossed the ball to Matt as she slammed the door closed.

Matt stood there for a moment, and thought, the guys will think I'm crazy if I tell them about her. Matt walked back to Joey's driveway, tossed him the ball, and said, "Here, like I said, no problem."

By this time Wes had gotten up, wiped the crap from the driveway off his back, and approached Joey. Wes was never one to stay on his back long: he was always the tough one of the group. Joey, more scared than anything, asked him, "Are you ok?"

Wes replied, "Let me take a few shots, and I'll let you know. Here, give me the ball." Joey passed Wes the ball, and immediately realized his mistake. Wes was going to take shots, all right, but not at the basket. He headed straight for Chris, threw the ball at him as hard as he could, and missed by a long shot. The ball went up onto Joey's garage, and headed for the fence to Mrs. Johnson's backyard. Before Matt could yell in protest, the ball had gone over the fence, and Wes slapped his face. The three guys looked at Wes as he yelled that it felt like he was stung by a bee. Before the boys could get another look at Wes, he was already headed for his bike. He hopped on and yelled, "Chris, I'll see you tomorrow. I'll rip all that nappy blond hair right off your head."

The gang was back in Joey's driveway again the following day, but never started a game of two on two because Wes never showed up. As a matter of fact, Wes wasn't around the rest of the summer, and to the surprise of all but Matt, Wes's family had moved out of the neighborhood without so much as a goodbye. Matt thought he should explain the Witch's curse to his friends, but decided against it. After all, it was his fault for not speaking up. And besides, who would have ever believed she could do such a thing to his face?
 




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Fantasticoe 1997