Jimmy and Sally continued their enchanted walk to school. It wasn’t enchanted in the sense that it was extra pleasant or especially beautiful. It wasn’t enchanted in the romantic sense, with hand holding and the kind of promise-making that ends in kissing.
The walk was enchanted simply because Jimmy and Sally were under the influence of a magic spell. A rather sinister enchantment cast by their parents which was meant to force their children to behave. That’s the only reason why it was an enchanted walk. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.
If you know something about enchantments, then maybe you know that enchanted people walk a little funnier than those who are not the victims of magical manipulations. It’s easy to spot if you know what to look for. There’s usually a little bit of an odd twinkle in the eye. What makes the twinkle odd is that it doesn’t look like it belongs there or to them. It looks like someone else’s eye twinkle got stuck in there and doesn’t know how to get out.
They also tend to tilt a little bit to the left, not too much, just enough to look a little extra off. Like they’re walking two seconds to the left and slightly behind the rest of the world. No one really knows why the tilting happens. It’s just always been that way.
The walk to school was nearly half way over and Sally had seen no sign of the help Jimmy promised.
“What’s the deal, Jimmy? Who’s going to help us break this whammy so we can be bad again? My guilt glands are all swelled up and all I feel like doing is chores and homework. I’m starting to forget how nice it feels to stab someone.”
“That’s gross, Sally. I’m not feeling right either. I just to want to help old ladies cross the street and wear whatever my mom tells me to.”
“Eww, that’s the worst. We have to stop this now before I end up in nursing school.”
“Don’t worry, it’s just around the corner.”
“Where are we going? Junk By Jake’s?”
Jake ran the neighbor hood junkyard and like all proper junkyard keepers, he was quite popular with the children in town. Jake was a big bald man who looked like he ran away from the circus. He was friends with nearly everyone in town, but he liked the bad children the best. There was just something about a rebellious child that warmed Jake’s heart and made him forget he ran a junkyard.
He also bought boxes and boxes of knives and swords at flea markets and didn’t see anything wrong with selling a five year old a katana or a six year old a switch blade. Whether or not he could break a Whammy is another story. One I’m afraid we don’t have time for at the moment.
“No. Good guess though. We’re going to see my Grandpa.” Jimmy answered.
“WHAT?” Sally screeched, “This is all his fault! He did all kinds of crazy things in our dream. Now we’re going to him for help? Golly James, he’ll double whammy us for sure. This plan is a poor one and I don’t like it anymore.”
The spell was tightening its grip. The use of full first names is a sure sign of a well behaved child. The substitution of curse words with FCC approved synonyms was another signal that the whammy was working overtime. The children were getting worse, and by worse I mean better.
“Sally, it was a dream. You can’t get mad for what people do in your dreams,” Jimmy tried to explain.
“Yes, you can. I do it all the time and I’m doing it right now. So there.” Sally stuck her tongue out and made a raspberry noise at Jimmy.
Jimmy punched her in the face.
Sally looked at Jimmy with monsters in her eyes and kicked him in the groin. He fell to the ground and bit her ankle.
“Jimmy, stop! We’re fighting! What the about the whammy?”
“We shouldn’t be able to fi-. Huh…I don’t know how that happened.”
“I do,” said an older man’s voice.
Jimmy and Sally looked for the voice and found Jimmy’s Grandfather instead.
He helped Jimmy up from the ground while saying, “I know about the Whammy, Jimmy and Sally. It won’t work when you’re near me. That doesn’t mean you should start killing each other. If you do we’ll never break the spell your parents put on you.”
Jimmy still had that freshly-kicked-in-the-groin look in his eye, but was otherwise back to normal. Sally was rubbing her ankle and was happy to see there was no blood, only teeth marks which would fade in a short time. For a second she wished they would stay there forever, but only for a second.
Sally, suspicious of Jimmy’s Grandfater, had more than a few questions for him. “Why do you want to help us be bad again after all that stuff you did in last nights dream?”
“That wasn’t me in your dream Sally, it was Jimmy’s idea of me. It’s a very complex a thing for a child of your age to digest, I understand why you are mistrustful of me. Please hear me out, and if you don’t like my plan you won’t have to take part in it. You’re free to stay Whammied if you want.”
“You did let us fight… That was fun and I don’t think Dream Grandpa would have let us get away with it. I’ll hear your plan, but if things get fishy I’ll cut you.”
“I doubt it will come to that Miss Slam, but I do admire your moxie. You remind me of my late wife.” Jimmy’s Grandfather let a smile out and turned the twinkles on in his eyes.
Sally looked into his smile and didn’t want to stab him anymore. She wanted vengeance, not a random stabbing. She wasn’t going to get what she wanted by playing tough so she decided to trust Jimmy’s Grandfather even though he’d been a troublemaker in her dream last night.
“There’s no way I’m being good. I’d rather be myself than someone else’s idea of me.”
“Yeah, what she said,” added Jimmy.
“Excellent,” said Grandfather, “follow me back to my house, but stay close or the Whammy will come back.”
The children did as they were told, not because of the whammy, but because it was in their best interest to do so. Because Jimmy’s Grandfather had explained things to Jimmy and Sally instead of just commanding them and because he gave them a choice in the matter, they were both more inclined to behave and do as they were asked without any magical prodding.
The trio started to walk down the street.
“Why do you want to help us break the Whammy?”
“That’s a bit of a complicated answer. You see, using magic to control people is wrong. It just is. Even though you and Sally are also wrong- for being so bad and dying all the time- it doesn’t mean your parents can cheat and use magic to control you. They should have focused on being better parents. I, for my own reasons, get very angry when magic is misused and took a vow to punish those who do so. It upsets me a great deal to see your mother behave in such a manner. She of all children should know better.”
“Wait a second,” Jimmy started, his tone of voice sounded puzzled, “My Mom is a kid?”
“Well, to me she is. She’s my daughter after all. I’ll always be older than her, so she’ll always seem like a child to me.”
Now it was Sally’s turn to be confused. “Hold on,” she stated flatly. “People can be two things at once?”
Jimmy’s Grandfather laughed and thought there might be hope for these two after all. “Why it’s much worse than that Young Lady, a person of any age can be many things at once. For example, I am Jimmy’s Mom’s Dad, Jimmy’s Second Dad’s Father-in-Law, Jimmy’s Grandfather, and My Late Wife’s Husband. I’m also a Brother, an Uncle, and your friend.”
Jimmy and Sally stood still and were blinking at Jimmy’s Grandfather like robots who were being reprogrammed.
“The same goes for kids, you know,” he continued. “Sally, you’re a daughter, a granddaughter, a friend, and a few other things I’m sure. Someone with as much moxie as you can be as many things as she wants.”
Sally nodded as though she understood everything she had just heard. She only understood enough though, and that was all that Jimmy’s Grandfather had hoped for.
They resumed walking, heading to the center of town. They walked in silence for the rest of the way. Jimmy and Sally were thinking about what they were just told and trying to digest the concepts they were just exposed to. They were busy thinking and growing their brains and this left little time for groin punching and ankle biting.
It didn’t take long to get to the center of town. When they did, Jimmy’s Grandfather hailed a cab.
“Where are we going?” asked Sally.
“On an adventure,” answered Jimmy’s Grandfater.
“We can’t go on an adventure,” Sally stated.
“Why not?” Inquired Jimmy’s Grandfather.
“I don’t have my adventure jacket or my straight razor. That’s why.” Sally was stating the obvious.
“Are you sure you don’t have them?”
“Double sure? Check the pocket of your coat.”
Sally started to say, “But I’m not wearing a coat.” but got only as far as “But….” before she looked down and saw she WAS wearing her pink leather jacket. She checked the pocket and found her straight razor resting in its usual spot.
“Neat!” She squeaked in joy.
“Magic!” Replied Jimmy’s Grandfather in an excited tone that wasn’t far off from a screech.
Jimmy noticed he was wearing his cool jacket too and when he reached into his pocket he felt the reassuring handle of his trusty switchblade. He kept it to himself though, and didn’t go squealing about it like Sally and his Grandfather did.
They all got into the cab. The driver, a dark skinned man in a turban, turned his head around and spoke to Jimmy’s Grandfather. “Where to, Magus?”
“Tiger-Tail Resort,” he answered.
“Tiger-Tail Resort?!?!” echoed Jimmy and Sally, but only in a much more excited manner. Why, they were nearly vibrating up and down with excitement.
The cab sped off, leaving a little cloud of exhaust behind which quickly and quietly disappeared into the breeze.