short story, The Brown Family

Don’t all Mothers Have a Witchy Side?

Cassandra Brown lives a double life.

During the day she attends to the needs of her husband Bob and two children, Benjamin and Annie, with the efficiency of an executive assistant on steroids, political savvy of Genghis Khan and the dedication of a Sumo wrestler. No one messes with her family. She works afternoons at the local library, and to the world she appears to be a normal, thirty-five year old, bottle-blond with car pools to organize, bills to sort and a weight-loss program to ignore, who looks like everyone else in her book club where she religiously exchanges recipes, sex tips and gardening ideas. At midnight, however, she resumes her immortal body.

She has chosen her double life for one reason, and one reason only, she wants to raise children of her own.

Mondays were laundry day at the Brown house. As Cassie stuffed the second load of wash into the machine, she noticed blood stains on the neckline of Benjamin’s, much beloved, Led Zepplin tee shirt. Tracing her fingers over the stain she tried to remember him hurting himself, but nothing came to mind. She gathered the fabric to her nose and used her witch senses. Startled by the vision of him being punched, she dropped the shirt.

Oh my God -dess! My little boy fought over a girl.

All kinds of thoughts flooded her mind: he was too young, the girl was unworthy of him, where were the teachers … But the one that really stuck in her heart was how to get even with the bully.

Should she pay the vile, freckle-faced  teenage villain a visit after midnight?

She could threaten the orgre, or she could smack him on the butt with a two-by-four. That thought warmed her blood. Of course she would prefer to smack him on the head. That thought warmed her blood more. But hitting a human child would get her in trouble with her coven. They were a peace loving group committed to solving problems with love, and chants, and herbs. Sometimes spices.

Oh for the love of Goddess. Poop on love. This boy needs discipline.

Grumbling as she paced the living room floor, she replayed her vision of the incident over and over again. The boy looked fully human and three years older than Benjamin. He wore a football shirt.Perhaps if she spoke with him about his anger issue, he would see his error, apologize and mend his ways.

Yeah, right, said a tiny voice in her head.

Cassie went to the kitchen and pulled out her brown mixing bowl, the one she used only for magic. She filled it with water from the tap and added a few herbs. Holding her right hand over the solution she chanted until the dragon tattoo on her right wrist darkened and the air pulsed with magic. A dark blue mist settled on top of the water and formed the image of the boy and his home.

She chuckled. Humans think they’re so smart with their GPS.

Later that day Cassie stopped at the boy’s house. It looked like every fourth house on the street, with a double garage, one dormer window on the second floor and shutters on the front window.  She knocked on the door. When it opened the smell of apple-cinnamon muffins baking and floor cleaner accosted her nose. The boy answered, “Yes.”

“You don’t know me, but …”

“What do you want, lady?”

How incredibly rude! She felt her face drop and  hoped it hadn’t hit the ground. Balling her fists to keep herself from zapping him, she gave him a very human stink eye. “Listen here young man, you shouldn’t hit others.”

He slammed the door in her face.

She knocked again. He opened the door again. “I recognize you.” He narrowed his marmalade eyes. “You’re the mother on the next block.The one who gives whole chocolate bars out on Halloween.” He folded his arms across his chest and nodded his head, as if he had invented a cure to the common cold.

“You hit my son.”

His cheeks pinked. “Benjamin hit me first. It’s not my fault he’s a lousy fighter.

A woman in a navy-blue business suit appeared behind the boy. “If my son hit your son, then your son deserved it.”

Anger is a useless emotion and one Cassie had fought with for centuries. I will do no harm. I will do no harm. I will do no harm, she chanted as she squeezed her fists so tightly, her fingernails bit into her flesh. Dear goddess there’s no spice strong enough to deal with this family.

“Please, leave at once,” the woman continued in a haughty voice. “If you bother us again, I’ll phone the cops. Henry, close the door.”

As the door slammed once again on Cassie, she released her hands and stretched her fingers. She had tried being nice. Now it was time to go nasty. That night she consulted her grimoire for a solution.

When Benjamin came home from school the next day his grin grew so wide it made his cheeks dimple.

“What’s up?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he said.

“You look to me like something happened today.”

“Mom, if a girl kisses you, out of the blue, does that mean she likes you?”

“Well son, it doesn’t mean she hates you.”

“Cool. Brianna kissed me on the cheek and she did it in front of her boyfriend.”

Now this news should have made Cassie happy. After all, Benjamin had gotten back at the bully in the most loving of ways. But something wasn’t quite right. The sweetheart kiss had awakened something in her son. Something Cassie had not expected. His right wrist bore the unmistakable markings of a young dragon tattoo.

This made no sense to Cassie, but then little did, when it came to motherhood.

©Jo-Ann Carson


 

Meet the Browns

If you like this story, check out my other stories about the Browns, the most normal, abnormal family in the burbs.

1 –  A Dog of a Story for Monday

2 – All You Need is a Pink Tutu


 

Do you like ghosts?

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Escaping the clutches of a mobster, art forger Harley Davis dives off a yacht in the middle of the night and swims ashore to Sunset Cove, a small town in the Pacific Northwest, where the only light she sees comes from inside a haunted teahouse. Soaking wet and shaking, she pauses at the door. No one in their right mind would enter such a creepy place, but she has no choice. She needs to hide.

Pirate ghost, Three-Sheets, enjoys his extended life on earth, gambling and flirting with the ladies, but when he meets Harley, he discovers he wants more out of death than a good gambling hand.

As the charming Three Sheets woos Harley, her former boss puts a contract on her head. What do you get when you mix a saucy thief, a pirate ghost and an angry godfather? Another fun, Gambling Ghost story.


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How could a dead guy be so sexy?

When Charlene Walker, a tattoo artist with a sweet tooth for bad boys, starts a boycott of the haunted teahouse in a small, west coast town, no one alive or dead is safe. One way or another, she intends to stop the haunting of her brother.

Biker ghost, Rufus has no idea what he’s up against. Her saucy personality makes him feel alive, not to mention her provocative tattoos and every inch of her body hidden beneath. Pulled into her web, he finds himself confessing to more than the ace up his sleeve that got him killed, and he struggles with feelings he never imagined having.

Adding to their epic heat is the mischievous charm of a resident pirate ghost and the twisted intentions of a human trafficker from Charlie’s past.

What happens when you mix an ink slinger with attitude, a cheating gambler, a playful pirate and an evil creep? Another Gambling Ghost story.

 


Credits:

Feature Photo from Pixabay

Meme created on Canva

short story, The Brown Family

All You Need is a Pink Tutu

If people listened to me, everyone would be happy, thought six-year old Annabelle Brown, as she pirouetted in front of the bathroom mirror in her favorite, pink tutu. The place smelled like toothpaste, but she didn’t care. As the layers of her skirt swirled around her, she pretended to be a butterfly. She twirled and she twirled and she twirled, but no matter how many times she twirled, she couldn’t get rid of the anger storming inside her.

***

“Why can’t I go fishing?” she had said to her father.

He picked her up and gave her a kiss. His spicy aftershave made her nose twitch. “Cause you’re wearing a tutu,” he said.

“Fish don’t care what I wear.” Do they?

“Maybe another time honey.” But she knew his voice meant, never.

***

Annie stuck her leg into the air like the ballerinas do on TV and held her nose high. Who cares about smelly fish. Her leg hurt, so she put it down again.

The problem was, she did care.

It wasn’t fair that her farty brother, Benjamin, got a special trip with Daddy. It wasn’t fair he got to fish and she didn’t. She heard two car doors close and the engine roar to life.

Annie frowned at herself in the mirror, and stuck out her tongue. She needed her own adventure. She opened the door and peered both ways down the hallway. The coast was clear.

As she tip toed to her bedroom, she imagined all the wild things she could do. Most of them could only happen in her imagination, but they still warmed her heart.

She needed to be practical, so she took out her knapsack and filled it with underwear because Mom says you always travel with extra panties, and a fishing lure she had borrowed from her father’s stash. Once packed she slipped out of the house.

Annie hadn’t escaped unnoticed, though. Fritter, their puppy, named after an apple fritter, chased after her.

Once they had walked a block she stopped and looked back towards her home. She was free. Totally free. Now what? She wished she had thought of taking money, because then she could go to the store and buy candy, but she hadn’t. The puppy jumped up on her leg wanting to play and that gave her an idea.

I’ll go to the park. That will be fun. Maybe not as much fun as fishing, but fun.

As she skipped along with Fritter at her side, she felt better and better. She noticed the colors of the flowers and smelled the freshly-cut grass. A flock of Canadian geese flew overhead in a V formation and she spotted a squirrel. The world seemed “extra-specially” wonderful.

None of her friends were at the park, but that didn’t stop her from entering. There were about ten kids spread out between the swings and the climbing stuff. She ran around the equipment with the puppy barking close at her heels and when she got tired of that, she took to the swings and pumped herself as high as she could, imagining what it would be like to touch the sky.

Kids came and went and Annie kept playing. It was fun to be on her own. Exciting in a way she had never imagined.

But as the day wore on, she got bored. No one she knew came by and the bigger kids weren’t interested in playing with her.

Is it because I’m wearing a tutu?

She sat beside a tree and held Fritter close. She could still smell the shampoo Mom had used on him in the morning, after he had rummaged through the garbage and rolled in the salmon leftovers.

A man she didn’t recognized came up to her. “Are you lost, little girl?”

“Nope. I live over there.” Annie pointed towards her home.

“Would you like me to walk you home?”

“No, thank you.”

“You are alone, aren’t you?”

Annie’s gut did a summersault. How many times had her mother told her not to talk to strangers? But he looked normal. Do bad guys look normal?

“That’s a nice puppy you have.” The man reached for Fritter and the puppy growled. A deep sound, she had never heard him make before.

Annie held Fritter tighter and glared at the man. She yelled in her loudest voice, “Get away from me. I don’t know you.”

Everyone in the park looked at her. A couple older kids ran over. One of them started tapping on her cell phone.

The man turned red in the face and ran away.

It didn’t take the police long to come, but Annie wouldn’t let them take her home, because she didn’t know them either. She did tell them her phone number though, because they wore police uniforms. Her Mom arrived within a couple minutes.

The nice police lady told her Mom how brave Annie had been. They managed to catch the man a couple blocks away and sent him to jail.

She said the world needed more Pink Tutu warriors.

***

The following Saturday, Annie went fishing in her tutu.

©Jo-Ann Carson


 

Credits:

Photo from Pixabay

Meme created on Canva


If you like this story, check out last weeks: A Dog of a Story for Monday

short story

A Dog of a Story for Monday

Twelve-year old, Benjamin Brown wanted to be a good boy, most of the time, but being good was hard work and not always fun. When he accidentally drew a naked woman on his bedroom wall with black, permanent marker, he decided he better do something “extra-specially” good, before his mother found out.

I was just doodling, after all.

Having no money was his first hurdle, but refusing to be detoured from his goal of achieving peace on the home front, he borrowed four looneys (i.e., Canadian bucks) from his Dad’s wallet and headed to the closest Tim Horton doughnut shop. It was a warm spring day, the kind one dreams of through the long Canadian winter.

The creative drive inside me makes me do weird stuff.

His mother liked Boston Cream doughnuts, his father Maple Dips and his sister Powdered Sugar. He figured a half dozen doughnuts would get him out trouble. Three for them and three for him. His would be apple fritters. That was his plan.

All great artists doodle and Mom and Dad will  understand this when I explain the creative process over doughnuts.

Benjamin Brown had lots of artistic plans. The biggest and most secret one being that he would become a rock star called Jamin Brown, drive expensive cars and have lots of girlfriends, by the time he turned sixteen. He hadn’t decided if he would rap or sing country, but he would be the best. As he stood in line to make his order, he imagined how cool he would be.

Maybe I should have taken more money and bought a dozen?

Ahead of him stood four kids in soccer uniforms, two men talking curling, a guy with a toque pulled low over his eyes who smelled of weed and a woman with ear buds bobbing her head to music only she could hear.

I didn’t mean to be bad.

The human form was something to be celebrated and that’s how he would start his talk with his parents. He remembered his father saying that, or was it the bald guy on the infomercial selling diets? Whatever. A woman’s body, everyone had to agree, was something to celebrate.

I’ll never do it again.

He left the store with his mind swirling with excuses. “I thought it was washable ink? I didn’t think you would mind. It is my wall.” But nothing sounded like an excuse they would want to hear.

“Hey, sonny, what’s you got there?” The slurred voice of a homeless man sitting on the park bench broke his reverie.

“Uh, doughnuts.”

The man’s eyes widened. The guy had no shoes. It was May, but he had no shoes. Or socks. Just bare feet covered in dirt. And his big toe looked bruised and swollen. Jamin Brown swallowed. “Want one?”

The man took an apple fritter. That was okay, because he still had five left, and Jamin continued on his way.

He could see home when he ran into Alice, the girl who sat at the front of his home room class, the girl with the long blond hair who told everyone her bra size last week, the girl every guy he knew wanted to hang out with. His palms got sweaty and his throat thickened. She did that to him. But then he thought, maybe she would like a doughnut and maybe, just maybe, that would help her remember his name.

It was fun watching her smile as she ate an apple fritter and the best part was when she licked her lips afterwards. Some moments he wished would last longer.

Four doughnuts left. He would tell his parents he had done his bit to stop hunger in the community and foster a sense of sharing. Squaring his shoulders he walked a bit easier, confident that everything would work out and that he had impressed a girl.

That’s when he heard a familiar voice call his name. “Hey, Benjamin, you got to see what I got.”  Al, a good friend of his, had a big cardboard box in his bike carrier.

When Jamin looked inside it his heart stopped. There were two little, puppies with floppy ears, big paws and round eyes making mewing and . whimpering sounds that called to him. Al said they were a Heinz variety. He’d never heard of a Heinz before, but they sure were cute.

Jamin spent some time playing with the puppies at the side of the road, and to make a long story short, he gave the four doughnuts he had for one of the puppies. A good trade to his mind.

He knew his six-year old sister would love to have a puppy and together they could talk their parents into just about anything. Of course he should probably tell them about the wall first. If they hadn’t already discovered his art work, or the missing money.

It had been an interesting day, thought Jamin as he opened the front door of his home. And it was about to get a lot more interesting.

©Jo-Ann Carson


Credits:

Photo from Pixabay

Meme created on Canva