The following is a complete work of fiction

Any similarity to any persons (living or dead) or events is pure coincidence*.

Once upon a time, there was a witch. She discovered in herself the talent for witchery but also the talent to make things which other witches could use; bells, books, and candles. While she still did a little witchery here and there, she found herself being more and more drawn to being a producer of magical equipment. Eventually she sold enough to local witches that word got out about her talent and the quality of her products, and she began getting requests for items from all over the country… and even from distant lands!

Once she got an unusually large order. She happened to be doing a lot of business at that time, and had the extra supplies, so she went ahead and took on the large order without too much thought. She enjoyed making it, and it was ready even sooner than she had told the other witch it would be. So she didn’t worry too much when she didn’t hear back from the witch. After a few weeks, though, the space the large order was taking up was starting to be a problem… the witch lived in a rather tiny hovel, and space was at a premium. The witch who had placed the order finally contacted her. She couldn’t pay right away, money was tight, but could she pay in two weeks? The witch looked around at her tiny space, made some room where the large order would be out of the way, and said that was fine.

However, in two weeks, there was no contact with the witch who placed the order. The witch waited two more weeks, and then sent out a message through her witchy ways. Two more weeks, was the answer. I’m sorry I don’t have it right now, but two more weeks. I swear. The witch was starting to get a bad feeling about this, but swallowed her doubts and went on. But the third time she was told “I don’t have it now, but in two weeks…?” she narrowed her eyes and felt the lick of a flame of anger. Now, she thought, I’m going to make it a point to remind this other witch.”

So for another six weeks, she reminded the witch who had placed the order every two weeks. “This is taking up space,” she said. “Space that I need for other orders.”… and finally, “if you can’t buy it, you can’t buy it; but I need to know so that I can sell it to someone else.” (for she knew this was an item that other witches would crawl over themselves to be able to get).

The item was released, and the witch notified other witches that the item was up for sale. “My goodness,” said another witch in a far-off land. “I’ve been dreaming of being able to get an item just like that!” She contacted our witch, and asked if, since money was tight, there was anything that could be done to lower the price just a little.

The witch thought and thought, and decided to give her a bit of a discount. Mostly she wanted the large item out of her tiny house, because at this point even “out of the way” wasn’t out of the way enough. She was starting to resent the item, and didn’t want her resentment to infuse the item with bad, negative energy. Not getting paid quite as much as she wanted, but at least getting paid at all, and getting rid of the item, was worth it.

So money changed hands, and she sent the item off through the Wizard’s Spritely Postal System, the team of small sprites who carried items from places to other far-off places.

Weeks passed, and while she didn’t hear that the item had arrived, she wasn’t worried. She knew that Sprites are both slow and easily distracted, but they do get there. And meanwhile she had begun work on a rather large series of magical items that she was excited about. This series was going to be a limited run of a particular set of potions, and she advertised them to some of her most loyal customers and thus had many pre-orders. She got wrapped up for months in making these potions, and while she still didn’t hear that the item had arrived in its destination, she didn’t really have time or mental space to worry about it.

Until one day, she was contacted by the witch in the far-off land. The sprites, she said, wanted an exorbitant fee to finish delivering the order. She did not believe she had to pay that fee – what do sprites need with money, anyway? So she was going to refuse delivery of the item and would like a refund as soon as the item came back to our now confused, and more than slightly irritated, witch.

She agreed to the refund, when the items eventually came back, even though she had already spent the money on supplies for this round of limited edition potions. She’d  had money set aside that she was going to use for a shiny new cauldron, and while she really needed one (her old cauldron was a trooper but starting to wear thin in places) she couldn’t exactly refuse to give someone money back if they were returning an item.

Weeks went by, though, and the sprites never delivered the box she had sent off months ago.

The far-off witch started contacting her daily. No, still not here, was always the answer. The witch, up to her elbows in potion-making, felt like she was being snagged on all sides by questions. Each question slightly different, but all leading towards the same end – I need my refund even though those stupid sprites haven’t returned the package.

So the witch had a decision to make. Under normal circumstances she never would have given a refund for an item that was still in transit. But a few things were spiraling around her… daily communication that she didn’t have time nor patience for, suspicion that this was a scam, trust because she’d known the witch doing the purchasing for years through witchy channels and through other witch friends, and honestly (she had to admit to herself) she really just wanted this situation to go away. She became convinced that the item had soaked up enough negative energy to become cursed, and was almost looking forward to giving a refund and hoping that the cursed item would be lost by the sprites.

So she gave a refund, mostly against her better judgement, but hoping for the best (after all, she was a Good Witch).

Two weeks after authorizing the gnomes that ran the banking system to go ahead with the refund, she got a note from the witch in the far-off land. She had a change of heart, and had paid the sprites after all, because the sprites had a second package for her and she just decided on a whim to pay for both packages at the same time.

Our witch was stunned. Deep in her heart, she would have been fine… well, frustrated, but fine, if the item had been lost. That would have just been the way of the world. Sure, she would be out the money and the item, but at least nobody would have and be using the item. But now, the item had an owner. And that hurt worse. There was horrible, dark witchy energy in using an item that had not been properly paid for… didn’t the witch in the far-off land know that? Didn’t it matter to her that she had gotten this powerful item through manipulation of spirit rather than barter?

Oh, she insisted, she would pay for it, but first she had, herself, to buy a new cauldron. So could she just pay in a few weeks?

The good witch impotently sighed to herself, swallowed her frustration and rage, and waited. She tried to work on other things, tried not to clench her jaw so much during the day, and tried to fight off feelings of impending doom, futility, and anger at herself for being gullible.

The night before she was supposed to send a new invoice through the gnomes, she slept fitfully. She awoke early, unable to get back to sleep. She finally got up, waiting an appropriate amount of time, and then contacted the gnomes to get them to authorize sending the invoice. And she waited. And waited. And waited.

The end.

* if you see a reflection of you or something you have done in your life, rest assured that is utter coincidence and you should continue to sleep at night like a little baby.

15 thoughts on “0

    1. I think if there’s ever a sequel (although Flying Spaghetti Monster, I flipping hope not) it will show that not only was a non-refundable deposit instated but there was actually deep consideration of never shipping to far-off lands again. <3

  1. Did the good hard working witch include a copy of this bit of writing with the new invoice? But I hope for every bad witch customer like these, there are hundreds of honest customers who appreciate your work and pay their bills.

    1. The hard working witch did not, but miraculously the gnomes have informed the witch that the invoice was indeed paid. And thus ends this chapter of the story.

      (In another chapter, though, the witch got a lovely letter from someone who had been the recipient of something made with the witch’s products, and the recipient just wanted to drop a line to the witch and tell her how lovely her products were and how talented this person thinks the witch is, and that unsolicited and heartfelt compliment completely made the witch’s day.)

  2. Bad witches should always be mindful of their evil ways, lest a house fall upon them.

    Good witches don’t have to worry about that shit. 😉

      1. Haha, I didn’t mean I wanted good witches to have more bad days 😛 Just that I liked reading this version of things.

        1. Hah! In that case, if I were (and I probably won’t, but if I did…) future titles would be things like….

          The Good Witch and the Bad Witch Who Was Not Always Right
          The Good Witch and the Reseller Who Was Never Satisfied
          The Good Witch and the Jealous Talentless Hack Who Told Her She Wasn’t Handmade Enough
          The Good Witch and the Custom Orders She Kept Having to Remind People To Purchase

          interspersed occasionally with

          The Good Witch Who Was Surprised Someone Thanked Her
          The Good Witch Who Got The Loveliest Feedback Ever
          The Good Witch Who Received an Unsolicited Compliment
          The Good Witch Who, Like Anne Frank, Thought That In Spite Of This, People Were Good

          😉

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