“Is it on yet?” asked the Witch, scurrying in the hovel door.
“You’re just in time!” said the other. “The crystal ball is warming up now!”
The two excitedly sat down around the glowing orb.
“Did you see last week’s episode?” asked the host Witch.
“Did I?” answered the visitor. “I even tried the recipe!”
“How did it go?”
“The roof fell in,” she said. “I guess I didn’t make the icing thick enough.”
“Did you try propping it up with candy canes, like Witch Wanda suggested?”
“No,” she said with a shrug. “All I had were breadsticks, and that just didn’t seem the same, somehow…”
“Shhh!” said the hovel’s owner. “It’s starting!”
* * *
“Welcome to Cooking Children!” boomed the voice over. “With your host, Witch Wanda!”
Thunderous applause greeted this introduction, mainly because Wanda had employed her “thunderous applause” spell.
“Thank you! Thank you!” beamed Wanda, as she waltzed into the kitchen. She took her place behind what looked like a cross between a sparkling kitchen counter and a blood-stained altar to a grim and terrible god. She wore a typical witch’s dress, augmented with a wide-brimmed, pointy hairnet and an apron that said, “Kiss the Cook – and you DIE!”
“Last week you may remember how I taught you to bake a lovely full-sized gingerbread house, perfect for tempting tasty little treats right into your lair. And, I’m happy to say, it worked like a charm!” She paused for laughter at the pun, and the crockery, suitably enchanted, obliged. “As you can see, two delicious morsels fell for it right away.”
The camera zoomed in on what would have appeared to be a chimney, except that instead of a fire grate it had a barred metal door. Two small hands gripped the bars, and a sad face looked out.
“In there is the yummy little boy I’ll be serving up on next week’s show. And, since kitchen help is hard to find, I’ve decided to ‘enlist’ his sister as my sous chef.” She knew the chuckles this would elicit from her viewers, since undoubtedly all of them at one time or another had ‘enlisted’ equally unwilling victims. “Although,” and here she dropped to a sotto voice, and addressed the audience behind the back of her hand, “that’s not to say that I won’t also be preparing an appetizer as well!” She gave the girl a glance and winked at the camera.
“For now, though,” she said aloud again, as the camera panned back to show her at the counter, “we’re going to concoct a nice – and calorie laden – dinner to fatten the little guy up. Our first recipe is tortellini served with a bacon Alfredo sauce. After our break, I’ll be back to show you how to make meals for your sous chefs, using crab shells as a base.”
* * *
from Crone Weekly:
Trouble on the Set?
We here at CW hear that someone’s in the kitchen with Witch Wanda – a little boy who won’t gain any weight! The star attraction of the upcoming episode remains distressingly thin – insiders claim that his fingers feel as thin as bones. He won’t make a good broth at this rate, let alone a main course!
When asked, the production staff at Cooking Children! had this to say:
Witch Wanda is perfect. All hail Witch Wanda!
So word on the set has it that things are cooking up nicely. But since her entire staff is made up of magically animated camera equipment, who would expect them to say anything else?
* * *
“Welcome to Cooking Children!” announced the familiar voice. “With your host, Witch Wanda!”
“Despite what you may have heard,” said Witch Wanda, a smile on her face but a snarl in her voice, “the show must go on! Right now I have my first course, er,” she paused in fake embarrassment, “I mean, my sous chef preparing the oven as we speak.
“Now,” she said, grabbing a knife and some herbs, “we’ll prep the…” She was interrupted by a noise in the back.
“What?” she growled, turning behind her.
Facing the camera again, she said, “Apparently the little twit can’t tell if the oven’s hot enough! It’s so hard to find good help. I think next week I may have to find someone new for the job!” she added, with her usual conspiratorial wink.
“Why don’t we show her how it’s done, eh?” Wanda continued, as the camera followed her to the oven. She addressed the girl. “What seems to be the problem?”
“Well,” said the girl, in a small voice, “you told me to see if the oven was hot enough. I don’t know how to do that.”
“Don’t know how?” groaned Wanda. She paused, allowing the audiences at home a moment for laughter. “Why, there’s nothing easier! Just lean on in and check the temperature!”
“Like this?” said the girl, bowing in front of the closed oven door.
Wanda theatrically rolled her eyes. “No, you culinary idiot. First you open the door, like this…” she said, demonstrating, “then you lean forward like this…”
Please Stand By
Sam Valentino lives and works in the Boston area. He is a professional illustrator, with experience in book illustration, marketing, storyboards, trade shows, etc. His previous writing experience includes marketing copy, and, on the extreme other end in genre, short stories based on fairy tales.