Enter The Dark Booth and Pull The Lever: A Halloween Parable ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Enter The Dark Booth and Pull The Lever: A Halloween Parable

Halloween again. A chill wind blew through the seams of my coat. We were waiting in a line leading to a strange, old building to choose the next wizard to replace the old Green Witch who had occupied the Castle Gloucester for the long eight years.

I approached a table with forms and papers and various official records.  A sickly nurse in a blood-stained uniform stuck a needle in me. She shot some of my blood onto a slide and ran it through a microscope.

“You hurt me! I need to stop the bleeding!” I screamed.

An old woman in the back of the line told me to press my hand on top of the needle wound. The blood oozed and I felt faint.

The nurse called out,“He can enter the dark booth now.”

A gaunt old man with a five o'clock shadow, bad teeth and beedy eyes took my swollen arm and led me to a dark booth. He pulled away an old tattered curtain with cobwebs.

“These don’t get used but a few times every four years or so. Even then, they don’t get much use,” he stammered. “I never finds much use for them meself. I figures that it pretty much don’t matter which wizard or which witch—get it—which witch?? Ha ha...Oh where wuzz me? Ahh yes, I pretty much figures that, oh, after the last eight years of the green witch and all, you knows what me means?”

He continued. “Things were sure getting pretty spooky. She raided the old treasury just to make the place as green as she fancied herself. You know, mirror, mirror who’s the greenest and all that? Oh, me. She took our green to make everything green—and now, lookey here, there’s no green left anymore.” He let out a hideous giggle.

“Jez call me Stale” he said. “I know all the secrets of the Green Witch. She keeps me near her for comfort. You know, sometimes they call her…” and he gathered me to his decayed mouth and whispered, “There’s somes that call her the Wicked Witch of the East…..port.” And he let out another hideous laugh.

“You know, they say she’s touched in the head” and Stale tapped his skull. “They say she listens to the mysterious and Dark Priest Charles who whispers in her ear at night. He's touched up there too. Well, go on in and pull the lever for the next Wizard of Castle Gloucester.”

Stale closed the curtains behind me. I brushed off more cobwebs. These places are musty. They don’t get much use. A rat scurried across the floor. An old candle dripped wax on the parchment casting shadows across the names of the three wizards.

There was the  Sly Wizard of The Tavern , the Sheriff Wizard of The Meadow and The Itinerant Protege' Wizard.

Yeah. I knew them. The trouble was I could not decide which one I would send to Castle Gloucester and which two would I help send to Alsorans Pits. An old clock ticked on. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Stale yanked on the old curtain. “Having trouble in there making up yer mind? Well at least you came out to vote. Most village folk jes stays away. Thems thinks their votes are worthless. Course I never votes no how. Well, take yer time. There’s no line.”


Vote. Just pull the old lever I thought to myself. My heart pounded. I thought of how scary the last eight years had been. Would I vote for the young protege' Wizard who promised the next four years would not be like the last eight? Or the older Sheriff Wizard who promised change? Or for the other Pub Wizard who promised a whole new magic to rule the castle? My sweaty palms closed around the creaky old lever and I pulled for the next wizard.

How scary can that be after the last eight I asked myself? I opened the curtain and walked out but Stale grabbed me.

"Arent you forgetting something" he quizzed me? “You forgot to cleanup the blood you left in the booth”

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