Did You miss Chapter One?
From A Witch Called Wanda
My legs and feet ache, and I’m pretty sure I smell like
rotten fish. I don’t even remember the last time I’ve
been around fish, but all this fur makes a smell stay with you. I’ve been
walking for six days straight, and the most I’ve eaten is some pizza I
found in an alley behind a bar, not even a good pizza parlor. Never in
my life have I ever imagined I would be dumpster diving for a meal! I
used to be somebody.
I’ve been looking for someone–no one in particular–just someone
… anyone, who can help me. My situation is both dire and, I suppose,
slightly comical, depending on the way you look at it. I’m not exactly
sure what I’m looking for yet, but I suppose I will know it when I see
it. I miss my bed back home in LA. My big, comfy king sized bed with
the satin sheets imported from Taiwan. My in-home hot tub. I miss
being within walking distance of all the five star restaurants–being
only a short drive from Beverly Hills. Is this really my life now? Left‐
over pizza crust and begging for scraps?
I’m not exactly sure why I left Los Angeles. I knew I needed to find
someone specific–the witchy woman who did this to me told me that,
but now I find myself walking along the side of the highway like a
hobo hitchhiker. Today alone, I must have walked at least ten miles
already; I certainly turned down the wrong highway because there has
not been anything for miles. Just one long stretch of road–an occa‐
sional car speeding by, completely ignoring my presence. Do any of
these drivers see my desperation?
I know I wouldn’t have noticed if it had been me behind the wheel.
Up ahead, I finally spot a road sign. I pray that it is a sign that civi‐
lization is near because I’m starving. An enormous sign reads, “Wel‐
come to Wisteria Pines,” and I pick up the pace. Something about this
place seems right already. Maybe I can get something to eat here.
I press on, and before I know it, I am in the middle of this
gaggingly adorable little town in the foothills. Locals are all running
about today on the Main Square–chatting and laughing among them‐
selves. It’s one of those everybody-knows-your-name type towns. I
try to remain unnoticed for the time being as I take a moment to
observe the people.
“Fresh picked strawberries!” a street vendor calls out. I look to see
a little market area where locals are selling their goods. Cute. I feel
like I’m in an old movie or in Mayberry with Andy Griffith. The man
behind the booth is an elderly man–I can tell he’s a farmer. He’s got all
sorts of food out in front of him, and my stomach growls.
“Morning, Mr. Ether,” a young boy dressed in all black approaches
“Morning, Donnie,” the farmer smiles, but there is an uneasiness
behind that smile.
“I heard you had a bunch of new calves born last week,” Donnie
The old farmer grins. “That I did. There were four of them. A set
of twins. Do you have any idea how rare it is for a cow to have twins?
I’ve been farming my entire life and hadn’t ever seen it, not once. I’m
going to be in the local paper over it. One of them babies was breech,
and we about lost it. My granddaughter wound up naming the twins. I
always tell her to never name the cows, but you know how she is. I’ve
decided I’m gonna raise up them twins as breeders–keep them around
for a while. They sure are something special.”
I watch with a keen eye while the farmer went on and on about his
twin cows. The little punk is swiping a peach right out from under the
poor old man’s nose. I mean, truthfully, I was thinking about doing
the same thing, but I’m not about to let this kid pull one over on the
old farmer. He looks like a spoiled punk whose mom probably paid
for the designer jeans he’s wearing, so I know he’s scheming for a
thrill, not because he’s starving for a peach.
I get a glimpse of myself in a mirror of a shop and sigh. I miss
walking on two legs. The dirty fuzz ball staring back at me in the
reflection makes me sick to my stomach. I look back at the kid,
Donnie, and do what only a dog can do.
I start yapping. Ugh, even my bark is kind of lame. I’m a big dog,
but jeez, I sound like an oversized Chihuahua.
Both Donnie and Mr. Ether look my way as I approach. The old
man chuckles. “Is that yours?” he asks.
I keep barking at Donnie.
“Um … no.” Donnie takes a step back. “Ew, it stinks! Beat it!
You don’t smell so great yourself, kid.
I lunge forward and show my teeth; he stumbles over backwards
as Mr. Ether runs around waving his cane. I’m pretty sure he intends
to hit me with it, so I back off and lie down on the ground.
Mr. Ether raises a brow. I stand up, let out a friendly bark, and
look right at Donnie and then back at him. Mr. Ether follows my gaze
toward Donnie, and spots the peach right as it rolls out of the kid’s
front sweatshirt pocket onto the ground. Mr. Ether swings his cane
and nails Donnie on his shoulder. “You’ve got to be kidding me,
Donnie!” Mr. Ether shouts.
“That hurt!” Donnie jumps up, and the old man smacks him again
in the side.
“Get out of here before I call your parents!” Mr. Ether says, raising
Donnie crouches and says, “If you hit me one more time, I’ll call
“I’ll call your parole officer if you don’t beat it!” Mr. Ether
Ha! I knew he was a punk.
Donnie runs off, and Mr. Ether picks up the peach. He smiles at
me, pats my head, and wanders around the back of his booth. “Come
here, girl,” he says.
I roll my eyes. Come on, man. I know I’m a dog, but I’m not a lady.
He’s cutting up the peach that Donnie tried to steal, so I ignore the
girl comment and hurry over. He tosses me cut up peaches, and I
“You sure are hungry,” he says. “Who do you belong to?”
I let out a little whimper, but, of course, he doesn’t understand me.
He only pats me on the head again.
I wind up staying with this guy for a few hours. As customers
approach the booth, he asks each person if they recognize me. No one
Sorry, old man, I’m an out of towner.
I stay only because he keeps tossing me a little something to eat. I
know I have a mission I need to get back to, but I don’t exactly know
where my next meal will be coming from, so a friendly old man with a
giant cart of food in front of him is hard to leave.
“Gross,” one woman says, pinching her nose after buying some
strawberries. “Mr. Ether, you need to give that thing a bath. That can’t
be good for business.”
“You know the cows are my real business. This is only a hobby for
a little extra cash,” he says, with a wink, and tosses me a strawberry.
“Never known a dog to like fruit so much. Maybe I should take her to
my farm and see if I can train her.”
Again with the her? Man, just check! Man, I’m a dog—it’s not
The woman gives me one of the grapes she bought. I eat it. She
laughs, “My dog can’t eat grapes. He has a hard time chewing them.”
The farmer talks with the woman for a while longer before she
leaves, and soon he is half asleep in his chair. I begin to wander
around, realizing I’m not going to be getting much food from the guy
if he’s asleep. I get too close to the street, and out of nowhere this
purple Volkswagen beetle comes charging at me. I yelp and jump out
of the way; I can’t help but bark in its direction, and then I catch a
glimpse of the driver.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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