Machete and the Witch’s Broom (Part I)
Middle Grades Sci-Fi and Fantasy short story series
Lyonesse Press: The Silver Empire , October 18th, 2017
The boys pleaded “C’mon Bobby, tell the story again. We can’t come tonight.” Tell us about the Knife Lady and how you got Machete. A long tooth dog in the corner did not lift her head, but her tail wagged at the sound of her name. The town of Sasparilla, Florida used to hound Bobby for naming this half Malamute, half Siberian husky Machete; but Machete preferred her new owner and her new name. Nevertheless, the dog grew up angry.
“Boys, you know I only tell that story once every three years now—on Halloween here at the restaurant. Go tell your parents it’s ok to come late—just before the story begins. And it’s the 15th anniversary, so it’s gonna be good.”
The Steak Out was known for miles around for their mouth-watering steaks and large rotating fans that kept patrons cool. In a time when air conditioning was scarce, the town of Sasparilla had one climate—steamy.
Bobby had advanced to manager of the Steak Out—the spot where the original story took place. He was just a youth then earning a few dollars for doing sundry jobs around the place. Despite insisting that he would not tell the town urchins the story right now, his mind drifted to that day when the legend became real.
“Bobby, remember to prop the back door open for Madam,” Dave commanded. “A little wider than you did last week. I could have sworn I heard her growling when she squeezed her food bags through.”
Every Friday at noon, the restaurant’s sharpened cutlery would be personally delivered through the back-porch door. The manager, Dave, finagled a deal to get our steak knives sharpened on a regular basis—and dirt-cheap.
“But Boss,” I whined, “the flies flock in after her.”
“What do we care? The flies don’t go in the kitchen. Her food pouches keep ‘em too busy. Get her in and out quick – with our luck, she’ll be here when fire safety has one of them surprise visits. And remember – have the leftovers ready,” Dave insisted. “She wants steaks for her pay, not money – and the owner likes that, too – wants her meat aged so pack it up right.”