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by Seuzz
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Fantasy · #2234496
Would her prince ever come?
A frog!

That's what I'll do, I'll turn him into a frog! Wasn't there a fairy tale about a witch who—?

No, wait, that wasn't a witch, it was a princess.

And she found a frog, she didn't turn him into a frog.

And she kissed him, which turned him back into a prince.

Oh, to kiss Bill Thompson, who's practically a prince!

Ring, damn you, you silly old telephone! You're doing it on purpose! You are on purpose not ringing!

Except someone had to have turned the prince into a frog, they don't just turn into frogs on their own. So there must have been a witch and—

That's right! There was a witch, and a prince, and the prince wouldn't kiss the witch, so she turned him into a frog!

Why, it's just exactly like my own story!

Only I haven't turned Bill Thompson into a frog. And he did kiss me. At Claire Atkinson's party last Wednesday!

Four days ago.

Three days, nineteen hours ago.

I'll give you five hours to ring, you silly old telephone, I'll give you five hours to ring, and then—


No, I won't turn Bill into a frog as punishment for not stopping by this weekend, like he said he would. That's exactly what a nasty old which would do. The old-fashioned kind with a crooked nose and green skin and bad hair.

Well, I get my hair done every Saturday, and if I don't have a healthy glow, it's because who can get any sunlight in a poky little basement apartment at the bottom of the outside stairs in back of an apartment building in Brooklyn? And if he wanted a crooked nose he could just go knock on Rowena Knowles's door. She's got a nose like a bent shovel. People say it gives her face "character," but I say it gives her a squint. I know I couldn't miss her squinting at me all during Claire's party. She was squinting at me so hard it looked like she was about to sprain her face.

I'll go for a short walk, that's what I'll do, I'll go for a walk, get some sun, and maybe I'll run into Bill on the street, because he'll be out looking for my apartment, and then we'll be able to go to the automat and get some coffee and—

Oh, but I can't go for a walk. What if the telephone rings while I'm out? It's bound to. It will ring and I won't be here.

No, I really must go out. If I go out I'll be able to tell myself that I just missed his call and that's why I didn't hear from him. Because if he doesn't call and he doesn't stop by I'll be bound to use that queer little bottle I got from Mrs. Goodbody. And you'll regret it, Abigail, forever and ever if you do. So I'll just go get my hat and go for a stroll and—

Oh dear. I picked it up. I don't even remember going to the cabinet, but here it is, in my hand! I'm going out so I won't be tempted to use it, and yet here I am, catching myself in the act of putting that queer little bottle right in my handbag! I need to put it away, I need to lock it up, lest I use it to turn Bill into a frog or a stoat or—

Oh! Was that a knock?

Don't ring, you silly old telephone, I'll be right back.

Oh my God!

Mr. Jenkins? Mr. Jenkins, there's a skunk down here! A skunk right outside my—! It's Abigail, Mr. Jenkins! Abigail Parsons! In the basement flat! I heard something at my door and when I opened it up there was a skunk scratching at it! No, I don't know how it got into the city, do you think I drove up to Connecticut and brought it back? Yes, well, do that!

Oh, that awful man.

It must the garbage cans in the alley that attracted it, they always stink of—

Oh my God! The telephone! What if Bill called while I was talking to Mr. Jenkins? It took him ages to pick up, what if Bill called and got a busy signal and—?

Five minutes. I'll give him five minutes to call back. Five minutes, and then I'll—

The bottle! Where'd I put the bottle? I had it in my hand, and then I heard the—!

No, I promise! Whoever is listening to me, whatever god or demon or angel or elf made that bottle, just let me find it and I promise I won't use it to turn Bill into a snake or a weasel or anything like that! I'll use it the way I said I'd use it, as a love potion! Like I told Mrs. Goodbody, after she explained that I could use it to make whatever I wanted of the man I love. Make him successful, make him jealous, make him love me, make him President, make him into a frog—


But I don't want to turn Bill into a frog! I want him to call me, to come to me, to be with me, to be mine the way I'm already his!

And I held off on using the bottle on him, you know—whoever you are, listening—because I wanted him to come to me freely! I'm not a bad person!

So if you let me find that stinking bottle I promise I won't—

The telephone! Yes, you dear, sweet—! Hello? Darling, I—!

Oh. Who? Mrs.—? Oh, yes, of course. That's funny, I was just thinking about you. Listen, you don't have another bottle of that—?

Yes, that's just it, it does seem to have vanished. Into thin air, practically. But how did—?

What do you mean, there's "only one bottle," and someone else bought it when I failed to use it in time? How could they buy it from you if I—

Is there someone there with you, Mrs. Goodbody?

Rowena Knowles? Yes I—


Mrs. Goodbody. That bottle that you say you sold to Rowena, the one she just now used on Bill Thompson.

What did she turn him into?


Prompt: "The hesitant witch."
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