Oct. 01: - Plot: What If?
|The Befana just wants to retire after centuries of witchery work, but small town USA has other ideas. An officious city counsel woman pesters the Befana to mow her lawn; the local pastor thinks the Befana, who doesn't attend church, is Satan's disciple; shop owners along Main Street fear the Befana is an ancient goddess demanding worship; and the witches' guild, from which the Befana wants to retire, thinks she stole their sacred grimoire. All the Befana wants is to be left alone so she can nurse her tarot cat Zettelkasten back to health -- the poor dear keeps coughing up fur balls and mangled index cards -- but peace doesn't seem to be in the Befana's future.
City Counsel woman = Historical Society? No, that won't work because they don't care about people's lawns on a policy level. City Board or Commission? = Our town has a City Beautiful Commission which could work, as well as a Park Board.
Pastor of what church? Our town, sporting merely ONE traffic light, literally hosts 15 churches in less than a 20 mile radius. So it's not like I don't have a plethora of options!
The specific shop owners of this section will run part of a strip mall outside town-proper = A deli / bakery next door and gift shop. (Other stores in this strip will include a salon (hair & nails), a book & coffee shop, the world's last Blockbuster movie rental connected to an indie movie theater and arcade, and small grocery store.
(City building in town-proper will host the library, post office, EMS, utilities, senior center, and historical society.)
The witches who are after the Befana are looking for their grimoire because they need a particular spell from the book to stop (xyz world ending catastrophe yet-to-be-defined). These are not children-eating hags from a Grimm fairytale. I'm picturing a bunch of Karen Boomers who are all either teachers, nurses, or real estate agents; these women have 2.5 kids and the picket fence life with roses along the front porch and a pool in the back yard; they spend summers at Disney and can tell you all the best places to stay; they get super sad about boarding their massively expensive dogs while vacationing abroad, and they don't ever remember to tip the baggers at the grocery store. They aren't outright EVIL, just super uptight, privileged, yoga-moms who lack empathy and simply can't be bothered. They claim to be bad at math but somehow they always manage to know the best prices on everything and how to achieve bliss via extreme couponing.
Kids in town like to T.P. the Befana's yard, graffiti her house, and throw rocks through her windows. To be fair, they think the house is haunted.
The Befana's house is a round Italian-style house like the trulli of Alberobello. She's from the Old World and thought a village called Germantown sounded like the perfect place to retire. She didn't realize that it's ALL small town USA and not a single bit European.
The word Zettelkasten is German for “slip box”, which refers to a box containing many slips of paper. Each slip represents a single, atomic idea that makes sense by itself, and also in combination with other ideas (similar to how our brain works, but with a better memory).
Zettalkasten is a method of note-taking and personal knowledge management used in research and study. A zettelkasten consists of many individual notes with ideas and other short pieces of information that are taken down as they occur or are acquired. The notes are numbered hierarchically, so that new notes may be inserted at the appropriate place, and contain metadata to allow the note-taker to associate notes with each other.
A zettelkasten may be created and used in a digital format, sometimes using personal knowledge management software. But it can be and has long been done on paper using index cards. The method not only allows a researcher to store and retrieve information related to their research, but also intends to enhance creativity. Cross-referencing notes through tags allows the researcher to perceive connections and relationships between individual items of information that may not be apparent in isolation.
The Befana's cat is named Zettelkasten because it serves as her alter ego / communication partner who stores and retrieves ideas and info. Zettelkasten, in this story, is a tarot cat (introduced in my story The Greene) which is a cat who can somewhat tell the future and thus assist in best choosing amongst several options and guide its partner along various life paths.