Don’t Stand Under the Apple Tree with Anyone!

 

A shrill scream pierced my beauty rest. Dog-tired, I opened my eyes. The battered plank roof of our cabin could not protect my eyes from the brilliant shards and blades of sunlight.

 

I then heard a woman cackle, “Take that, you spawn of toad!

 

I stood, shook the kinks from my battered body, and through sleepy eyes, watched William resting on the floor at a weird angle and still chewing contentedly. Someone…somewhere, grunted and cursed. With perked ears, we looked at each other.

 

In apparent pain, a woman screeched, “and you’ve always been the ass of your mother’s eye!”

 

I jumped from the bed and trotted to the opening in the floor. “The trapdoor is gone,” I said as I peered cautiously below.  

 

Ahhhh,” in a painful and seething base voice, the other returned the compliment. “And you, Agnus, will never be half the woman that your father was!”

 

William had moved to the window and rested her body against the cabin wall as she devoured leaves from the tree outside the open window. “Who’s  screaming?” she asked.

 

“I have no idea, but they’re the least of our problems,” I said. “I am  sorry to say that our cabin rests in the crotch of this great tree, a good twenty feet off the ground.”

 

William was a sloppy eater and half of the leaves she pulled from the tree fell from her mouth upon Dorothy who slept deeply in her bed beneath the window.

 

“How dare you, Dilibus, defame my family? Look first to your own family tree. Surely, it’s a cactus as everyone on it is a prick!”

 

The familiar sizzle of lightning followed the latest insult and I huddled in anticipation of the inevitable thunderclap to follow. I was blessed with a terrible scream instead. If there is one thing that a dog hates, it is thunder. Lightning is nothing, but with our tails between our legs, thunder will send us howling in the night.

 

One of the combatants gasped as if the air had been wrenched from her lungs. Nonetheless, she managed to eke out another jibe. “You lumpy, lumpy, old fart, Agnus. Is it true that you sought the good graces of the Wizard by serving as a siphon for his royal septic tank?”

 

“I can see them now, William. One of them is backing up the other and they are almost beneath us. Come, check this out.”

 

William sighed and ripped off a great mouthful of leaves for her journey across the cabin. A small branch slapped Dorothy’s head before William pulled it into her mouth her mop of a tongue.

 

“Let me sleep,” Dorothy mumbled as she pulled a pulled a blanket over her head.

 

 “There are two old ladies going at it,” I said with perked ears. Their cries were increasingly painful and they stepped up the color of their in their language, apparently to match their pain.

 

 “Nothing worse than angry old maids,” William remarked. “Make your milk curdle, they will. What’re they doing?”

 

“Not much, they wave sticks at one another and then cry out in pain. This is funny! William, look!”

 

 “A-h-h-i-i-ie,” howled Dilibus as she crumpled to her knees. Righting herself, she waved her hands around like she was chasing off flies and said, “At least my birth certificate was not crafted as an apology to the entire world!”

 

“Move over,” William said as she made her way to see better. The cabin creaked and tilted under her great weight.

 

Through the trapdoor, she poked her enormous head, stopped chewing, and tucked the great wad between her cheek and gums. “Those are witches, Toto, and they’re fighting. Their weapons are wands not sticks.”

 

“I saw a fight once. You had better believe you would be the laughing stock of the great State of Kansas if you fought by waving little sticks about like these women. How do you know they are witches?” I asked.

 

“By their hats, capes, stocking-like shoes, and evil dispositions,” she replied. “Let me improve our view, Toto.” With her slab of a tongue, William wrenched a huge mouthful of leaves from the offending  branch. As she studied the combatants,  William commenced huffing, wheezing, and choking. Either she was going to explode from gorging or die from ingesting poisonous leaves and branches. Instead, the terrible noises were her laughter, a  choked-chicken sort of chuckle. That was funny once I realized she would live. Add the nonsense of those foolish stick-waving women, and despite their obvious pain, and suffering, I laughed until my tears blinded me. Laughter is addictive and William was unable to resist. Gasping for breath, her hind legs collapsed leaving her sitting on her butt…just like a dog sits.

 

Witch Agnus heard us, doubled her ugly expression, cursed us, and wiggled her wand our way. The beautiful tree that gently cradled us, shook terribly. An instant later, our cabin was slipping toward the ground. What followed was like a dream in slow motion.

 

William leaned forward and snatched at the greenery as the cabin fell. As Agnus watched our fall with cruel eyes and a wicked twist of the lips, Dilibus charged her from behind…and pushed Agnus beneath our falling cabin.

 

With her big eyes wide, William said,  “uh-oh!”

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Toto says, "Let the Truth be Known; I Was There!"

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