Miss Clorissa Newman was the new occupant of No 44 Grimace Street, the new neighbour of Miss Marble, witch and protector of all in her street.
Miss Clorissa like anyone who lived near Miss Marble was intrigued by the smells and goings on at No 46 Grimace Street.
One afternoon about a week after she had moved in Miss Marble invited Miss Clorissa over to her veranda for a late afternoon meet and greet.
Miss Marble was well aware that not everyone was keen on having a witch living next door but over the years Miss Marble had devised ways of keeping her neighbours on side. She had been watching Miss Clorissa as she moved about her house and as she tended to the garden left by the previous owner Miss Maudie, recently deceased.
But Miss Marble provided a service for her community from love potions to garden fertilisers to scary concoctions that could or could not make you a better person.
Their afternoon went very well, and as a gift to her new neighbour, Miss Marble gave Miss Clorissa a bottle of her garden fertiliser complete with exact instructions on its use.
That night there was a commotion at Miss Clorissa’s place. Miss Marble could hear shouting, a crash and then a door slamming and feet pounding the pavement exiting her house. Looking out her front window she saw a man getting into a car and driving away.
The night flowed on quickly, and peace again settled over Grimace Street, but Miss Marble was concerned for her neighbour’s well-being.
She knocked on Miss Clorissa’s front door and heard sobbing and then feet making their way to the door. Miss Clorissa opened the door her eyes puffy from tears and a noticeable bruise on her cheek.
Miss Marble had a way about her when she wanted to know something, and earlier that day she and Miss Clorissa had met and formed a good opinion of each other. Now Miss Marble wanted to know what was going on.
The two women sat on Miss Clorissa’s lounge, and Miss Clorissa told her the story of a nephew who over the years had come to her asking for money as he had habits he was in debt to. As a single woman, small and vulnerable she had been an easy mark for this man who had no scruples about how he obtained money to support his money sucking obsessions.
A beating was a common occurrence, and Miss Clorissa had hoped moving away from the city might be far enough away from her nephew that he might not find her. But he had as he knew she would part with her hard earned with the slightest of provocation.
Miss Marble listened to her new friend and saw the fear in her eyes when Miss Clorissa told her she knew he would be back demanding more.
Taking a small phial from her pocket, Miss Marble insisted Miss Clorissa take it saying it was a herbal sleeping draught for after the fright Miss Clorissa has been through and a good night’s rest was necessary.
Miss Clorissa did sleep well and awoke to the memory of the previous night wondering what was to become of her knowing she still remained in the clutches of her money hungry nephew.
Two days later the nephew returned, and Miss Marble was alerted this time by Sal growling. Outside she saw the car, she saw the nephew approaching Miss Clorissa’s front door, the nephew didn’t see Sal.
The nephew awoke to find himself in Miss Marble’s kitchen. How he got there, he had no idea. He saw the old lady tending to her stove, and his mind immediately went to what he might gain from her. She looked old and fragile, just how he liked his victims. The trouble was he couldn’t move.
He wasn’t tied down or anything, he was sitting in the chair, unable to move at all.
He opened his mouth and shouted across the room at Miss Marble that she had best let him go if she knew what was good for her. Miss Marble knew a lot about bullies, and she had been around a lot longer than most people knew and in that time she had dealt with many of his kind.
Turning to him she said: “Now what do you think you might be able to do?”
Several expletives later and with a lot of body twisting in an attempt to free himself he noticed Miss Marble take a large knife from a drawer. She walked towards him, the knife in hand, her eyes focused on him.
“How important is it that you remain a man?” she asked
“What?” the nephew asked
“I need, and I use male testicles; they are very useful in some of the potions I make. I am running a bit low these days. You won’t feel anything, trust me, I’ll dry them in the sun, they last longer that way and what you don’t have you’ll never miss is how I see it.”
The nephew gulped as he saw the knife up close.
“You wouldn’t dare,” said the defiant nephew.
Suddenly there was a flash as Miss Marble swung the knife down over his privates. The nephew felt the breeze of the swish and then a sudden pain. He looked up to see Miss Marble holding what he believed was once his claim on manhood.
“You were saying,” she replied. “I’ll pop these out in the sun now, the fresher they are, the better they retain their potency though I think yours are somewhat scrawny so I may just feed them to Sal if they don’t measure up, so to speak.”
The nephew was now a very white colour. “You said it wouldn’t hurt.” he stammered.
“I lied,” said Miss Marble. “Now one more thing. Your Aunt next door. You are never to return to her house is that clear? Do so, and I’ll take more than your balls.”
The nephew suddenly realised he could move and looked down at where his manhood had once been. He attempted to stand only to sense Sal at his side, teeth bared, a growl deep enough to send cold shivers down your spine.
“He’s going now,” said Miss Marble to her faithful hound. “Show him to the door.”
The nephew hobbled out the door and sat gingerly in his car before driving away very sedately.
Miss Clorissa watching through her front window, like any nosy neighbour would, saw him drive off and went to Miss Marble’s to see if she was alright.
“Oh fine,” said Miss Marble. “He won’t be back. He thinks I have his balls. Cup of tea?”