Elora whirled around to see who spoke. At first, she didn’t believe her eyes — standing in the doorway was an older woman in one of the most outlandish outfits she’d ever seen. She wore a large, pointed, bright orange hat; multi-colored reading glasses (that inexplicably remained on her long pointed nose); huge earrings in the shape of flattened soup cans; and a garishly bright green floor-length dress. Elora thought she might have looked like a glamorous 1940s movie star if her outfit weren’t so incredibly mismatched. As it was, Elora thought the woman looked like an upside down pumpkin.
“Ummmm . . . you know you’re wearing soup cans for earrings, right?” said Elora, matter-of-factly.
“But OF COURSE, my dear! What else would I wear?” said the woman genuinely surprised. “If you can’t look interesting, then don’t look at all, I always say,” she sniffed. “But never mind that. Mrs. Coddiwomple at your service,” the woman said with a deep curtsy. But as she curtsied, a large gust of wind blew her hat off, revealing a nest of light purple hair, loosely bound in a messy bun. “Oh, bumfuzzle . . . ” she muttered to herself as Elora stifled a giggle. “Well,” said Mrs. Coddiwomple, bending over to retrieve her hat, “you are JUST in time for a delicious brunch in the back yard” and then proceeded to walk toward the back yard.
“Wait, Mrs. . . .” began Elora.
“Coddiwomple,” the woman said turning back, “Sylvia May Coddiwomple.” But you may call me Coddi. I’m a witchamacallit.”
“Um, a what?” Elora said, taken aback.
“A witchamacallit, my dear!” she said. “A responsible, no nonsense, part magical person that relies on a smidgen of magical intuition, a dollop of knowledge, and a layering of logic to solve magical mysteries.” That’s why I’m here, in fact. The Drindles hired me to find out what’s going on at this monstrosity of a mansion. Of course, my case load was SO backed up it took me a couple of years to get here,” she said with a dramatic wave of her hand. “But here I am and I need your help.”
Elora was about to respond when she heard the sound of a car driving up the driveway. She turned around just as her mother stepped out of a car. “Coddi!” cried Mrs. Quibble, staring in disbelief, “oh, Coddi, we all thought you were dead! I’m SO glad to see you.”
“Dead? Me? Oh, no, my dear. As you can see, I am very much alive. Mr. Coddiwomple and I just had to disappear for a bit as we were working in some suspicious supernatural circumstances, but as you can see, I am very much alive! So good to see you again, Beatrice. Now, won’t you both join me for brunch?”
Mrs. Coddiwomple led Mrs. Quibble and Elora to the back yard and beckoned them to be seated in two large yellow chairs. “One moment while I get another chair and pull the table over,” Coddi called, disappearing into the house.
Once they were all seated, Mrs. Coddiwomple poured the tea and served the toast with jam and butter. “Well, now, shall we begin?” she said.
To be continued . . . .
Copyright © 2020 Allison Shaw: All rights reserved, including right of reproduction, in whole or part, in any form.