The next lunchtime the Wizard finds me in a disgruntled mood. He hovers around me observing my overall attitude.
“Good day,” I say to the Wizard with a voice that conveys I am not in a happy place right now. “The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe is still harassing me about money. She is adamant I still owe her 289 Euros. Shall I just ignore her?”
“No. Pay it,” the Wizard says matter of factly.
“What really?” I say in disbelief. “But I don’t agree. Her calculation is wrong. At the most I might still owe her the 89 Euros. Seriously? Why? Why can’t I ignore her?”
“Fight if you want to,” the Wizard sighs. “Cheap price for peace.”
“There will never be any peace,” I say angrily. “Ignoring isn’t fighting.”
“Once she has nothing left to harass you about cut her off as much as possible,” the Wizard advises.
“Why can’t I do it now?” I want to know. “And what about her calculation being wrong?”
“You can,” the Wizard reassures me. “But there is a discrepancy in the amount so this will go one forever. Plus don’t be cheap. Money will come back to you. See it as charity.”
“Charity…,” I trail off. “For the poor little Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe.”
“Yes,” the Wizard smiles.
“Stupid Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe,” I snap.
“Yes,” the Wizard nods.
“Pffff what a scam,” I roll my eyes at him. “What a cheap excuse of a mother. She’s a piss-poor mother. Will this ever come back to her?”
“No you gain the upper hand,” the Wizard starts laying out the big picture for me. “Tell her you disagree with her calculation but you give her the benefit of the doubt out of sympathy. You tell she needs it more than you do, so she can have it with pleasure.” He waits a moment to make sure I have understood that part, then he continues: “Yes it already has. The punishment has already begun.”
“I am telling you this will never stop,” I say bewildered. “She will find something else. Oh yes, which punishment?”
“Yes she will but you can negotiate it or ignore it as she no longer has any power over you,” the Wizard says calmly. “Punishment, old and bitter. Maybe in time lonely too.”
“Old, bitter, dried-up, single, horrible Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe,” I snap again.
“Yes with no grandchildren to spoil,” the Wizard goes on in a monotonous tone. “In short ‘zero value’.”
“Well one. She has Tweedledee’s little girl,” I point out. “She doesn’t know how to spoil.”
“Until he too gets tired of the bitterness,” the Wizard predicts.
“Too anally retentive,” I mock.
“Ok I got to go,” the Wizard’s ears start twitching as his cloud starts humming to take off again to the warm white sands of Cuba.
I blow him a kiss but still want to set the record straight on the so-said discrepancy: ” I did pay it, but just one payment from a different account. I have an SMS text message of her proving receipt of this payment. If I go proving everything, then I am the one counting Euros in a plastic bag. If I pay it, she will have had her interests like she demanded. I will never get the upper hand and the pestering will never stop. So I draw the line here. I am not paying the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe a single cent more. And I am not communicating or answering her anymore either. It has to stop somewhere.” That was my first response, but reason soon sets in. “But you’re right. I’ll pay her off. With disdain. And I am going to be soooo successful. Watch me.”
“I am not watching,” the Wizard teases.
“Poop. How am I going to be successful then?” I sulk. “Okay I won’t be big, successful or famous. I’ll just remain sweet little me forever.”
“I expect you to succeed,” the Wizard looks at me intently with his big blue eyes. He then pulls out a tea pot and a chocolate muffin on a dainty little plate from somewhere in his pink fluffy cloud.
“Oooh I love that,” I say with radiating warmth and comfort. “Looks delicious and the pottery is just so cozy and beautiful. Really wow. Well done both of you.”
“Thanks,” the Wizard beams with pride. “Still a few small hurdles to overcome and then sales begin. Plus I have a teaching post. My partner wants me to also do conversations in English on Sunday evenings. Busy busy boy.”
“That’s good!” I cheer him on. “And great to see you complement each other.”
“Yes we do but only on Sundays,” the Wizard winks at me mysteriously.
“Not sure I get this,” I ponder which double meaning he could be hiding in that simple phrase. “You and Debbie are always together… or you only speak English on Sundays?”
“Always speak English on Sundays,” the Wizard corrects me.
I smile at him for the comfort his friendship brings me and fondly wave him off as he takes off on his cloud.
* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.