Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bartender's Guide to Bewitching Brews


Mikhail Bulgakov: Master and Margarita

"Witchcraft once started, as we all know, is virtually unstoppable."


Georgina Lilian David-Weston - George to her friends - was dead. Mostly dead. From an unbiased outsider's point of view she was completely, regrettably and irrevocably dead. However, from her own - admittedly biased - standpoint she was still very much around, even if not quite alive, strictly speaking.

She absolutely refused to call herself a ghost. That would’ve sounded early-evening-network-tv trashy. Anyway, ghosts were not real, and she was. Everything she knew about ghosts suggested that they would be a dull, obsessive-compulsive lot, always hanging out at the same place. She, on the other hand, could, and did, move about anywhere she wanted, and so far have not been responsible for any haunting or other similarly undignified activities.

'Incorporeal Entity' - she decided. It had a serious, almost scientific sound to it, and she liked serious sounding things. It made all the more out of character for her to have gotten mixed up in witchcraft - yet she did. It started innocently enough. She and Bobby were walking down the Venice Beach promenade when they spotted 'The Magic Shop'. She tugged Bobby's arm.

"Let's go, see if Giles is in!"

Sadly, the proprietor was a woman in the local flavor of neo-hippy, retro-loony who immediately started rattling on about hemp oil witch candles and her psychic gardening web site. George cunningly drifted towards the direction of some shelves. She looked back: Bobby was politely nodding, a snarl of a smile frozen on his face. Oh dear. A garish looking booklet grabbed her attention: It called itself The Witch's Brew. Between maroon covers lay truly lurid illustrations mixed with recipes that looked hysterically funny even at a brief glimpse. She had to have it - it would make the perfect gag gift.

The hippy-woman shopkeeper was prattling about tantric yoga while ringing up the purchase. She beamed at George with practiced cordiality:

"Just be careful honey. Witchcraft once started, as we all know, is virtually unstoppable."

George smiled politely, if somewhat stiffly, while Bobby was dragging her out of the store. She didn't start giggling until they were safely outside.

It wasn't till several days later, alone at home, that George took another look at the book. It seemed to be a bartender's guide – for witches. The brilliant thing about it was that none of the recipes required eye of newt or any of that archaic junk. No, nothing that a well stocked kitchen of an aspiring lush wouldn't have. Right up her alley. She decided to try a recipe that looked like an interesting twist on vodka martini.

Let's see... a dash of cayenne pepper, some more sprinkled around the cocktail shaker, vodka, a little bit of this and that, a short chant, shaken not stirred... VoilĂ ! Mmm... not bad, a little bit spicy, not too sweet.

She fell asleep on the couch watching Top Chef. When she woke up, her body was cold and stiff, and there was an incorporeal version of herself staring down at it baffled.


  1. I love this. Brilliantly done and imaginative. My hats off to you Vanda!

  2. Vanda, that is painfully funny. I love your awful 'neo-hippy, retro-loony' shopkeeper. Way too close to the truth. Hee hee.