“Uh oh!” Little Pip scrunched his cute button nose as he entered the kitchen, “eggy! yucky!” His elder sister Pat and father Rob were already at the breakfast table, devouring their cheesy omelettes. The huge island counter, almost empty, except for a bowl of freshly cut fruits.
“Mornin’ Pat, morning Dadda” he waved, his toothy grin cute enough to melt all hearts. Pat placed her knife and fork aside, “Morning sleepyhead,” she grinned and hugged the plump little boy. Ruffling his hair, she kissed his cheeks, “Hey! Didn’t I tell you not to use my bathroom!?”
“Pip didn’t…” he pouted, “Pip pee in mum’s toilet today, it’s mum’s perfume not yours.” Coming closer to Pat, he tiptoed and whispered in her ears, “only a wee bit trickled outside.”
“Ew, stop it! Get away from me,” she screamed, covering her ears.
“Pat, don’t trouble your brother,” Rob looked up from the newspaper, “But dad, you don’t know what he did!” His glasses slid to his nose as he winked at her and mouthed, “Whose bathroom?”
The plump boy ran to his father and settled down in his lap, turning the bearded face towards himself, “Dadda, don’t look at her… don’t listen to her” and the pink lips pressed firm against his father’s cheek, “Ouch! Pokey pokey!”
Facing his mum, he announced, “Pip want cake today!”
“Hmm… no kissie for Mumma?” Jenna walked over and hugged the little boy, “Oh Pip! My perfume again?” sticking out her lower lip, she fake cried.
“Mumma promise… tomorrow Dadda’s perfume!” Jenna showered him with kisses and served him his sunny side up with a runny yolk. “Yellow river,” Pip squealed and dug in with his giraffe spork, “Yummy!” The demand for cake was forgotten in no time.
Soon, Pip hopped away to watch SpongeBob, “Bye Pat, bye Dadda”
“Pat,” Jenna called out as Pat picked up her bag and lunch, “don’t forget you’re babysitting your brother tonight. Dad and I are going for the charity.”
“Mum, why!? I had plans with Bree.” An exasperated sigh escaped Jenna’s mouth. Bree, her niece, was quite a handful. Her hyper-active imagination was no less than a puzzle!
“Pat,” Jenna tilted her head slightly to the right and smiled, “$12… would that be fine? And you can invite Bree for a sleepover. I’ll let Aunt Joe know… I’m leaving some money for pizza, order it when you all are hungry.”
“Oh ok, that’s cool! FYI Mrs Barrod, the rate is now $15,” Pat’s brown eyes teased. “Dad, let’s go! I’m running late.” The dad-daughter duo left, waving to Pip.
Jenna smiled at the mirror; the off-shoulder evening gown fit her well. “Rob, let’s leave,” she declared. “Oooh Mumma smell nice,” Pip ran to her. “Be a good boy Pip, remember when the small hand is on 9 and big hand on 12, you’ll get into bed. And don’t trouble Bree.” Jenna added as she glanced at Bree and Pat, huddled over a math problem.
“Mumma, will Pat read a book for Pip?”
“Of course dahling… mmm my bunny baby,” Jenna hugged the little boy, already in his teddy bear pajamas. “Mumma no kissie,” he squirmed, “Pip don’t want red cheeks.” She chuckled, ruffling his feathery chocolate-brown hair.
“Bye kids!” the Barrod couple hollered to the tweens.
Vroom vroom… Pip imitated the car sounds as his parents left.
“Pip hungry!!” he announced, running non-stop in circles. “Go watch TV, I’ll get the pizza,” Bree walked into the living room with the pizza box. “Pip no eat with TV…” he declared, but gave in when his mouth drooled at the sight of the cheesy pepperoni pizza.
“See, I told you he’ll come along,” Bree snickered, much to Pat’s amusement. “SpongeBob! Pip want SpongeBob!” Jumping up and down, he demanded. “Yeah, okay.” Pat switched to the cartoon channel and continued to play on her phone while Bree settled down with a science fiction novel.
“Pat, when will the small hand reach 9, and big hand 12?” Pip poked her arm. “Later Pip,” she replied, returning to the game. The clock had hardly inched any further when Pip repeated his question. “Later, Pip!” Both girls shouted in unison. Bree rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath, “kids!”
With the pizza box wiped clean, the trio moved towards the bedroom. Bree and Pat tucked little Pip into his bed. “Yay! Story time… Pip want ‘The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me’!” he clapped, cheering in a sing-song voice. Pat turned towards the bookshelf when Bree pulled a chair close to the bed. “Again, the same giraffe! How about I tell you another story?”
“No other story, only giraffe!”
“Forget it Bree, let me read this to him,” Pat came over with the animal book. Pip gave a lopsided grin, celebrating victory, but it vanished as he heard Bree.
“Yea Pat, you were right. Let him listen to his giraffe. He is just a baby; anyway, he would have gotten scared on listening to my story.”
“Nooooo Pip not a baby,” he bawled, flapping his legs on the bed. Snuggling in close, Pat comforted him. “Pip no baby. Pip want Bree story,” his chubby cheeks threatened to fall off his round face.
“This is the story of a wicked witch!”
“Really?” He looked at Pat for confirmation, and she hugged him tighter.
“Did you know Pip? I used to hate eggs too?” Bree whispered.
“Really??” His big round eyes grew bigger and rounder, “Hmm… no.” He shook his head from side to side.
“But I never complain, I just eat when my mum gives them to me.”
“It’s all because of… Ms. Eggsandra.”
“Ms. Egsa, who?”
“Ms. Eggsandra – a witch who lived on a faraway island.” With a dramatic pause, Bree turned towards Pat and hushed, “Shut the door Pat! What if she hears us?” Wrapping a blanket around herself, she asked, “Sure you won’t cry Pip? I told you, it’s scary…”
Bree let out a hollow whistle, like the wind’s whisper on dry leaves, and began.
“I was about 6 years old, almost the same age as you when one day I threw a big tantrum. It was all because of eggs! Mum had made eggs for breakfast again! I was so angry, I ran to my tree house. It’s a day I can never forget, cuz it was a dark day; I almost escaped death that day…
Pip, do you like the smell of an autumn day?”
“But that day, it smelled of eggs everywhere. Instead of blue skies and fluffy clouds, I saw eggy clouds with runny yolks! I had just finished dressing up my barbie, when my tree house shook. ‘Mummy!’ a loud scream escaped my mouth, but it drowned under loud thuds. I peeked out from the window and was terrified at the sight. Do you know what was happening, Pip?”
“A bald witch was climbing up the stairs – left, right, left, right,” Bree paused as she took a deep breath, stomping her feet on the floor.
“She entered my tree house fluttering her cape – a red and white check. It looked more like a tablecloth, but I was too scared to tell her that! Her egg-shaped face was totally weird. Half of it had been eaten, and in the other half instead of an eye was a giant red coil.
‘Hello Bree’ she hissed. Grabbing me by my hand, she flung me out of my tree house. I went flying high above the clouds and in no time, I was falling down. I was terrified of breaking my bones on landing, but something totally different happened…”
Pip sat up, clinging to his favourite teddy bear, “What happened?”
“Instead of landing on the green grass, I went down a hole – as dark as Boss baby’s suit.”
A mention of his beloved hero lit up his face, “You find Jimbo and Staci there?”
“No, no Pip, I did not enter Boss baby’s world, I was in the witches’ world. And what a strange world it was. A loud tick tock, tick tock sound welcomed me-” Bree cocked her head to the side and then upright again- “it was coming from a broken clock. I was amazed! The strange rectangular clock was cracked, and yet it was working.
I was too terrified to even cry, so I just stared at the red brick wall ahead – it was a never-ending wall, reaching across the clouds and touching the stars. But then I shrieked at a loud whoosh. The eggy witch flapped her cape and stared at me like this,’’ Bree squinted her eyes, “‘Hi, I am Ms. Eggsandra, the wonderful wizardess of Eggoz. But you are to call me Ma’am’ ”
“Hmm, you mean like the wizard of Oz?” Pat interrupted.
“Yeah, you’re right!”
“Then what?” Pip squealed.
“‘Go sit there,’ the witch thundered, pointing towards a little brown chair. I observed as she mumbled some magic spells, and from the ground arose a plant – it’s stem holding a cup and saucer. An evil grin spread across her face as she offered the cup and saucer to me. There was an icky jelly like stuff inside. ‘Eat!’ she ordered, and I gulped down the whole thing…”
“Chicken soup?” Pip drooled. Pat scrunched her nose as she wiped his mouth with a tissue.
“I don’t know. It was something like I’d never tasted before. It was nice and yet I felt like throwing up at the same time. But soon, I was light as a feather and the little brown chair started floating. I was awestruck as I did not fall off it! ‘Come, let’s go on a trip,’ Ms. Eggsandra roared. Her wicked laughter scared me but I was not crying.
The place was filled with the weirdest of all things. Can you guess what?”
“Umm, candies!” Pip’s bright smile lit up the dim room and Pat giggled.
“No… guess again.”
“Ewww… yucky,” Pip covered his eyes.
Bree chuckled and continued, “Ms. Eggsandra said, ‘ Come along little girl, let’s start with the grand tour of this place. You are my guest, I shall entertain you well,’ she tapped on an egg-hat clip on her bald head, ‘this is the latest fashion here.’ I liked my barbie clip better than hers, so I just took it off and hid it in my pocket.
The strange things around mesmerized me, and the first thing that caught my eye was a cracked egg on a swing. ‘Ma’am, that…’ I pointed towards it.
‘Hmm, well that’s little Dwayne, the rock is now a cracked egg. Ha ha ha,’ she laughed at her own joke, though I didn’t get it!
‘What’s that strange blue box Ma’am?’
‘Ah ah, that’s your planet Earth.’ she snickered. I wanted to ask her what she meant by that, but I decided not to. Her breath smelled funny – like boiled eggs and I just wished to get far away from her, but her cape wrapped itself around my wrist pulling me closer to her.
As we continued flying higher and higher, I passed through many egg clouds and strange floating ladders. ‘Ma’am what’s this place? Why am I here?’
Ms. Eggsandra laughed out so loud that the cracked clock slid off the wall and hung on dangerously; its hands jumping out in fear, ‘Ha! I’m glad, finally you asked the most important question.’
She spread her arms and announced, ‘This is Eggoz – my kingdom! Have you heard of heaven and hell?’
I nodded, remembering the nice pretty fairies of heaven and the demons waiting in hell. And that’s when I felt scared; very, very scared. ‘Is this hell?’
‘No, this is heller than hell!’ she howled like a wolf, her egg yolk clip dangling from her eggy head. ‘This is the place for kids like you,’ she sniggered, ‘kids who don’t like eggs.’ ”
“Bree, really?” Pip’s teeth clattered, and he clung to Pat.
“Are you scared, little Pip, should I stop?” Bree teased the little boy.
“No! Pip brave boy.”
“Alright then, listen…” and Bree continued.
“I was terrified and wanted to run away, and it was then I discovered, much to my horror… I was glued to the chair. ‘I despise kids who think eggs are inferior to cakes. See that wall of fame?’ she pointed to an egg hanging from a nail. ‘That’s the punishment in my kingdom…’
‘Uhm, what’s that ma’am?’ I asked. ‘Not what… who!’ she chuckled, ‘That’s Henry, the horrid boy. He frowned at eggs and see him now – he has become an egg and will hang there till the end of time.’ She flapped her cape, applauding herself.
‘All the eggs you see here were once kids – horrible little kids,’ she shuddered, as if kids reminded her of pests. ‘With my magic wand, I change them into eggs – boiled or sunny side up or even omelette, depending on what they hated the most. Hehehe isn’t that perfectly splendid!?’ She cackled.
‘Choose your place, dear. Would you like to go on the wall of fame or climb up any of these beautiful ladders and float forever on the eggy clouds?’ She bored into me with her single spiral eye, waiting for my answer.
I took in a deep breath and asked her, putting up a brave front, ‘Ma’am, I’m done with the tour. Can I please go back to my mummy? She would be searching for me.’ ‘Oh dear! That’s not possible. I’m sure your mommy is happy without you troublesome brat. Look through those telescopes,’ she ordered, pointing towards the floating circles.”
“Te-tele- what Bree?” Pip questioned, suppressing a yawn.
“The witch giggled, ‘Go on… take a lookie-lookie’ Mummy… Tears fell from my eyes as soon as I looked through one. Mum and Dad were enjoying themselves, playing with my kitchen set – worst of all, flipping omelets on my oven. ‘Noooo!’
‘See? This is what happens when you break an egg’s heart, yours gets broken too.’
My tears were flowing like a river, and I saw in the far distance – even Earth was weeping blue tears.
‘Oh dearie, now be a sport, and stop crying. I have to put you up on the wall,’ Ms. Eggsandra let out a dry chuckle, as a giant hammer and nail came floating in the air.
I cried louder this time, hoping my tears would melt her heart, but I was astonished at what I saw. The brick wall was weeping, shedding thick fat tears. ‘Huh! This has never happened before,’ Ms. Eggsandra’s mouth popped open, ‘Looks like you’re truly sorry…you’re melting the brick wall!’
I nodded, as if I had forgotten how to speak. ‘Is that a promise?’ I nodded once again, more furiously this time. ‘Fine then, I’ll give you a chance. But if ever again you ill-treat an egg, you will become an egg.’ She stomped her tree trunk legs on the ground, near a hole.
‘Come.’ Still stuck to the wooden chair, I held out my hand and grabbed her cape.
In a blink of an eye, I was back in my tree-house. Alone! I wondered if I had been dreaming, and then the fuzzy tree leaves fluttered, ‘Don’t break your promise. I’m watching you.’ a wicked whisper floated.”
Bree smiled to herself as she saw her little cousins huddled and asleep. Pip was mumbling,“I promise”
“Mumma,” little Pip stormed into the kitchen, “Pip want eggs.”
“Really!” Jenna squealed, while Rob looked up from the newspaper in disbelief. He turned towards Bree and Pat and chuckled as he caught the girls exchange a silent smile. Mystery solved, he mumbled and got back to his newspaper while the little boy dug into a scrumptious Spanish omelette.
Published first on Penmancy