Bartholomew McMahon and the Wooden Spoon Incident

Prompt Day #348: Treat an everyday object as a magic wand


Bartholomew McMahon and the Wooden Spoon Incident


Bartholomew McMahon was an exceptional boy. At eight years old, he often found that anything he tried, he mastered. It was actually disappointing and boring to be a genius. He had no friends, no one understood him, and his mother found his “experiments” annoying and messy.

“Find a hobby, Bart” she would say. “Something like stamp collecting or model building.”

But Bartholomew, who did not like to be called Bart, was more interested in strange and unusual hobbies. Bartholomew, who could perform complex calculus problems in his head, enjoyed investigating the unexplained and unknowable. He practiced divining water until his mother had a fit about all the holes in the yard. He tried contacting aliens and set up several Bigfoot traps. Mr. Nelson’s dog, Solomon, got stuck in one though and that was quite the ordeal.

His mother bought him a magic kit for Christmas that year and Bartholomew discovered his passion. By New Year’s Eve, he was developing his own tricks having grown bored with the beginner’s level tricks in the kit. The first thing to go was the stupid cardboard tube masquerading as a magic wand. He needed a real one, something substantial.

After a cursory search of the house, Bartholomew determined that his mother’s wooden spoon was the perfect length and width for casting epic spells. When he was older, and he could replace it, he would remove the spoon portion. For now, though, this would be a covert mission and the wand would continue to rest in the drawer between spells where it would moonlight as a mixer of soup and sauces.

A grimoire he found and bought for five dollars at the library used book sale had a spell for inserting your magical powers into a talisman. That very night, he put all his power and knowledge into the wooden spoon. The spell had a slight tornadic effect which left a mess in the living room that even the great Bartholomew McMahon couldn’t manage on his own.

“Bart! What is this?” His mother yelled. Standing in the middle of the wreckage, she had her hands on her hips and her lower jaw jutted out—a classic sign of her anger.

“You know, Mum, good magic takes a lot of energy and sometimes that energy explodes. Sorry.” He said. He had no real explanation for it. That’s why he loved it so much. His mother obviously did not. Without a word, she turned and stomped into the kitchen. She pulled the utensil drawer with a vengeance so much so that she pulled the handle off. “Mum, chill. Really, this can all be replaced.” Bartholomew assured her.

“Barty, I hate to do this” she pulled the wooden spoon out of the drawer. Bartholomew was shocked. How could she possibly know about it? “But I have just had it, Bart. This is going to hurt me more than it does you.” She was holding it backwards, so she was not about to put a spell on him at least. She slapped the spoon against her palm and it became clear that he was about to get a spanking! Bartholomew McMahon, child genius and gifted magician, reduced to an archaic punishment.

“Mum, I’ll help clean it up, obviously.” He said holding his hands up in defense.

“Barty, I swear” she began, but something strange happened and the rest of her sentence was nothing more than a chain of profanities. Bartholomew’s eyes bulged as his always proper mother cupped a hand over her mouth smothering the curses.

“I think you should put the spoon down now, mum.” Bartholomew said. She opened her mouth and whispered cautiously.

“No. Bart. You never listen.” She said “I have asked you and pleaded with you to find hobbies….” The volume of her words increased as she continued. Her brow furrowed and she opened her mouth wide several times as if faking a yawn.

“Are you ok, Mum?” Bartholomew asked.

“What?” she said loudly. He knew he should tell her that she was currently casting spells on herself by holding the spoon that way, but he didn’t want to get in any more trouble.

“Nothing. I’m sorry.” He decided that was the best way to deal with this. “I’ll go clean it all up. Do you sweep up the glass or pick it up?” He asked.

“Just don’t move.” She said and made to step towards the room but her feet appeared glued to the floor. She flailed her arms out as her momentum threw off her center of balance. Bartholomew giggled. He couldn’t help it. He could see how furious she was but what could she do about it now? His laughter coaxed out a large blood vessel on the side of his mother’s head.

“That’s it!” She yelled. “I am done, Bart. I’m done.”

There was a large flash of light and a puff of smoke. The wooden spoon clattered to the floor. His mother was, in fact, gone. Bartholomew stared at his magic “wand” and then the space where his mother once stood. Perhaps he decided, he wouldn’t cut the end off after all. He didn’t want to ever accidentally hold it backwards.