It was a delightful morning. A pleasant sunshine fell down on the lush garden, and all the merry little bugs buzzed amidst the colourful flowers, and frolicked in the shade of the old apple trees. The air was warm, the sky was blue, and all things were right in the world.
Except, of course, that a branch from the neighbour's side was jotting over the fence and into the garden. It was one of Mrs Sheeply's sycamore trees. That, the tall lanky man thought to himself, was quite outrageous. It ruined everything.
Whenever he came out, he saw the branch, and the offending tree, and smoldered over Mrs Sheeply's failure to address this abominable incursion of his rights. It had never occurred to him to ask Mrs Sheeply to do something about it. He resented talking to the enemy. It implied compromise, and he hated compromise. In fact, he hated it so much he'd never spoken to Mrs Sheeply about anything at all. That, he mused, worked to his advantage. As for Mrs Sheeply, she would've been surprised to learn she was anyone's enemy to begin with.
The green-haired man stood brooding in the garden, small flecks of dust falling off the shoulders of his tattered T-shirt, and a reeking black kretek languishing between his fingers. Slowly his eyes narrowed, and fixed their gaze on the branch, as if expecting it to move in for the kill at any moment. He was collecting his throughts. That was harder than it sounds. It was comparable to single-handedly trying to herd a million caffeine-addled rabbits into a small knapsack using only a television remote.
What was the easiest way to deal with that branch?
Caliban Wolf, terror of all that was good and decent, thought about it. And thought about it. Then he took a little breather, and thought about strangling a squirrel to death, but after that he thought about it a little more.
'I know. It's obvious. I will curse it. With a curse. A curse that is a magic curse,' he declared to nobody in particular, and sort of absent-mindedly sailed back inside.
The bugs offered no comment in face of this dramatic new turn of events.
That night Caliban got up, and wandered into the dank laboratory. This he called his lair, though everyone else called it a garage. After rummaging through all the cardboard boxes of voodoo knick-knacks and weird pinecone talismans, and skimming through all the moth-eaten books with dog-eared pages, the wizard finally thought of a perfect recipe for tree destruction.
With a kind of a low-key psychotic glee, he carried a monstrous old black tome to his work desk, and with few well-placed words of protection flipped it open at the middle. 'The Unstoppable All-Pulverising Fist of the Ever-Strong Rabid Djinn of Irem,' Wolf recited.
'A most foul curse... blah blah blah... may be worked against such as do harm against you... blah blah blah, blahdy blahdy blah... right, wreaks destruction. Works from a distance. Alright, I suppose this is it.'
Wolf then fetched some ram's blood from the refrigerator, and put it into the microwave. After that he meticulously looted the lair for a few shrunken heads, an bottle of mercury, discount baby oil ("Made from low-calorie babies!"), some green stuff, some red stuff, bone fragments, a Masonic ring, some graveyard dust, and what appeared to be some sort of loathsome mutant creature stuck into a jar of formaldehyde.
The microwave said BING!
It was all very simple. The ram's blood made a pentacle on the stone floor. The bone fragments marked the necessary elemental sympathies and antipathies on the pentacle. The graveyard dust made for symbols that represented the power to communicate with the netherworld. Now all he needed was a cup to put the ingredients in, some more ram's blood to mix them in, the shrunken heads to add a little sting to the evil... and well, maybe a little more ram's blood set aside to go with pizza later... and he was almost ready.
Except, of course, that when he got ready to pop the loathsome mutant creature into the magic bowl, he realised he was missing something.
'But what is it?' Caliban mused.
Oh, damn it all! He needed wood, didn't he? Some good old wood to conjure up a mystical link between the tree and the curse. His eyes went around the room. Wood. Where'd he get some wood? What kind of a complete weirdo kept wood around the house?
'Eh, I'll just wing it,' said the wizard, popped open his Swiss army knife, and sawed a bit off his old lacquered work desk. Then he threw it into the bowl, plopped the loathsome mutant creature after it, and went to get his ritual pestle. After three hours of chanting, cursing, crushing and interpretive dance, he held in his hands the vilest concoction known to man since John Pemberton came up with The Real Thing after a year-long cocaine binge.
It was almost morning when Wolf walked back out into the garden. He glanced about the night sky, smiling a wide, big, malicious smile. The stars were all just in the right places. He searched about the yard for signs and portents, and gave out a psychotic chuckle. They were all good. With deliberate slowness, he raised the bowl up high, speaking out the ancient Arabic magic words. Every syllable brought about a change in the air. His skin tingled with a sense of power coursing through it. The spell reached its peak; Caliban's eyes widened and his chanting reached a hysterical high. The sickening ointment started smoking and suddenly burst out into a sickening green fire.
Caliban grinned like a maniac, gracefully lowered the finished curse on the ground, and went back to have pizza and ram's blood.
Ten minutes later his desk blew up.