Contaminant Source Removed
by K.G. Jewell
It was the third spell that got Marco into trouble.
The first spell was easy. An Introduction to Wizardry called it an aptitude spell. It
showed whether or not the caster had innate abilities in the supernatural.
The spoon bent. He was a natural.
The second spell took a little more work. Marco read the chapter on introductory
invocation and selected an end-of-chapter exercise. He cleared a space on his
mom's kitchen table and gathered the incantation's ingredients and accoutrements:
An egg, a worm from the backyard, and his shoe. He put the worm on his head,
the egg in his shoe, and sang "Alouette" while thinking of purple ogres.
A purple ogre appeared and joined him in a duet before disappearing in a puff of
smoke, just like it was supposed to.
But the third spell . . .
After the smoke cleared from the ogre's exit, Marco picked up the book again.
He'd found it in a stack of junk at Aunt Violet's garage sale.
"That was your Uncle Joe's favorite. It was a gag gift from a college roommate
when he got his first job offer on Wall Street. When folks asked him what he did,
he'd point to that book and say 'financial wizardry' and then chuckle like it was
the best joke ever." She added, "You take it. He'd have loved for someone else to
enjoy it." Uncle Joe had disappeared when Marco was a baby, and Marco didn't
remember him at all. Everyone said he'd been very nice.
Marco flipped to the section at the back of the book entitled "Advanced Magicks."
The spell headings were printed in a faux longhand script: "The real cure for
insomnia: Sleeping Spells," "Cheating on the test of life: Scrying," and the best
one "Cleaning your room for good: Hooverology."
Marco opened the book to Hooverology and scanned the page. His mom was
always telling him to clean his room. This would be useful.
He needed a vacuum cleaner, a rat, and a toothbrush.