Peanut’s Paw

The short wiry man dodged through the streets of the awakening city and with much huffing and puffing made his way finally to the home of his employer. As he entered, attempting to make as little noise as possible, he inadvertently knocked over a vase full of odoriferous white flowers. The action produced such a volume of rot-gut smell in his direction that he gagged and coughed as he frantically tried to catch them and prevent their impact with the floor. His success was unattainable and the resulting cacophony brought his employer, the tall, bearded and flamboyantly robed Fakir into view from the back room.

“Peanut you loathsome little man. You are late again, you look like you slept in your filthy rags and you have yet again spilled my flowers. Clean that up and meet me in my office. We have a problem.”

Hissing and grumbling words of hatred under his breath, Peanut cleaned the water from the floor with the a mop, rearranged the stinking flowers and marched into the Fakir’s workshop. A chair sat in the middle of the room. The Fakir stood, arms crossed, with his buttocks holding him upright, against a workbench covered by potions, bottles and books. Peanut, marched in, climbed with difficulty onto the top of the chair and sat awaiting the impending interrogation, his hand under his own ragged robe, gripping onto the piece of mottled, petrified wood he had prepared for today.

“One year ago you stole money from my purse. You went to the inn and drank mead until the early hours entirely forgetting to save enough to get you onto the wagon leaving town. Your bags packed sat inside your door until I found you and then the next morning. Your attempt to escape your indebted servitude a complete failure.”

Peanut shuffled. Peanut sneered. Peanut was prepared. Peanut looked around the workshop at the bottles and shelves and book and cabinets and thought of how all o f this could be his one day. One day long from now if he was willing to wait, which he was not.

“One season ago, I found that you had secretly placed a sleeping draught in my flagon which you seem to have forgotten smelled strongly of mint. As I detest mint of any kind, I did not even get the drink to my lips before I threw it away, turning to find you opening my lock box, again looking to steal from me. In both cases I warned you of your impending failure to live up to the agreement we have made and how I was dissatisfied that you would act against I, your benefactor.”

Peanut stretched and stood, giving distance between he and the Fakir in a nonchalant way. Peanut hated ho w the Fakir, all six feet of him called him Peanut, simply because he was “as small as an organ grinder’s monkey and

“Two months ago, although I didn’t mention such, I noticed that a series of my magic tomes had each gone missing for a week then mysteriously reappeared. I also noticed that you were coming in later and later each day, and appeared to be more and more tired, smelling of incense and all manner of herb, disheveled and unshaven. You now not only resemble a monkey in size but filth and hair. I see your impatience with your training combined with a reluctance to work off your ever-increasing debt has resulted in more e theft and dishonorable conduct. I have little recourse than to report you to the authorities regarding your actions and lack of ability to keep from stealing from me.”

Peanut deftly pulled forth the chunk of wood and pointed it at the Fakir. Uttering the words and gesticulating with his free hand, he set forth a spell toward his “benefactor”.

“You shall be a monkey you old fool!” he yelled after the final word was spoken as he quickly circled the wood above his head and as if casting a line, tossed the spell the way of the Fakir.

In the few seconds delay while he spewed his threat, the Fakir, awestruck and fearful quickly grasped a nearby mirror. A Mercuric Mirror, composed of two panes of glass firmly fitted and sealed, with a goodly amount of quicksilver pressed between. He held it in place between he and Peanut’s wand. The blue sparking beam shot forth and was reflected back upon the tiny hairy man. Within seconds, he was lying on the floor, twitching and smoldering, unconscious but still gripping the glowing chunk of wood, covered with graven runes and symbols.

The Fakir grasped a nearby cabinet and pulled forth a scimitar, dispatching justice to his unfaithful servant, then casting a spell on his own upon the thieving monkeys paw that had been used thrice to take that which the owner was undeserving of.

“…yes, yes. It is a magical paw. Three wishes it will grant to the owner, but three wishes that must be made with due care. Only three men may make their wishes true with this item and then it shall wither away as has its owner, finally free of the bonds of this world. Those that interfere with it, do so to their sorrow. I sell it to you in hopes that you do not buy it for yourself but for one more, shall we say, deserving of a lesson…”

The drunken man pish poshed the old Fakir and dropped his money down, no bartering required. He slithered off into the market, his mind filled with a desire for the presence of a woman. Maybe, perhaps given the “magic” of the paw, women. He laughed to himself and began to wish…

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