Wizard’s Coffee

I’ve never been one for short stories but awhile ago I was reading a collection of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut and a two fold idea occurred to me. Part of the idea was for a short story…odd, I rarely have ideas for short stories, I’m too wordy in my writing. But the idea stuck in my head.

I had also recently run into the problem of being too wordy in my novel. Part of this is world building since I tend to write fantasy but to a large extent it’s a problem with my writing. I need to improve.

So, to that end, I decided to write the short story to force myself to be brief. So here’s my attempt at a short story.

Wizard’s Coffee Part One

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

Dorsa was a small town left by the wayside of what used to be a prosperous trade route. The road, however, had been washed out by a hurricane decades before and the almighty government decided they would not spend another cent on a road destined to be destroyed. They declared Provich, a city fifty miles farther inland, as the new trade route and abandoned the Waterway road and essentially every town along its curbs.

The citizens of Dorsa came to enjoy their quiet life. They were content for their weekly dose of excitement in the way of news brought into the local inn every Wednesday by Mr. Flanders fishing boat. The rest of the week, however, they welcomed the slow, plodding life of quiet Dorsa, thank the government very much!

So it was with a bit of consternation that the news on Wednesday of this particular week arrived with a new government stationed wizard.

Mr. Flanders, a rather tall, burly man tanned well by his days on his boat, entered the inn at precisely half past noon, his usual hour.

Mr. McCowen, the innkeeper, and the five other citizens who always checked in on Wednesday, cheered at the sight of their weekly news bearer and good friend.

Behind Mr. Flanders trumped in a wizard. They all knew what he was, if the bushy eye brows and long beard hadn’t given it away, his long robes surely would have. For only wizards were allowed long beards and robes and inevitably every one of them had bushy brows. It was a staple of their trade.

The denizens of the inn lost their cheer. Mr. Flanders cocked a brow at his friends, not surprised by their lack of welcome, but not welcoming what he had to say next.

“Everyone, let me introduce government stationed wizard Garius Whittlestrom.”

The wizard harrumphed and the citizens cleared out. They wanted nothing to do with a wizard. That left poor Mr. McCowen standing in an empty inn with a bushy wizard.

Although Mr. McCowen was a small be-speckled man with a nervous twitch that made him wink every few seconds, he was not a coward. So he straightened his shoulders and asked,

“What’ll it be today, Wizard Whittlestrom?”

Out from under those big, bushy brows showed dark brown eyes and lips cracked by weather.

“Strongest drink that’s not liquor.” Came the reply and Whittlestrom took over the booth by the front window.

“Coffee it is,” Mr. McCowen disappeared to reappear with the mug of deep, rich coffee. It was the best in the county and Mr. McCowen was quite proud of it.

Setting the delicious brew before the wizard, Mr. McCowen stepped back to see the pleasure the coffee would bring.

Whittlestrom sniffed at it and inspected the color from every angle, even laying his head to the side to look across the top of the liquid.

“That’ll never do,” he proclaimed and, before Mr. McCowen could step aside, sparks flew from the wizard’s fingertips and the coffee turned purple. Poor Mr. McCowen was caught in the overflow of sparks and, by no desire of his own, his hair matched the coffee.

“Hey, now!” the innkeeper exclaimed and belatedly jumped back but Whittlestrom did not reply.

He sipped at the coffee with a careful tilt of the mug and instantly spat the purple liquid across the table.

“That won’t do!” he shouted as he rose and stomped from the inn with a swish of his expansive robe.


A whole week passed and Mr. McCowen was starting to believe he’d seen the last of the government appointed wizard, good riddance!

If he looked hard enough in the mirror, he thought he could see the start of his usual red hair coming back. His wife, a petite blond with dimples, laughed uproariously at his purple hair but even she admitted red was a better color on her husband.

Mr. McCowen’s five Wednesday regulars were already sitting eagerly for Mr. Flanders to arrive at his half past noon. The door opened and in walked a new patron but it wasn’t Mr. Flanders.

Between a long beard and bushy brows stared dark brown eyes with a hint of insanity. Mr. McCowen’s heart sank and his patrons disappeared out the door.

“Coffee!” demanded Whittlestrom as he overtook the booth by the front window again.

With a reluctant shuffle, Mr. McCowen set his prize coffee before the wizard and stepped back to give a wide berth.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

“Coffee!” demanded Whittlestrom as he overtook the booth by the front window again.

With a reluctant shuffle, Mr. McCowen set his prize coffee before the wizard and stepped back to give a wide berth.

Whittlestrom again inspected the liquid, laying his head to the side, looking down his nose and sniffing and finally proclaiming,

“That’ll never do!’

Sparks flew, tables moved and Mr. McCowen landed firmly on his rump with his hair standing completely on end.

“Ow!” He exclaimed but as before the wizard gave no heed.

With a cautious tip of a finger, Whittlestrom tested the now semi-solid form of coffee by daubing a bit to his tongue.

He spit viciously with a “Won’t do!” and stormed from the inn.


Wednesday rolled around and Mr. McCowen kept a close eye on the door, hoping although he suspected it was futile, that one bad mannered wizard wouldn’t walk through.

With good humor, Mrs. McCowen had spent a portion of every evening trying to get Mr. McCowen’s hair to lay back into place but no amount of combing seemed to work. Jut that morning the innkeeper thought there was a slight slant to the hair. It might be starting to relax. He hoped fervently.

His five regulars were in attendance but, as with any small town, the news of the wizard had traveled fast and outside the streets sat empty. The good people of Dorsa wanted nothing to do with a government appointed wizard. To Mr. Cowen’s complete surprise, Mr. Meren brought his son, Pete. The boy, all of six years old, peeked at the door around his father’s side like a new toy was about to arrive.

Mr. McCowen surmised it was the boy’s enthusiasm that got his father to agree to his attendance because the boy had never seen a wizard before and it was big happenings!

The door opened and in walked Whittlestrom. Four of the usual patrons filed out but Mr. Meren, try as he might, couldn’t get his boy to move.

“Coffee!” Came the demand as the wizard took his usual spot.

Mr. McCowen came back with the coffee and gently set it before the wizard, saying an ode of goodbye to the delicious brew in his mind.

he backed away to stand behind the bar as Whittlestrom began to tilt his head this way and that in his inspection.

A small head popped up in the booth across from the wizard.

“Pete!” Cried Mr. Meren from beside Mr. McCowen as the bushy brows of the wizard drew together in an angry scowl.

“Mr. Gov-ment appointed wizard? What’re you doing?” asked the boy before his father could fetch him from danger.

Mr. Meren froze when Whittlestrom held up a finger. One never knew if sparks would fly from wizard fingers!

“Finding the perfect morning drink for the missus,” replied the wizard as he laid his chin on the table, eye level with little Pete.

“That don’t sound very gov-mently,” Pete declared.

The first grin Mr. McCowen had seen on a wizard covered Whittlestrom’s face.

“Shhhhh,” he said, “the gov-ment doesn’t know.”

Pete grinned back at this new camaraderie with the wizard.

“What’s the missus like?” Pete asked.

“Good strong flavor,” the reply came.

Pete gave a grave ‘hmmm’ as only a child can.

“Nice aroma to fill the abode.”

Again that grave ‘hmmm.’

“Something that goes well before breakfast and after dinner.”

Again ‘hmm’ with an added nod.

“Momma drinks her coffee morning and night and sighs with each sip. She likes it black. Have you tried it black?”

Whittlestrom’s head came up in surprise and his brows rose to his hair. Pursing his lips, he lifted the mug and took a sip of the rich, black coffee.

Mr. McCowen held his breath, waiting for poor little Pete to be spit upon.

Instead came a deep sigh of contentment and a “That’ll do. That’ll do nicely.”

The End.



P.S. I’m thinking on continuing the adventures of Whittlestrom the Wizard. If you have any ideas, please comment below and I’ll see about coming up with a story.