<xmp> <body> </xmp> The Witch, The Tooth, And The Dragon

Hooblinka, The Dutch Uncle

~Witch As Life Coach~

Only Hooblinka seemed to be called in a way she could not ignore when the three so recently returned home heard the cry of 'Rusty' from the other place.

Scatcat was already shirking off the sound of the human voice as he cast about for something sweet to eat...and Feebles sat entranced by the look of his own drab spots, but Hooblinka heard. There was something jangling and humming beneath the mother's voice, and it was the sound of the boy-- quietly sobbing.

Then the most astonishing thing happened-- the witch felt a vibration in her tall pointed hat. It was answering! (Oh, not in words) --but a response that felt deeply connected to the child's unhappiness.

The tip of Hoobie's hat began to tip this way and that, and then began to pull her upward until her feet left the ground.

As with most things that happen magically- even stopping time -neither Feebles nor Scat noticed her suddenly rising; in fact, they appeared to be in a trance themselves, so involved were they in self-gazing and hunting up sweets to eat-- but Hoobie knew. She just knew she was floating up and out, in a moving stream of Rusty's tears.

She would soon be passing through Rusty's tear duct and leaving his eye and her friends behind. (Whatever had happened when the three friends passed through the invisible curtain that held their world separate from Rusty's, something had stretched-- and now it was easy passage back and forth.)

At least for Hooblinka who was, after all, the only one who really did work magic.

She felt a slight sucking, a feeling of being pulled, and PLOP!- she was on the ground in front of the great-sized boy, who was huddled and hiding behind a shed in his backyard. "RUSTY!" his mother called again. "Get in here NOW! It's almost time for dinner."

Hooblinka had no idea why she'd been summoned. She certainly hadn't willed it. There had to be a connection between the this child and herself. "Maybe," she thought, "maybe you're always part of the person whose eye you inhabit."

"If that's true, I daresay given a choice, I'd have chosen to live in someone grand, like Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt... or a famous MOVIE STAR, but no. Here I am with this great-sized, freckled boy --who's hiding and crying. What a world!" Hooblinka thought, and frowned.

She approached one of his sneakered feet and looked up. "Hey, KID!" Hoolblina said. When there was no sign he'd heard or seen her, she spoke louder. "HEY! KID! I'M TALKING TO YOU!" she yelled, but there was no response.

"Alright. I'm too small for him to hear or see," she reasoned.

Then she hummed that funny way she had, and she closed her small eyes and read her 'mind book'. "Spells to bring on rain......spells to frighten ghosts......spells to... BE SEEN! Here it is!"

Hoobie bent over, grabbed her shoe tips, did a somersault and said,"LOOKIE LOOKIE... NOW, RIGHT NOW... LOOKIE, COOKIE!!"- and BAM! She was two inches tall. Next she tried out her voice.

"Hey, kid....look at me. RUSTY, I said, LOOK!" And he did. And he saw.

He was frightened suddenly, and rubbed his eyes with his fists, getting tears and snot all over his face, but at least he was shocked out of his sadness for a moment.

"Shhhhhhhh!" Hooblinka said. "Don't say a word. Just listen."

"I know you're wondering what you're seeing here, but let me assure you I am real and your crying brought me out. I exist as a speck in your eye, but so small you'd never notice. (Rusty's bleary, teary eyes grew wider.)

"We......we......'co-exist', meaning... we live together in a way, but sort of 'inside/outside'. I take no notice of you, you take no notice of me, but something's happened and hearing you cry made me appear and it made me WANT you to see me-- and right now, I very much want to know what's making you so sad, boy. What is it?"

Rusty just stared at the little two inch witch, his mouth hanging wide open. He was speechless... but at least he'd stopped crying.

"Talk to me, Rusty. Who's going to believe you're talking to a tiny witch, anyway? And who would I tell? A dragon? My CAT-TOOTH, who was the first thing I could find as a familiar so he'll do... no one would believe it, so it's just between us two," Hooblinka told him.

"I think......I think you very much need to tell someone, but can't decide who. Well here I am. Right here, right now. UNLOAD, boy. Tell me."

For some reason, the boy blurted out, "The other boys HATE me!" he said. "They trip me and steal my lunch, they punch me when nobody's looking and they... they call me Sp--sp---spackle Face," he said finally, blubbering loudly.

"They know I won't tell, it's too embarrassing," he added. "I can't fight them because I'm not a good fighter at all. I'm a.......I'm a....s-s-sc-aredy pants," he wailed, his face burning bright red.

"Nonsense, Rusty!" Hooblinka told him. "Let me talk to you like a Dutch Uncle," she said. "Only cowards FIGHT with their fists."

The boy looked at her in confusion. "What's a Dutch Uncle?" he asked.

"It's.....it's someone who will tell you the tough truths, no dancing around. The real deal," Hoobie explained-- "now, as I was saying, fists are for fools. The really smart people use their wits," she said. "The next time they gang up on you, let me tell you how you're going to handle it. How you're going to use their own stupid love of being brutes to BEAT THEM AT THEIR OWN GAME," she said, grinning, "And here's how we'll do it."

She talked, and Rusty grew calmer. Hooblinka laid out her plan and the boy became more and more excited to try it.

So they did. The very next day.

"I'm going back home now but just call, "HOOBIE!", and I'll be there in two shakes of a lamb's tail. Remember......"Hoobie"- she told him again, and disappeared.

When she landed back in her own gray-sky world, neither of her friends had noticed she'd been gone.

Hooblinka was not surprised. It made her happy to see them so Feebles-like and Scatcat-like-- innocently chomping on maple syrup chunks and looking sleepy. She really did prefer her world-- but Rusty needed her and he was their 'host' after all-- he was 'Master Blue Eyes', that's who he was, and very much in need of her help.

Hooblinka made plans.

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