By Thomas Page
Mary Susannah Damon did not expect this to happen. Sure, dabbling in the Dark Arts would cause some closed-minded people to say that she was in league with the Devil himself, but she did not expect the League of Magic meeting at her local civic center to be so intolerant.
“What do you mean by ‘hexing,’ Ms. Damon?” Mrs. Danes asked.
“I mean that I have cursed the Daltons because they are using my wi-fi illegally. Adding to insult to injury, they are also piggybacking off my Netflix account,” said Mary Susannah.
“You know very well that the League practices White Magic for the betterment of the community. Any member who tries to cause misfortune is going against the very bylaws of the League.”
“My hex wasn’t that bad.”
Danes turned towards the recorder, Ms. Dylan, and asked her to read back Mary Susannah’s spell. The recorder cleared her throat and read, “Ms. Damon told the League that she cast a spell using the phrase ‘Daltoni in infernum semper doleant et lutum deficient.'”
“Can you tell the League what that means in English?” asked Danes
“It roughly means ‘May the Daltons always suffer in Hell and eat dirt,’” said the recorder.
Danes turned to Mary Susannah saying, “Now, do you think damning someone to eternal punishment and a diet of dirt is an appropriate response to a dispute with your neighbors?”
“I would like to make a correction,” said Mary Susannah, “I never used the word ‘lutum.’ I said ‘stercore.’’
The recording started to speak, “The English translation of that word is…”
“That’s quite enough” said Danes.
She turned towards the accused and continued, “Ms. Damon, when you became a member of the League you promised three things: 1) to be an exemplar of White Magic in the community, 2) to use magic for the betterment of the community, and 3) to promote the value of witches in the community. What you have done to the Daltons breaks all three of your promises. Is revenge of the fecal variety really worth compromising our mission?”
“I can’t believe that this organization would throw one of its due-paying members under the bus,” said Mary Susannah, “Plus, who will bake those pumpkin cookies during our Halloween Holiday Hoopla?”
“I don’t think your baking prowess is going to forgive your grave transgression to the League,” said Danes, “Moreover, your pumpkin cookies taste like stercore.”
Mary Susannah and Danes started at each other for a minute with the rest of the executive board looking away from the conflict. Most meetings of the League were about as exciting as one would image organizational meetings to be. The most outrageous thing to ever happen prior to now was that a Mr. Darren had challenged to change the language of a proposal from “helping” to “assisting.” It was shot down by the League. He was so furious that he never came back.
“Would Mrs. Danes like that in the record?” asked Dylan.
Danes stood there for a minute and said, “Yes, Ms. Dylan, please record that I said that Ms. Damon’s cookies taste like stercore.”
By this point, Mary Susannah had turned bright red. She had never been so insulted, especially by a distinguished member of the League. Danes had been one of the charter members of League # 895 and held the position of Seraph Gubernator, the head of the League, for the past twelve years. She had also never spoken out against another member unless she knew had every right and authority. Mary Susannah knew this as well.
“Mrs. Danes,” said Mary Susannah, “Do you really want the record to show that you describe my baking as tasting like s—”
“—That’s exactly what I want it to say, Ms. Damon and I would recommend that unless you want to be expelled from the League you should show some due respect to the Board.”
Danes started at Mary Susannah until she returned to her seat. “Now, would the members of the League like to vote on Ms. Damon’s membership? Say ‘yea’ if you wish to banish Ms. Damon from all League activities. Say ‘nay’ if you wish to forgive her transgressions.”
“Wait a minute!” said Mary Susannah, “You said ‘unless.’ That implies that I still have a chance.”
“You had your chance, Ms. Damon.”
This proposal went against all mandates from the Home League (League #1) in Salem. All membership issues had to be discussed with the Salem Representative appointed for each Coven (the state level organization), but she did not attend the local League meetings. She had more important activities as the Salem Representative such as the annual “Witches’ Brew” beer festival which was happening the same night. Moreover, the Salem Advocate would have to investigate a legitimate cause for revoking her membership. This usually took two months to process and rarely resulted in termination. Only three members have been terminated in the League’s history: a Mrs. Taylor who hexed former President Ronald Reagan with “Sit similiter evomat, cum ad cenam Domus Alba” which accidently hexed former President George H. W. Bush to throw up on the Japanese Prime Minister, a Ms. Fairfax who hexed her entire family for forgetting her birthday and somehow by proxy caused an entire city to disappear, and a Mr. Kowal who hexed the entire sport of Football for being “inane” causing much of the issues associated with the Home League’s team—the New England Patriots. Danes did not have the authority or the prerogative to propose this vote.
The League sat in silence until Danes spoke up, “Please vote on the proposal or I will make an executive decision myself.”
The League had ten voting members excluding Danes who couldn’t vote on her own proposal. Most of the voting members had tremendous respect for all of the work she had done for the League and were easily swayed by her example. Mary Susannah had only been a member for a year and didn’t gel well with the older members because she wanted to make the Halloween Holiday Hoopla more “pagan.”
“Ms. Dylan, prepare a tally of the votes. We will vote orally.” said Danes.
Mary Susannah wanted with anticipation. “Yea” said the crowd. Dylan counted the yeas.
“It’s five” she said.
Damon sighed, “Those voting ‘nay?'”
“Nay” they said.
“Also, five” said Dylan.
“Humph, deadlocked,” said Danes.
She turned towards Mary Susannah, “I will be filing a report with the Salem Representative. Don’t think that the League’s clemency extends beyond this room. It takes careful consideration to hold out the three mandates you promised to keep. Now, lift the hex off the Daltons and we can proceed with meeting.”
Mary Susannah sighed quietly said, “Hei mihi impositum sit removeri Daltoni,” and made a waving motion with her hands. Danes watched her slowly return to her seat. The meeting returned to its normal proceedings. Mr. Boyle, the treasurer, was reading his report for the quarter when Danes locked eyes with Mary Susannah who was mouthing something to her. She couldn’t read lips but recognized the phrase, “Sit,” or “let her be” in Latin—the casting language.
Danes stood up and yelled, “Haec enim interiora hominis damnari inferno sint ignis in sæcula ancilla stercore comede!” at Mary Susannah.
“Mrs. Danes!” said the League.