The Besom Broom
Mabel, a fan of tradition, believed that the most effective implement for sweeping her garden path was a besom broom of twigs tied onto a long handle. Finding her ancient one had disintegrated, she browsed the shelves of the local home store, discarding the soft polyproplene brushes and the slightly stiffer bristle efforts until she found what she was looking for.
As she walked down the aisle with it, she was halted in her tracks by a tiny boy, who stopped briefly, and turned on the spot before running quickly back to his mother. “Is she a witch?” he whispered, hiding behind her skirt and peeping out. Remembering that she had left the house in a rush without tying her hair into its usual neat bun, Mabel flicked her long grey locks out in untidy strands over her black coat, but made a point of winking at the boy’s mother to spare her obvious embarrassment.
It seemed a pity now not to savour the moment and play to her audience, so Mabel went straight to the display of doorstops and stroked and started up a loud conversation with the cat-shaped ones. In the kitchen section she inspected a large casserole pot and studied the labels of some bottles of fancy oils and jars of herbs. Her gutteral chant of ‘hubble bubble, toil and trouble’ was barely audible but could just be made out by any little ears close by. In the ornaments department, Mabel cradled a large glass ball with her hands and held it aloft to the light, whereupon she heard a gasp of amazement from her stealthy stalker.
“Have you got a car to get it home?” asked the assistant at the till, passing over the heavy broom.
“No problem, I’ll be self-propelled,” said Mabel, now really enjoying the moment.
She made a detour past her rapt admirer, who had a firm grip on his mother’s hand. “Room on the broom. Hop on,” she said with a grin.
The poor boy was last seen fleeing down the garden aisle, with mother in hot pursuit.