This Week: “Caveat Emptor/Caveat Venditor” by Ed Ahern
(Originally published in Silver Pen.)
As warlocks go, Harald was a failure. Even though his curses were vigorously evil, and his pitches quite logical, he almost always lost the business. Harald partly blamed his sex. Most internet advertising for spells and curses came from witches. Those seeking vengeance or unfair advantage picked the repugnant hags rather than Harald, who was merely homely and middle aged. Harald had given himself mental hernias trying to increase sales..
Fifteen years an apprentice and sorcerer, he thought, and nothing to show for it. Washed out priests and ministers become counselors or teachers, but who’s willing to pay tuition to learn the uses of bloodwort?
Harald had joined Wizards Anonymous, but the other members only talked about their mushroom dependencies. Needing money to live on, he took a job with a livery service, driving pampered executives to and from New York airports. It was several months of traffic jams before Harald realized what a premium resource he had at his disposal. He practiced the phrasing of his questions.
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty-odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He has his original wife, but advises that after 49 years they’re both out of warranty. He works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of five review editors. Ed’s had 140 stories and poems published so far, and a series of articles on fly fishing. His collected fairy and folk tales, The Witch Made Me Do It, was published by Gypsy Shadow Press. His novella The Witches Bane was published by World Castle Publishing, and his collected fantasy and horror stories, Capricious Visions, was published by Gnome on Pig Press. Ed is currently working on a paranormal thriller novel tentatively titled The Rule of Chaos. You can find him on Twitter as @bottomstripper and online at swampgasworks.com.
About the Narrator:
Rish Outfield is a writer, voice actor, and audiobook narrator. He can be heard co-hosting the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine and That Gets My Goat podcasts, where he and Bigg Anklevich entertainingly waste much of their time. He also features his own stories on the Rish Outcast podcast. He once got a job because of his Sean Connery impersonation… but has lost two due to his Samuel L. Jackson impression.