Ferella Loses Her Wand (an audio adventure)

To kill time (from my perspective) or to entertain (anyone else), my daughter would often ask for extemporaneous stories, which I’d have to make up during whatever chore, task, or other obligation was at play. At some point, I decided to record these to write the stories down, either as is or as inspiration for whatever off-center ideas swirling around in my head. The following is one such session that happened while I was giving my youngest a bath. She was probably about 5 years old at this point. One of her favorite subjects was stories about fairies, and from that was the genesis of my Princess Rachel tales. Most of these stories have been captured in some fashion or the other, although one will forever remain with just my daughter and me. Never ask a tired father whose driving at night to tell you a story about a princess. Otherwise, he might regale you with Corkerella, probably the most inappropriate children’s story. But I digress…

Princess Rachel Goes to Summer Camp (Chapter 3 — The Unexpected Visitor)

Rachel went to the front door and wrenched it open. On the stoop was an older woman with curly black hair, hoop earrings, and a floral print robe. She gave Rachel a quick scan. “Oh my, do servants here often answer the door in their pajamas?”

“We don’t have servants. I’m Princess Rachel.”

“Are you? Well, I’m Carlene, a representative of Princess Summer Camp. I’m here to get you ready.”

“I wasn’t aware anyone from the camp was coming today.”

Carlene pushed her way in. “Quite all right. Your parents may have forgotten to tell you. That’s not the first time that has happened.” She looked around the hall, casting a critical eye on the tapestries and suits of armor. “Oh, how very last millennia. I do hope your clothes are more up-to-date than these furnishings.”

Rachel frowned. She already didn’t like this woman.

Tim appeared, rubbing his backside. “Oh, hello.” Spotting Carlene, he extended a hand and smiled. “My name is Tim.”

Carlene recoiled and looked at Rachel. “Is this your grandfather?”

Tim narrowed his eyes. “No, I’m a babysitter.”

She looked to Rachel, who nodded.

Whipping around, Carlene flashed a smile. “Well, isn’t that special?” With a quick movement, she reached into her robe and retrieved a handkerchief. Wrapping it around her hand, she shook Tim’s.

He frowned.

“This is Carlene from Princess Summer Camp,” Rachel offered with an eye roll.

Carlene added, “I’m here to ensure Miss Rachel is ready for camp.”

“That’s my job,” Tim shot back.

She looked sidelong at him. “Somehow, I doubt you do that for a living like I do. Pray tell, what do you do for employment?”

“I’m a wizard.”

Her eyebrows went up. “That’s a skill, not a job.”

Rachel resisted a grin. The way Tim does it, I’m not sure that it is either.

“What do you know about getting a Princess ready for summer camp?”

Tim glanced at the ceiling. “I know she needs clean underwear.”

Carlene gritted her teeth and sighed. “What she needs is riding equipment, a ballroom dress, grooming equipment, makeup, and perfume, to name a few.” She flashed her card in front of Tim.

He read it aloud. Carlene Fourntnoi, Specialist in Princess Preparation And Matchmaking (SPPAM). Your future is just a prince away.”

Rachel cringed. “SPAM? You’re kidding.”

“That’s S-P-P-A-M. Don’t forget the extra P. It makes all the difference.”

Tim tried but failed to conceal a smile. “I’m sure it does.” At that, he broke out into snorts of laughter.

Rachel also tried not to laugh but whispered to Tim, “What are you, six years old?”

“I’m young at heart,” he answered.

Carlene continued to move about the room, looking behind the tapestries and pinching the throw pillows. “Now that we have that out of the way, let us see what Ms. Rachel has, and we can get her things together.”

“I’m not sure I believe any of this,” Rachel whispered to Tim.

He cleared his throat. “If you don’t mind, Ms. Fourntnoi, I should probably contact Rachel’s parents and confirm your appointment.”

She sighed and replied with an exasperated tone, “Oh, very well then. But if we don’t get started soon, I won’t be able to help her prepare. I have another appointment at three.”

“This won’t take long,” Tim replied. He waved Rachel over toward the kitchen. “Get a bowl, preferably the largest one you can find, then fill it a third of the way up with water.”


“Just do it. I’m going to contact your parents.”

Rachel grabbed a large bowl, set it on the dining room table, and filled it with a pitcher.

Tim stood over the bowl and closed his eyes. “Water to water, face to face, make a connection across time and space.” The water glowed blue briefly, then swirled.

“Is it supposed to do that?” Rachel asked.

“Yes, the spell is searching for water on your parent’s end to connect to, then it will set up a connection.” Suddenly the bowl flashed green, then turned vaguely orange, and the King appeared, staring down into it.

“YIKES!” he exclaimed. “Tim, why are you in my Tequila Sunrise?”

A woman’s hand appeared on the King’s forehead. “Dear, why are you talking to your cocktail? Are you sick?” asked the Queen’s voice.

The King waved away the Queen’s appendage. “No, dear, Tim’s communicating through my drink. Take a look.”

The Queen’s face filled the bowl. “Oh, hello, Tim. Hi Rachel!”

Rachel leaned over and waved. “Hi, Mom.”

The King reappeared. “Can we make this quick? What’s the problem?”

Tim explained Carlene’s appearance at the door.

“Oh, yes, I forgot about that. Fourtnoi should be allowed to work with Rachel to get her ready.”

“Okay, thanks for the update,” Tim replied. The bowl stopped glowing and returned to normal. He looked up at Rachel. “Well, there you have it. It’s legit.”

Rachel rolled her eyes. Ms. Fourtnoi lifted the visors on the suits of armor in the foyer and sniffed inside.

Tim spoke first. “Rachel’s parents forgot to tell us about your appointment. Please forgive the confusion.”

“Quite all right,” Carlene replied. She let go of the visor, and it snapped shut on her fingertip. “Ouch!” She jerked her finger away and stuck it in her mouth. After glancing at them, she regained her composure, pulled her finger out, and studied it. “Very well.” She turned to Rachel. “Let’s go to your room and see what you have for Camp.”

Trying hard not to grit her teeth, Rachel nodded, and together they began heading for the stairs. Once they reached them, Rachel noticed Tim slinking away to the kitchen. “Aren’t you coming too?”

“Not if I can help it,” he replied.

Carlene took hold of Rachel’s shoulders. “Believe me, dear, we are better off. The only thing men can do is swing blades at each other and fall off horses.” She turned and walked up the stairs. Tim stuck fingers to the sides of his head to make devil horns and waggled a tongue at Carlene’s backside. Rachel stifled a laugh but hurried to catch up.

* * *

“OH, MY GOD!” Carlene screeched when she reached the top of the stairs. “There’s a farm animal in your room.” Rachel glanced in to see Oscar passed out on the rug, lying in a sunny spot.

“Oh, that is just Oscar, my pet pig.”

Carlene grimaced. “You have a pig for a pet. Is this a joke? Who gives a princess a pig for a pet?”

“That was Dad’s idea. But not completely, though. He misunderstood that I wanted a wig for my birthday, not a pig.”

“You wanted a wig?”

“Ah well, I was going through my Lady Gogo phase.”

Staring at her with wide eyes, Carlene muttered, “Okay then.”

Hours later, Carlene tossed another dress on the growing pile of discarded outfits.

“Child, you don’t have much to wear, do you?”

“I have all I need,” Rachel groused back.

“For a garage sale, maybe, but not a cotillion.”

“Cotillion? What is that?”

“I’ll explain later. For now, what I have picked out should do. We will find some other things on the way to Camp.”

Shopping. Ugh, that’s mom’s hobby, not mine. She preferred to walk a trail rather than stalking the shelves at the mall. Taking a chance of being eaten by a witch was more appealing that browsing bargain racks. “If we must,” she replied.

“Come now, have the right attitude – you want to fit in, right?”

“Well, yes.” Tim’s words rang in her mind. Maybe. It wasn’t fitting in that worried her; instead, she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.

Being both a tomboy and an adventure hound, she suspected she had many differences from other “conventional” princesses. Makeup and dresses were foreign to her, and jewelry looked nice. But there was no way she would let someone punch holes in her ear lobes. A shiver ran up her spine at the very thought.

No, she enjoyed the outdoors too much, seeing what she could find and what was around the next bend in the trail. That sometimes led to trouble, but she had always found a way out.

I guess summer camp is no different than that idea – an adventure in the making.

Would she enjoy it? Who knows?

Carlene left for her next appointment, and not surprisingly, Tim reappeared.

Rachel gave him a glare. “Ah, I see you resurfaced.”

“Just wanted to see the scene of the crime.”

“What crime is that?”

“Fashion murder.”

“I’m no slave to fashion. know that.”

“Indeed I do, but I’m always leery of other people telling me what to do, especially regarding clothes.”

Rachel considered Tim’s ratty robe. “It wouldn’t hurt for you to listen.”

“On the contrary, I suffer immeasurably when I have to listen to others’ opinions.”

“How so?”

“I had the misfortune to hear someone rave about a pair of underwear with velcro in them.”

Rachel pinched her eyes shut. “Too much information.”

He looked over her shoulder at the piles of clothing and barely filled clothing trunks. “So, what are you going to take? You’re not going naked, are you?”

She cocked her head to one side. “Gee, that won’t make me stand out now, will it?” Then she pointed at the trunks. “That’s all Carlene said is acceptable at Camp. Not even sure how much of this still fits.”

“Better try it on. There is no sense taking stuff that doesn’t fit.”

An hour later, Rachel slammed shut a single trunk and looked at Tim. “Okay, all done.”

“So, how much are you taking?”

“I’ve got enough to get me through a week. After that, I’m in trouble. Looks like I’m going to be hitting the mall on the way to summer camp.”

“You have my sympathy.”


He smirked. “No, not really. Better you than me.”

“So, what will you do after I go off to camp?”

“I’m going to have to take care of Oscar.” A squeal erupted from the stairs, and they both turned. He sat there with a bowl in his mouth. “Good Lord, how often does he eat?”

“Seven times a day if he can get away with it.”

“What does he eat?”

“The better question is — What doesn’t he eat?”

Tim rubbed his beard. “Well, I don’t know. Is he willing to eat apples and cheese curls?”

“I don’t think that will be a problem.”

“Are you going to miss him?”

Rachel sighed. “Oh, of course, but I’m sure he won’t miss me.”

Oscar dropped the bowl and let out a high-pitched squeal.

“At least not as much as his next meal.”

Princess Rachel Goes to Summer Camp (Chapter 2 — Morning of Doom)

Dawn arrived, much to everyone’s chagrin, except, of course, Mom and Dad.

The door to Rachel’s room drifted open. “Oh, honey.”

A muffled groan drifted out of the bed. “Huh?”

Rachel popped an eye open. Wearing Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts, Dad looked down at her. Next to him stood Mom in a sundress and wide-brim hat.

Rachel groaned. “I take it you’re leaving.”

Mom answered, “That’s right, dear, but we wanted to say goodbye.”

Rachel burrowed under the pillow. “Ugh, I can’t believe this.”

Dad pulled the pillow back. “If you need to reach us, just let Tim know. He set up a way for you to talk to us.”

Rachel peeked from just above her blankets. “You expect me to rely on Tim’s magic?”

Mom frowned. “I understand he doesn’t have the best reputation wielding magic, but I’ve seen him do it successfully. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have you rely on it.”

“Oh, alright.”

“Have fun at camp, and remember we love you,” Dad said.

“You’d love me more if you took me with you.”

“Sorry, but that ship has sailed,” Mom said, then flashed an amused look at Dad, and they both laughed. “Or should I say that ship will sail to Coconut Island at noon?”

“Oh, good God,” Rachel groaned into her pillow. Her parents patted her blanketed form and then left.

Rachel rolled over and pulled the sheets over her head. Perhaps she’d wake up and find it all a dream.

Three hours later, someone kept poking her in the back. What now? Something round and wet licked her neck. “Ewwww!” She rolled over. Oscar, her pet pig, squealed at her. “Oh, what do you want?”

His pink-skinned form jumped down and scrambled toward the door.

“I get it; you want to eat.”

Oscar threw his head up and down.

“If you think I’m making waffles, forget it.”

Snuffling carried on into the hallway. Rachel stumbled out of bed, grabbed a robe, and headed toward the door. As she approached the top of the stairs, though, Oscar glared at her with narrowed eyes.

“Don’t worry, I won’t eat any bacon.”

He squealed and skittered down the stairs.

In the kitchen, she found Tim sitting slumped over on a stool in front of the stove. He perked up. “Good morning, Princess. Did you see your parents before they left?”

She nodded, then drifted over to find some instant gruel. Oscar raced into the kitchen, slammed into a stool, and knocked it over. Rachel barked at him, “Oscar, settle down. I’ll get you something.” She reached up, grabbed a large bowl, and set it on the floor.

Tim frowned. “Is he always like this?”

“Only when he is hungry.”

“How often do you have to feed him?”

“Pretty much all day.”

“Oh, joy.”

She poured the instant gruel into a bowl, but Oscar, being Oscar, couldn’t wait and dove in. He snuffled, bit, and chewed the boxed manna with wild abandon.

Tim watched Oscar eat, then scratched at his beard. “That reminds me, I must send my ex-wife an alimony check.”

Rachel looked up. “Say, you’ve never told me about your marriage to . . . What was her name?”

“Lilith,” he said with an involuntary shiver. An awkward silence grew between them as Rachel poured a bowl of instant gruel for herself.

“Well? Tell me about her. How did you meet?”

Tim sat silently, then frowned and shrugged. “I was summoning demons.”

“Good lord, why were you doing that?”

“I needed someone to fill out my taxes.”

“But you don’t earn anything.”

“What difference does that make? Anyway, I summoned a demon, and this beautiful woman showed up instead.”

“Ah, so that was Lilith.”

Tim shot an annoyed look at her. “Uh, no. Anyway, this woman was incredibly horny.”

Rachel nearly spit out her gruel. “Oh my gosh. You did not just say that!”

“Yup, she had horns all over her head and was pissed about being summoned. That’s when she tried to eat me.”

Rachel stared at him. “What did you do? Zap her with your wand?”

“I wish. Instead, I screamed like an elementary schoolgirl and ran for the door. But when I threw it open, there stood a pale-faced, raven-haired woman with looks that could kill.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“No, the demon took one look at her, opened a portal back to Hell, and disappeared.”


“I thought as much, so I invited her in.”

“So, was it love at first sight?”

Tim looked at the ceiling. “Love is such a multi-faceted word; I’m not sure it is the best one to describe that situation.”

“I guess this part is PG?”

Tim nodded.

“So, what made you want to marry her?”

“Since she was already living with me, I figured, why not?”

“Wait, back up a bit. How did you end up living together?”

“Pretty simple. She wouldn’t leave.”

Rachel chuckled. “So, how was the marriage?”

“At first, it was okay, but then she started nagging me, criticizing everything I did, like she was trying to change me. Then she crossed the line, so I got rid of her.”

“What line was that?”

“The one I drew on the floor to protect myself from demons. Lilith crossed it, and she disappeared. Turns out she was a demon, after all.”

Rachel looked askance at him. “Really? You didn’t notice she was a demon?”

“I should have been suspicious given all the demon-like behavior, shoe shopping, obsession with Yankee candles, romantic comedies, and a dog-eared copy of 50 Shades of Offwhite.”

“I’m not sure that qualifies as ‘demon-like’ behavior.”

“It does in my book, so there.” He blew a raspberry.

She shook her head and sat, picking at the gruel before her.

“What’s bothering you? Is it because you must go to summer camp?”


“What exactly is the problem?”

“What if I don’t fit in, and none of the other girls like me?”

Tim chuckled.

Rachel glared. “What’s so funny about that?”

“Okay, fitting in is just another way of being compliant. Or, in other words, being fake just to satisfy others. As opposed to being liked, which means having people enjoy your uniqueness. You can’t have both.”

“I can fit in or have friends, but not both?”

He shook his head, “No, you misunderstand me. Someone will like you if you are genuine, kind, and polite. Those who lift you up and are honest without being mean are real friends. Those who want everyone to act as they do, say what they want to hear, and participate in reprehensible or cruel behavior are not people you want to ‘fit in’ with anyway. Chances are, you’ll find someone you can get along with.”

“I suppose you are right,” Rachel replied. “I just don’t want to spend all my time figuring out who is honest and who is fake.”

“The process goes a lot quicker if you stay true to yourself. The longer you put on airs, the longer it takes to find someone who can be a friend.”

Rachel finished her gruel. “Do you have a lot of friends?”

“I have a few,” Tim replied. “Probably no more than a handful, but I trust them. That is the one thing I require above all else. I can handle someone being critical if they are honest. But if they can’t be honest, I don’t have time for them.”

A resounding series of thumps came from the front door. “Were you expecting someone?” Rachel asked.

Tim shook his head. “Not until tomorrow. That’s when Mustypants is supposed to come over and escort you to Princess Summer Camp.” More thumps came from the front door.

“Are you going to get that?”

“Why not you?”

“Because I’m twelve, and you’re the adult.” She tried not to add “sort of.”

Tim shrugged. “Ah, well, I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I tried to use magic to get rid of my bed head but sneezed as I finished ‘on my body set my hair,’ and now I’m stuck to my chair. It should wear off in another few minutes. Can you get the door?”

Rachel rubbed her eyes. “Honestly, how do you take care of yourself?”

“It ain’t easy.”