Peer Review by HelpMe512 (United States)

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Witches and Ghosts and Drugs and #pb&pig

By: A Certain Type of Decisive


    "This is Dalphine, leave a message!" The chipper voice was almost unrecognizable as the woman he used to know. He read somewhere that voice actors have to smile while they read lines because you can hear a smile in a voice. He didn't even know Dalphine knew how to smile. He almost hung up. Almost.
    "Hey Dalphie, it's me, Justice. I know you told me never to call you. Ever. So help you God. But that was ten years ago and I'm certain you still don't hold that event with the church against me. Anyway, my grandma- you remember her, right? The one who said you should become a botanist? Well she died. With a heart attack, like you said. On the day you predicted, a couple years ago. Well, this may come as a shock to you, but you're still the only person I have in my contacts who knows how to perform a seance. I got a craving for some of her pie- you tasted it back when we were dating, that banana creme kind? But she never put the recipe in her recipe book. I keep trying one's online, but they aren't the same. Just curious if you'll help me out. Call me back."
    Dalphine wanted to perform another seance. Dalphine always wanted to perform another seance, but this time it conflicted with her overwhelming desire to avoid Justice Ortega. Which again, conflicted with a new and growing  desire to meet with the now deceased, Evangeline Ortega. Justice, the idiot he was, had only remembered her as the one who "said she should become a botanist." He had been too oblivious to notice that his was grandmother was both a drug dealer and established witch- but how much could you really expect from a man who claimed to be dating a lesbian for three years?
    She had one of those old fashioned answering machines, the kind that put the voicemail through the speaker while you receive it. Sitting in her foyer, listening to Justice ramble on, she realized she could not only contact Evangeline for her own benefit, but get Justice to pay for it. Pig-friendly apartments were hard to find- she glanced at Hestia- and they didn't come cheap. She sighed at scribed a note on her arm, next to her grocery list and a reminder about Mrs. Lin's psychic appointment.
    She was going to need a lot of candles.
    "Evangeline... Evangeline, can you hear me? Are you in this room with us?"
    Being dead, Evangeline thought, was the highlight of her life. She could do anything anytime. She didn't have to rely on money, on debt, on promises she couldn't keep- hell, she wasn't even married anymore. The weak man she had taken to secure a place in the country had died first, thankfully.  She assumed he was seeing other women, just like he had done in life- if that hadn't sent him to hell. But she could imagine that he had ended up worse than her, all that with the drugs and such. She sighed, jumping down from plane to plane, sitting in the empty chair in front of the ouija board. 
    Looking at Dalphine, she wanted the spell out n-o-s-h-i-t-s-h-e-r-l-o-c-k, but just saying "yes" was quicker. As she reached for the planchette, she was shocked to see another pair of badly manicured hands. She spun to see her grandson, Justice- sitting next to a pig? She didn’t remember Justice being strong or dedicated enough to be a farmer- and he definitely wasn’t smart enough to care for pigs.
    Justice screamed as the planchette moved his hands. Despite loving a witch and being well versed in matters of the occult, he was terrified of ghosts. He was also afraid of witches. He just didn't quite know it yet. Dalphine looked pleased, a successful seance wasn't exactly rare,  but they took a lot of effort.  She put her hands down and pulled a typewriter out of her backpack. Evangeline gave a relieved sigh at the sight of it.
    "You didn't think we were going to do this letter by letter did you? Come on, Eve, I'm a professional, have a little faith."
    "Faith?" She typed. "I haven't had faith since Saint Peter spit in my face and told me my homemade lemon bars were trash and he only attended the baked goods fair because he thought there'd be edibles."
    "Speaking of edibles, Grandma-"
    "Oh shut up, Justice," Dalphine interrupted. "She doesn't care about the pie recipe, she's dead. Tell me about Oscar Wilde, you had to've met Oscar Wilde by now."
    "Oscar Wilde? More like Oscar Wild. Give that man a couple drink and he's naked on the table talking about the natural ethics of taxidermy and the hierarchy of coyotes. He drinks nothing but Funky Monkeys and he's still writing books up here." 
    There was a pause in the typing.
    "Did you say pie? Like banana cream pie?"
    "Dalphine," she typed quickly, and Dalphine did not read the rest out loud. She moved the typewriter so he could not see it. He looked around nervously, knuckles white from gripping the tablecloth, sweat forming on his prematurely balding head. 
    Evangeline continued typing, getting steadily faster, with more and more spelling errors, but the message was clear.
    "Get Justice out, he's working for my worst enemy- PB."
    "PB?" She typed back.
    "Yeah, like Peanut Butter- He's bad news, Dalph, he was in this business- but the other kind of business. He sold coke and heroin-"
    "Evangeline, weed is no better, it's still the devil's lettuce," she whispered. Despite her unorthodox upbringing and general discontentment with social norms, she did not like anyone addicted to anything. She didn't even drink coffee. Evangeline had always tried to rationalize it by saying if she only had three clients, she could check in on them, make sure they were responsible. She did a good job but it was still illegal drugs in her state. She was still mixing with some unsavory crowds.
    "It's in my will that my banana cream pie recipe gets torn up- it's a secret code. PB wants it because it has all the names of my more vulnerable clients-"
    But before Evangeline could type another word, Justice stood, shaking the table. Hestia squealed and Dalphine looked up, raising her hands above her head.
    Justice was holding a gun.
    "Tell me who they are I'll shoot-"
    "Justice?" she asked, shocked.
    "Believe me I will- I need that money Grandma- unless you want dear Dalphie to join-" Dalphine whistled a piercing note. Hestia jumped up from her chair in response, latching her strong jaw on Justice's quivering arm. He yelled, trying to pull the trigger, but instead dropped the gun. He fell to the ground, pig on top of him, trying to wrestle out but failing. 
   As the police drove away, Dalphine and Hestia stood, watching, on the porch. Beside them, Evangeline's ghost ate some ghost pie. Hestia was frustrated as she tried to eat the crumbs. Even through the window they could hear Justice shout,
    "And I would've gotten away with it too, had it not been for that witch! And that meddling pig, too!"


Message to Readers

Social distancing? More like social dis-dancing! Come on everybody, let's have our online salsa class! There's no way this can go wrong.

Peer Review

Wow! This was super awesome, and like your other work, is a super interesting idea. I absolutely loved the twist at the end, and your characters have so much personality! I especially thought the pig was a nice touch.

I was a bit confused by the dialogue, since I couldn't tell who was saying what. That's about it; this was a really well written piece.

Reviewer Comments

Congrats on winning the contest!