Chapter 17:

One day, the fisherman took a nice nap.

Witch Cafe Wisteria

It was a serene, new morning at Witch Cafe Wisteria and Pecan was already working on training Doe the best she could.

It was possible that Derry would come back and teach him better… or not, considering that she was still not all that great at explaining things even to Doe. Thankfully, Doe hadn’t had to deal with that frustration. In fact, Doe was almost breezing right along through Pecan’s training. She wasn’t sure if it was her instruction or if Doe was just one of those lucky talented folks one often hears about. Thankfully, or at least in Pecan’s mind, talent only goes so far! The witch apprentice made sure to keep up with her own training.

Soon, Barley arrived as he often did in the mornings. Though he was tired, he was at least able to lift his feet instead of dragging them like he used to.

“Hey, Barley,” Pecan called out as Doe gave Barley the standard greeting. She asked, “The usual?”

“Yuh…” the fisherman responded as he made his way up to the counter.

“Don’t worry, I can uh… just meet you over there,” Pecan said as she started getting the ingredients ready. Doe cleared off the counter.

However, Barley shook his head. “Nuh, ‘s fine. I can make it up there.”

Pecan shrugged, letting the man do what he wanted and started opening all the lids on the jars. Suddenly she stopped and noticed Doe watching closely. Since Barley was at the counter, she lowered her voice a bit. “Oh, right. You don’t get to see this one a lot. Uh… hey, Barley. You mind if Doe does this one?”

The poor, tired fisherman uttered a sound and made a small nod to indicate that it was fine.

“Okay, Doe. This one’s my spell, so it should be pretty easy for you actually,” Pecan explained as she stepped out of the way to let Doe prepare the drink.

“Oh! Okay! So it’s a basic level spell?!” Doe asked. His voice was rather loud for the morning. Barley couldn’t help but twitch a little.

Pecan wasn’t fond of Doe’s volume herself and raised her shoulders in a shudder. “Uh-- yeah sure, but uh… this spell is all about… you know… trying to get someone to sleep? So maybe like whisper or something.”

Doe gasped loudly at Barley. “Oh! I’m sorry! Am I keeping you up?!”

Barley shut his eyes in slight irritation.

“Doe! Gosh darn it, whisper or talk low at least!” Pecan whisper shouted at her fellow employee as she nudged his back. Understanding the demand, he sucked in his lips and mixed Barley’s drink slowly but surely. This was a recipe he had made only a few times before but had never infused magic into, so he was a bit excited.

As he finished mixing, Pecan nodded in satisfaction and began to try to explain the magic portion. “So for this one, it’s probably easiest if you uh… just maybe imagine Barley getting good sleep. Or imagine you getting good sleep.”

“Got it! Sounds--” Doe, realizing he was shouting again, clasped a hand over his mouth. “Sounds easy…”

With that, Doe clapped a few times and hovered his hand over the cup. At first, nothing happened, which filled Pecan with a bit of hidden glee. Of course, the one who would be best at infusing the Good Rest Tea with magic would be Pecan, the creator of the tea herself! Well, not that it was any trouble for Derry to do so either, but Pecan was just happy to know that Doe was struggling with it at least a little.

However, Doe tried again, clapping and then hovering his hand over the cup. At first the cup’s contents shone an almost solid light blue, but it quickly shone the usual gentle light blue it was supposed to be within less than a second.

“How was that?” Doe whispered excitedly in what was not a shouting voice, much to Pecan and Barley’s satisfaction.

“Uhhhhh… yeah, that’s fine,” Pecan shrugged as she already saw Barley handing over ten godas. She accepted his payment and gave him three godas back. “Enjoy. Sleep well.”

Barley nodded as he stuffed the money into his pocket, taking the cup in his other hand. Before he could reach the window seating, he was already drinking the tea. Doe turned to Pecan expectantly.

“Yeah, Doe, good job,” the witch apprentice said flatly.

Before they knew it, Barley had finished his tea and was already fast asleep.

They went right back to practicing, that is, until Jade came in to visit. Noticing that Derry wasn’t there, she reluctantly made her way to the counter.

“Is Derry currently preoccupied by business in the backroom?” Jade asked.

“Hey, Jade. She’s at Camellia right now,” Pecan replied.

Jade stared at Pecan for a while. Finally, she muttered a quick, “Ugh” then said, “I suppose I’ll take my leave then”.

“Uh, really, Jade? It’s like that?” Pecan asked, completely unimpressed by such a decision. She could make the teas just fine! It didn’t have to be Derry!

“Yes, it’s like that,” Jade mimicked Pecan and turned to leave. “The voyage to Camellia is of a rather daunting length. Time for dawdling must be kept at a minimum at the present.”

Doe waved in confusion. “Bye I guess! It was nice to see you again!”

He quickly covered his mouth again as he noticed his volume, but Pecan informed him that Barley wouldn’t wake up easily. With that, they went back to practicing.

“Are you not getting tired or anything?” Pecan asked as Doe infused another cup of tea.

Doe took a while to think. He inspected his limbs and looked at his hands. He placed a finger on his cheek as he thought longer. “I guess I’m getting pretty hungry!”

Pecan sighed. And sighed. And sighed again, each more disgusted than before. She was beginning to feel like the whole witchcraft thing wasn’t fair. Here was Doe who was pretty much just working at the cafe to save up for a summer trip of some type while Pecan was really busting her hide, as they say, just to keep up with her own body’s limitations. Months of hard work for Pecan was just a few days’ worth of attempts for Doe.

“Have you uh… done witchcraft before?” Pecan asked.

Doe shook his head with vigor. “Oh no! No no! Imagine government officials with a son who did witchcraft!”

“Sounds fine,” Pecan said with a shrug.

“It’s not! Or… I guess now that I’m an adult and all, they don’t really care what I do… but that’s why I decided to take the trip this summer!” Doe exclaimed.

Pecan hummed in an attempt to show her slight interest. “Surprised your parents aren’t just paying for it.”

“They don’t know about it! Or this job!” Doe revealed. Now that was a surprise to Pecan who was more than convinced that Doe was simply gathering chump change for his summer trip. Well, we can’t always assume everything, as many of us know.

The witch apprentice furrowed her brow as she thought of how Doe had been working. “Wait, what is your trip even for?”

Doe laughed nervously and scratched his head. “Well, this man said I was a nice-looking young guy, so he asked me to travel with him as a two-man band or something! I figured, why not?!”

“What the heck? That sounds like a weird scam. Did he tell you not to tell your parents?”

“No, they’re just never home for me to tell them! It’s just for the summer, so it should be fine!”

Pecan looked over Doe quickly. “Do you even sing? You really don’t seem like someone who’d be in a band.”

“I was in choir once, so I can sing a little! He said it’d be fine as long I was still nice-looking and sang at least a little okay!” Doe said as he flashed, what he felt was a dreamy smile and posed.

Pecan shook her head at Doe dubiously. “Uh… I wouldn’t be surprised if they find you dead in a ditch somewhere but do what you want.”

“I’d hope not! Ya know, I kinda like working here, so it’d be nice to come back after the trip!”

“If you survive.”

Doe frowned and folded his hands together nervously. “Be a little more supportive, will you?! I’ll be okay!”

“Rest in Pieces, Yamada Doe.”

And so, the rest of the day passed by slowly. A few folks came in wanting the Good Luck Tea after hearing about the almond seller striking it rich. Perhaps they were late, but at least they were able to check out the cafe for themselves. Luckily for them, they were all able to order their drinks with magic!

While they most likely wouldn’t have the same luck as the almond seller, at least they would have a little extra boost of chance for the day.

By the end of the shift, Doe had practiced quite a bit and actually did begin to feel rather tired. That delighted Pecan perhaps more than it should have!

“Yep, just rest up when you get home,” Pecan said as they cleaned up the place. “Like Barley over there…”

Ah, right. Barley was still sleeping in the window seating. That was a bit unusual as he would often leave after about four hours or so. At that time, it was about thirty minutes to the cafe’s closing hour.

“Uh oh… is he dead?” Pecan asked herself as she went over to check on him. A dead guest was definitely not good for Witch Cafe Wisteria in any way.

As the witch apprentice approached the potentially dead fisherman, she began to calm down as she heard his soft breathing. He was alive. Perhaps he had just had a long day and was extra tired.

However, as mentioned, it was almost time to close. The skies were dark, and the cafe was about to be a cleaning zone. It would be dangerous for the average customer to come face to face with the infamous broom and mop!

Pecan gently shook Barley. “Hey, buddy. Sorry, but it’s like uh... closing time.”

She waited for the fisherman to wake up, but he didn’t even react. She tried again and received the same lack of reaction. She tried again with more force. No dice.

“Wow, he’s really knocked out!” Doe shouted as he cleaned the counter. Pecan motioned for Doe to come over.

The loud employee quickly made it to Pecan’s side and looked at Barley sleeping. “Hey! Barley! You should wake up! Don’t you work at night?!” Doe shook Barley violently as Pecan protested a bit. However, Barley still didn’t wake up.

“Uh… this isn’t normal.” Pecan muttered, shuffling over to the counter to grab a cup of water and a napkin. She returned to dump the water onto Barley’s face. Still nothing. She then wiped his face with the napkin. “Doe…”

“Wait! Let’s try this!” Doe exclaimed, pinching Barley’s nose shut and covering the sleeping man’s mouth. Pecan wasn’t fond of potentially suffocating their guest, but nothing seemed to be working. After a while, Barley began to shake as he struggled to breathe, but he still wouldn’t wake up.

“Okay okay, Doe let him breathe,” Pecan said, smacking Doe’s hands.

Doe frowned and bit his thumb nervously. “Maybe a lot of noise?!”

So, they tried to make a lot of noise. Barley continued to sleep.

“Maybe we can tickle him?!” Doe suggested. They tried, but Barley remained asleep.


So, they tried to wake Barley with a punch and a kick. Barely still slept.

Pecan sighed. “Uh… Now we’re just assaulting this poor guy. Let’s stop.”

“But what are we going to do?!” Doe asked, panicking.

Pecan looked around for a while and then rushed into the backroom. From there, she grabbed a tablecloth and made her way back to the sleeping fisherman. The two employees covered Barley with the cloth completely and stared.

“This looks suspicious,” Pecan said. She uncovered Barley’s head. “...Uh… We’re going to see if he wakes up by tomorrow morning. If not, then we’ll call Derry.”

Doe pressed his fingers together. “Okay...”

And so, Pecan and Doe closed the cafe for the day and cleaned as Barley continued to sleep. Perhaps a better course of action would have been to call Derry right away, but sometimes we don’t always make the best decisions, now do we?

Nonetheless, the workday at Witch Cafe Wisteria ended on a rather nerve-wracking note for Pecan and Doe.