Larry Torres

The two witches gazed up from the ground, astounded because their spell would cause the broom not only to fly through space, but also through time. They had no idea just when and where Ole Johnny would turn up.

It had been one of those long hot nights in New Mexico, when sleep would just not come. Regardless of all the tossing and turning, Ole Johnny Mudd was wide awake. He stood and just sat on the edge of the rocking chair restlessly. Slowly he got up and walked over to the kitchen, planning to get a drink of water from the pail that he kept on top of the cupboard. He lowered the dipper into the water, all the while gazing out into the full moon of August. Just as he started to quench his thirst, he heard a strange sort of cackle outside, underneath the trees by the river. It sounded like two old ladies whispering to each other.

Carefully he peered out the door and a few paces away he saw two old crones mixing the blood of a rooster with the blood of a snake as they muttered an incantation. Without thinking, Ole Johnny Mudd leaned forward to listen a little better and accidentally he took hold of an old broom that was leaning nearby. It was the witches' magic broom, and the minute he touched it, it took off flying through the air, dragging Ole Johnny Mudd up into the air as well.

The two witches gazed up from the ground, astounded because their spell would cause the broom not only to fly through space but also through time. They had no idea just when and where Ole Johnny would turn up. In the meantime, he clung on to the broomstick for dear life. The broom seemed to have a mind of its own though, and it flew far toward the east, landing at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Old Johnny Mudd could discern a lady sitting quietly in front of a tombstone.

She seemed very familiar to him, and he thought that she might be a person out of history. He read the three letters on the tombstone. They were L. M. A. Slowly, Ole Johnny Mudd said: "Louisa May Alcott."

When he said her name, the lady lifted her eyes to Ole Johnny Mudd, and she replied: "Yes, that would be me. In life I used to write books for children. My most famous one was titled "Little Women." Ole Johnny Mudd began to quote the first lines from the book:

" 'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo lying on the rug. 'It's so dreadful to be poor!' sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress. 'I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all,' added little Amy, with an injured sniff. 'We've got father and mother, and each other,' said Beth contentedly from her corner.' "

Louisa May Alcott looked at him, pleasantly surprised, especially when Ole Johnny Mudd remarked: "I've also read your 'Little Men' and 'Jo's boys'."

She looked at him and replied: "You must be from somewhere else in the future, because you certainly don't look or sound like anyone from around here."

"I'm not," Ole Johnny Mudd said. "I was brought here into the past when I accidentally grabbed a magic broom and it zoomed me here. I'm from a place that doesn't exist yet in this time zone. It is a State to be called 'New Mexico,' and it won't come into being until the year 1912, but it will be a place where everyone will be able to be and do whatever he chooses, living in peace and harmony."

"You talk just like a friend of mine used to," Louisa May Alcott said. "He was always talking about a perfect place that cannot possibly exist, which he called a 'utopia.' In fact he had gone out to seek this land of never-never in the forest by a lake. I believe you should go meet him as long as you are in his time zone. His name was Henry David Thoreau."

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