by Delia Sherman
Mr. Smallbone peered at him through his round glasses. “Humph. You’re letting the cold in. Close the door behind you. And leave your boots by the door. I can’t have you tracking up the floor.”
That was how Nick came to be the Evil Wizard’s new apprentice.
At first he just thought he was doing some chores in return for food and a night’s shelter. But next morning, after a breakfast of oatmeal and maple syrup, Mr. Smallbone handed him a broom and a feather duster.
“Clean the front room,” he said. “Floor and books and shelves. Every speck of dirt, mind, and every trace of dust.”
Nick gave it his best, but sweep as he might, the front room was no cleaner by the end of the day than it was when he started.
“That won’t do at all,” said the Wizard. “You’ll have to try again tomorrow. You’d best cook supper—there’s the makings for scrapple in the icebox.”
Since the snow had given way to a breath-freezing cold snap, Nick wasn’t too unhappy with this turn of events. Mr. Smallbone might be an Evil Wizard, ugly as home-made sin, and vinegar-tongued. But a bed is a bed and food is food. If things got bad, he could always run away.
About the Author
Delia Sherman lives with her wife and fellow author Ellen Kushner in a rambling apartment in New York City with a lot of books and far too many pieces of paper. She is a social rather than a solitary writer and can work anywhere, which is a good thing because she loves to travel, and if she couldn’t write on airplanes and in cafès, she’d never get anything done.
About the Narrator
Peter Wood has been audio producer for PodCastle since the winter of 2009, with his first episode being PC 82, “The Twa Corbies” by Marie Brennan. In addition, he has hosted and narrated several stories over the years. In 2016 he received a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently on the academic job market. He also does design work, both web and print, under the moniker of PW Design. More information about him can be found at PeterCWood.com.