Fifteen minutes after leaving Russell’s Market all three boys were in Gary’s bedroom reading his book on witchcraft.
“Let me show you something on page 127,” Gary said. Gary read. “One way in which a person who has had a spell cast upon them by a witch or warlock is to find something that is in their possession that is dear to them. It may be trinket, amulet, or something like that. Those things usually have special power and significance to the witch or warlock, but little value to anyone else. Yet witches and warlocks are suspicious and paranoid by nature and will assume the holder of that object has the power it contains.
As long as it is in the possession of that person they have nothing to fear from the witch or warlock, they are rendered powerless.”
“What does that mean?” Whipper said.
“It means I have to get something that is valuable to her,” Gary said.
“Like what?” Donnie said.
“I’ve had some time to think about it,” Gary said. “She will wear different clothing. Sometimes it’s black other times it’s brown. She’ll have different sweaters but what does she always wear that never changes?”
“That black beret,” Donnie said. “She always wears it, winter or summer.”
“That must be important to her,” Gary said. “If I get that I got her; she can’t do anything to me or my friends.”
“How are you going to get it,” Whipper said, “run up and snatch it from he head?”
“The book says I can not take it from her grasp, I have to take it without her noticing it,” Gary said.
“How are you going to do that?” Donnie said.
“When I followed her home that one night she took the beret off and hung it on a hook in her dining room,” Gary said. “I’ve got to go to her home again. When she’s asleep, sneak into her place, and take the beret.”
“That’s suicide!” Donnie said.
“It has to be done,” Gary said.
“Don’t expect us to help you,” Donnie said
“Don’t worry,” Gary said. “This is something only I can do.”
“When are you going to do it?” Whipper said.
“It has to be soon,” Gary said. “There’s one thing I can’t figure out; why is she doing this to me?”
Whipper ruffled the hair on Gary’s head. “Maybe it’s your curly red hair.”
The boys read other excerpts from the book and soon Gary returned it to its hiding place. Donnie and Whipper left and Gary laid in bed planning how to gain possession of
Old Black Maggie’s beret.
That night he laid with eyes wide open, never attempting sleep; planning, scheming, and reviewing possible scenarios that might lead to failure and how to react. “Once I have the beret the game is over.”
It was another night that sleep seemed to escape Gary. He heard his dad awaken and leave for work, slept briefly, and heard his mother leave for work.
As peculiar as it seemed he walked about all day long as if he had a good nights sleep. He mowed a couple of lawns in the morning, slept briefly in the afternoon, and felt refreshed when his mother and father came home from work.
There were excitement and anxiety, tonight would be the night.