Herzo and Krek took Magic Disposal Technician positions at the Draden Wizard Academy to help pay their tuition. When items were submitted, they referred to the master tome of disposal methods and followed the instructions.
Herzo was about to lay down a pair of Hayseed Hanks in their game of Old Maid when a picnic basket came out of the submission chute and slid onto the table, sending the cards all over the floor. It wasn’t the best place for playing cards, but it was all they had. In silent agreement they lay their hands down to finish play later and examined the basket. Herzo grabbed a note that was pinned to it and read.
“Defunct ‘never-ending’ picnic basket from Master Tornpants.” He threw the note in a wastebasket. “I wonder what’s wrong with it.”
Krek opened the lid and the smell of rancid broccoli violated their noses. He shut it again, but the odor lingered. “Blech. Let’s get rid of this fast.” He pulled the master tome off the shelf and looked up ‘picnic basket.’ “Here it is. This is what you need to do. Number one, fill the basket with Beanie Babies.”
Beanie Babies being an essential ingredient for magic disposal, there was a chest full of them in one corner of the room. Herzo opened the basket, then scooped as many of the Beanie Babies in his arms that he could manage and dropped them into it. “Check.”
“Number two,” said Krek. “Cover the Beanie Babies with a folded blanket.”
Herzo grabbed the blanket Krek used for his naps, folded it, and laid it on top. “Check.”
“Number three. Close the lid and cast a standard sealing spell.”
Herzo closed the basket and waved his hands over it. “Marzipanerschnitzel!” he said. “Check.”
“Four. Put the basket in the incinerator.” Krek looked up and grinned. “That’s it.”
Herzo grabbed it by the handles, opened up the incinerator door, shoved it in, and turned it on. They looked through the transparent front of the incinerator, and the basket started jumping and popping. Their eyes went wide. Green sludge burst through the lid, then expanded inside the oven, forcing the door open, splattering them both, and spilling all over the floor. The smell was ten times worse than before, and the basket would not burn.
After they retrieved the basket and cleaned up the mess, Herzo asked, “What happened?” Krek shrugged, but Herzo examined the instructions in the tome. “Look,” he said. Krek moved in. “There’s an asterisk by the word ‘blanket.’ He traced his finger down to the the footer of the page where there was a note next to an asterisk. It said, ‘Be sure the blanket is made from natural fibers and not synthetic. The chemicals could set off a major reaction with the perverted magic.’
“See what you did, Bozo?” asked Herzo. “That blanket was definitely synthetic. Now, go get a cotton one from laundry.”
They repeated the process with a cotton blanket and the basket burned to ash.
Before they could get back to their Old Maid game, a magic wand came through the chute. It was split down the middle and Herzo read the tag. ‘Broken wand from Master Gipplesnip.’ Krek looked it up.
“Number one,” said Krek. “In gallon jar, poor 1/4 full of water and 1/4 full of acetic acid. Fill to the top with unicorn milk.”
“Are there any asterisks in the instructions?” asked Herzo.
“No,” said Krek.
“Good.” Herzo pulled a jar off the shelf and emptied a bottle of vinegar into it, about 1/4 full, then filled it halfway with tap water. From the refrigerator he pulled a carton of whole unicorn milk and emptied it into the jar. “Bam.”
“What?” asked Krek.
“Bam. That means I’m done.”
“All right. Two. Drop wand into the jar for thirty minutes.”
Herzo dropped it in and set the timer. “Bam.”
“Three,” said Krek. “While it soaks, stare at the mixture while saying a leaking enchantment.”
They both stared at it and chanted. The jar started to crack and sprung slow leaks, but they kept at it until the timer dinged. Most of the liquid was on the tabletop and floor.
“Four. Remove the wand and break it in two.”
Herzo fished it out and brought it down sharply on his knee. The wand clanged and sent out waves of crackling moans that shook Herzo and Krek until they bounced against the walls and fell to the ground.
Krek held up his arm, pointing at the ceiling. “Don’t ever do that again.”
Slowly Herzo picked himself up and examined the tome. “Look, Krek. You got it wrong again. It’s not ‘stare at the mixture,’ it’s ‘stir the mixture,’ and it calls for a ‘leaching’ enchantment. What the heck is wrong with you? Be more careful than that.”
They cleaned up the mess and went through the process with the correct enchantment. When it was done, Herzo snapped the wand in two and threw it in the trash.
Two couriers rolled a big spool of copper wire into the room. “This is from Master Slopcloth,” one of them said. “The magic in it surges uncontrollably, so it’s gotta go.”
“M’kay,” said Krek. He reached for the tome.
Herzo snatched it away from him. “I’ll read the directions this time.” He opened the book. “Let’s read all the way through before starting.” His finger ran down the page. “Let’s see. Enchant some paint with high insulation properties…, mix four parts of it with one part energy potion and two parts yogurt…, paint it on the spool and wire…, incinerate.” He looked up. “Okay, good. I think we can do this.” He frowned and looked down. “Wait is there…? Yes, here’s an asterisk after ‘yogurt.’ It says ‘Incorrect proportions could cause armageddon-like mayhem.’”
Herzo and Krek looked at each other, jaws agape. They shook their heads simultaneously.
Shortly after, Krek laid down a pair of Greenthumb Gerts, all his cards laid out on the side of the spool they now used for a table. Herzo turned his last card around and showed Krek the Old Maid. “I win!”
“You’re stuck with the Old Maid—you lose,” said Krek.
“Well, I’ve never played that way,” said Herzo.