I Have Been Told

Magic Buttons

A short story for young readers
by Cedar Jiminez and Anne Dunn
It happened in the not-so-long-ago that an Anishinabe elder woman and her granddaughter went to reside in a beautiful chocolate brown house on Drewery Lane. They arrived with a small tense dog and were met by a large mellow dog and a fluffy calico cat.

As it sometimes happens among friends, the animals became comrades in territorial mischief and soon discovered that the garage held an abundance of pleasures.

It was Bernadette, the beautiful part-collie dog, who discovered a colorful straw hat adorned with artificial fruit and silk flowers. She put it on her head and sauntered out to show her friends her fine new fashion.

Bernadette, who preferred to be called Bernie, had exceptionally lovely eyes. She never went anywhere without her eyeliner which she carefully applied every morning.

When Cocomojojo saw the wonderful hat he went into the garage and claimed his terrific prize. It was a stunning tie-dyed t-shirt that said, “Follow me to the Eiffel Tower.”

He preferred to be called Jojo and being of French descent he often spoke of love and longed for adventure.

The brave intelligent cat answered only to Miss Kitty for that was her name. She entered the garage and selected three red tap dancing shoes. For she had but three feet, having lost a hind leg in a terrible accident.

Not to be outdone Cedar, the nine-year-old girl, who preferred to be called CD, found something stupendous. It was a green grass skirt that swept the earth around her feet. She also claimed an enchanted four-string banjo. Although she’d never played the banjo before, she strummed “Beautiful, Beautiful Brown Eyes” perfectly.

By the time the old woman entered there was nothing left but a small gold jar containing five pearl buttons. The woman gave each of her companions a button and they were immediately transformed.

Bernie became a high-stepping horse and devoured the straw hat in two quick bites.

Jojo became a bumpy grumpy yellow toad with big blue eyes.

Miss Kitty became a three-legged elephant.

CD turned into a large silver back mountain gorilla.

The old woman placed her button in her right ear and began receiving messages from outer space.

“Where are you?” a fuzzy voice asked.

Grandmother put the button to her lips and said, “Who wants to know?”

“We are your friends.”

“How can I be sure?”

“We want to help.”

“Do we need help?

“In a short time the world will tumble into chaos and we are coming to reclaim some of the earth beings. You have been chosen for salvage.”

“When can you be here?”

“We’ve been on our way for 99 years and will arrive in one more.”

Obviously this was not going to be of any immediate help so the old woman said, “Thank you for your interest but I won’t be here when you arrive.”

“We will find you,” the voice promised. “Goodbye.”

After some astute consideration the grandmother realized how gifted her companions were and decided they should enter the National Talent Contest.

Bernie, the horse, could produce a fantastic light extravaganza by throwing multi-colored sparks with her shining silver hooves.

Jojo, the toad, was now a marvelous tenor.

Miss Kitty, the elephant, could tap dance with artistic elegance.

CD, the gorilla, was an outstanding mathematician and would be in charge of counting the money that would soon be rolling in.

At this moment the Witch of Allen’s Bay and her father, the Muffin Man, arrived in a big lime-green cadillac. Upon seeing the strange creatures in the chocolate house, she screamed three times and hissed, “Bless my buttons.”

This, of course, undid the magic. As quick as a blink Bernie the horse became Bernie the dog. Jojo the toad became Jojo the French poodle. Miss Kitty the elephant became Miss Kitty the cat.

CD the gorilla became CD the nine-year-old girl and grandmother lost contact with the friendly aliens in space.

The witch confiscated the magic buttons, returned them to the golden jar and carried them back to the garage.

Then she reclaimed the key to the chocolate house. She retained Bernie and Miss Kitty but evicted the old woman, the girl and the poodle.

The homeless trio went down the road a short distance and found a very pleasant cabin called “Five”. Quickly they began the process of restoring it and soon had a very nice little shelter where they would live happily as they awaited the arrival of their alien friends.