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January 30, 2005

In Search of Riches With A Witcher

Tom McLaughlin

A Middletown resident, while poking around his back yard, discovered water. The municipality purchased the rights to the flow.

Being forever short on cash, I immediately hired a witcher to seek the fluid in my backyard. She arrived dressed in a gypsy outfit complete with a red head bandanna, a flowing skirt and bangles up and down each arm. She introduced herself as the reincarnation of the youngest daughter of the last Czar of Russia.

"How did you end up in Frederick," I asked.

"There was an ad in the newspaper for bridge mural painters," she replied.

"Then I heard about the water shortage and here I am," she added.

"Have you had any experience in witching water," I asked uneasily.

"No, but that didn't stop me from getting a government grant to study it," she informed me proudly.

She pulled a branch from my willow tree and started whittling a forked stick and walked around the yard, muttering an incantation.

"Is that a secret Russian spell to find water," I inquired

"No, just the gibberish from the Board of Education on why children aren't in school for most of the first semester."

"Why would you repeat that," I asked.

"Because they are all wet," she stated knowingly.

She spent the better part of a morning wandering around my yard in Middletown. When she finished, she announced there was no water to be found. She handed me a bill for $600.

"What's this for? You didn't find any water," I protested.

"Your divorce lawyer hasn't found any hidden money from your spouse either," she retorted.

I wrote her a check for $600 and filed it under legal expenses.

Still convinced water could be found and money made, I decided to hire a water engineer.

He came onto my property dressed in a suit and tie.

"Have you gotten any grant money," I inquired nervously.

"No," he replied, "I don't speak Russian," he answered truthfully.

I hired him on the spot.

He brought a sheaf of maps, a computer and a trident. A small dish was attached to the computer and pointed skyward. He explained he was contacting a satellite in stationary earth orbit over my house.

Acting like he knew something, he fiddled with the laptop and examined the maps.

Soon, it began to rain.

"I found you water," he informed me.

"But I needed it in the ground," I protested.

"It soon will be," he told me.

"What was the computer for," I asked in wonder.

"It was connected to AccuWeather," he said.

"I thought you didn't do any grant work," I said.

"I don't, I am a consultant," he said proudly.

"I won't pay for this," I yelled.

He placed the trident to my throat as I wrote out the check.

Depressed, I sat under the tree. I was hoping to become the Jed Clampett of Western Maryland and live in the Hills of Beverly. White gold, Middletown MD.

My neighbors Beagle came over to give me solace. She placed her head on my knee and looked up with those soulful eyes. I cupped some water in my hand, held it to her nose and yelled "go find it girl." She immediately put her snout to the ground and began to circle, then started digging furiously. Water erupted like a Texas gusher. I bought her a bone from Safeway and off she went to gnaw it in pure ecstasy.

In government, as in life, the obvious and cheapest way is often the right way.

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