Baba Yaga, President of the Witches

Baba Yaga is the President of the Witches. And apparently has been for centuries. It makes no sense. Even in the time of the Tsars, there was a President of the Witches? Even if the witches knew about democracy from ancient Greece, how did they know the term ‘President’?

Oh, wave it off as witchcraft. Who knows how they do what they do or why? But it works—Baba Yaga as the President of the Witches.

One time, years ago, when the witches learned that Baba Yaga had been embezzling, she was impeached. They took a vote. The ballot had on it two items.

1. Would you like to impeach Baba Yaga?

2. Would you like to vote for Baba Yaga for President of the Witches?

The yes votes on both items won overwhelmingly. And thus the Presidency of Baba Yaga has been remarkably stable and long-lived.

They say that, in the 1970s, there was a U.N. inquiry into the matter, since the U.S.S.R. was accusing the United States of propping up a witch democracy within Soviet borders as a way to threaten Soviet sovereignty and stability. Secretly, the U.S. also encouraged the investigation because the thought of self-governing women with a powerful, seemingly untouchable leader, made our leaders quite nervous. Who was this Baba Yaga and what were her intentions? Who were her allies?

A delegation was sent out in search of a house that stood on chicken legs. And finally, such a house was located in a clearing in the great forest. The delegation knocked on the door and an ancient woman with a nose that stretched fifteen feet in front of her answered the door.

“Greetings. We have come in search of Baba Yaga, President of the Witches. Are you this woman?” they asked.

“No,” she said, sniffing at their collars with her long, pointy nose. “My sister is Baba Yaga, President of the Witches. She lives yonder, in a clearing in the great forest, in a house that stands on chicken legs. Just go down that path.”

So, off they went and they came to a clearing in the great forest, where stood a house on chicken legs. Again they knocked at the door and a woman answered, her legs so bony the delegation cringed imagining the pain of her knees knocking together.

“Greetings. We have come in search of Baba Yaga, President of the Witches. Are you this woman?” they asked.

“No,” she said, pulling her stockings up her thighs, winking as they watched her progress. “My sister is Baba Yaga, President of the Witches. She lives yonder, in a clearing in the great forest, in a house that stands on chicken legs. Just go down that path.”

And so, off they went again. And they came to yet another clearing with yet another house on chicken legs and they knocked again. This time a young woman with teeth sharpened to points answered the door.

“Greetings. We have come in search of Baba Yaga, President of the Witches. Are you this woman?” they asked.

“No,” she said, taking a large, metal file to her canine tooth. “My sister is Baba Yaga, President of the Witches. She lives yonder, in a clearing in the great forest, in a house that stands on chicken legs. Just go down that path.”

The delegation turned to go down the path and, when they were just out of sight of the house with chicken legs, someone finally asked, “Do you think we’ve just been circling around to the same house in the same clearing? Is it possible we’ve been talking to the same woman?”

They conceded that this might be so and they immediately turned around to go back to the last woman and put these questions to her. But, when they got back to the clearing, it was empty. And when they went down the path to the next clearing, or maybe that same clearing, but entered from a different direction, it, too, was empty.

Had they ever met with Baba Yaga, President of the Witches? Was there one woman or three sisters? Had they only been circling the same small stretch of woods or were they far from their origins?

The reports were unclear, the testimony confused. No superpower was satisfied with the inquiry. And yet, as far as I know, they sent no further delegations to President Baba Yaga, who retains her power unchallenged by outside forces.

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A Tale of Two Old Guys

So, I was working the Southern Festival of Books yesterday, which is one of my favorite things to do. I saw a bunch of people I know and talked to a bunch of legislative staffers and just generally had a good time. Two interactions in particular stood out to me, though.

Old man one came by to talk about a book I, actually, had acquired some years ago. His dad and uncle figure somewhat prominently in it. He told me some stories about them and some stories about living across the street from Jim Bulliet growing up. And then he complained about Twitter. I teased him about not liking Twitter, because I would follow him if he were on Twitter, because he’s so interesting. He said, “You wouldn’t like following me on Twitter. I’m just a lurker. I’ve rarely posted.”

Dude has a Twitter account! It was awesome.

Old man two came by and said he had a book project. He then proceeded to tell me the story of two people who were kind of related to his book project, but the details of when they were born and got married were definitely not. And he went on, even after I told him I was not who he needed to speak to. He went on after a co-worker tried to gently move him more out of the booth. He went on after I put a table between us. And he went on even after I told him twice more that I was the wrong person for him to talk to and that I’d given him a way to contact the person he did need to talk to way back at the beginning of our conversation.

Then he told me that he’d gotten his Masters in Library Science but was never able to work as a librarian because he was a white man with a wife and no interesting problems, so he was “useless.”

He kept me cornered for a half and hour, if not more. All I could think is that, if this is how his interviews went, he had misidentified why he never got hired.

Anyway, I want to be old like the first guy when I get there, let me tell you.