Dennis Spielman

The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Real Spells for a Fake Witch - art by Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle

Real Spells for a Fake Witch

A mysterious man offers a woman dressed as a witch a device that allows her to cast real spells on Halloween. 


“Hey, Witch.”

Jill spun around with the box of wines wine she held, about to punch some guy for calling her a nasty name, but lowered her fist when the gentleman in a white suit and pink ascents continued. “I love your costume.”

“Oh, thanks,” Jill replied, her face flushed red in embarrassment from the misunderstanding. She was outside the liquor store, about to get her car after picking up some last-minute alcohol for her and her husband’s Halloween party tonight. She was dressed as a witch – decked out with a pointy purple hat, black corset, ripped leggings, and red heels for the occasion.

“It’s missing an accessory,” the man commented as he looked her over.

Jill clenched her tongue, bracing for whatever line he would give.

The man shook a finger at the sky when he realized his answer. “Real spells.”

Jill tilted her head back in unexpected confusion. “Real spells?”

“Or, more specifically, the ability to cast real spells,” he elaborated in a manner of an eccentric billionaire. 

The man in the white suit reached behind himself and impossibly pulled forward a green metal chest the size of a watermelon. Before Jill could respond, the man opened the case, revealing a glowing green fog surrounding a crystal ball. 

“Trade me one of your bottles of wine, and this device is yours,” the stranger offered.

Jill leaned forward and stared into the box. “How does it work?”

“Simply hold the crystal and say, ‘I cast,’ and what you want casted. Although, this device will only work until midnight, and you’ll have to live with whatever you created.”

Jill thought the deal over. Even if the crystal ball weren’t magical, the item would make for an excellent display prop or an accessory for her Halloween outfit. The exchange may be more in favor of the stranger, especially if the ball was mass-produced. Besides, she could always go back inside the liquor store and get another bottle of wine. She was grateful she was able to buy booze on a Sunday now.

Jill held out the case of wines. “I accept your offer.”

Without studying the selection, the man pulled out one of the wines. He reviewed the label for a moment – not long enough to read everything – before holding the chest forward for Jill. Jill picked up the crystal ball, losing herself as stars and planets swirled around inside. The display consumed her focus until the liquor store door dinged from someone entering did she snap out of her trance. Jill looked around for the stranger, but he was nowhere. She shrugged.

“I wonder,” Jill said as she held out the crystal. “I cast five boxes of red wine.”

The crystal glowed red before unleashing a spark of purple lighting at the pavement. Jill closed her eyes and jumped back but held tight onto the crystal. When she felt the danger pass, she saw five cases of premium boxed wine sitting before her. 

“Holy shit!” Jill cussed. “It fucking worked!”

Jill glanced around to see if anyone else saw what happened, but no one was around. She loaded up the wine in her black Jeep. After buckling in, Jill grabbed her iPhone from the phone mount and texted her husband. She told him to meet her in the garage as soon as she pulled inside. 

Upon arriving home, her husband followed her instructions. The garage door closed as Jill jumped out of her car.

“You won’t believe what I got,” Jill said, her voice racing as she pulled out the crystal ball from her pocket.

Her husband, Mike, took the crystal. “Neat. Where did you get this?”

“I traded a bottle of wine for it to this weird guy in a white suit,” Jill explained, still in a hurry. “It’s magically.”

Mike flipped up his eye patch for his pirate costume as he studied the crystal ball against the garage light. “I’d say.”

Jill yanked the crystal ball from him. “No, I mean, this is really magically. Watch. I cast a vanilla cake the shape and size of a human skull on a silver plate.”

The crystal glowed red before and then unleashed a spark of purple lighting at the ground, creating a vanilla skull cake. Jill smiled, proud of herself for holding steady during the spell casting this time. When she noticed Mike hadn’t said anything, she saw his face was drooped down and whiter. She picked up the cake.

“Don’t you think this is cool?” Jill asked, her voice soft.

“I’m worried,” he responded softly. “Remember that old Simpson’s Halloween special where the things they wished for had negative side effects?”

“Oh,” Jill uttered but then perked up. “But what’s wrong with this cake then?”

“I bet the cake has that fondant icing I hate,” Mike said.

Jill nabbed a tiny piece of icing from the back of the skull for a taste test. “Damn. It is fondant. But I bet other people will enjoy it.”

Mike shrugged. “I guess small spells have small consequences, so how about we keep it that way?”

Jill huffed. “I suppose you have a point. Besides, the guy said this would stop working at midnight anyway.”

“Of course he did. Typically spooky wares guy. Was he dressed in a black robe?”

“No, I said he wore a white suit with pink accents.”

“Oh, that’s right. You did say that.”

“Yeah, and he also had this strange, pink tie with white swirls,” Jill added. “The pattern made me think of Norse mythology or something like that. He wasn’t an old man either. He looked about our age.”

“Well, we should get this stuff inside,” Mike said. “We do have guests.”

“Right, you go back inside, and I’ll bring in the wine. I might have cast a spell for more wine earlier.”

Following the recommendations of her husband, Jill kept the spells small throughout the night. Whenever she wanted something, she went to the garage to create the item, which made for the perfect cover. She casted spells for things like more food, new wine glasses after being broken by a guest, full-size candy bars for the trick-or-treaters, additional Halloween decor, and other small items that wouldn’t raise suspicions.

The party lasted until almost midnight. As Jill and Mike cleaned the living room with the house to themselves, a thud hit their window. Jill thought nothing of the sound until she heard another one. She peeked out behind the curtain. A group of teenagers was throwing eggs and toilet paper at their house.

Jill pulled out the crystal from her pocket. “Oh, I’ll teach you a lesson.”

Jill stormed outside, prompting her husband to stop vacuuming and follow her. The teens laughed and started to run away. Jill’s eyebrows lowered and pulled closer together as she aimed the crystal ball.

“I cast a giant black widow to scare them!”

The crystal glowed and sparked to life a 10-foot tall black widow spider. The pranksters screamed in terror while Jill laughed in delight. The spider chased after them, knocking over her mailbox and some streetlights in the chase. The spider spewed webs, capturing the teenagers.

“Okay, this is going to have some major consequences,” her husband said.

“You’re right, you’re right,” Jill agreed with a sigh. “I cast spider be-gone.”

The crystal did not respond. Jill shook the device and tried again, but with no result.

“It’s 12:02,” Mike said while looking at his watch. “Didn’t you say everything would go away at midnight?”

“Yeah, I thought it would be like Cinderella, and everything would turn to normal, but I guess that’s not what he meant. He did say I would have to live with whatever I created.”

The black widow returned with the three teenagers, dropping them off like a cat offering a mouse. From above, three firetrucks landed like flying saucers, surrounding the spider and their home. Troops of humans in bright white and yellow uniforms poured out from the firetrucks. One with a rifle fired at the spider, stunning the creature and causing her to collapse. Another group rushed over to the teenagers and proceeded to free them.

Jill and Mike stood close together as a short woman with a yellow overcoat approached them. The couple read the name Captain Mists on her silver name tag. The leader glanced over the couple, spotting the crystal ball in Jill’s hand.

“May I see that,” Captain Mists formally requested, pointing at the crystal ball. Jill handed over the spell casting device without saying a word. The woman grunted in frustration. “Not another one.”

Captain Mists whistled, getting the attention of her team. “We got another spell caster situation. Standard procedure. Clear out anything that’s  not theirs and wipe their memories.”


Real Spells for a Fake Witch - art by Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle

This short story was triggered by my random logic process. As I was leaving a convenience/gas store, I saw a woman dressed as a witch leaving, which got me thinking of how witch rhymes with another word and what if someone offered the power to cast real spells. I’ve written a story with just Raven, so I wrote this one to feature Loki by himself.

Happy Adventures! 

Open World at Oklahoma Contemporary

Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art at Oklahoma Contemporary presents the work of artists who use video games as a catalyst for making art that addresses timely issues, including gun violence, migration and gender equality. The artworks in Open World reference a broad cross section of games, ranging from early text adventure and arcade games to more recent releases such as World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto.

In this episode, Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis shares an overview of the exhibition. Then he highlights works by Tabor Robak, Joan Pamboukes, and Feng Mengbo. The video ends with a tour of the learning gallery for Open World.

Open World’s immersive installation features three interactive artworks. The quiet, introspective game The Night Journey (2007-18), created by Bill Viola in conjunction with the USC Game Innovation Lab, mimics the process of achieving spiritual enlightenment, while Feng Mengbo’s energetic side-scrolling platformer Long March: Restart (2008) loosely recounts a significant event in Chinese history through 8-bit graphics. Retro gamers will enjoy Cory Arcangel’s I Shot Andy Warhol (2002), a modification of the 1984 Nintendo Entertainment System game Hogan’s Alley, which includes appearances by the Pop artist along with Colonel Sanders, Flavor Flav and the pope.

Artists included in the exhibition are: Ueli Alder (Hemberg, Switzerland), Cory Arcangel (New York), Alan Butler (Dublin), JooYoung Choi (Houston), Joseph DeLappe (Dundee, Scotland), Krista Hoefle (South Bend, IN), Invader (Paris), Butt Johnson (New York), Angelo Ray Martínez (South Bend, IN), Michael Menchaca (San Antonio), Feng Mengbo (Beijing), Joan Pamboukes (New York), Oliver Payne (Los Angeles), Tim Portlock (St. Louis), Tabor Robak (New York), Jacolby Satterwhite (New York), Skawennati (Montreal), Suzanne Treister (London), Nathan Vincent (Los Angeles), Bill Viola (Long Beach, CA), Angela Washko (Pittsburgh) and Mathew Zefeldt (Minneapolis).

Open World is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund, and National Endowment for the Arts. Oklahoma Contemporary’s exhibition is presented by Velocigo. It is made possible through the generous support of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation, Delaware Resource Group, Anonymous, CNS Productions, Annie Bohanon, Christian Kanady, George Records, and Glenna and Richard Tanenbaum.

Hide and Go Bike

Danny Vo, an Admin the weekly bike meet-up, Hide and Go Bike, takes me on a bike ride through Oklahoma City visiting his favorite people and places.

We start in the Paseo Arts District with a visit with Andrea Koester of Holey Rollers, a vegan donut/breakfast shop. Next, we visit John Otjen about 30th Street Market, which will be opening soon in the district. We ride over to the Plaza District where Danny chats with Kyle Hix of Hix Design and gets a behind-the-scenes tour of the studio. Danny’s final interview ends Downtown at his favorite liquor store, George’s Liquor, with Cody Wilson showing us what they offer.

Wrapping up the episode, I partake in one of the weekly Thursday night bike rides hosted by Hide and Go Bike. Danny talks about the chill bike ride session and what a ride is like for those interested. All bikes are welcomed!

I had planned to get this episode published way sooner, but when Danny and I were filming the interviews, I realized I had a flat tire and that I left my GoPro at home. Schedules didn’t line up until a few weeks later when I was able to film the last part of the video on Hide and Go Bike. I’m thinking I might have Danny guest host again in the Spring/Summer.

Thank you to my superstar supporters, Revolve Productions, and the Keller Kenton family, as well as all of my supporters on Patreon. If you love what I’m doing, please join me on Patreon for bonus content, early access to new episodes. There’s also an online store with various Oklahoma-themed merchandise. 

Happy Adventures!

Confrontation with Grayson - art by Mikey Marchan at Design Pickle

Tales Unveiled: 4×05 Conversations and Confrontations

In the season finale, as Sam and Geoff arrived in Sulphur to interview Tanya McCoy, they receive a FaceTime call from Detective Valerie James about a fifth murder. The two talk with Tanya about ghost stories in Sulphur, Ada, Blackwell, and other small towns, as well as the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City. A few days after the interview, Geoff requests Sam to join him outside the Norman Public Library, where Geoff plans to confront George Grayson.


The Show Starts Now Studios was proud to bring you season four of Tales Unveiled with producer Dennis Spielman. Dennis was the voice of Sam Saxon along with his co-host, Jeff Provine as the voice of Professor Geoff DeRoot, Kristy Boone as Detective Valerie James, David Moxley as George Grayson, and Leslie Spielman as Anastasia Wheeler and the voice of the end credits.

If you love what we’re doing, want us to keep being artist-owned and fan-supported, please join us on Patreon. In return, you get bonus content, including early access to other shows from The Show Starts Now Studios!

Stay tuned as the studio has exciting projects coming in 2021!

Tales Unveiled: 4×04 I’m Here at Flower Bluff Manor

Sam and Geoff travel to Sulphur, Oklahoma where they meet Linda and Emily to talk about Flower Bluff Manor as well as other tales of the town. During a tour of the bed and breakfast, Sam captured an EVP from one of the residents. 

After touring the manor, Sam and Geoff meet with Detective Valerie James in regards to a fourth murder victim. 


Subscribe to new episodes of Tales Unveiled via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, or anywhere you enjoy podcasts. New episodes on Fridays!

Tales Unveiled is a production of The Show Starts Now Studios and is produced by Dennis Spielman. The voice of Sam Saxton is Dennis Spielman, with Jeff Provine as Professor Geoff DeRoot, and Kristy Boone as Detective Valerie James. If you love what we’re doing, want us to keep being artist-owned and patron supported, join us on Patreon. In return, you can get bonus content, including early access to other shows from The Show Starts Now Studios!

Page 1 of 140

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén