Jos Crane

Official website of Jos Crane, author.

While watching the classic film Hocus Pocus, I couldn’t help but wonder if witches could actually fly on broomsticks. Why does it have to be broomsticks? Would a random aluminum pole work? I had to find out.

I drove about fifteen minutes to a nearby magic shop hoping they could spill some information. When I asked if they had flying broomsticks, they just laughed in my face. Rude! They didn’t take me seriously, but that doesn’t mean they had to laugh in my face and wave me away as if I was a fly waiting to sit on their lunch at a picnic.

I visited a tarot card reader that was down the block and asked the same question, but all they did was reassure anything was possible if I believed in it. It didn’t help. So, I decided to do the next big thing and try it myself. No one is stupid enough to jump off a house with a broom shoved between their legs, right? On my way home, I picked up a generic wooden broomstick at the grocery store. Ten minutes later, I was arriving home with my wife asking, “What’s with the broom?”

“I’m going to try to fly with it,” I responded.

She laughed and walked away. I don’t think she took me seriously just like the magic shop owner.

On the next full moon, I grabbed my newly bought broomstick from my garage and climbed to my roof. I’ve heard in passing that magic is strongest on the full moon, but who’s to say there’s any truth to that? In any case, I decided that if I was going to do this then I might as well go all-in and take that passed knowledge seriously.

As I stood on the roof and questioned my sanity, I began to think this wasn’t possible at all. If it was, why weren’t more people doing it? Who needs cars, bicycles, or scooters when you can just fly everywhere? I cradled my broom like I’ve seen in the movies and waddled to the edge of my roof. In a worst-case scenario, I fall about fourteen feet and hopefully don’t break any bones. Well, now that I think about it, I could end up paralyzed or dead. My hands begin to sweat at the thought and I start to lose grip.

“What are you doing!?” I hear my wife yell behind me. I slipped in shock. Shit! I focus on my broom and the process of flying. “Move forward and up!” I repeat to myself, “forward and up.”

The ground quickly approaches and I close my eyes out of fear. What good will closing my eyes do? Maybe I want to avoid watching my own death. Moments before I imagine hitting the ground I feel a sudden swoosh of air on my face. I should’ve hit the ground by now, but I haven’t. The wind buzzes in my ears and I can feel it press against my eyelids. I slowly open them to realize I’m flying. I’m actually flying! The wind is howling into my ears and the cool air presses against my face as I feel an occasion bug slam into it like a meteor into the ground. They’re probably dead now.

I grip harder on the broom, which causes me to tumble a bit so now I’m upside down hanging onto a broom with my feet wrapped around it. I’m hanging on for dear life as I try to figure out how to turn it before I slam into the house only a dozen feet in front of me and quickly approaching. I twist my body to the right and then throw my weight to the left. I’m upright! Now, how do I move up to avoid the house? “Forward and up,” I think to myself. Much like an airplane, I imagine a flight stick in my hands as I lift it toward the sky and I narrowly avoid the house as I fly over the roof.

No one will believe this. I can’t even believe it. What will my wife say? Did she see me? So many different thoughts of disbelief ruminating in my head. No, I should focus on my flight plan. How high can this go?

I narrowly missed some power lines that were lower than I expected. There’s a different perspective from this height. I’m not sure how I imagined it. Maybe it was supposed to be like a plane, but that wasn’t nearly the case as they climbed altitude rapidly. This must be how drones feel if they could. The air is much cooler here and I begin to wonder how long I continue flying before I start shivering. The noises that we normally hear every day are becoming quieter like the dog barking in our neighbor’s yard, the chicken coop down the street, the person sawing in their garage, the roof workers hammering away. It’s all been replaced with the sound of the wind, some sirens I notice in the distance, and the trees waving harmoniously as if they’re part of a symphony.

Houses look like little boxes all intertwined in veins we call roads. There are more trees than I remember as if someone placed a few around each house as if to almost hide each house, but not quite. An occasional small playground breaks up this monotony with little fields. Then, I see a few soccer fields with a couple of baseball diamonds. The homes with trees snuggling the roads appear again.

As I follow the main road from my house taking routes I would normally, I pass the grocery store and toward the magic shop where I begin to hover. I begin to notice something odd: while I always remember the shops and exactly how they look inside, I never noticed how much space is just, well, space. Gigantic parking lots are on either side of the main roads and little shops rest at the edge of them. These mostly concrete empires are sitting empty. Why are there so many parking spaces? Why so few trees? The homes attached to sporadic roads with seemingly no reason end in empty parking lots.

I almost want to pick up each car and place them in the parking lots. They look like little toy cars from up here. If only I was a god, I could do it. When people want to escape to wherever they need to go, they’ll come outside and go, “Where’s my car?” How far would they walk to find it? It only took me only a couple minutes to go from my house to the store on a broomstick, but in my car, it took about 10 minutes. The irony of me hovering over the magic shop where the owner laughed in my face makes me chuckle. I almost want to throw my broomstick down at it like Zeus would with lightning and proclaim, “Who’s laughing now!?” Then I realized I would probably fall to my death if I did so.

I start to worry how long I can stay hovering like this and a panic attack creeps up on me. I fly straight home, taking the most direct route and ignoring any obstacles since I could. Shortly after, I arrived on top of my roof where my wife was standing at the edge.

She was speechless. I would imagine she has a mix of emotions watching me fall to my death, only to see my body fly up into the sky and disappear into the horizon. I sat next to her and wrapped my arm around her waist.

“What was it like?” she finally asked after what felt like an hour of silence.

I could talk about the sensation of flying, the air featuring bugs dying against my face, the cool temperatures, and the sounds of a city rather than a neighborhood, but the only thing I could muster was my final thoughts before I returned home: “We have wasted so much space with these giant thousand-pound metal blocks on wheels, and for what gain? All we need is a broomstick and a little magic.”