The Crystal Vanishes

By Hy Conrad

Luther brought a new pot of coffee into the dining room and began refreshing everyone’s cup. “Agatha, is that the crystal ball you were telling us about?”

“Isn’t it gorgeous!” The young woman in the flowing robe held it up for all to see, a round piece of cut crystal, not much larger than a baseball. “The salesman guaranteed me that it once belonged to Morgan LeFay.  And this wasn’t her everyday crystal either. It was her special one.” Agatha passed the ball to Sherman Holmes.

“It’s blooming lovely,” Sherman said, managing to keep a straight face. He enjoyed his weekly dinners with Luther, Agatha, and Grimelda. The warlock and two witches might seem a little extreme to Sherman’s other friends, but they were full of life and always interesting. And they accepted without question Sherman’s own idiosyncrasies.

All three examined the ball, then watched as Agatha returned it to the red velvet box. “They say it has a mind of its own. If the crystal doesn’t like its current owner, it will find a new one. We get along swimmingly, I’m glad to say.”

The evening was almost over. Agatha helped Luther, the host, clear the dining room table, while Grimelda went to the bathroom and Sherman browsed through Luther’s library. When he returned to the living room, Grimelda was adjusting her shawl and checking her makeup in the mirror over the mantle. She had always been the most attractive witch in the coven. Sherman had heard from Luther that there was some tension between her and the younger, newer arrival, Agatha.

“Next week at my abode,” Sherman reminded her.

Grimelda seemed startled. “Oh, that’s right. We’re going to help you contact Dr. Watson. We never had much luck contacting your great-great-grandfather, did we?”

“We’ll have to keep trying. Luther!” he shouted to the next room. “A scrumptious dinner.” Then he saw the velvet box on the sideboard beside the full pot of coffee. “Agatha, don’t forget your crystal.” Sherman picked up the box and could instantly tell it was too light.

“It’s gone,” Agatha cried when she discovered the empty box. “Morgan’s crystal has left me. I feel so rejected!”

“Oh, that’s too bad,” Grimelda commiserated. Luther agreed. The three witches seemed quite willing to accept the crystal’s disappearance as a natural phenomenon. But Sherman knew better.



“The crystal didn’t abandon you,” Sherman said. “It’s just playing a little joke.” He had to handle this delicately. The last thing he wanted was to put an end to these weekly events, something that would surely happen if one of his spirit-loving friends were exposed as a thief.

“If memory serves, Luther freshened our coffee just a few minutes ago. And yet the coffee carafe still seems to be full.” Sherman carried the glass carafe into the kitchen and carefully emptied the contents into the sink. Sitting there in the bottom of the carafe was the crystal ball. “You see? It dematerialized from the box and rematerialized here.”

Agatha and Grimelda laughed with relief. So did Luther, although Sherman caught his eye and gave him a serious, warning glance, letting Luther know that he knew the truth. While clearing the table, Luther had sneaked the crystal out of the box and into the carafe. As the host, he could have easily recovered it after the others had left.