Darren Stevens: Reflections on Samantha

Written by Tom Ewing

In real life, Darren Stevens says he’s nothing like his Bewitched sitcom character. And being married to a witch is still as hard as ever.

aNewDomain fiction — Here’s author and aNewDomain editor Tom Ewing with another excerpt from his upcoming book, Babes in TV Land. This time, he’s Darren Stevens — make that Derrick Jacobsen — with his take on what being married to a witch like Samantha really entails.

Where to begin.

samanthastevenselizabethmontgomerywikicommonsIf I said you know me as “Darren” or “Darwood,” you might search your memory for some dorky guy you met at a party.

If I said that witches, real witches, are more like us than not, you’d probably think I was a lunatic and wander off.

So where to begin?

Let’s try this.  My name is Derrick Jacobsen — not Darren Stevens.  I look a lot more like the first guy who played me than the second.  She was really mad at me when she picked the second guy. Don’t piss off a witch. I’ve learned that lesson in a bad way over the years. But then, I married one.

My wife’s name is Samantha.  That’s kind of a hot name, isn’t it?  Hot.  That’s the first thing I thought when I met her.  She was hot.  Even her name was hot.  But let’s not get all junior high.

So I’m not an ad executive. I’m a lawyer. I specialize in copyright cases.  I do have a fair amount of advertising-related copyright cases.  No, no.  My boss wasn’t named Larry Tate, but it was something close to that.  Yes, Samantha did have an affair with him … until he pissed her off and she turned him into one of those horny shit-throwing monkeys at the zoo.  Actually, I can attest that a lot of those constantly-horny monkeys at the zoo have been placed there by pissed-off witches.  I’m not sure that real monkeys in the jungle are anywhere near that horny or angry.  They’re trying so, so hard to say, “Help me! I’m a human. Change me back!”

I know because she did it to me once just for looking a little too long at the ass of a barmaid in Portland.

Sam?  No, she doesn’t exactly have affairs. She doesn’t call them affairs.  Or rather she doesn’t think of herself as lusty or promiscuous.  Sam says she’s experimenting, conducting research.  Personally, I think she enjoys her experiments a little too much.  But I see her point that, when you’re immortal, the typical human equations related to loyalty and stability don’t really apply.  I mean, her father had a whole wing of their family chateau devoted to debauchery.  And the only thing her mom ever complained about was the smell if he didn’t wash up or wish it all away.  But I digress.  You probably don’t want to hear all this raunchy stuff.  Or maybe you do.  Sam would know.  I don’t.  I can’t read minds.

Below, scene one, episode one of Bewitched: I, Darren, Take This Witch.

Source: Bruno Braga YouTube channel

So, what’s it like being married to a witch?  Well, that she keeps me on my toes is an understatement.  Basically, she leaves if I don’t keep her entertained.

So I hop to — always hoppin’ to to keep her happy, but I really do love her company.  We don’t share too many nights cuddling on the sofa watching reruns of Matlock.  A pity. She says that she spent the longest century of her life on a couch in Venice mourning for a favorite cat that had died.  Think of it.  I can’t begin to imagine the things she’s lost in her 1,257 years of life.  Witches can’t stop everything from dying, and while they can conjure up very good replicas of things, they know it’s a fake. And most of them can’t take the fake for any more than a few hours because the fakes can’t sustain their own bullshit.

Of course going back in time is always an option, but they can’t really go back in time to the very place where they lived, it just makes things too messy, and besides, witches are kind of spoiled.  So imagine it is 1642 and you’re petting your favorite cat when out of the blue pops you from 200 years later wanting to pet the cat.  “Get your own damn time, asshole!” you say to yourself.  I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard that. Then sparks fly. Warm sparks, smelling like suplhur.

Friend, I know that you don’t want to know too much about me.  But I’m Derrick.  Derrick Jacobsen.  I knew you wouldn’t remember that I’ve already told you my name, and I get tired of being ignored.  Now if you knew that I had gone to some good schools …  Had several degrees?  Spoke a couple of languages, maybe?  I wrote a few influential journal papers.  I was a partner in a major law firm. So then maybe with all that you’ll find me interesting, at least a little bit.  I’ve been told that I’m sort of handsome, but who knows.  Oh, yeah, and my grandpa came from Sweden.  Jacobsen.  So maybe you’d find me a little interesting if you just happened to meet me some place.  I’ve done quite a bit of genuine charity work.  Not the fake stuff.  I tutored in multiple prisons.  Did a stint working in Darfur.  I try to be a good guy. And I’m interesting enough.

Well, like sharing-a-beer-kind-of-interesting, at least.  I just turn invisible.  And without any spells being cast.  Trust me.  No one wants to talk to a human when there’s a witch around.

Did I mention I once saw Thomas Jefferson being ignored totally at a party?  I mean the real Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence, and he was just completely ignored.  By real, I mean no conjuring was involved.  They invited him and Sally Hemmings to a party at a Paris salon.  If they did acknowledge him it was to continue the debate as to whether he was just a typically horny human motherfucker or whether he had a broken heart over the loss of his first wife.  (His late wife was the spitting image of Sally Hemmings.  I know, I’ve met them both.  They were half-sisters.)  Anyway, so if a guy like Thomas Jefferson gets ignored, who would take an interest in me?  What about you? Would you fare any better?

It’s not that I expect any pity from you.  I have a pretty good life.  Sam keeps me healthy.  Unless I piss her off.  I’ll finally die when a witch can no longer cast spells that keep a person alive, or I’ll just beg her to let me go.  She’s promised that even if she loses interest in me that she’ll still keep me healthy. So, stretching my genes as far as they’ll go, it looks like I’ll die when I’m about 94.  Not bad.

But enough about me. You probably want to know what a witch really is.  Yes, I know more than I’m going to tell you.  But even if I told you everything I know, there would still be lots of things that I don’t know cause I’m not a witch myself.

Okay, witches are very much like humans.  They have DNA just like we do, but it’s different.  We all know that evolution has taken some weird turns.  You know, there was a time when every kind of animal came up with a marsupial version of itself — like deer-headed animals that we call kangaroo, that hop and carry their babies in pouches.  Well, there was an epoch when Mother Nature decided that cells that have a tendency to act in magical ways should be promoted into magical organs, which pretty much meant a class of magical animals.  This twist of evolution hit a particular group of primates pretty hard.  Actually, humans had nearly evolved when this happened. What the witches have completely removed from our environment are any traces of this epoch.  They’ve confined all the magical animals to special zoos.

None of them continue to exist in nature.  I understand the last ones were caught and rounded up about 600 years ago, and this was an isolated group of magical goats that had eluded capture for 1,000 years after the roundup first began.

Here’s how you should imagine a witch. Picture a physically perfect human who’s just about as smart as the smartest person you know –- except this person can live for several thousand years. Yes, all spells fail. But in their ultra-long life spans, witches do get the amazing ability to dramatically reshape the world around them.

Oh, no. There’s no consorting with the devil going on. In fact, most witches are atheists. Atheists like you wouldn’t believe.  They have erected a special security barricade at the key sites for all the world’s major religions.  Imagine some evangelical witch showing up at the Crucifixion with a book of spells and an Uzi.  It would just muck with human history too much. And keeping a low profile is important to them.  Witches don’t breed easily — fertility spells don’t work well. And with their low numbers, witches can’t risk full exposure to the human population.

There are limits to their spells.

Like I said, they can’t really change death issues very well.  They can keep you from dying well enough.  For awhile.  But if you’ve already crossed over, you’re then completely out of luck with help coming from a witch.  Witch history and literature is crammed full of times and events where someone or something died before a witch could arrive to fix it.

Some witch spells are faulty, too. Or rather they’re not complete.  Here’s an example.  It will also give you a good feel for what it’s like to live with a witch.  In fact, it’s the reason I’m here tonight sharing a beer with you.

As you can imagine, Sam has had to help me make a number of accommodations to witch culture.  Most of them center on the fact that witches live forever, and since they live forever, they can pretty much do whatever they want.  You might think of them as being extremely spoiled, and they are spoiled in human terms.  But their reality isn’t a human one.

I’m a guy, a human guy, and I get kind of bothered when my wife runs around, witch or no witch.  Most guys are like that unless they’re into kink.  So, Sam softens the blow by casting a doppelganger spell.  She substitutes a stunt double, so to speak, to appease me.  Or she tries to appease me.  The doppelganger spell only works so well.

Speaking of that, here’s what happened tonight. Sam says, “Hey, darling, let’s play Trivial Pursuit.”  She seemed so happy.  I thought the game would be kind of dumb, but whatever.  I supposed I could make it a fun night.  So, she vanished into the kitchen for a minute.  In retrospect, I did hear a little pop and see a small flash.  At the time I didn’t think anything of it.  She comes out of the kitchen looking all 60s housewifey — skirt just above the knee, high heels, apron, hair combed like Jackie-O — carrying a tray of snacks, a couple of glasses of wine, and a Trivial Pursuit box.  (We don’t live in the 60s actually.)  “Samantha” seemed a little too chipper in retrospect.  Anyway, we begin playing Trivial Pursuit.  Eventually we come to a sports questions, something like “Who was Jack Dempsey?” She didn’t know the answer.  I could have sworn that she told me that she had met Jack Dempsey in a bar in Brooklyn in the 1930s.  I didn’t think she would have forgotten who he was.  She got the next question right, and then she missed two more, both of which I thought she would know.  Somewhere along the line, I began to suspect that Samantha had cast the doppelganger spell again and this was a stand-in Sam.

I began asking her nonsensical questions.  The one thing that a doppelganger will never, ever do is say, “Hey, that’s a dumb question.”  Instead, they will always try to answer them.  So, “How many bunnies are there in the world?”, even for a witch who can count, would normally elicit something like, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.” The stand-in would say, “Roughly 14 billion.”  I started trying to figure out where Sam was if she wasn’t here.  She can travel through space and time but it’s more exhausting than you might think and it’s not exactly instantaneous.

Then I remembered that we had driven by a biker bar earlier today that had caught her attention.  Witches generally love humans rough and raw.  So, I excused myself and went upstairs and changed clothes, then I went downstairs and told the doppelganger that I needed to go to the bathroom.  (You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to trick a doppelganger unless the witch goes to a lot of trouble in casting the spell.)

I drove down to the bar and parked my car next to an old Harley.  I didn’t make a big production about entering the place.  It’s really noisy, packed with lots of bikers and biker types, and the juke box is so loud.  The smoke drifts around the room in heavy clouds, and some of the smoke doesn’t smell like it is coming from cigarettes.  Packed as this place is, I figure the bartenders probably see the same people all the time.  I think maybe I can get away with a cop impersonation, so I head to the bar and ask the bartender in my most cop-like voice if there is anyone new here tonight.  Of course, he gives me a smartass answer, but when I stare back at him, he says, “Yeah a couple of new people.  Like that chick over there.”  He points to a low area crammed with pool tables.

It doesn’t take long to see her.  She is wearing really tight jeans with fashionably-ripped places on them, a black and white top that ends just above her belly, and her hair is long, black as the night.  She is balancing a beer, a cigarette and a pool cue.  A huge biker has his arm around her waist, and he is whispering something to her as she smiles naughtily.

I hear another biker say to her, “Hey, Moon Girl, it’s your turn.  You and Mad Dog carry on after I’ve got my fifty bucks back.”

She gives the pool opponent a mocking kind of snort and says, “Hold your horses, Bulldog.”  She puts her beer and cigarette down, runs her fingers across Mad Dog’s chest. “I’ll be back in a minute,” she tells Mad Dog. “Don’t go anyplace.”  Then she gives his ear a little bite.

Meanwhile, I’m checking all this out from a nearby bar stool but not too close. And yeah, she’s walking away and looks great.  You can give her a good look if you want.  I’ve noticed most of the guys here giving her the once over.  Like I said, witches are hot.

So anyway, as I sit here I race back through my memory of the past 48 hours to see if there is something I said that pissed her off. Witches can be so fucking sensitive.  You have no idea.  But I can’t think of anything.  I guess tonight isn’t some kind of revenge deal.

Does she find Mad Dog more interesting than me?  Well, tonight she surely does, and witches live totally in the moment.  Is Mad Dog her guy?  Based on previous experience, that’s not likely.  Is she trying to hurt me?  Like I said, I haven’t done anything to piss her off, and witches do live in the moment.  Sam can be so dismissive of concepts like loyalty.  She really doesn’t get why it might hurt one mate to see the other mate cavorting with someone else.  “Well, you weren’t supposed to see it, were you?” she will surely say and then add something like, “And that’s why I created the doppelganger.  In fact, I spent a lot of time making sure that she’d be good at sex -– all just for you! You wasted a good spell!”

My response of, “But I want to be with the real you, not a fake you,” will sound like nonsense to her, or at least she’ll pretend that it does.  I’m pretty sure that over the years I’ve managed to convince her that this does hurt my feelings and would hurt the feelings of most humans, but she continues to act like she doesn’t understand.  Sometimes her acting is not terribly convincing.  But I know that she doesn’t generally intend to hurt me.

Of course, witches are opportunists, so there’s always the chance that she’ll find someone more interesting and off she’ll go.  From what I can see, however, she’s more likely to mark the guy’s name, let him go, and then circle back way later using a time travel spell.  I’ve gotten the sense that she spent 500 years in the 17th century doing just that.  For what it’s worth, 17th century guys were hot, at least to witches.

So, why am I sitting here in the bar, nursing my third beer when I could be home having sex with a fake sexy Samantha that looks and pretty much acts like Samantha?  Am I some kind of queer who gets off on watching his wife with other men?  Or do I have some self-esteem issue?  Well, not really, I don’t think.

I guess when I see her acting like this I always ponder why I’m not interesting enough for her to be with all the time.  But then again, she’s a witch.  But then again, why aren’t I enough?  I kind of go round and round this way, adding a few other ornaments along the way as I build a mental tree from these various strands of thought.

I guess I do want to see if she’s going to sleep with Mad Dog or just make out with him and then go home.  I’ve seen her do both.  One choice is a lot less painful to witness than the other.  But she’ll be back home soon enough one way or the other.  Occasionally, a guy like Mad Dog will assume she’s a hooker, a druggie, or whatever, and he’ll just grab her and try to take more than she’s willing to give.  Of course, she always does something awful to them.  You probably won’t believe me, but I tend to feel sorry for them. Yes, they’re wannabe rapists but they simply have no idea what they are dealing with.  But then again, they were going to attack her, so I don’t know.  I always end up lost in a forest of mixed feelings.

The bartender just said last round.  I’ll get another.  Want one, too?  Samantha and I are happy together. I think. I’m not exactly sure which one of us is the happiest.  But tonight the thing I’m thinking about the most is whether Sam actually has any respect for me or not.

I’ve talked for a long time now, sorry — but tell me, what do you think?

Image at top: Elizabeth Montgomery in 1967, as Samantha Stevens in the 1960s primetime sitcom, Bewitched.