Skepticism

“Take the Fairy out of the Tale” May Contest

Did you ever read fairy tales when you were growing up? Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, orThe Frog Prince for example?

Do you ever wonder what those stories would be like if the protagonist of the story didn’t receive help from a magical fairy godmother, encounter a witch, or fly off to NeverNeverland?

The contest for this month: Take the Fairy out of the Tale. We want you to take your favorite fairytale and write a skeptical spin to it. We want to know what would happen if Cinderella didn’t have a fairy Godmother to help to her the ball!

You can post your stories in the comments. There is no limit to the length. At the end of the month, Elyse and I will set up a poll and have the reader’s vote on the winner.

The lovely prize for this contest is a free Skepchick Calendar! That’s right, if you win, you’ll get the newest calendar, hot off the press! You’ll be able to oogle your fav Skepchicks and Skepdudes all year ’round. That truly is a gift that keeps on giving.

Good luck! Elyse and I are looking forward to reading the entries!

Jill

Jill is forever chained to her art desk, scribbling away.

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22 Comments

  1. May I recommend the book “Cinder Edna” by Ellen Jackson, where the helpless Cinderella has a practical sister Cinderedna who wears penny loafers, saves up for her dress, and takes the bus to the ball? Amazon has it at http://www.amazon.com/Cinder-Edna-Ellen-Jackson/dp/0688162959/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210964295&sr=8-1 . My daughter loves it (as does my wife). I think the Fairy Godmother is still there helping Cinderella out (with an eye roll or two) but Cinderedna needs none of that.

  2. Prince Charming: Dead at seventy six, nephew to take the crown.

    Prince Charming, who was often referred to as the Lonely Price, passed away quietly in his spacious castle on the hill. The Prince was attended by his sister, nephew and three of his surviving mistresses. While it is likely the prince was never really lonely, given his status, reputation and appearance, the prince often remarked that he just couldn’t find his perfect match, and was never quite sure where a good damsel could be found. Charmings’ nephew Wartham is the designated heir and his ascension to power will take place after the official month or mourning. There has been some concern about the amazingly large number of illegitimate children the Prince fathered during his reign. Years ago the Princes’ sister was over heard asking, “how can my brother ever be satisfied by settling down with one girl, when he’s not satisfied after having every girl!?!?”.

    The Princes’ rule was marked by style, pomp and never ending parties and balls. In his later years the balls did seem somewhat forced and castle staff reportedly had an increasingly difficult task filling the guest lists. And rumors of bribery and coercion have not been reliably confirmed concerning castle staffs’ methods of ensuring the presence of young and fair ladies at said balls. The Prince will also be remembered for the kindness and affection he showed toward all the little people in his lands. Some have said that this affection had more to do with a certain dwarf family’s known involvement in human trafficking. Investigations into this matter were certainly a dark time in the Princes’ younger days; and some questions remain concerning the dilapidated tower in the wood with no door and a high solitary window.

    This reporters favorite recollections of the Prince occurred while accompanying Charming on an expedition seeking the whereabouts of a princess from a neighboring land. While not successful, the prince and I shared many a fine drink and good meals in the taverns and boarding houses of strange and odd little ladies of the deep wood. The meals always seemed to involve some sort of savory meat pie and the most succulent deserts baked in ginger bread crusts. We even became culinary adventurers at one Inn and had Frog legs baked in apple sauce. A sublime and lip smacking meal if there ever was one. The Prince was never one for deep conversation, but there was never one who looked more princely and deserving of ones affection while sitting across the table.

  3. My suspicion is that your complaint is not so much against the fantastic and improbably coincidences in the stories, but against the wanton and excessive bowdlerizing that permeates contemporary versions that have been rendered child-safe.

    If it’s for adults or precocious children, it would likely suffice to read the essay on French Fairy Tales in The Great Cat Massacre and original versions of the infamous fairy tales whether Grimm’s, Perrault’s, or someone elses. Or better yet, the original source material from which our beloved fairy tales are drawn.

    I don’t think the better known fairy tales need the “fairy taken out of the fairy tale.” What they need is to be de-Disney’fied.

    Grimms’ versions are gruesome and explicit. The French versions tend to be shockingly earthy (for the Disney crowd, anyway).

  4. Bob, have some fun, take a few moments and deconstruct a fairy tale with no fairies and a few ribald innuendo’s tossed in . And perhaps you’ll get that calendar!!

    Pssssst …. didn’t anyone tell you about the whole French + lack of bathing = earthy thing???

  5. My attempt:

    Cinderella was in the woods again. She usually went here to get away from things. She began coming after her widowered father got remarried to a shrew, and she and her two daughters treated Cinderella like their own personal slave. Her father had tried to put a stop to it, but after his death, there was no one to defend her.

    So she came here. Over the years she had learned her way around the forest. But now, she was no longer a little girl; she was a woman who deserved a life on her own. Many times she had thought of running away, but to where? The woods were now her home, and the house was just a place she went because she had to.

    She made her way back home before the sun set, because she knew if she was late her stepmother would punish her for not being there to cook dinner. She accepted her fate and went in.

    There, her stepsisters were talking about the festival they were attending that night. It was the talk of the kingdom. Rumor had it that the Prince was looking to take a wife! They began arguing over which of them would win the Prince’s heart.

    Cinderella asked if she could go, too. This sent the sisters and their mother into raucous laughter. They started commenting on how filthy and common Cinderella was, and how no one dare be seen with her. Cinderella wasn’t upset; it was what she had come to expect.

    Cinderella had long known of a secret panel in her bedroom, and that was where she stored her special things. Whenever one of the others threw out a dress, or a pair of shoes, she would retrieve it and put it there. She had become so skilled at tailoring and polishing that she was able to take the ragged apparel and make it look like new. She had been dreaming of the day she would use it; now, she knew the day was coming.

    The first night of the festival, she waited until her stepmother and stepsisters were long gone. Then she took the items from her secret panel. She had a beautiful gown, which she wore, with a matching silk head scarf. Then there were the shoes she had mended and polished until they shone like gold. Satisfied, she ran out the door and through the woods. The woods were the direct way to the palace; the roads wound around it and through the village, so she could make better time on foot than one might think.

    When she arrived, it was even greater than she imagined! The people were nice, the food was delicious, and the music was oh so lovely. The only time she was worried was when her stepsisters walked by her. She was afraid they would see her and scold her, but they hardly gave her a glance. With a clean face and nice clothes, they didn’t even recognize her!

    With newfound confidence, she began to dance. She danced with any suitor who asked her, and she began to hope that she could find a good husband who would take her away from her miserable life.

    One of them was especially charming—and he must have been taken with her, because they danced together the rest of the night! Then, she heard the other guests exclaiming, “Who is that dancing with the Prince?” “Is she the one he’s going to marry?” But she cared not about that; this beautiful man, this charming man was all that she was interested in.

    Then she realized that they were the only couple dancing! Everyone else was looking at them and making the same comments to each other—and that’s when she realized she was dancing with the Prince!

    Suddenly, all her confidence left her. She was, after all, a commoner in disguise! What would the Prince say if he found out? What would happen to her? She was suddenly too scared to do anything other than run out of the palace.

    She ran, ran, ran through the woods until she got home, put all of her fancy attire away, and tried to forget the night ever happened.

    ***

    The next day, with the fright dulled by memory, she remembered the fun she had had and decided after all to attend the festival again. As long as she didn’t dance with the Prince, there should be naught to fear.

    So, as she did the night before, she waited until the others were good and gone before getting dressed herself, then she made a beeline through the woods to the palace.

    For about an hour, she did as she committed herself to doing: she mingled, she laughed, but above all, she avoided the Prince. But then, when she turned round, there he was, with the most charming gesture he used to request a dance.

    She told herself not to, but for some reason she found herself moving into his arms anyway. As he led her across the floor, she realized she was completely unable to resist him. She wondered why.

    Could this be love?

    She told herself there was no harm in mere dancing. So she spent the second night dancing with the Prince. But then she had noticed that he had moved her towards a darker corner of the ballroom. She felt him pull her closer, and saw his lips move towards hers, desiring a kiss.

    No, she thought, this is going too far! To kiss a Prince, when she is a mere commoner? What laws of the kingdom might forbid it? What vile punishment would await her when her true identity was revealed?

    So, once again, she broke out of his arms and ran. She ran all the way home, and didn’t look back…although she wanted to, very much.

    ***

    At first, she was adamant about not attending the final night of the festival. But she couldn’t get the Prince out of her mind. How charming he was, the way it felt when he held her, when he led her across the room. It occupied her every thought during the day, to the extent that she hardly felt anything else even as her stepmother ordered her about, condemning her to meaningless chores.

    She overheard her stepsisters speaking of the Prince and the mysterious woman he had danced with. They spoke of how the Prince obviously felt about her, and that none of the other ladies of the kingdom had any chance with her around. If only they knew who it was!

    So, she thought, it’s only one more night. No matter what happens, we’ll have this one night of dancing together. And then, it’ll be over, and she’ll have nothing more to worry about. She’ll be back to her old, miserable life, but with one more nice memory to hold with her always.

    At that point, every scrub of the floor, every scrape of the dishes, every second until the others left seemed an eternity. When they were finally gone, she practically threw on her fancy dress and headed out at a breakneck pace through the woods.

    She entered the palace ballroom and looked for the prince. As she’d hoped, as soon as he saw her he asked her to dance. And they did! They danced and danced and danced.

    Even when the other ladies stopped dancing to sit down and rub their feet, Cinderella kept going. She had altered her shoes over the years to fit every contour of her dainty feet. They kept her feet comfortable and able to keep dancing, and her heart did the rest.

    “It’s funny,” the Prince said as they did a slow waltz. “I don’t even know your name, and yet, I cannot bear the thought of never seeing you again after tonight. You are always in my thoughts, and I want you here in the palace with me, forever.”

    He stopped dancing a moment to look her straight in her eyes.

    “Marry me,” he pleaded.

    Cinderella was stunned. Suddenly, she felt so out of place, and all of the eyes upon her weighed her down so that she felt she could hardly move. It suddenly took all of her energy to even speak.

    “I…I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m not who you think I am.”

    “It doesn’t matter!” said the Prince. “All that matters is how you make me feel!”

    “I’m sorry,” was all she could blurt out from behind her tears.

    And so, just like the other nights, she took off running.

    “My love! Please wait!” the Prince called out after her.

    But she kept running, and quickened her pace when she heard the Prince call for his steward to help pursue her. She ran out of the palace and all the way down the stairs, and then stopped and turned.

    There was a commotion barely audible from inside, which she knew would be the Prince and his royal servants coming out to chase her. How far would he go? she wondered. Would he look through the whole kingdom for her? Would he search even the commonest houses, not caring if she came not from noble stock?

    She was torn between running through the woods and running back into his arms. How to decide? She had to choose quickly—they would be out any minute!

    And then she realized, no, she didn’t have to decide. HE was the one who had to decide. All she had to do was give him the choice.

    She removed one of her shoes. Her many alterations had made it so that her foot might be the only one in the world that it was a perfect fit for. She placed it on the ground in front of the steps, where she knew the Prince would find it, to seem as if she’d lost it off her foot as she ran.

    By the time the Prince and his men were down the steps, she had disappeared into the forest, leaving no tracks for them to follow.

    ***

    The next day, the news was abuzz all over the kingdom—the Prince and his men were going from house to house, checking every single maiden they found, hoping to find the foot that fit the golden slipper.

    The stepsisters were ready, coached by their mother the whole day. They knew what they were to do and how they were to act. And their feet must fit the slipper at any cost.

    When the Prince and his men came calling, of course they invited them in. Cinderella watched from her hiding spot in the kitchen. The Prince’s steward demanded they bring out all maidens who had come of age.

    Cinderella’s stepmother brought out her two stepsisters. The steward ordered one to sit and try on the shoe.

    The stepmother took the shoe and knelt before her daughter. She could see that the shoe would fit, were it not for her big toe. So she produced a knife from her skirts, looked up at her daughter, and said, “Queens never need to walk”—and cut off her toe!

    The Prince was happy when he saw that the show had fit, but when the steward helped her up, she stumbled, and blood poured out of the shoe. He reached down and pulled the shoe off, and saw the terrible site, which a servant shielded from the Prince’s eyes.

    “Fraud!” the steward exclaimed. “This is not the one! The other one must try on the shoe!”

    Again, the stepmother took the shoe and knelt before her other daughter. The shoe slipped on over her toes, but was not long enough to go over the back of her heel. So her mother produced the knife again and said, “Queens never need to walk,” and cut off the girl’s heel!

    But again, the steward had seen the blood pouring out of the back of the shoe. When he took the shoe off and saw her heel, he reeled on them. “Fribbles!” he scowled. “None of you are worthy to be the consort of a king!”

    He handed the slipper to a servant, ordering him to clean off the blood. It was then that he saw Cinderella slowly creep from the shadowy kitchen out into the room.

    “Who is that?” he ordered of the stepmother.

    “Oh, her? She’s of no relation. She’s just the serving wench, a nobody.”

    “The Prince gave strict orders that every young maiden shall try on the golden slipper!”

    “But she’s so common! A lowly wench!”

    It was now that the Prince finally spoke. “Love,” he said, “knows naught of class or status. It is from the pure heart, which may be shared by the lowliest commoner and the greatest noble. If it be that I love a serving wench, then I shall make a serving wench my princess! And if there be any who would tear that asunder, I assure you, I shall tear HIM asunder!” The Prince reeled on the stepmother: “Or her!”

    The stepmother took a step back, speechless for once.

    The steward turned to Cinderella. “You will come forward and present your foot to me.”

    Cinderella came and sat, and put out her foot. The steward, no longer trusting anyone else, gently took the girl’s foot and slid the shoe on. He was stunned to see that it was a perfect fit!

    “My love!” exclaimed the Prince.

    “Oh, what?” shouted the stepmother. “Just because the shoe fit? It means she has the same size foot, that’s all!”

    That’s when Cinderella surprised them all by reaching into the pocket of her apron and producing…the other slipper!

    The steward placed it onto her other foot. The slippers were a perfect match for each other, and Cinderella.

    The Prince came and took her hands, helping her stand, and then held her in his arms. It was then that all doubt was gone. Even if there had been no slipper, he would have known this was the maiden he had danced with those glorious nights.

    “My love, I feared I would never see you again. My heart would have died if I had not found you. Marry me!”

    Cinderella found herself completely unable to speak. So, as an answer, she pulled the Prince toward her and gave him the kiss he had been seeking.

    When they broke, the Prince turned to his steward, and saw him trying to hide the fact that he was wiping his eyes. The Prince addressed his new bride-to-be while looking at the stepmother and her two daughters. “Of course,” he said, “your family is welcome to live with us at the palace.”

    All three, with renewed hope, moved forward and looked expectantly at Cinderella.

    “Oh, them?” said Cinderella. “They’re of no relation.”

    ***

    Cinderella loved her new life at the palace. She loved learning how a proper princess behaves, and how she entertains the ladies that accompany the visiting princes and dignitaries—which, her new husband assured her, was as crucial as the diplomatic talks in establishing good relations.

    But still, she had a fondness for the woods, and would sometimes steal away to them for a little while. One day, the Prince followed her to see where she was going. When he met her in the woods, they spent the rest of the day there.

    From then on, she would learn the ways of the nobility in the palace, and then she would take him to the woods and teach him the simple pleasures: the peaceful reflection, watching a beautiful sunset, making love in a field of grass, or lying together at night listening to the cicadas.

    And so it continued, even after they became King and Queen. Their passion had blossomed into the perfect romance of lifelong partners, and they lived happily ever after—or at least, as much as anyone could ever expect to.

  6. Beauty And The Beast

    Once upon a time, a beautiful young woman named Arugula lived with her father, Fettucine, in a small village in the countryside. Arugula and her father were both polymath scientists and researchers who had made many exciting discoveries in several fields. Their home was filled with books, lab equipment of all types, and prototypes of various inventions they were working on.

    One day, Arugula’s father decided to travel out into the countryside to find a mineral he had read about in an ancient text, and which was said to be common in ore form nearby.

    Unfortunately, being so interested in the many fine examples of evolution by natural selection which were exhibited in the area, he lost track of time and night fell. Not expecting to be so late, he had neglected to include in his pack Belle’s latest invention: a device which would display the best route to any given point. Fettucine was lost!

    Fettucine saw lights ahead of him and began walking toward them. He soon arrived at a castle he recognized as that of the nominal “ruler” of their area, who had never been seen in public. Knocking on the door, Fettucine was surprised to find the door opened by a mechanical butler, who ushered him in. After a brief wait, the sitting room door opened and a figure entered the room whose visage filled Fettucine with horror and dismay!

    “Who are you and why do you disturb me?” boomed the voice of the creature.

    In a shrinking voice, Fettucine answered, “Uh, hi, I’m Fettucine. I forgot to bring my locator and got lost down the road a bit while I was investigating a mineral I want to do some experiments with. Thought you might have some way to let my daughter know where I am so she can come get me.”

    “Locator?!” the creature roared, “Experiments?! You are a scientist!”

    “Yeah,” Fettucine said, producing what he hoped was a self-deprecatory grin and a shrug, “Except I’d forget my head if it weren’t screwed on. Thus, here I am!”

    “You will stay here,” said his host menacingly, “You will work in my laboratory to discover a way to remove the curse which was placed upon me when I was born. I wish to be a man like other men!”

    “Curse? But I am more expert in the non-organic sciences,” said Fettucine, backing away slowly toward toward the door, “Now, my daughter, Arugula, is great with biology and organic things. If you’ll let me go, I can bring her here to take a look.”

    Of course, Fettucine had no intention of bringing his lovely Arugula to be enslaved by this, uh, person.

    “You will go nowhere,” said the creature, “ALFRED!”

    The mechanical butler appeared from behind a door and came forward, bowing jerkily and obsequiously.

    “Send two of my tin soldiers into town to bring this woman, Arugula, back to me. Be sure it is done quietly,” instructed his liege lord. Alfred bowed again and left, creaking a bit as he moved away.

    Horrified, Fettucine tried to run to the door himself, but the castle’s owner was faster and grabbed Fettucine, tossing him unceremoniously into a corner.

    “You will stay right there until your daughter arrives. I will have Alfred bring food and drink for you as soon as he has dispatched my soldiers to fetch her. You may sleep on the couch. I suggest you get some rest. Good night.”
    The creature swept from the room.

    *****

    As the sun began to peek into the tall windows of the castle, a huge ruckus could be heard outside the castle. Fettucine sat up, sore from sleeping on the too-small couch, stretched, and rubbed his tired eyes. He saw Alfred in the corner and asked, “What’s going on? What time is it? Is Arugula here?”

    Alfred creaked over toward him and made a movement that might have been a shrug, but was impeded by his obviously corroded and unmaintained joints.

    “Oh, you poor thing!” exclaimed Fettucine, “I must fix you!”

    As he spoke, the doors were flung open. The cursed man rushed in, followed by two mechanical men struggling to carry a wrapped bundle. The struggle was made more difficult by the fact that one man was missing an arm and half of a leg while the other had no head to speak of. Apparently, Arugula’s martial arts classes had been a good investment.

    As the bundle was untied, a very angry, spitting woman came flying out, instantly assuming a threatening pose. As soon as she saw Fettucine, however, she ran to his side, keeping a squinted eye on the room’s other inhabitants.

    “Dad! What the hell?” she said, “These freaks came in while I was sleeping and grabbed me before I could defend myself. I had left the door unlocked ‘cause I saw you had left your key on the hook, and I thought you’d be back soon.”

    “Oh, sweetie, I’m such a dork. I didn’t know I’d left my key,” Fettucine said with slouched shoulders, “Anyway, this guy needs you to help him get rid of a curse. I would help, but you know I’m better with the physics and the engineering stuff. You can do everything!”

    Arugula replied, still tense and prepared to respond with violence to any attempt to get near, “Curse? Please come closer so I can take a better look at you. I suspect it is something else entirely! What kind of idiot believes in curses? Who are you, anyway? We thought the tales of someone really living here were just legends. We’ve been running things ourselves for quite a while.”

    She planned to subdue her captor as soon as he got within reach, grab her father, and get the heck out of there as fast as they could run.

    “My name is Bob,” said the creature. “My mom and dad ruled this area during their lifetimes, but when they saw that they had cursed me with the curse that has plagued our families for generations, they shut up our palace to hide me from the world. I have been served by the automatons commissioned from their artificers many years ago by my parents before their deaths.”

    “I would like to meet these artificers,” said Fettucine. “They have done fine work if your butler is any example.”

    “CAN WE FOCUS ON MY PROBLEM?” shrieked Bob, coming suddenly into the light.

    “AAAAAH!” Fettucine recoiled, throwing his hand up over his face. Looking through his fingers a second later, he lowered his hand to see Arugula looking intently at Bob, whose entire body was covered with wiry, light-brown hair.

    “Wait a minute! It is as I suspected!” she exclaimed excitedly, “You have not been cursed, only inbred! You say this ‘curse’ has plagued your family?”

    “Yes,” said Bob, “but there was hope that it had been overcome, since no hideous children had been born since my great-grandfathers’ generations.”

    “Generations, you say,” mused Arugula.

    “Yes,” Bob answered, “when no more like me had been born in two generations, the families of my parents decided the curse was destroyed and began again to exclusively intermarry. You know, to keep our royal blood from being tainted.”

    “Yes, well, hmmmm, tainted, hmmm,” hmmmed Arugula with distaste. “Let me tell you a little story, Bob, if that’s your real name, about something called hypertrichosis and then you can decide what it means to be ‘tainted’.”

    *****

    A few hours later, deep in the night, the three sat close to the dying fire. Bob was sobbing in a chair, his face buried in his hands. Arugula and Fettucine watched him closely. Arugula still wanted to get away, but with the remaining unharmed tin soldiers blocking the only way out, she knew she stood little chance of escape, especially with her father in tow.

    Eventually, Bob took a deep breath and sat up, wiping his face with a lacy hankie he had drawn from his sleeve.

    “So, you say my family cursed themselves through interbreeding,” he sighed, “Is there anything to be done? Can these things you call ‘genes’ be changed?”

    Arugula looked at her father, who was always hurting for money to fund his experiments and his inventions. She thought of the decrepit lab equipment they used at home and her plans for future research.

    “Well…..” she began…

    *****

    Five years later…

    Work was proceeding apace at Fettucine’s March to the Future Physics and Engineering Project headquarters. The castle swarmed with employees and well-maintained mechanical lab assistants, led by Alfred, who no longer clanked and squeaked. Inventions to save labor and time were distributed to the public regularly. Fettucine had never been happier.

    Meanwhile, at Bob’s Biotech, Arugula supervised dozens of teams of investigators, experimenting with various methods of gene manipulation and stem cell therapy to help individuals who were adversely affected by genetic anomalies.

    Bob had long since accepted his hypertrichosis, with the help of Arugula and Fettucine and lots of therapy. As he became more and more involved in the local community, helping to set up farmer’s markets and coops all over the county, as well as moderating arguments regarding the best uses for Fettucine’s inventions, he was honored for his even-handedness and became more and more loved by the local populace. His castle was given to the public and was constantly buzzing with people bringing suggestions and ideas for improving the lives of everyone in the community. Life was good!

    Bob’s only failure, in his opinion, was his lack of love. Oh, Fettucine and Arugula loved him, but after Arugula had laughed hysterically a couple of years earlier when he had proposed marriage, saying she planned never to marry, he despaired of finding a life-companion. Arugula said she was too wrapped up in her research to be a decent mate and that, besides, she was perfectly satisfied with her relationship with Pokeweed, her co-researcher and a beautiful and intelligent woman in her own right.

    One day, though, at a meeting of the local weavers and clothing manufacturers, Bob met Frieda. When they first saw each other, they couldn’t stop staring: she, because she found his hair beautiful and fantastic; he, because there was not a single hair to prevent his admiration of her dark and shining skin. Her family had a gene for alopecia. It was truly one of those rare cases of love at first sight. Still, they dated for several years before deciding to marry, with Fettucine as best man and Arugula giving the bride away.

    Eventually, but sadly not in their lifetimes, scientists at Bob’s Biotech and Fettucine’s March to the Future developed methods to adjust for genetic “defects” such as hypertrichosis and alopecia. But because of the love between Bob and Frieda and the love of the community for them, neither extreme hairiness nor complete baldness were considered strange or ugly ever again. That is the legacy of Beauty and the Beast.

    The End

  7. Incidentally, the term “fairy tale” has an interesting history.

    Once upon a time, fairies were the equivalent of grey aliens. They would cast a “glamour” on you, kidnap your children and replace them with changelings… all sorts of horrible things. (No records of anal probing AFAIK, though.)

    Many people felt that children’s tales would get into a child’s head and corrupt them, much like a fairy. Hence, “fairy tales”.

    BTW, a lot of these folk takes have versions which aren’t quite as “supernatural”. For example, in the Rossini operatic version of Cinderella (called La Cerentola), it’s her tutor that arranges everything through entirely non-supernatural means.

  8. Headline: Giant cleared after killing local teen in botched robbery attempt.

    Eccentric Mogul. Phil Giant walked out of Beanstalk City Hall a free man today, after a Grand Jury failed to indict him on murder charges in the death of Jack Trades.

    Trades had allegedly been trespassing on Giant’s property, when Giant dropped a big rock on him.

    The jury found that there was substantial evidence to support Giant’s claim. Many of Giant’s possessions, reported stolen over the past 6 months, were found at the Trades household in the course of the investigation. And, Trades’ body was found well within the limits of the Giant Estate.

    “The laws of the city of Beanstalk and the laws of physics were on our side today,” said Giant’s lawyer, BJ Davis. “My client had an inalienable right to defend himself and his property, and that included dispatching any intruders. Justice was served.”

    The report also squashes rumors of cannibalism, which began to surface shortly after Trades’ death. Several individuals claimed to have heard Giant threaten to “grind their bones to make bread.”

    The jury briefly addressed the cannibalism charge in their findings, but quickly dismissed it. The report read, in part:

    “Although this can be considered as a general threat of harm, we do not find evidence to indicate that Mr. Giant truly considered cannibalism. The body was indeed crushed, which made the recovery and weighing of the corpse difficult, but not impossible. The coroner’s report shows that the majority of Trades’ body was recovered. Furthermore, bones are a poor substitute for flour, because they lack gluten, a key element in good breadmaking.”

    Trades’ mother, Jackie Trades, plans to bring charges against Giant in civil court. “That evil Giant crushed my baby,” she said outside the courthouse. “He’s not going to get away with that.”

  9. Eh, what the hell.

    The prince assessed the situation and, in a moment of unmitigated ignorance and douchebaggery, grabbed hold of Rapunzel’s golden, cephalic grappling hook. “After all,” he reasoned, “Newton’s second law is just a theory.”
    He planted his feet firmly against the cold gray cobbled stones of the tower and hoisted himself upward. A symphony of screams and moans echoed through the valley, punctuated only by the occasional, gruesome tearing sound. Each increment of upward progress, each substitution of clenched fists, was met by a crescendo of tortured howls. “Oh yeah,” whispered the prince knowingly, “she fully wants it.”

    Alas, mass, in it’s perpetual union with the gravitational constant, finally overcame Rapunzel’s desperate efforts at sustained neck flexion. As she plummeted to her demise, her torn scalp flapping rhythmically in the breeze, she took a moments comfort on seeing the motionless, disfigured heap beneath her. “Fucking prick,” she spat.

    And they both lived happily ever after!
    Fin.

  10. Can we have more than one entry? If so, I submit this, too:

    The Baker and his Wife

    Han lay in bed, waiting for Medina as always. He got himself ready for her, anticipating the ecstasy to come. Each night, without fail, he and his wife made love like most couples can only dream of.

    When she finally came in, she reached under the covers and found his hardness. A look of lustful desire came over her face, and she slipped under the sheets as he entered her. She was as beautiful as the day they married—at least, that was his opinion, and no one would ever shake it.

    But what made it more exciting, what always made it more exciting, was that this might be the night he finally impregnated her. They had been trying for years, but they never lost hope; quite the contrary, it fueled their passions.

    ***

    Han wondered who the hell that could be so damn early in the morning. He stood up, put on his robe and slippers, and answered the door. The sight he saw was gastly.

    The old woman claimed to be a witch, who had put a curse on his father’s house. His father, she explained, had promised to marry her (well, right after some unfortunate kidnapping business), but reneged on the deal. She held up a poppet.

    “This poppet is in the form of your father. I used it to place a curse on him. The curse was that he would have only one son, and that son would be sterile and unable to carry on his line. YOU, ‘son,’ will be unable to bear a child, unless you do what I want. Then, I will lift the curse.”

    Han tried not to think of what the old hag might want him to do, but to his relief, it was to help her with a potion.

    “I finally found my mother’s secret potions that she hid from me, and found her potion for eternal beauty. Help me make this potion, and I shall undo the curse on your house.”

    She handed Han the potion. He looked over the ingredients.

    “I don’t care how long it takes, I want to be beautiful so I can have the pick of any man in the kingdom! I don’t care if it takes weeks, or months, or years!”

    Han looked up from the paper. “Is lunchtime okay?”

    ***

    Han couldn’t figure out what the hell newt’s eye and frog’s toe were supposed to do, but hey, the customer is always right, so he cooked the ingredients exactly as the recipe called for, under the witch’s careful supervision.

    He would call over to his wife, “Won’t it be wonderful, dear, to finally hear the patter of little feet?”

    “It will be wonderful!” she would answer every time. “We will be so happy!”

    “And I will be beautiful!” chimed in the witch. “That would make me so happy!”

    Finally, it was ready. Ingredients aside, the baker thought it one of his finest accomplishments. He had taken great care to make it right, and also to blend the ingredients together properly, and even making it look like a fancy pastry. He held it up for the witch.

    The witch beamed with delight. She held up the poppet and pulled a thorn out of its crotch. “The curse is lifted!” she announced.

    She went away happily eating the potion pastry, and the baker took his wife to bed.

    ***

    The next day, the witch came banging on the door again. Han opened it to see her in a terrible state.

    “It didn’t work!” she moaned. “All it did was give me a terrible stomach-ache! I’ve been vomiting for hours!!!”

    “With those ingredients? I don’t doubt it! But that’s not my fault. I fulfilled my part of the bargain.”

    She held up the poppet again. “You will NEVER have a child!” she screeched, and she stuck the thorn back into its crotch.

    All he could do was watch, mouth agape, as she trudged on down the path.

    ***

    Three weeks later, his wife woke him up early, saying there was something she absolutely wanted to show him. He looked as she raised the hem of her robe up to her breasts. Her belly had a very slight bulge, barely noticeable.

    “I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure, but now I am! We did it! I am with child!”

    The baker froze for a moment, then leaped out of bed. “Oh, Medina, I’m so happy!” He knelt and kissed his wife’s belly. “I guess that one night the witch lifted the curse was enough.”

    She lifted his head up, her hands on his cheeks. “Han, you silly, silly man, don’t you know? That night was only three weeks ago. With a belly like this, I’ve been pregnant for months!”

    He threw his arms around Medina, and gave her the kiss of her life.

    They were making love for the fourth time in a row when there was a pounding on the door again. The baker stood, put on his robe, adjusted himself, and went to answer it.

    It was that damn witch again.

    “Okay, so maybe I overreacted earlier. Tell you what: help me work on a love potion and I’ll remove the spell.”

    “No.”

    The witch was stunned. “What did you say?”

    “I said, no.”

    “Don’t you want a child?”

    “More than anything!”

    “You will never have one!”

    “Yes, I will. My wife is pregnant.”

    “You mean…the spell didn’t reactivate?”

    “There never was any spell, you ugly, sour, bitter old hag! Don’t you get it? That’s why the potion didn’t work—you’re not a witch! And neither was your mother! There’s probably not any such thing as witches at all!”

    “How dare you!” She was fuming. “I’ll put a curse on your whole house!”

    “Go ahead,” Han said confidently.

    “Very well! I call upon the spirit of your ancestor, your great-great grandfather who built this house! I call on him to come commune with me, to speak with me, to bring you his message from the beyond, to undo everything your family has been!”

    She began gesticulating wildly. Then she trembled, muttered, and twitched.

    “I have him! The spirit of your patriarch is here with me!”

    She looked straight at him, pointing an old, bent finger right at his face.

    “Did his name start with a ‘B’?”

    Han shut the door in her face.

    ***

    Little Fucia gurgled as she crawled along the floor. Han loved playing with his daughter in the evenings until she grew tired. He and his wife put their baby to bed, and went to their own room.

    The baby was a blessing, but for some reason, now that it was here, Han felt that something was missing. Before, the prospect of getting his wife pregnant made him excited; now, it made him fearful. It was difficult enough making enough money to feed them as it was; the last thing they needed was another child.

    But that night, his wife had a surprise for him. “I know a way that we can make love as much as we want.”

    “How, my love?” he asked.

    She handed him a package she had gotten from the market. On it was written, “Made from sheep intestine.” He opened it to see what looked like small sausage wrappers closed at one end.

    “What are these?”

    “The man at the market counter called them, ‘condoms,'” she replied.

    With a twinkle in his eye, he grabbed his wife, kissed her deeply, and practically ripped off her gown…

  11. Okay, here goes:

    A witch, jealous of the Queen’s political power, one day sneaks into the castle and curses the Queen’s young daughter:

    “One day, your daughter will prick her finger on a spindle, and then fall into a deep sleep, which can only be lifted by a sequence of highly improbable events which I won’t spell out so that others will have to repeatedly guess until it becomes very frustrating!”

    The Queen witnesses this, and irked, throws the witch out of the castle. However, this event fails to escape the public notice, and the young Princess gains the nickname “Sleeping Beauty”, in anticipation of the curse’s effect.

    One day, many years later, Sleeping Beauty is working at a spindle, and she accidentally pricks her finger. “Ow!” she says, and goes to get a band-aid and some Neosporin.

    A week later, the minor wound heals over and is forgotten.

    Sleeping Beauty later goes on to found a small business which manufactures and sells mufflers (both the car kind and the neck kind). She becomes very successful, and is beloved by her employees, whose wages are 20% over the industry average.

    She retires with great wealth at the age of 65, and dies peacefully in her bed at an age higher than but within one standard deviation of the mean age of death in her country.

    The End.

  12. The Princess on the Pea, with apologies to Hans Christian Andersen

    There was once a Prince who wished to marry a Princess; but insisted that she must be a real Princess. He travelled all over the world in hopes of finding such a lady; but there was always something wrong. He found plenty of ladies who could only be described as Eurotrash, who spent most of their days partying and getting wasted, but in their inebriated states, it was impossible for him to tell if they were real royalty or not. He returned to his palace downhearted.

    One evening, there was a terrible El Niño-induced storm outside. The rain was bucketing down, and the sky was pitch black. All of a sudden, there was a violent knock at the door. Because this was a small palace, and they couldn’t afford household staff or a security detail since the country became a republic at the end of World War II, the King himself went to answer it.

    Standing outside the door was a Princess. Or, at least, she looked a bit like a Princess. She was soaked through, and her top became a bit transparent, revealing… never mind. Anyway, she was she was a Princess, and that’s what’s important.

    The Queen-mother decided that she would test this. She went quietly into the bedroom, took all the bed-clothes off the bed, and put three little peas on the mattress base. She then laid twenty mattresses over the three peas and put twenty feather beds over the mattresses.

    When the Queen-mother showed the bed to the Princess, she said, “How do you expect me to climb up all that?”

    The Queen-mother replied, “Just get in the bed, you spoiled brat.”

    The next morning she was asked how she had slept. “Oh, very badly indeed!” she replied. “I’m aching all over, and my back is really stiff.”

    The Queen-mother said that the lady must be a real Princess, since she had been able to feel the three little peas through the twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds.

    The Princess replied, “You’re kidding, right? You pile up twenty mattresses and twenty feather-beds, which have no back support at all. Besides, I had to get up in the middle of the night to pee, and hit my knee on something climbing back up in the dark. You really know how to treat a guest, lady.”

    The Prince pointed out, “Besides, grandmother, we’ve talked about double-blind controlled experiments before. We’d need at least ten nights’ worth of data before the results were statistically significant.”

    The Prince made her his wife; being now convinced that, even if she wasn’t a real Princess, at least she had a healthy attitude to life.

    The End

  13. Well, here’s my entry.

    In these stories, a kiss is never just a kiss.

    FTN= Fairy Tale News

    * * *

    More Troubles For The Royals?

    May 22, Nevalendia (FTN)— Prince Percy, better known as “Prince Charming,” was taken into custody earlier today. Nothing is known for certain other than the alleged offense is sexual in nature and involves a minor.

    This latest scandal is the latest in a long line involving murder, incest, enslavement, exploitation of minors, as well as petty theft.

    UPDATE—

    The Chief of Police has issued an official statement. Prince Percy was taken into custody after a complaint was filed alleging that he performed a sex act upon an unconscious female minor. The name of the victim is being withheld at this time.

    Prince Charmings alleged accomplice is still being sought.

    The complaint alleges that Prince Percy paid an elderly acquaintance to inject an apple with Gamma-Hydroxybutyerate (GHB) which the Prince’s accomplice then gave the unsuspecting victim. After falling into a deep sleep, Prince Charming hid his victim away in a secluded castle.

    The minor, however, proved more resistant to the effects of GHB than Prince Charming had anticipated. Upon kissing his victim, she awoke and began screaming, then scratched him about the face and eyes. Prince Charming then overpowered the victim, and allegedly raped her.

    UPDATE—

    The Royal Family has issued a statement denying the particulars of the Official Complaint against Prince Charming.

    According to the Royals, Prince Charming has never used GHB or any other similar substance for the purposes stated in the complaint. Nor was there any sexual intercourse or any attempt to engage in intercourse consensual or otherwise.

    Prince Charming’s is on the record as saying, “It was only a kiss. Just a kiss. It was destiny. I did nothing wrong. I saw her sleeping there, and kissed her. That’s all. Truth and facts will prove me innocent of all wrong-doing.”

    UPDATE—

    Further details have emerged. A high ranking official in the Royal Government on condition of anonymity told FTN that this is not the first time that Prince Charming “has been involved in this sort of thing, but we had always managed to keep it hush-hush until now. We’ve also determined that the girl had access to a rape kit. It appears that semen samples are available.”

  14. Snow White – a historical reconstruction by Lady Jane Ashton, Ph.D.

    Once upon a time, ever so long ago and in a faraway land though my current research places the start of this story near Essen in Germany around 1785, a baby girl was born to an old duke, Gustav Hesse, and his young wife, Matilda.

    Now, you may not believe this, but in those old and dark days, a little girl’s beauty was of the greatest importance and this little baby girl was very beautiful. Her lips were as red as ripe cherries that squirt juice and stain clothes. Her hair was as black and shiny as the coal, that burning rock which nearby miners pulled from the earth. Her skin was as white as that first long snow that covered Matilda’s, her mother’s, grave. Matilda had grown ill several days after giving birth and you may not believe this, but in those old and dark days, doctors knew little and their medicines were mostly leaves and twigs and other bits they found underfoot and didn’t approach things scientifically.

    Duke Gustav named his daughter Matilda after her mother, but as he stood in the snow and bid his wife good-bye and saw the snow flakes disappear on his daughter’s pale skin, he called her Snow White. For some years, they lived together in sorrow and in happiness, in study and in play, in the loudest laughter and in the quietest tears.

    But the duke was an old man who knew his days were growing few and he didn’t wish to leave his Snow White alone, so he found a young wife, Eva, who could be Snow White’s step-mother and as the winter days grew short approaching Snow White’s eleventh birthday, the old duke died. Now, in most tales of Snow White, the step-mother, Duchess Eva, is wicked from the start, but for the next four or five years, Snow White and her step-mother lived together in sorrow and in happiness, in study and in play, in the loudest laughter and in the quietest tears until the day Duchess Eva’s brain got sick.

    Now, you may not believe this, but in those old and dark days, people believed a heart could be sick, or lungs could sick, any part of the body could be sick, except the brain. If someone’s brain got sick, people said the person was wicked or crazy or possessed by demons or many other things, but not that her brain was sick. And so, people said Duchess Eva was wicked and crazy and possessed by demons, because she began to talk to things and listen as if they talked back. Mostly, she talked to her mirror and she would say “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” The mirror didn’t say anything for it is a piece of glass and doesn’t have lips to speak or a brain to think words, but Duchess Eva’s brain was sick and she heard in her head “You are.” This made her happy.

    Snow White had many doctors come and treat her step-mother and they gave her leaves and twigs and made her hot and made her cold and one even tried to drive the demons away and they tried many, many cures that did not work and are just too silly and icky to describe. Then one morning when Duchess Eva talked to her mirror and said “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all,” Eva thought the mirror said “Snow White.” Distraught, Duchess Eva asked her teacup and her blanket and her brush and everything thing in her room the same question and they all said “Snow White”.

    Now, you may not believe this, but in those old and dark days, all of the servants in Snow White’s castle had to obey Eva even though her brain was sick, because she was the duchess and they always had to obey duchesses and princesses and queens. So Duchess Eva called the huntsman and told him to take Snow White out into the forest and kill her and bring back proof. The huntsman had a wife and three children and Duchess Eva had to be obeyed even if her brain was sick, so he asked Snow White to come to woods with him to look for a cure for her step-mother, a special mushroom that could only be picked by a young woman with black hair.

    Snow White was skeptical about the huntsman’s cure, but she was willing to try anything to make her beloved step-mother better so they traveled off together and journeyed into the forest. In a clearing deep in the darkest part of the forest, the huntsman stopped her and said “I am sorry milady, but the Duchess wants you dead and I fear for my family.” He pulled a knife from his belt and came towards her.

    Snow White backed away and said “If you kill me kind huntsman, I will only join my mother and father in the earth, but you will live in shame and sorrow for all your days. Perhaps, there is another way?” The huntsman stopped.

    “What other way?” he asked.

    “Slice off my hair. Cut my skin and draw my blood. Let this be proof to her that I am no more.” she said.

    “But will it work?” he asked.

    “My step-mother’s brain is sick. Who can say what will work? You might bring her my head and she might claim that my body still lives. Whatever you choose though, after you return take your family and flee. You will find my jewelry in a box under my bed. Here is the key,” said Snow White.

    Now, you may not believe this, but in those old and dark days, people didn’t understand that one catch another’s happiness or sorrow or laughter or courage from smiles and shrugs and the slightest gestures. So in that small meadow in the deep woods, the huntsman got infected with Snow White’s bravery as if she had sneezed and he had gotten sick with courage. They cut her hair and her skin and he showed her an animal path to follow and she wished his family long life and happiness and he promised to name any new daughter Matilda and she asked him to name her Eva, because she still loved her step-mother and … and the good-byes were too long to write them all. They marched away in opposite directions. He carried her hair and key. She was bald and bleeding.

    Snow White was scared as she followed the path towards the mountain, but who wouldn’t be if they were alone, far from home, and hurt. Every forest sound made her heart pound and her brain jump. She fell. She lay on the ground for a long time. But her brain, filling with the love of her father and step-mother before she got sick, remembered the sorrow and happiness, study and play, loudest laughter and quietest tears. She stood and walked through the night towards the distant mountain.

    In the middle morning of the next day, she came upon a small shack on the edge of the woods. She went up to knock on the door, but there was no answer. She opened the door and went in. The room was small. A short table held seven small bowls with seven small spoons surrounded by seven small chairs. The floor had seven small sleeping blankets. Exhausted, she lied across three blankets and fell fast asleep.

    She woke many hours later after the sun had set and footsteps sounded on the hut’s floorboards. She opened eyes and before her were terrifying creatures. Short, hunched monsters with wild hair jutting out and black skin with black clothes and black, crooked teeth and white eyes and wheezing, coughing breaths and … she tried to escape, but she could only back into a corner.

    “Doc,” one of them croaked out. “Doc, you think she escaped from the crazy person place?”

    The monster named Doc stood by the small table dipping a cloth into a basin of water and wiped the coal soot from his face. As Snow White watched, the black skinned, wild haired monster became a short stooped young man with the beginnings of a beard.

    “No. She looks scared, not like a demon got her or something. Now, clean yourselves up. We don’t need to bring the mine home with us, do we?” He waved the others back as he approached Snow White. “They call me Doc, because I was once apprenticed to a physician before my family lost its money and I had to work the mines. That’s Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey. Who are you and why are you in my house?”

    “I’m Matilda. I … I had to leave home. I’m sorry. I’ll leave in the morning.” said Snow White.

    “Good,” muttered Grumpy. “We don’t need her around here.”

    “Not so fast,” said Doc. “If you can do something to help out, you can stay. Can you cook?”

    “No.”

    “Can you clean?”

    “I could try.”

    “Can you mend clothes?”

    “Why not just buy new ones?” asked Snow White.

    “What can you do?” Doc asked.

    “I like to read,” said Snow White.

    “Read?” said Doc.

    “Oh yes. I am very good at reading. We had a very large library with very many books.”

    “Could you teach us to read?” asked Doc.

    “If you have some books,” said Snow White.

    “We will get some,” said Doc and they did.

    And so they lived together for three good years. Snow White taught them to read. Bashful taught her cook. Sneezy taught her to clean. Happy taught her to mend socks. Sleepy taught her to always get a good night’s rest and some basic carpentry. Dopey taught her not to over think things. Grumpy taught her how to throw a punch. And Doc taught her what he had learned about medicine before he ran out of money. They all learned from each other and were mostly happy except for Grumpy who was mostly grumpy.

    Back in the castle, Duchess Eva’s brain got sicker and sicker and sicker and soon she thought everything was shouting at her all the time. She would pick up a hairbrush and it would demand to be put down. She would try take off her dress to have it cleaned, but it would shout at her to leave it on. Her brain was very, very sick.

    Now, you may not believe this, but it some stories about Snow White, they say Duchess Eva discovered that Snow White was still alive using her magic mirror. They say she cast a spell to change into an ugly, old woman. They say she came up with an evil plan to poison Snow White with an apple.

    Most likely, one of the servants had heard the gossip about Snow White living on the other side of the forest with the seven dwarves who weren’t really dwarves, they were just poorly nourished, stooped coal miners and whispered it to another servant where Duchess Eva could hear. After all, if the mirror were really magic, why didn’t it tell her that the huntsman didn’t kill Snow White in the first place?

    And she didn’t need a spell to make her look ugly and old. Many years with a sick brain telling her not to wash her hair or brush her teeth or … no, best not to think about it, but she probably smelled very, very bad.

    But however it happened, three years later, Duchess Eva was sneaking up to the seven dwarves’ much improved house thanks to Snow White’s hard work learning carpentry. In her pocket, Duchess Eva had what she believed to be a poisoned apple which was in fact a red pin cushion.

    Now, you may not believe this, but it most stories about Snow White, she eats the poisoned apple, the dwarves rush back to find her in a deep sleep, they chase the Duchess up the mountain where she falls off to her death, then they put Snow White in a glass coffin until some prince comes along to wake her with a kiss. These stories ignore the evidence that Snow White was a smart young woman who could throw a good punch.

    Doc and the others returned from the mine that night to find Duchess Eva firmly tied up with a few rather large bruises.

    “Doc. Everyone. This is my step-mother, Eva. Step-mom, these are my friends,” said Snow White.

    Duchess Eva was about to rant and rave and accuse, but just then Sleepy’s left boot buckle started to sing a song to her and she got rather distracted.

    “I guess you can go home now,” said Doc.

    “Yeah, I guess you are right,” said Snow White, “But I will have to think about what to do next.”

    In the morning, the dwarves helped Snow White return to her castle with the bound up Duchess Eva. Then, after making proper arrangements, Snow White sent her step-mother to a hospital where she would be well cared for. While Snow White enjoyed being back in the castle and watching the dwarves try to eat dinner properly, she soon got bored and a little sad.

    “What’s wrong?” Doc asked her one day in the garden.

    “It’s boring and everyone is doing everything for me and I don’t think the doctors are making my step-mother better. Her brain is still sick.” said Snow White who was almost about to cry.

    “So find out how to make her better yourself,” said Doc.

    “But …”

    Now, you may not believe this, but in those old and dark days, colleges and universities wouldn’t let women go to classes and learn to become doctors or lawyers or anything else which is why Snow White needed a man to save her. And one did.

    That night, Snow White gathered her servants, told them that Doc was in charge until she returned, packed her belongings, and left for Leipzig. On the way, she cut her hair short then put on a funny white wig like men did at the time, dressed in men’s clothes, and changed her name to Mathias Block. In Leipzig, she, or Mathias, joined the university, studied to be a doctor, and after years of study and research returned home to make her step-mother better. Of course, she enjoyed her life as the future Duchess Matilda, but she published her medical research under the name Dr. Mathias Block, because in those old and dark days, scientists would not haven’t listened to a Dr. Snow White.

    And so, they lived happily ever after, except for the time that Sneezy made everyone else sick and Snow White had to take care of all of them at once especially Grumpy who … never mind, some parts of the story are just too icky.

    The End

    Author’s Notes

    – If you are going to call me anything other than just Jane, should we meet, I much prefer Dr. Jane or Dr. Ashton as it took me many years of study to earn that name versus Lady Ashton which is merely a convenience of my birth.

    – For a more scientific evaluation of the evidence for this version of the Snow White story, I refer you to my June 2003 article in Fairy Tale Archaeologists Journal – Malnutrition and stunted growth among German coal miners in the 18th Century and my September 2006 article in Historical Psychology Quarterly – Poisoned Apples and Magic Mirrors : De-mystifying sick brains.

    – Finally, while I respect Dr. Kimmel’s rigorous efforts and research on his multiple origins of Snow White hypothesis, the recent genetic testing of Dr. Mathias Block’s private journals by the University of London revealed only female DNA on the jounals’ inner pages and if replicated should confirm my Out of Essen hypothesis.

    Yours truly,
    Lady Jane Aston, Ph.D.

  15. I think I’m late, but here it is anyway.

    ——-

    I wanted to go.

    It just wasn’t fair that I wouldn’t be able. Everybody else could go. I was going to have my photos done for the Skepchick calendar.

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson was going to be there.

    Dr. PZ was going to be there.

    A was going to be there. I wanted to see A the most. I’ve got a little crush on A. I wanted to be naked in front of her. I wanted her to see me, and despair. I wanted to possess that which is A.

    When the Economic Incentive was announced, I thought I had it all worked out. It was coming, and I was going.

    Only it didn’t, and I couldn’t. Kate and I had worked on finances for days, but it just wasn’t going to happen without that check, and in the meantime, day to day stuff popped up. Even if the check did come, I’d be spending it on tires.

    I never got to go to any of the good parties, and the IRS screwing up our check really ripped the carpet out from under me. I’d be home scrubbing floors instead of naked with Kate while A was watching.

    I said I’d have done anything to go. Anything at all.

    “Anything?” Kate asked.

    Uh-oh.

    It’s not that I have a problem with doing it for money. What two consenting adults do is their own damned business, and nobody else’s. But it’s against the law, and I’d never done it for money.

    “You said you’d do anything. It’s good money. We can make enough for both of us to go.”

    “I know. It’s just…”

    “It’s just what? Dirty? Immoral?”

    “Illegal.”

    “So? Fuck ’em.”

    “What if we get caught?”

    “Stop whining. Get in the shower, I’ll be there in a minute.”

    I did as I was told, because I didn’t want to look like a wuss. Besides, shower sex with Kate always made me feel better about everything. I let the hot water pound hard into the back of my neck while I waited. I was thinking about what she had planned, and how I’d even go about finding a customer or two. It’s not like you can just go advertise in the paper.

    Kate stepped in after about ten minutes, by which time I was beginning to prune. I stepped toward her, but she pushed me away.

    “Not today. You’ve got a long night ahead of you, and you can’t be worn out before you start.”

    “Tonight? That was fast! I’m not even sure I want to do this.”

    “Too late now. We have company coming, and you’re working.”

    “Kate, I think we should talk about it first.”

    For the first time since we’ve been together, Kate slapped me in anger. She slapped me hard, right across the face. Hard enough that it hurt my neck.

    “Oh no you don’t, you little bitch. You said ‘anything’. I made commitments for you. Commitments to Marines. I gave my word, and you are going to fuck every single one of them as many times as they want you to.”

    “Kate! What the fuck is wrong with you?”

    I don’t really remember much after that. Having my face slammed into the tile wall was so completely unexpected that I think the very idea of it put me further into shock than the impact ever could have. I remember being on my back at the bottom of the shower at one point, trying desperately to breath past the water running into my face. Kate held one of my ankles high in the air roughly while she directed the spray of the WaterPic deep inside of each of my lower orifices.

    “It won’t do to have them complaining about the smell. Those animals probably won’t even notice, but let’s be sure, shall we?”

    I just wanted to wake up. I couldn’t wake up. This had to be some horrible nightmare. It wasn’t.

    Kate, the incredible, wonderful Love of my life, had gone insane, and I was about to be rented out against my will like a horse in a stable. I was still dazed and confused, and my head pounded the rhythm of my heartbeat so hard I was sure it would explode. I could barely squirm enough to avoid drowning.

    Kate just cursed at me for wiggling, and continued by scrubbing at my body with the nail brush.

    “Shit, this thing is too small.” She dropped my leg and threw the brush across the bathroom, and stormed out of the shower, and out the door. Before I could manage to do anything more than get into a sitting position, she stomped back in, clutching the scrub brush we use on the kitchen linoleum.

    “Kate…”

    “If I have to bruise you, it’s going to look like shit in the Calendar. Shut the fuck up and do what I tell you. I’m already going to have to do something about your face. If you’re lucky, it’ll heal in time by itself.”

    I was still too stunned to fight back. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t reason. I was just stuck on “why?”

    Kate finished abusing me with the scrub brush, leaving all of my skin red and angry. I was beginning to come around a little more, but still wasn’t with it enough to put up any meaningful resistance. I allowed her to dress me in her favorite black lace teddy, the one she reserved for nights when it was just we two. I wore it for nobody else but her. It had always been special. It had always been only ours.

    Looking over her shoulder while she savagely yanked fishnet stockings onto my legs, I zoned out, my eyesight homing in on the red light of the webcam on the desk computer, but not seeing anything in this world really. I just could not wrap my head around what was going on. I had a complete mental shutdown, and could not force a re-boot.

    Kate spun me around to tidy up the laces in the back of my teddy, I absently gazed out the window, wishing to be the squirrels chasing each other up the big pine tree in the yard. I averted my gaze quickly when the reflected light from the back neighbor’s roof caught the sun and flashed painfully in my eye. Kate caught my jerking head motion and whirled me back around, snatching my chin to bring us nose to nose.

    There was pain in her eyes.

    For just a moment, she flicked her eyes over my shoulder to see what I was avoiding, brought them back to mine, and then decked me with a vicious right handed slap. What the hell did I do wrong that time? It wasn’t like I was trying to signal the neighbor guy on his roof. There’s no way he’d even be able to see me anyway, from so far away- not unless he’d been staring directly in our window with binoculars at that precise moment. As she yanked me back to my feet by the hair of my head, I faded back out, staring over her shoulder again, straight through the webcam’s blazing red eye.

    The doorbell rang.

    Kate grabbed my chin again, and brought our noses back together.

    “Don’t you say one fucking word out of the way, pig. Get in the bed where you belong, and do just what they tell you to.” Her eyes indicated the bed, as if I’d forgotten where it had been.

    She snapped around and briskly exited the room, after shoving me down on the bed.

    Oddly, the only thing I could focus on was the red eye of the web cam and the idiot neighbor on his roof in the 95 degree heat. As insane as it was, they were the only two pieces of reality with which I could connect.

    I didn’t know what had gotten into Kate, what had gone so absolutely crazy in her head to bring this on, but for one brief moment, all I wanted was to die. I’d just take the Kate’s K-Bar from between the matresses and…

    I was awake and fully aware. Some fucking body had finally switched on the light, and I was no longer in the dark. As quietly and as casually as I could, I stripped off the teddy, and nonchalantly flung it across the room. It landed over on the desk somewhere, and I didn’t dare to check if my aim was true.

    I slipped into bed on my bare belly, and dropped one arm over the edge of the bed. I closed my eyes, and waited.

    I heard Kate telling someone that she’d beaten the hell out of me, and that I’d offer little resistance.

    “I was hoping for a little spunk,” came a man’s reply. It was deep and husky, dripping with sadistic evil.

    -Oh you have no idea- I thought.

    It sounded like there were two others in the living room. I suppose they were waiting their turn with me.

    “Nuh-uh. Cash first.” Kate doesn’t take visa, and she doesn’t give credit, apparently.

    Evil guy groused a bit, but I heard him fish around and then came the sound of paper shuffling. He was making payment.

    The doorbell again.

    One of the waiters must have opened it, and there was some discussion that I couldn’t catch.

    “She’s in here, you’ll have to wait your turn,” came Kate’s voice as the door clicked closed.

    Evil guy unzipped. “You like it in the ass, bitch?”

    I moaned incoherently.

    I could already smell him. He had a disgusting body odor. Sweat laced with something dead, I think. It nearly gagged me as he mounted the bed and straddled my bare ass.

    Yelling and cursing came from the living room, one voice at a time silenced simultaneously with a thud and the clack of metal sliding against metal.

    Stinky had turned to look over his shoulder, and it saved his life. My slash across his throat missed the jugular, but I have an awesome backhand. Years of tennis lessons. Only the hilt protruded from his ribcage.

    He was dead before his fat smelly ass hit the floor. At least he hadn’t bothered to take off his shirt.

    The door flung open and Kate came crashing through, automatic in both hands.

    “So the silencer works good?” I asked.

    “You give the best Christmas presents, Lover.” She halted there. She searched for the words.

    “You didn’t have a choice, Kate. You’re forgiven. I love you.”

    “When did you know?”

    “The webcam and the guy on the roof. I didn’t get your eye signals at first.”

    “They were going to kill you.”

    “I know. But they didn’t. You saved me.”

    “You saved yourself, Janie. I nearly got you killed. They said they would shoot you.”

    I smiled a little.

    “So. How much?” I might as well ask what they were willing to pay. It was an ego thing.

    “Two grand.”

    “I’m worth two grand? Cool.”

    “Each.”

    “We’re so going to TAM.”

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