It was the season for gingerbread. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and other delicious smells wafted through the village from the bakery at the edge of the forest. It was the year the old woman who had baked him and the old man he called father had passed.
The Gingerbread Boy kept the business going, paddling cookies in and out of the ovens. On the day he learned that the estate went to the man’s brother, who did not accept him as a nephew, the orphan decided to make headlines. He ran for his life, beating every Olympic record and securing his future.
“I want a frog, not a dog.” Merrilee stamped her foot, shaking her pretty mane like a recalcitrant horse until a crowd gathered around. Her mother turned ten shades of crimson. Some mothers would have marched her out. If her mother had that in her, Merrilee would never have perfected such a performance.
“Sorry, darling, I misheard. A frog, then.”
Merrilee pointed to a princely amphibian. The store clerk readied a cardboard carton with holes on top. As he lowered the frog into the container, Merrilee said, “Stop, I need to kiss him first to confirm that he’s the one.”
Aladdin served sheiks and veiled ladies at Bosphorus Square Lamps.
On slow days, he cleaned the trade-ins. Noting the component materials, he checked for dents, damage, and neglect. He assessed usability: plugs, wires, oil wicks. He cleaned the lamps up and set a price. But none of them was magic. Aladdin could tell.
An elderly gentleman came in with an old fener. “It needs a good home,” he said.
Holding the lamp, Aladdin felt a nervous energy inside. “I’ll keep it for myself,” he said.
“It needs tea and baklava. Four o’clock, without fail.”
No one asks for woolens anymore. No bags full for BaaBaa’s master or his dame, especially none for the trekkers freezing in Nepal waiting to climb to the top of some freaking mountain. Which one? BaaBaa can’t remember, but he knows exactly when wool tanked and fleece took off.
Warm, washable, even woolly if you get the right stuff. And BaaBaa makes the right stuff. He has a reputation to live down as the black sheep of the family- a misspent childhood, years in Nepal’s wild, sacred heights. He’s redeemed himself.
This bad boy kicks the competition. Woolmark, eat your heart out.
The boat salesman overheard three men planning a rafting trip. When they approached the register, he estimated their combined weight at six hundred pounds and knew that the tub they’d picked would not make it through the calms, let alone the rapids.
“This one’s rated at two hundred fifty pounds. Two small women. Three children at most.”
He didn’t add that even one of these gentlemen would be enough to sink it.
“Well now, I reckon we can read,” said the ginger-haired man.
The mutton-chopped guy put down a credit card. “Customer’s always right.”
“The spinning wheel’s two hundred. The spell’s another five hundred.”
“That’s outrageous,” the queen said pulling the hood of her cape to cover her widow’s peak. She took a card from her purse. “You do take Visa.”
He did. “How about a CosPlay evil fairy for the christening.”
“CosPlay? I want a professional.”
“Who’s gonna know?”
“You horrible dwarf. You have no idea. It’s hard to marry off a princess. You start as soon as they’re born. Then there’s preschool, private school, etiquette… They need skilled help and compelling stories to get to a happily-ever-after.”
The cottage was set back from the street, not at all gingerbread as you might expect. No dwarfs or princesses resided in the bright kitchen where a woman with waist-length crone gray hair, sat at a rhythmically circling wheel. “I need to spin. Someone’s collecting the skeins tomorrow.”
I asked about doctor’s visits for a study of healthcare options at Stanford. She answered, skeptical that yearly physicals made much difference. All the while her fingers moved in a subtle dance pulling the fluff of wool into ivory yarn.
“This is what keeps me healthy,” she said. “This magic wheel heals.”