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 salesman thought, Not this time.
“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.”
“Like spinning straw into gold?”
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.”
It was only a matter of time before she broke me. That’s an occupational hazard of delivering bad news to an evil queen when you feel bound not to sugarcoat it.
I did warn her. After two unsuccessful assassination attempts, I ventured an opinion that Snow White had her own magic. Not appreciated. Evil zapped me, electric charge flowing from her fingers until the glass fought back. Magic glass does that. It exploded leaving her a bloody mess and me a disembodied spirit. Now that I’m free, I’ll find a way to dislodge the poison apple from Snow White’s throat.
Cleaning the many mirrors in the castle was a full time job. The blind lass, hired by the queen, felt her way up and down the craggy stones of the winding staircases. Doors opened into lighter shades of gray filled with solid shadows. She found her way through every room but one. That door was always locked. The mirror inside was magical.
Dreaming, she turned a key and entered the forbidden room. Blindsight rendered the planes of the walls a darker gray. The mirror, the room’s only tangible shape, beckoned. A grayscale world of touch emerged from behind the glass.
Your mother is annoyed. She barks at the receptionist, “It’s all her fault I’m late.” Four minutes. But it was Mom who lost the address.
“If you want me, I’ll be in the car.”
Windows down in the mad heat, waiting forever for an apology that never comes. Long enough to calm down.
She gets in, ragging, “You’re too sensitive.” Like that’s a criminal offense.
Her anger never stops. It circulates, accrues interest. She banks outrage. The only solution is to withdraw.
You will say, “I’m gone.” She will cry. You will come back. You just don’t know when.
Red Queen to Red Queen, “I’m finished.”
Mom calls me in tears. “She makes me move, then leaves in the middle of packing.”
Mom doesn’t know what to do. She never expected my sister to abandon her.
I say that RQ is unpredictable. That she wants convenient proximity, not emotional closeness, that it’s always been this way.
Mom’s flash bang hysterics burst into a gotcha grin. I see it through the wires. She’s pulled me into family hell.
Cheshire Catlike, I disappear to draw maps of Crazy Crisis Wonderland, hoping to find a way out. But, there is no exit.
The walls are thin. After my mom and I argue, I meet her neighbor in the rec room and it seems she’s heard everything. What I said about wishing my mother wouldn’t move because her memory is bad. Because it takes time to make friends. Because she’s not old furniture for my sister to rearrange when it suits her.
Mom depends on my sister. I live in another state.
The neighbor said, “My daughter bought across town. She wanted me to find a place close by, but I stayed put. People are nice here. I depend more on myself, now.”
It was a fine table Guaire set for the poets who stayed in his castle. But Seanchan, the most renowned, was displeased. “What victuals these? Better suited to cats than to learned men.” And by cats he meant the nobles filling their faces down the table. “So fat these cats, the mice run wild in the kitchen.”
When Irusan, King of the Cats, heard this insult, he came to kill Seanchan. Loading the bard on his back, he ran like the wind until they encountered St. Kieran who ran a hot poker through Irusan, saving Seanchan to reconcile with Guaire.
Retold from Ancient Legends of Ireland by Lady Wilde.
My one hundred word story, Not an Emergency, is available on the online literary magazine Scribes*Micro*Fiction Issue Eight. http://www.fairfieldscribes.com/issue-8.html
This is a creative non-fiction piece about fault lines between sisters at a funeral.