To Catch a Curse

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“She won’t wake up.” A harried looking Queen sat on the edge of her daughter’s bed while the royal physician poked, prodded and tested the Princess.

“Anything unusual to report,” he asked.

“Her birthday. Yesterday. She had a lie down after she’d opened her presents.”

“I see.” He peered at the child’s finger. “Something sharp, a sewing kit? Knitting needles?”

“She got a spindle from her godmother. And merino wool.”

“Tried it right away?”

The queen nodded.

“A witch practitioner is what you need.”

The queen frowned. “Magic, what kind of medicine is that?”

“Only a spell cures a spell.”

Siren’s Song

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Sherlock Wolff tracked the notorious hacker, Lorelei, to the Rhine Club. Concealing himself at the back, he scoped out the exits. She sang. Too late, he noticed his cocoa turning wolfsbane blue. The arrest warrant in his hand wavered like a timepiece in a Dali painting. He found himself on stage.

Instead of serving the warrant, he was served. Instead of arresting Lorelei, she handcuffed him. Wolff’s supervisor appeared. “Good work, Detective Wolff.” He shook Lorelei’s hand.

Wolff couldn’t find his tongue.

He woke up in a Bavarian jail. The woodcutter in the next cell said, “Don’t I know you?”

Grimm Investigations

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“Sherlock Wolff, ma’am. National Narrative Crimes.” He held a promotional photo. “Have you seen this blond chanteuse?”

Mrs. Bear dried her paws . “Lorelei’s gone, I’m afraid.”

“Did she leave anything?”

“ A mess.” Mrs. Bear ushered the detective in.

“We’re looking for a first edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and a laptop. Seen anything?”

Mrs. Bear shook her head. She called her son in.

Babyface said, “Lori’s not a reader.”

“She’s a hacker. Breaking into physical books, shortening them, changing plots. Her ex-boyfriend reported her.”

“She told me about him. The beast.”

Detective Wolff said, “He’s a wolf. There’s a difference.”

Spanish Shoes

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Bavarian Boots had a storied history. Now the elves wanted to change the company name to Iberian Soles.

“We’ve voted to relocate to the Canary Islands.” The elf twisted his beard into a white knot that rested on his collar.

Shoemaker’s father had been right. What a mistake to encourage a union. First it was holidays, then four weeks vacation. Now this. “I’ll consider it,” Shoemaker said.

“When you’re two centuries old, you’ll want a warm place to live,” the elf said. “Visit. You’ll see.”

Shoemaker booked a trip for three days. A month later, the relocation plan was complete.

Lorelei and the Big Bad Ex

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I had the worst week.

My boyfriend dumped me. So Goldie, my cousin, got me a house sitting gig. For a hot minute, I had some breathing space.

It got worse.

Spent the better part of my time in toxic negotiations. Absurd things like who owns the Ikea bookshelf. Not that I have a place for it now. He got the rent-controlled apartment. But even Big-Bad-Ex admitted the books are mine. Anyway, he doesn’t need a bookshelf. He’s barely literate. Not even housebroken.

Then, major disaster; the Bears came home early.

What else could I do? I swam for safety.

Stressed in Space

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I’m about to explode. Despite training in enhanced mindfulness techniques, there’s a tension in my thighs and my toes itch. I’m leaving suspended relaxation. From the ceiling viewing screen, I see we haven’t left the atmosphere.

Hibernating in self-contained pods, we hope to make it to Mars in a self-driving ship. Some billionaire’s idea. What a bad time for insomnia since success depends on no one eating for six months.

This is my sister’s idea of togetherness. She’s a long time yogi. I’m not. Though I’d like the company, I hope no one else wakes up. I need to relax.

The Luck of Three

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His father told him good things come in multiples of three. Then, he left his third son at the crossroads. Taking a contemplative path into mountains and mists, the youth finds an ox, a horse and a royal ring. Riding the horse, leading the ox and wearing the ring, he’s stopped by a bailiff. The man’s skin and bones poverty cries out for help. The youth hands the man the ox’s rope.

Giving the horse its head, he arrives at a castle where the glint of the ring summons the queen. Three well solved quests later, she makes him king.

Don’t You Believe It

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An elderly lady, squeezing tomatoes in a pre-pandemic way, pulls her mask down. “You’re almost out of the woods.”

Whatever does she mean? “I’m healthy.”

“Yes, my darling, but stifled.”

Your father, reading Lang’s red collection with a Grimm smile, would say, “Poppycock.”

Imagining him in the library, a hole in one stocking, propping his feet on a worn stool sets something tingly-strange a-move.

Dozing later, you dream of the tomato woman, who waves her wand and turns you into the fairy tale of your choice. In a surprise move, you choose Into the Woods. Four stories, one price, music included.

Magic Eight

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Magic was in the air the day Maureen’s father retired. A charmed life was how he told it. From that first rabbit he’d pulled out of a hat, he had an itch to travel. He took to the road, bringing his family along from one carnival to another.

Perhaps that’s why Maureen stayed anchored. “When will you settle?” Maureen lit a seven decade birthday candle.

“Oh, someday, maybe.” He pulled a quarter from behind his grandson’s ear and handed it to him.

At eighty, he moved into care, where he roamed the halls doing card tricks. He never grew old.

A Dream, Really

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All of this is true. I wore a forty year old skirt I’d made when I was fifteen. I’d lost some weight. I brought my teenagers to the party. While eating appetizers, the hostess gushed and I blushed. Rhyme intended. All I could think about at dinner was how much I wanted to be sitting with the teens, talking about horror flicks. I have no interest in expensive wine.

Segue to the kid’s table. I’m patched in. The one upping seems more honest, until it seems more pointed. “You sew. How retro.” The daughter glibly changes the subject to France.