The Kiss

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Cupid and Psyche lay feeding each other chocolate hearts. “You haven’t changed.”

“Nor you,” Psyche said, nibbling his ear.

Cupid stroked Psyche’s bronzed thigh. “It wasn’t meant to be.”

“Your mother hated me.”

Cupid’s lips bowed into a smile. “You bested her by surviving all those quests.”

“She underestimated how much I cared for you. Sorting poppy seeds from lentils. Fearing dragons on the Styx. I had my helpers.” Psyche looked smug.

“But it was Zeus who gave us each other. He couldn’t resist my offer.”

“I can’t resist you. Though the spell wore off long ago, I simply adore you.”

The Kitchen God’s Insight

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“Welcome, friend.” The Kitchen God greeted the Tiger, a pussy cat beside his massive bulk. They ate nian gao and fresh cut fruits, presented on a red lacquered tray in the Kitchen God’s study.

They exchanged pleasantries, the Tiger looking for a way to say what was on his mind. He plucked up his courage. “So many have suffered through the years of Rat and Ox. They worked hard for change, barely rewarded for their labor. Prosperity gave way to isolation. Isolation gave way to steady resolve. What of my year?”

“Be strong, Tiger. Be strong,” said the Kitchen God.

Finding Rapunzel

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Coco forged through the Enchanted Wood using a sixth sense that led her to Rapunzel’s tower, shimmering in the sun like a mirage. She slipped through fragmented outer planes until  toeholds revealed themselves and she climbed to an open window. Peering inside, she saw her friend. 

“Who are you,” Rapunzel asked.

Coco cleared her throat. “I’m doing your hair.”

Rapunzel conjured a basin of water and Coco set to work. With a hairdresser’s gift for gab, Coco established that Rapunzel, a lookalike for her friend whose twin had been lost at birth, was that twin.

“Lost,” Rapunzel asked.

“Found,” said Coco.

My Assistant Can Help You

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The hairdresser threw a brown cloak on. She told her assistant, “I’ll be out all day.”

In bustled the Queen’s maid. “Glad to find you’re free. Her majesty would like to see you.”

“But…”

“For tonight’s ball. Something simple, elegant.”

“I can’t. You see, my niece is imprisoned in a tower. I do her hair on Saturdays.”

”I’ve heard a lot of excuses. This takes the prize, though.”

The hairdresser felt terrible.
Coco cleared her throat. “I’ll do your niece’s hair.”

The hairdresser said, “You’re not afraid of the Enchanted Woods?”

”Give me a chance. There’s nothing I’d rather do.”

(To be continued)

Straw to Gold; Flax to Linen

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The serf, intimidated by the palace representative’s rich velvet livery, sipped a cup of courage and rechecked his supplies. “You want straw? For spinning? It’ll never work.”

“The queen said straw. Strong stalks, not brittle.” The page shifted from one stockinged leg to the other, resisting the urge to hold his nose against the smell of manure from the fields. “What you drinking?”

“Try some. My own grog.” The farmer proferred his cup. “Flax. That’s it. Makes a nice linen. I got some presoaked, ready to spin.”

The page wiped his mouth. “I’ll take a sample, see what she says.”

Today’s Word:Acnestis (akˈniːstɪs)

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Acnestis. It’s the itch you can’t scratch. There, between your shoulder blades. A complaint that won’t leave you alone. A retort you don’t think of ’til it wakes you at night, meanly appropriate and well deserved by the jerk who prompted it. Destructive fake facts based on dystopian fantasies.

You can’t scratch that itch because: the complaint can never be satisfied, your retort is not suitable for work, the lie is one of many seeking freedom from being scratched.

Define the parameters and set up a fair fight. Keep scratching until truth bleeds through. You’re not the only one itching.

Close the Door Behind You

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“Diana,” Janus said, “So glad you could come.”

The goddess entered through the door of beginnings. She brought the moon’s fertility to Janus’s Table for All Times. She sipped his tea of memories past and future.

“Janus, dear,” she said, “I wish the night would never end.”

“But we must let the sun shine. Start over. Correct past mistakes.”

“Yes,” she said. ”We must think good thoughts- health, happiness, peace, prosperity, especially for the sick, the sad, the beleaguered, and the poor.”

Once again, they closed the endings door, watching the past recede and seeing the present open to change.

Christmas Coal

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La Befana, the Christmas witch, and Old St. Nick sipped eggnog in front of an electric fire.

Befana said, “Here’s to generosity and goodwill.”

St. Nick said, “How long have you been giving gifts?”

“A lady never reveals her age, but I’m from that old time religion.”

Nick said, “Eons?”

“You’re right and also very wicked. I’d leave you coal in your boot, but it’s out of fashion.”

St. Nick said, “Don’t I wish. If they keep burning that stuff, the North Pole will melt away. Mermaids will replace elves in the workshop. For the sleigh, porpoises instead of reindeer.”

Grandpa, How Did You Meet Grandma?

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“My favorite story.” Surrounded by many grandchildren, King Charming smiled. “I needed a wife. ‘A commoner,’ my father said. ‘Why else invite every young lady to the ball?’ ”

“It seemed fair, reasonable, and what better way to find love at first sight than a full dance card? Your grandmother appeared and before I knew it, midnight had arrived.

She hurried out of my arms and lost her crystal slipper. Touching the glamoured glass turned it to an ashy wooden sabot.

“I took it to every house in the kingdom. But it only fit your uncommon grandmother, to my great delight.”

Peace on Stage

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The ballerinas found runs in their tights, tiny smelly turds in their slippers, and nibble marks on the blocks at the bottom of their satin toes. They took it as a declaration of war. But Clara insisted that evidence of merriment is a sign of the season; like peppermint sticks in a stocking, brandy in eggnog, and fireplace ashes.

She said, “Think of it, other dancers mirroring your steps at night.” They stood backstage, where telltale claw marks had opened holes in the velvet backdrop. Peeking after dark confirmed their hopes. They joined the mice to dance the night away.