A collection of ridiculous short stories. (A work in progress)
THE TALE OF THE SHARK AND THE SILLY LITTLE MERMAID
Once, I knew a silly little mermaid. Her name was Pasqualina, but she gave me liberty to call her Lina. Her face was not overly beautiful, nor was she overly bright, but she was vain none the less. Her hair was made from the slivers of sunset and her eyes the color of sea emeralds. Her father, she once told me, had given her a piece of rainbow to clothe her fin. Had given it as a gift, on the day of her birth, no less. It sparkled and shone the brilliance of many colors in the bright day as she flipped and played without shame or fear on the surface of the ocean plain. As I said, she was a silly little mermaid, but her laughter was beguiling and the song she sang was more then seductive. She could sing the pearls away from the meanest of oysters. They found themselves happy to part with their precious treasures if she but sing them to sleep with a lullaby.
On an occasion, she had made for herself two strands of the tiniest milky white pearls you had ever seen. By using the nose of a baby sailfish, she drilled holes in their centers and then dropped them, one by one, onto a piece of forgotten fishing wire found some time ago on the shores of Marmalade beach. On another occasion, and by using the same method, she made for herself a larger strand of almost black. The milky white pearls she bound round her wrists and the black pearls adorned her lovely neck. She thought herself quite beautiful and indeed she was. She swam about to all the other sea creatures and showed herself off as if she were the pinnacle of Neptune's creation. Aware of her great vanity and silliness, the others praised her cleverness and beauty. The gestures were half hearted at best. Lina didn't notice or care. When her ears grew full of adoration she swam away to parts known or unknown; leaving the greatly relieved ocean citizens to their own selfish pursuits.
One day, after a storm, I met Lina near the shore. Her fins were as gray and downcast as the sky above me and the waters below. Misery seemed to be her companion that day, but I hesitated in asking her the worries she carried. But in that moment of questioning thought, I saw the sorrow etched on her simple sun browned face and felt compassion. She poured out her inner heart like a waterfall until she could cry no more. I believe my face stoic and compelled by her story, yet I laughed inwardly at her troubles. It would seem that silly young girls are the same in or out of water. For you see, this young child of the sea had fallen in love with the worst of the worst. A Great White shark! And her father was having none of it! Her mother was having none of it! Her brothers and sisters were having none of it! Her aunties and uncles and cousins and second cousins and friends and friends of friends were having none of it!
What could this old sea dog say? I had never been the marrying or fathering kind. But it seemed the right way in agreeing with her family and friends and so I told her this same assessment.
"Fall in love with a shark! Marry a shark! Insane child! Your family has the truth of the matter. Listen to them, and be done with that greedy bottom feeder. Can't ye see he's only after ya afore your tail fin? His mouth be full of waiting teeth and his breath must smell like shoal. Swim child, away from him and back to the protection of your family. You will only find death in his uncaring fins."
In a instant and to my utter bewilderment, my silly little mermaid became as stone. I acknowledged that my pleas had fallen on deaf, prideful, disobedient ears. And in that same instant I became the hated enemy. So she determined to no longer suffer an intimacy with the likes of me. No sound did she make when she dipped below the inky blanket of rippling water. For a time I watched and waited, but she never came back and she never forgave.
I Believe my silly mermaid assumed many enemies that day for I still ask of news about her. But none of her kind have seen or heard from her since her defection to the camp of her loved one.
Five years it's been now. I go a walking everyday along the shores of Marmalade Bay, but today, what did my old weary eyes fix upon? Let it never be true! But in my heart I know. This mangled mass of tiny milky white pearls, almost hidden beneath the cold sands of time, faintly stained with blood, once belonged to a silly little mermaid. She fell in love with a shark and in his jaws their life together was fixed forever.
A tragedy for sure and a loss for the ages.
And the moral of the story is: All you silly little mermaids, don't go a thinking that you'll change the very nature of a shark. He may keep you warm for a time, but won't be long before he's hungry and he's looking to you to be his next crunchy meal: pearls and all.
IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING.
Today it went out! The proclamation from the King! There would be a royal ball. This truly marked a Holy Day. A festival had not been seen in the Bergonian Kingdom since the King's beloved wife and daughter died in child birth thirteen years ago. The whole of the land had been in mourning since that dread time. But now! Now was the time for the grieving to end. Now was a time for celebration. The King's son, the only Prince and heir to the throne, was presently of age and the King was eager to find him a wife.
Trumpet blasts could be heard all over the kingdom. Lushly dressed stewards rode out on golden steeds to deliver the royal decrees and invitations. Noble houses received these gallant men with open arms and great hospitality. Excitement, laughter, food and wine flowed irreverently through the whole of the boundless land. Nobles danced in their purple silken robes, hoping beyond hope that their precious daughter's would stand out from the rest of the mewling spawn and be presented to the King and Prince. Peasants danced, nearly naked in the streets. Their common names would not be proclaimed in the courts, but there would be revelry for many nights to come. The ban had been lifted and Joy was the season of today. Winter had finally past and the spring was upon them. Oh! to be alive during this time of gaiety. Everyone! Everyone! Everyone! Everyone was happy!
Everyone, save one young dirty homeless beggar-thief. She, the child of no one would not dance or be merry. She would not binge on the delights of Bergonia. She owned no silken robes, her food she stole from the mouths of others, and bitter wine only ever filled her cups. No, Dara, tiny rat of the streets that she was, would never be merry or sing a joyous song to the fatted King and his son of privileged wealth. The King, the Prince and all the nobles could rot in the belly of the fiery pit; only then would she offer up a pretty dance in their honor. Today, in the presence of the King she would never be the blushing bride to a handsome bridegroom. The King would never notice her.
Her story is little different from the other orphaned rats of the Bergonian streets. Manuel, the wine merchant and her previous master, would often fill her ears with her tale of woe. "It was the end of the stinking summer," he would drone, "and the beginning of a much welcome harvest the day that I found you. That day you lay, pale and lifeless in the city's refuse. If not for the kindness I showed you on that morn, you would have gone to the grave with no one the wiser. No bitter tear would have been shed, no hearts broken for trash such as you. More so then not, the cast off burden of a dying prostitute." Dara didn't like to speculate about her parentage, but Manuel, no doubt spoke in truth of the matter. And It was true, he had given her a bed of straw, food enough to keep her from completely wanting and enough clothing to keep her in modesty. It was also true that he had given her many abuses, which he said would always keep her humble and far away from trouble. But she could read her body like a map; was able re-account the bruises, scars and broken bones he had gifted her out of his profane charity.
Twice he used her as he would use his wife and because of it the mistress and her daughters gifted her with their own charitable contempt. They screamed at her, affronted her, accused her of seduction. Cried jealousy at her obvious beauty. Finally they beat her and when she lay asleep on the floor they were content to leave her in pieces.
On the third occasion in which Manuel sought his glory from her woman's body did she finally gather the courage to depart from him forever. When the house slept, she had left. Her flight had begun with nothing more then the clothes she wore and some stolen coin.
Two Winters, two Springs, two Summers and two harvests have come and gone since that day. That day in which she emancipated herself from her jailer and become a common undesirable.
Currently she has no master, none save herself. As a thief she is viable enough. But her begging is unmatched, for she has the face of an innocent angel. Both skills served her well and modestly delivered her from the mouth of starvation. Infrequently and only in the worst of times did she allow men to use her body for coin. It was a necessary act of evil, she reasoned.
Today, in light of the jubilant chaos, Dara recognized the opportunity afforded to her. Nobles and rich men alike had come out onto the dusty thoroughfares in droves, like pigs to slop, to indulge in every facet of fleshly sin created. Fat velvet purses hang wantonly at the meaty sides of distracted fools. Those purses! Oh those fat purses of Fortuna! They cry loudly to be plucked away by a nimble-fingered villain.
Easily her heart fills with the devil of greed giving her courage and goading her onward. She is clever and her endeavors are greatly rewarded, but she is not meant to be blessed forever. No. In time men see all transgressions especially when it comes to funding an encroaching corruptible!
Guards of the realm were called. They laid violent hands on her and she was escorted to the Kings high court. He noticed her, for the first time he noticed her and he saw her filth and filled his nostrils with her offensive stench. There was no mercy from the contemptable King and she was punished quickly for her larcenous treachery!
In the presence of the King, Dara went to meet her bridegroom after all, his noble name was Guillotine. Hope abandoned her at the door. Betrayal accompanied her on the right. Hate on the left. Pity, sorrow, and shame trailed closely behind. She marched towards her bridegroom one slow step at a time until she met his cold solid form and then knelt, brokenly before him.
Dara made a terrible bride that day. It was messy and bloody. The congregants hurled insults like confetti and they cheered merrily when the awful deed was done. In the presence of the King her bridegroom had cleaved her happily ever after.
Later that night men and women came out in droves to feast until bursting. The Prince found his princess and no one cheerfully remembered the young beggar-thief from the street.
In the presence of the king the Prince married and now the tale is done and the moral of the story is: Never assume that being in the presence of the King is always a good thing.
THE WITCH, THE THREE LITTLE GIRLS, AND THE GINGERBREAD CASTLE:
It's hard being a witch, I'll tell you. But it's even harder being a witch who lives in a gingerbread castle. Every child from the surrounding villages wants to come and eat my doors and windows and walls. I don't know how many times I've had to call the baker to order new siding. And then when their parents finally find them, I always get blamed for enticing them to eat my house because somehow I'm trying to fatten them up so I can have them for my supper. What a disgusting notion! I'm a vegetarian for goodness sakes. I don't want to eat anyone let alone an obese, diabetic, dirty child. Besides, the only person ever getting shoved into an oven is me. Good thing I'm flame retardant or would have gone the way of Pompeii a long time ago. To be cont...