Friday, November 27, 2009

Fractured Fairytales: Rumpelstiltskin - Con Artist

I’m going to strangle that father of mine.

Sure, living the life of a miller isn’t everything. Grind the grain. Make flour. Bag flour. Grind the grain. Make flour. Bag flour. But it’s honest work and people will always have a need for it. Our biggest client is some old hag who made her entire house out of baked goods in the woods.

But, nooooo! My father has this superiority complex where he needs to make himself seem more important than the neighbors. He’s always making up tales: his grandfather was a mighty prince turned into a frog by a horrible witch, or my mother was a beautiful woman who the jealous Queen wanted dead and poisoned her with an apple.

It’s always some type of lie. Usually, the neighbors just yawn. But this superiority complex has made my father go too far this time. He went to the KING and told his majesty that I could spin straw into gold.

Hello? Earth calling the king. Any brain cells working in that big fat head of yours? If I could spin straw into gold, I would be the richest woman in the entire land. I would live in a huge mansion and operate an international flour company. I would walk the streets with a chihuahua in my Gucci handbag while wearing gold stiletto pumps.

Stupid king! His majesty imprisoned me in the tower room with straw and a spinning wheel. He said I had to make gold by morning or become executed.

This is so going to ruin the manicure appointment I had scheduled tomorrow.

So here I am crying my eyes out and knowing Geraldo the manicurist will be tapping his foot impatiently wondering where I am. At midnight, the room fills with steam. I’m all for having the facial (want to look good for my funeral) when suddenly this little bearded man appears.

I swear I’ve seen him somewhere. Before I can ask his name, he begins his story about hearing my plight and wanting to help. He would make me a deal: he would spin the straw into gold if I give him my necklace. I agree to the deal and he spins the straw into gold. I shout, “SCORE! I’ll make my nail appointment tomorrow.”

Yeah, right. Stupid greedy king. In the morning he takes the gold, brings in more straw, and tells me to do it again because he needs more convincing despite the solid 24karat ropes his guards are carrying from the room. The king locks the door.

Geraldo is going to kill me.

I sit in the cell, eating a cucumber sandwich for dinner when the room fills with steam again. I slap two round slices of cucumber over my eyes and bask in the sauna. I take off my ring and toss it to the waiting little man, telling him to wake me when he’s done.

The next morning the king comes in with more straw. He says to spin gold for another night or face execution. I mumble under my breath that I should have taken some of that spun gold and made a garotte to strangle his royal ass. He frowns at me, asking what I just said. I tell him that I’ll make beautiful gold thread for his royal sash.

That night, I wring my hands while waiting for the little man. I’m worried. I don’t have anything else to give to him. No payment = no spun gold. I envision the hangman’s noose set up in the courtyard when the little bearded man appears with a smug grin. He can see I am empty-handed. The little man asks for my firstborn child as a lay-away plan. It’s a horrible suggestion, but I have to agree. There isn’t any other choice. He does his thing and leaves.

Well, his greedy royal mess walks in, sees the gold, and has his servants escort me to the courtyard. There, the minister is waiting with the entire royal entourage. I ask the attendant what’s going on. He tells me there is going to be a wedding. I ask who the unfortunate bride is. He says it’s me.

Ah . . . I don’t think so.

I dash toward the exit. Yet the best man, who is also the executioner, drags me back to the king’s side. With the guillotine ready if I flub my lines, I say “I do,” the minister declares us husband and wife, and the kingly pervert shoves his tongue halfway down my throat. Then I get beaned in the forehead with a handful of grain. My father waves from the front row.

You’re the first person on my royal hit list, Daddy Dearest.

During my days as Queen, I become pregnant. Of course the moment the child is born is the moment the king chickens out on all the “daddy duties.” He claims he has some cities to lay siege to anytime that I ask him to change a diaper. So he isn’t there on the night when the steam fills my royal bedchamber. At the foot of the bed, the tiny bearded man appears.

Oops! I forgot all about the little booger. He points at my child and says, “Now give me what you promised.”

I’m not giving this man my child! He has to be out of his fool mind. I offer all the sleazy king’s wealth. The little man refuses to take it. Yet I keep badgering him until he agrees to let me keep my child but only if I can guess his name in three days. On that first day, I snap my fingers and guess, “Mini Me,” from those Austin Powers movies. He laughs, admitting he was just a stunt double. Then he disappears in a cloud of steam.

Crap! Although I’m getting a wonderful glow to my skin from the man’s steam treatment, I have to do something to stop him. I command the court retainer to send out spies to find out where the little man is hiding. They are to discover what his name is.

The next night the little con appears. I guess “Shorty.” My answer ticks him off. He disappears without a word. Good. Let him stew about it. Let him go home and give the spies more time.

On the third night, an hour before the little bearded man appears, a spy enters my room with a message. He found a remote mountain cottage and overheard the little man hopping about the fire and singing while drunk on Heineken. I read the lyrics of the song.

“To-day do I bake, to-morrow I brew,
The day after that the queen’s child comes in;
And oh! I am glad that nobody knew
That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!”

It’s a stupid song, but at least this saves my child as he comes in. The bearded man asks for my guess. I say, “Rumpelstiltskin.” The surprise is obvious on his face. He sputters before telling me that I’m wrong. His name is really Fred.

What a liar! He just has to be right about everything, trying to impress people with his greatness. He reminds me of my father and his superiority complex. Then my eyes narrow. I reach over and grab his beard, ripping off the mask.

Rumpelstiltskin IS my father.

Or rather he is a serial child abductor out to collect inheritance from all the greedy royalty. He stole children, raised them as his own, and married them off to the next king with his, “straw into gold,” scam. He cashed in on the royal presents the king gave him in exchange for permission to marry the girl, knowing that all the spun gold would turn back into straw two years later. Then he would take their child and start the scam again.

My “fake” father disguised himself as a humble miller while wearing stilts to hid his short stature. My real parents lived in a castle called Camelot.

In outrage, I lift my foot and slam my designer pump into his chest as the stiletto heel pierces his heart. He falls to the floor dead. My chihuahua hops out of my Gucci bag and licks at the blood. Instantly, the dog dies from the poison inside the little man created by his centuries’ worth of evil.

An imaginary lightbulb clicks on over my head. I tell the guards to take the body down to the mill. They are to grind it under the flour stone and collect the little man’s blood in a vial. The guards do so and return. I pour the vial’s contents into a bottle of wine.

Then I wait for my horrid royal hubby to come home from his fake crusades. Maybe he would like a nice relaxing drink . . .


  1. A new twist on old tale. You've done it again, Michelle.

    If my fading memory serves right, whilst in gradeschool, I played the King in an adaptation of Rumpelstiltskin. Maybe there is a reason I've supressed that memory until now...

  2. Buckskins: Thanks. Be glad my version wasn't around during your grade school years!

  3. Great use for a stiletto heel! Finally, a reason for wearing them! Well done, Michelle!

  4. Magnificent! I especially liked...

    "Our biggest client is some old hag who made her entire house out of baked goods..."

    Thanks for the good laughs on my first day back at work, MDGF!

  5. Catladylarew: It's the only time when I would wear stilettos... if someone ticked me off. Glad you liked it!

    Suldog: You're welcome, MLGF! I figured the "miller - baked goods" bit would work well together.

  6. I'll be sure to give you plenty of room if I ever see you wearing stilettos. . .

    That ending was pretty gruesome; kinda like a Brothers Grimm original. . .


  7. When my feet comes a-walkin' you better watch out.

    The Grimm's ending was icky. They had Rumpelstiltskin slam his foot into the ground in anger. Then when he tried to pull it out, he ripped himself in two. Yuck!

  8. twisted! you have quite a knack for rearranging these stories.


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