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Josh and the Cornstalk

A Cliff Notes version was offered in Gazebo (chat) a couple of weeks ago, and was well received (of course, most present were on their third round by then). Here’s the full unabridged version.

* * *

"Josh!" shouted Ma. "Git in here, boy!"

Josh, who’d been out in the yard vainly attempting to teach himself break dancing, shuffled inside. "Yes, Ma. What'cha want?"

"Boy, we is down to our last three gallons a corn likker. I need you to take a jug of it into town and sell it so we kin buy us some more corn fer the still."

"Okay, Ma."

She handed him one of the jugs, adding, "And pull up yer pants. You look stupid with 'em down that low. What'cha think you are, some sorta 'home boy' or somethin'?"

"No, Ma," muttered Josh, tugging carelessly at his shorts as he turned toward the door. Once outside, he began shuffling down the dusty road to town. After the first bend and out of sight of the house, he took a couple of pulls on the jug, which improved his mood considerably, and began whistling a hip hop tune.

(Now, I know what you, gentle reader, are thinking: you can’t whistle a hip hop tune. I must remind you that this is a Fairy Tale. Work with me here.)

After a couple of miles he came upon an old biker dude, leaning up against his motorcycle and studying a map. Long straggly brown hair (with gray roots) framed a weather-beaten face, and the dust on his leathers suggested he was a long ways from home. He looked up and grinned at Josh, revealing a gap where his upper left canine should be.

"Well, howdy, son. Say, do you know how to get to Bardstown from here?"

"Jus' head down this here road, sir, and turn left onta the highway once you git to town. Hit'll be 'bout five more miles after that."

Josh looked at the cycle, which was black and sported lots of chrome and an Oregon license plate. "Nice Harley, sir."

"It's a Yamaha." The old biker dude looked at the jug. "What'cha got there, son?"

"Some of my Ma's corn likker, sir. I'm taking into town to sell it, then buy more corn fer the still."

"Mind if I try it?"

Josh handed him the jug, and the old biker dude took a pull.

"Damn, that's pretty good. How much are you hoping to get for this?"

"Thirty dollars or so."

"Is that all? Son, I’ve got something that's worth a lot more than that." He reached into his pocket and pulled out five small objects, which he showed to Josh.

"These are Magic Beans. Plant these and you'll have enough corn for every still in Kentucky."

Something about that didn't seem right to Josh. "How kin you git corn from beans?"

The old biker dude gave him a long look, shaking his head. "What part of 'magic' don't you understand, son? Trust me, these are what you want."

Josh mulled it over, reflecting on the fact that he was still ten miles from town and the temperature was already into the mid nineties, and decided to go for it. He handed over the jug and the old biker dude dropped the beans into Josh's palm.

The old biker dude packed the jug into one of his saddlebags with the comment, "They'll love this stuff at the Gazebo." He got on his bike, fired it up, looked back at Josh and offered some parting advice.

"Pull up your pants, son. You look stupid." He rode off, leaving Josh in a cloud of dust.

As you might expect, Ma was not impressed. "YOU DID WHAT? TRADED ONE OF OUR LAST JUGS FOR FIVE GOD DAMNED BEANS?" She snatched the beans out of Josh's hand and threw them out the window, then grabbed one of the two remaining jugs and stomped off to her room, slamming the door. Soon Josh could hear the sound of the WWE announcer's voice, along with occasional shouts of "STUPID!" from his ma. He was pretty sure she wasn't talking about the wrestlers.

He spent the rest of the day sulking in the yard, and went to bed at dusk.

Shortly before dawn the beans began to sprout. Four of them grew into SI swimsuit models (remember, Magic Beans can grow into anything), who promptly wandered off in search of the nearest beach. The fifth bean, sure enough, generated a huge cornstalk that was soon as thick as an old loblolly pine, its top lost in the clouds.

Around nine thirty Josh dragged himself out of bed and headed for the outhouse. Halfway there he noticed the cornstalk. Staring up at it, he thought I gotta check this out…as soon as I take care of sumpin'…

A few minutes later Josh started climbing up the massive stalk. After an hour of climbing he reached the cloud layer, and another thirty minutes brought him into sunlight.

Around him towered an urban landscape of high rise buildings, and Josh recognized it as Chicago, home of his favorite band, Too White Crew. The cornstalk was right next to a building that was ringed with balconies on every floor, and Josh managed to climb over to one of them. Tiptoeing to the glass doors, he felt a rhythmic vibration that rattled everything on the patio. Peering through the door he beheld an oversized La-Z-Boy recliner, in which reposed a ruddy faced giant. The giant was clearly asleep, and his snoring was the cause of the vibration. Josh began to back away, but then caught sight of a box next to the giant's chair, with Makers Mark 46 printed on it.

That's bourbon Josh realized. If I can git that down to Ma, maybe she won't be so pissed.

Josh tried the door and discovered it was unlocked. Once inside, the effect of the giant's snoring was considerably greater, with every thunderous inhalation shaking the entire room. Josh managed to stay on his feet, but did have to twice pull up his shorts from around his ankles.

He finally reached the case of bourbon. Taped to it was a note.

Chuck –

Thanks for talking this stuff up for us. You the Man!

- Bill

Josh picked up the case, and made his way back to the patio, one arm around the bourbon and the hand of the other holding onto his shorts. With great effort he managed to get back to the cornstalk and begin his descent.

Back inside the giant woke up, looked around and saw that the case of bourbon was gone. "FEE! FIE! FO! FUM! WHOEVER TOOK THAT MAKERS IS REALLY DUMB!" He paused, shrugged, and added, "Well, at least I don't have to drink it," and immediately went back to sleep.

Meanwhile, Josh was having trouble getting down the cornstalk. His shorts started to drop again and he grabbed for them before he realized that he had one too few hands to hold onto the stalk, the bourbon and his shorts at the same time. The case of Makers started to fall so he made a grab for it, letting go of the cornstalk, with the result that he followed the bourbon on its rapid descent.

It wasn't a pleasant trip for Josh, as he acquired a number of cobs on the way down. I won't say how, or where. :rolleyes:

Several seconds later the case of Makers crashed through the roof of the barn and landed on Ma's still, smashing it to bits. Josh came through a couple of seconds after that, landing in the same spot, the result being a messy pile of copper, glass, corn cobs and chunks-o-Josh, surrounded by a large puddle of Bourbon and blood.

Ma came running into the barn, and the sight caused her to fall to her knees, overwhelmed with grief. "That still's bin in mah faml'y fer five generations!" she wailed. "There ain't no fixin it, neither!"

After a bit she collected herself, went into the house, got the last jug of corn likker, headed down to the creek and sat down, leaning up against a tree. She spent the rest of the day hitting off the jug and idly watching four bikini-clad girls cavorting in the creek. Around dusk she passed out, and expired from hypothermia around midnight.

Back in his apartment, the giant again awoke, poured himself a generous glass of Van Winkle Lot B, retired to the patio to watch the sunset,

and lived happily ever after.

If you enjoyed this story, watch this space for more upcoming tales, including:

Goldilocks and the Three Beers

"Oh my God! This 'End of History' is too strong…although the bottle is sooo cute…"

Snow White and the Seven Master Distillers

Parky, Kevie, Freddy, Chrissy, Jimmy, the other Jimmy, and Julian


Co-starring her evil stepbrothers, Jack and George

Hansell and Cowdery

On the way to a whiskey tasting, the two bloggers take a wrong turn, get lost in the woods, and end up in the clutches of a witch named Amy

Lord of The Cocktail Shakers

The halfwit Frito Bagboy must throw the Shaker of Power into the big still at KBD in order to thwart the Dark Lord Smirnoff's plans for world domination

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Great story Scott! Even better than the abridged version from a couple of weeks ago. Can wait for the next one. Joe

"Pull up yer pants. Ya look stupid." :slappin: :slappin: :slappin: :slappin: :slappin: :slappin: :slappin: Now that's funny.

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Little "Scott" Horner,

sat in his corner,

nursing his wheaters and rye,

along came Joe, bowlin'

who sat down beside him,

saying, "Look at this great dusty, guy!"

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Personally I like Chuck's story about 'whiskey don't keep', but this was a great read at 3am last night!

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  • 6 months later...

Snow White and the Seven Master Distillers

Another Rectified Fairy Tale


The Corvallis Cracker

The Almighty was in a generous mood, having just successfully negotiated with Satan the disposition of some unwanted souls. Said souls had just been relinquished by a group that had shown up to protest at the funeral of a knight who’d fallen in the service of the Kingdom of Closer Than You Think. Said protesters had been noisily proclaiming that the knight’s death was divine retribution for the kingdom’s tolerance of homosexuals, liberals and Jews (especially Jews). Many of the funeral’s attendees were fellow comrades-in-arms of the fallen one, and the protestors (not exactly the shiniest farthings in the pile) were oblivious to the folly of doing this in the presence of individuals equipped with multiple sharp implements. An impromptu intermission was called by the funeral director, at the end of which there was a neat pile of heads sitting at the corner of the cemetery.

The Almighty had immediately put in a call to Satan.

“Hey, Red. I got some for you.”

“Why me? After all, they claimed to be your followers.”

“Like that matters. Fact is, nothing pisses me off more than some ignorant bigot presuming to speak on my behalf. So what’s the problem? I thought you wanted all the souls you can get.”

“Not so much this variety. I’ll admit that I love the look on their faces when they get here – it’s obviously the last thing they expected. But after that they get so moody.”

“Tell you what, you take this bunch and I’ll take the next.”

“Okay. It’s a deal.”

The Almighty leaned back and smiled. I do believe I’ll grant the next wish I hear.

Meanwhile, back in the Kingdom of Closer Than You Think, Queen Terri was sitting at a palace window, doing some crochet work. Despite it’s being midwinter, the window was open to let out the foul vapors of the king’s cigar (a Swisher Sweet; the king being a notoriously cheap individual). The queen pricked a finger on her needle and three drops of blood fell on the snow that partially covered the ebony window sill. Looking at the blood on the snow, she said to herself, "Oh, what a cool color combination. How I wish we had a national flag with a red background, a white circular field at the center and some kind of funky black symbol within the white field.”

(Wait. We just took a wrong turn here. Let’s try this again.)

“How I wish that I had a daughter who had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony".

The Almighty sighed. You people need to be more careful what you wish for.

Sure enough, the following spring the queen gave birth to a baby girl who had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony. Upon seeing her, the queen shrieked, “I was speaking figuratively!” and fell into a deep coma. EEG recordings showed she was brain dead, so after several days of agonizing over the decision, the king decided to let her go.

Outside the palace a dozen protestors appeared, screaming, “Let Terri live!” and “Save Terri!” The king, observing this, turned to an advisor.

“Last I time I checked, we’re not under the jurisdiction of the Florida legislature.”

“No sire, we are not.”

“Send out a squad to deal with this bunch.”

Soon there were a dozen heads perched on poles outside the palace gate.

The red phone on The Almighty’s desk began to ring. Crap, I know what this is about. The Almighty reluctantly picked it up.

“This bunch is yours! We had a deal!” click

The Almighty shrugged, thinking Well, there’s no rule that says I can’t keep them in Purgatory forever.

After several more days, the queen dies. The funeral is attended by nearly everyone in the kingdom, except for a small number who’ve realized that it might be best if they just stayed home.

End of Part I

Next: A New Queen

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The newborn princess is named “Snow White” (the king being a notoriously unimaginative individual) and is left in the care of the palace staff, the king being too depressed to do much other than sit in his room drinking Old Crow (the king being a notoriously cheap…oh, wait, I already told you that).

After several years of drinking by himself, he starts to hang at a local Goth bar, The Crow, which offers shots of his favorite bourbon for just 90 farthings (60 farthings during Happy Hour, 3-6 Monday through Friday).

The king soon becomes acquainted with one of the bar’s other regulars, one Grimgrrl. “G” (as she likes to be called) is a typical Goth, with black hair (natural color is dirty blonde), pale skin, heavy mascara, black eye shadow, blood red lipstick and numerous piercings and tattoos. One of her tats is a snake, whose head pokes out above her décolletage, and over time the king develops an obsession with it, repeatedly inquiring about its length and the location of its tail.

G always gives the same answer, that being, “You’ll never know.” However, on the evening of the first of The Crow’s New Extended Happy Hours (2:30-6:30), she replies, “If it’s really that important to you, you could always marry me,” to which the king replies, “Okay then.”

The wedding is a gala affair, with Crematory playing at the reception.

The new queen sets about redecorating the palace, replacing old classical paintings with works by Gerald Brom, Luis Royo and H. R. Giger, and the baroque furniture with various items purchased at thrift stores, all of which she paints black. One day, as she has just completed painting the once-gilt frame of an old mirror, she steps back to admire her reflection. “Of all in the kingdom, I am truly the most Goth.”

“You certainly are, you highness,” replies the mirror.

G shrieks and drops the paintbrush, then hesitantly asks, “Who in the kingdom is the most Goth?”

“You are, my queen,” replies the mirror.

Sweet. A talking mirror.” She smiles. “And I like what it has to say. How about some Windex?”

“That would be great.”

G applies a generous amount and begins rubbing the surface. The mirror begins to moan.

“Oooo, yeah. I like it like that.”

The queen moves the mirror to her private chambers. Over the coming years they become quite close.

As for Snow White, at first G is fond of the young princess, dressing her in smaller size versions of her own outfits, and giving her numerous gifts, including a Goth Barbie. She admires Snow White’s naturally white skin, red lips and black hair. But as the princess grows into a beautiful young woman, the admiration turns first to envy, then to resentment.

At age fourteen, Snow White asks if she can get a piercing and a tattoo. Mostly out of spite, G forbids this and the king, who’s not thrilled with the idea either, backs her up. Snow White persists and eventually the king and queen agree to let her get these when she turns seventeen.

That day finally arrives and by its end she’s sporting a gold ring through her right eyebrow and a scorpion tattoo on her left shoulder blade.

The following morning Queen G stands before her mirror and asks, “Hey, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the Gothist of them all?”

“That would be Snow White,” replies the mirror.

“WHAT?” shouts G, who picks up a fireplace poker and holds it menacingly in front of the mirror. “Maybe you want to try that again.”

“Hit me with that and you’ll have seven years bad luck,” warns the mirror.

“Oh, that’s just a myth. I don’t believe in such things.”

“You do realize you’re conversing with a talking mirror? Hello?

“Oh, yeah. Hmm…well, there are other ways to solve this problem.”

Later that morning she directs the Royal Mushroom Hunter to invite Snow White along on a gathering expedition. “When you spot something really deadly, get her to eat one. Bring back her eyebrow ring as proof she’s dead – she won’t give that up voluntarily.”

But when he asks Snow White to join him she’s initially uninterested. Then he mentions that he knows of some that offer a good buzz. Oh shit, she thinks, I hope he doesn’t know about that patch at the edge of the Royal Cow Pasture. Only one way to find out, I guess.

They head out, and she’s relieved when he leads them directly into the Royal Dark and Forbidding Forest. After they’ve gone several miles in they encounter a patch of Destroying Angels. He plucks one and offers it to her.

“These are great. Colors, trails, the works.”

Snow White eyes it suspiciously. “You go first.”

“Oh, I couldn’t. Royal prerogative and all that.”

“I’m exercising royal prerogative.” Her eyes narrow. “It wasn’t a request.”

He was staring at the ‘shroom, trying to decide what to do next, when she kicks him in the crotch. She picks up a rock and whacks him up side of his head.

When he comes to, she has a knee on his chest and is holding the rock over his head.

“What the hell are you up to?” she inquires.

“The queen made me do it! She said she’d have my head if I didn’t!”

“The queen? Really?”

“She wants you dead. I don’t know why.”

Snow White thought about this for a minute. “I’m going to need some time to decide what to do about this. You’ll need to tell her I’m dead.”

“She demanded the eyebrow ring as proof.”

Snow White reluctantly removes the ring and hands it to him, then gets up and begins walking further into the forest.

He gets up, dusts himself off, and returns to the palace where he presents the ring to the queen, who is exceedingly pleased and gives him a small bottle of Old Crow “from the King’s personal stash.”

End of Part II

Next: A Cottage in the Woods

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Snow White walks for several more hours, going deeper into the forest. Eventually she reaches a road that she realizes is the one that connects the capital with the adjacent kingdom. She turns onto it, walking in the opposite direction of town. As the light begins to fail, she begins to wonder where she’ll spend the night when she spots a small cottage a couple of dozen yards into the forest. Knocking on the door produces no reply, so she tries the handle and finds it unlocked.

Inside she finds a very messy kitchen, with dishes stacked high in the sink. The rest of the living area isn’t much better. She walks through a door to find a bedroom with seven small beds. Next to each is a small ceramic jug. She picks one up, uncorks it and takes a sniff.

“Whew! Bourbon!”

She takes a sip, pauses, takes another.

“Hey, that’s not bad. Lots better than the swill Dad drinks.”

She catches the sound of singing in the distance, and returns to the cottage’s front door. Coming through the forest is a procession of seven small, stocky men, each carrying a ceramic jug. As they near she can make out the words of their song.

Ho hi

ho hi

We cook up corn and rye

to make the mash

that earns us cash

Ho hi

ho hi

Ho hi

ho hi

We boil it ‘til it's dry

one forty proof

unless we goof

Ho hi

ho hi

Ho hi

ho hi

We fill the barrels high

with tasty quaff

that makes folks laugh

Ho hi

ho hi

The one in the lead suddenly halts, catching sight of her. The rest pile into him and each other, causing Snow White to laugh.

The second one in line asks the leader, “What is that?”

“I don’t know. I think she’s an albino.”

“She can’t be an albino. Her hair’s too dark.”

“Could be dyed,”

“Her eyes are dark too.”

“Could be colored contacts.”

“Okay, so maybe she’s an albino. But what’s she doing here?”

“Only one way to find out, I guess.”

The leader shuffles forward, stopping in front of her.

“And who might you be?” he asks.

“Snow White. My father is the king.”

The rest of the group break into an excited chatter. She hears “Old Crow” along with some snickering.

“So, who are you?” she asks.

“I’m Parker,” the leader replies. Turning, he points to each of the others and recites their names, “Freddy, Chris, Elmer, Jimmy, the other Jimmy, and Greg.”

She looks at Greg. “Why is he so much younger than the rest of you?”

“He’s new. We have turnover problems in that position.”


Parker gets a pained look. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

Snow White shrugs. “So what do all of you do out here?”

Parker brightens. “We make bourbon!”

“Is that what’s in the jugs?”

“Sure is.” He holds his up. “Want some?”

“Maybe later.”

Parker looks disappointed, and lowers the jug. “So, what can we do for your Highness?”

“Things have gotten kind of gnarly back at the palace. Could I crash here for a while?”

Parker looks at her speculatively. “Sure, if you will keep house for us, and cook, make beds, wash, sew, and knit, and keep everything clean and orderly, then you can stay with us.”

Snow White stares at him with an expression that causes Parker to wonder if he has a booger hanging out of his nose. He’s starting to reach for his handkerchief when she finally replies.

“Instead of that, how about if I give each of you a massage once a week? The kind with a Happy Ending.”

“That works too.”

A cheer goes up from the other six.

“We’ll do you first,” she says to Parker, turns, and walks back into the cottage.

Parker looks back at the others, grins, gives a thumbs up, and follows her in.

End of Part III

Next: Rye vs. Wheat

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Supper was cornbread, smoked sausage and bourbon. Snow White cut hers with a lot of water, thinking I’ve got to keep my wits about me with this bunch.

Afterwards they retire to the area adjacent to the fireplace, around which are arrayed seven downsized Lay-Z-Boys. Snow White sits on a bed she’d contrived by folding together a number of blankets. Parker slips a bluegrass CD into a beat-up old boom box, and the distillers settle into their chairs, each with a jug on his lap.

Snow White manages to sit through three entire songs before she asks Parker for another shot. “Make it a double, if you don’t mind.”

About a half hour later, Freddy turns his head to look at Greg, and in a low, menacing voice, utters a single word.


Greg looks back at him, and in an equally menacing voice, replies.







With that, Freddy leaps out of his chair and onto Greg, who shoves Freddy onto the floor and jumps onto him, pummeling him with his fists. The two Jimmies tackle Greg, and soon all four are rolling around on the floor, punching, kicking and biting. Greg, though outnumbered, is giving as good as he’s getting.

Parker, Chris and Elmer put down their jugs, get up and pull Freddy and the two Jimmies off of Greg, who jumps to his feet and holds up his fists.

“C’mon, you old farts! I’ll kick all three of your asses!”

“That’s enough!” snaps Parker. “Greg, go outside and cool down. As for you three, I suggest you turn in early.”

Greg shrugs and heads outside. Freddy and the two Jimmies pick up their jugs and shuffle off to the bedroom.

Snow White looks at Parker. “Does this happen often?”

“Pretty much every night.”

She closes her eyes. I’m going to have to find another place soon. Real soon.

* * *

The next morning Snow White wakes to the aroma of frying bacon. The balance of breakfast is corn bread and coffee. Each of the distillers adds a shot to his cup.

She decides she wants to check out the operation, and accompanies them on their hike through the forest. A thirty minute walk brings them to a springhead, surrounded by seven sheds. In each sits a copper still and, behind it, a large tub. Further back are racks filled with barrels. There are jugs, ladles and other paraphernalia as well.

“Not really much to see, I guess,” remarks Parker.

He gives her an overview of the mashing, cooking and distilling process, then offers her a sample of white dog. Tasting it, she makes a face.

“Now I see why you age it.”

“Believe it or not, there are people who will buy it like this.”

“No way!”


“I’ve never heard of that.”

“We export most of it. Mostly to the USA.”

“Okay. That I can believe.” She looks at the creek flowing from the spring. “Where does that go?”

“Flows for a mile or so, then falls into a canyon. Pretty spot.”

“I’ll check it out, then head back to the cottage.”

She follows the creek until it widens into a pool. Looking around, she decides to take the opportunity to clean off some grime and sweat. She slips out of her clothes and into the water, which is brisk but not intolerable. She catches some motion out of the corner of her eye and looks up just in time to spot the two Jimmies ducking down behind a bush.

“Enjoying the show, boys?” she calls.

They scramble out from behind the bush and run back toward the spring, the sound of her laughter following them through the forest.

* * *

Meanwhile, back at the palace, Queen G stands before her mirror. “Okay, mirror, who’s the Gothist of them all?”

“That would still be Snow White.”


“Hey, watch it with the saliva. You’ll leave streaks.”

“Sorry.” She took a deep breath. “Are you sure she’s alive?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

G stomps off, rings for a guard, and orders that the ‘shroom hunter be brought to her. Two guards drag him in and drop him at her feet. She pokes a dagger under his chin.

“Why didn’t you kill her?”

“She got the jump on me, your Highness. I’m sorry!”

“Not as sorry as you’re going to be.” She turns to one of the guards. “Dress him up in pink, tie him up and drop him off at the Baptist church next to the trailer park.”

“NOOOOO!!!!!” screams the ‘shroom hunter as they drag him out of the room.

She looks at the remaining guard. “Send out scouts, search the forest. Find her.”

* * *

When the distillers return home that evening, Snow White gives Freddy and the two Jimmies their massages. This has the desired effect, and the evening is a pleasant one.

The next day, however, is Greg’s turn and the evening’s altercation erupts even sooner than the one two nights before. She sighs and shakes her head. I have got to get out of here.

The next day, mostly out of boredom, she tackles the dishes, which kills most of the morning. After lunch (leftover cornbread and bacon), she does some laundry. While hanging items out to dry, she’s spotted by one of the queen’s scouts, who immediately heads back to the palace to make his report.

End of Part IV

Next: G Finds Herself in a Tight Spot

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G considers sending out a squad, but then thinks No, I’m not making that mistake again. If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.

She visits a witch whose shop is an unsavory part of town (right next door to The Crow). After an exchange of pleasantries, she asks, “What’s the deadliest thing you got?”

“I’m sorry, your highness, but I’m all out of lethal stuff. Some guy who claimed to work for the governor of Wisconsin was in here earlier, and he took it all.”

“Okay, what’s the next best thing?”

The witch thinks about it for a moment, and then pulls out a small bottle. “This will put her into a deep sleep until she’s kissed by someone with a tattoo identical to hers. Chances of that are pretty small.”

“Okay. I’ll also need something to conceal my identity. She’s not going to take anything from me.”

The witch smiles. “Got just the thing.” She leans forward and whispers to the queen, who laughs.

“That’s perfect!”

The witch hands her two small bottles. “The green one is the stuff, the blue is the antidote. You’ll also need these.” She gives the queen two bags, one containing a costume and the other a number of brightly colored boxes.

* * *

Late the following day Snow White hears a knock at the door. She opens it and looks down at a freckled girl, about 12, wearing a green uniform and carrying a tote bag. Sweet, she thinks, something other than cornbread and high-fat meat.

She smiles at the girl. “I’ll take one box of Tahitis and one of Thick Mints.”

The girl pulls out a box of each, along with a smaller box. “Here’s a sample pack of a variety we’re looking at for next year. They’re called Orange Crunch. Bits of orange and macadamia nut. Try one.”

Snow White pulls one out and takes a bite. Oh, that’s good. She finishes it in two more bites.

“So, how much…” she stops in mid sentence, suddenly feeling faint.

The girl laughs. “Oh, they’re free.” She pulls out a small blue bottle and drains it. Before Snow White’s eyes she transforms into Queen G.

“You!” she cries, then collapses.

“Yes, me!” G laughs.

At this point she catches sight of her reflection in the cottage window. The green shirt has popped off all of the buttons save the lowest, and is exposing a lot of cleavage as well as about four inches of midriff. The skirt is too tight as well, and stopping a good ten inches above her knees.

Oh, great. I should have brought a change of clothes.

Suddenly she hears a commotion to her left, and turns to see seven short, stocky men staring at her. The one in the lead looks down at Snow White and shouts, “She killed her!”

Six of them howl in rage, but one simply stares at her (this being Chris, who’s remembering a boyhood fantasy). They begin to advance on her and she turns and runs for the road. Hobbled by the tight skirt, she trips and falls. By the time she gets back up, two of them have moved between her and the road, so, after hiking up the skirt to improve her running efficiency, she heads around the cottage, thinking they’ll follow and she can get to the road after circumnavigating the structure.

As she rounds the third corner she encounters Chris, and the look on his face is more frightening than the howls of the other six. She looks around, sees the path into the forest, and begins to run down it as fast as she can. She reaches the distillery area and begins running along the creek. Behind her she can hear the howls getting closer. Those little bastards are fast for their size.

The forest ends at a precipice, and she halts. The creek’s bed is now a deep ravine and there’s no way across, and she realizes that where she’s standing is a promontory, jutting out from the cliff. She turns to exit the cul-de-sac and sees that they’ve caught up with her, having already spread out to cut off her escape. She bends down, picks up a rock, staightens up and hurls it at Elmer, hitting him on the forehead and knocking him out cold. She picks up another and throws it at Freddy, who ducks just in time.

“Damn,” he comments, “She sure doesn’t throw like a girl.”

She starts picking up rocks and putting them in a pile.

Parker looks at the others. “This is going to be tricky.”

“Maybe I can reason with her,” says Chris. He starts to walk toward her. “Come on, it doesn’t have to be like this…I’m sure we can work something out…”

“Stay away, you little freak!” She throws a rock at him, grazing his head.

He backs up, and starts choking back tears.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” asks Parker.

“Nothing,” he sniffs. “Forget it”

Parker looks thoughtful for a minute, then turns to Freddy. “Go back to the cottage and get the boom box…and that CD that Kevin gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago…you know the one.”

Freddy returns about twenty minutes later, carrying the boom box and a copy of Yanni’s Greatest Hits.

“This should do the trick,” say Parker as he slips in the CD and presses PLAY.

G drops the rock and covers her ears. “NOOOooooooo!!!”

“Turn it up,” says Elmer.

G begins running back and forth, shrieking. “NOOOO!!! NOOOooooOOOooo!!!! NOOO!!!!”

“More. All the way.”

G shrieks once more, wheels and heads straight for the edge…and disappears from sight.

Parker turns off the boom box and they all walk to the edge. Her broken form is visible far below.

“Well, that’s that,” says Parker, who turns and begins walking in the direction of the cottage. The rest follow, save for Chris, who lingers, looking down at her. A couple of tears trickle down his cheek.

“Such a waste,” he whispers. “Such a tragic, tragic waste.”

End of Part V

Next: Prince Charming

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When they return the cottage, Parker kneels next to Snow White and strokes her hair. She sighs softly.

“Hey! She’s alive!”

They try various methods to bring her around (most of which involve bourbon). None succeed.

“From what I know of these things,” announces Parker, “we’re going to need a prince.”

“A prince?” asks Freddy.

“Yes. He’s got to kiss her to break the spell.”

“Where are we going to find one of those?”

“Maybe the next kingdom over. It’s down the road another ten miles or so.” Parker looks at her, then back at Freddy. “Tomorrow I’d like you to travel there and see if you can find one.”

They carry her inside and lay her on her bed. Dinner is a quiet affair, and they decide to turn in early.

Greg is about to pass through the door to the bedroom, pauses and looks back. Jimmy (#1) is standing at Snow White’s feet, lifting up her skirt and peering underneath.

“Hey!” yells Greg, “What the hell are you doing?”

Jimmy drops the skirt. “Nothing”

“Yes you were! You were looking under her skirt!”

“No I wasn’t.”

“I saw you!”


“You’re the liar!”

With that Greg pounces on him and they starts rolling around on the floor. The others rush back into the room, and Parker and Elmer grab Freddy and the other Jimmy before they can jump in. Chris gets between Greg and Jimmy and manages to keep them apart until they calm down.

“Okay, obviously we’re not going to be able to keep her in here,” announces Parker.

The next morning Freddy sets out for the neighboring kingdom, while the others set to work constructing an open shed (sort of a gazebo, but square). In its center they construct a platform and place Snow White upon it.

“We’re going to have to cover her with something,” says Parker.

“Why?” asks the other Jimmy.

“Because we can’t just leave her exposed to the elements. If it takes too long to find a prince, she’ll start growing moss on her north side.”

“We could rotate her every few days.”

Parker takes off his cap and swats Jimmy with it. “Idiots,” he mutters. “I’m surrounded by idiots.”

“Okay, so we put a wooden box around her,” offers Chris.

“No, I want to be able to see her. Mostly because I want to know if she’s not alone.” He looks at Jimmy #1, who turns red. “We’ll use glass.”

So they surround her with glass, leaving slight gaps at the corners so she could breathe. The top is hinged, and Parker secures the latch with a padlock.

* * *

Later that day Freddy arrives at the border, so identified by a large sign.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Far Away

Kingdom of Far Far Away: 22 miles

After a couple more miles when he encounters a tavern. He sits down at the bar and orders a shot of Knob Creek. Sitting next to him is a handsome young man with medium length blond hair. Freddy turns to him.

“Say, you wouldn’t happen to be a prince, would you?”

“As a matter of fact, I am. Prince Charming, at your service.”

“You from around here?”

“Next kingdom over.”

“Far Far Away?”

“No, it’s only twenty miles from here.”

“No, I mean the Kingdom of Far Far Away.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“I thought I recognized you. Say, I always wondered where you got the ‘prince’ title. I mean, your mother was a Fairy Godmother, not a queen.”

“My father was the king. It happened the day she turned him from a frog into a human. It’s the real reason she did it. She was feeling frisky that day, and there wasn’t anyone else around.”

Freddy thinks about this for a moment. “But that would make you Princess Fiona’s half-brother…and you were going to marry her…why didn’t they mention that in the movie?”

Charming stares at him. “Can you say ‘R Rating’?”

“Fair enough.” He takes a sip of his bourbon, and leans toward the prince. “Charming, I’ve got a proposition for you.”

* * *

They arrive back at the cottage the next day at noon, the prince on his horse and Freddy on foot. Greg, who’d been standing watch, sees them coming and blows a horn, and the others arrive back from the distillery shortly thereafter.

“So where is she?” asks Charming.

Parker takes him to the gazebo, unlocks the lid of the box and opens it.

Charming’s eyes go wide. “You didn’t tell me she was a Goth! Ewwww!”

Parker frowns. “You can do it, lad. Buck up!”

Charming stares at her for several seconds, then brightens. “This will help!” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small silver flask, opens it and takes a long pull. He’s starting to close it when Parker snatches it away and takes a whiff. His face goes white, and he turns to the others.

“It’s Scotch.”

They let out a collective howl and jump on Charming, punching and kicking. He manages to get loose, runs for his horse, and takes off down the road, his horse at a furious gallop. At the first corner he nearly collides with a large black motorcycle coming in the opposite direction.

End of Part VI

Next: The Obligatory Happy Ending

(no, not that kind)

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The bike’s rider stops in front of the distillers. He takes off his helmet, revealing shoulder-length gray hair and a gray beard.

“Say, is this Kentucky?â€

Parker shakes his head. “Mister, you are seriously lost.â€

The old biker dude sighs. “That’s the last time I get directions from a punk hip-hopper with his pants halfway down his thighs.â€

Parker looks at him speculatively. “Say, I don’t suppose there’s any chance you’re a prince?â€

“Well, I’ve been called the Prince of Pointless Posts…although I think I’m about to lose the title to some squire.â€

“Close enough. Come on, I want to show you something.â€

The old biker dude follows Parker to the gazebo.

“Would you be willing to kiss her?â€

“I suppose so.†He thinks about it, recalling an Oktoberfest party some years before when he and a woman ten years his senior both had too many shots of 100 proof schnapps. “I’ve done worse.â€

He leans over and presses his lips to Snow White’s. Her eyes pop open and she throws her arms around him. They continue kissing until Parker coughs.

The old biker dude gently pushes her down, and straightens up. She starts to slip her peasant blouse down around her shoulders, smiles, and says, “Want to get in here with me?â€

“No, I don’t think so.â€

She frowns. “Why not?â€

“A number of reasons. So as to not offend you, the only one I’ll mention is that my wife might be reading this.â€

She shrugs. “Fair enough. Could you help me out of this thing?â€


As he’s helping her out of the box, he notices the scorpion tattoo on her shoulder.

“Nice tat. I have one just like it.â€

“Really? Where?â€

He lifts his left pants cuff, and slides down the boot. There, on the ankle, is a tattoo identical to hers.

“Cool!†She looks up at him. “I wish you weren’t married.â€

At that instant a deep rumbling voice fills the air.

Be careful what you wish for!!!

Her eyes go wide. “Or not.â€

She turns to Parker. “Well, I guess you’re stuck with me for a while.â€

He smiles. “Queen G is dead. You can go back home if you want.â€

“Sweet!†She looks back to the old biker dude. “Could I catch a ride?â€

“Sure. Say, do they have maps?â€


She follows him back to the bike. Just as she’s about to climb on, Greg runs up to her and throws his arms around her waist.

“Please don’t leave me here! I hate it here! Take me with you! PLEEEZE!!!!â€

She thinks for a moment. “How would you like to be the Royal Distiller?â€

“Does the king like wheated bourbon?â€

“He will if it’s free. Come on.â€

Greg climbs on the bike, squeezing between Snow White and the old biker dude, who fires it up and points it down the road. As they pull away, she waves at the distillers, while Greg gives the finger to Freddy and the two Jimmies.

As they disappear in the distance, Parker takes off his cap and swats Freddy and the two Jimmies. “See what you did? Again!â€

There is a long pause. Elmer speaks.

“Maybe we could get Kevin back.â€

“Not likely.â€

Chris chimes in. “How about Dave? I hear he’s bottling rye whiskey these days.â€

Parker turns and looks at him. “Rye whiskey? Really?†He smiles. “Really?â€

“I’ve got his E-Mail,†says Chris. “I’ll drop him a line.â€

Sure enough, Dave was willing to return. He started using the still to produce rye whiskey, running off wheated bourbon only on alternate Tuesdays. The distillers experienced a level of peace and tranquility they’d never before known,

and they lived happily ever after.

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