Stella Cretek
A Dem Bones Fairytale

The girl who trod on a meatloaf

By - Mar 2nd, 2010 02:30 am
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Nodaway Series illustration by Judith Ann Moriarty.

“Get outta dat bed and rattle dose pots and pans,” shouted Red’s ma. “Hasten your sorry ass to Grandma with this here meatloaf.” It was going to be a tough winter in the woods. In fact, it already was tough, what with grandma making demands from her hovel around the bend near where the river runs through it.

But Red was nothing if not a good girl. Slipping into her cape of mouse fur, and wearing her brand new shoes with the spike heels, off she went with the loaf of meat tucked under her fat little arm. It is said that The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing lurks in The Woods Forbidden. So being no dummy, Red stopped short and studied the warning sign at the entry point.

Scrawled in blood red were the words, KCAB NRUT. Whatever, almost no one paid attention to the sign. Those who ignored it completely never returned to tell tales.

Besides which, it was the only route to Grandma’s hovel around the bend to where the river runs through it. The meatloaf was beginning to emit a strange odor, a bit like snarky tennis shoes, all the better to indeed attract The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing, a monster so thorough that upon devouring young maidens in red hoods, he left nothing behind except a hank of hair and a hunk of bone. Esmerelda The Careless, Red’s texting buddy, had met just such a fate. To remind her of the dangers in The Woods Forbidden, Red kept a hank of Esmerelda’s hair, and a hunk of bone, on the nightstand beside her chamber pot, along with a photograph of Boris Karloff.

No bluebirds trilled, bluets bloomed or sunshine shone in The Woods Forbidden. Overhead was a tangled canopy denser than a crock of stone soup. You were a goner if you lost your way to Grandma’s hovel, so let’s just say it was best to follow the road around the bend to where the river runs through it, looking neither left nor right. Whatever skittered hither or rustled yon was best ignored.

“Grandma’s is around the next bend,” sighed Red. “But how odd it is that I don’t recall a peculiar swamp set smack dab in the middle of my route? My new shoes will be ruined! Ma will pitch a fit. What to do? What to do?”

Perhaps, I should tell that Red was widely known to avoid problems by using her wily head. At this very moment, a plan was hatching wherein she would remove her new spike heels, put them in her pocket, and carefully, oh so carefully, throw the meatloaf to the ground, thus forming a swell bridge to carry her across the greenish swamp.

And so it is writ that Red done did the deed.

But like the best-laid plans, some are better laid than others. No sooner had she reached the middle of the meat bridge, than the loaf (now rock-hard) sank from sight, sucking Red to where she didn’t want to be. Down there, surrounded by toads and fishies with bulging eyes, came Red to rest. She gazed upward through the scrummy scum to where she had (only seconds ago) stood gazing down. The meatloaf was soggy; her pocketed new shoes were soggy. In the distance, up there in The Woods Forbidden, she thought she heard Grandma shrieking.

“This is where bad little girls go,” croaked a toady toad. “Had you minded your manners and not dishonored the meatloaf, you’d still be up there among the living. Hand over the meatloaf! And while you’re at it, hand over those spike heels, too. How fine they’ll look on my toady toad feet. We’ll dance together at the Forever Annual Swamp Ball. The Rolling Stones are playing again this year; in fact, they’re down here doing a permanent gig.

Red almost wished The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing had come along and eaten her, leaving only a hunk of bone and a hank of hair. On the other hand, she was secretly pleased that her meatloaf delivering days were over. She was strictly vegan.

And so dear readers, somewhere beneath the bubbling and curiously curious swamp blocking the road to Grandma’s hovel, a young maid in a mouse-fur cape dances to the eternal beat of The Rolling Stones, of whom she never tires. As for her eternal escort, the toady toad, well …  he doesn’t look half-bad in spike heels.

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