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[community profile] inkstains  entry, 1279 words
Challenge 20 - Rewrite a fairy tale

Silly Queen was wailing again.

If she didn’t shut up, she was going to wake the baby, and it would be MY problem. I’d be annoyed, except I get paid well, and I do like taking care of the baby. Except for the part where I have to change diapers, of course. Do you have any idea how hard it is trying to change a diaper made of silk and gold thread?

Then, there’s the part where you hafta get baby poop out of the diaper. My ma said to just burn the damn things, but hey, gold is gold and I’m the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Which means anything gold is my problem.

“So tell me what’s wrong, “ I said, looking up from my gardening.

“He’s coming back to collect!”

“So pay him, you’re the Queen, I’m sure you have enough money! Or, or or… ” the baby stirred, and I quickly patted his arm gently willing him to not wake up wailing as loud as his mother. “You could always spin straw into gold.”

That’s when she started wailing REALLY LOUD. Which, of course, woke the baby. 

I took the baby from her arms, and started rocking him back to sleep. “I don’t understand what you’re crying about. Better start from the beginning.”

When she had finished telling me the whole sordid saga of faking out the king, I could have whacked her upside the head. Except I couldn’t.  She was the Queen, after all.  You don’t really whack royalty upside the head, no matter how badly they deserve it.

Turns out she really couldn’t spin straw into gold, and our entire kingdom’s economy was based on a lie.  But we’ll deal with that later.  The bigger problem is that since she couldn’t really spin straw into gold, she was going to have to give the Prince as payment to someone who could. Someone, unfortunately, who wasn’t me. (Not like I had any use for a baby anyway, but there you go. )

It was just one of those drunken stories that got all out of proportion when her miller dad and his drinking buddies decided to do the whole “My daughter is better than your daughter” game at the local tavern.

Short version is, he told everyone his daughter could spin straw into gold. Which is actually easy, if you ask me, but nobody asked me. So the king got wind of it, decided to lock her in a room, and make her spin straw into gold or else he would cut off her dad’s head. Not too big a loss, if you ask me, anyone who goes saying things like that when it isn’t true deserves his head cut off.  But again, nobody asked me. Bah. 

Anyway, the first night she was crying and this little guy shows up and says he can spin straw into gold. (Toldja, any idiot can do it.) She promises him her necklace, he spins straw into gold, she gives him her necklace, and all is well. 

King is happy, right?  But how does he show his happiness? By locking her into another room, a bigger one, with more straw, and making her spin the straw into gold. Again, the little man shows up. She promises him her ring, and same thing happens. He spins the straw into gold, she gives him her ring and disappears.

Now if it were me, I would have disappeared after the second time I hadda turn the roomful of straw into gold, right? Any idiot knows it’s one of those jobs that never end. But she wasn’t exactly smart, so she waited for the King  who --- I’m sure you know – locks her into  another room and promises to marry her if she spins the straw into gold.

I told you she wasn’t all that smart. WHAT KINDA IDIOT GOES THROUGH THAT TROUBLE FOR THAT KIND OF REWARD IF YOU ASK ME? If it were me, I’d have locked the King into a room and told him I’d marry him if he spun himself into a cute person.  The person who gets to spin straw into gold gets to pick whom to marry, you silly ass! Anyway. Never mind. Better her than me. So, man shows up again, except this time, she has no more jewelry to promise the little man.

Which kinda pisses me off too-- look, no down payment? No engagement ring? What kind of idiot are you? He’s already seen that you can spin the straw into gold, he’s the one who has to prove he has something you want!  Arrrrggggggh.

Anyway.  I told you she wasn’t all that smart.  But like I said, better her than me.

Little man says it’s okay. Just gimme your first born child instead. And what does the silly woman do? She says yes! What kind of asshat deal is that, I ask you?

So he spins the straw into gold, she marries the King, finds people who can really spin straw into gold (meaning me) to cover her tracks,  has a sweet little baby Prince, and lives happily ever after.

Until now, when the little man is back to collect.  She has three days, apparently.

“It’s not a binding contract, is it?” she asks apprehensively.

“You’re the Queen, of course it’s binding.”

“But there were no witnesses!”  she starts wailing again.

“It’s called good faith, my Queen. And if the Queen cannot be expected to keep her word, then the kingdom is all gone to hell. Although, I suppose, you could just STOP being the Queen, and tell His Majesty you really can’t spin straw into gold, your marriage is a sham….”

She runs away, crying.  Which, of course, makes the silly guards point their spears at me and throw me into the dungeon.

She visits me later that evening, all apologetic and such, and says it was my fault. Right. Did I mention she was a silly goose? She is. But she is the Queen, after all,  can’t do anything about it. “Good news is, “ she says, “that the little man says if I can tell him his name in three days, I’m off the hook.”

“Oh good, I have a list of baby names—wait. I already gave the list of baby names to you. Remember? When the baby was born?”

“Oooooh, right!”  she runs away, leaving me in the dungeon, and that’s the last I hear from her until the next evening. This time, she’s with a little man, who’s doing his best trying to pry the baby away from her arms. Good thing the baby thinks it’s just a game and is giggling and cooing.

“You’re an idiot, “ she tells me with a pout. “His name isn’t in the baby-name book! Not at all!”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure! He’s still here, isn’t he?”

I turn to the little man. “Are you sure your name isn’t in the baby-name book? It was rather comprehensive.”

“Sorry, ‘ he says, shaking his head.

I take a deep breath. “Well I guess you’ll just have to give him the baby then. “

“What?”

“Give him the baby.”

“Whaaaaat?”

“I said, just give the damned man the damned baby. You can always make another one.”

The little man grins, and reaches for the baby.

“Not so fast. Being the Chancellor of the Exchequer and such, I will need a receipt. Proof you won’t bother us anymore. Here. “ I hand him the receipt pad I always keep in my belt and a pen. “Sign below please. “

He signs.

I hand the receipt over to the Queen.

“Rumpelstiltskin?!” She shrieks. “What the hell kinda name is that?”

“Oh crap,” the little man exclaims, stomping his foot and disappearing into a puff of smoke.

Editor!

on 2011-02-13 06:37 am (UTC)
silverflight8: 2010 Nanowrimo: text "sentences do not require verbs" (Nanowrimo 2010)
Posted by [personal profile] silverflight8
Hi! I'm stepping in for pip for your edit today.

I'm not sure if I've ever talked to you before, so: hi! I'm silverflight, or silver, or other permutations; I write original fiction and fanfiction, though not so much as late; I'm the quintessential bookworm *shakes your imaginary hand*

With regards to your edit: your writing is italicized or enclosed in double quotation marks. My suggestions are in single quotes. This occasionally gets ambiguous around apostrophes, so feel free to comment or ask for clarification.

To the edit!
General comments:

*I'm not sure what happened to your formatting - at one point there's an extra space before the closing of a parenthesis, and an odd triple dash closed by an en-dash (waited for the King who --- I’m sure you know – locks). Some of your quotation marks came out correctly, and others were attached to the wrong word. (Mostly just a typing issue, I think.)

*The way you indicate dialogue and speech around it: um. In most cases the dialogue and the accompanying action is linked ("This is a terrible editor," said the writer, sadly.) and the punctuation is a comma/exclamation mark/question mark, but not a period. At other times, they are two distinct sentences ("This is a terrible editor!" She set down the manuscript and proceeded to tear up all the Post-its that had accompanied the manuscript.) There you would have to capitalize the first word ('She') because it forms its own distinct sentence.

Detailed comments:

“So pay him, you’re the Queen, I’m sure you have enough money! Or, or or… ” the baby stirred, and I quickly patted his arm gently willing him to not wake up wailing as loud as his mother
-The part with the baby is actually action that stands alone from the dialogue and should be capitalized.
-Consider inserting a comma after "arm"; the sentence seems to run on a bit.

That’s when she started wailing REALLY LOUD
-I'm not sure whether it's for effect (it does fit in narrative voice), but I thought I'd just point out that normally "loud" would be 'loudly' instead. That said, it fits with the narrator's voice and is completely fine.

Not too big a loss, if you ask me, anyone who goes saying things like that when it isn’t true deserves his head cut off.
-Consider using a semicolon after "if you ask me"; you have a comma splice there.

she gives him her ring and disappears
-Here it's a bit ambiguous as to whether you're talking about her disappearing or him. Consider adding a pronoun before "disappears".

Which kinda pisses me off too-- look, no down payment?
-OK, this was really confusing for me until I figured out that you meant "he" as in the King. Since you conclude the paragraph before by talking about Rumplestiltskin, you might want to put in some indication in the next paragraph about who it is.

first born child
-Should be 'first-born child'.

“But there were no witnesses!” she starts wailing again.
-This again is two distinct sentences squished into one; the "she" should be capitalized.

I like this retelling. Very modern, with lots of interesting commentary from the more-or-less disinterested party (ahahaha on the diapers). Feel free to respond with feedback, or questions, or whatever. It's a great entry you've made for this competition.

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