Plugs

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Prince Charming Comes By After the Divorce to Pick Up Some Things

by Luc Reid

He’d brought his new girlfriend, the servants told Cinderella, but he came into the Great Hall alone, wearing the robin’s egg-blue tunic. His own two servants came with him, the only ones he was allowed to keep after the settlement, Dregsworthy and Pullengroin. Charming stopped short when he saw where Cinderella had put his things. She had decided to throw them all in a pile, the remaining flasks of his rosemary mead and his second-best suit of armor, the hounds from his childhood he’d had stuffed after death, his dead uncle’s magical nail clippers that did nothing (“Maybe they’re for clipping magical nails,” Charming had once quipped) … all of it. She had decided to toss it together without regard for denting or chipping or breaking, without regard for mead gushing out onto his favorite hunting cape or gardening tools gouging out chunks of the dead hounds’ hair.

Charming stared at his possessions for a moment before he looked up, gazed into her eyes with his own robin’s-egg blue ones, and said, “You’re looking lovely, Cindy.”

“Don’t be charming,” she snapped.

“Rude it is, then,” he said gently. “But why did you–”

He broke off when a small woman entered. A very small woman. A dwarf woman, in fact. She took Charming’s hand and kissed it unselfconsciously, her red-gold hair cascading over his wrist. She was very elegant, for a dwarf.

Charming bent down and kissed her on the head as Cinderella looked on, speechless.

“Durin’s shade, you’re even prettier than he told me!” said the dwarf women.

“I thought dwarf women had beards,” Cinderella blurted, and the dwarf woman flushed.

“It’s more convenient this way,” Charming said. “They can tell them better from the men!” And he laughed easily, but the dwarf woman was still flushing, and Cinderella realized that she depilated and didn’t tell Charming. In all fairness, though, who would bring that up to a new boyfriend?

“So, Cindy,” said Charming, “I’d like you to meet Gloina.”

Cinderella shook her head. She did not have to be social with him. “Just take your things and go,” she said, and stalked out of the room, wishing she had thrown everything down after all.

Charming helped the servants take the carefully-packed crates out to his carriage. Each one was tied with a satin ribbon the color of a robin’s egg.

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