David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Archive for the ‘Cinderella on the Rebound’ Category

Cinderella Runs Into Snow White After Therapy One Afternoon

Monday, April 14th, 2008

To celebrate our first anniversary, each of us here at the Cabal has come up with a story beginning with a line kindly provided to us by the illustrious Jay Lake. Click the link at the bottom of the page to see how Alex, Dan, David, Edd, and Kat have handled the challenge, and tune in tomorrow to see what Rudi Dornemann comes up with…

Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks. It had been a slow afternoon, but he heard Dr. Rumplestiltskin’s door open and readied an unsettling comment for the next one–a looker he’d just glimpsed on her way in, some kind of divorced royal.

“Man, up until now it was all pretty girls coming out of these appointments,” said Zoli. Cinderella, roiling with thoughts about Charming and his perfect little dwarfess girlfriend, kicked Zoli solidly in the nuts. Zoli keeled over with a squeaking noise.

“Get some therapy of your own already,” Cinderella said as she pushed open the door to the street.

The kick hadn’t improved her mood; actually, she felt guilty. In her head, she hadn’t been kicking Zoli: she’d been kicking Charming. She was inexpressibly angry at him, and yet she couldn’t even kick him vicariously in the nuts and get any satisfaction out of it. What was wrong with her?

“Ella! Hey, girl!” someone shouted, and Cinderella looked up to spot Snow White hiking up her skirts and hustling toward her. There were at least 50 yards of empty cobblestone on every side; escape was not an option.

Catching up, Snow White linked arms with Cinderella and bent over to whisper in her ear. “Come to the farmer’s market with me. There are a pair appleseller brothers there who’ll take your breath away.”

“You’ve got a perfectly good prince at home. Why are you ogling applesellers?” protested Cinderella.

“What, I’m supposed to close my eyes every time I buy an apple?” Snow White said, grinning. “So why do you look so down, anyway? Still moping about Charming? I don’t know what you have to mope about, having that woodcutter all to yourself.”

“I know,” Cinderella said. “Hansel’s wonderful. His family is wonderful.”

“Well, you weren’t satisfied with charming, and now you’re not satisfied with wonderful. What do you want, abusive?”

“I guess perfect men don’t make me happy,” said Cinderella. “They should, though, shouldn’t they?”

“Maybe you’re one of those people who has to do something.”

“I don’t do things,” said Cinderella. “I’m a princess, for God’s sake.”

“I’m just saying, maybe you have a greater purpose.”

“Like what? What purpose could there possibly be for an aging beauty whose only skills are housework and animal relations?”

“Well, I guess that’s the question,” Snow White dropped her voice to a whisper. “This is the apple cart! Act nonchalant.”

And as Snow White reached for an apple, Cinderella began to think that maybe she’d been angry about the wrong things.

Cinderella and Prince Charming Have a Post-Divorce Meeting to Discuss Some Financial Matters

Monday, November 19th, 2007

“A dwarf, Charming!” Cinderella said. “Seriously, a dwarf. Why? Is this some kind of bizarre plea for attention?”

“Cindy, I thought you of all people would understand. We’re in love. What other justification do we need?”

“If you remember, we were in love once,” Cinderella said. “And look how that turned out.” She had planned not to drink anything, to keep the meeting as short and businesslike as possible, but now she poured herself some sangria out of the carafe after all and drank a long swallow from it, not looking at Charming the whole time.

“Well,” said Charming, and with the warmth he put into that one word it was as though he had said Well, and even though it didn’t last forever, our love was amazing while it lasted, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. To give the devil his due, he could be very charming.

“I admit,” Charming said, “I wouldn’t have looked for a dwarfess if I hadn’t literally stumbled on Gloina. But she’s so constant, and she practically glows with happiness the whole time we’re together … and the sex! My God, the things that little woman can do! Have you ever been with a dwarf?”

“I think you’re confusing me with that whore Snow White.”

“Not that again. Why do people keep repeating that rumor?”

“Oh come on, you’re a man. You should get it.”

Charming pushed his glass aside and leaned toward Cinderella across the glass surface of the table. “We don’t have to argue. We’re not married any more! What about you? I heard you’re seeing someone. Tell me about him.”

“What, Hansel?” He’s a woodcutter, she could have told him. He lives in the forest in a small cottage with his sister, Gretl, and her husband and three happy but really filthy children.

Charming was looking at her, waiting.

“He’s in forest products,” she said finally.


“Nearly,” she said. And then she didn’t say: And he smells like ginger and cloves, and sometimes when I’m with him I forget who I am. Last week I cleaned his house from top to bottom, and the forest creatures actually turned out to help me.

“All right,” said Charming, as though she had asked him for something.

And as they turned to the papers they had to go over, Cinderella found herself wondering if she could cast off the princess she’d become like the old skin of an insect, and if so, what might climb out into the sunlight.

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