I missed a couple days of posts. But this time I’m pack with a bit of flash fiction! I believe the exact rules vary, but when I first had it explained to me flash fiction was described as being 500 words or less so that’s usually what I shoot for. This is the first piece of fiction I’ve written in a while but I had fun with it! I played with an old nursery rhyme in a story I wrote a couple years ago (I’ll post it here later) and thought it would be fun to try that again. It wound up being more like the first section of a larger story so maybe I’ll write the rest some day. I haven’t edited it much, but I may come back and touch it up later. For now, enjoy!
There Was an Old Woman
I was tall and thin and she was short and fat. We looked like Jack Spratt and his wife while she busied herself in the kitchen. She wore an old tobacco stained apron and was covered from her snow white hair to her bare chubby toes in cooking flour while she rolled a crust for a cranberry pie. This could be the interview of a lifetime if what I had heard was true. Of all the epic tails and rhyming legacies in the Magical Kingdom all she was known for was her home.
“There was an old woman, who lived under a hill. And if she’s not gone, she lives there still.”
Storytellers have nothing more to say about her. King Charming calls her a madwoman and a liar. She claims to be responsible for half of the great heroes being who they are. I just wanted to hear her side of the story.
“Where should we start?” I asked, clicking my pen and hovering it over a notepad.
“Why not with my rhyme,” She spoke with a deep, gravelly voice. She poured a thick, red filling into a crust and placed it in the oven. “That’s what anyone who matters in this kingdom is known for, right?”
She sat across from me at the table and pulled a stubby cigar out of her pocket. Taking a match from her apron pocket and striking it on her forearm she lit the cigar and inhaled deeply.
“That’s the thing,” I smirked, “you’re known for your home, and a tautology. Nothing more. If you’re truly an interesting person, why did the royal poets even bother?”
“They bothered because it’s tradition, I guess. They don’t like to tell you this but it’s the law for them to memorialize heroes with at least a rhyme, if not an entire tale.”
“Yeah. Heroes. You don’t buy it?” She took a long drag from her cigar and coughed a phlegmy cough.
“If you were a hero, why wouldn’t they write more?”
“The ROYAL poets,” she croaked, “Were obligated by tradition to write about me. But the ROYALTY didn’t want to admit what I did.”
I looked up at her through my spectacles while scribbling on my paper. “And what was that?”
“I saved Charming’s sorry ass from witches, trolls, and dragons on a damn near weekly basis. He doesn’t like admitting that some little fat chick did all the heavy lifting on his quests.”
“I don’t know about that. He seems to be an honest king. Why would he want to hide the deeds of a great woman?”
“I’m gonna tell you a story that’ll blow the top off your little paper, skinny.”
She took another long drag from her cigar and blew a thick cloud of smoke into my face.
“I’m the whole reason that old son of a bitch is sitting on that throne” she croaked, “and it should’ve been me sittin’ on it to begin with.”