Fractured Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a grandiose troublemaker named Miller.  He lived in the land of kings, but after he pimped his daughter out by saying she could spin straw into gold, his own name was mud and he got way out of Dodge.  Dodging his family and his old life, he got on a boat, thinking he might make himself into a king in a new land.

Eventually he arrived at a magical island between two rivers where a people lived without time and without gold.  Miller told them tall tales about treasure and kings and he tricked them into trading their island for a necklace of beads that he enchanted them into believing was gold of great worth.  His ability to spin things in this way made him a bit of a Rumpelstiltskin in his own right.

Now it was his island.  Now, as far as he was concerned,  it was Miller Time, but Miller had not brought with him a wife.  In truth, no woman in the land of kings would have him, but he enchanted the chief of the bead-buyers to also give him his beautiful daughter who was soul incarnate, but Miller never bothered to learn her name.  Instead he named her, Romanee Conti, (after a fine wine for which those in the land of kings overpaid and then drank), as even Miller’s pale former kings lionized the conquerors who had once tricked and enchanted these now-gouty folks away from living without time and without gold.

Romanee Conti lay with Miller once, but she found him so repulsive that she had a wall built between them.  It was no longer Miller Time, and Miller could think of nothing but getting another chance to be with Romanee Conti.  He sent many messages to her, asking for her fair hand in earnest.  She saw him as practically a stalker and kept him at bay through telling him that if he could learn her true name she would accept him once more into her bed.

Miller was now a rich man and so he hired hollow-eyed minions to head out into the wilderness in search of his love’s true name.  But they were even crueler fools than Miller, and so they killed, raped and looted everyone that they met; they killed all the animals as well and soon forgot their mission.

Meanwhile, Romanee Conti was with child from her one horrid night with Miller.  Driven to distraction Miller paced up and down the Wall that separated himself from his love.  He paced so long and so hotly that a path became a lane became a street.  All the newly arrived fools would follow Miller up and down Wall Street trying to gain his favor, but he only wanted what was on the other side of the wall.

Three seasons had passed when in a fit of pique Miller took an axe to the wall and smashed a hole in it.  Miller climbed through the jagged little hole, emerging into the bedroom of his true love just as his own son was being born… just as his true love was breathing her last breath.  Heartbroken, Miller fell at her feet, realizing the futility of his ways and begged her to tell him her name.  She did, and then she died.  He felt loved and happy for one flashing moment, gazing upon their beautiful and luminous baby as the life drained out of his eyes as well, dying beside Romanee Conti with her true name singing in his just-made soul, and then dropping into the great unknown along with him.

Miller’s son, Bud, was wiser than Miller but that wasn’t saying much.  Bud was beautiful to start with, but without a mother’s love (and with half Miller’s karma) he grew handsome instead of fine, and then hard, and then bitter, and then cunning.  He grew up to rule the fools of Wall Street, but was forever obsessed with the story of his mother’s true name, which no one knew.  He was a great charmer of women, but his secret flaw was that he hated women (and thus unhappy women flocked to him from miles around, happy to have Bud hate them instead of doing all the self-hating themselves).  Bud hated anything weak or tender and so he grew ever richer.

He forsook his mother and the hope of learning her name and instead sent his minions back to the land of kings, bearing all the dead treasure of his stolen land with instructions to bring him back a proper bride, a Princess.

Bud’s minions did return with a fair and inbred princess, Lady Madison, and she helped prettify the heathen land, preferring white teeth and the smell of pine to actual trees or a life into which one could sink imperfect teeth.  Over the centuries their children and the fools they governed lived with neither soul nor wits about them and the land and its buildings grew shinier and taller, and at the same time deader and deader.

Over centuries, mysterious beings would migrate to the thin strange island between two rivers, occasional people with the blush of soul coming to play jazz at clubs on streets that numbered into the hundreds, or to write poems meant to change things but did not, or to wear fancy suits while at the same time getting dirty with paint and money—but they all either died off from invisible soul-killing toxins, or moved away because it was too expensive.  Sometimes they ended up fitting in, which was the worst of all, joining the zombies at expensive shops and restaurants, laughing on the outside while pretending that they didn’t miss the nascent souls that they had sold like children into slavery, the souls that had once briefly known the name of Bud’s mom without ever knowing that they knew it.

And so the island and the land beyond the rivers remained dead, appearing as if it were full of life with Pizza Huts and Jiffy Lubes and Marts of Wall.  Zombie chieftains war-lorded from atop glass and steel towers adorned with shamanic works pried from the fingers of dead artists.  The minions toiled in strip-mall horror, and office-park malaise, ministering to the soulless masses—selling them pizza and weight-loss plans.

Tangles of invisible briers grew up all around this land, choking it from life, while the eternal spirit whose name remained unknown slept in the soul-rich world deep underground, surrounded by Hades, Hephaestus, Persephone, Hermes and a host of living spirits, all waiting out the eons and that most ridiculous of vain human inventions:  time.

Whether a hero that is not a single person but a consciousness, a ghost of time itself, might manifest out of the vapidity and journey into the cave of spirit and awaken soul with a kiss truer than any name and bring her back into the soulless world remained to be seen… possible, improbable, stirring in fits and starts like dormant seeds awaiting a desert downpour.

Yet that it had ever happened that soul once lived in the world, before the folly of time, meant that soul still lives at that same time as it slumbers.

And it was foretold that a seed would sprout in an unlikely time and place, and a humble miller would come along and grind it up and a baker with heart would make it into a cake and a heroine with taste would take it to the underworld.  And that girl would arrive without fear or desire and please the soul of the world with her cake and with a daughter’s kiss.

As to whether the girl remains with her true mother in the realm of soul, or whether they both venture back into the world is up to none of us individually, but ultimately up to all of us just the same.

But we won’t live happily every after without them,

Namaste, Bruce

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4 Responses to “Fractured Fairy Tale”

  1. Terry Says:

    Great fairy tale. I’ve lived there! And not far from your fairy tale house either. A house only blocks from mine, a daring home that all the children in the village would delight in approaching on All Hallow’s Eve. Little fists would knock on the door and ask those three magical words.

    Trick or treat?

    • privilegeofparenting Says:

      Synchronicity once again… cross Santa Monica Blvd from my office on Linden and you will find the fairy tale house.

      I love the idea that every neighborhood is in a sense the deep dark forest and Our Town at the same time—and that every street has a misunderstood Boo Radley living on it.

  2. krk Says:

    I laud and admire your expertise in fairydom.

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