An adult faerie tale not for kids.
Splattered all over the highway lay Humpty Dumpty. Old King Cole wanted to know why. After all, he was a merry old soul and this did not set right with him.
“Well, sire,” Hansel, his viceroy, said. “It has to do with The Chicken crossing the road.”
“What, what,” his majesty stuttered. The king sat on his throne. “That chicken never crosses the road.”
“I’m afraid she did this time.” Hansel stood beside the throne and leaned in toward the king.
“Why?” the king asked. “Why did The Chicken cross the road? This time?”
“If we knew that, we would know how Humpty Dumpty came to such a fate, now wouldn’t we?”
“Then find out. And have the culprit executed if there is a culprit.”
“And if there isn’t one, sire?”
“Then execute somebody anyway. It’s a good week for an execution. In fact, every week is a good week for an execution, don’t you think?”
“Of course, sire. We haven’t had an execution in a month of Sundays. It’s about time we had a few. I’ll have the secretary type up the order, then you can seal it with your nice big seal.”
The king went back to his nap. Hansel left the throne room and walked the five minutes of the palace it took to get to the secretary’s office.
Gretel looked up from behind her desk. “I’m bored,” she said to her brother. She was in her late twenties. Blonde hair and blue eyes too. As blue as the Danube that passed down the street and making like the nice river it was.
“I have a bit of typing for you.”
Gretel’s cute little body perked up. “It’s about time. You know I’ve been behind this desk with nothing to do for I don’t know how long. For a blue moon, that’s how long.”
Everybody said she had a cute little body. Even Jack-be-nimble. And he ought to know. He’d seen enough women’s bodies to make Casanova blush. But Gretel never believed. him. She knew all he wanted was to get under her dirndl and she was not about to have any of that. She had other plans. Jack wasn’t sugar daddy enough to be her sugar daddy.
She wanted the country’s brothel concession and she needed someone good to help her manage it. She had been counting on Humpty. He was such a good egg with figures. But now he was dead.
She typed out her brother’s dictation on her manual Underwood. Since she was a perfect typist, not one correction had to be made. When she finished, she handed the typewritten scroll to her brother. He quickly proofread the parchment and found it in good order.
Just as he was about to leave, she addressed him with a question she had been addressing him with for quite some time. “When is the king going to approve my vacation? I need to get to work on my business plan and there is no time like the present.”
“You know what I think of your business,” Hansel looked at his sister. His face was aggrieved. “Mom would be totally pissed.”
“I don’t care. You know what a slut she was. Dad died when the large oak fell on him. Then she slept with every Jack-be-nimble, Peter Piper and Simple Simon around. That’s not for me. Maybe it is for me but I am not giving it away for free. I want my vacation. I’ve earned it. And if I don’t get it, all I can say is we’ll see.”
“Okay,” Hansel said “As soon as we get whoever did this dastardly deed to poor Humpty, you can have your vacation.”
He knew how stubborn his sister was. There was no talking her out of her business plans. Being a Taurus, once she made up her mind she made up her mind and there was no turning back. It had been that quality that had gotten them out of the mess with the witch some time back. Besides a good brothel might just be the thing. It could bring back all those tourists the kingdom had lost when the Happily-Ever-After Corporation opened up a theme park in the next kingdom over. He rolled the scroll up into a nice neat roll and put a rubber band around it so it would stay rolled nice and neat.
As soon as her brother left the room, Gretel went back to checking her list for the business and checking it twice. She wanted to make sure the naughty was connected with the nice. She wanted a palace to put the king’s palace to shame. Would actually call it The Leisure Palace. Had heard that was what they called them in Vegas: leisure palaces. She had acquired the services of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Architects to Kings. They’d done a real job on that theme park.
Next thing on her agenda was the girls. Who would she get to serve as Ladies-in-Waiting in her palace? Last she’d heard Little Bo Peep was out of a job. She’d blown the shepherdess gig and lost all the sheep. She couldn’t live on unemployment forever. Actually she could if she was frugal, but it was a fact that Bo was not frugal. And Little Miss Muffet was flat broke. She had come to Gretel, crying that she was out of curds and whey. What was she ever going to do?
Hansel skulked back to the throne room. The king was at his snoring again. Hansel went to wake the king.
“Yeah, yeah, Cindy,” king said half asleep and half awake. “You don’t have to go back to cleaning your stepmother’s chimney. I’ve got enough money to buy you all the window cleaners in the kingdom.”
Hansel shook the old man.”Sire.”
The king popped his popping-fresh eyes open. “It’s you, Hansel.”
Hansel gave the king the order. The king signed it. He always signed anything Hansel put in front of him. That was how Hansel had come to get his greedy little hands on half the kingdom. The king went back to sleep, dreaming about his wonderful wife, Cinderella. He’d lost her in a fire at the palace and never got over it.
Hansel hurried to his office. He had just the one for the job. He called in The Flunkster.
“Flunky, get me The Cat.”
Five minutes later, and not a minute too soon, The Cat was standing before the viceroy.
“What can I do you for?” The Cat was not a cat to beat around the bush.
“I want you to investigate the Humpty Dumpty situation. The king is concerned, and so am I.”
“But why me?” The Cat asked as if he didn’t know the why me. “Who else but me, I meant.”
“You’re the one who brought Dish back, and with Spoon of all things.”
“That was easy. I knew they wanted to do a Romeo-and-Juliet. Not the dying part, of course. They were out to get married. So I chased them down to Tijuana. Where else would a teen couple, who had the marriage bug, go.”
“So? Can you do it? Find out?” Hansel was getting impatient.
“Of course, I already have the case solved. I do believe I know why The Chicken crossed the Road.” The Cat was up to his usual Sherlock Holmes.
“Yes?” Hansel wanted to know, and he wanted to know real bad.
“It was Little Red.”
“Little Red?” Hansel wanted to know some more. “Not Little Red. It can’t be Little Red.” It was hard to believe it could be her. So cute and cuddly. And innocent. When they had dated, it had been hard just to get a kiss out of her. And now she was being accused of murder.
“Little Red needed a chicken for dinner. You know, for the basket for her sick grams. So she chased The Chicken across the road. Humpty saw her. You see, The Chicken was that egg’s mom. He was out to rescue her from a wringing-of-the-neck.”
“So Red killed Humpty?”
“Not really. It was a little red convertible.”
The viceroy was all confused now. “But?” That was all he could say. Nothing more, nothing less.
“Big Bad was driving. Ran right over Humpty.”
Hansel wasn’t convinced. “Are you sure?”
“Saw it myself. I happened to be out fox hunting. Had chased poor Foxie up a tree. I was going up the tree when I heard this noise. It was the convertible rushing down the highway. Splat! went Humpty. Big Bad turned the car around and ran over Humpty again just to make sure.”
“No?” Hansel said. Amazed.
“Absolutely. B. B. pulled over and watched Red kill The Chicken. He parked. I followed him following her. She got to her apartment. After she fixed her grams’ picnic basket, she came out of the apartment. He confronted her. But she convinced him that grams would make a better meal than she and The Chicken. Man, she does have a way with words. Could sell an Eskimo a refrigerator.”
“Just what did she do with The Chicken?” Hansel was a gourmet cook. He remembered Red loved his steak tartar. She always wanted to learn how to cook. Now she had cooked real good. Convincing Big Bad the way she did.
“Chicken marsala with mushrooms. I got a whiff of that chicken. Mmmm, bon appetif.”
“So I guess we have them in custody? She for The Chicken, he for Humpty?”
“Not quite, sir. That’s the problem. We did arrest them. But they both got away. Red gave the guard, how shall I say, a coitus dilecti. We know that’s what happened ’cause we have the lip prints. And B. B. overpowered his man. So they are on the loose. We’ve got a man watching grams’ house. Just in case they show. But I don’t think they will.”
“You don’t?” Hansel couldn’t believe his ears. He was going to fire every guard in the place. Have them replaced with robocops.
“Think Big Bad has taken a liking to Little Red.”
Hansel was exasperated. “Why would she go for him?”
“It’s the goldilocks principle, sir. Not too big and not too small but just right, if you know what I mean.”