The Fairy Tale Blues

Rapunzel has her hair,
Cinderella has her shoes,
Goldilocks has her bears,
And I’ve got the Fairy Tale Blues.

My name is Prince Charming,
But you can call me Prince.
My teeth are pearly white,,
And I know how to dance.

I can do the Quickstep,
My Cha Cha is so fine,
I’m Mister Twist and Tango,
I can Minuet on a dime.

I kissed Sleeping Beauty.
She said, “I’m taking a nap.”
Snow White ate an apple.
It was me who took the rap.

They say I stole the beans
Jack got for his silly cow.
I took it on the chin
When Jack hit me, and how.

I crashed Kind Cole’s party.
Dumpty’s gone to pieces.
The Kingdom’s overrun.
I’m blamed for all the meeses.

All this means but one thing.
Of this I am assured.
Time to get out of Dodge.
I’ve given them my word.

I’m off on vacation.
Permanently so.
I shall never return.
Where I go I do not know.

Maybe greener pastures
Will be waiting down the line.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Kansas will be just fine.

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Near 500 words: The Writer Final Chapter

Episode # 30 of The Writer.

Jack Reed was the quintessential tall, dark and handsome. The blond-hair, blue eyes and English accent made his classes some of the most popular in the history department. Especially his class on the Trojan War, “Paris in the Spring, Troy in the Fall.” But the administration also knew that his scholarship was impeccable.

Sitting in a circle with Christine and Jack in Jack’s large office, TW (aka The Writer) explained the postcards to Jack.

Finally Jack turned to Christine and asked, “So you think these were K’lggsh?”

“I do. And I think Sylvia was their legendary queen.”

“Up to now, the K’lggsh have been lost in history. Who would have suspected they still existed?”

“And the woman in the postcard with Sylvia was someone I had seen on my expeditions along the Silk Road. She could’ve been the one the K’lggsh referred to as The Crone.” To TW, she said, “The Crone was the adviser to the queen.”

“You think you could find her again?” Jack asked.

“No,” Christine said. “I think that’s the last we’ve seen of the K’lggsh. And I think the two men were members of the Grand Guard. It’s their job to keep the existence of the K’lggsh a secret.”

“Sadly,” Jack said, “I think you’re right. It’s too bad about the postcards. I would’ve loved to see the script.”

On the way to their cars, Christine looked over at TW.

“By the way, what does TW stand for?”

“The Writer.”

“That’s your name?”

“No, no, no. That’s my role in this story.”

“Then what’s your name?”

“Promise you won’t laugh.”

“I promise. I will not laugh.”

“Hemingway.”

“Don’t tell me you’re named Ernest Hemingway.”

“Oh no. My name is Hemingway Earnest. Hem is my first name; Earnest my last.”

“I see. Funny thing.”

“What?”

I have a cousin who is a mystery writer. He has a detective series. Z. Gatsby is the main character. I asked him what the Z stands for once.”

“What did he say?”

“The Z stands for Zelda. You may have heard of my cousin. Fitzgerald F. Scott.”

Banned in a small town

September 22 – 28 is the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. In honor of the week, I am spotlighting the Movie, “Storm Center” (1956):

In cities and towns everywhere, there are those people who are checking the shelves of libraries and bookstores to find out if there is one of those books. Those books that have radical ideas. Ideas they don’t want others to discover. Because the ideas might pollute the minds of their fellow citizens or maybe their fellow citizens will discover the foolishness of these ideas.

Or maybe there’s some words in a book that might be bad. Books like the “n-word” in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. After all, George Orwell in his 1984 warned us that language can be manipulated.

Or maybe there’s a scene where the characters are doing something that’s “bad”, scenes like the ones in Ulysses or Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

In the movie, “Storm Center,” the Town Council of Small Town USA wants the local library director to get rid of one book, The Communist Dream. They are receiving letters from people that don’t like that one book. It’s the 1950s, and the communists are out to destroy us and our way of life. Just one book.

Alicia Hull, the library director, agrees that she’ll take the book off the shelves. in her office, she asks herself, and her employee, “How do you get rid of a book?”

She could burn it. But then she remembers that they burned books in Germany that the Nazis didn’t like. Then she remembers her principles. Even though it may cost her the children’s wing of the library, she won’t be bought off.

Back at the City Council, she stands by her principles. She will not remove the book. Then one of the Council brings up organizations she belonged to. He insinuates that she must be guilty by association. After all, this is the 1950s. Tailgunner Joe is running wild in Washington, pointing fingers at this one and that one, bringing down the high and the mighty with accusations of communism.

If her association with these organizations gets out, there’s no telling what will happen to her. They might even have to fire her. They can’t have their children associating with a librarian who is a communist.

Just remove that book. And any others the town council doesn’t approve of and everything will be a-okay.

First it was just one book. Now it’s two or three or ten or a hundred.

Alicia Hull refuses to remove the book. And so she suffers the consequences. What the town council doesn’t realize is that their decision will have ramifications for the whole community.

As Alicia Hull, Betty Davis delivers one of her best performances. The film may be dated. After all, people wear bibs as they eat their lunch in the movie. Still it has a powerful impact on the viewer when the viewer asks, “What if?”

Since the 1980s, the American Library Association has celebrated the freedom to read by honoring those books which are challenged or banned. So be a rebel and visit your local bookstore or library and check out a copy of one of those books. You’ll find a list on this page.

Near 500 words: TW makes a decision

Episode # 29 of The Writer

TW (aka The Writer) locked the Dr. Baxter’s door behind him, then he heard footsteps coming down the hall. “That’s them,” he whispered to Dr. Christine Baxter.

“What do you think they want?” Christine asked.

“I don’t know. And they’ve been after me for the last twenty-four hours.”

“Why don’t I talk to them?”

“They killed my cat and Buddy Grady. They’d kill you too. We have to get out of here.”

“Why would they kill me?”

“Maybe because they thought you were in their way. Of getting to me.”

Christine stood up and opened the window behind her. “We can get out this way.”

“We’re three stories above ground.”

“There’s a tree. Follow me.”

Christine climbed up on the ledge and out the window. She reached over and grabbed a branch of the oak and followed the branch.

TW was right behind her.

She went down the tree, stepping from branch to branch until she reached the ground.

TW made the final jump and joined her. “What now?”

“Let’s head over to Jack Reed’s office. He’s the expert on the K’lggsh.”

Above them, they heard the two men crash into her office.

Christine started to run. TW looked up to see the two men at the window. Then he was off after Christine. They came to a second building. They dashed inside and down the hall. Christine went out the back door and grabbed TW’s arm and pulled him inside. She opened a janitorial closet door.

“Wait. I think I know what they want,” TW said. “They want the postcard.”

“You think?”

“Yes. And I’m not going to let them have it.”

“How can we keep it from them?”

“We can’t. That’s why I have to destroy it. Do you have a match or a cigarette lighter?”

“No. Why don’t you just rip it up?”

“I don’t think that would be enough.”

Footsteps passed the closet and down the hall. They heard the building door slam shut.

Christine took TW by the arm, opened the door and slipped into the hallway. “Let’s go.”

The two of them were out of the building. They hurried toward a red brick, three story structure. Breathing hard, they entered the property.

“Jack’s office is in here.”

TW let go of her hand. “No. I have to go. Otherwise you and Dr. Reed will be in danger.”

“We can help you.”

“No, you can’t. Your lives will just be in danger.” Then TW went out the door and across the campus. He saw a student smoking a cigarette about ten yards ahead of him. He looked behind him and the two men were coming.

TW dashed toward the student. He felt the two men getting closer and closer. He reached the student. “I need a light.”

The student laughed, then handed over his lighter.

TW pulled the postcard out of his rear pocket. He clicked the lighter. It didn’t light.

“No,” the two men yelled. The two men were almost on top of him. The first grabbed for the postcard. But he missed.

TW clicked the lighter a second time. It lit. He set the light against the postcard. The postcard caught fire.

The other of the two men reached out and grasped for the card. TW managed to keep the burning card away from him as the second of the two went for him.

The student stepped in and knocked the smaller man off his feet.

The curl of the fire burned the tips of TW’s fingers. TW dropped what was left. The card was ashes when it touched the ground. A robin, then a butterfly rose from the ashes.

He knew that this was Sylvia. This was the last he would ever see of her.

He looked around. Like Sylvia, the two men and the student were gone.

The Three Ems

The Three Ems is “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Amazon Prime.

Joel Maisel has the perfect life. He has a great job. He makes beaucoup amounts of dough at the job. He has a great wife, the perfect housewife fifties-style. He has two great kids. He has a great apartment in a great city. New York City to be exact.

Yet it isn’t enough. Joel isn’t happy.

He has a dream. He wants to be a stand-up comedian. He’s wanted this since he was a kid. He wants it so bad he is doing stand-up at The Gaslight Cafe in New York City and he is using Bob Newhart’s material. Because “this is the way comedians get their start.”

When Midge, his wife, finds out, she insists he do his own material. Maybe a bit on his sweater. It has holes in it. He takes a risk. He steps off the cliff with the sweater bit. He doesn’t fly because he just isn’t funny.

But Midge is. When Joel leaves her because his stand-up doesn’t stand-up, she gets smashed, loaded, drunk. She walks onto The Gaslight Cafe stage and has the audience rofl-ing. As Jackie Gleason used to say, “Away we go.”

Fpr tjhe rest of Season One, Midge, the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, has to learn how to do stand-up sober. Along the way, she gets some help, and bail money, from the legendary Lenny Bruce before he was the legendary Lenny Bruce. And she has to prove herself in 1950s America when women were not allowed to be funny. They were housewives.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is the real deal. Mrs. Maisel is hysterically funny. Besides that, she is laughing-out-loud funny. And Rachel Brosnahan nails the role. In addition to a great lead, Amazon has surrounded her with an outstanding casts. There’s the wonderful Tony Shalhoub as Abe, her father; Alex Borstein as her agent, and friend, Susie Myerson; Michael Zegen as Joel Maisel, her ex; Marin Hinkle as her mother, Rose; and Luke Kirby is Lenny Bruce.

The creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” have given me two great seasons to binge on. I can’t way to crawl back into the Amazon time machine in December and return to 1950s America. Maybe, just maybe, John Kennedy will be elected President and Midge will get a spot on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Who knows? She might get the chance to share the stage with The Beatles.