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Notes from a Crusty Seeker

Little-Known Facts Behind the Story of "The Emperor's New Clothes"

 

It is a little-known fact that before bringing the Emperor down, the little boy who vocalized the naked truth suffered debilitating battle fatigue.

 

In his family, in the District of Mossi, it was never about the politics. It was always about the clothes . . . or lack thereof. You see, the little boy's mother, Masha, believed in wearing them and his father, Mitch, thought it was enough to merely believe you were wearing them and have such conviction that everybody around you believed, or at least claimed to believe, that you were wearing clothes, and for goodness sake, Masha with all her New Age civility and dedication to yoga and "belief creates reality" B.S. should have no problem with his and the Emperor's love of "so-called" invisible suits which, after all, were a gift from dignitaries from a foreign kingdom!

 

As if warring parents were not enough, there were also the stresses among the boy's siblings. There was his brother, Peter, who cried wolf and had a habit of wearing male sheep's clothing to disguise his love of flamboyant fashion, and the boy's sister, Red Riding Hood, who had been brainwashed into a kind of willful apathetic belief in the goodness of strangers by her cousin Pollyanna and insisted on going about town cloaked in a cult costume that not only hid the new bulge of her stomach but made her the butt of cruel jokes and in general devalued the family's status, causing the Emperor's minions to dezone their house and the entire District of Mossi as too alien to deserve rights. The little boy was a naturally quiet child, which talkative people interpreted as interest in their problems, so for weeks Red Riding Hood had been weeping hysterically to him:

 

"Oh, Brother, I am aggrieved by the Emperor's impending appointment of a diehard clothes-believing magistrate who would deny a good-hearted sixteen-year-old such as me the right to make a speedy private personal decision, with her PCP's counseling. What'll I do? What'll I do?" And before the traumatized little boy could venture a reply, she continued: "If I have to become a mother, Daddy will disown me, and I don't even want to think about Mommy. I'll never hear the end of it for letting things go beyond the point of no return without the protection she insisted I carry in my little Emperor's favorite daughter-designed purse which loses its fashionable shape if I carry so much as two gold pieces. I know I'm not very smart, but I always fancied I'd go to Imperial Community College which I can't if I have to work. And the other choice—I can't even imagine the grief of giving away my offspring. How could this have happened?" she wept. "I told the gentleman whose name I cannot disclose 'No,' but he insisted his dingle was so small it could never make a baby. Oh woe is me, I am lost!"  Read More 

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Watching the Human Race

 

To mark publication of my anthology of stories and plays, Girl Stories & Game Plays, I'm sharing one story from the collection. Although I wrote it many years ago as a manifestation of my ongoing effort to soften my own judgmental nature, at this time when our culture has devolved into accusing "sides," this seems more applicable now than when I wrote it.

 

(Two other stories from the collection are also available on this site: Jakey, Get Out of the Buggy and a video of me reading Pose Please at the botton of Girl Stories & Game Plays book page.)

 


Watching the Human Race

 

Marla barely tolerates people. They make unreasonable demands, lie when it is to their benefit, and, worst of all, behave irresponsibly. Irresponsibility Marla cannot stomach. She hoped a Sunday walk across Central Park and an afternoon of shopping would distract her from her desire to murder the woman on the 35th floor at work who seems to take pleasure in upsetting Marla's orderly habits, and in whose presence, seemingly intelligent men's brains turn to mush. It is this mush factor that's kept the woman employed no matter how many days off she takes, how many rules she flaunts, or how, despite the five years Marla has personally handed her a paycheck, the woman cannot remember Marla's name and persists in calling her Maria!

 

That woman has everyone but Marla bamboozled. She wears Laura Ashley dresses, speaks in a studied throaty voice, and has unruly waist-length blonde hair that falls into her eyes at orchestrated moments of vulnerability. Friday, she suggested to Marla's boss that that idiot Selma handle payroll, knowing full well that this is Marla's job—a job that makes Marla feel powerful. Marla wishes to kill this woman, but since that is not realistic, she went shopping. Read More 

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