by Nan Wigington


Pg. 10 Farmer Brown’s Pond

Consider your options. You’re a little boy, and little boys get in trouble. Remember the one who cried wolf? Rotting in some canine’s colon. But what of it? Destiny is destiny, and the weather reports are good for something bad – snow till the end of world. Time to leave. Time to give your father opium. Knock your mother on the head with a brick. Steal his bronze blades, her too-big shoes. Take two figs, three slices of brown bread, four squares of butter, and your sister Nell. Put them all in a brown paper bag and carry it under your arm. Escape in total dark or under soft moonlight. The howling you hear is only Nell. Beat back the ogres, tramp four miles uphill, four miles down. When you turn at the fifty-year old oak, you’ll be at Farmer Brown’s pond. Think of names to call the pond, names to call yourself – Slate, Jett, Cold-As-Stone. Now eat your lunch. Don’t give anything to Nell. Help her put on the too-big shoes, the bronze blades. Push her out on to the ice. Observe how she glides to the center, how she stops, looks back at you. Hear the sound. Give the sound a name – Ice Cracking, Earth-Shattering, Goodby-Nell. You will miss her when she’s gone and look for her in the face of every woman you meet.


Pg. 56 Apples

Girls have to start here. Take a good look in the mirror. It’s the only way you’ll find out which witch you really are. Got blonde curls, dimples? You get the pretty wand. The name of Nell. Got green skin and glasses? Then you get a name like Brunhilda. And you’ll have to work it. I mean hustle. Otherwise, you may as well fall through the ice. Let your familiars be bad boys and fast cars. Whisper in their ears and start some rumors. Give out chocolates, kisses, phone numbers, lead the best of them through the forest to your gingerbread house. Don’t say ouch when they bite you. Fatten them up, feed them promises, but put razors in your apples, keep the oven hot.


Pg. 75 The Spinning Wheel

If you are a boy and want a wife, look for the miller and the daughter he will sell for a room full of straw. If you are a girl and want a husband, avoid the boy who listens to your father. There is nothing worse than someone who cannot appreciate your skills. You can make a strong smooth yarn out of fuzzy wool, but straw is straw and you wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

If you are boy and want a wife, do not consult with fairies. They’re worse than witches and will want you to flatter them morning, noon, and this side of night. They will also remind you of your shortcomings, your sister Nell, and your rebel years. No good woman comes from fairy dust.

How do you get married? You eat an apple, swallow a seed. You get pregnant and inherit a kingdom. Then when you’re married, you get bored, go to the casinos, watch your gold turn back into straw. What’s worse. Your son gets angry and gives you opium. Your daughter gets fed up and hits you over the head with a brick.

Better to keep spinning, go for the career. Forgo the husband, the wife, the curious children.


Nan Wigington‘s writing has appeared in Gravel magazine and during the National Flash Fiction Day. She has worked as an unclaimed property clerk, accounting analyst, and barista. Her current job is her favorite. She is employed as a paraprofessional in a Denver Autism center.