Tuesday, 2 September 2014
A Special Mid-Autumn Festival Tale
Of Snow White and her stepmom Lin Kok (osbeck horn nut, look at pix closely)). This story was originally written in parts as comments in a Facebook post. The story simply grew in the telling from that picture. ;-)
Not many people knew that Lin Kok was Snow White's stepmother. She was a study mama from China made good, marrying a widowed king no less. Folks believed it was probably a rebound case - the king having lost his wife a few months prior. But rumours persisted that Lin was a gold digger. But who can blame a woman with limited means and two school-going kids?
Even the death of the beloved queen was blamed on Lin. Snow White's mom had eaten a bad apple and died in her sleep, or at least that's how the story went!
Lin hailed from Pingguo Zhai in Guiyang, one of the poorest regions in China. She helped her family sell apples at the village market. Her family had a modest apple orchard that provided an even more modest income. Nearby, just over the ridge, was a place called Xiaorenguo where many of its inhabitants suffered from dwarfism. So it was no surprise that both set of folks seldom saw anything eye-to-eye.
The folks from Xiaorenguo liked to crack nuts, but the people from Pingguo Zhai didn't like their nuts cracked. So fights broke up often and got worse lately.
As time passed, the people of Xiaorenguo remained short, the folks in Pingguo Zhai remained poor. Mostly they remained pissed.
To advance their local economy, the latter folks resorted to selling bad apples as good - something the Chinese government had been trying to eradicate after the infamous Milk Powder Scandal gave the country bad rep. It was around that time that Lin learnt the dark arts of dabbling in poisonous apples. There's something about the red in apple that put people under a spell, much like the red lipstick on a woman and the red light some might hang in their living rooms. Bears to honey, ants to sugar, Pinocchio to light, that sort of thing.
In any case, folks in China tended to make good with the color red and Lin soon found herself far removed from the poverty of her hometown. She got on the right apple wagon at the right time. Mostly, she was lucky to escape the attention of the public health inspectors.
In any case, her marriage to the King did not last long. Fed on a constant diet of Chengdu's famous mala hotpot and its fatty meats, the king soon grasped at his heart and collapsed. He was sitting on his throne at the time and died like so many old people slipping in the toilet. This left the kingdom in Lin's care as Snow was too young to assume the role.
Lin could only laugh a hearty laugh and go: "Wa eh, long chong si wa eh! Bwahaha!"
Snow felt very upset. First, her mom passed away when she was young and now dad. She was particularly unhappy to have not learned all her mother's wonderful recipes like what most filial daughters do. All she got was some hand-me-downs and some bras two sizes too big. Looking at them, she felt sadness and pressure. It always made her chest feel tight.
Presently fully orphaned, she took to strolling in the garden by herself to seem more pitiful. She would also sing by the well like any good orphan would do to further elicit sympathy from creatures such as the birds that liked drinking there and pooping for a wish!
Unknown to Snow, her stepmom saw all that from her chamber window. As she watched, her disdain would grow, ending with a scowl on her face. The reason was that she detested Snow. She didn't like that Snow was fairer and prettier than her.
At first Lin was too busy redecorating the castle to notice. But as Snow grew older, her beauty became undeniable. Word spread in the kingdom that a new beauty was emerging, surpassing even the senior one from China!
One day, Lin looked at herself in the mirror and realised that something had to be done.
Fat Ronaldo had his Half Moon haircut, Beckham his Cockatoo, Balotelli his Mohican. So why not Lin have her own special haircut to stand out?
Lin looked around and saw the statue of the cowherd boy and his water buffalo on her antiquities shelf, a classic piece found in most home aquariums and bonsai pots. It gave her an idea. Twirling her hair up, she liked what she saw. "Hmm," she hmm-ed. "Evil." And she laughed her characteristic laughter which was both evil, witch-like and that of a smoker's wheeze.
The next day, old media reporters had a field day asking people in the kingdom what they thought of the Queen's new hair-do.
"Like gu," said one.
"Like tornado," another offered.
"Like lin kok," one observed, obviously caught up with current festivities.
A salon owner lady said it suited the Queen to a T. "She looks positively evil. I would not like to meet her at night in a dark alley," she opined. "Hiaz, when people have new money, strange ideas go to their head."
(To be continued...)
The onslaught of age can turn any woman anxious and it was the same with Queen Lin aka Ah Gu-soh. She was so desperate she would sneak out of the castle and see for herself the latest in facial creams and applications. Given that her skin used to be as dark as an apu-nei-nei's she would follow trends from the Indian continent. A popular whitening cream there was Lakme Perfect Radiance Intense Whitening Cream. A more affordable and one new on the market was Fair and Lovely Multi Vitamin. It was being sold by a lady at a weekend market.
Ah Gu-soh went there one long weekend when most folks had left the kingdom for holidays abroad. It bettered her chances of remaining incognito.
"Good, this one good," said the lady, who went by the name Ah Lian-soh, whose sister was Ah Huay-soh. "Buak liao sibeh sui." She said in her vernacular meaning apply already very pretty!
She then demonstrated on a water melon and presto! The green fruit became as white as a fishball!
Ah Gu-soh was impressed and ordered a dozen (not the watermelons). She also bought a so-called magic mirror from the woman. She claimed it was good for the ego and that it played and recorded MP3 too. "You could program it to say 'sui chaboh' every morning!" "It's like magic!"
In any case, Ah Gu-soh aka Queen Lin with her new taller hairdo did indeed had need of a new mirror.
Back at the castle, Ah Gu-soh hung the mirror on a wall in her chamber and tested it out the very next morning.
"Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
Voice activated, the mirror replied: "You are, sui chaboh (pretty lady)."
Ah Gu-soh smiled and decided it was a very good way to start a day.
Snow saw everything from a window and was frustrated. "She's going to spoil my sponsorship deal with Laneige, I tell you," she said, already quite accustomed to talking to herself when alone. Being banished to a far dark corner of the castle did not help. She at times decided she was worse off than that cave creature Gollum, whom everyone thought was real.
Snow was especially hurt whenever sashimi (raw fish) was served for dinner, the meal itself passed through a slot in her door. She also called herself "my precious" at times, more so to remember her father by. He had often called her that and then given her a conspiratory wink. She missed her father's large eyes. They were as big as those like Frodo's, if not Gollum. They were especially big that day when he died.
(To be continued...)
One day, Snow decided she had had enough. While her stepmom was out at Chong Pang haggling with the market folk, she crept to her chambers and reprogrammed the mirror to say something else. At first it was "Chiak chaboh, you are the ugliest bitch of all!" but she was named Snow for a reason. Calling people names would make her Yellow Snow, not something her parents would be proud of. So Snow simply made the mirror say "Snow White. Snow White is the fairest of them all!" It was not very modest but Snow was tickled by it anyways and sniggered a schoolgirl's snigger. She was after all still a very young girl at heart and enamoured with the movie Frozen just like her peers. And her father's death was something she still could not Let (It) Go.
Ah Gu-soh returned to the castle her face in patches from the many creams she tried on. She quickly threw herself at the mirror - not unlike how a cougar might pounce on a toyboy - and demanded: "Wa sui boh?" The mirror replied, "Buay sui buay sui. Snow White jin jiak sui!" (Not pretty, not pretty, SW is really pretty!)
For a moment Ah Gu-soh stared dumbly at the mirror not sure what was going on. But when the mirror again gave the same answer, she jumped up from her bed and confronted the mirror, pulling a muscle as a result. "Ow, ow, limbeh....(wincing) tan lu si!" cursed her, seemingly wanting to strangle the uncooperative mirror.
The mirror it quickly went dark out of fear. More than just a playback recorder it was equipped with the latest OS from Apple. Fearing further the queen's wrath, it swiftly retreated to the safe confines of The Cloud where he could ogle at the nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebs at without care (their accounts somehow hacked and data stolen). But what he wanted most to do was meet the sexy OS from the movie Her.
"Snow must die!" screamed Ah Gu-soh somewhat unreasonably and a tad too venomously. The horns on her head strangely screwed a little tighter as if to reflect her uptight emotions. A bird on the windowsill saw this and promptly fainted, falling a few stories onto a flowerbed before being snatched away by a hungry cat. Horns can kill, as any seasoned bull runner at St Fermin in Pamplona can tell you.
But the higher-ups would never get their hands dirty and so Ah Gu-soh called for her fave huntsman whom she knew had a thing for her high cheek bones. He was blond and his name was (unsurprisingly) Brad.
When the huntsman knew he was being summoned, he pulled on his tightest regulation leather pants and rushed to see the queen. "My Queen, what can I do for you, " he said, his leather pants squeaking as he bent low in greeting. A part of him wanted to burst.
"Turn around, I don't need to see your butt today. I've got a job for you."
Ah Gu-soh then gave her orders.
Brad the Huntsman in Tight Pants was not sure if he heard it right. "You want me to go tapow pig's parts?" - thinking the usual late night supper after a romp in the sack.
"No! I want you to bring back Snow's HEART, you silly!" Queen Lin aka Ah Gu-soh had no heart to call Brad worst. Although she did not consider him very bright, Brad was exceptionally handsome and well sculpted in the right places. - why the tight pants he was ordered to wear. The other huntsmen seemed less endowed.
On hearing his queen's demand, Brad was stumped for a moment. It was exactly like the time the Queen first asked him to strip to his shorts so she could 'inspect' him. "I can't have you come in here with fleas, you know!" the Queen had offered as an excuse at the time. But now that uncertain moment passed quickly. Brad realised he had little choice but to say yes.
"Yes, my Queen, your wish is my command!"
Brad was about to leave when his Queen cooed, "But there's plenty of time still," and patted her bed to signal for Brad to approach. Brad responded like a well-trained puppy and happily squeaked his way forward, knees knocking, his tight pants barely able to hold at the seams. Apparently it wasn't the first time and for the moment at least, it helped Brad forget his new macabre task.
(To be continued...)
In a remote part of the castle, a young girl was giggling and happy. No, she wasn't doing what most girls her age did, that is, explore the wet and dark corners of some personal dungeon. Snow was pleased to have made her stepmom unhappy; it was not often she got a chance to do just that.
"See how you like that," she said, shaking her delicate fist in the direction of her stepmom's chambers. After that, Snow calmed down and took out her loom band kit to begin making a nice colored rubberband friendship band for a squirrel by the well. Being upset with stepmom usually got her all bothered - a feeling she did not quite enjoy. Snow is always pure at heart, her father had often reminded her when he was still alive. There's greater reward in forgiving, he had said.
But Snow told her father that snow could kill too, recalling the winter she had first picked up a frozen robin. She remembered too the bird her BFF Fiona had burst into a thousand pieces one day in the meadow singing in her alto voice. "Ah ah ah..." and poof! The bird was gone.
Could I do that? Burst Queen Stepmother into a thousand pieces with my song?
Snow concluded that she couldn't. With Ah Gu-soh's size she would have to do a Susan Boyle and sing opera. She didn't have so strong a voice nor the same huge bosom and the necessary air capacity.
But Snow's voice was still magical in some ways. Whenever she sang, little animals, kind animals would gather around. She wouldn't mind it so much if they didn't leave all their crap and poop behind. But at least the dwarves were contracted to clean up the place for her. And they would sing while doing it - nasty poop not withstanding. Dwarves are weird, she concluded. And they would tell her the strangest tales.
"If you go to the land of Zirconia, the streets are literally littered with diamonds. So much so that they cannot be bothered if you took them or not!"
"Our women grow beards too!"
"We men menstruate as well!" (No wonder they are always so grumpy!)
"Short men make the best lovers!" (A trait Snow could not imagine in her future Prince Charming (i.e. the shortness). He would have to be tall, dark, handsome and.... Snow could not bring herself to articulate. Only to acknowledge a trait common with guys in tights.)
Just as Snow thought her Prince Charming had burst through the door, she recovered from her daydreaming to see Brad the Huntsman in Tight Pants standing at the threshold.
"Come," he said, in as casual a voice as he could muster. He was, after all, wearing some very tight pants that made his voice trill 'different'.
"Okayyyy," Snow replied, eyes rolling at the oft-perceived clumsy but pretty huntsman. She didn't believe for a second that the man hunted at all! It was probably the costume that drew him to the job.
Brad led Snow into the nearby forest all the while thinking hard of the opportune time to bring up the subject of acquiring her heart. It was not something one gave up easily unless for love, he surmised. And he had given his heart out many times. The latest being to Ah Gu-soh, however impossible that seemed. It might all be about sex, but hey, a guy could feel love too!
Secretly, Snow brought along her can of 'OFF' anti-mozzie spray. It would keep the mosquitoes away and double up as a pepper spray should Brad behaved inappropriately with her. There's already too many paedophile cases in the media these days, thought Snow. Even the charming and ageless Cliff Richard was implied! Dang.
"Snow, please do not be afraid. What I am about to ask of you, is something you have and can surely give."
What? thought Snow, hard. Is he thinking of my pure-as-snow virginity? Snow drew her legs together instinctively as she thought of this.
She picked up a stout branch and brandished it in front of Brad. "My virginity is reserved for someone," she said. "Someone charming."
"What? No! I just want your heart. Afterwards you can go and do as you please," said Brad, not realising his Dumb Blond moment.
"My heart? What the.... Did the Queen put you up to this?" Snow asked, widening her eyes in disbelief. Snow also picked up her jaw and spoke some more.
"Brad, my dad was kind to you. Can you just let me go?!"
"Er, I guess so." Brad could never refuse anything a girl asked of him. He was sweet that way, why he wound up being easy cougar meat.
"But I need to bring back a heart!"
Just then a squirrel ran past. "Take his!" Snow shouted.
A pig appeared from behind a tree. "His!" Snow pointed, somewhat in desperation.
"Too hard to catch!"
Wait, Snow told Brad the Huntsman. She told him she had something in her pocket that morning and forgot to take it out. It was a rubber heart she had snitched from a MOH Health Screening Carriage when it rolled by a year ago. Snow maybe pure at heart, but she too had her moments of weakness like most kids. Like her peers, it started with stealing candies and then pocket money.
"Here take this," Snow said as she showed Brad her pinched play heart.
"Will it work?" Brad asked, surprising Snow. Brad usually accepted whatever was asked of him with little question.
"Just get some red sauce from that Mutton Steak Indian stall by Sa Beh Lor - Three Horse Carriage Way - and smear it all over. It will look like blood."
"Thanks, Snow. I really didn't know what to do. I've never hunted, you know."
"I know," said Snow, softness in her eyes. Brad was after all just a DBG, dumb blond guy. "Now you go. Here, take my panty. Say I put up a struggle and you ripped it off."
Brad studied his hands. In one was a rubber heart, the other a slightly soiled panty. What to make of this, he wondered. It doesn't even rhyme! What was that song about the sanitary......
Snow looked up the forest path and skipped along. For once, she felt really free. Free from the confines of the castle, free from her sadness. A freedom that was also afforded by a discarded undergarment. Her final thought as she disappeared round the bend was: "I shud have done this much earlier!" The forest seemed to agree as it whipped up a whoosh of a breeze. "Oooh!" Snow cooed, doing a Marilyn Monroe Over An Air Vent pose. If the paparazzi were there, cameras would click, flashes would go off. But as it was an enchanted forest, only a unicorn neighed and a wood fairy farted. A girl in a red hood watched as she herself was watched by a wolf in garters. Ah, what a handsome huntsman that is, she sighed, admiring Brad. Will he be my hero some day?
(To be continued...)
As daylight faded, Snow was beginning to feel hungry and a little worried. Where to sleep, where to bathe? Ahead a very colorful hut stood. It seemed to be made of candy. A bunch of familiar dwarves were tearing it down.
"Hey, fancy meeting you guys here," Snow said, trying to sound like a supervisor not spying on his charges.
"Dead lady in oven. Hiaz, the old shud not stay alone lah. Die aledy also no one know." The dwarf who said this then took a bite off the roof he was holding. "Hmm, not bad. taste like that Reber Mozart chocolate that I like. Must talk to Cheoh Boo about this." With that, he scratched his butt and walked off.
Snow twisted a knob off the door and bit into it. "Hmm, rum ball, nice." Pretty soon, she was full and sat down to watch the dwarves cart off the rest of the icing sugar grout, the M&M tiles, maltese beads and whole Lindt sideboards.
She remembered the dead old lady. She featured strongly in stories she shared with Hanzel and Gretel when they were just kindergarten mates. They had thought she was an evil witch that liked to cook and eat children. Another story that went around was about huntsmen beheading children to use their heads to build Kallang Bridge.
Snow never bought into those stories although she was worried one time when Hanzel and Gretel disappeared for a long time. Turned out they had run away to Legoland, where magical bricks built themselves into fantastic but oblong shapes.
Bricks? I rather play with Barbie, Princess Snow attested, although her legs were not as long, her face not as sharp. She looked more like Licca, that Japanese Barbie-like plastic doll with the rounder face.
"Snow, are you coming?" said a dwarf named Gimli. "Light is fading and we hear there are wolves about in these parts. They wear garters and pimp shoes and listen to 50 Cents. Don't play play."
Snow accepted Gimli's offer and tagged along, even singing their favourite workalong song, YMCA, written by some village people.
The dwarves did not ask Snow why she was so deep in the forest at that hour, only assuming she was having domestic troubles.... again. It was a well know fact amongts the castle help. The Queen could be a bitch they know. After all, they worked for her.
"The mirror's not clean enough!"
"The apples on the dining table got no shine!"
"My throne room smart toilet broke down again!"
The dwarves accepted all the Queen's ranting without complaint. Hey, she paid us in Zirconias, so we better keep our mouths shut!
As last light fell, Snow and the dwarves finally reached their cottage. It had a scratched round green door and circular windows. "We bought it from a Hobbit fella who went off on an adventure," said Big Nose, whose best friend, Noddy, was a page boy at the castle.
"We dismantled it from The Shire and brought it here. Cute, eh? And it was the right size for us dwarves too!"
Snow looked round and immediately her eye fell on a golden ring. Trust a girl who likes pretty things to do just that! Snow picked it up and studied the inside ring. There was an inscription of the owner's name in some strange but not unfamiliar tongue. Monkey God King, it read.
Snow decided to try the outsized ring on her head. It immediately shrank to fit her size. Cool, Snow murmurred, and continued to rummage through the dwarves' things for something just as magical, which was not very polite. Dwarves usually kept their things hidden in caves or dungeons deep below ground.
In that chest were all sorts of trinkets, not excluding The Hat, Race Car, Dog, Boot, etc, from Monopoly. Soon Snow got bored and asked where she should sleep. All the dwarves wanted to say, With me! With me! but leader Big Nose glared at them to behave. Snow was after a guest, and he did not want trouble from the Queen. He has had enough trouble from Robin Hood, who kept asking for protection money to fuel, he guessed, a gambling habit. After that ugly casino ship marooned on MBS (a nearby hillock), folks have been flocking to its gaming tables hoping to strike it rich and buy a castle. Or a baron title or two. But most became poor, like the village lad Andy, whose dad betted heavily on soccer games. Germany would win the World Cup, he'd said. And sure he was right that time. But he lost it all again on Man U's first EPL match. That club has been disappointing a lot of folks recently, both fairy and ordinary muggers, losing matches they shouldn't and setting embarassing records. Even the magician/tactician they hired from Holland could not help. Wizard Giggs might have to put on his magic boots again. Or call on Peter Pan, that ageless wonder.
Snow took the top bunk of a double decker (there were seven dwarves, so one spare bed) and immediately fell asleep. Dwarf Pang Tang, who slept below, refused to sleep there that night. "Sway ah," he said, "to sleep under a girl with no panties on."
The last dwarf who did that, Dwarf Uppity Skirt, fell into a hole in a mine never to be found again. Fellow miners said he had his eyes on something else and never watched his step.
(To be continued...)
Brad had just returned to the castle when he was summoned by his Queen eager to find out the conclusion of his task.
His tight pants was still tight but his discomfort lay elsewhere. What if the Queen discovers his betrayal? A bead of nervous sweat rolled down the side of his head.
Brad then quickly opened the tapowed pack of Mutton Steak and rolled the rubber heart into its gravy. The sauce was a sickly dark red more like Dulux than Al Amin. He then plonked the thing into a clear polystyrene bag and squeaked his way to the Queen's chambers.
"My, my, Brad. You are looking better the handsome and courageous huntsman I can depend on," said Ah Gu-soh, her eyes sparkling with new found lust.
If not for his tight pants, Brad the Huntsman would have 'Let It Go' there and then. He was THAT nervous.
The Queen went on: "I know, darling, I asked you to do the impossible. You poor poor thing. Look how exhausted you are."
Ah Gu-soh slid off her bed and dabbed at Brad's sweating forehead with her iced towel. It calmed Brad down a lot and he began to be intoxicated by her perfume yet again - a peculiar bouquet of apple scent and bonito flake. Brad, for some reason, loved the 'lao chaboh' smell. Maybe because he was breastfed by a middle-aged woman when his own mom was busy selling Tupperware door to door.
"Here's the heart that you wanted," Brad said, holding up a plastic bag to the light. "It's rather yucky!"
"Ooh...let me see, let me see," said Ah Gu-soh, eager to seal the fate of Snow. She took the bag and turn it around. "Looks quite large for a girl's heart, doesn't it?"
"Well, you know what they say about her, right? Like father, like daughter. Both were rather generous. And generous people tended to have big hearts!" Brad was quite pleased with his reasoning even though he knew not where it all came from. His bladder was tight, the tension killing him.
"Ok, let's put this yucky thing away." With a flourish, Ah Gu-soh threw that bag of bloody heart into a pretty mooncake container, one that she had recycled from past festivals. It was rather fitting as it was adorned with the picture of Chang Er, that a girl who gave her heart to someone only to float to the moon to live with a rabbit. She probably would have liked a cat or chicken. At least the latter could lay an egg. Single yolk, of course. Alas, The Moon Represents My Heart, Chang Er must have pined over the years. She sometimes met a woodcutter who was more interested in his career than mess with the only girl on the moon. A typical ancient nerd.
"I think you deserve a special reward," said Ah Gu-soh to Brad, who was so relieved he forgot to suck in his stomach, his six pack collapsing into one.
"Do take off your pants and slide into this," encouraged the Queen. It was a sarong made with new climate-cool material. A Nike in the Kampung concept. Brad was glad. And like a Roman couple dressed in toga, he and the queen luxuriated in each other's presence and fed each other gua chi (melon seed). Snow's barbaric heart surgery was soon forgotten.
Back at the cottage, Snow's first week with the dwarves was not going so well. A girl living with seven guys is never a good idea. There was bound to be issues. The dwarves did not like Snow and her new found love of nudity and feminist liberation. At the dinner table, she would sit like a kopitiam Ah Soh with a foot on the chair seat. She also refused to bathe, causing a stink in the bunkhouse. And she took to smoking a pipe like the dwarves.
Big Nose was worried that she might soon grow a beard too! A snow beard. You know how girls tend to synchronise their menstrual cycle when they live together? Well, Snow was syncing hers with the men dwarves, although not all could give blood the way she did. Men dwarves just nosebled on a monthly basis. And their beard growth became tandem too. So they all went to the barber at the same time, much like how women tended to all go to the toilet during high tea.
Big Nose decided to have a word with Snow, who by now was dressed more like Jane in Tarzan then a princess waiting for her Prince Charming. She again had one foot on her seat and smoking a pipe, a cockerel brand one from Cogolin, France. Wow, high end, admired Big. Where Snow got that, he had no idea.
"Snow, we need to talk."
"What about?" Smoke rings in the shape of a car floated up from Snow's lips. It looked like the one from Thelma and Louise.
"Er, I think we need to plan your comeback."
"A goback to what?" Snow was like a kid on marijuana with no idea of a past. Only the present dragon to chase mattered.
"Er, we heard Prince Charming is on his way!"
"WHAT? WHEN?" Snow was suddenly jogged out of her reverie. "ARE YOU SERIOUS?"
Big Nose kept up with the pretense. "Soon. Some say in a week."
Snow was in flux, feeling like a tomboy not sure if a dress was still the fitting thing to wear. Then all of a sudden, her Princess genes kicked in and she threw down her pipe and messed with her hair. "Quick, I need to get ready. I need to bathe, do my hair, wear make up...."
Big Nose was glad to see Snow's Kopitiam Ah Soh vanquished. He hoped to not see her again. Snow as Snow was much much better. He needed her to like Zirconias again.
But the truth of the matter was that Prince Charming was indeed on his way through the woods in his quest for a bride. Although it was easier to use a dating agency, Prince thought inbreeding a bad thing. Just look at the Austrian-Hungary royal household. The extreme jut-out of the chin was a sure sign that once upon a time, an uncle married a niece, a close cousin bedded a close cousin. No, his bride would be fair and beautiful and sing with a delicate voice that'll mesmerise forest animals. It's easier to hunt that way.
Prince Charming then arrived at a crossroad and studied his map. A new kingdom lay ahead. Beside the castle legend he had scribbled 'Snow White, 16, pretty (some say), can sing'. He decided to head that way and check her out. And so into the enchanted forest he rode. Up on a branch, a man in tights watched as Prince Charming passed by below. In his hand was a long bow and on his back a quiver of arrows. Tucked in his belt, a copy of Poker for Dummies - How to Win with a Straight Face. Robin of Loxley decided it was time again someone helped in his gambling tuition. His expressionless face looked botoxed, but one could never be sure in the tricky light of an enchanted forest.
(To be continued...)
When Prince Charming woke up, he found himself tied to a chair. A dull pain radiated from the back of his head. He surmised he must have been knocked out cold.
In front of him were a few merry men in tights. Skinny ones, not so skinny ones, but all bulging at the same place. That made him nervous. Was he homophobic, he wondered?
"Ah, our guest has awoken," said the man known as Robin, he of smaller bulge, longer bow.
"I demand you release me at once!" demanded Prince, who looked around and saw that he was in some sort of treehouse. A one-room masionette.
"Ah, feisty, eh? The other guys in the room sniggered and laughed. They must have seen it all before.
Robin took out his dagger and tapped Prince on the underchin. Prince instinctively flinched away.
"I'm right, no? That you are some sort of a royal from the other kingdom - the one that the Thaksin fella ran away from."
Prince did not reply. It was true. He was from that place. A place known for its warm smiles, spicy soups and much elephant dung. But now that it has been taken over by the military, he was glad to go away for a while. At least no more trouble from the monochrome shirted people. He wished it was back to the old days when folks went shirtless and wore just a sarong.
Robin straightened up and pondered. Prince could see that he was a tall chap. Strapped to the chair, he was now eyeball to ball with Robin's bulge. He wanted to look away but was also strangely magnetised. He wondered if the other men in the room felt the same. They all looked clean cut with good skin and slim bods. THAT look.
Prince tried to recall the prettiest girl he has ever dated so as to keep gender focused. But all that came to mind were their even prettier brothers. Dang!
Robin emptied Prince's saddlebag and showed him the contents. There was a map, a leatherbound organiser, a compass, tubes of Dermalogica skin moisturiser and gel wash, a Keune hair hydration spray and little else. Oh, there was an iPhone but since it was borrowed from another story, it shouldn't count.
Robin watched the phone disappear in his hand and was amazed. "What the...."
"What was that?!"
"What was what?" asked Prince, somewhat perplexed. He thought the bulge spoke but it was from another organ higher up.
"That!" said Robin as he thrusted his hands in front of Prince. "That glassy thing just disappeared!"
Prince then remembered what was in his bag. "Oh, that. I found it along the way. Useless. There was a kill switch in it. All the new phones have that feature. Can't even sell it to the Cash Converter shops."
Robin stared hard at Prince as he could not comprehend what the man was saying. He might as well have spoken in Thai.
"What?" Prince asked Robin, this time really in Thai.
"Seng ti?" Prince repeated.
"Kenna sai," exclaimed Robin, surprised that Prince spoke gibberish.
"Meun-er?" translated the Prince.
"Meun-er your freaking head!" exclaimed Robin, still wondering what was happening. He touched his scabbard and found his dagger missing. "Now wait a minute...."
Pretty soon, one by one, stuff began to disappear from the room. In a matter of minutes, all that was left were a bunch of guys in full monty covering their genitals cowering in a corner of the room.
Prince, on the other hand, was still in his chair but the binding rope was gone. He was as surprised as Robin, who felt a chill through the window and took a step closer to his merry men.
It was indeed a funny sight, and a rather quick reversal of fortune for Prince. He rubbed the back of his head and wondered if the blow had anything to do with his new abilities.
Sure, he wanted to see the men naked but...Wait, was that it??? His plain wishing?
He decided to try it one more time. Give them goldilocks, said Prince in his head. Poof! Robin and his naked not-so-merry men now spotted goldilocks.
Prince laughed an uncontrollable laugh. And laughed again.
Robin and his men looked at each other and their eyes were wide with fearazement - a mixtrure of fear and amazement. One fella uncupped his hands and saw that his pubes were gold down there too. He wanted to cry.
"Now, now....No need to get all upset," said the Prince, who suddenly remembered the girl he was thinking of a moment ago. Poof! Robin and his men were now dressed in frocks.
Genuine fear invaded their faces. One of Robin's men fainted and slumped to the floor.
"Hmm, I think I will have some warm porridge and some Teochew moi dishes. It's been a long day. I'm Teochew-Thai you know."
Soon the treehouse was furnished with a long table and chairs and steaming bowls of porridge. There were plates of stewed peanuts, glass cabbage and chicken feet in fermented red wine - his favourite.
"Hmm, this all reminds me Goldilocks and the Three Bears story," said Prince as he surveyed the whole scene.
On hearing that, Robin and his men all looked at each other with eyes wide. No one wanted to be a bear, and yet, that was precisely what happened. Robin suddenly developed falsies, the rest had bear masks on. They all slumped to their chairs in relief. Robin felt his falsies and let out a shriek. He promptly fainted.
"Move him to the bed then," said Prince.
The 'bears' did as they were told.
And so Prince ate his porridge and bid the 'bears' farewell. They watched him leave and then turned their attention to their fallen leader who was now curled up fast asleep on the bed dressed as Goldilocks. On the table were three bowls of porridge that was fast becoming cold. A smaller bowl was left half eaten.
Prince must have been hungry and took seconds. Who would have blamed him after such a day?
(To be continued...)
In the morning, Queen Ah Gu-soh woke up feeling well fed and contented, not unlike a cougar after a feast of young, blond meat.
Feeling so wonderful, she did not even need reassurance from her mirror genie that she's the most fairest person in the whole kingdom (now that Snow has been taken out of the picture).
Then again, old habits die hard. And she was beside herself to ask again.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
The mirror did not respond, did not stir.
"MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO IS THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL?"
The mirror remained unperturbed until Ah Gu-soh was about to fling her comb at it. It then glimmered to life.
"Sorry," it apologised, "I thought I had the wrong candidate. She was a smelly, pipe-smoking kopitiam Ah Soh."
"My lady, the fairest, sui-est, is still Snow."
Saying that, the mirror ducked (well, as well as a mirror could). In reality, it simply turned itself off as quickly as it could. A heavy comb came flying its way.
"What the #$%^&* you mean!" screamed Ah Gu-soh, in colorful pasar malam language. "Didn't we just get rid of her?!!!"
A maid who was just carrying a tray of breakfast into the room panicked and dropped everything, causing a clatter so loud it scared the cat that scared the footman who accidentally set of the fire alarm.
The wails of the queen became drowned out by the extremely loud wails of the alarm, which was made of five cats on heat, two monkeys with balls in clamps, and an ostrich with rash on its bottom. Understandably, the sound they made was quite something.
Huntsmen Brad was just about to finish packing a suitcase when he heard that ungodly sound. Oh no, he thought. The Queen must have realised that he faked Snow's death! How now, brown cow??? Panic set in.
Brad then quickly grabbed his suitcase and fled by a secret passageway that led to the back forest, the same way he had led Snow out not so long ago. But progress was slow as his pants was rather tight. Rats looked up to see which relative was squeaking by.
Queen Ah Gu-soh was so angry the horns on her head twisted some more, making them look more menacing. She screamstructed (i.e. screaming out instructions) at her guards to bring Brad to her, and when the guards returned empty handed, she let out a roar so fierce the candles in the room melted. It would take some counselling for them to light up again. Magic candles have very sensitive wicks.
Slowly, sense returned. Ah Gu-soh reached for the mooncake container with the Chang Er portrait and took out the bloody plastic bag inside. She squeezed the organ for feel and realised that she had been tricked with a rubber one. She flinged the whole thing away in disgust, spraying her chamber interior with blood that was actually Indian mutton steak gravy. A pet cat snugged out to lick, turning its furry face into a macabre Joker from one Batman movie. An evil pet looking like its evil owner. Sans horns.
Ah Gu-soh let out a roar again (it hurt more candles), this time in frustration, and set down to consider her options. 1) Reprogram the iMirror; 2) Make use of her knowledge of the Dark Arts. 3) Do more facials so she'll become the fairest in the land.
After about two cries of the mockingbird, Ah Gu-soh decided 2) would be the surest way to get the job down. As for the iMirror, she would sell it to the next karang-guni fella to knock on her castle door.
With a sweep of her black cape, Ah Gu-soh stiffened her resolve and disappeared into a secret passage in her chamber leaving her candles cowered, pet cat halloweened, and breakfast on the floor. She will go to her witches' room to download recipes for making poison apples and Cosmoprof tips for enchanted forest disguises. Snow, you just watch, she determined. I will be the fairest of you all yet.
In a corner of the passage, a wise owl hooted. "Lao kway bu buay cheng ee." Which in bird talk translated to 'Once a feather fades, one must accept one's fate."
(To be continued...)
At the dwarves' cottage, Snow was back to her old frocky self, much to the dismay of feminist elves in the forest. One broke her bow in anger, another swore celibacy for life, which in elvish terms can be many thousands of years (she might have to rethink this one).
The dwarves were all out at the mines digging or telling filthy jokes. Snow was just putting the finishing touches (garnishes) to her Hainanese chicken rice when there came a knock on the door.
"Ka-rang gooni," an old crackling voice called out. "Newspaper, por jua, gu sar kor!"
Ah, the karang guni man! Snow cleaned her hands and rushed to the storeroom - an entity created by HDBians to keepsafe their unused stuff. Inside the storeroom were quite a few old pots and pans, pickaxes and handsome elvish disguises no doubt deployed to sneak into elf-only woodland parties. There was stuff left by the missing dwarf, Uppity Skirt, including a hidden camera that Snow didn't know existed.
Snow dumped some of the things into a sack and called out, "Karang guni, tan jeh!" (Mr Karang guni, wait!)
Snow then opened the door and was surprised to find an old lady standing there. With her was a cargo trolley of newspapers and old clothes, topped by a broken fan.
"Aunty, I didn't know it was you," said Snow, who was expecting Rubbishstiltskin, brother of Rumpelstiltskin, who made his rounds every two weeks.
"Ah, lang lui (pretty girl), that uncle cannot come, so I am here," replied the old lady, who, with her crooked nose, pimply face and big hungry eyes and bent hat made her look like a witch. But Snow, in her heart of gold, saw an old lady weather-beaten like an old oak tree. She even had bird crap on her shoulder that Snow was trying to clean off with a wet-one in her hand.
"Ah, thank you, kind girl," said the witch-like creature. She sniffed the air and said, "Chicken rice, is it? That reminds me of my days as an air stewardess in SIA, First Class. I think I still have my kebaya somewhere. But since I got involved with a karang guni man and changed jobs, life has never been the same. The things a girl would do for love, eh?" The old witch's eyes beamed with a mixture of sadness and gladness, the sort you see in old people when they recall the past or want money from you.
But Snow was young and didn't know. She thought the old woman liked her chicken rice and invited her in.
"Come in, come in. I've cooked more than enough for two aledy."
The old lady entered the cottage and looked around. The place was neat and tidy, not like most dwarf cottages she had seen. Even the windows had curtains that were frilly. It was only that fella, Tolkien, who thought all dwarves lived underground. Not true. And they also liked rice flavoured with chicken fat and lemon grass.
"Tell me, tell me. How did you cook it? Did you run the chicken through cold water? That's the Cantonese way, you know," said the old bird with the crooked nose.
"I don't know. My mom was Cantonese-Hainanese, so I really don't know how it is really done. All I know is that it is delicious. Here, try some," said Snow, scooping a plateful for the old coot. She seemed to have gotten the chilli right as the old witch applied copious amounts of it on her rice, as well as dark sauce.
"Ah, solid deh," commented the old pimple wonder, masticating with delight. "Not often you find a young girl making chicken rice so well."
Snow blushed at that, her cheeks turning apple red.
"Would you like yellow mustard with the pak cham gai," asked Snow. "My mom says the older folks all liked that."
"Ah, you have? Thanks, that's very thoughtful," said the old karang guni lady, a little miffed at the 'old' reference. But her eyes were affixed on Snow's crimson cheeks. The colour reminded her of what she had in her bag and of her mission, which was to be the fairest person in the kingdom.
When the meal was over and dessert about to be served, the old coot took out an apple from her bag. It was a Granny Smith but the size of a Fuji.
"I really enjoyed the meal and it brought back many memories of my flying days. Here, I would like to offer you this as a token of my appreciation."
Snow looked at the apple in wonder. It seemed years since she last had one. Back at the castle, there was an apple tree growing in the garden. But Stepmom refused to let anyone go near nor eat its fruits, saying it was her own 'special' tree. Even the birds avoided it.
A knife was brought out and the apple cut into quarts. Snow took a bite, smiled, and slumped to the ground.
At that, the old coot/karang guni lady/old witch threw off her hat and laughed an evil laugh. "Finally! I am the fairest of 'em all in the land!" Turns out, she was actually Ah Gu-soh in disguise. The apple was poisoned and put anyone who took a bite to sleep. Within 24 hours, if no A&E service was available, the person would die.
The old witch Ah Gu-soh snitched one last piece of pak cham gai and left the cottage, careful not to be seen. In the yard was left Rubbishstiltskin's cargo trolley of preloved stuff and Uppity Skirt's things, including a hidden camera in a walking cane that had a red light winking.
(To be continued....)
In the forest, a young prince lay on the ground with a bump on his head, his horse frightened but nibbling on grass nearby.
Prince rubbed the back his head and felt a dull pain. He tried to remember what happened. Did he just dream about that band of naked men who liked to draw bow and shoot arrows? Or was it just his subconscious questioning his gender orientation now that his mind was on a big fairy tale wedding to a copy-mold princess?
Prince was not sure. He remembered there was an altercation of sorts with some armed men on their way to fight for ISIS, but after an old wizard in white robe intervened, everything was a flash of brilliance and little else. Vaguely he recalled the old man leaning into a half-conscious him and whispering: "Your real name is Aragorn, son of Arathorn, nephew of Blowhisownhorn."
He had not seen Uncle Blow since the last municipal elections some years back.
In any case, he groggily got to his feet and mounted his horse. The creature wasn't too pleased about setting off again. It neighed and farted, giving the place an obnoxious peanut smell.
The forest looked enchanted. Gold twinkling lights high above in the canopy made Prince wonder if there was a magic kingdom up there. Elves, he was warned as a kid, could be tempestuous and lay irreversible magic on a person. The pet dog they had for a long time was actually Uncle Scratchalot, founder member of King Arthur's Round Table at Camelot, a camel farm converted from ostrich. But a bad trade with the elves caused him to be turned into a canine with bad skin. Well, Uncle Scratch had always had bad skin and scratched his nether regions rather indiscriminately. Might as well that spell befell him.
In any case, Prince rode through the enchanted forest without incident, perhaps glimpsing a girl in a red hood closely followed by a wolf in garters. He dismissed it as just his tender head playing tricks again. But in reality it reminded him of a long-ago trip to Amsterdam's red light district looking for 'aquarium fish'.
Soon the forest thinned to reveal an opening. Prince rode towards it. At the edge, he found a kerosene lamp hanging from a short bamboo pole. A piece of white cloth was tied to it. Did someone die? he wondered, remembering the funeral customs of a certain provincial folk.
Ahead, in a clearing, a cottage stood. Outside the cottage was a funeral cortege. Prince was suddenly reminded of the tongue twisters he used to learn as a kid, but the memory vanished as soon as he thought it.
Prince could see that some dwarves were mourning a well-dressed person lying in an open glass casket. Hmm, glass. Classy. In actuality, it was a coffin made of Zirconia. The dwarves did not scrimp on the expense.
"Hello," Prince called out, trying not to sound too cheerful given the circumstances. He then dismounted and walked to the group of short folks with the sad faces. "What happened?" he inquired.
"Our princess is dead," said the dwarf with the big nose, trying to fight back the tears. "I'll miss her nasi lemak."
"Her chicken rice," another chimed in.
"Her pork-rib-lotus-root soup," said one.
"Her snow skin mooncake," quipped yet another.
"She was a good cook then," said Prince, mentally ticking off a list of attributes a future wife should have, out of recent habit.
The best! - the dwarves all chimed in. Before Snow arrived, they only got baked beans and bread. One special occasions, the odd woodland squirrel roasted simply with twigs of rosemary.
Prince walked over to the head of the casket and looked down. There lay a beautiful girl with rosy cheeks dressed in a frock that reminded him of the many from Disney. It had puff sleeves, a lace collar and ribbons interlaced down the whole dress length. Disney was a brand popular with princesses everywhere and so Prince surmised that the unconscious girl in front of him must have royal underpinnings. In many ways, he should know. He had been match-made to so many princesses of late that he had trouble adding them to his Facebook. But of all the gals he had met, Princess Jasmine stood out as being the best dressed. Her father Sultan Bolkiah, after all, had oil money.
Then Prince noticed something. The princess the dwarves called Snow was not dead at all. She was breathing but ever so slightly.
"Look, she's still alive," said Prince to Big Nose.
"Yes, we know. But we do not have the antidote."
And with that, the dwarves replayed the video footage shot unwittingly by Uppity's camera hidden inside the walking cane. They also brought out the leftover apple quarts which had by then turned somewhat black. A squirrel was also poisoned after having sneaked into the dining hall and taken a bite.
Prince considered all this with an eye of a CSI and approached Snow. He held her gentle wrist and took pulse the way a TCM doctor would. The beats were indeed weak.
"How many hours have passed," he asked.
"Five," said Big Nose.
"Ah, that's still alright then," Prince said. "We still within that window of opportunity."
The dwarves all looked at him in puzmazement (i.e. a mixture of puzzlement and amazement). Who is this stranger who knows the ancient art of Ta-mark and now telling them not to worry? Are good times at the dinner table not going to end after all?
"Can you do anything?" asked Big Nose.
"Yes, I think I can. But first, I would have to kiss her."
Big Nose thought the request queer but acceded to it. Prince then motioned forward and planted a light kiss on Snow's lips. They were soft and plum like how a princess' lips should be. They were also warm. That's what Prince wanted to know. "No worries, pretty darling. I will save you," he whispered to the unconscious gal. He then reached into his saddlebag.
Out came a condom. A red-faced Prince hurriedly put it into his breast pocket. The next thing was a leather roll of slim needles which Prince carefully laid out on top of Snow. He then took each needle and gently inserted them into her arms and legs. Not long after, Snow resembled a voodoo doll whose owner had too many grievances.
Around him, the dwarves looked on in bewildazement. Who IS this chap? they all wondered. Was he truly Aragorn, son of Arathorn, nephew of.... whatever that white wizard had said one day in the enchanted forest? A man who has travelled much, learned much and one day also rule over them as a king returned?
The dwarves stood by dumbfoundedly and watched Prince as he about his acupuncture business.
In no time, Snow began to stir. She gave out a loud fart, always good indication that she was indeed alive and kicking. Nothing like a good stink to remind everyone of your presence (said one famous Chinese doctor).
"Quick, we need to build a hot water bath under her," commanded Prince. "We have to force the poison out of her."
And so, like a scene out of a martial arts movie (specifically Lee Ang's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Prince did to Snow what Chow Yun Fatt did to Zhang Zhiyi; he used his internal strength to force out the poison in her body. Soon Snow's head began to steam and her sweat turned from black to blue and then clear, indicating an all-clear.
The air around the cottage once again felt fresh with the scent of Chinese prayers flowers and a young girl's naive pubescence. Big Nose should know. He had been secretly sniffing Snow's handkerchiefs admitting to having a crush and mid-life crisis. Only if dwarf women didn't have beards and that preserved canna smell, he lamented.
When all was over, Snow turned to embrace Prince. "My hero!" she said, eyes liquid in a mixture of love, affectio, appreciation and cliche.
"Awww...," sighed the dwarves. There wasn't a dried eye in the front yard. In the distance, a wolf howled as if to celebrate the miracle but it was rather stricken and macabre. Perhaps constipated.
Prince embraced Snow and felt an instant attraction. He also felt something else burgeoning and was glad. He's not gay after all!
(To be continued...)
Part 11: (The concluding chapter)
After she left Snow for dead, Queen Ah Gu-soh got herself lost in the forest for some days. She then came upon another cottage with a dead woman inside. Talk about deja-vu!
But this dead woman was much older and looked to have slipped in her toilet and died. Old people shouldn't live alone, tsked tsked Ah Gu-soh. That's one reason why Brad was always on beck and call. If old folks could not afford a cabana boy, the least they should do is install a magic mirror that could keep an eye on the all the time. A mirror genie has no union and no off days.
After surveying the place, Ah Gu-soh decided to dump the old woman's body down a backyard creek. Having accomplished that, she returned to the cottage to clean up and rest. She had barely settled down when in barged a big bad wolf in garters and white pimp shoes.
"Are you Red's grandma?" it demanded. "She owes me money."
"What?" said Ah Gu-soh, before realising she was still in her old woman disguise.
The pimp wolf took a step towards her and bared his teeth. "I hate it when one of my girls play punk!" He then promptly ate her up. Ah Gu-soh barely had time to grab her old lady pants and run, let alone let out a scream. She disappeared whole into the wolf's belly.
Feeling less aggrieved, the wolf patted his tummy and laid down leisurely on grandma's bed to wait for Red to arrive. He took out a toothpick and cleaned his teeth. There were some stubborn horn bits stuck inside somewhere.
In another part of the forest, a couple was also sitting down leisurely but around a small fire roasting a dead squirrel.
Brad mused at what Red saw in him (well, he wasn't about to complain - the girl seemed genuinely smitten and was now starring at him with puppy-love eyes). "You are so handsome," she said, and not for the very first time.
She clutched at Brad's arm tightly and laid her head down to rest on his shoulder, feeling more secure than she had in days. The episode with the big bad wolf tailing her was already relegated to forgetdom.
"Let's go to my grandma's place before it gets dark," she said, heartfelt sweet in her new- found self.
Brad kissed her forehead and said ok. He liked Red. And for a change it felt good to be the man in charge and not one being ordered to do this or that by a needy older woman with horns for hair. He shuddered to think of that bloody heart episode again. But in many ways, it made him a braver man. And he was glad to be out of those tight pants. Never was a man so relieved to be in his own trousers.
Red smelt sweet, thought Brad. The only problem was her perfume which was quite overpowering and cheap. Brad decided he would buy her some real stuff in the next town. The girl could do with some nice clothes too, not garish red ones for walking in the forest or streets.
"My grandma's place is not far from here. We should arrive in no time," said Red. And so, cloaked in new-found love, the two walked hand in hand towards Grandma's cottage. The trees took cue and gently parted ways for them. Some birds tried to join in and sing, but since they were not songbirds, they simply flapped their wings and wagged their tails, showering the two human lovebirds with unintended confetti and a possible infection of bird-flu.
Well, we all know the story. Of how Red asked the wolf what big eyes it got, big mouth, big teeth, big shoes, big di**, etc....until it tried to attack her and was put down by a huntsman.
Ok, so it was a woodcutter. But let's not split hairs. Brad did chop wood as a chore in his spare time at the castle despite being constricted by his tight pants!
And so, after meandering here and there, this tale has a happy ending for both Brad and Red, Charming and Snow.
They all had a wonderful mid-autumn festival under the stars with Snow's snow-skin mooncake being a hit and grandma's smooth Chinese tea washing it all down. And in the end, Prince Charming aka Aragorn, son of Arathorn, nephew of Blowhishorn... did become king and ruled over the enchanted forest and its surrounding kingdom. The dwarves sold their cottage to a guy named Shrek when it became clear that global warming was going to raise sea-levels and turn the place into a worthless swamp.
The dwarves then returned to the Misty mountains after learning that a nasty dragon there had died and left them and their relatives a horde of fortune. Not sure if the gold made them happy, but it was said the uncountable number of Zirconias certainly did.