Swindled: A Fractured Fairytale

By Marya Zilberberg

Welcome to “Ye’ Old Pumpkin” trailer park! I’m Roxanne DeBree, the super. You look like a nice fella. Want some coffee? Pull up a chair.

Tell you a secret: I was married once. To a wealthy man. You heard of him.

Don’t go! They never believe me. What a world… Oh, thanks. I didn’t know you could buy hankies any more.

You think it’s easy to be someone else? I was Mrs. Charmoff! I had everything – looks, money, a fairy godmother. Look at me now – a washed up bleach-blonde in leopard-skin tights and a flower print. Managing a trailer park! I wouldn’t wish this on my stepsisters.

Oh, now you want to know what happened. Hmm. You remember the glass slipper? He found me and we got married, right? Well, the honeymoon in Maui was fabulous: ocean views, balls. The fireplace in our suite? Self-cleaning! Bernie… Yeah, Bernard L. Charmoff. The third. He was everything – handsome, smart, a prince!

We came home to a penthouse on Central Park West, you know, in the high 70s. Not a bad wedding gift, hey? A year later – boom, Wilhelmina. Beautiful baby! She’s right next-door. Minnie, come here! Baby, fix your shirt, your bra is showing! Bobo, unfold that chair for your Ma! My grandson, Bobo. Shake the nice man’s hand! His father did marketing for Bernie. Dartmouth, Wharton, blue-eyes, a charmer. So he was married… Anyway, here is our Bobo; isn’t he a love? Bobo, we don’t point guns at our guests. Go get a Coke. Hey, Minnie, light me one of those, will you?

Right, where was I? Oh, yes, three years later we had Bernie Junior. The fourth. Hmm? Where is he now? Good question…

Bernie was a great father! Never wanted to leave the kids, worked from home. Traveled, though. Yeah, went back to Fairyland. A lot. Always thought he was bopping that harlot Rapunzel, but… You know, he had lots of clients there. They were nice, except some of them were real pigs. He loved that family with the gland condition. “Bernie’s bears” he called them. The wolves, the dwarves – they preferred “little people” – they all loved my Bernie. ‘Cause he was one of them.

I don’t know what went wrong. That night the feds came… Hey, Minnie, light me another one, honey, would you? Where’s that tissue?

Where…? Oh, yes, the feds. We lost everything. What am I supposed to do with these kids now? Look at me: trailer park, fake name! Yeah, I had to, ‘cause Cynda Rella-Charmoff was hangin’ in every post office! Oh, that’s funny. Yeah, sure, my name de plume.

Hey, don’t look! I said don’t turn around! Minnie, is that that old queen again? Yeah, Snow White’s stepfather. He’s a bounty hunter now.

Whew, lock the door, honey! Don’t open the curtains! Is he still there? Oh, god, I shoulda married Red. Can you believe her? Madam Secretary of State and she’s still sweet-talking a buncha wolves!

You want another cup?

Marya Zilberberg is a health services researcher, poet, and writer. She is the author of BETWEEN THE LINES: FINDING THE TRUTH IN MEDICAL LITERATURE. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Cleaver, Vox Poetica, and The Blue Hour, among others.

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