The King and Queen are squabbling about their dancing shoes. She is all for high art, a statement pair, something from a fantasy. The King, knowing exactly where that will lead, would prefer she went barefoot, or in something fashioned out of mud. It is the evening of the Great Feast. Their hot words are fuelled by the anticipation of sucking on songbirds drowned in cognac, oysters rolling in straight from the sea, the tenderness of well bruised beast.
In the kitchen Cook is pricking the skins of pigs to crackle and amuse the guests. Dry rot will provide the delicacy of funghi braised in Vintage Chablis.
Just a penny here, and a penny there thinks Cook as he slices the pale
stalks of the mushrooms, licks the blood off his knife, seeks snails in
his earthy box.
Looking into the mirror's triptych the Queen adjusts the precise calibration of her frown. She'll take a chance she thinks, and wear the glass slippers after all. She extends a foot for the King's approval. The King flushes with a quaint retro anger, his face a pink potty hurled into a corner, and sulks towards his own wardrobe. The Queen, unable to decide whether she has won or lost, forces her feet into splintering glass and rises tottering to cross the room. Pink bubbles froth in her footsteps. The King turns his back. Nut Case, he bellows, and in the pantry the cook shivers.
The problem is, continues King, swallowing his mood as if it were straight whisky, we have drifted apart. I could chase you in your glass slippers down the cindered path; the cook could serve us something or other - let's say for the sake of argument, wolf, as soft in death as Romeo. It wouldn't make it right.It wouldn't bring you back.
What do you want? The Queen asks, tenderly, stroking his thin hair.
Wear these instead, he begs, and hands her a pair of hare-pelt stilettos. Here, let me wipe the blood.
And in the end, it seemed such a small thing to please him. So she did.
The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele