“Wouldn’t it be funny if the ‘Three Little Pigs’ story got it wrong?”
“Yeah, like what if the wolf was the victim?”
“And those pigs were what, rival gangsters who had it in for each other?”
“Yeah, and the wolf was the hired gun. At the very end, the surviving pig in his big brick house – Vito Bacone – boiled him alive. “
“You are so weird.”
“Yeah . . . yeah, I am. Cheers, Andie.”
Rick lifted his glass and eyed me over the rim. The lager winked amber in the dim light. I wasn’t sure if he was going to salute me or throw it at me.
We live in the sun – that’s what he always told me. We live in the sun, and nothing can touch us. With a a few brews in the bucket, flowers dancing in the breeze and a lawn made for parties, what can go wrong?
Yeah. We used to live in the sun, but it wasn’t summer anymore. It hadn’t been summer for a very long time. And the sun – well, the sun was a piss-poor version of itself. It was an imposter.
The party bucket was frozen. The flowers were crusted with ice and reaching in vain for the sun. And that lawn? I hadn’t seen that lawn in three years.
When the news came down about the freeze, no one ever thought the islands would get too cold. Too wet maybe – with bugs so big you’d be afraid to let your dog out at night, lest the beasties eat him – but never too cold.
Rick was a helo pilot – gave tours, or used to. No one came to the islands to see snow. I tried to supplement our income with art from the volcanoes – they still smoldered, even under the sheets of ice that crept ever closer to the tops. The meeting of fire and ice had been novel at first, but it was a dwindling trade.
At least they still had brews – and if we wanted them really cold, we could still keep them in the tin bucket. There weren’t any parties anymore, though. We had tried – even had an igloo building contest one year – but as the sun died, the joy just seemed to drain out of them, like so many drips from a spent icicle.
He was still looking at me over the edge of the glass.
“What is it, Rick?”
“You didn’t laugh.”
“I didn’t – laugh? About what?”
“Vito Balcone. I thought it was pretty good.”
He put down the glass. That manic look was gone from his eyes and I patted his hand. It wouldn’t have been the first lager tossed around the squalid little hole in the ground – probably wouldn’t be the last, either – but at least we wouldn’t be scrubbing the floors tonight. There were better ways to keep warm.
“It was good, babe – real good.” I gave that hand a squeeze. “Why don’t you put down that glass and show me just how good you are – but leave out the pigs this time, yeah?”
* * *
D: Nice, A.
A: Okay, frankly, I was hoping something beautiful, stark and lyrical would come flowing from my fingertips in response to WordPress’ weekly challenge. All the same, I’m pretty fond of this mashup between Papi Z’s Three Little Pigs prompt and the ‘Threes’ writing challenge.
D: You would be. But that isn’t important.
A: It isn’t?
A: I did.
D: You failed to mention that THE ONLY WAY to get a personalized copy of the beloved Dilettante’s book, Memoirs of A Dilettante, Vol. One (pictured at right), is to support the campaign.
A: THE ONLY WAY!
D: I just said that.
A: I was reiterating.
D: Indeed. So, beloved readers, go forth, support and come away with your very own piece of Helena.
A: That sounds dirty.
D: You’re the one who actually had to specify for her characters that pigs were not allowed in the bedroom.
A: Look, Rick was really pleased with his ‘Bacone’ joke – Andie needed to make sure boundaries were set.
A: Thanks, D. That is all for tonight, folks – thank you for reading and have a lovely evening!