a Magazine for Writers
Congratulations, Chris!  We laughed out loud when we read your story.  You are the WINNER of our contest!  Congratulations, as well, to the author of our Second Place story, "The Three Mrs. Pigs" by Phyllis Gropp and to  Dana Sieben for her story which received Honorable Mention, "The Three Little Pigs."  Great work, all!


Rapunzel: or Holy Smoke, How Come I Didn't Think of That?
L. Christian Hanson

It was one of those clear, sunlit days in the forest. The squirrels were stashing their loot, the mosquitoes were swarming like a herd of snapping turtles, and I was sitting there like a dope. "I'm wasting my time with these saps," I said to no one in particular. "I'm blowing this joint."

I grabbed my bag, tipped a few for the road--and then a few more--before I took a breeze. Sure, I didn't have much. Just a few dried up apples, some butts, a little cabbage, and a pint of gin.

I high-tailed it over the next hill. I was lonely, so I poured a couple of fingers for me and myself. That's when I heard the dame chirping her lungs out. Something from Puccini's "La bohème," I think. Anyway, she sounded like she'd be a swell dish, so I moved in to get a slant. It was a typical forest-castle-tower joint. Only there was no way to get in--or out. There couldn't be anyone there, I thought, except I kept hearing the canary. Maybe it was the hooch singing to me.

A bent up old broad walked up to the tower just as I was about to dust the dive. She looked worse than my grandmother's laundry. "Let your hair down, girlie, I'm coming up," she yelled. A golden stream of hair flew out the window. I couldn't believe it--the dame was up the hair and into the tower in nothing flat, she was hitting on all eight.

A few minutes later she climbed back down and took a powder.

I thought I'd give it a shot; I've come this far and, hey, I'm no daisy. "Toss your mane down, doll, your dreamboat just arrived, " I yelled up to the tower. I'm a real operator.

Her hair came down and I shimmied up the locks, as easy as doing the breaststroke wearing a cement overcoat. I ended up in the tower, panting, looking at one hot tomato. "You're some looker, sis," I said, "how about you and me getting hitched and doing the cha cha into the sunset?"

"What dost Thou mean, my prince? Thou are not from this land, are Thou not?"

This is getting better by the minute, I thought. "Never mind," I said, "let's blow."

"No my prince, we may not huffeth and puffeth our way out. It is written that you must bring be scraps of silk so that I may fashion a ladder to climb down."

"Listen, sis, I ain’t no prince and I ain’t getting any younger.
Did you ever think to cut your hair, tie it off, and climb down?"

"But it is written..."

"Hand me a knife. Let's you and me live happily ever after."

"So it will be, my prince. Presently, however, let us bestow upon the witch the big sleep."

"Now you're singing my tune."

We climbed down, iced the old broad, and went on the lam.

Read Chris' bio and interview here.  Chris Hanson
Graphic by Steve Cartwright who has done art for  several magazines, newspapers, websites, commercial and governmental clients, books, and tavern napkins. He also creates art pro bono for several animal rescue groups. He was awarded the 2004 James Award for his cover art for Champagne
Shivers. Take a gander ( or a goose ) at his online gallery.