Congratulations, Phyllis, we loved your lady pigs!
THE THREE MRS. PIGS
by Phyllis Gropp
Alma Pig lived in a house made of straw. Beatrice Pig lived in a house made of sticks. Candice Pig lived in a house made of brick, thanks to her brilliant husband with an engineering degree from MIT. They lived in three different housing developments but had met each other at the market, where they bartered for the decaying offal of butchered animals. Dining on such excellent cuisine, the Mrs. Pigs enjoyed healthy skin, good teeth, and fine stamina. They had happy marriages and brilliant children. To an outsider it seemed that life couldn't have been better, but alas, all three Mrs. Pigs suffered a mammalian tragedy: unwanted body hair.
Alma decided to singe the curly strands on her chest, a risky operation, so first she soaked herself in the pond behind Farmer John's field. She delighted in the slimy bottom that oozed between her toes while she lapped the algae scum atop the water. Modest as a schoolgirl, she ran to the privacy of her home, where she borrowed her husband's Bic lighter and singed the errant follicles from her chest, chin, and stomach. She hadn't meant to stand so close to the straw wall, but there it went, a great conflagration.
Beatrice Pig put her trust in depilatory lotion. Though the odor was rank, she could tolerate it with proper ventilation. She took the jar outdoors behind the house, and concealing herself under the wooden steps, she splashed the goop over her entire body, to restore her porcine loveliness. Allowing the potion to work for ten minutes, she readied the garden hose. The rinsing soothed her pink skin. She stroked her silky legs, her chest, and her hips, thrilled with the results of her labor. As a bonus, the rinsing created lovely mud, in which she reclined, basking contentedly. Alas, she fell asleep with the hose running, and her home's wood foundation washed away, breaking the house into a horrid pile of sticks.
Candice Pig loved those new razors that came with built-in shaving cream and skin conditioner. She drew a bath, added an enchanting oil, and eased her feminine bulk into the tub. Singing "This Magic Moment . . . was like any other, until I met youuuuu,"
she raised a leg out of the water and scraped away the delicate hairs around the hoof, the coarser strands on her leg, and the problem area near her trunk--admiring the delicate gloss as she went on to the second leg, the third, and the fourth.
The next day, the women congregated at the market, over the bin of spoiled tomatoes. Alma tried to make her body small, so as not to show her hairless trunk smudged with soot. Beatrice walked awkwardly, her legs bloated from soaking, and her broad flanks caked with mud; she sported a lump on her head, where the falling house had struck her. The ever sensitive Candice pretended not to notice their distress, but when Alma and Beatrice complained of their misfortunes, Candice invited her friends to her house to use the bathtub. She provided an ice pack for Beatrice's bruised noggin, and afterward, the husbands and piglets joined them for an elegant dinner of rotted turnips and fresh roadkill. Warmed by friendship, Candice and Mr. Pig invited the others to spend the night on their safe, dry floor.
Phyllis Gropp spent her childhood in Chicago, her later years in Los Angeles, and currently lives with her husband and a multitude of bugs in the Carolinas, which she now considers home. With a BA in English, she worked as a promotional and then technical writer for many years, veering into computer systems analysis and project management, while she blindly took on motherhood, care for elderly parents, and custody of several pets.
She recently finished a novel called CEO DREAM, her MFA thesis for Queens University of Charlotte. The story is about two aging executives in conflict with each other and with greed and emotional validation. She was dropped into the senior executive world when her husband became a Chief Information Officer, as much a departure from her accustomed life as baklava from flour and butter.
Her advise to beginning writers is to read widely and deeply, only good literature.