For our final field trip of the summer, Wednesday Afternoon Writers gathered at Sheila’s house to be wined and serenaded on the piano by her husband, Wayne. Each writer brought a bottle of wine and an appetizer, of course.
We lined up the wine bottles to be used as our prompts along with some descriptions of wines thrown in for good measure.
The wines: Cupcake, 14 Hands/ Hot to Trot, Toasted Head, The Velvet Devil, The Valley of the Moon, Well Hung, Yellow Tail
The descriptions: Dry, Fruity, Crispy, Buttery, Sweet, Smooth, Round
Below is my fairytale inspired by wine, a little bit of silliness with which to end our summer.
The Velvet Devil
Once upon a time there were fourteen hands. Now these hands were not just ordinary hands. They were small but nimble hands. They were hands no bigger than the required coin paid as unfair redress to the Velvet Devil. These handsome hands belonged to industrious Imps of the citadel.
Now each soul dwelling under the Velvet Devil’s rule had a job. The job of these fourteen hands belonging to the eight expert elves was to tie and weave the richest, thickest, deepest amaranthine velvet for their sovereign.
I know what you are thinking. “Eight? But there are fourteen hands. Shouldn’t sixteen be the number of hands producing the cloth?”
Eight and fourteen are correct. For the slightest of these hands were of twins, each possessing only one. One posed a left hand, the other a right. Together they held the threads with such expertise, it flowed with perfection to the others allowing them to spin their magic. And magic it had better be for the Velvet Devil would not permit it any other way.
On that fateful night, the Velvet Devil renamed them all. After imbibing in her favorite wines, in the late evening, or rather, very early morning, she called to her dressmakers by their new names.
As she fondled each empty bottle, she barked, “Crispy! Buttery! Dry! Smooth! Jammy! Round! Fruity! Sweet! And Creamy!” For the Velvet Devil’s palate was widely exercised. “Enter the chambers of the Velvet Devil for she needs a new gown for the ball!”
Now since this was the first time anyone in the citadel ever heard these names requested, there was much confusion. She called again. This time a fiery bellow. All knew they must act quickly or each would pay a price.
“CRISPY! BUTTERY! DRY! SMOOTH! JAMMY! ROUND! FRUITY! SWEET! AND CREAMY! ENTER THE CHAMBERS OF THE VELVET DEVIL FOR SHE NEEDS A NEW GOWN FOR THE BALL!” What they didn’t hear was her self-satisfied sneer as she knew she would have at least nine victims at the Morning Court of Disobedience.
Luckily for the servants, Livermore was keen of ear and fast as a jack. He had kept his job as Steward of the Drudges because he understood balance. Employing his own talents and cleverness, he could balance the She Devil’s wickedness and the lives of her servants.
With the first breath of the She Devil’s repeat command he was off gathering the tiny tailors from their dreams. As he hastened down the hall, Livermore realized there was one extra name in the She Devil’s invective. She had called for nine needle pushers instead of eight. These, of course, were matched to the number of courses she would consume each evening with each of the wines.
Now one would think that with devouring nine courses of food with nine different wines every day, one would require a tremendous amount of cloth to cover such a body’s outcome. But evil consumes calories and the She Devil bore a sensuous anatomy for all to ogle as the luxurious fabric skimmed her curves and kissed her luscious skin.
Running towards the She Devil’s chambers with tailors is tow, Livermore grabbed the shortest of the Sovereign Guards, Harold, standing post just outside the golden gilded doors of the chamber rooms. He tore away the guard’s armor and shredded his underclothes to match the bare threads the tailors were required to sport as a cruel joke of the She Devil.
Harold was the shortest to be found on such quick notice, but he still towered above the tailors. Livermore hoped the dark of the night would be enough to hide the complication. Or, maybe the She Devil had eaten, or rather, drank enough, so that Harold might survive the night. Livermore could handle the matter in his own way as the smoke cleared.
The Imps piled into the She Devil’s chambers with Harold bringing up the rear. The Velvet Devil had positioned herself seductively on velvet pillows of every shade of purple that could be gathered and tinctured from flowers of all gardens, meadows, and forests in the Valley of the Moon.
Livermore deftly lined up the tiny ones in the straightest row they could manage. He knew the She Devil would find fault. She always did. More fault would mean more pain and he didn’t want that for his friends.
The She Devil would never punish Livermore. She only chose others and he was made to watch. So Livermore made sure they were as perfect as possible in the wee hours and groggy breathing of the Imps. Harold kneeled at the end of the line.
Livermore positioned himself in front of his comrades. He would begin there, moving as instructed by the She Devil.
She rose from the pillows and even though the wine added no weight to her pleasurable frame, it clouded her head and confused her movement. This time of day usually saw no servants other than Livermore in her chambers. The Velvet Devil only trusted him with her vices knowing he would not only protect his friends, but he would go to the ends of the earth to protect her, too.
She tripped. Not on purpose but on the flowing sleeves of her gown. Her wined vision attempted to focus on foggy outlines as gasps rose from the darkness. She assumed he would come alone. He always comes alone.
“GET OUT, YOU VILE CREATURES. I WILL DEAL WITH YOU IN THE MORROW.” And she deflated to the ground sucked into the folds of her gown of magenta as if it were a bowl of whip-creamed blood.
“Quick. Back to your post and your beds.” Livermore whispered as he closed the door behind them.
Moving slowly to the crumpled queen and with a slight bow of his head, he offered her his hand, “Madame.”
“Aw, Toasted Head, my dear. We meet again.”
And in the dark of the morning before the sun rose or the birds began their pre-dawn canticle they did meet, again.