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Friday, November 30, 2007


by Nancy Caronia

If, at the beginning of the 21st century, Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on the spinning wheel—a cursed act that anesthetized an entire kingdom—there would be no prince to climb the thorny walls and plant a kiss. Contemporary male royalty gets too horny planning the next invasion, entering (or exiting) rehab or trolling bars (or executive offices) searching for the perfect mouth to kiss their cocks goodnight. No one, it seems, wants a relationship anymore. A fetishistic furor might be whipped up if the kingdom’s itinerant administration—set up at the time of the prick in faraway New York City’s Gramercy Park—put the Beauty’s slumbering figure on the Internet, but her body would need to be stripped—creamy flesh exposed to the masses of insensitive gawkers who only hoped to catch a glimpse of the numbed out princess awakening to an autoerotic act. There would be no conversation of her award-winning spinning skill. Her kindness to orphaned children in land-mined countries would be lost amidst the stream of anesthetized techno-bloggers who only noticed how one breast was spread out like margarine melting in the hot summer sun. Their blogs would espouse theories as to the scar near her pubis: was it from a secret botched abortion or her father’s tight fist—the rumor being that the former WWF wrestling champion was never able to keep his hands to himself? Mainly though, enthusiasm would wane once Snow White’s dilemma was broadcast—that Wicked Queen breaking down on Oprah’s couch, The mirror made me do it, the mirror made me do it! Or the stepsisters’ revealing to Larry King how Cinderella cheated and stole their rightful place to the crown: She didn’t go into rehab for nothing, they’d sniff. Once the child abuse charges against the Old Woman in the Shoe appeared on every major news channel including the Fox News Network all eyes would turn towards the kids’ anguished faces. The youngest, fathered by the Old Woman’s fifth or perhaps sixth paramour, would blubber, Of course she’s got no husband, who would want to live with her? Then there would be the harrowing tale of Hansel and Gretel—cannibalism in modern times. Oh my! Anderson Cooper would get the scoop on that pair escaping with their lives, minus a few fingers and toes. Perhaps if the fairy witch who cursed Sleeping Beauty shot a video, her hair sheathed in a white turban and dressed in a navy suit, white button-down shirt, and red power tie, where she threatened to do it again, people might fathom the predicament of an anesthetized town lost to a familial curse, but then again, they’d probably rather view the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where the deposed Emperor would hawk his memoir, Finding Fabric. C’mon, Jon would say to the Emperor, You’re telling me you took so many pills you had no idea you were walking around so that your boys were hanging for anyone to see? It’s a little hard to believe, if you know what I mean. The Emperor would smile sheepishly, Yes, Jon, exactly. It was harrowing once I grasped that everyone was witness to my pound of flesh.

Nancy Caronia’s work has previously appeared in Coloring Book (2003 Rattlecat Press), Don't Tell Mama! The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing, and Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture (Feminist Press). She writes the monthly Lesson Plans column for Government Video magazine.