THE HAIR CLUB FOR FAIRYTALE PRINCESSES • by Heather Morris

It is supposed to be the princes who go bald. They are Charming or Galant or Dauntless — looks don’t enter into it. They might even turn out to be distinguished with receding hairlines, or at the very least a touch of grey.

But that is just one of those things no one ever warns you about. Your handsome prince will spend year after year becoming a king more handsome still, while your own currency fades. No, not even as graceful and leisurely as that. It implodes.

***

Three days lying prone in a glass coffin with a suspended circulatory system left Snow White with patches of alabaster scalp showing through. The hunter broke her rib cage in half, held her still-beating heart in his hands — but that is the worst part of it all. She would give him back the heart, or anything else he asked of her, if only he could make her raven curls grow.

***

Beauty — what a wretched curse of a name, we all feel sorry for her — turned out to have an allergic reaction to Beast fur. Her skin swelled and puckered, her nails and hair lost their shine. She takes cartloads of antihistamines, but her hormones are all out of sync. And even though her Beast is now a man, she continues to swell and shed and dull.

***

Rapunzel started losing hers because of the sheer weight and pull of it. At first, she hid coils of it inside her mattress, trying to keep it secret. (We all start out trying to keep it secret.) When the seams of the mattress split, she tried to bury it, to burn it. But there was always, always more hair to lose, until it seemed like she was drowning.

Now, she uses her hair to make darling little wigs for the rest of us. She dyes them chestnut and ochre and ebony, and adorns them with little ribbons and bows. And not a single person is fooled.

***

At first, we each thought we were alone. We each were desperate to fix the problem. Now we know that there is no fixing it, but we have each other. That is something.

***

Briar Rose is the worst off. One hundred years. By the time she woke, what little hair was left intact had matted into spider webs and mouse nests. It tangled on thorns and was heavy with dust. She ripped it out with her arthritic fingers, leaving a pale, sad fuzz that wasn’t even alive enough to be grey.

She will not wear her wig. She will not cover her peach-fuzzy head at all. She is trying to convince  us all to open our eyes, to see what we know lies before us.

There are things no one warns you about.

How fragile beauty is. How meaningless. How easily a princess who has used up her beauty can turn into the wicked witch.

Better a witch than nothing, she says. We are starting to agree.


Heather Morris lives in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Every Day Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and Bards And Sages Quarterly, and she reviews books at thebastardtitle.wordpress.com.


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 average 2.5 stars • 2 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Not much of a story. I was waiting for some kind of payoff. Still waiting.

  • Not much of a story. I was waiting for some kind of payoff. Still waiting.

  • macdabhaid

    This will doubtless be the cue for some hapless goof-ball champion to come blundering forth in a sad mimicry of heroes in the fairy tales mentioned; but although this was an amusing wry and thoughtful commentary or satirical comedy sketch, it had no plot and was simply NOT a story. Begs the question.

    P.S. No, I am not Prince William.

  • macdabhaid

    This will doubtless be the cue for some hapless goof-ball champion to come blundering forth in a sad mimicry of heroes in the fairy tales mentioned; but although this was an amusing wry and thoughtful commentary or satirical comedy sketch, it had no plot and was simply NOT a story. Begs the question.

    P.S. No, I am not Prince William.

  • A quick and easy read. I think I liked this more than the two folks ahead of me. As for story, I think the title throws us off. It seems to me that today’s princesses are tomorrow’s witches. I reflect, were today’s witches yesterday’s princesses? Perhaps the title, “On becoming a wicked witch.” Then the surprise that it’s faded beauty that instigates resentment toward the young and gorgeous.

    Anyway, I thought this was fun.

    • MPmcgurty
      That's a good title. The current one is a bit of a punchline.
  • A quick and easy read. I think I liked this more than the two folks ahead of me. As for story, I think the title throws us off. It seems to me that today’s princesses are tomorrow’s witches. I reflect, were today’s witches yesterday’s princesses? Perhaps the title, “On becoming a wicked witch.” Then the surprise that it’s faded beauty that instigates resentment toward the young and gorgeous.

    Anyway, I thought this was fun.

    • MPmcgurty
      That's a good title. The current one is a bit of a punchline.
  • I stumbled in a few passages. The heart sentence/paragraph slowed me down a bit. Still not sure I completely understand if the heart being ripped out was the worst or not. It seemed like the verb in the sentence with the italics on ‘that’ should be ‘isn’t’ instead of ‘is’. But that could just be my misunderstanding altogether.

    I like the concept and agree with the title comment that Dustin made above.

    Thanks for the story.

  • I stumbled in a few passages. The heart sentence/paragraph slowed me down a bit. Still not sure I completely understand if the heart being ripped out was the worst or not. It seemed like the verb in the sentence with the italics on ‘that’ should be ‘isn’t’ instead of ‘is’. But that could just be my misunderstanding altogether.

    I like the concept and agree with the title comment that Dustin made above.

    Thanks for the story.

  • Pingback: I wrote a thing… | The Bastard Title()

  • Apparently I’m the hapless goof-ball, because I really liked this piece. It’s not a beginning-middle-end story, but not every story has to be. It has a clear point of view, and beautiful writing, which is more than can be said for a lot of what I read.

    • Maybe we should check in on that assumption with EDF. Not that you are a hapless goof-ball, Ed, but the story requirments for a story :)
      • macdabhaid
        You said it, Ed, not me, but as Michael Stang said, that "beginning-middle-end" thing is a bit of a requirement when it comes to stories.
        • S Conroy
          Don't think the 'what is a short story' question has such a clear-cut answer, but agree that EDF prefer the beginning-middle-end variety.
          • macdabhaid
            Well that is the construction of fiction. Now the beginning and ending may be toyed with to come into the middle of action and leave the reader with an implied or open ending, but the basic blueprint remains a requirement.
  • Apparently I’m the hapless goof-ball, because I really liked this piece. It’s not a beginning-middle-end story, but not every story has to be. It has a clear point of view, and beautiful writing, which is more than can be said for a lot of what I read.

    • Maybe we should check in on that assumption with EDF. Not that you are a hapless goof-ball, Ed, but the story requirments for a story :)
      • macdabhaid
        You said it, Ed, not me, but as Michael Stang said, that "beginning-middle-end" thing is a bit of a requirement when it comes to stories.
        • S Conroy
          Don't think the 'what is a short story' question has such a clear-cut answer, but agree that EDF prefer the beginning-middle-end variety.
          • macdabhaid
            Well that is the construction of fiction. Now the beginning and ending may be toyed with to come into the middle of action and leave the reader with an implied or open ending, but the basic blueprint remains a requirement.
  • Genghis Bob

    This is an odd little thing, and it’s exactly the kind of odd little thing I come to this site hoping to find. The whole story lives in the last two paragraphs, but of course everything preceding those two paragraphs is necessary to give them meaning. Well written, well done.

    Wonderfully short, quirky and focused, this one.

  • Genghis Bob

    This is an odd little thing, and it’s exactly the kind of odd little thing I come to this site hoping to find. The whole story lives in the last two paragraphs, but of course everything preceding those two paragraphs is necessary to give them meaning. Well written, well done.

    Wonderfully short, quirky and focused, this one.

  • Carl Steiger

    An odd little thing indeed (a “fiction,” if not an actual “story”), but it did remind me that I need to crack open my omnibus book of Grimm stories one of these years. (Even in the pre-Disney version, that hunter didn’t actually remove Snow White’s innards, did he?)

  • Carl Steiger

    An odd little thing indeed (a “fiction,” if not an actual “story”), but it did remind me that I need to crack open my omnibus book of Grimm stories one of these years. (Even in the pre-Disney version, that hunter didn’t actually remove Snow White’s innards, did he?)

  • PCH

    I like this quite a bit, but I don’t think the introductory 2 paragraphs are working in its favor. They prepare us too much for what’s coming, removing the shock of these sometimes violent juxtapositions. Given the title, I’m not sure you need any lead-in at all. I’d also like some allusion to the narrator’s identity, to give us another princess to mentally play with. But overall, I think this is headed in a really good direction.

  • PCH

    I like this quite a bit, but I don’t think the introductory 2 paragraphs are working in its favor. They prepare us too much for what’s coming, removing the shock of these sometimes violent juxtapositions. Given the title, I’m not sure you need any lead-in at all. I’d also like some allusion to the narrator’s identity, to give us another princess to mentally play with. But overall, I think this is headed in a really good direction.

  • MPmcgurty

    This is one of those stories that brings out the reasons people visit EDF, some for “odd little things” or quirky, some for smiles or for tears, and some for stories with a plot. And some for other preferences.

    The most interesting part of this piece is the line “How easily a princess who has used up her beauty can turn into the wicked witch.” I’m remembering another of Heather’s stories here – From the Dust of the End of the World – and wishing she had applied the same amount of depth and layers to this work. It just feels “lite”.

  • MPmcgurty

    This is one of those stories that brings out the reasons people visit EDF, some for “odd little things” or quirky, some for smiles or for tears, and some for stories with a plot. And some for other preferences.

    The most interesting part of this piece is the line “How easily a princess who has used up her beauty can turn into the wicked witch.” I’m remembering another of Heather’s stories here – From the Dust of the End of the World – and wishing she had applied the same amount of depth and layers to this work. It just feels “lite”.

  • I loved every word of this story 🙂

  • I loved every word of this story 🙂

  • joanna b.

    I looked at the title and thought, “Oh God, not another Princess story.” But I quickly changed my tune.

    I thought this was incredibly inventive: Rapunzel is the princess who owns the rights to hair. That’s a given. For the author to expand those rights to all the other princesses is thinking way outside the box. Or the hair salon. Whichever.

    Ditto, incredibly well-written, e.g. “patches of alabaster scalp … cartloads of antihistamines … swell and shed and dull … matted into spider webs and mouse nests,” and much more. Talk about showing rather than telling, these descriptions are fantastic.

    The main flaw in this story, for me, is the introduction of the princes in the first two paragraphs. And also, the whole plot is given away in the first sentence of the first paragraph when, especially with the title changed, that plot can unfold more gradually, be more of a surprise.

    I think the story line here is that old witches know to attack where princesses are most vulnerable. They know because they themselves are bald, or balding. The princes theme just muddies up that story line of better dead than bald.

    Four stars for such a great breakout from our more standard view of princesses.

    So, four stars, and congratulations despite the

    • joanna b.
      Sorry to have that last line here. It tacked itself on. Some wicked old witch is responsible, I'm sure.
  • joanna b.

    I looked at the title and thought, “Oh God, not another Princess story.” But I quickly changed my tune.

    I thought this was incredibly inventive: Rapunzel is the princess who owns the rights to hair. That’s a given. For the author to expand those rights to all the other princesses is thinking way outside the box. Or the hair salon. Whichever.

    Ditto, incredibly well-written, e.g. “patches of alabaster scalp … cartloads of antihistamines … swell and shed and dull … matted into spider webs and mouse nests,” and much more. Talk about showing rather than telling, these descriptions are fantastic.

    The main flaw in this story, for me, is the introduction of the princes in the first two paragraphs. And also, the whole plot is given away in the first sentence of the first paragraph when, especially with the title changed, that plot can unfold more gradually, be more of a surprise.

    I think the story line here is that old witches know to attack where princesses are most vulnerable. They know because they themselves are bald, or balding. The princes theme just muddies up that story line of better dead than bald.

    Four stars for such a great breakout from our more standard view of princesses.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    A light read, but the story could have done with more substance.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    A light read, but the story could have done with more substance.

  • Scott Harker

    Odd and short, but IMO a very well-written piece of literature (that’s all the definition I’m prepared to give) that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s little gems like this that keep me coming back to EDF.

  • Scott Harker

    Odd and short, but IMO a very well-written piece of literature (that’s all the definition I’m prepared to give) that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s little gems like this that keep me coming back to EDF.

  • Many, many golden gems of discription. None to be spoken of as dust or decay. A well placed ditty from an uncommon mind. Though you would stretch from flash, I would seek.

  • Many, many golden gems of discription. None to be spoken of as dust or decay. A well placed ditty from an uncommon mind. Though you would stretch from flash, I would seek.

  • Katherine Lopez

    Strong message in this metaphorical tale, however the author lingered too long in the setup. Otherwise good writing.

  • Katherine Lopez

    Strong message in this metaphorical tale, however the author lingered too long in the setup. Otherwise good writing.

  • I think this is a clever idea and I enjoyed reading it.

  • I think this is a clever idea and I enjoyed reading it.