With A Word She Can Get What She Came For




Red Riding – A fiery red femme fatale of many layers, a characteristic quite in contrast to her fashion taste, we assure you. If you get close enough to see my what a pretty face she has, you just got too close.

The Three Pigs – Miners of gold, managers of money and hence, the gravy train (a title I assure you, they love) in our little Western town. Lean times have finally pulled their snouts out of the trough, pushing them again towards work and some drastic measures.

B. B. Wolf – Beneath the façade of a savvy financial accountant to the pigs, lies a shady past more than slightly tainted. A Machiavellian operator, his bite is worse than his howl!

Papa Bear – The only real rival left to the pigs in the mining industry. Having achieved his success by following a strict formula of muscle-tactics, brow-beating and hot porridge for breakfast everyday, he now seeks to eliminate his competitors… by any means necessary/ or else/ dot dot dot/ and other such threatening line-endings.

Humpty Dumpty – The slightly egg-headed sheriff of our quiet town in the Wild Wild West. He sees himself as a rather well-rounded individual who, when chooses to exert authority, can be rather hard (and boiled). A good egg, nonetheless.

The Start of It All…

There was a saying in the Wild West. In fact, at one point of time, there were several. There was also a lot of dust.

It was a land where legends were born, where prospectors defined the law, where bullets had the last word and where, sometimes, characters and animals from children’s tales sometimes came alive to reside and thrive.

In one such land, the sun had just set. The salons had opened. Happy hours had commenced.

Chapter 1 – Oink Oink

The doors of The Soothsayer bar are pushed open, and the three Pigs march in. What brings them here, we wonder? What is it that they celebrate so loud and squealingly?

It is common knowledge now that the gold is running out. Business is lean. It must be news of great joy that makes them so happy.

And so it was. Extensive prowling over the Wild Wild Web had yielded successful search results at last. That trusted provider of used handbags and regurgitating washing machines, eBay, had found them a treasure beyond all else – a used, yet serviceable Rumpelstiltskin! (Delivery charges extra)

We remember him, don’t we? That singer of nonsensical songs, that captor of little infants, who was tamed finally by a woodcutter, who could turn straw into gold!

A bid had been placed. The deal was closed. ‘Twas this the three pigs celebrated tonight. And ‘twas this that Pinocchio overheard them talk about. Over the years, you see, pigs have displayed a great tendency to not be able to keep their traps shut. We, as mere mortals, find it difficult to understand their precious banter, but toys made of wood and able to talk have absolutely no trouble in communicating with them!

Pinocchio is the bartender and owner of The Soothsayer Pub. Like most people of his trade, he knows it is wise to talk less and listen more.

Still, he finds it near impossible to keep in this big scoop. He trembles, he shivers, he sweats and gulps. He takes a pause in the middle to wonder where he acquired the sweat glands. And then he sees whom he’s serving at the counter and jumps four feet into the air.

Papa Bear!

For those of you daft enough to not fully comprehend the prologue above, Papa Bear was the only rival the pigs had left. The rest had died horrible deaths, their physical forms being deconstructed efficiently by digestive juices. Those digestive juices belonged to this, Papa Bear.

Nothing escaped Papa Bear. He had seen the pigs and he saw Pinocchio’s antics now.

“What did they say? What did you hear? Tell me now! Or else…my fireplace has been running cold for a while, if you know what I mean. Ha Ha Ha!” he growls, with a touch of bearly concealed humour noir.

“Nothing! Nothing of any interest!” whimpers Pinocchio.

But alas, a fool such as he, he forgets immediately, he will be betrayed immediately by his nose.

And so he is. Papa Bear catches him by the collar in a vice-like grip.

“I’ll tell! I’ll tell!” cries Pinocchio, and blurts the whole story out.

As his nose shrinks back, Papa Bear’s eyes move away from the rickety little bartender.

They dare, those swine?? Why can they not just give in? I’ll have them for this! I will! And I know exactly how!

He goes back home, does Papa Bear. He picks up the phone and he makes the call. Replacing the receiver, he allows himself a wicked smile. The pigs have no idea what he has in store for him.

Little did he know that he had just scripted in his own doom.

Chapter 2 – Take That Little Hood Off

The arrival of his ‘weapon’ the next morning captivates all attention. Workers stop working, the town-crier chokes mid-sentence and two carriages ram into each other. Pigeons crash mid-flight, jaws around town hang open, and wolf-howls are heard from somewhere in the distance. With a usual amount of chaos, Red Riding arrives in Ye Olde Hambeargere.

She knows what is to be done. Oh, she knows this kind of job very well. In and out, and damn fast at it. Yes, she knows exactly what to do.

The pigs are working, for it’s a busy day everyday these days, when they hear a knock. It is a soft knock, the pigs discern, almost as if someone intensely attractive is standing outside. They want to pull the door open and let in this lady (for sex, you see, can quite easily be determined by knocks) of surely breath-taking beauty, of voluptuous profile, of liquid eyes, of misty voice – ah, I could go on. Suffice it to say that, somehow, they know all this, and Ms. Riding’s infiltration is half-completed before she even had to step in.

She steps in.

“I came to apply for the post of personal secretary,” she says.

“We already…ah…have one. Ms. Locks over there,” squeak the pigs, unable to stop ogling. One of them manages to lift a pudgy finger and point outside, to where Goldie Locks is poring over the filing cabinet.

“This file is too big. This file is too small,” squeals the lady in question. “Ooh! Ooh! This file is just right!” she says, putting budget documents with the grocery list.

Red Riding looks back at the pigs.

A raised eyebrow, a slow smile, and a silvery laugh later, Goldie Locks finds herself on the streets, and Ms. Riding is the new private secretary and confidante to Pig’s United Syndicate Of Lots Of Different Things. It was a friendly name, they’d thought in innocent days, and simple to understand.

She puts her plan to action immediately, and Hell breaks loose in the pigs’ offices the next day on.

“I was looking through these files here. Your brothers live in wood and in brick houses? How is it that you have just straw?”

“I was looking through your insurance papers. A house made of wood isn’t covered, you know. How could you let yourself get into this? Ohh…the youngest one handles the insurance?”

“So you’ve decided to give off all the wealth to the youngest then? Don’t look at me. I mean, come on, surely you know? You called in Rumpelstiltskin. He lives in a house of straw! He’ll have all the gold he needs soon enough!”

Tension grows between them. Brothers turn into suspicious rivals. They examin each others’ finances and question well-meant motives. They fight, they argue, they bicker and they brawl. They throw pillows at each other like whiny little girls.

There was no other way for it to end. Things had to come to a head.

Chapter 3 – Things Come To A Head

Eventually, like all things in the far West, the matter is settled in a final stand-off. With six-shooters in hand and mariachi music behind them, the pigs meet in the middle of town. A final showdown!

Meanwhile, earlier that day, Red Riding had gone to meet B. B. Wolf. He’s always had an appetite for money. It takes her no time to convince him.

“We need to destroy Papa Bear and take over his holdings, or he’ll hit back one of these days,” she whimpers, speaking like a lost little child. “Go to his house. Find proof of his crimes. We can show them to Sheriff Dumpty!”

“You’re right!” he cries, excited at the prospect, “I’ll go in disguise too! I have this old Grandma’s costume I haven’t worn in ages!”

“Really? Where did you get that from?”

“I…oh…aah…never mind that. Long story.”

“Say, you look faintly familiar…”

“Hey! Hey! I have to get ready now. Off you go. Don’t you have any work to do? Get to it!”

So, B. B. Wolf in Grandma’s clothing goes to Papa Bear’s house, outside of town. The Bears are out he notices, as they always tend to be when guests stop by. The better to rob them with, he thinks.

Sneaking in through a window, he walks into the kitchen. Three bowls of porridge are arranged neatly on the table.

“Really, now? Everytime they go out, they just have to??” he says, walking past disgusted.

He notices a set of drawers in the next room. That’s it! Excited, he goes to check them out.

“This one is too big. Umm…this one is too small. Hey! This one is just right!” saying which, he puts them on, and moves on to the study.

A little comfort never hurt anybody, did it? As we shall find out soon, it did.

Nothing! There is nothing to be found at all! Frustrated at having to put on a dress, however precious, with no result to show for it, BB Wolf angrily walks out the front door.

Waiting before him, baseball bat in hand, stands Papa Bear. We historians sometimes wonder, if it was his natural expression or whether his view regarding uninvited guests hadn’t changed, for he seemed quite angry.

Faced with adversity, B. B. Wolf does what he does best – he runs for his life! They run right through town the two of them, BB Wolf leading him on.

“I’ll bring him straight to the Sheriff’s office. They’ll protect me! Ha ha!” he says to himself.

Chapter 4 – And They Live Haplessly Ever After

Huffing and puffing, for he has not exercised in years now, Wolf arrives at the sheriff’s. With one look at him and his attire, Humpty moves into action immediately.

“You’re under arrest, Mr. Wolf, for a past record of cross-dressing, breaking into houses, impersonating old ladies as well as sheep! I have evidence,” he says, triumphantly holding aloft an old, worn out ‘WANTED’ poster from the sheriffs of the woods and of the Scottish highlands.

Before he can raise any objections, BB Wolf is arrested. Only two minutes later, in time to see him enter behind bars, comes Papa Bear.

As if by curtain call, out of nowhere arrives Goldie Locks too! She points a shaking finger at Papa Bear, and shrieks to the sheriff to bring her justice.

“This monster! He’s the one! Him and his infernal family! They enslaved me for ten whole years, until I managed to escape! Get him, Humpty!”

In no time at all (for things were efficient then, if anything) he is given an adjoining cell.

They howl, they growl, they threaten and they cajole, but in for life they are sent. Satisfied with a job well done, Sheriff Humpty goes out the backdoor to thank his benefactor of information.

“Ms. Riding! How pleased am I to see you still here! Thanks to your evidence, we’ve managed to capture the notorious trafficker Big Bad W! And it is only thanks to you that Ms. Locks had the courage to step forward with her evidence. Papa Bear has also been arrested. On behalf of Ye Olde Sheriff Force, I would like to thank you. Now, ah, where were we…?”

She sits on a wall, which surrounds the sheriff’s office (he appears to harbor an affection for such things). He climbs up nimble, and sits close to her.

“Maybe we could have breakfast sometime? I’ve always loved breakfast! The milk, the bread, the butter, the the the…But there’s always been something missing. I can never tell why! Perhaps, you could enlighten me?” he asks, putting on his most charming voice.

“Really? Is that so? I wouldn’t have guessed,” replies Riding dryly, eyeing him up and down, “Anyway, I’m off now. Tada, Dumpty.”

Her work done, the bounty-hunter walks away.

The sun set was setting behind him now. I do not know how long Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. But yes, I can tell you that Humpty Dumpty had just had a great fall.

What of our pigs, you ask? They… err… are still standing there. The showdown continues, their guns pointed at each other. But everything is not quite the same. Their arms shake with fatigue. The guns are heavy. Their faces are twisted in expressions of anguish. They do not like bullets. They cannot move a single muscle. They are just too damn scared.

Tension has been rising all this time. Then, suddenly, at breaking point, they snap. Snap! Bawling their lungs out, they drop their guns and run away in separate directions. The pigs are never to be united again.

Chapter 5 – The Female of The Species…

The next morning, a pumpkin carriage draws up outside the recently separated Pigs’ Syndicate building. The carriage door is opened, a man (sort of) steps out and hobbles up to the door. He is short and he wears green tights. Rumpelstiltskin.

He has new owners and a new life. He smiles sweetly, breathing in the fresh western dust. He likes new things. He also likes walks in the rain, sitting by a fire with hot cocoa in winter evenings with a pet at his feet, and the aroma of crisp cookies drifting in from the kitchen.

But I digress.

Breathing in air, and liking new things, he steps up to the office door and takes a look inside. He is surprised to find a beautiful lady in red, waiting for him inside. She looks nothing like a pig, but that’s nothing to complain about on such a beautiful day.

“I presume you are to be my new employer? I don’t mind a change in authority. Let us discuss terms and conditions. As wages of course, I expect…”

He would have gone on to enlighten her with an extensive list of expenditures and allowances, had he not been rendered unconscious the next second, a mighty swing of Red Riding’s baseball bat doing the damage.

It is said she put him in a cage, wrapped it in a red baize cloth and put it into her picnic basket. She walked out then, taking the mid-afternoon train to a far corner of the land; never to be heard of again in these parts.


Nishant Jain