A Very F***ed-Up Christmas Tale
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015 by J.A. Kazimer
All Rights Reserved. For more information, contact OBSCURE Publishing, Denver, Colorado.
Read the other F***ed-Up Fairytale Novellas
A Very F***ed-Up Valentine’s Tale
A Very F***ed-Up Sugar & Spicy Tale
Read the F***ed-Up Fairytale Series
Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, in front of a picture-perfect scene of orphans starving in the snow, plotting to murder yet another husband.
Moe wasn’t a bad guy.
Not like two husbands ago.
Meeny had sure lived up to his name—thankfully he’d “accidently” fallen into a vat of curds and whey after less than six months of marriage. The cops had the audacity to call his death suspicious, claiming the physical as in actual physics part of the evidence didn’t match up. They maintained that it was nearly impossible for a 6’3”-tall man to slip and then fall, submerging himself from head to toe in a twelve-ounce pot sitting on the top of a stove.
Considering there was an eight-legged witness to the entire episode, the New Never City cops had no choice but to let Miss Muffet go, which was how she’d ended up a free woman sitting on a tuffet, contemplating the best way to carefully rid herself of yet another husband.
Along came a spider who slid down the web beside her. “Hey, boss.”
Miss Muffet stifled an eek once she recognized the newcomer. “I told you to never come into my office.” She glanced around nervously. “If Detective Goldie Locks sees you, my goose is cooked.”
“It’s okay,” the spider said, shaking all nine legs. “I wore an extra leg as a disguise.”
Miss Muffet tried not to roll her eyes. Whoever created spiders should’ve traded a few of those eyes for one or two more brain cells. “I’m busy. Whatever you want, make it quick.”
The spider didn’t seem the least bit offended by her statement. Not that it was easy to tell what a spider felt.
Until you squished it.
“I thought, um…maybe I could take tomorrow off…seeing as it’s the holiday and all.”
“What!” She grabbed the spider’s web, pulling him closer until they were eye to numerous eyes. “You just had a day off. Do you think the Villainous Union can run itself?”
Lucky for her the spider had no idea how easy it was to run a union. You pilfered a few candies from a few babies, ran over a couple of princes, locked a chick or two in a tower, and called it a day. Not that Miss Muffet would ever admit it. That was how the VP of Dastardly Deeds stayed the VP of Dastardly Deeds.
“Last year,” the spider said.
“Last year what?”
Rolling all of his eyes took three full seconds. “You gave me a day off last year. For Christmas.”
She ran her hand over her tight blond curls. “You’re welcome.”
“Listen, Muffet,” the spider said, “I have six hundred stockings to hang by the chimney with care tonight. So you either give me tomorrow off or I’m going over your head.”
“Don’t do that.” She shuddered and batted her tight blond curls. “Fine. Have tomorrow off. But I want you here two hours early the next day to make up for it.”
“Now go away.”
The spider waved his middle leg at her. “And a very merry Christmas to you, too.”
Later that day, Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet drinking whiskey straight from the bottle when along came RJ Stiltskin, her least favorite employee.
He sat his bony ass on her polished desk. “Hey Muffet,” he said with a quick grin. “What’s the curds and whey?”
“Hilarious,” she grumbled. “It’s a wonder women don’t just fall at your feet given the sheer amount of charm you possess.”
He laughed. “How do you think I got Asia to marry me?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said. “A curse?”
And that she did. If RJ had cursed Asia, Muffet would’ve had a chance to end it, thereby freeing the smartest villain she’d ever met from RJ’s worthless clutches. But no.
Asia claimed to love him. Like love meant anything.
Muffet hadn’t loved any of her husbands. Though she truly enjoyed being a widow. Funerals often paid off better than weddings anyway.
“What do you want, RJ? Tomorrow off?”
“I already have it off.” He winked. “Villainous holiday. Or did you forget?”
She snorted. “Doesn’t anyone want to work for a living anymore?”
“Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor—I mean, the union—ain’t work.” He shook his big, dumb head. “I consider it my pleasure.”
It was her turn to laugh. “You just don’t want to be put on administrative ‘nice’ leave again.”
“There is that.”
“So I ask you again,” she paused to let the not-so-veiled threat in her tone sink in, “what do you want?”
“What makes you think I want something?”
She started to growl like a rabid animal.
“Okay, okay. Asia wants you to join us tomorrow for Christmas dinner. I understand if you’ve already made plans. It’s fine.” Pushing himself away from her desk, he practically ran for the door. “I’ll just give Asia your regrets.”
He slipped through her office doorway.
“Stop,” she yelled.
Looking like he’d just kissed a frog, RJ scurried back into her office. “Yes?”
As much joy as it would give her to ruin RJ’s day by agreeing to a holiday feast at his house, she couldn’t stand the thought of actually feasting with the moron in front of her, let alone his degenerate friends, like Jean-Michel La Grenouille, and Asia’s uglier stepsister, Dru.
But she wouldn’t be a villain if she didn’t let RJ stew a bit before she declined. “What will you be serving?”
“Damn it, RJ!” She leapt to her feet. “You cannot cook Mother Goose. She hasn’t finished the year-end reports.”
He blew out a long sigh. “Fine. I’ll scramble you up some eggs. I think we still have some of Humpty left from last year’s ‘accident.’”
Accident wasn’t quite the word Muffet would’ve used, seeing as Asia had smashed Humpty Dumpty in the head with a brick during a bout of extreme hunger. Thanks to a few well-placed bribes, the cops had labeled his death a suicide. But every villain knew better.
Asia Elizabeth Maledetto might hold the title of lady but she certainly wasn’t one.
“Now. Are you joining us for dinner or not? Because I need to know how much wine to buy. Three bottles of mead each should do it.” He grimaced, his eyes on Muffet. “Unless you come. Then I’ll need to buy a winery.”
“I’d have to be drunk to put up with you.”
“So that’s a no?” His face lit with pure joy as he once again ran for the door. Before he slipped through it he called, “In case you change your mind, I’ll set out a tuffet. Happy Christmas.”
RJ disappeared through the door, leaving Muffet alone in her expensively decorated but seemingly empty office once more. She slowly shook her head. “I should’ve killed him when I had the chance.”
Miss Muffet trudged through the snow-filled streets of New Never City on her way to her house on the hill. Snow-filled in this case being a little over an inch of freshly fallen white stuff. But when you stood less than four feet tall in saddle shoes, even an inch felt like a foot.
Muffet didn’t mind her small stature so much. She’d long ago buried the hurtful words of her classmates…along with a few of those children who’d carelessly tossed said words.
She glanced up the street. Christmas lights reflected off the slickened sidewalk in a dazzling display. The whole atmosphere, with the overwhelming smell of evergreen, seizure-inducing sparkle of tinsel, and genuinely happy smiles even on every match girl she passed, made her vaguely ill.
The only gift one should ever give was VD, and then only the incurable kind.
With a sigh she walked up the hill to her house, avoiding the merry smiles and friendly greetings of “Happy Holidays” of everyone she passed.
Her happiest holidays had passed long ago with husband number seven, Golem.
Now there was a man who knew what to do with his stones. They would spend Christmas Eve wrapping and delivering empty gifts for the orphans, laughing all the way.
Then he had slipped and fallen.
Right into a rock crusher.
On their second anniversary.
Muffet arrived at her doorstep as the clock on the tower down the street chimed six times. Officially Christmas Eve. Her front door swung inward as she reached for the handle.
“Moe,” she said, surprised by the sight of her current husband.
Moe had moved out a week ago when he found ground glass in his Cheerios. As hard as she had tried to deny putting it there, Moe wouldn’t believe her. Apparently Moe didn’t intend to go down the same path as Eeny, Meeny, and his brother Miny.
“Hi,” he said, his head darting around—as if she would murder him on the spot. “I thought you’d still be at work.”
“The union closed at five for the holiday.”
“Oh,” she parroted. “Why are you here, Moe?”
“I…ah…,” he mumbled.
“Spit it out.”
“I’m here to get my tiger toe.”
And there it was. The very reason she couldn’t stand being married to him a moment longer. She hated hunters. Killing animals for sport made her crazy. The only thing worth hunting was husbands. Add in Moe’s weird attachment to that decaying tiger toe, and the marriage was doomed before she’d said “I do.”
“I threw it out,” she said.
“What?!” He took a step forward, as if his height could intimidate her.
“You’re welcome to check the trash,” she said, slipping passed him and into her house. She kicked the door closed behind her, locking Moe out. His angry shouts rattled the windows. A smile filled her face. Tonight might not be all bad after all.
After a good twenty minutes Moe stopped screaming and left. Muffet patted the box on the mantle of the fireplace that held a decaying tiger toe and laughed.
The sound echoed around the empty house.
And, for a moment, loneness filled her.
She quickly shook it off with the realization that, with Moe gone, she had total power—and control of the TV remote. Popping a dinner of curds and whey into the microwave, she grabbed a box of red wine and a fork and settled into her favorite recliner. She flicked on the TV, switching stations as soon as she heard any reference to the holiday.
Finally, after a full five minutes, she found the Atheist Ogre Experience channel.
Filling up on lukewarm curds, lactose-free whey, and ogre propaganda, she slowly relaxed in her chair. She closed her eyes, letting the day fade from her psyche. The sound of the wind against the windows lulled her into a sugarplum-less sleep.
“Looking good,” a voice said from what she thought was an empty room.
Her eyes flew open. “Who’s there?”
From out of the shadows a large, dusty-looking clay figure emerged.
“Golem? Is that you?” she whispered, both happy and terrified to see him.
He looked the same as he had a few husbands ago, with the exception of his dried-out pallor. Gray didn’t suit him at all.
“I thought you were dead…”
“I am,” he said.
“Oh.” She bit her lip. “I take it you’re here to haunt me?”
He shrugged his stony shoulders. “Not really.”
“I was playing dreidel, rolled nisht, and lost the bet. So here I am.” He let out a deep sigh. “Are you ready?”
“For what?” She grinned as memories of their short marriage filled her “Are we going to track down the jolly fat guy and steal his bag of gifts like we always wanted? Or better yet, can we break the gingerbread man’s legs? He’s so fucking annoying. Running around, shouting that you can’t catch him. Doesn’t he know, one good milk shower and he’s not running anywhere?”
Golem grimaced. “As much as I’d love to beat up Santa with you, I’m here for a much more important reason.”
She had the grace to blush. “I really don’t know how that rock grinder got there.”
He rolled his pebble eyes. “Muffet, tonight you will be visited by three ghosts—”
“Tonight isn’t good for me.”
She released a slow breath. “I love a ghost foursome as much as the next girl—”
“Ew,” he said. “It’s not like that.”
“You need to make some changes, Muffet. Big changes.”
“So, what? You and your ghost friends are going to show me the evil of my ways and I’ll suddenly become…”she paused, her lips going cold, “…a better person?”
“Something like that.”
“No thanks. Be sure to close the door on your way out.”
She added, as an afterthought, “…and have a nice afterlife.”
His face grew even harder. “Hear me, woman. You will be visited by three spirits. Expect the first one when the bell tolls one—”
“Why don’t you scoot back to…wherever you were, and tell them not to bother? I see the error of my ways. Really. I’m all good.”
“The next one will come at two, and—”
“I get it. The last one will be here at three.”
Redness appeared on Golem’s greyish cheeks. “The third one is running a bit late. He said to expect him around four. Maybe a little after.”
“You’re kidding, right?” She leaned forward in her recliner.
“And here I thought good villainous help was hard to find.” She shook her head. “Apparently the afterworld has even worse employees.”
He shrugged. “The benefits can’t be beat.”
“Let me guess, paid holidays.”
“Doesn’t sound so bad.”
“Listen, Muffet, I walked the wrong path in life, and now I have to haunt my ex to pay off my gambling debts. This is no life for you.”
He had a point. If she had to haunt all of her dead husbands she could be there a while.
“All right,” she said, waving her small arms wide. “Bring on your three spirits.”
“One more thing,” he said hesitantly. “Try not to make them cry. Ghost snot is hard to get off of saddle shoes.”
“I can’t make any promises.” She paused, smiling. “But, for you, I’ll give it the old villainous try.”
Somehow Muffet managed to drift off to sleep an hour later. Likely it had something to do with sucking down an entire box of wine. Yet no sooner had she closed her eyes than the loud bong of the clock tower filled the room.
Hot breath tickled her cheek.
Her eyes flew open and she let out a small scream.
“Who the hell are you?” she asked the ghost-like vision of a princess standing next to her bed.
The princess wore a broken tiara and a pale pink gown, black marks running across it. She glanced up from filing her nails, letting out an elongated sigh. “I’m, like, the Ghost of Your Villainous Past.”
“Like, are you deaf?” The princess frowned, her brow wrinkling unbecomingly. “Why do I always get the freaks? I said, I’m the Ghost of Your—”
Muffet clenched her bed sheet. What she really wanted to do was rip the fake hair extensions right out of the woman’s head. “I heard you.”
“So why’d you, like, make me repeat it?”
“Let’s start over, shall we?” Muffet asked in her sweetest tone, which was somewhere between a growl and a shout. “What’s your name?”
The princess’s frown deepened. “You, like, don’t recognize me?”
Muffet’s gaze narrowed. The princess did look vaguely familiar. With the exception of the large tire tracks running across her pink gown.
“Like, a bus hit me,” she said.
The pieces clicked into place.
“Cinderella,” Muffet declared. “Good to see you’re not roasting in hell.”
She left off where you belong.
Cinderella shrugged. “Like, whatever. Do you want me to show you your villainous past or what? I have a dry cleaning appointment at, like, two, so we have to hurry this up.” She rubbed at the tire track over her left breast. “Like, those idiots can’t get tire treads out of silk? What is this, like, the Middle Ages?”
“Right,” Muffet said, snapping her fingers to gain the princess’s attention. “So, back to me for a second.”
Muffet’s grip on the sheet grew even tighter. “Can I opt out of seeing my villainous past? I mean, I lived it, so…”
“Like, good point.”
In the wink of an eye, Cinderella vanished only to reappear a second later. “Like, sorry. The big guy said I’m, like, supposed to show you, like, what once was.” She flipped her hair extensions around like a genie from a long forgotten TV show. “Like, hold on,” Cinderella said as her hair-extensions swirled faster and faster.
A few seconds later, Muffet found herself transported to the snow-covered playground of an orphanage deep in the heart of Queens of Hearts. Children of all ages and sizes ran around laughing happily as they played dodgeball and other assorted games.
Too happily. Didn’t those snotty orphans know they had no one to love?
“Like, catch,” Cinderella yelled, throwing a glass slipper at Muffet’s head. Muffet ducked in time, then stepped forward to beat the ectoplasm out of good old Cindy.
But she stopped when she noticed a tiny blond girl with red and green bows in her hair and saddle shoes on her feet at the edge of the playground.
A group of older, taller girls stood in a circle around her, taunting her with cruel insults about her small stature.
Muffet ran toward the girl, her chest tight. “Don’t listen to them. Half end up selling their wares on the street corners. And the half other appear on Sixteen & Pregnant, Sixth Baby Daddy Edition.”
“She, like, can’t, like, hear you.”
“Say like one more time and I will pull that tiara out of your ass.”
Muffet waved her hand in front of the mean girls. When nothing happened, she kicked the tallest of them for good measure. But her saddle shoe went straight through the girl.
“I hated these girls.”
“No, you didn’t,” Cindy said quietly. “You, li…um…wanted to be like them.” She winced.
Muffet let that one slide, mostly because Cinderella had a point.
The little Muffet had wanted nothing more than to be a part of the in-crowd.
To be a part of something.
To be loved.
“I get it. I need to be more of a people person or else I’m going to die alone,” Muffet said with a frown. “You can take me home now.”
Cinderella snorted, an ugly sound coming from prettily painted lips. “I’m, like, the Ghost of Your Villainous Past. Not your therapist?”
Huge, shiny tears welled in the little girl’s eyes as the mean girls cruelly tossed insults at her.
While their attention was directed toward the small girl, a boy no bigger than the girl slipped his hands into each bully’s pockets, pulling out sugar plums, gingerbread men, and the occasional inhaler.
When he finished stealing from the girls, he pocketed his loot and headed off to a snow-coated evergreen tree behind the playground. Swirls of red and silver tinsel hung from its branches. The boy reached up, yanking the decorations from the closest boughs. His face grew red as he jumped to catch the taller branches.
A group of much larger boys noticed his efforts and rushed over.
To mock him.
“Don’t be such a Grinch,” they yelled, steam rising from their mouths with each callous word. “Why does Ebenezer hate Christmas so much? Is it because his whole family was killed when they went through the woods and over the snow to his Grandmother’s house?”
“Stop!” the boy cried.
“Grinch. Grinch. Grinch.” The older boys circled the younger one, dancing around him and the tree. They danced faster and faster…until they all fell down.
Due to the younger Muffet.
Who, when she first noticed the boys, had run to the classroom, grabbed some rope, and proceeded to string their legs together. Each time they went around the tree the rope grew tighter.
And Miss Muffet’s smile grew wider.
Finally, the rope dug into the boys’ calves, drawing blood.
From that moment on, the boys had run away whenever Muffet came out to play.
Once the boys hobbled away, Muffet cupped her hands and squatted. Ebenezer stepped into them, and she lifted little Ebenezer high into the sky. He tore off the Christmas decorations with joyous giggles.
Tinsel rained down like fire.
Little Ebenezer and Muffet became inseparable from that day on, spending every second together. In each other they found an equally villainous heart and an even greedier soul.
Ebenezer eventually grew upward as young boys without pituitary disorders do, leaving Muffet in height but not in heart. Then, when they were fifteen years old, something horrible happened.
Ebenezer was adopted by a kind, caring family.
The kind of family who sang carols, and not just around the holidays.
Ebenezer vowed to beat them to death with the sugar plums that danced in their sleep.
Muffet was no less angered by the monsters who adopted him. Didn’t the nuns who ran the orphanage do background checks? But, try as the pair might, the adoption went through.
The last time Muffet saw the only man she would or could ever love was as the bell tolled six times on Christmas Eve. She stood in the swirling snow, waving goodbye as the Scrooge family station wagon drove from the Our Lady of the Tramp orphanage, Ebenezer in the backseat. She could still hear his cries over the family’s boisterous rendition of “Joy to the World.”
Every time she heard that particular song, tears filled Muffet’s eyes.
“OMG,” Cinderella said dragging Muffet to the present. “Suck it up already. I was run over by a bus on purpose, and you don’t, like, hear me carrying on about it.”
“So what now?” Muffet asked Cinderella a few minutes later. Both women stood, or rather Muffet stood and Cindy floated, in Muffet’s bedroom. “Got anything more to show me?” Her lips curled into a deadly smile. “Maybe the time I lost my virginity to a fumbling elf in the back of a pumpkin?”
Cinderella sniffed, wiping a tear from her cheek as she patted the bloody clump of bare scalp she now bore instead of blond hair extensions. “No.”
“Like, really?” Muffet mocked.
“You really are a terrible person,” Cinderella declared.
Coming from a princess who’d stolen her stepsister’s fiancé a few days before their wedding, the statement hurt.
Muffet loved being a villain, but she didn’t view herself as a bad person.
Sure, sometimes she did what some might consider bad things. Okay, more than sometimes. But it was in her job description. And she was pretty sure at least half of her husbands had planned on doing her in. She had just gotten to the poison, roller skates, toaster, rock crusher, butter knife, ball gag, etc., first.
The tower clock down the street let out a string of bongs warning of the upcoming hour. Cinderella glanced down at Muffet’s alarm clock and yelped. “I can’t be late…to get this gown clean!”
And, with that, she vanished into thin air.
Muffet shook her head, sending her blond curls dancing. “I need a drink.”
“Make it a double, doll.”
A large, ectoplasmic blob appeared from the shadows. He wore a pair of jean shorts over his thin, white legs and a fedora on his egg-shaped head. Smoke curled from the cigar in his mouth.
Muffet wrinkled her nose. “Humpty, so good to see you again.”
Her voice dripped with sarcasm. The last time she’d run into the rotten egg was in East Egg Village when she served RJ with his “nice” leave papers.
She’d been minding her own business, gleefully stuffing the papers into RJ’s mailbox, when Humpty appeared out of nowhere. He had called her doll then too—as he pinched her ass.
If Asia hadn’t smashed his shell in a day later, Muffet would’ve done it herself. The only reason she hadn’t that day was that she didn’t want to get yolk on her freshly shined saddle shoes.
“Let’s just get this over with, shall we?” Humpty said. At Muffet’s nod he declared, “I am the Ghost of Villainous Presents. Heed my warnings, doll-face.”
“Heed my warning, dickhead,” Muffet said. “Call me doll-face again and I crack more than your shell.”
He laughed, sucking in a lungful of smoke. Then blew it directly in her face.
She started hacking, waving her arms around to dispel the smoke.
When it finally cleared, the sight in front of her stole what little breath she had left.
“Why?” she cried. “Why are you showing me this? No one should be forced to look upon such horror.”
Humpty laughed. “Babe, it’s a couple in love. What are you? Amish?”
“I love this,” the male part of the couple equation said to his female counterpart. “And this.” He leaned over, kissing the hollow of the woman’s neck. “Oh, and I especially like this—”
“RJ,” Asia Stiltskin gave her husband a playful smack. “Did you ask her?”
“Ow,” RJ howled, rubbing his chest where a red welt the size of a palm rose on his skin. When the welt receded a bit he turned back to his surprisingly strong wife. “Are you sure you want to talk about her now?”
The word her was spoken with such distaste that Muffet had to smile. Whoever she was, Muffet sure wanted to meet her. Anyone who caused RJ Stiltskin to lose an erection was a friend of hers.
Asia, her long red hair covering her naked breasts, nodded. “You did ask her?”
RJ rolled out of bed, in all his naked villainous glory. While RJ wasn’t half bad to look at, maybe a little short for Muffet’s taste (at merely six foot), she couldn’t stand his arrogance. He’d been put on “nice” leave for a reason. Not that it had done any good. He still did whatever he pleased, her orders be damned.
“I asked her all right.” He shook his head. “She declined.”
“Why?” Tears filled Asia’s eyes and RJ quickly ran to her side of the bed.
“Now, stop that.” He patted her arm like a typical ineffectual man. “She was busy. That’s all.”
Asia’s tears dried instantly, her eyes now burning. “Busy? What does that mean? She is too busy to join us for a pleasant meal!”
RJ backed up a step. “Sweetheart, please calm down. It’s no good for the baby.”
Baby? Asia was pregnant? That explained her mood swings. Part of Muffet felt elated at the news. Then she remembered that poor child would carry fifty percent Stiltskin DNA, and she shuddered.
“Sorry,” Asia said, stroking the baby bump that Muffet had failed to notice earlier. Why hadn’t Asia told her? “It’s just…she’s like a mother to me. A real mother. Not like my whack job of a family.”
RJ snorted. “Seriously? Muffet? Can’t you pick another mother figure? How about that goose? She’s motherly. Tasty, too…”
So Asia looked up to her. Muffet found tears rising in her own eyes. She supposed she could learn to live with the fifty percent of worthless Stiltskin DNA.
The lump in her throat vanished at Humpty’s voice in her ears.
“That bitch! She killed me!” The egg rushed forward, his arms flailing.
Muffet had no choice but to stick out one black-and-white saddle shoe.
Humpty hit it, flying through the air with the greatest of ease, then smashing on the hardwood floor. Yellow yolk pooled around his downed body.
Muffet scowled. Without Humpty she’d be stuck in Villainous Presents forever. Seeing RJ naked for the rest of her days promised to be its own hell.
“Dumpty, you okay?” she asked. “I’m sure it’s nothing a Band-Aid won’t fix.”
The ghost-egg on the floor said nothing.
Muffet moved closer. “Buddy? Pal?”
The stench of hundred-year-old eggs rose up.
She held her nose, gagging on the stench. “Okay, so I’m just going to head out…”
The egg still failed to respond.
Muffet ran to the door, yanking it open as the stench overwhelmed her, and tossed her gingerbread cookies into the snow-covered street.
“Hey,” a small voice yelped. “Watch it.”
Muffet glanced down, a motion she rarely had to do.
On the sidewalk in front of her stood a little pig, his hair windswept and sticking out in all directions. Thin pieces of straw poked out of him like a pincushion.
Muffet reached out to touch one. “Straw, really? What were you thinking?”
The little piggy frowned. “I was hung over.”
“Sticks and stones, Muffet.” He motioned to RJ and Asia’s little gingerbread house. “Looks like you’ve found yourself in a pickle.”
“Can you help me?”
He raised an eyebrow. “What? You thought I was hanging out on the street corner at two in the morning for my health?”
“Not really.” He was probably a homeless ghost. Sad, sure, but pigs in straw houses shouldn’t invite wolves over for cocktail wieners. “So you’re what? The Ghost of Very Stupid Piglets?”
“Hilarious,” he oinked. “Maybe you should take your show on the road. Oh. You can’t. Because you’re stuck here. With me.”
She flinched. “Okay, I’m sorry. Show me what you have to show me so I can get back to bed.”
“You are a little bossy thing.” He waggled his eyebrows. “I like it.”
His eyebrows rose and fell again and again, faster and faster.
Muffet blinked. A room had suddenly appeared around her. Okay, it was less of a room and more of an open barn filled with cobwebs. A pig slept in a straw bed on the floor. Cold winds swept through the barn and Muffet shivered.
“What’s with pigs and straw?” she asked.
Her little ghost pig didn’t comment.
She glanced around the barn, wondering just what she was supposed to see in there. A slight movement overhead caught her eye, and her spider employee appeared. What was his name? Donald? Bill?
Shit, she couldn’t remember. Muffet snapped her fingers. She had it. His name was Fred.
“Bob,” a voice called from the darkness in the rafters.
“Coming, Charlotte,” the spider responded. Muffet watched as he scurried to the darkness. Her eyes narrowed until she could make out the vague shape of another spider.
A bigger spider, sitting on a sac. And not the kind the big, fat jolly man carried.
Bob the Spider smiled at his lovely wife and their sac of offspring. Tonight they would celebrate the holiday with a little something extra. He reached into his pocket, taking out a cheese curd he’d stolen from Muffet’s half-eaten trash.
“Papa,” a smaller voice called from behind his mother. A tiny spider hobbled out to greet his father.
Muffet frowned, quickly counting the tiny spider’s legs, seven in all.
“Will you stay home with us tomorrow?”
“Yes, Tim.” Bob patted his son on the head with four of his legs. “Miss Muffet gave Daddy the day off.”
“After you begged,” Charlotte said with bitterness. “That woman. She’s a—”
“We must be thankful for what we have,” Bob said. “Do you know how many of our brothers and sisters are on the streets? Literally? Smashed on the streets?”
“God bless us, every—”
“Give it a rest, Tim.”
Muffet sighed. Now she was going to have to fire Bob for stealing her curds.
Life just wasn’t fair…
“I’m hungry,” the little ghost pig said. “What do you say we get something to eat?”
He didn’t wait for Muffet’s answer. Instead he waggled his eyebrows and the barn disappeared, replaced by the smell of cheap booze, stale smoke, and more than three men in need of a tub. A sign in the window flickered—Girls, Girls, Girls.
“What are we doing at a Little Bo Peep show? Besides watching the origin of herpes.” A man walked almost through her. She jumped back, startled. Then her eyes narrowed. “Son-of-a-cheating-bitch.”
“Who?” the little pig asked, straining to see over the large D-cups of the stripper in front of him. Muffet pointed to the corner, where the man who’d nearly walked through her was engaging in a lap dance. A very fishy lap dance with a not-so-little redhead with a tail fin.
“No wonder why our bed always smelled of tuna.” Muffet clenched her fists. “What’s the point of showing me this? I thought you wanted me to be a better person. This makes me want to find a new and very painful way to murder Moe.”
When the little pig didn’t answer, Muffet looked around for him. She spotted him by the bar trying to stuff pork rinds in his ghost-mouth. She wasn’t sure which was worse, a cheating spouse or watching a ghost cannibal.
Moe won out. She charged across the peep show.
“How dare you?” she yelled at her current, still-breathing husband, whose face was buried in a tanned pair of breasts.
When he didn’t stop motorboating the not-so-little mermaid, Muffet lost it.
She grabbed, or at least tried to grab, the stripper’s shoulders, to pull the woman off so she could skewer Moe with the nearest stripper’s stiletto heel.
But Muffet’s hands slipped right through the woman, enraging her even more. Her tiny hands curled into fists, and she swung at the mermaid’s head with no effect. Again and again she swung, jingling all the way. Finally, out of breath, Muffet dropped her arms, her eyes on the man she’d vowed to love, honor and cherish. Oh-for-three on that one.
“Let’s go over the plan again,” the not-so-little mermaid was saying to Moe.
Plan? What plan?
“You’re so bad,” he said in a wheeze. “Okay, here it is. I put enough special K in her wine box to knock out my little pony out for a week.”
The mermaid gyrated harder. “Tell me more.”
“Yes, baby. Yes,” he shouted, then quickly lowered his voice. “I drive her to the dock in the Old McDonald Had a Van I rented a few days ago.”
“That’s right,” the mermaid tossed back her head. Her bottle-red hair brushed against Moe’s engorged crotch. Sadly there was no obvious way to tell that Moe’s crotch was engorged. Yet another reason she had wanted him gone from her life.
Muffet rolled her eyes. She knew when a woman was faking even if Moe didn’t. This chippy was after more than seamen-stained pants.
Moe reached his climax as he screamed, “I toss her into the drink, and you and I can be together forever.”
The mermaid let out a shout of her own. “With all the villainous cash she’s stashed!”
Bastard. After all she’d done for and to him.
That was it. As soon as she got back to the real world she was going to start separation proceedings, as in separating Moe’s head from his body.
She’d exact revenge on the mermaid too.
Make her sleep with the fishes.
She glanced down at Moe, her voice filled with disgust and a hint of genuine regret. “I hope she gives you crabs, you moron.” She paused, her eyes on the mermaid. “And not the friendly ones you find under the sea.”
Muffet smacked the back of the little ghost pig who sat at the bar chowing down on the ghosts of pork rinds of many, many years past.
“What the hell? Why did you bring me here?”
He spun around, sucking in sharply. Then he grabbed at his throat and his face rapidly turned from piggy pink to blue.
“Are you all right?” she asked when his piggy eyes began to bulge.
When no sound emerged from his mouth, Muffet threw her arms around him, giving him the Heimlich.
Or trying to.
Each time her arms wrapped around his body and she jerked up, her hands went right through him. Again and again the same thing happened.
Finally, arms trembling, Muffet could do nothing more than watch as the little ghost piggy went wee, wee, wee all over the floor, and then expired on the spot.
Not that anyone but Muffet could see him. Strippers walked through his corpse on their way to entertain a group of dwarves in the corner that sang “Hi Ho” to every woman who passed.
Muffet stood there in her saddle shoes, unsure of what she’d done in a previous life for this to be her current one. “Unbelievable. What sort of idiot chokes on a pork rind?”
“Hey, it happens,” a voice said from behind her.
She took a long, deep breath before turning around, not surprised to see another little ghost piggy. This one was dressed in overalls with large brown stains on the front. He stood with his hoofs clenched together.
She said, “House made of sticks, I take it.”
The pig’s face curled up. “Do I look poor to you?”
She shrugged, not wanting to offend him. Although in his stained overalls, he didn’t look exactly well off.
“If you must know,” he said, “I expired after eating expired roast beef.”
“Right. Wrong set of little pigs.” She gave him a half smile. “So you’re here to show me what, exactly? Maybe that my house has termites? Or I have IBS?”
“Your house does have termites. You should get that looked at before some wolf comes along and blows it to shit. Trust me. It happened to a cousin of mine…”
He smiled, a porky grin. “I’m joking. Seriously, though, I do have something to show you. Follow me.”
He turned around, stepped over the dead ghost piggy on the floor, and headed out the door.
Muffet closed her eyes, cursing whoever or whatever was fucking with her this way.
Then she followed the little piggy who’d eaten bad roast beef into the darkness beyond the neon peepshow light.
The little piggy’s corkscrew tail twitched once, and then again.
Suddenly the darkness she’d stepped into only moments before faded, revealing a stunningly bright scene. Christmas lights filled a living room, as did a bunch of people in the ugliest sweaters she’d ever seen. A fire roared in the fireplace, sending off so much heat Muffet worried the piggy might turn into a pork rind.
“Joy to the World…”
Muffet groaned as everyone in the brightly decorated room joined in.
“The Lord is come…”
“Kill me now,” she said. “I can’t take it. Please. Enough is enough.”
The piggy snorted. “You think this is bad? Try living with one brother who is incontinent, another who suffers from anorexia, and yet another who’s agoraphobic. I sometimes wonder if I didn’t eat that expired beef just to get out of that place.”
He had a point. Just because Christmas songs—especially this one—gave her hives wasn’t any reason to give up. She could always get revenge on the carolers by messing with the gifts around the overly decorated tree, like she used to at the orphanage.
She glanced over to the distressed evergreen. To her surprise, a man was doing just that.
He picked up each gift, shook it hard, and then proceeded to switched the name tag with another one before moving on to the next.
Her heart leapt in her chest.
Maybe just maybe, she’d found husband number eighteen…or was it an even twenty?
No sooner had the thought filled her head than the man turned, his gaze on her as if he could actually see her.
Muffet’s mouth opened, but no sound came out.
A woman in the ugliest sweater Muffet had ever seen tapped the man’s shoulder, drawing his gaze.
“Merry Christmas, my love,” she said, running her hand over the small, in fact very small, diamond band on her finger.
The man stood, brushing off his pants. The woman gave him a smile, then pointed to the mistletoe above their heads.
The man glanced up, and then to the woman.
She leaned in for a kiss.
“I want to leave,” Muffet said to the pig. “Right now.”
“What?” he oinked. “We just got here. And it looks like they’re serving roast beef…”
“Now,” she demanded. “Or else.”
Her open-ended threat seemed to do the trick, for the little piggy waggled his tail again and darkness descended. Muffet took a steadying breath, her heartbeat slowly returning to normal.
A good thing, too, since she still had one ghost to go.
The Ghost of Villainy Yet to Come.
Bring it on, she thought. She was ready.
“I’m not ready,” Muffet yelled less than ten minutes later as the Ghost of Villainy Yet to Come arrived in her bedroom, looking very dapper. He stood a little over six foot tall, his skinny jeans and white puffy pirate shirt freshly pressed. His long blond hair fell around his shoulders.
He frowned. “Ready for what?”
“To die?” she ventured.
“It’s not as bad as you might think.”
She raised a smallish blond eyebrow.
“Fine.” He blew out a long breath.
She winced as his breath hit her nostrils. Apparently, in death, one’s breath didn’t get any better, it still stunk of snips, snails and puppy dog tails.
“The afterlife could be a little better. I mean, look at me.” He motioned to his clothes. “I’m stuck in this monstrosity.”
“The outfit does make you look a little…flamboyant.”
He sucked in a breath. “I was referring to my shoes. Loafers. I’m cursed to wear loafers for the rest of my days. All because of Stiltskin. What Asia sees in him…?”
“I know,” Muffet said, shaking her head.
“I’m Charming,” he said. “A man filled with intelligence and handsomeness, and yet, she choose him. A ruffian. A short one at that.”
Muffet hid a smile. In truth, RJ and Charming were roughly the same height. But she understood his point. “Perhaps if you hadn’t thrown her over for her stepsister in the first place…”
He rolled his eyes. “Women. Can’t live happily ever after with them, and you get in trouble when you kill them.”
Good thing the same didn’t hold true for murdering husbands. The thought of Moe’s soon-to-be violent end brought a smile to her lips. “Okay,” she said. “If I have to see what’s yet to come, let’s get it over with.”
Prince Charming shook his white blond locks and the room shifted, vanishing before Muffet’s eyes.
“I wonder who is going to take over for her.” Muffet’s eight-legged employee slid down his web as he posed the question to his fellow villainous cubicle dwellers, who each wore their best black funeral wear.
A goose wearing a bonnet and rubber boots honked once before answering, “Rumor is RJ Stiltskin is the heir apparent.”
“Mother,” the spider said to the goose. “You know how she felt about RJ.”
Mother Goose shook her bill. “I know.” She paused. “She loved him like a son.”
They all broke out in maniacal laughter.
The lone house on the hill looked even lonelier as men in work boots carried the furniture to a waiting moving van. Muffet flinched as she caught sight of Moe and his mermaid stripper smiling with glee as Muffet’s belongings were hauled away.
“She will be missed,” Moe said.
“Let’s hope so.” The mermaid paused. “Her body is in pretty shallow water.”
“You’re kidding me!” Muffet screeched. “Those two idiots murdered me? Stiltskin is taking my place at the union? What a joke. Don’t you have any good news to share?”
Instead of answering, Price Charming shook his flowing locks again.
The house on the hill vanished.
In its place stood a cemetery.
An icy wind swirled around the even colder marble headstones.
Charming pointed his bony, highly manicured finger at the tombstone in front of them.
“Oh, goody,” she mumbled. “I guess they found my body after all.”
Charming frowned. “That’s it? That’s all you have to say? Don’t you see? You’re dead.”
“Meh? Meh!” Charming growled. “I’ll show you something truly horrifying!”
And with a flip of his glossy locks, the cemetery disappeared.
Muffet found herself on the snow-covered streets of New Never City. Traffic crawled slowly by. Yellow cabs like ants on the way to a picnic lined the street in both directions. People strolled past as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Asia stood on the corner, and then came RJ pushing a baby carriage. Muffet moved closer. Charming apparently hadn’t seen the couple, as he was too busy staring at his reflection in the chrome of an office building half a block up.
“There, there, moppet,” Asia was saying to the toddler in the stroller. “Have one piece of candy. But no more.” She handed the young girl a lollipop, bright red in color—just begging to be stolen by a fiendish villain.
Half a block away stood just such a villain, a henchmen of great proportions with a completely shaved head and an impressive array of tattoos.
The little girl licked the candy.
The henchman stepped forward, his fingers flexing.
The henchmen and toddler were less than a foot apart.
The little girl dropped the lollipop.
And the henchman made his move.
“No!” Muffet yelled at the madness unfolding in front of her.
Unable to believe her eyes, she watched as the henchman stooped down, picking up the lollipop the little girl had dropped.
“Here you go, luv,” he said in a surprisingly high voice as he handed the candy back to her.
“Tank oo,” the little girl said.
Neither RJ nor Asia blinked at the awful words that had just spewed from their offspring’s lips.
She was being good.
“I won’t have it,” Muffet screamed. “I’ll change. I swear. Just don’t let this happen. Please.”
Her head started to swim, and she felt herself losing consciousness. Her body grew heavy.
So very heavy.
Eyes fluttering, Muffet started to fall…
Awareness came slowly back to Miss Muffet, who wasn’t sitting on a tuffet but rather reclining on a bed that felt just right under her bum. She blinked, trying to clear the sleep from her eyes. The clock down the street gonged six times.
She shot up in bed, remembering everything about the night before.
“It was just a dream,” she said to herself. Although the nightmare had felt very, very real. She glanced down at her hands, which smelled vaguely of eggs and sausage, as well as hair product. “It had to be a dream.”
A strange sound drifted through her window.
She rose from bed, wrapping her housecoat around her like a shield. Heading for the window, she feared what she would see.
But see it she would. Whatever today had in store for her, Muffet vowed to make the most of it. She threw open the window, gasping as the stench of evergreen struck her like a punch. The twinkle of Christmas lights against the freshly fallen snow gave her an instant headache.
A young lad strolled by whistling a Christmas tune.
“Hey,” she yelled. “You there.”
“Do you see any other moron on the street this early in the morning?”
“Um, no, Miss.”
“That’s right. Now hold on a second,” she said as she motioned for him to wait. Thirty seconds later, she returned, this time with a large bucket in her hands. Carefully, she steadied it on the windowsill.
“Son,” she said, “I am doing this for the greater bad.”
Taking aim, she dumped the bucket of icy water onto the boy’s head.
He screeched, leaping around as high as a dozen douchey lords.
She smiled as the boy ran off, shivering.
“Happy holidays,” she mocked.
Six hours later, Muffet raised her hand to knock on the front door of a nice enough gingerbread-like house in Easter Egg Village. A house she’d visited once before.
She stopped before knuckle met wood.
Taking a deep breath, she thought of the scene that had played out in the middle of the night. She now knew what she had to do. For, if she didn’t, all of villainy would be doomed.
Closing her eyes, she quickly rapped on the wood.
The door flew open a few seconds later.
“Muffet?” RJ Stiltskin said, surprise showing in every octave of his rising voice. “What are you doing here?”
Her lips stretched into a grimace that twisted into a smile. “You invited me, didn’t you?”
“RJ, honey, who is it?” Asia appeared in the doorway, her baby bump bigger than it had been the night before. “Muffet,” she yelled. “You came!”
Miss Muffet smiled with genuine, pure happiness for the first time in as long as she could remember. “I wouldn’t have missed it.”
“Please, come in. I have someone I want you to meet…” Asia motioned her inside, then headed off to settle an argument between her sister’s husband and her own husband’s closest friend, Jean Michael, before blood was spilled.
Muffet tried to follow her, but RJ blocked her way. He gazed down at the smaller woman.
“Listen up,” he said, his voice low. “For some reason Asia likes you. If you so much as make her frown I will rip those saddle shoes off your feet and beat you to death with them.” He smiled. “Got it?”
For a brief moment Muffet understood why Asia had chosen this arrogant villain out of all the other villains and princes in the world. Hell, she might almost start to like him. A little bit.
“Where’s Moe?” he asked, ruining the moment. “I thought for sure we’d either be seeing him tonight…or attending his funeral very soon.”
She laughed, leaning in so only RJ could hear as she pictured Moe choking to death on the toe of a decaying tiger. “I’d put my money on the latter.”
“Guess you found out about the mermaid.”
The humor left her face. “You knew?”
“You didn’t?” He shook his head. “The guy stunk like mackerel every time he came by the office.”
She should’ve paid better attention.
To a lot of things.
Her gaze locked on Asia, who stood across the room, her arms out wide as two men yelled insults at each other at the end of either hand.
“When is the baby due?” Muffet asked, both changing the subject and getting to the reason she was there in the first place. That baby was the future of all villainy. The only way Baby Stiltskin would ever utter the words thank you would be over Muffet’s dead body.
“What?” He took a step back. “How did you know that Asia’s pregnant? We just found out ourselves.” He lowered his voice. “We weren’t going to tell anyone until at least she was two months along.”
Muffet brow wrinkled. “She’s not even eight weeks along?”
“Doctor said six weeks at the most.”
He shook his head.
RJ grinned. “I don’t care. Asia is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Two hundred pounds of baby or not.”
Muffet smiled again. If she kept this up, her facial muscles were bound to freeze that way.
No use taking such a risk. Her lips thinned to a straight line. “I want to talk to you about work,” she said.
He rolled his eyes. “I’ll come to your office first thing tomorrow.”
“Come on, Muffet,” he said. “It’s Christmas. Can’t it wait until tomorrow?”
“You misunderstand,” she said. “I don’t want to see your short, ugly face for the rest of the week. Hell, make that two weeks.”
He took another step back, this one much greater. “Are you on administrative ‘nice’ leave? Is that what this is?”
She snorted. “Like I’m a screw-up like you.”
“So what the deal then?”
“No deal,” she said. “I’m giving the entire union two weeks off for the holidays.” She paused, the words settling into her heart. “It’s the least I can do.”
To ensure her villains would continue to steal candy from babies, run over well-dressed princes, and impregnate the easiest of princesses.
“Thanks,” he said, unsure. “Come on in, let’s get us both a drink.”
He ushered her inside, still keeping his distance as if the other saddle shoe would drop at any moment.
Muffet grinned. She’d found a new way to torture RJ. It was the best time of the year after all.
“Muffet,” Asia called, drawing Muffet’s attention.
A man, his clothes expensive but from a few years ago, stood next to Asia. Muffet’s mouth was opening and closing in disbelief. It was him. The man from last night. The one shaking the presents.
The one who’d kissed his wife under the mistletoe.
The man smiled at Muffet, rising to his feet.
She slowly stepped forward.
He matched her step. And then took another of his own.
She did the same.
Finally they met in the middle.
“Ebenezer,” she said, her voice shaking. “Is it really you?”
He nodded. “I thought of you often over the years…”
“…Every Christmas,” they said in unison.
“What do you say we go steal some candy from a baby?” he asked, his eyes burning into hers.
“What about your wife?” Muffet asked, tentatively.
He grinned. “Signed the divorce papers last night, right after she made me kiss her under a weed. I came over to have RJ notarize them, and Asia asked me to stay for dinner. Imagine my surprise when you walked through the door.” He paused, gripping her arms. “So what do you say? Want to ruin someone’s holiday? I know have the perfect guy in mind, his name is Bob Cratchit…”
“I’d like that.” Taking his hand in hers, she squeezed his fingers tight. Tighter than necessary, but he didn’t flinch. His eyes remained locked on her face. “But I have an even better idea,” she said.
“Yeah?” he said, eyes alight.
“How do you feel about canning some tuna?”
One year later to the day, as the bell tolled six times, a blond-haired baby boy entered the world. Thankfully in a hospital rather than a manger. His father had nearly passed out when he saw the expensive bundle of joy.
His mother, her blond curls drenched with sweat, had merely smiled.
As the baby punched the nurse in the eye.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a villainous night.
Happy holidays or Christmas in July if you picked this up after the holidays. It was wonderful to revisit Miss Muffet, along with RJ and Asia from CURSES! They started me down this F***ed-Up fairytale path, and I’m so happy and thrilled you’ve come for the ride.
Anyway, if you have questions or comments about the book or anything (I have an extensive collection of toenail clippings if you’re interested in a light-hearted trimming discussion), please email me at . I’d love to hear from you.
Also, if you have the time, please leave a review. Good or bad. However, I do like the good ones much better.
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer
Please take a moment to [+ sign up for my Readers’ Group+]. You’ll receive a free ebook and monthly (when I get off my ass to write them) newsletters filled with useless knowledge and fun facts.
J.A. Kazimer is a writer living in Denver, CO.
When she isn’t looking for the perfect place to hide the bodies, she spends her time surrounded by cats with attitude and a little puppy named Killer. Other hobbies include murdering houseplants, kayaking, snowboarding, reading and theater.
In addition to studying the criminal mind, Kazimer spent a few years spilling drinks on people as a bartender and then wasted another few years stalking people while working as a private investigator in the Denver area. You can find her online at .
A Very F***ed-Up Valentine’s Day Tale
A racy red-hooded woman going over the river and through the dark and dangerous woods.
A less-than-sweet granny with a love of treats.
And a big (in many), bad (in even more ways) wolf with a plan.
What could go wrong?
A Very F***ed-Up Sugar & Spicy Tale
Nothing is as sweet as it seems at the Sunrise Senior Living Community, especially the Red Velvet cake.
A murderer is killing available bachelors as fast as kittens can lose their mittens. But Mother Hubbard is on the case, along with her wooden-legged lover, Geppetto.
Follow them down the rabbit’s hole and into the twisted fairy tale known as senior living and dying.
From the author of CURSES! comes a very f***ed-up version of the Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol. She's not your fairy godmother's Scrooge. And this ain't no wonderful life. On Christmas Eve, Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, plotting the murder of yet another husband, when along came a spirit with some bad news--tonight she will be visited by three ghosts. According to the spirit, Miss Muffet, VP of Dastardly Deeds at New Never City's Villainous Union, must change her fiendish ways or else suffer a fate worse than curdled curds. As the bell tolls one, she begins her journey through her wicked past as a very short orphan, her depraved present, and a future terrifying enough to make her toss her gingerbread cookies. Can she change? Better yet, will she? Don't forget the other Very F***ed-Up Tales available now: A Very F***ed-Up Valentine's Tale A Very F***ed-Up Sugar & Spicy Tale