“And How Does That Make You Feel, Cinderella?”
"You have no self-esteem, Cinderella," Dr. Grimm said as he looked at her reclining on the other end of the couch. "We've been through this. Have you tried the affirmations I recommended?"
"Like, 'I'm the fairest of them all?' or "'I'm going to live happily ever after,'" or even, "'I'm not too hot or too cold--I'm--"
"Just right,'" the psychiatrist finished for her. "Yes, those are a good start," he said, encouraging her.
"Or, One side, Rapunzel, I have the most beautiful long hair and--guess what?--I'm not even trapped in a tower." How 'bout that one?
"Well, now remember, we can't make ourselves feel better by making someone feel worse, right? Not the way to self-esteem."
"Do you blame me? After all, for starters," she mumbled, "look what they named me. After they gave me the job of sweeping the cinders out of the fireplace and the chimney. The irony is just so overwhelming!"
"More like sarcasm with a touch of spite. But it's kind of pretty, in its own way," the doctor said to reassure her.
"Yea, well what about my other names, after my other jobs?"
"Like..." he goaded her.
"Like Dust Bunny. Or ShitShovella. RattaPooie. Excremetia. PigStyessa. GraveRobberta. DiaRRhita--do I really need to go on?"
"What about your fairy godmother? Has she been around lately?"
"Hmmph!" Cinderella scowled. "No, she's all wrapped up in some wooden puppet whose nose keeps growing. I can only imagine what's in her for it."
"You mean what's in it for her?"
"You heard me right the first time."
"What about Snow White? You two were very close at one time."
"She's got her own problems," Cinderella said, then lowered her voice to a whisper. "She doesn't know which dwarf is the father."
"Well, isn't that easy? What I mean is...just see which one's the happy one."
"Very funny," she told the doctor. "Even so, I told her that, and she said now that she's pregnant, there aren't any ones named Happy anymore. There's just Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, Bashful, and Horny. And to add insult to injury, all seven of 'em went to the brave, little tailor in town and had a belt made for her that is embroidered with, 'Seven at one blow.'"
"No, it's really just gross!"
"Don't you have any other friends?" he asked, redirecting her.
"I know a kindly woodcutter," she answered. "But, you know, how many times can you listen to him when you ask him 'How was your day?' I remember one day I asked him--and his answer?"
"'I chopped 49 pieces of wood. Not too shabby.' And I asked him, 'Anything else?' And he says, 'Um, lemme think. Oh, and I slaughtered that wolf at Grandma's.' And I say, 'Oh, yes, and that."
"Hmm. I see. Yes, there's that." He paused a psychiatrist's moment. "And your neighbors?"
"What about my neighbors?"
"Those pigs?" she seethed. "How'd you like to live next to three pigs? Sure, they're three little pigs now, but they're gonna be three godawful big pigs soon. I can't take the smell as it is."
"Didn't you send the big, bad wolf to huff and puff and blow their houses down?"
"My woodcutter friend, remember? It's hard to keep a big, bad wolf around. And even before that, my wolf had COPD. He couldn't have even wheezed one down if it was made of hay. No, he just hung out at Red Riding Hood's grandma's place."
"Isn't that where you met the other kindly woodsman?"
"Yea. I don't know what there is about Grandma's place. Must be Grandma, I suspect. It gets the wolves and gets the woodsmen. And the wolves just keep on coming; and the woodsmen just keep on coming."
"Cute, Dr. Grimm. The whole thing turned out really ugly. Now Red's up to her ass in woodsmen and wolf guts. She won't even speak to me, the little bitch."
"You clearly have woodsman's issues."
"No. I just have happily-ever-after issues. And no thanks to you and your affirmations. Do you know how many affirmations there are in fairy tales? Well, let's see, between 'Once upon a time' and that 'Happily ever after' thing, there are...um..none! That's how many! You want self-esteem? I rode to the ball smushed in a pumpkin with rats pulling me. Watching the damn clock all evening. Running until I lost a shoe, and the one I was wearing broke and now I've got 27 stitches I had to have sutured by Doc at Snow White's cottage."
"What about that stalker you have who you told me about a couple of weeks ago?"
"Stalker? What stalker?"
"Jack, I think."
Cinderella laughed. "Jack? No, you're confused. He's the bean-stalk guy. Stalker? Ha! Yea, lemme tell you about Jack, the little shit. He's got the goose that lays golden eggs and a singing harp."
"The harp sings?"
"Well, if you call it singing. It's more like bad rap--'Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum, Gonna tap that be-atch in the bum...gonna hit that thang--'"
"Spare me, please."
"Well, I asked him if I could borrow the goose. I'm a little behind on my tithes, y'know. And you know what he tells me?"
"No, what?" Dr. Grimm asked.
"He said, 'Over my dead body.'"
"Well, that's a thought."
"Ain't that the truth," she said menacingly.
"Latrina. That's my new name. Last week it was Maggerite. Before that it was Scabbarelda. My life, ladies and gentlemen. Shee."
"Suddenly, Cinderella doesn't sound so bad, does it?" Dr. Grimm asked. "Look," he continued, "I know how wicked your stepmother is and how ugly your stepsisters are. But look on the bright side, the handsome Prince is scouring the kingdom looking to see whose foot fits into that other glass slipper."
"If it doesn't shatter. It should have been made of polycarbonate. With the stitches and the swelling, no way. He's gonna pass me right up and move on to my ugly stepsisters and their ugly smelly feet."
"Isn't it your other foot he's going to be looking for?" Dr. Grimm pointed out. Cinderella didn't hear that; she was on a roll.
"He's not that handsome, by the way. And I can just picture that fungus-toed sister of mine trying to cram her fat Fred Flintstone yellow-nailed foot into it. Three pounds of shit in a one-pound bag, if you ask me. Hell, the stink alone would be enough to blow him away."
"So I've heard," Dr. Grimm agreed. "Would you like to know what I recommend?"
"Poison apples for the girls tonight? Painting a mustache on that mirror--too late--Ha! she already has one! Sprinkle a trail of troll-chow to their bedchambers? Or should I just call the Wicked Witch Problem-Solving Service?"
"They have a service now?"
"Yep. 1-800-EAT KIDS. You want someone to sleep, like, forever? You want a couple of kids pushed into an oven? They even got a guy on their team, Rumpel-something, who's all into firstborns."
"Oh, him! Don't even get me started," the psychiatrist huffed.
"You know him?"
"Yea. I know him, the son of a bitch. Got my own firstborn." His eyes began to tear. "Spinning gold! Why does everyone fall for that? Tearing himself in two was too good for him. You can quote me on that."
"Oh," she cooed, "I'm so sorry for your--Oh! Now I remember! Rumpelstiltskin, that's his name. Yea."
"You know his name!"
The mood in the office changed. The psychiatric rapport evaporated, and Dr. Grimm's face became hard.
"Stick with Cinderella," he advised sternly. "Just try to find a way to be proud of what you do. Be all defiant about it. I'm tired of listening to all of your whining and sibling rivalry drama. Don't be a pussy!"
"A pussy?" Cinderella bristled. "Oh, don't worry about that name," she said. "That's my next job."
"We'll take that up next week. You can pay at the window."
"I don't have anything small on me," she said, still angry. "Can you break a golden egg? Or how 'bout a singin' harp?"
Then she stormed out, but still so lovely as ever.