Excerpt from the first tale, “Binderella, the girl who lives in a dustbin”

“A whole bag full of poisoned apples? You have a reason for this, I presume?”

“There are a lot of bad souls out there, sometimes one apple is just not enough.”

She looked off into the distance, as if she had just said some­thing deeply profound, something with a lot of meaning, some­thing that we all needed to mull over. And fair enough, there was a big philosophical debate there all right, waiting to be pried open. An in-depth discussion on the nature of Good versus Evil perhaps, or crime and punishment, and so on.

But now was not the time. For one thing the guards saw us (I think they have telescopes too, quite a useful tool in fairytales, don’t you think?) and they were calling us over, waving at us with their big armour-plated arms, their strong silver gloves, their chainmail glimmering in the sun. (How do they wear all that heavy stuff? And in this weather?)

We stood before them, a little too nervously for my liking.

“Who are you? And what are you doing here?”

I had to think fast on my smelly feet.

“We are a circus troupe. We are here to perform for the prince and the princess.”

“Just the five of you? Aren’t those two just rats?”

“I can act! I can act!” squealed Amor, her voice high, her tem­per rising.

“We are enough,” I said, “sufficient… at least to do a few scenes from Shakespeare. Twelfth Night perhaps? A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Or whatever the prince himself fancies.”

“Shakespeare? What the hell’s that?” said one of the burly guards, and he wasn’t joking. He shook one of his spears to see if he was on the right track.

I sighed. Really, what was the world coming to? He’d never heard of William Shakespeare?

“The prince only fancies a gulp or two of moonjuice these days. Nothing else.”

“Yeah, a gulp or two,” laughed the other guard. “Or three or four or five.”

“We can just do a little drama, or comedy,” I said. “This is all at the prince’s request, you know.”

They looked at me doubtfully.

“I’m not big on telling lies. I’m a big believer in truth, and I don’t like all this Fake News stuff that gets strewn about these days (it’s far more toxic than the garbage I live in). But sometimes a little fib is called for, in situations like this.

The guard checked his papers.

And when he couldn’t find anything in his papers he pulled out his mobile phone.

“Let me just check my schedule app.”

“You guys have mobile phones?” I said, incredulously.

“Yeah, why wouldn’t we?”

“Um, well, I don’t know, it just seems kind of wrong, doesn’t it, I mean we are in the middle of a fairytale here, it just seems kind of…”

“What? Seems kind of… what?”


“I have no idea what that means. For a smelly little thing you sure have some educated words on you.”

“It means out of place. Like it doesn’t fit in.”

“Yeah, well, this isn’t a normal fairytale is it? It’s more of a skewed fairytale. An alternative fairytale, if you will. An irreverent take on fairytales.”

Don’t worry, folks. He wasn’t using these words of his own accord. He was reading a review of this very book on the Internet using his mobile.”

Illustration © Sotiris Hatzivasiliou