The continuing fight against the fairy tale hit squad.
Fee-fi-fo-fum: we all know the rhyme of the giant that wants to grind the bones of an Englishman to make his bread, made famous by the nursery rhyme of Jack and the Beanstalk; The Jolly Green Giant on the other hand, is a distant cousin, that wants nothing more than to kill you with his laughter. Eight to nine feet tall in his stocking feet and dressed all in green, makes him a sight to behold. And his laugh - a very deep baritone sound that deafens and grinds one’s mind to mush and given enough time even bones.
The days we spent taking out the Brute Squad are mostly a blur to me now. It was a time of unrelenting pursuit with no moment to rest or catch a breath. As I look back upon that time of travail that I have tried to forget, what I remember most is the Stranger. His calmness and cool nature in a crisis. More so this time than many others, the reason is that with the demise of this group we were getting ever closer to the Dreamer, this was close to the final card he had to play. There wasn’t a lot more to throw at us. Although getting pass the next two members of the squad was not exactly a picnic.
We confronted the Jolly Green Giant at an abandon construction sight. The Stranger realised we needed strength to fight strength. Bricks, mortar, lumber; it was all used as weapons against the leviathan. “Draw him toward me,” the Stranger shouted, “we’ll show the big lug whose boss.” I did as I was told, it was close, but I managed to lead the giant beneath scaffolding with a ton of bricks above that the Stranger collapsed upon him. It was enough to kill any creature - human or otherwise. But the Jolly Green Giant just shrugged it off, picked himself up, dusted himself off and then continued after us.
He turned the tables against us. Picking up lumber and bricks and hurling them at us - including a god damn cement mixer. And the laughter - it wouldn’t stop - it just kept on and on like some bad joke that wouldn’t go away. The situation became desperate. We tried to trap him in wet cement. The only problem was that I stumbled and fell in myself. It was like quicksand. It slowed me down. I tried to move but it was so hard and my whole body was sluggish. The Giant loomed tall above me, hands on hips, legs apart, laughing, laughing, laughing. I felt my head begin to explode. The stabbing pain was unbearable. He had me dead to rights. And that was the other thing, he never talked, never uttered a word other than laughter. They say laughter is the best medicine for what ails you; in this case it couldn’t be further from the truth.
As my mind and body began to implode. As the world around me began to grow dark. As a trickle of blood came out of my nose and ears and as my eyes started to expand. The Stranger once more came to my rescue.
“Eat this dirty long legs!” he cried.
The Stranger had hopped a crane and swung a massive wrecking ball at the Jolly Green menace. CRACK - SNAP - POP - the solid metal ball went careening into him, wiping the smile and laughter right off of his face. The Giant was sent flying and before he could recover or try anything, the Stranger deftly raised the ball and brought it crashing down upon the Jolly Green Giant’s head. It wasn’t a pretty sight but it closed the curtain on this particular grim fairy tale.
“Three down - three to go,” the Stranger said to me a short time later as he helps me clean up. The cement that covered me was beginning to harden and thicken.
“Damnit....I feel like shit.”
“Let’s get you cleaned up.”
But that was wishful thinking.
A few minutes later the fourth member of the Brute Squad came upon us - the Wicked Witch. North, east, south, west, she went by many names and it wasn’t any ruby slippers she was after this time. “Well my pretties,” she cackles, “time for a little magic.”
“Bring it on!” The Stranger yells in defiance. “I dare you - you old crone.”
“Oh - I will - I most defiantly will,” she cackles incessantly.
“I can barely move,” I quickly inform the Stranger.
“Get down!” He yells in warning as a fireball comes hurtling our way. As I fell to the ground I felt the hair on the back of my neck singe. The fire bomb exploded a few feet away. This was quickly followed by several more. The ground exploded around us. I survived the barrage due to the fact that the Stranger pushed me forcefully back into the cement. While he took cover behind a fallen down brick wall which seem to offer very little cover.
“We need water,” the Stanger tells me. Just like in the story water is her weakness. But saying we need water was easier than getting it. Especially when the Wicked Witch jumped on her broomstick and begun dive bombing us and hurtling her spells at us, well, I should say the Stranger - I was stuck in the cement.
“I’ll turn you into a little toad Stranger,” she threatens, “as payback for all my brothers and sisters you’ve done away with.”
“Keep talking wart face.” The Stranger taunts.
“Wart, we’ll see who’s the wart, yes I’ll turn you into the wart on a frog.”
“Where’s a falling house when you need one?” I wondered.
But for all her threats she couldn’t nail the Stranger down. He was fast, deceptively so. She cast spell after spell at him; fireballs - ice balls - incantations - hocus pocus - toil and trouble: the old bat threw the witches’ spell book at him. And with each miscast the Wicked Witch got angrier and more frustrated and she began to make mistakes.
As always the Stranger had a plan. It was the ice balls. As he dodged her attacks he made sure that the ice balls fell into a nearby cement mixer or wheelbarrow. Then when they had melted enough, the Stranger struck. He quickly grabs a bucket and fills it with water which he then throws over the Wicked Witch. The first two miss - but the third and forth ones don’t.
“Nooooo!” She screeches, before uttering the immortal words: “I’m melting - I’m melting.” And that was the end of the Wicked Witch and the fourth member of the Brute Squad.
The Stranger makes his way over to me and helps me up out of the soggy and rapidly drying cement. “Now, let’s get you cleaned up and out of here before the others come,” he suggests.
“You’ll get no argument from me.”
“I always hated the story of the Wicked Witch - she took my granddad, you know,” the Stranger says bitterly.
“You’ve had a few of your family members taken by these creatures, haven’t you.”
He says nothing for several seconds before: “They say revenge is a dish best served cold - they’re wrong.”
How right he was.
The revenge of the final members of the Brute Squad was anything but cold.
Peter Jessop © August 2015
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"Fractured Fairy Tales Part 9 - The Brute Squad part 2"
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|Reviewed by Eva Pasco
|I enjoyed reading your own firebrand of a fairy tale. A clever idea you had, indeed, to take on the "grim" task of doing these characters in one by one--with a little help from a friend.|