Once upon a time, you brat, there was a spoiled little prince who wouldn’t eat his dinner if he didn’t want to, and nobody could make him because he was a prince.
And one day, there was fish for dinner and the fish on the prince’s plate was green and purple, and the prince wouldn’t eat it because he said it looked nasty. But that night the prince woke up screaming, saying he dreamed that a huge green and purple fish stood over his bed and said “You’ll have me, brat, one way or another!”
And every year, on the anniversary of not eating his fish, he dreamed the same terrible dream. One day when he was king, he came home from holiday with his sweetheart, and said he was going to marry her. She was very beautiful but her skin and hair were always damp and she had big eyes that didn’t blink, and she wore green and purple all the time. And the king married her.
And the night after they married there was a terrible scream from the royal bedroom, and they found the king lying in the big royal bed completely mad, and the damp lady was nowhere to be seen but on the pillow beside the king was a little green and purple fish! And the king was mad for the rest of his life, and if you don’t eat your greens now, you little creep! The Damp Lady will come and turn you mad too! No, it would not be more fun than spinach!
(Reprinted with permission from “Ethylor Voices: Effects of phenolic toxicity on the folkloric imagination in Ichor Falls, Mason County.” Hiram Whipporwill, Miskatonic University Press 2007.)
I stood in the driveway as I watched my client, Arthur Acton, walk towards me in a smart business suit. The man said he wanted to live in one of the town’s more rustic residences, not in any of the new developments. He chose this as the first house he wanted to visit; it has been on my roster for as long as I’ve shown houses in this town. I tried to steer him towards others, but he was adamant about the place.
“People don’t usually ask to see this house, Mr. Acton. They don’t like the fact that the entire family died just after the Ethylor summer from brain cancer.”
“Then it would be very beneficial to you if I take this place off your hands,” Mr. Acton said as he put his hands into his pockets and smiled. Even though I knew he was right, I still wasn’t comfortable with the idea of someone living here.
“All righty,” I said as I fumbled with my key ring until I found the correct one. The door unlocked with a barely audible click and the door drifted inwards. The mist that clung to the town hadn’t been kind to this house over the years. The faded wallpaper was peeling in more places than not, and from the sounds of the scratching in the walls, a nest of rats had taken up residence. Even the floorboards seemed to be warped from the moisture. I’d lost countless parties at this point — I was sure he was going to walk out on me, but I turned to see him practically beaming.