So, I missed the jump on the whole 'Once Upon a Twilight' contest. However, here's something that's a little more...tongue in cheek than usual - and coming from me, that means a lot. Enjoy.


The Pixie & The Shoemaker

Once upon a time, in a kingdom so far away that you could only buy quality footwear from a catalogue, there lived a shoemaker. The shoemaker's name was Jasper, and he ran a small boutique in the centre of a township which went by the name of Forks. Despite having a livelihood and living in a bustling, busy market town (which should have pleased anyone working in the commercial sector), Jasper was unhappy. He was unhappy because he was poor, and he was poor because nobody bought his shoes. Of all the calamities that had befallen him (vengeful Mexican ex-girlfriends, bad scarring from an exploding shoehorn incident, an inability not to overcook pasta), this was the worst. Jasper simply could not understand why his tough, hardwearing wooden clogs refused to move from the shelves.

And so all year, Jasper the shoemaker lived in poverty. Finally, on a late, star filled night in September, Jasper sat down in his parlour and put his clogged feet up before the fire. A cat entered through the workshop door and leapt up onto the arm of the chair, and Jasper stroked its head absentmindedly.

"I don't know, Galveston –" (for thus was the cat's name) he said aloud. "I only have the wood left for one pair of clogs, and all these rippling muscles I have gained from endless tree chopping will be for naught, as I cannot afford a wife. I cannot even countenance consorting with Maria again –" (for the bitch had been whiny, insecure, and had always left the toilet seat up – a curious habit for a woman). Jasper sighed. "All I have is you, Galveston, and you too will leave me when you find out there is no more fish. I can't even afford a rope to hang myself with, so I don't even have a dignified way out of this situation. Galveston –" And again, he stroked the head of his only friend. "What shall I do?"

Unfortunately for Jasper, Galveston had no answer. The seriously sexy shoemaker went to bed with a sigh, wondering how expensive poison would be, and whether or not it would be easier to pick the rotten food out of the gutter as he always did. Galveston, however, kept his own counsel – there had been a queer smell in the workshop that night, and he had an inkling that he and his master might not be in such dire straits after all.

Jasper the shoemaker woke up the next morning feeling not very refreshed at all. His dreams had been haunted by flashes of black and white, large ginger cats, and an irresistibly sweet voice singing 'Louisiana Hot Sauce' with enough force and vehemence to make the lead paned windows rattle. After dumping a bucket of icy water over his head (for he could not afford a shower, or, for that matter, a hot water heater), Jasper pulled on his rough, shoemaker's jerkin and his rough, shoemaker's breeches and went into his workshop. When he saw what was sitting on the table, he gasped. "What can this be?" He cried, for he had never seen shoes of the like which took pride of place on his workbench. They were a deep, velvety fuchsia, with high high heels and jet beading intricate enough to make a grown man weep. Next to the shoes, there was a note.

Dear Mr Shoemaker, it read. Why don't you make your shoes out of leather, dumbass? Haven't you ever heard of chafing? The note continued to insult Jasper's shoemaking efforts over several excruciating paragraphs until the writer finally seemed to exhaust themselves. The last section read:

And what about arch support? Sweet Jesus, it's no wonder your cat looks so stringy! Anyway, I made these for you with some materials I just happened to have on me. Don't make me bail your sorry ass out again.
With reluctant affection,
Your friendly neighbourhood elf.
P.S. Please sleep in the buff next time.

"Goodness gracious!" Jasper exclaimed, and Galveston poked his head round the door to see what had roused his master's long dormant sense of amazement. "These shoes are revolutionary! They're a marvel! They're a miracle! They're a –"

"Meow?" inquired Galveston.

"Of course I'm going to put them on display, you silly cat! These shoes will be the saving of our bacon! We may even actually be able to afford bacon after all this time – I've quite forgotten what it tastes like!"

Thus, the keyed up shoemaker placed the shoes in his window, and not very surprisingly they were soon sold. The lady who bought them had long golden hair, enormous blue eyes, and was rich enough that she didn't carry petty cash on her for fear of looking cheap. Jasper gratefully accepted her money and immediately went on a frenzied shopping spree around town, buying everything he and his house required (including some actual pants, a front door, a roof, and the all important fish for Galveston). Last but not least, he followed the recommendations of his mysterious helper, buying the leather for two pairs of shoes and leaving it on the workbench, as before. He went to bed with a wide smile on his face, and absolutely no clothes on whatsoever.

Jasper was up with the larks the next morning, and entered his workshop to find two beautiful, sparkling pairs of shoes waiting for him. One pair was aquamarine blue, encrusted with tiny pearls, and the other was forest green, the stitching and uppers picked out in glittering gold thread. There was also, of course, another note.

Dear Mr Shoemaker,
Where the hell do you get off, trying to make me do your dirty work? Who died and made you king of Forks, huh? Listen up and listen good, a-hole – I'm
not. Helping. You. Again. Learn to do it yourself, and for God's sake remember the arch support!
With reluctant affection,
Your friendly neighbourhood elf.
P.S. I like your ass.

"This foul mouthed person must be an angel in disguise!" The shoemaker cried, hurriedly placing the shoes in his window. "I don't know what the hell this arch support is, but I'm damn well going to find out!"

And so it continued. Every night, Jasper would leave out a wider supply of leather, fabric and decorations, and every morning there would be a plethora of perfectly made, perfectly sized shoes. The letters too got more and more vulgar, ending with suggestions and comments on his physique that made even Galveston blush. Jasper, however, was both intrigued and haunted by the high, sweet singing that filled his dreams. The nighttime caroller had a seemingly endless repertoire – from Broadway tunes to chart topping songs of the day, she (or he – after all, his mysterious singer could feasibly be a castrati) knew them all.

Jasper soon grew rich from the labours of the creature which dubbed itself his 'friendly neighbourhood elf'. He managed to move out of the village's seedy downtown and into the suburbs, and thence into an uptown penthouse. And wherever he went, the helper and the sweet singer followed.

A year after the shoemaker had received his first pair of shoes from the elf, he was once again sitting in front of the fire, accompanied only by a fat, sleek and very satisfied Galveston. The pair lounged on an artistically contoured sofa, watching the flames flicker and change within their very expensive, carefully designed glass bubble. It was in that moment that Jasper hit upon an idea, an idea so magnanimous and miraculous and simply marvellousthat he was amazed that he hadn't thought of it before. "Galveston!" He bellowed, shocking the cat who leapt from the sofa with a hiss. "I have it! For so long I have desired to see the creature who has been the source of my fame and fortune, and now I have found a way to do it!" He lowered his voice, leaning conspiratorially towards the cat. "I will stay up late, Galveston – hiding under the workbench, you see – and wait for this enigmatic aide to appear!"

And so he did. As Galveston stood sentinel at the door, Jasper waited beneath the workbench (very cramped due to his six feet and three inches of height). Finally, on the stroke of twelve, a white mist filled the room. It swirled in spiralling, dizzying circles, sneaking under the furniture and threatening to make Jasper sneeze. But the gallant shoemaker held his nerve (and his nose) and his patience was rewarded. For there, in the centre of the room, stood a woman. She couldn't have even been five foot tall, but to gaze upon her was enough to make Jasper catch his breath. She had perfect, porcelain skin and the liquid black eyes of a doe. Her hair was ebony and onyx, forming an inky halo around her face in short, disarrayed spikes. She wore a dress of gleaming silver spider webs, and on her feet were glass slippers.

"Aw, hell," said the vision of loveliness, puffing her rose petal lips into a pout. "Three hundred pairs? What does he think I am, an assembly line?"

Jasper slid out from beneath the desk and rose to his full complement of six feet and three inches, rising so high that the woman was nose to nose with his (still rippling) abdominals. "Fair maiden!" He cried, sinking to his knees so that she wouldn't feel insecure about her height issues. "Are you the creature that has ensured my fame, fortune and fish for Galveston?"

"That's his name?" The beauteous wench replied. "Ah, shit. I always just called him Tig."

Her mouth could have spat acid for all Jasper cared. He had fallen head over heels (quite literally – the elf always kept up with fashion, and women had been teetering around for quite a few seasons now, thanks to her ingenuity) for this angel in disguise who, he realised, was the same creature as the midnight singer who haunted his dreams. The profanities dripping from her silver tongue were sweeter than honey, and he longed more than anything else to carry her off to his king sized bed and demonstrate just how on the mark her innuendos had been.

"Fair maiden!" He proclaimed again. "Sweet, fair, flower of charity – whilst thou give me thine hand in marriage?"

The elf (who was really a pixie, but would never have admitted in company) blushed a glorious shade of scarlet. "Jasper – you're a goddamned fool. You didn't even know what a stiletto was when I first came into your life, but you've survived. All I know is shoes, and all I need is love – well, and food. I do need food too. I've loved you since – well, since that time when I told you to –"

"Ah." Jasper nodded sagely. "If there ever was a time for falling in love, that would have been it."

"Yes." The pixie blushed an even deeper crimson. "And if you'd just stop talking like you have a stick up your ass, I can promise you a happily ever after you've never even dreamed of – plus sex several times a day. What d'you say?"

"Hell yes!" cried Jasper, repeating one of her favourite epithets. He swept her up in his arms, and – well. You don't need to know the rest.

The pixie's name turned out to be Alice. She had a master's degree in shoemaking from the University of Biloxi (another kingdom far, far away), liked Cajun food, and always slept late on Sundays. She only whined when Jasper did something really, really dumb (which wasn't often enough to merit a divorce on the grounds of idiocy), she never overcooked pasta and she never, never left the toilet seat up. However, she did get really pissed if Jasper did it. The pair went on to run the most successful multikingdomal shoe company that ever existed, and Jasper, Alice, and Galveston (or Tig, as Alice forever called him) lived happily ever after.

The End (dumbass!)