The Time I Met A Fairy Tale

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I am about to tell you a tale.

It is up to you to decide what to make of it.

Everything in this story is true.

And for the past seventeen years there have been moments where I have questioned the validity of my memory. Thankfully, it has remained the same after all of these long years. However, it does not make the story any less strange:

When I was nineteen I worked as a hostess at a little steak restaurant in town. The owners were a really cool laid-back couple in their thirties. Every girl that worked in the joint had a crush on the owner. We’ll just call him Derek*. He had long dark wavy hair that caressed the collar of his button-down cowboy shirt (the type of buttons that snap… And unsnap quickly, if you get my drift), a Brad Pitt smile, brown gleaming eyes, the sexiest whisper of a voice, and he wore his jeans well. Sorry for all of the sordid details. I wanted to get the details right for the story’s sake, of course.

Well, actually, Derek had nothing to do with the story, but I thought it would be fun to throw him in. For my your dreams tonight. It will make the story I am telling a little less disturbing.

You’re welcome.

So, there I was. At the hostess counter. The restaurant was extremely busy. The bar was full. We were operating on a short staff. We had an hour and a half wait. And us two hostesses were being swarmed with customers. Hungry customers, who after ten minutes into their hour and a half wait, would be coming up to us demanding to know where they were on the list. This wouldn’t be so bad if just one person did it, but it seemed that many folks parading around under the title of “adult” were terrible at time management.

And would come up every ten minutes to check our magic list. Because time must work differently on it.

This is why we always gave a wait time longer than we expected it to be. And, beside each name, the time we had given them to expect to wait was written.

That’s a little hostess trick I’m givin’ ya. And my second gift in this post.

Again, you’re welcome.

I might have also been slightly irritated that the white crayon I had been whittling with a steak knife had had to be put away to deal with the crowd. And also why today, there is one less whittler and one less crayon sculpture in the world.

This is where my gifts to you end.

Somehow, in the midst of all of this, in through the crowd, stalked a short little old man.

He is the center of our story.

He was as real as you and me.

He had a long white beard. A face full of leathered wrinkles. A large hawk nose. Beady little eyes. And a scowl larger than the whole of his entire body.

He also could not have been taller than five feet. In my memory he was as tall as the bottom of my rib cage, but that seems entirely impossible. And so for you I say, “under five feet.” In my head I say, “as tall as my rib cage.” You may choose to believe whichever you choose. It is just a small part of the story. He was not a “little person” as we know them today. He was just a very short…Very grumpy…Very odd little old imp man.

He came up to the hostess booth and asked me how long the wait would be. I asked him if he was by himself (this is because parties of one are quicker to seat). He was.

I told him his wait would be an hour.

Then I asked him for his name.

And he told me.

And I stared at him.

I asked him again.

And he told me.

And I laughed.

I could not believe it. It was the best joke of the night.

The little old man’s cheeks flushed red with anger. In my memory, he stomped his wee feet. But this is the part I think I might have exaggerated. For this story’s sake, though, we will say he stomped his feet in a mad little rage. He asked me why I was laughing.

And this is what I said, “Your name. Why, that can’t possibly be your name!”

He just stared at me. And stared at me. Until I picked up my pen.

“Okay. How do you spell that?” I inquired. It was at this point I began to suspect he was quite serious. And it was at this point I began to wonder if the air in the restaurant had been drugged.

“R-U-M-P-E-L-S-T-I-L-T-S-K-I-N,” he sharply spelled out, all the while giving me a stare that would have shriveled straw.

“Okay, Rumpelstiltskin. I will call you when your table is ready.”

The little old man stalked off towards the bar.

Our hostess desk continued to be bombarded. And I put the strange man out of my head for a time.

Until his name was the next to he called.

“Rumplestiltskin, your table is ready.”

No answer.

Snickers from the impatient crowd.

Two more times I called his name and two more times there was no answer.

For the last time, I said, “Final call for Rumplestiltskin. Rumplestiltskin, this is your final call.”

I never imagined that those words would be uttered from my lips.

I really never imagined any of the situation would have have occurred to me.

And that it would indeed be not an imagination.

Rumplestiltskin never did answer my call.

Maybe he had heard we had a magic list at that hostess desk and he was disappointed to learn the truth of it.

I think he left, because he was upset that he told me his name.

Either that, or the fact, that I cannot spin straw.

But it is definitely one of those two.

There really is no other explanation.

My having laughed at the poor man being entirely out of the mix.

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* Derek is the only part of this story that is made up. The name, that is. The man, well, he was oh so real.

Sweet dreams.

P.S. This absurd and 100% true account was written for The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Power Of Names.

24 thoughts on “The Time I Met A Fairy Tale

  1. I love this story!! How utterly awesome! It reads like something out of the pages of Fable! (Ask your husband, it’s a series of graphic novels, and you would LOVE them – just don’t read past the 11th volume, because that’s where it was originally supposed to end. Then they decided to eke more money out of it, and then it instantly got really bad.) Who knows what or who – or how or why – that little old man really was! But I know my dad would have LOVED to interview you about it for his parapsychological society! There are definitely more things between heaven and earth than we can understand. 🙂

    • Parapsychological Society?!?! I am intrigued. It is quite a memory. And I have thought of that little old man quite often over the years. It is actually not the oddest thing that has ever happened to me. I once met an equally small mischievous man that I will have to write about one day! : )

      I am glad you liked this story! Thank you for the sweet words! They made my day!

      Have a wonderful Wednesday!

      Jenni

      • It was a sort of informal research group he set up to look into all sorts of paranormal phenomena, but it wound up being mostly about holding seminars on UFO’s and witnesses and abductees telling their stories. I was kind of embarrassed by the whole thing as a teenager, but now I think it was kind of cool. Or more cool than lame, anyway! 😉

      • Um, that sounds awesome. And scary. And awesome. And I want to hear the best stories!!!!! You should write a book about them!

        Have sweet dreams!

        Jenni

  2. I love good food industry stories. I worked as a hostess/waitress for 12 years! I put myself through college waiting tables and payed for my car in high school! I could probably write a book about all the things that were said and done. Glad you got a good story out of it!

    • Thank you Alicia! Being a waitress is a zillion times harder than being a hostess. I bussed tables for one night and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. And that was when I worked out twice a day! I cannot imagine doing it daily. Waitresses and bussers earn every penny!

      I worked there for almost two years but there were not a lot of good stories. Well except for a bug one or two. And the employee romances!

      Thank you for commenting! I appreciate it! Have an amazing week!

      Jenni

    • Thank you Jessica! It sure is a story I never will forget. I always feel for waitresses. My husband’s grandma was one well into her seventies. It is such a hard job. They definitely earn their tips! I had a friend who when waitressing was smacked by an elderly patient for not getting her drink right. She was nine months pregnant! : (

      I hope your evening is gorgeous!

      Jenni

  3. I though you were going to say Rumple answered the third time you called him. Didn’t they have to say his name three times to make him appear? I wonder what happened to him? I enjoyed your story. I think I would have laughed calling his name for the reservation too. Keep writing. I look forward to your next story. Your variety of material is amazing.

    • Thank you so much! I do vaguely remember there being something about the number three from the fairy tale. But I am not sure what it was. That seems to be the magic number in many fairy tales. I wonder why?

      I really appreciate the compliments! Thank you! Thank you! : )

      Have a cheerful Wednesday!

      Jenni

    • Thank you ! Thank you! Yea! I love to make people laugh! That’s my favorite. I am so glad! And, um, I won’t call out your age but this girl is thirty six and will be thirty seven in July! Oy! And if we are the same age, that would be the happiest day in my life. Because I thought you were twenty five. You look good!

      Have a rejuvenating week! ; )

      Jenni

      • We are almost the same age…I’m 35 turning 36 in June, but close enough. 🙂 I never would have guessed you were close to my age either, you look so much younger than that! Awesome!

      • Ditto! I never would have guessed you are thirty five!!! Woo hoo! I love meeting girls my age who look so good, it gives me hope and inspiration!

        Have a happy weekend!

        Jenni

    • Thank you so much Cynthia! Of course, they are not the dark ones from Penelope’s imagination! ; ).

      I appreciate it!

      Have a lovely Wednesday!

      Jenni

    • Thank you Melodee! : ). That is so sweet. That gives me courage to write the next one!

      Have a marvelous Wednesday!

      Jenni

  4. No. That’s crazy! (Do you watch Once Upon a Time, by the way? One of the characters is Rumpelstiltskin.)

    I love all the little gifts in this post.

    In high school, every year, there was a student named “Guy Lafleur” who was supposed to be sitting behind me in social studies (this is what we call “history/geography” class in Canada) but he never showed up. Guy Lafleur is a famous NHL player who started playing in the 1970s, and everyone in the class would laugh whenever the teacher called out his name. I still don’t know if anyone ever established that this was a real student.

    • I have never seen “Once Upon A Time.” I started to watch the Alice in Wonderland version, but I could not get into it. Is the original better? I feel I would be lost if I started watching it now. Maybe Netflix? Or Amazon Prime?

      Thank you for the sweet words! : )

      And that is a crazy random occurrence. I wonder how that happened? It had to have been a teacher’s weird sense of humor? That is also weird that they would not remove the name. I love that story! Thank you for sharing!

      I hope your day was great and the remainder of the week is even better!

      Jenni

      • I really liked the original one. I don’t have Netflix (gasp) or Amazon Prime so have no idea if it would be available on either of those.

        I never thought about it being a joke on my social studies’ teacher’s part. He was a strange man (strange in a good way though, I think) so it’s possible… Hmm.

      • I will definitely look for it! We have the same taste in books so I am sure I will love it! I will let you know! : )

        I love weird in a good way! I wonder if it was a tradition of his?! I would love to learn the story behind that one! So intriguing.

        I hope your day has been going great! Enjoy your Friday! : )

        Jenni

    • Thank you Brynne! They are my favorite part of the blog! I am so glad you enjoy them!

      Thank you again! I really appreciate it! : )

      Have a magical weekend!

      Jenni

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