Letter to Barbara #DealMeIn2018 #StoryADayMay 28

In addition to Story A Day, today is the day I review a story for Deal Me In, a short story reading challenge. We draw cards from a deck once a week (I use an ordinary deck with the Jokers removed) and read a story we’ve assigned to that card. I drew diamonds again this week, which means a story from Andrew Lang’s rainbow fairy books.

If you’re here for Story A Day, you can skip this bit. If you’re here for Deal Me In, you can skip the next bit.

Lang included folk tales in his collection, and today’s story, “The Lute Player”, from Russia, is one of those. It turned out to be one of my favorite kinds: The female rescues the male. In this case, a king gets bored and decides to go make war on another country. He is defeated and captured. “Waah, wahh, waahh,” he goes in a letter to the queen. “Sell all our stuff and come buy me out of here. Never mind anybody else.”

But she cuts off her hair and disguises herself as a lute player and goes off alone. She takes her own sweet time getting there, too, and sees the world while she’s at it. When she gets there, she charms the captor king with her singing and playing, and he promises her (he thinks she’s a man) her heart’s desire. She asks for her choice of his prisoners as a companion, and she picks her husband.

They travel together, he totally not recognizing her, until they reach his kingdom. Then he says, “I’m the king, so off I go. Don’t be a stranger, ‘kay?” Then she gets to the castle first and changes into her queen gear.

He comes in all, “What a crap queen I have! She did not sell all our stuff and buy me out. I had to get freed by a lute player. Hell, no, I’m not glad I still have a castle and jewels and furs and stuff! I’m pissed as hell. Hand me my crown.”

So the queen changes into her lute player outfit and goes, “Hel-lo-o!”

And he goes, “Oh! It’s you, after all! Clever girl! Kissy face!”

And they live happily ever after.

I ask you.

ANYWAY, Julie of Story A Day has given us a string of random words to use in a story. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I jes’ purely love story prompts.

Hold my beer.

Story A Day

Letter to Barbara

by Marian Allen

Dear Barb,

I know it’s been a long time since I wrote you, but I’ve been going through a rough patch. Previously, I always had something happy to report, but that hasn’t been the case for a while. I didn’t want to be all doom and gloom, but it was like one sorry thing after another. I got fired from work — you probably read about World Cuisine to Your Door closing — and I couldn’t find another job for seven months.

Finally, I have good news!

I was pounding the pavement, dropping into every restaurant on “Foodie Row” just east of downtown, in case they had an opening they hadn’t posted yet, and who should I run into but Curt LeMays. Remember him? Wore those Madras shorts, even in the winter? Well, he still has more money than sense, but he’s been to culinary school and he’s opening a restaurant on Foodie Row. Guess what kind? World cuisine! When I told him I was looking for work, he snapped me right up!

But that isn’t the good news.

He took me to the venue to inspect the kitchen. It was laid out all wrong. He told me what he intended to put on the menu. I said, “It all sounds delicious, but we could take it up a notch,” and suggested different items, really much better, more exciting ones. Foie gras with kelp and truffles, for example, or lamb’s kidneys in cognac. It isn’t as if he couldn’t affort the ingredients. He actually started to get cross! I was like, “If you didn’t want my opinion, why did you ask for it?”

He told me I was fired. I told him I wasn’t. I’m sorry to say, I raised my voice, but he certainly didn’t do anything to defuse the situation. I’m quite sure he was the first one to pick up a knife, although the police said mine was the only one they found.

So now I come to my good news. You probably read about the trial in the paper, but I don’t think they put the details of the sentencing in, just the final verdict. I managed to manipulate my lawyer, the judge, and the jury into giving me life without parole, and I’m working in the kitchen! Talk about job security! The work is a breeze, since the ingredients are so limited, but I challenge myself to do the best I can with what I have. I think the patrons appreciate it.

Well, dinner won’t cook by spontaneous combustion, so I’ll have to sign off now before I run out of ink, writing such a long letter! Just had to share my good news at last!




MY PROMPTS TODAY: ink, previously, work, breeze, seven, run, delicious, example, spontaneous, barb

If you liked this story, you might like my other stories and my novels. Support an author: buy a book and leave an Amazon review. I thank you, and my cats thank you.

If YOU need a short story to read, I have free ones here on my Free Reads page. I also have four collections for 99 cents each linked from my Short Stories page.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Letter to Barbara #DealMeIn2018 #StoryADayMay 28

  1. pm laberge

    May 28, 2018 at 1:30pm

    HA HA AH! I love the ending!!!!!!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. joey

    June 2, 2018 at 10:03pm

    Haha! Well I tell ya, some people are just born to run a kitchen 😉

    This was my favorite part — “Wore those Madras shorts, even in the winter?”
    I know that guy! LOL

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 3, 2018 at 8:56am

      Haha! Yeah, I had my 50th high school reunion this weekend, and was thinking of the guy like that I knew. 😀

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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