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The Tarantella

Goldipunzel lived in a beautiful, large apartment with varnished wooden floors overlooking the Gowanus Canal. She had long flowing hair the color of daffodils. She owned only three things. A piano, a frumpy beige dress and a monarch butterfly that flapped endlessly around the room; its wings never growing tired. The F train went past her apartment all the time and people could gaze in on Goldipunzel because she had large windows. She would stand, looking out, combing her hair with her greasy paws. Despite the apartment’s apparent cleanliness and lack of possessions it stank because Goldipunzel had no clothes to change into. She didn’t own soap or shampoo. She merely bathed herself in water everyday, then left the bath dripping wet because there were no towels. The stench of b.o. was terrible for one who looked so feminine.

One day, Goldipunzel was visited by a New York rat; a rat so large and fluffy an old lady once mistook him for a stray pussy cat and brought him home with her. Golipunzel was playing Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 when Rumplegre came to visit.

"What are you doing here?" said Goldipunzel.

"I want you to teach me the tarantella," said Rumpelgre.

"But I don’t know how to dance the tarantella," said Goldipunzel.

"Then you must learn in order to teach me."

"What’s it worth?" she replied.

"I’ll give you your butterfly back," he said and when he peeled back his hands, she saw he had captured her butterfly.

"You wicked rat," she said. "I have only three possessions in this world. How dare you take one of them away from me."
"I must know how to dance the tarantella," said Rumpelgre.

So Goldipunzel gave in. She sent Rumpelgre to the library to check out some books and videos called Learn to Dance the Tarantella in Two Weeks! She discovered three sources for the origin of the dance. The first said the dance was used to cure the bite of the tarantula spider; the afflicted person would dance nonstop to ward off the spider’s venom. The second said the tarantulas venom would make the person move about uncontrollably as if dancing. The third story said that the women working in the fields would be bitten by spiders and the only way to ward off the poison was through profuse perspiration; so the women would dance themselves into a sweat.

Now Goldipunzel had two left feet and the Do-It-Yourself videos were no help, so she decided she would convince Rumpelgre the tarantella was a dance in which you had to run round the room flapping your arms uncontrollably. Rumplegre was pretty good at this at this exercise and soon all the commuters on the F train could view the absurd sight of the yellow haired girl running around her apartment with an oversized rat, flapping their paws in the air like a couple of loons.

After a whole day of performing the tarantella, they collapsed in a heap on the cold wooden floors and fell asleep. When Goldipunzel woke up, Rumpelgre had transformed himself into Eminem.

"Eminem, what are you doing here?"

"That bald faggot Moby put a curse on me. He said I would be a rat forever unless a stinky female taught me to dance the tarantella."

"Thank goodness. I’m so relieved you turned into a bleach blond rapper from the ghetto. Now give me my butterfly back."

"I don’t think so, bitch."

What Goldipunzel then found out was that Christina Aguilera had also put a spell on Eminem. He wouldn’t be able to rap again unless he owned a monarch butterfly.

So Goldipunzel had to marry Eminem in order to get joint ownership of the butterfly, but not before Eminem had released a couple of Platinum-selling CDs dissing his wife to be.


Marie Carter

Marie Carter is the editor of Word Jig: New Fiction from Scotland and author of forthcoming creative non-fiction book, The Trapeze Diaries (Hanging Loose Press, Spring 2008).


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2004

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