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A Fairy Tale Ending
“Well, I reckon I should kiss her.”
“How in the big blue sky do you reckon that?”
“Well,” said Frank, scratching his belly through a stained t-shirt. “That’s what you do in this situation. That’s what I’ve read, at least.”
“That’s what you’ve read.” Chuck doubted Frank had read more than the outside of a cereal box. “I must have missed that story.”
“Yeah. You kiss her and she wakes up.”
“A prince kisses her. Not an unemployed truck driver from Dickson.”
“Well, about that. My grandad told me a story once—”
“You have got to be kidding me.”
“No, no, no, now listen.” Frank lifted up his baseball cap and put it back on as if giving his brain a chance to breathe. “My grandad told me once that his great aunt Deloris did some family tree research, had her condo full of records and clippings, and she said we were descended from Charlemagne.”
Frank nodded, as pleased as if he had just found a five-dollar bill in his pocket.
“The Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne?”
Frank nodded again.
Chuck shook his head, impressed, because he hadn’t expected Frank to say a word like “Charlemagne” correctly. Chuck drummed his fingers on the glass box and looked down at the beautiful woman sleeping inside. Her skin almost glowed in the sunlight. Near his hand, and in time with her gentle breathing, a spot of fog expanded and shrunk like it had a pulse of its own.
“You know,” Chuck said, “my grandfather always said we were descended from Solomon.”
“Doesn’t surprise me. All those wives, no doubt he’s got descendants everywhere.”
“Exactly,” Chuck said, though he hadn’t thought of that little detail. “So I figure, why shouldn’t I be the one to kiss her?”
“Well,” said Frank, “I reckon I saw her first.”
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