White As Snow II – Robert G. Wertzler

A limousine pulled up to the portico of the castle on its promontory above the sea. A woman stepped out, accepting the offer hand of the footman (a certain class has, even in this modern world, its rituals). She was, as usual, garbed all in pure white, very expensive looking white. On this occasion, there was an evening gown, closely, but not too closely fitted to a frame that somehow seemed both slender and robust (some would say “athletic” without trying to specify the sport), and a full length cape with a high, flared collar, and a hat that might suggest horns or a double crest. Between the hat and the collar, one could see a bit of hair, white almost to the point of transparent. Her face revealed one no longer young, lined, but not sagging or looking fragile, and a pale complexion. If she were standing perfectly still, she could be mistaken for a statue of flawless marble. Her eyes were hidden behind very fashionable reflecting glasses with elaborate frames (also white). She was smoking an obviously custom made white cigar, no doubt a very fine and expensive one. She entered the main hall and told the staff that she would be retiring to her private rooms and they could call it a night.

She went to her rooms and ascended to the old tower, to the bare stone chamber at the top. She needed to relax and rest. The opera had been excellent, although, as always with that one, she felt that Fafner really ought to have eaten that braggart Siegfried. The reception had been tedious, all those people with more money than brains. One woman who obviously could have used some advice in that department had asked her how she kept so fit at her age. It was hard not to laugh, and hard to resist the urge to whisper the truth of the how and her actual age. She had settled for saying something about working in her garden and letting some of the cigar smoke (the ever present cigar in public) drift into the fool’s eyes.

But, the evening was done and she could relax, could let go the spells that let her go among the mortals. She did not disrobe. She didn’t need to. The “clothes” were part of her, transmorphed by the magic that was her birthright. Even the cigar was part of her. One simply could not go out in society breathing smoke for no apparent reason (let alone, actual fire). As the illusions melted away, she sighed in relief, spread her wings (remember the cape?), let her head lengthen into the long jaws, her scales and armor plates to shine, her tail shake out, and snorted a great gout of flame held back for all those hours. Then, she, who was currently known in the human world as Elurra Herensuge could sleep.

As she drifted off, she thought that if the humans could teach cows to breathe fire, they could cut down a lot on methane emissions.

Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

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