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A Queer Retelling

By Nicky FranklyPublished 10 months ago 5 min read
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Once there was a disgruntled worker who was low on the socioeconomic scale, and it happened that this worker had just finished doing some repairs at the Heteronorm building downtown. The board of trustees was so pleased with the renovation that the worker was invited to meet the chairman, who wanted to personally thank him for transforming the building.

Being a bit nervous, and personally working through mixed feelings all morning after learning that his child was transgender, the worker fumbled over his words.

“You do great work!” The chairman said from all the way across the conference room table. “It looks brand new in here!”

“You think I’m good?” asked the worker. "My kid can change genders!”

The chairman, who was hard of hearing, stood excitedly. “They change genitals into gold?” He asked. “Bring them here tomorrow! I’ve got to see this for myself!”

Mortified into paralysis at being misheard, the worker left in a wreck without even being paid. The next day, the worker brought his teenager downtown as instructed. Upon meeting the teen, the chairman took them by the hand, led them to a room that was quite full of genitals, and said, “Get to work! I want all of these genitals turned into gold by five o'clock tonight. If not, you must die!”

The president locked the child in the room and left them alone. They tried to Google an answer but had zero search results. They became distraught beyond belief and could not for the life of them think of how to turn all these genitals into gold. They grew increasingly distressed and began to cry.

Suddenly, the glorious Queen of Drag appeared and said, “Hey, kid, why are you crying so hard?”

“FML,” said the kid. “I have to turn all of these genitals into gold, and I don’t know how to do it.”

“I’d love to do it!” said the Queen. “What will you give me in return?”

“All I have is my iPhone. Will you take that?” asked the child.

“Depends. What generation is it?” asked the Queen.

“It’s an 11,” said the teen.

The Queen accepted the iPhone 11 and got to work changing all of the genitals into gold. One, two, three at a time, swish, swash, swoosh. And so it went until five o'clock that night when all of the genitals had been turned into gold and the Queen disappeared.

When the board president unlocked the door, he could not believe his eyes, and his heart instantly turned to greed. He led the child to a much larger room full of even more genitals and commanded that they all be changed into gold by the morning if the child valued their life.

Being instantly retraumatized, the child began to weep helplessly. Again, the Queen of Drag appeared and said, “What will you give me if I turn these genitals into gold for you?”

“I know my dad’s cryptocurrency login and password. You can have it. He said it’s coming back strong,” the teen said.

“Hmm. Anything else?” asked the Queen.

“A Starbucks gift card. I think there’s still $17 on it,” said the kid.

“I’ll take both,” said the Queen, and the kid gave away the coffee and their dad’s private information.

The Queen went to work turning all of the genitals into gold by morning.

The chairman was delighted by the sight of the gold, but still, he wanted more. He escorted the teenager to the biggest room in the Heteronorm building and said, “You must turn every last one of these genitals into gold, and if you do, your father will become the city's lead contractor, and your family will be very rich.”

When the child was alone, the Queen of Drag appeared once again. “What will you give me if I turn all of these genitals into gold?” asked the Queen.

“I have nothing left to give you,” said the teen.

“Then promise me, if you ever decide to have children, you must give me your first child,” said the Queen.

Not knowing if that would ever become a reality, and not seeing any other option out of this mess, the child agreed to the terms. The Queen changed every last genital into gold. When the chairman saw all of the gold, he issued a lifetime contract and a hefty pay raise to the kid’s father, and the child was set free.

Many years later, the child grew up and decided to become a solo parent. On the very first night that the parent spent at home with their first child, the same glorious Queen of Drag appeared and said, “Give me what was promised.”

Fear struck the heart of the once-child-now-parent at the thought of sacrificing their beloved child. They offered the Queen all of their money, but the Queen did not accept the trade, saying, “Not all the money in the world could take the place of such a precious life.”

The now-parent began to cry, and the Queen felt sorry for them. “You have three days,” said the Queen. “If you deadname me, you can keep your child.”

On the first day, the now-parent put a blast on their social media platforms to see if anyone knew what the Queen of Drag's deadname was. When the Queen came to the parent that night, the parent began to recite all the possible names they had thought up. Chad, Christopher, Jason, Michael, James, Matthew, Josh.

The Queen laughed and said, “That’s not my deadname.”

On the second day, the now-parent hunted deeply down Reddit rabbit holes and hired private investigators to search queer nightclubs near and far. When the Queen came to their home that night, the parent tried out a few less obvious names. Atlas, Keanu, Rush, Zane, Clive, Fitz, Galen, Pax.

The Queen laughed again and said, “That’s not my deadname.”

On the third day, a tired investigator came to the parent and said, “I’ve searched everywhere possible, and late last night, actually early this morning, I was just about to give up, when I saw the glorious Queen of Drag the closing number of a really fantastic show! The lyrics were peculiar, and I wrote them down.” The napkin note read:

I choose freedom and me-dom,

Masked life was a chore.

My true self is my name,

Harley Davidson no more!

When the Queen of Drag appeared that night, the now-parent did not give anything away at first.

“Is it Harvey?” asked the now-parent.

“No,” said the Queen.



“Do you call yourself…Rumpledforeskin?” asked the now-parent, curiously.

The Queen of Drag cackled and said, “You fool! That’s my stage name! Now give me the child!”

The now-parent smiled and held up the sleeping child, who was dressed head to toe in leather Harley Davidson garb. The shocked Queen took one look and said, “Say it out loud! Deadname me or the child is mine!”

“I would never!” said the now-parent. “I know better than that. Why don’t you stay here and help me raise them, instead?”

The Queen of Drag agreed, and the two of them raised the child together. They lived quite happily and were financially secure, mostly from the Queen's abundant talents.


About the Creator

Nicky Frankly

I love writing !

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (1)

  • A. Lenae10 months ago

    I didn't know that I needed to read "rumpledforeskin" today, but when I did, in that context, I was filled up right to the brim! So, thank you for that!! This story is excellent. Love the moments that made me giggle, the fantastic ending, and your modernizing of this fable - especially within the conversation of gender and identity. I interpreted this story to be about the beauty of gender fluidity and the damage that befalls our children when we (cough- particularly old white men-cough) exploit or politicize human rights by making gender a political platform or a money-making strategy. I would love to know if that extracted message is totally off-base, but either way this was such a fun and sharp tale that encouraged a lot of great thought! This is definitely my favorite of the fairy tales retold that I've read thus far :)

Nicky FranklyWritten by Nicky Frankly

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