Once upon a time in a forest far far away there was… What? How far was it? It was pretty far away. You may have a preconceived notion of what is far and what isn’t but this forest was more far away than that. Think of the longest distance, you have that in your mind? Good, now double it. That isn’t even close to how far away this forest was. Of course, distance is relative. Especially with the relatives I have, sheesh!
Once upon a time in a forest far far away there was a little girl who was adored by everyone she met, especially by her mother and also her creepy uncle who never married for unexplainable reasons, and there was nothing that they would not give to the child. Mostly spankings but any gift is a gift, right?
Her mother gave her a cloak of red, which the girl wore so often that everyone started calling her Red Riding Hood. Her uncle merely gave her lingering looks but that is another story and will be told when he is released from prison in twenty years time.
Once upon a sunny day her mother said to her, “Oi, you, get yourself out of bed! I need you to run an errand for me. Granny is ill, she was run over by a herd of stampeding elephants. I need you to take this basket of bandages, moonshine liquor and cheesy pork sandwiches and hotfoot it to her cottage. Do you remember where she lives?”
Red Riding Hood looked up from underneath her duvet (which was adorned with images of the boy band New Goblins on the Block) and said, “Um, in the Forest of Death, right?”
“Yes, she lives on Murder Road,” said her mother. “But don’t fash yourself. The name is derived from the time when murderers used to live in the woods.”
“Are the murderers still there?”
“Oh, no! The murderers were all eaten by the orcs, wolves and mutated pigs long ago. You have nothing to worry about. But I would try to keep away from the orcs, wolves and mutated pigs if I were you. Also the squirrels, they have a taste for human flesh.”
“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t send you if it wasn’t perfectly safe, would I?”
“Get dressed, take the basket and away with you. Make sure to walk quickly but quietly and don’t step off the path or you may get lost and eaten by carnivorous plants. Take care, little one. Mama loves ya!”
Red Riding Hood and her mother lived in an unnamed forest that was a couple of miles away from the Forest of Death. For some bizarre reason, her grandmother had moved to the Forest of Death after retiring from being a teacher. Granny had said at the time, “It couldn’t be any more dangerous than teaching kids, right?”
So Red Riding Hood left her tumbledown home and caught the Number 23 bus to the outskirts of the Forest of Death. It was an uneventful journey except for when they had to pass over the troll’s toll bridge but that was alright since a few billy goats, who were on the bus with Red, kicked the pudding out of the aforementioned troll and sent him flying into the river. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! SPLOSH!
Red got off the bus and waved goodbye to the driver who gave a little “Baaaaaa!” in response.
She turned around and looked at the forest. It was dark and dank and dangerous and smelt of poo-poo. She could hear screams and growls coming from deep in the bowels of the forest.
There was a sign nailed to a tree, it read:
FOREST OF DEATH
(twinned with Forest of Malicious Name-Calling and Forest of Maim)
Red Riding Hood did not like it at all. But what could happen to a little girl in a forest like this? Nothing, that is what. Any monster that came her way, she’d scream and scream until they ran off. So shaking her blonde ringlets and, with head held high, she set off into the Forest of Death.
The path through the forest was surprisingly well-maintained. The denizens did not see much point in making it harder for victims to pass through. A nice path encouraged more people to travel through the forest. The denizens had also, rather helpfully, put up street lamps so that the nocturnal monsters could see their dinner arrive on two legs. It was these little touches that showed care.
She had walked quite a way when her journey was interrupted by a little ginger cat busily licking his arse at her. He was in her way. She knew he was a he because he wasn’t only just licking his arse. Ahem. No, sir. He was also licking a bacon-and-sardine sandwich. No female would ever eat one of those.
“Excuse me, Mister Cat,” said Red Riding Hood trying not to look the cat in the bumhole. “But would you mind allowing me to pass?”
The cat looked up and gave her the look that cats reserve for idiots with baskets full of food.
“I am a small cat,” said the small cat, “and I find it impossible to conceive that such a long-limbed girl like yourself would have trouble stepping around or, god forbid, over me.”
Little Red Riding Hood blushed.
“I don’t want you looking up my skirt.”
The cat coughed.
“You realise, right, that I am a cat and that you are a human girl, yes? Believe me, you ain’t got anything that I am interested in.” The cat sniffed the air. “But I wouldn’t mind having those bandages, moonshine booze and cheesy pork sandwiches.”
“What would a cat do with bandages? Dress up as an Egyptian mummy?”
“Oh. Well. Yes. But no, you cannot have these goods because I am taking them to granny’s house. She has been rather poorly. The moonshine makes granny better.”
“Yeah, I bet,” scoffed the cat. “Look, call me Steve, darling. Your granny would rather that I had the goods. All old people love cats. She would only give it to me anyway. Cut out the middle man and let me have it.”
Steve, thought Red Riding Hood, what sort of name is Steve for a cat?
“No!” and with that she ran deeper into the depths of the forest.
Steve hissed and spat at her as she disappeared.
Little Red Riding Hood walked and walked and walked and walked. She only paused once and that was to have a wee behind a tree. The tree had the decency to look away. The other trees didn’t, they were most salacious. The other trees wolf-whistled and shouted out things such as “Cor, look at the leaves on that!” or “Hello, gorgeous, fancy fingering my twigs?” She ignored them all.
Occasionally, the little girl would see the ginger cat. Sometimes he would be on a branch, or leaning against a rock or even throwing frisbees at the sun. She ignored him, as she had ignored the pervert trees, each time. She even ignored the dragons and low-flying sheep. This was one determined girl.
The cat called Steve was determined as well. Which is why he ran and ran and hopped to the cottage where Red Riding Hood’s granny lived.
The cat knocked on the door.
“Who is it? No cold-callers!”
“It is me, your granddaughter, who has, for one reason or another, forgotten her name. Let me in and I shall give you such a wonderful set of gifts!”
“The door is unlocked,” called out dear granny, “I am bed-ridden and I cannot get up.”
Steve frowned. An old woman living by herself in a forest full of monsters and one sexy ginger cat called Steve? Surely this is neglect? Oh well, none of Steve’s business.
Steve pushed the door open and entered.
Granny looked at Steve the cat.
Steve the cat looked at Granny.
“You ain’t my darling Red Riding Hood!” squealed the old woman. “I ain’t got no milk for you. You ain’t got no gifts either you lying feline felon! Buzz off!”
“Oh, but I have. My gifts come in a pair.”
And with those words he jumped at her with his gifts for her, his teeth and claws.
When Red Riding Hood finally got to the cottage, she was a little concerned to see that the front door was wide open. She did not think too much about it. Shrugging her shoulders and walking jauntily, she entered the dimly-lit cottage.
“Good morning, grandmama,” called out Red Riding Hood.
“It is nearly six pee em,” muttered a huddled form from the sofa bed. “Stupid girl!”
Granny looked a little strange. A little small and a little furry too. His stomach was quite big though but not that big because Steve had only eaten part of her and stashed the rest of her in a chest freezer, clever kitty that he was. Yes, boys and girls, Granny was really Steve the cat. What a rotter, eh?
The cat had dressed himself up in the clothes of Red Riding Hood’s granny. Not because he was a transvestite but because he wanted to fool the poor girl into thinking he was her. Steve was really not overestimating the girl’s intelligence, was he, children? Plus he really liked dressing up in women’s clothes. Such a scamp!
“Oh, grandmother,” she said after having a good old stare, “what big ears you have!”
“All the better to hear you with, my child,” said the cat.
“Oh, grandmother, what furry skin you have!”
“All the better to rub against you for milk, my dear.”
“Oh, grandmother, what a rough-looking tongue you have!”
“All the better to lap up the milk you’ll give me after I rub my aforementioned furry skin against you, my dear.”
“Oh, grandmother, what little legs you have!”
“All the better to walk short distances, my dear.”
“Oh, grandmother, what a small pink nose you have!”
“All the better to smell little tiny things like flowers and ants and stuff, my dear.”
“But, grandmother, what…um…yellow eyes you have!”
“All the better to not clash with my furry skin.”
“Oh, grandmother, what fishy breath you have!”
“All the better to… Ahem! No need to insult me, right?”
“Um, yeah, sure… Oh, grandmother, what big teeth you have!”
“All the better to eat you with!”
Steve the cat leaped out of bed and tore out Red Riding Hood’s throat. “Miaow!” “Arrrgggghh!” “Miaow!” “Arrrgggghh!” “Miaow!” “Arrrgggghh!” and so on, you get the picture.
The cat pulled the corpse of Red Riding Hood into the chest freezer. Doing this was quite hard work because he was only a tiny cat and the girl was, well, I don’t want to say fat but she was certainly Rubenesque.
Steve was tired out by all this faffing about. So he decided to go for a quick snooze to sleep off the meal he had just enjoyed. But first he flossed with a thread of Red Riding Hood’s golden hair. Cats do have standards, you know.
Steve the cat settled down for a snooze. He was a happy cat.
It was a little while later that the local woodcutter, a goblin called Sid, came along. He was delivering food to poor old Granny. What? It could happen! How do you think a bedridden old woman got to eat? It makes sense. As much sense as anything else in this story, boys and girls.
From outside, Sid the goblin could hear a loud but gentle noise like a tiny saw cutting through a big tree. “Oh,” he said to himself. “Granny must be asleep for she is snoring. I must not wake her up.”
Sid entered the cottage with a basket of food and his chopper slung over his shoulder.
The woodcutter looked at the splatters of blood dripping down the walls. He looked at the pools of blood on the rough-cut floorboards, the blood-soaked sheets and the trail of blood that led to the chest freezer. This could only mean one thing. Granny had finally gone crazy and splashed ketchup all over the place. Silly old biddy.
Sid the woodcutter goblin walked over to the chest freezer, careful not to step in the ‘ketchup’. He opened it up and looked down at the chilly remains of Red Riding Hood and her Granny. He paused for a moment. Looked back at the blood splatters and then shrugged his shoulders. He placed the food on top of the corpses, closed the chest freezer and left.
Steve noticed none of this though because he was asleep and dreaming of a Red Riding Hood club sandwich. Major yums.
And they all lived happily ever after.