Once upon a time, a young man started out to make his way in the world. He took only that which he could carry, which was a stupid idea to begin with, but made even more stupid by the fact that he only took cans of microwavable ravioli and an old mix tape of classical tunes played by saw. He also seemed to be under the delusion that making your way in the world meant heading off into a deep dark forest and not doing something useful like applying to college or marrying a rich home pregnancy test heiress.
So, the man walked into a local forest, with his tote bag filled with useless junk and hope for a brighter future in his heart. After a few hours of wandering, he grew hungry and snacked on cold processed pasta, while staring at his cassette and wishing he’d remembered to bring a way to play it. Nothing was working out the way he had hoped. The forest didn’t have cable, he couldn’t find any treasure chests filled with his retirement fund and all the forest animals stared at him with beady little eyes, as if waiting for him to drop dead from exposure.
He had almost decided to head back to town and admit defeat, when he caught sight of a clearing just past the trees, glowing with light that spilled out into the forest floor like liquid gold. The man blinked and stepped forward, propelled by his legs, since walking on one’s hands usually didn’t get the job done properly.
The glow originated from a tall woman, clothed in gold silk and winged like a firefly. She held out a hand, palm up and beckoned him closer. The man grinned and stepped forward. He was about to offer up his best pick up line, when she spoke.
“Greetings human,” the woman said, her voice as golden as the rest of her. “I am here to grant you power and pleasure beyond your wildest dreams. All I ask in return is a small favor.”
“What favor, lady of the forest?” The man placed his hand in hers and felt a gentle warmth, like a summer’s breeze, tickle his fingers.
“I want your flesh,” the woman said, in the same golden voice. “It has been a while since I fed and I would be ever so grateful if you granted me permission to sup on your skin.”
The man let go of the woman’s hand. “Lady, I may be into a lot of things, but that’s not one of them.”
“I implore you to reconsider,” the woman said. “Skin grafts are really advanced these days. You won’t even miss it.”
The man thought for a moment and decided that he was really attached to his skin and didn’t want to give it up, no matter what the freaky gold insect winged lady promised him.
“I’m sorry, I’m going to have to say no.”
The woman sighed and grabbed a squirrel from a lone tree. She skinned it in one deft pull of her slim fingers and dropped the body to the ground. “I guess it’s damn squirrel again tonight. Thanks a lot, bozo.”
The man shook his head and walked out of the clearing, through the forest and back to civilization. He headed to the local community college to sign up for a course on computer repair, where he met a rich heiress of a home pregnancy test empire. She wanted nothing to do with him, so he settled for the course.