Image: "Socks on a Rooster" by OpalGryphon

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Rapunzel’s mother could not sleep. In vain she tried relaxing her body. Her mind turned so. Her legs felt jitters in them.

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“Are you awake?” she whispered to Rapunzel’s father.

“What? What is it?”

“Do you know what Rapunzel is?”

“Yes, I do. Rapunzel is lettuce. A soft lettuce with little leaves that I don’t like very much. The evil witch who lives next door grows some in her walled garden. And she has a sign that whoever eats it will be cursed and have to pay a terrible price, like giving up their first-born child.”

Rapunzel’s mother rubbed her pregnant belly and felt the small life inside. “Even so, I could literally kill for some Rapunzel, right now,” she said. “You said that last night about roast beef with thousand-island dressing.”

“I didn’t mean it the same way. I was kidding. Tonight I mean it.”

“Go to sleep,” he said.

“When I am kidding, you act like I’m serious. When I’m serious, you pretend I’m kidding.”

“Please. Sleep,” he said.

“Yeah, ok…”

He looked at the hourglass or whatever they used for an alarm clock. Maybe a rooster is more accurate. Yeah, he looked through the window at the rooster who was sleeping on top of the barn. The rooster opened one chicken eye and looked back at him. It held up three chicken fingers. It was either three AM, or he had three more hours until it was time to wake-up. He wasn’t sure. It was a lousy system.

“Rapunzel. Rapunzel. Rapunzel. Rapunzel,” said Rapunzel’s mother. “Do you think that Rapunzel would make a good name?”

“No.”

“You don’t?”

“No. Nor would Arugula. Or Iceberg. Lettuce isn’t a good source for names. If you want to name the kid after a plant, go for Violet or Rose. If it is a boy, name him Douglass. After the Douglass fir. It’s a type of Christmas tree.”

“You’re making fun of me,” she said.

He didn’t respond. He lay in the dark. He hoped she would go to sleep. He was almost there, asleep that is. He felt himself drifting off.

“All the same,” she said. “I would give just anything for some of that Rapunzel right now. Is it really too much to ask for, my love?”

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