How to Defeat a (Fictional) Trickster

From Loki to Peter Pan, tricksters trick—it’s what they do. Follow these simple steps, and you will no doubt emerge victorious from your next trickster encounter.

The Roadrunner (Nemesis to one Wile E. Coyote)

Step 1: Build world’s biggest crockpot.

Step 1A: Ensure crockpot is battery-operated. Seriously. I see you contemplating how you’re going to run an extension cord out from that one gas station at the edge of the desert. That is a recipe for disaster casserole, OK? You’ll end up getting electrocuted. Or dangling from the edge of a cliff while clinging to the cord. And then electrocuted.
All extension cord routes lead to you getting electrocuted.

Step 2: Lure bird into crockpot with birdseed. I know you buy that stuff in bulk.

Step 3: Cook for 4 hours on low, or 8 hours on high.

Captain Jack Sparrow (He’s the worst pirate you’ve ever heard of, but you have heard of him)

Step 1: Hide the rum.

Professor Harold Hill (Where does a traveling salesman even store seventy-six trombones?)

Step 1: Find eligible librarian-slash-music-teacher.

Step 2: Play matchmaker.

Rumpelstiltskin (Fairy Tale contract expert)

Step 1: Read the contract. The whole contract, not just the section headers.

Step 1A: If your miller’s-daughter education left literacy to be desired (totally understandable), hire a good attorney.

Step 1B: If your miller’s-daughter education has exceeded all expectations, hire a good attorney anyway.

Step 1B1: Unless your education was law based, in which case I’m not sure why you’re here.

Step 2: For the love of god, don’t believe anyone who tells you “that first-born clause is just boilerplate stuff” and that they’d never actually make a claim.

They will make a claim. They always make a claim.

Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows heist-master, and future goldmine for some lucky Ketterdam-based therapist)

Yeah, the guy’s nickname is Dirtyhands. You’re on your own.

If fictional tricksters are your jam, you might like TRICKED: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT FICTION. My story is an absurd sci fi retelling—only I’m not saying what it retells, because that would spoil the fun. Anyway, it’s full of highly entertaining stories by Leigh Landry, Chace Verity, M.Z. Medina, and Hannah Joseph (Stephanie Eding) as well. Plus, all proceeds benefit Food for the Hungry.

Sign up to receive a monthly-ish dose of sass via email—plus a free trio of short stories I’m putting together just for newsletter subscribers in December!

About the author