The books promised us that the princes and princesses in our fairy tales lived “happily ever after,” but we’re not so sure. I mean, “ever after” is an awfully long time for things to be so rosy and perfect. So, rather than skipping to the cliché ending, we asked our staff writers to take a character from a fairytale and describe a typical Wednesday night in their household.
Humpty Dumpty looked at his cards for the tenth time. The old venerable Chinese man sighed as he looked at Humpty from across the table.
“Are you sure you don’t want to fold, Humpty?” he asked in a pseudo-concerned tone.
“You tell me, Mr. Lin. Should I?” responded Humpty defiantly.
“If you lose this round, you will now owe my grandson $5,000. We all know you have a problem. Let’s just not make this a problem that will cost you an arm and a leg,” said Mr. Lin before indulging in a chuckle.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Humpty replied. “Let’s see what you got first.”
Mr. Lin laid down his cards: four of a kind. Humpty then showed his own cards. It was a royal flush. A silly smirk came across Humpty’s face as some of the men around them gasped and others exclaimed.
Aurora twisted the radio dial until the baritone of Hollis Pennington came through the speakers. “… evening citizens. It is time to return to the case that has captured all our attention.”
“Phillip, it’s on!” she called gleefully, settling on their settee. Phillip appeared in the doorway, grimacing and tugging on the button of his cape.
“Who was it that took baby Carlisle. Was it the not-so-godly fairy mother? Or, in a twist, the stepfather?”
“Aurora, I don’t know why you want to keep listening to this. Doesn’t it hit a little too close to home?”
“I think that’s why it intrigues me. It relaxes me almost.”
Shaking his head, Phillip tossed his cape over the chaise. “It’s too much for me. How does it relax you?” No response came. “Aurora?”
Across from him, Aurora breathed the gentlest of snores.
“Of course,” he sighed. “Because I’m the one awake for the whole thing.”
“There was a break-in up the road last week,” Papa said with a growl as he furiously installed a new doorknob. “Said they found furniture broken, food eaten, blonde hair everywhere. Not gonna happen here.”
Baby looked back at Mama in the kitchen, shaking her head back and forth as she stirred steaming pots of porridge.
“I stripped the beds, like you asked,” Baby said. “I can’t wait for the new custom furniture to arrive. I finally get to sleep in a bed that feels just right.”
“You sure you got the order right, Mama?” Papa asked. “My back can’t sleep on anything that is too soft.”
“Oh yes,” Mama said. “And my extra-squishy pillow-top set is off limits to you both. I want my furniture so soft, it’s like I’m floating on clouds.”
…when she fluffed the duvet, one inside-out sock took flight. She whisked it away with its sibling, already on the floor, but didn’t bother righting them before tossing them into the laundry basket. Hoisting it to her hip, she closed her eyes and massaged her temple. Exasperated.
Ariel had given up her whole watery world to be with this man? Sure, he was handsome. But she realized she barely knew him.
…And that merpeople don’t wear fucking SOCKS.
Aladdin sat down on his throne and looked down at his stomach, now round and soft like an unfired lump of clay. Out the window, he saw Jasmine speedwalking the castle grounds with Rajah and noticed how her exposed midriff and tight, overpriced pants showcased every hard-earned muscle of her Pelotoned body. He wondered if her megasculpted “fit mom” physique was an overreaction to his paunch.
Ever since the two started living happily ever after, things had become so easy, so convenient, so comfortable for Aladdin. After years of having to steal to eat and keeping one jump ahead of the bread line, he thought that was the point. So why was he now so boring, so bored, so unhappy? He may not have liked his life back then, but he sure didn’t like himself now.
He glanced at the corner of his computer and saw that somehow, it was still not 5 P.M. This was a day from hell at Wayne Enterprises. The quarter was over, and he had to review the thick stack of financial documents before they went public to the shareholders at tomorrow’s meeting. Bored as hell, he reached into his desk, took out a sharp Batarang, and tossed it around the room, catching it cleanly before tossing it in another wide circle. The intercom rang and he straightened up his posture.
“Bruce, the board is waiting. Are you done?”
“Almost,” replied the exasperated businessman, as he stared out the window into the sky, praying to see the Bat Signal. Since the Joker went back to Arkham months ago, Gotham had been without incident. And on days like these, the Joker seemed less dastardly than EBITDA numbers and P/E ratios. Just another Wednesday in the C-suite.
Prince Philip: Aurora, I’m so glad we broke that sleeping curse. Now that we have a cottage of our own—and no Fauna, Flora, or Merryweather to do the housework—we should really talk about dividing up the house chores.
Aurora breaks the fourth wall, looks at the camera, and rolls her eyes.
Aurora: Right. Well, you see. It appears that I’m not fully cured against the sleep curse and may just fall asleep at a moment’s notice.
Prince Philip: Oh, my sweet. I understand. I’ll make some French Press coffee to perk you up… and maybe you can start on the laundry?
Aurora: Welp. I feel a bout of the sleepies coming on.
Aurora slumps onto the table, head down in her arms, and snores… loudly.
The camera zooms in, Aurora opens her eyes, and then winks. She quickly closes them as Philip comes behind her to pat her head gently.
She mouths the words “Got’em,” so only the audience can see.
Jack & the Beanstalk
Wednesday (one month later)
After the Giant’s fall, Jack took all the gold and ran, while his mother was jailed for witchcraft. Several villagers came forward and testified that the mother and boy had a hostile relationship, and that the beanstalk appeared the very same morning the boy disappeared.
Jack had been anonymously bribing the local Vicar to convince the King for a stay of execution. However, after two exhausting weeks, Jack was robbed of all he had, save for the head of the goose. Out of ideas, Jack revealed himself to the King, to prove that he was indeed alive, and his mother was not a witch.
Always wary of overturning his own convictions, the King instead convicted “Satan” of felonious misappropriation of the human form, i.e., Jack’s body, and was thus sentenced to be burned back to hell alongside his mother.
Florian pulled his boots off and tapped the soles together, dislodging crusty mud just as Grumpy had trained him. The gray-haired prince left them in the foyer propped against the shoe rack laden with diminutive clogs and headed for the kitchen.
“Snow, we need to talk,” Florian said.
“About?” Snow responded over her shoulder as she wiped the counters. Her beloved inhaled audibly.
“The holidays,” he muttered. Snow froze in place and let out a soft groan. She dropped the towel and turned to glare at her husband.
“What’s to discuss? Traditions are traditions. You knew this going in,” Snow challenged him. A surge of hot adrenaline gripped Florian’s nervous system as he stared into his wife’s black eyes.
“You promised Dr. Nightingale that you’d stop railroading me. The Woodland Festival is my holiday, too!” Florian barked.
“Yeh, well as soon as you start buying and wrapping gifts for all seven of them,” Snow said as she gestured to the upstairs. “That, my friend, is when you get a say in what we do for holidays!”