Happily Ever After?

A wicked and decadent sequel to the Cinderella story...

 
 Happily Ever After?
 
Fractious Fairy Tale
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 by Laika Pupkino
 
 
.I
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...and they lived happily ever after.
 
 
But happiness can be a highly subjective thing. Some folks can't be happy unless they're miserable and complaining all the time, dragging everyone around them down. Others find happiness in the most unspeakable practices. Cinderella was a little of each...
 
There is a saying, "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree." And you can probably imagine how life under the two cruel step-sisters might have affected the young woman. She was never the most stable of individuals, and now suddenly she found herself Queen Of All The Land. Dolled up, poised, her regal smile, the acres of white teeth, being constantly deferred to in humble tones ......... while her inner foliage was stunted and twisted around itself like some geeked out little banzai tree.
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.II
 
 
The old king had conveniently passed on, just a month or so after the wedding, and one of the first things Cinderella did as Empress was to have her two adopted sisters guillotined in the public square. Leaving them in the dungeon a few weeks to let the fear of death sink in; and to stage her daily dramatic visits wherein she would read them long inventories of their sins.
 
It was a fantasy she'd been playing for herself since adolescence, rewriting and perfecting it
in her mind during those long nights on her bed
of cinders. But in coming true the thing went wrong---and felt wrong---from the start. The one sister refused to show fear, and maintained her superiority even when chained and ridden with lice. And the other, the slow one, wailed and begged shamelessly. Hadn't she always shown the girl kindness when the other sister wasn't watching?!
 
She hadn't, not often, but still it was the new queen's first murder and the abject display of wretchedness haunted her, ruining what she had imagined would be the ultimate thrill of despotism- the godlike power over life and death.
 
Still, the slim sable-bound volume that had been left to them was adamant in its contention that a monarch must never appear indecisive. And the Prince---now King Charming---was all for it; saying that he didn't need those two wiley old shrews hanging around the castle, that they'd be out to make trouble, or might hook up with dissident elements. And he maintained that the public needed
a little crimson spectacle now and again---a bit of cathartic bloodletting---to take their mind off their own troubles.
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.III
 
 
The prince had showed the sort of stuff he was made of---in the decision making department---when he decided to get married on the basis of a few dances together and a peek at some cleavage, and of a delicate pink foot smooshed into a tiny glass shoe.
 
This kind of sums up his sexual interests; highly specialized, object oriented and not much fun for his new bride, who liked much rawer stuff. He loved donning his fancy white cavalry uniform, waltzing with her amid the mirrors and blazing chandeliers of the ballroom, and then re-enacting that famous second meeting- the shoe on, the shoe off, the shoe back on, the shoe halfway off---in a lame parody of that act for which (with the exception of his dutiful and uninspired, astrologically-timed attempts to knock her up) she had to go elsewhere.
 
Nor was there any real communication. He never seemed to see or hear her as she was, her inner complexities, but only some stereotyped ideal of "Cinderella" that he carried in his head. This wasn't suprprising, given the extremes of narcissism implicit in going around introducing yourself as Prince Charming. Big on surfaces, there really wasn't any room for two in his erotic pantheon.
 
But although Cinderella thought of him as the Royal Freak, she was not without a few kinks in the wiring herself. After years of being told that she was lower than tapeworm shit, of total derision being the only kind of attention she had ever gotten, the fact was that under certain circumstances she rather liked it. The elegant floor-length robes she wore were convenient for concealing the various bruises, welts and brandings that she was beginning to accumulate over the course of those meetings with her hard-core lovers.
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.IV
 
 
As obsessed as he was with having an heir, King Charming was heartbroken when the Royal Physician informed them that the high uranium content of the granite stone of the fireplace she'd slept in from nineteen years had rendered his bride quite sterile.
 
This was a turning point in their relationship. Unbeknownst to their subjects they moved into seperate bedrooms- he with his collection of uniforms, shoes and glitzy ball gowns; outfits that he soon became adept at wriggling into and peeling them off in a vaudeville quick-change frenzy. The victrola of Strauss waltzes, the growing cocoon of mirrors...
 
Evesdropping outside his door (as the domestics were wont to do) one would swear that one heard two people talking-
 
"Oh Prince, my Prince!"
 
"Yes my fairest, my turtle dove..."
 
Etc....
 
 
While the suite a few doors down the hall saw a succession of strange comings and goings. Dark and sinister bearded men bearing heavy clanking overnight bags showing up at shadowed hours of the night, then the muffled sounds of ecstatic agonies.
 
For a time they were anxiously secretive and discrete about these practices, until it dawned on them that there was really no one on Earth that they had to answer to. The old king was no longer around to pass judgement on his son; And the two stepsisters wouldn't have mattered even if they'd been allowed to live to see it (there seemed to be some potential in a situation like this, perhaps Cinderella had acted too hastily...). The implications of their absolute power lie before them like some shining uncharted Disneyland of decadence. The King stepped out in gutter-wench drag and---doubly incognito---began to haunt the waterfront bars...
 
 
So let the mentally fettered rabble be shocked and scandalized! As long as the army and the palace guard were happy with their fat paychecks and their extralegal status, and were to that extent loyal, who cared? The church lost the main part of its vocal and conscience-ridden leadership with the first few crucifixions.
 
Queen Cinderella overcame her initial squeamishness about these purgings and could now be seen at every one, lounging vamplike on her velvet divan there in her private box at the new colosseum, puffing her hookah and stroking a leather-clad teenage boy on a leash.
 
By the end of her reign she was staging festivals of depravity that would have made Caligula cringe. She and her husband became the best of neighbors, extending such civilities as were necessary as were necessary to maintain their joint rule.
 
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And they lived happily ever after...

 

Sort of Eerie...

...and certainly an interesting take on the psychology of the two characters, if not one that Walt Disney would have considered. (The Brothers Grimm, maybe. Charles Perrault, I really don't know enough to guess.)

That reference to "the end of her reign" leaves me wondering who'd follow the pair on the throne, since she can't leave an heir and he doesn't seem inclined to. Whoever that happy army and palace guard leadership wanted, I suppose...

Eric

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