a short story by A Craig, A Garde, K McKenzie & K Parkinson
In olden times, when doing what was moral still helped, parents told stories to their children.
Rosie, the daughter of the most beautiful princess, Celina, was to shadow her mother and take on her life lessons. Like her heavy apparel, this fatigued her young soul. Rosie felt most at ease when she took afternoon wanders in the expanse of the palace grounds, down to the forest and near-by spring.
One afternoon dear Rosie was late back to the palace, after getting carried away with her favourite gold ball by the bank. As was usual in her family, a wrongdoing was met with a tale, and Celina sat Rosie down at their kitchen table to tell it…
The king’s most faithful servant, Heinrich, was also a long-time childhood friend and trusted advisor. They had spent many a day playing in the fields of the prince’s kingdom, kicking and running and jumping and performing swordplay with wooden practice swords.
It was on one such afternoon when the sun was beaming down warmly over the treetops that the boys were laying siege upon a rabbit warren. All of a sudden a girl emerged from behind a tree and smacked them both on the head with the broom she carried.
Taking advantage of the boys’ temporary confusion, she repositioned herself in between them and the rabbit warren. Her name was Helga and they knew her well.
“Rancid cow,” Prince Richard said, rubbing his forehead, “Why ever would you do a thing like that?”
Heinrich placed a hand on the prince’s shoulder and observed the girl. She was dressed in a most peculiar garment of orange and green patches, with a straw hat over her wispy brown hair and long black gloves that covered her knobbly elbows. Her face was livid with rage.
“You should know better than to do such a stupid and disrespectful thing!” She brandished the broom at them and they flinched accordingly.
Heinrich placed his practice sword on the ground and began to apologise but Richard would have none of it.
“Listen here,” he said, pointing at the girl. “This is my kingdom and those are my rabbits and I’ll do what I want to them. Nothing an ugly toad like you can do to stop me.”
The colour drained from her face and the prince crossed his arms, looking smug.
The witch vowed he would someday know what it was to be as ugly as she.
Let me introduce myself, my name is Richard but my friends call me Dick! I am a frog, but I used to be a prince before Helga cast a curse on me way back in the fourteenth century.
I know what you must be thinking… “Poor Dick, must be terrible to be a frog!” Yeah, you’re right, it was at first but not so much now we’ve hit the sixties…now that I get to watch the object of my desire.
You see I have fallen for Celina – she’s so beautiful that I am competing with the sun when it comes to stalking her.
I watch her every day from my lily pad on the pond; she comes to Central Park to play with her golden ball. I wonder if she needs company as much as I do…if I had a chance to be her friend I would ditch this pond and never leave her side.
Somehow I would find a way to live with her, eat off the same plate as her, sleep with her… Make babies with her! Well that last bit is impossible, I’m a frog after all… but I do have a motto I live by: never say never!
Ah, I’m a devilish frog, I am! Anyway, before I get too excited, let’s hop and leap over to my prime spot on the pond. Celina should be here any minute.
Look! There she is!
Oh, she is looking radiant today. See how her blond hair gleams in the sun just like her golden ball as she throws it into the air.
Wait! Did you see that? The ball fell into the lake… This is it! This is my moment. My opportunity to meet the princess! Beat it! I need to meet my future wife.
So I’m sitting at this gross old sixties brick fountain in the mall after tennis, texting, and my tennis ball slips out of my hands and into the fkn water, right, and this guy comes up to me all slimy-lookin’ and says that he’ll grab it for me if I promise to go on a date with him.
And I was like, no but yeah whatever, go ahead buddy. So he fishes it out and gives it to me and I’m like, sweet, see ya. And he’s like, no, give me your number. And I was like, look, thank you but it’s not going to happen. And he did give me this kind of creepy look, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
Anyway, I go home and everything’s fine… Until, it’s like six o’clock and I hear this knock on the door. I go downstairs and it’s that.fucking.guy. Like, what the fuck. Dad came out and was all, why aren’t you getting the door?! And I’m like, pleasedontitsthiscreepyrapeyguyIsaidIdgooutwith—
So what does Dad do? He answers it. And here I am thinking, awesome, maybe I can cash in on the whole dominant threatening father stereotype. But no. He’s all, has Rosie changed her mind on you? You know, she used to change her mind as a kid a lot and it was hell and blah blah blah. Meanwhile I’m just standing there like, no. (How many times do I have to say it? Anyway…)
So Dad gives me this look like, you better keep your word to this poor guy who has gone out of his way for you. And I’m like, you know what, I have things to do. And Dad’s like, yeah, this, this is what you’re going to do, this guy could be your future husband, this is how I met your mother!
I wanted to punch these Royal Dicks in the face.
Anyway, Mum came home and Dad’s all like, “Celina, tell your daughter to go out with this dude.” And thank GODDDDD, Mum made some excuse for me and we went out. She told me about how frickin’ predatory Dad was to her when they got together and I was like, “Well, why did you marry him then?” And she couldn’t really answer me.
We just got home and that guy is STILL HERE. What the HELL. And of course, who is he? The son of Heinrich, some mofo who works for Dad. And they’ve just been sitting here watching the footy for like, two hours.
I gotta go. Mum needs the internet.