Betwixt a wood and a hill
After his wife ran off with the man who emptied the cesspit (‘he has more depth than you’), Morris Charming remained in their large decrepit house on the edge of Nowhere. His only companions were a gerbil called Wacko and his son, named Prince after Morris’ favourite musician. Prince was home schooled and told, approximately every twenty minutes that ‘you are the cleverest, most empathetic, handsomest being in the universe’.
If you looked due south from the Charming’s front door, across the Trough of Despond you would see, nestled in the Woods of Doom, a small, shabby woodsman hut in which Mrs Ella lived with her Son, Umbro, Eldest daughter Gorr and much adored and sexually ambiguous third child Cindy. They had been housed in this mean dwelling by social services who decided that Nowhere was good enough for the Ellas and this was the only place available in Nowhere.
On cool evenings Cindy would look north dreaming of a career in exotic needlepoint while Prince would look south, imagining how good it would be if someone put up a huge mirror so he could view his magnificence.
All was peaceful until the day Morris heard Prince (the musician, that is – this story wouldn’t work if it was his son who’d snuffed it) had died. He was bereft and called Prince (his son – oh, you can work it out) ‘Ugly’ and ‘Stupid’. As Morris dragged his Bang and Sigmundson Hi Woofer Music Extravaganza outside and let the world have a 400 Db version of Purple Rain, Prince packed his face polish, his best scarf and hand mirror and set out, across the Trough of Despond to seek his fortune and some decent wrinkle cream.
As Prince staggered up the far side and onto the Ella’s front step the family emerged for the nightly ritual of ‘beating the cactus’. Prince, stunned by the spectacle of a soundly spanked succulent and shocked that these people didn’t swoon at his beauty fell to his knees. Behind him the swelling sound reached a tipping point such that the clouds which had been gathering all day were rent apart revealing a dazzling sunset the likes of which no one had seen since the previous Thursday, just after Emmerdale ended.
‘Tea cake?’ said Cindy.
‘Charmed,’ said Prince. ‘Do you think I should get my molars filed?’
Cindy agreed that was a good idea, if he wanted to masticate easily, Mrs Ella cried now that her beloved, if gender uncertain child was betrothed and the noise of her sobs was such that Morris turned off the stereo and went indoors to iron his best suit. Everyone lived pretty much as they had done before, apart from the gerbil who decided, finally to out himself as a hamster.
Note: the gerbil was included to comply with the Fairy Tale, small rodent quota, rules 2016, subsection b(ii) and the absence of dialogue ascribed to Umbro and Gorr falls within the Fairy Tales, trying for a cheap laugh, exception 2012, clause 31(d)(iv).
This story was written under the influence of strong tea, and Sue Vincent’s latest #writephoto prompt.