Roland Colander had a problem. He had overcome many in his life to date, but this one looked likely to be the mother of all buggerations. He read the edict again and sighed. If this was true, his life’s work would be destroyed in an instant.
Roland was a have-not in Fairyland terms. Without royal blood, a magical skill or an innate skill at carpentry, his life chances were limited to a flunkey, a mob member, an obscure retailer of potions or one of thousands of invisible backroom staffers that kept the whole edifice running. But Roland wasn’t happy with the hand that he’d been dealt and carved himself a niche through hard work and the vigorous application of camphor oil as a Liberator for Hire.
While back in the day, royal courts around the non-magical realms prided themselves on the female debutants coming out and being presented at court, the Fairyland equivalent involved similarly well bred teens being rescued from contrived jeopardies by silk clad hunks sporting luxuriant, over-coiffured hair, sound and sparkling teeth and an IQ that struggled to reach double figures.
Times however change and the available pool of Charmings diminished rapidly. Male pattern baldness, a shortage of orthodontists and an increase in health and safety rules meant the well-meaning if largely gormless amateurs scaling creeper clad battlements dropped off both literally as well as metaphorically.
Aspiring parents, desperate to have their daughters ‘rescued’ as was the custom in order to pacify the easily infuriated precious little darlings, began to resort to alternatives. Virtual Charmings became briefly popular until one young woman eloped with her avatar and, eschewing all protocol moved to Pixarland and began self identifying as digital and ended up as a a super-chilled extra in endless sequels of Frozen.
In stepped Roland. Carefully working with the Lord Chancellor’s department he set up the Liberators, a rent-a-hero business for concerned families. With cunning marketing involving unfeasibly hairy bemuscled young men and a strap line of ‘In a funk? Hire a Hunk’, business boomed. Promising efficient one night only rescues and fully tested and regulated magical potions that guaranteed limited narcolepsy and few side effects (usually involving an urge to kiss reptiles and mild incontinence), business boomed.
The waiting list to train to be a liberator grew exponentially. In no time, Roland founded the Debonair University where aspiring youngsters could take classes in how to defeat castle security systems, the safe way to scale ancient towers, hair maintenance, caring for fragile footwear and, most importantly, kissing to revive the client while ensuring no enduring infatuation. As Grizelda Pout, renowned professor of lip engagement put it to each new class, ‘you will learn to brush without a blush’.
Roland stood and walked to his window, a rococo confection that usually lifted his spirits as it was tangible evidence of how far he’d come. Not for him the olde worlde charms of flaking paint and signs in an unreadable font. Outside, the pastel explosion of fairy town seemed oddly… bleurh… today. He looked at the Edict he’d been sent. Personally addressed by the Lord Chancellor, Boris Twofaced it was headed ‘Covid’ and announced with immediate effect a two metre social distancing regulation and how it would impact the individual businesses in fairy town.
The construction industry would cease and all existing stocks of gingerbread would be composted;
Big bad wolves would henceforth wear masks before demolishing porcine dwellings.
Grandmothers would have to immediately self-isolate and red cloaked relatives stop delivering baked products;
The manufacture of glass and crystal footwear could continue as long as appropriate PPE (princess protection enchantments) were in place but fittings would have to cease;
Distressed royals could run into the magical forest once a day and only for an hour;
Groups of a maximum of six would be permitted, leading to an early rumour that grumpy had had to be rehoused;
And most pertinently, antidote kissing would have to cease with immediate effect.
Roland fumbled for his mobile as it began to ring. The first of many disgruntled clients, no doubt. But, no, it was his factotum.
‘Roly? That you?’
‘Yes, Nigel. I assume you’ve heard?’
‘Indeed. We’ve been inundated…’
‘I can imagine. It’s dreadful…’
‘No, wait. That’s what we thought but it’s not.’
‘We’ve had ten parents on, each wanting to know how long their little treasure will stay asleep without the kiss release.’
‘Up to 100 years depending on rates of absorption, altitude at birth and the existence of a predisposition to sigh heavily.’
‘Exactly. And each set of parents were delighted. Indeed I’ve had two inquiring if we can go ahead with sending them the sleeping potion and provisionally book in the rescue and kiss for after lockdown is eased. Seems they’ve enjoying the peace and quiet too much.’
Roland ended the call. Sometimes, he mused, you just had to believe in magic…
This month’s #blogbattle prompt is ‘liberate’. If you want to join in click here. These are the rukes
- 1000 words max (give or take a few)
- fictional tale (or true if you really want)
- Any genre that fits within PG-13 (or less) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
- Your story must contain the randomly chosen word(s) and/or be centered around the word meaning in a way that shows it is clearly related.
- Go for the entertainment value!
- Put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section
- Please tweet and otherwise share your battler buddies’ stories across social media.
- Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting all the stories so we can cross-share.
- Have fun!