Sunday, 25 May 2014
Unhappily Ever After by Naomi Elana Zener
“Who ordered the Cobb salad, hold the ham?” the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge waiter asked.
“I did,” said Prince Charming. Prince Phillip of Sleeping Beauty fame shot him a quizzical look. “I’m watching my cholesterol.”
“House greens, no dressing?” the waiter inquired.
“That’s us,” Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum chimed in unison.
“We’re sharing. And, we’re watching our waistlines,” Tweedle-Dee added.
“Maybe if we lose some weight, we’ll get more screen time on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” Tweedle-Dum said.
“Um, it was canceled,” the waiter advised. Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum looked at him dumbfounded. “Time to get a new agent?”
The waiter scanned the long table making sure that everyone had received their respective orders. Cinderella had a Caesar salad. The Evil Queen, Snow White’s step-mother, had apple pie a la mode, which Snow White eyed suspiciously, while Snow White seemed to be enjoying her pasta Bolognese at the opposite end of the long table. Aladdin had his pasta primavera because the chef couldn’t assure him that the ground chuck was Hallal, while Rapunzel was slowly sipping her butternut squash soup, careful not to get her hair in it. Everyone else eyed the food with envy, unable to afford the Beverly Hills Hotel’s restaurant’s tony prices.
“Ok, everyone happy?” the waiter asked. He was grateful that he still had a few patrons to wait on given the hotel’s boycott. As a struggling actor, his rent was dependent on getting his tip money, which was in short supply of late.
“I’ll be in the back studying my lines for an audition. So, if you need anything just flag down one of the other waiters.”
“How come he has an audition and I’m sitting here dumped by my agent?” Pocohontas whined. “After my sequel tanked, Disney dumped me like a hot potato. I can’t even get a walk-on on Once Upon a Time. No one returns my calls.”
“Well, I got killed off on that show, so I’m no better off than you,” Cinderella retorted. “I’m being told that if I want to leverage my prime time appearance, I need to undergo eye widening surgery to bring my looks more in line with those of Disney’s Frozen darlings, Anna and Elsa.”
“You’re able to afford to eat here with your ABC residual cheques, so tell your sob story to someone who cares,” Pocohontas shot back.
“Can you really blame the execs, though? Did you see Frozen’s box office numbers?” Snow White questioned.
“Oh, go stuff your face with a poisoned apple,” Cinderella spat. “It’s your fault I got kicked off Once Upon a Time in the first place. You stole my husband out from my storyline. It’s like my face never made an imprint in the celluloid.”
“Hey Cinder, they shoot that show digitally. Keep talking about celluloid and your career really will be dead,” Anastasia Tremaine, Cinderella’s step-sister advised.
“At least you made into prime time. No one’s seen or heard from us since my big fat foot failed to fit into your glass slipper,” Drizella Tremaine, Cinderella’s other step-sister added. “The only place we work is the dodgy end of Hollywood Boulevard at 3am with the other working girls.”
“We were even rejected from Dancing with the Stars. We’re royalty, all we know how to do is dance,” Anastasia moaned.
“Whatever! With gay rights getting all of the media’s attention, there’s more chance of a Cinderfella movie getting made by Disney than me ever seeing a sequel,” Cinderella cried.
“Well if it does, it certainly won’t be screened at this hotel thanks to the Sultan of Brunei’s enactment of homophobic laws,” Anastasia stated. “Why are we even eating here?”
“Some of the wait staff did voice over work to help bring our characters to life, so we wanted to support them,” Skar, from The Lion King, added.
“Quit bitching and moaning. Before ABC came knocking on my castle’s door, I was deep-sixed. I wasn’t lucky like Ariel, Pocohontas, Mulan or even Belle and her Beast who had loads more Twitter followers than me thanks to their many sequels,” Snow White interjected.
Silence ensued amongst the cast of fairytale characters. Those who could afford to eat, picked at their overpriced lunches. The others sipped on their tepid tap water. Made into stars by Walt Disney himself, many of them now spent their days waiting to be plucked from obscurity to be thrust back into the spotlight. Some of them couldn’t even get TMZ to cover their DUIs or drug overdoses because their live action Disney actor counterparts were eating up each of that show’s thirty minute episodes, less commercial breaks. When ABC created Once Upon a Time and its defunct spinoff, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Cinderella, Snow White, Alice, Mulan, Peter Pan, Belle, Rumplestiltskin, Ariel and many other secondary animated players found themselves enjoying the limelight again as live action stars. Those who weren’t so lucky to get a guest starring role, let alone hear someone, anyone drop their name in conversation, like Pocohontas, Hercules, Tarzan, and Princess Eilonwy of Llyr from The Black Cauldron, the movie that Disney and time wanted to forget ever existed, drifted aimlessly through Hollywood like ghosts.
“How is it that an evil villain like you got a starring role on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland?” Tarzan asked Jaffar.
“What can I say? Hollywood just doesn’t have any faith that you can carry a storyline,” Jaffar advised. “And, there’s always a need for a villain. Just not one for a chest-thumping baboon in a loin cloth. Besides which, the show’s been canceled so your question is moot.”
“How they resurrected you soap opera-style I’ll never understand,” Aladdin said shaking his head.
“What are you babbling about?” Jaffar inquired.
“You were a genie at the end of my movie. How the hell did you get to come back as yourself on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland?” Aladdin asked.
“I guess someone was kind enough to free me from my shackles of servitude with their third wish,” Jaffar grinned.
“Here’s the thing. You all got sequels. None of us did, so stop your grousing,” Mrs. Potts ordered. “Some of us are just happy to be human again. Ain’t that right, Lumiere? Cogsworth?” The candelabra and clock turned human both nodded.
“Hey, I hear ya,” Rapunzel added in solidarity. “My movie was a box office hit, but I’ve been given the cold shoulder lately too. Despite my movie’s success, the only sequel I could get was a six-minute short on YouTube. You know, the place where content is free? With no chance of making a dime, there’s no way for me to follow up Frozen’s success.”
“Well, there’s no guarantee that any of us will live on for another season in prime time. If the ratings don’t stay high, or if we jump the shark, we’ll get canceled faster than you can say Jessica Rabbit,” Prince Charming advised.
“Let’s try to enjoy our lunches instead of jumping down each other’s throats,” Alice offered timidly.
“Easy for you to have an appetite. With all the mind-altering drugs you ingest on your show, you have no problem satisfying your munchy-like cravings,” Pocohontas retorted. “Not to mention the fat wallet to pay for your meal.”
“Yeah, many of us can’t even afford to eat here,” Hansel whined, as he sheepishly searched Gretel’s pocket for any leftover crumbs.
“I told you that the Dwarfs and I would cover your tab,” Grumpy hissed.
Hansel and Gretel hung their heads in shame at having to rely on the charity of the Dwarves, who had recurring roles on a hit show.
“It’s not like we’re big stars, either. We’re just part of Snow’s entourage,” Doc whispered.
“We all live in her shadow,” Jiminey Cricket added.
“One wrong move and we get the axe,” Little Red Riding Hood stated.
“Or, worse. We go from being a real boy back to being a puppet,” Pinocchio complained
“Hey, that’s not fair!” Snow White cried. “You got to go back to being a boy again. Like Charming said, right now he and I are lucky. But, who knows for how long. I could be the next Hercules, Tarzan or what’s her name from that Cauldron flick. We should all share in each other’s successes. And, those whose fortune shines brighter should help out those whose is a bit tarnished right now.”
“In that case, since Anna and Elsa just walked in, let’s send the bill over to them,” Tinkerbell suggested.
“If those bitches are paying, then get that actor-cum-waiter back out here. I’m in the mood for a 16 ounce porterhouse steak,” Gretel advised. “And, tell him to make it hot. Unlike Elsa, anything cold does bother me.”
© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.