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Prince Charming

April 14, 2011

Write a horror story that takes place at Disneyland. @IndieInk Challenge by @Wendryn.


I could hear his voice loud and clear. Well, we all could, given how loud he was yelling. Normally, if you hear shouting at Disneyland, it’s either squeals of delight or crying children, exhausted from the day. But this…this was something entirely different.

This got our attention.

In the large, crowded area outside the Haunted Mansion, on a sunny, bright day at the Happiest Place on Earth, a small little man took his hand to a precious, round-cheeked child.

“Get your ass in the goddamned stroller, you fucking kid!” a clearly out of control, angry parent yelled at his small, helpless, frightened little blonde Snow White. It didn’t take long for my ire to rise, nor those of the mother warriors around me. Funny how it’s the chicks who take control in situations like these.

As I began to step over that invisible line that said DON’T GET INVOLVED, ignoring my husband’s arm pulling me back, a large mother in shorts that did her no favors and tattoos that in this case, most certainly did, grabbed this grizzled little pissant by his shirt collar and asked him in a surprisingly even tone if he’d like the stroller permanently stuck in parts south of his border. As his legs dangled from the ground, he managed to squeak out a “No, ma’am,” before she tossed him down to the ground like the garbage that he was.

We all clapped.

Someone called security. As we dispersed like oil drops in water, leaving the greasy, mealy-mouth man there to explain why his princess’s cheek was bright red, she clung to her mother, who had remained silent through it all.

This is what I think. There are lots of scary monsters at Disneyland. It’s not All Happy, All The Time. You go there expecting it to be fun and joy, but many children, including mine, find themselves terrified of the evil stepmother, Captain Hook, or even sweet and silly Chip n’ Dale. Put a person in a costume with funny teeth and hey, that’s enough to scare even an adult. You expect the scary. It wears a face, it lurks in the open.

This is what I’ve observed. I’ve spent enough time at the Tragic Kingdom to learn a few things about human nature: when people become overwhelmed by crowds, are hot, frustrated, or tired, or are dealing with hot, tired children, they lose their problem-solving abilities. Add to this that there is a certain percentage of the population that has absolutely no business whatsoever having kids, let alone taking them to a crowded, hot, frustrating, tiring place where said parents lose their shit.

This is what I know. It is a horrible thing to watch a child beaten like that in a public place. It is even worse to see an adult stand by and watch it happen, feeling her helpless yet knowing rage and humiliation wash over you in waves as she silently calls out for help to the complete strangers around her, begging with her eyes for someone, anyone to come to her aid; hoping against hope that you don’t, knowing she can’t say a word or he will beat her and/or her precious princess into submission. Or worse. And knowing she made that choice doesn’t make it any easier to walk away.

I’m not exactly sure who was more helpless that day.

I do know Prince Charming was nowhere to be found at the Happiest Place on Earth.  

Comments welcome, retweets and mentions loved.

Please go check out the wonderful writing by all the writers involved in the Indie Ink Challenge by searching on Twitter with this hashtag: #IIChallenge or going to the @IndieInk site on Fridays.

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