One more day. Then it would all be over.
Cinderella sat on her favorite chaise lounge and sipped lemonade. The air smelled of suntan oil and chlorine. Cinderella glanced around the castle grounds and sighed. Sunlight reflected off the clear blue water, throwing diamonds of light off the surface of the pool.
Five years had passed since the divorce, although it felt like just yesterday. The castle was left to the Princess in a settlement. After a brief battle, Cinderella was granted total custody of their now six-year-old daughter, Ella.
Prince Charming had been a good husband at first. Money was never an issue and life at the castle was everything Cinderella could have ever hoped for. After a life of enslavement to her wicked step-mother and two evil step-sisters, it was nice to be taken care of for a change. The castle staff enjoyed their tasks because Cinderella was such a fair and kind princess, with minimal demands.
It all seemed like a fairy tale.
About a year into the marriage, everything started to change. The Prince had grown distant and standoffish. Everything was a constant battle. Cinderella felt like she couldn’t talk to him anymore. Thinking that a baby would bring the couple closer together, Cinderella convinced the Prince that they should start a family.
The next summer, Cinderella gave birth to a beautiful girl.
Life at the castle was worth living again and the royal family was the picture of happiness. The Prince was the same attentive, communicative and caring gentlemen Cinderella danced with at the ball so many years ago. But after about a year or so of content family life, things began to spiral downhill.
Prince Charming always had some outlandish excuse for not helping around the house: working late, meeting friends for drinks, getting a haircut. It didn’t take long for Cinderella to realize that he was cheating. He never had to work late, let alone work at all because he was a regal prince. He had no friends to meet for drinks, and he never needed a haircut due to the fact that he was a two dimensional cartoon and his hair never grew.
When it became clear that he was being unfaithful, Cinderella decided to hire a private detective. Before long she found out that he was having an affair with not one, but two princesses. One princess, an extremely fair-skinned, irritatingly well-mannered woman named Snow White, lived a few kingdoms to the west. The other, a blonde named Aurora, resided in a palace up north. Cinderella remembers the day her husband met Aurora. He had come home from a walk in the woods claiming he took longer than anticipated because he was calling the paramedics to help some young lady in a coma.
All of that was in the past. Cinderella now owed it to herself and her daughter to focus on the future. In two days Cinderella would know for certain whether or not the Prince had fathered Snow White’s and/or Princess Aurora’s baby. Those two girls got around.
When Drusilla, Cinderella’s evil step-sister, telephoned to inform Cinderella that Prince Charming, Princess Aurora, and Snow White were all going to be guests on a talk show, Cinderella was shocked. She knew there had been rumors that he had fathered children. That wasn’t all that surprising. But the fact that her step-sister had been nice on the phone was a little disturbing.
As the sun made its final descent into the horizon, Cinderella finished up her lemonade and went inside. Here she found Ella in the castle nursery with her nanny. She was too occupied with her new Nintendo Wii to even notice her mother. Cinderella slipped past her and went upstairs.
The next morning, Cinderella awoke at seven. She performed her morning ablutions, dressed, and trudged downstairs for breakfast. The Princess didn’t know whether or not she was anxious, sad, or happy to watch the show. She just knew that she needed the closure. After finishing up breakfast, Cinderella saw Ella off to school.
At five to ten, Cinderella sat down in the castle’s entertainment room. She caught a glimpse of the mirror directly opposite where she sat. A pretty but worn looking blonde stared back at her. The pale blue of her Juicy Couture tracksuit complemented her icy blue eyes.
“Focus,” she told herself. “This is the moment of truth.”
Finally the show began. The episode was titled: “Surprise! I’m your baby’s momma!” Maury Povich was on the screen explaining the complicated love triangle to the oblivious audience. Cinderella rolled her eyes as the camera panned to the guests. Snow White looked, well, pale. She was fidgeting and her creamy complexion was a deep contrast to her black hair and dark eyes. She was wearing a blue and red top paired with a denim mini-skirt.
Sitting to the left of Snow White sat Princess Aurora. She looked smugly confident in her short pink satin dress and white stilettos. Her flaxen hair cascaded down her shoulders and her blue eyes gleamed with arrogance.
The camera was now showing a split screen of the two children backstage. The girl on the left was blonde and a little pudgy; about three. Cinderella guessed she was the offspring of Aurora. The boy had auburn hair and olive skin. His brown eyes revealed boredom. He looked around four, maybe five.
Even though it was good to see the Prince humiliated, Cinderella hoped he wasn’t the father of these two children. For one thing, it would give her step-sisters and step-mother a reason to mock and torment her for years to come. The main reason she prayed he wasn’t the father was because of Ella. It would be difficult to explain to her daughter that her daddy was a low life pimp.
Maury was now finished explaining the bizarre situation. He had mentioned the fact that the Prince had been married at the time of the affairs but the jaded audience didn’t seem to latch on to that part of the story.
Cinderella knew it was too early for a drink but she figured that under the circumstances, a beer was in order.
Maury was asking the princesses about their relationships with Prince Charming, which led to a heated debate sprinkled with a colorful array of expletives (bleeped by the censors of course).
“Bitch!” Aurora screamed. “He’s my baby’s daddy. Your baby looks like some Gerber reject.”
Snow White retaliated. “Oh no you did not! You keep talking like that and you’ll wish you never woke up!”
Cinderella took a swig of her beer. She was getting a headache. The camera kept panning back and forth to catch every moment of the mayhem. It was like watching a tennis match, but instead of a ball, the phrase ‘skank-ho’ kept getting served.
Just when it looked as though the two would start throwing chairs at one another, Maury announced that it was time to bring out the Prince. The camera cut to Prince Charming pacing backstage. He was wearing khaki pants and a polo shirt. His sandy hair was brushed back. He looked nervous as he walked across the stage to take his seat, greeted by a chorus of boos. He sat down in a chair between the two princesses.
The audience was instructed to be quiet. The tension was palpable.
Maury began by addressing the Prince. “Princess Aurora and Snow White are both extremely confident that you are the father of their children. Any thoughts?”
“Look, man, these bitches are tripping.” His tone bordered on churlish.
Cinderella was surprised. He had never uttered one ghetto sentence in the entire six years they had been married.
Maury glanced at the blue index card in his hand. “I have here in my hands the result for both paternity tests. Prince Charming. You …”
“Here we go,” Cinderella braced herself.
“… are …”
Cinderella’s heart nearly pounded right out of her chest.
“… NOT the father!”
The studio audience shouted and stamped their feet. The Prince leapt out of his chair and started doing the Running Man.
Both princesses were visibly upset.
Cinderella felt a great wave of relief wash over her. Through it all she couldn’t help but wonder where on earth her ex-husband, the leader of an entire kingdom, had learned the Running Man.