Wanda Wonka and the Sprocket Factory

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Once upon a time, there was a mysterious woman, named Wanda Wonka.

This name, “Wonka,” might seem familiar to you. You may be thinking, “Hey, this Wanda Wonka must be married to Willy Wonka– the guy with the chocolate factory!”

You’re wrong.

If you had paid attention to Roald Dahl’s tale of Willy Wonka, you’d know he was not married. But, Wanda was Willy’s sister and she had the same entrepreneurial upbringing and background as her brother.

Except, she was a little more… grounded.

Wanda always obeyed her parents and did exactly as they said. This makes for a very productive, very safe, very uninteresting childhood. And, everyone knows, uninteresting children can never grow up to own chocolate factories.

So, while Willy successfully built his chocolate business, on the other side of the world– all the way in China (to cut down on manufacturing and production costs)– Wanda built her sprocket factory.

It was a magical place. But there was one problem with Wanda’s business model: No one in the world knew what in the heck a sprocket was. The most pathetic thing about it was that everyone could’ve just Googled it or whatever, but they were just too dang lazy.

So, Wanda did what every Wonka would do and had done in the past: She held a contest! A contest for a tour through the sprocket factory!

Ok, so it wasn’t as exciting as a chocolate factory tour, but what is?!

What was exciting is that, at the end of the tour, she was going to give the most promising prospect some shares of stock in her sprocket factory as well as a lifetime supply of sprocket chocolate (That is, chocolates shaped like sprockets). Listen, she wasn’t above asking her brother for favors. And, because she had and entrepreneurial spirit, she knew that the best bribes of all involve chocolate.

The way the contest worked is that Wanda placed a golden sprocket on five bicycles around the world (because, after all, a sprocket is really just one of those gears that moves a chain on a bicycle or another piece of machinery– but you already knew that). And, even though Wanda stated that the bicycles on which she placed the sprockets were very specifically red Huffy bikes, she forgot that people are stupid and don’t listen to rules.

People around the world began to haphazardly vandalize arbitrary bikes of all models and colors with no regard as to their mechanics, and still no idea what the heck a sprocket even was.

Wanda also neglected to realize that only bike mechanics know to safely remove sprockets–  so, it wasn’t long before four mechanics from around the globe found the four sprockets:

  1. Augustine Stoop: A mechanic from Germany named for her poor posture from working on way too many bikes. She had no self-control around bicycles and would work tirelessly until she fixed any mechanical issue, and then overcharge her patrons because she just wasn’t a very nice person. In fact, she found the golden sprocket while working on someone’s bike that was just sitting in a parking lot somewhere– and then, when the bike’s owner returned, she charged them for her work.
  2. Veronica Waltz: A mechanic from London who wasn’t really a mechanic at all because she made her butler work on bikes for her while she collected the profits. She owned every type of bicycle ever made, so naturally, that included one of the bikes containing the golden sprocket.
  3. Scarlett Disregard: A car mechanic (because cars have sprockets too, I guess) from Georgia who had a terrible habit of wearing car air freshener around wherever she went. In fact, she set the record for wearing car air freshener around for the longest amount of time– 3 years. The previous record was 4 hours. She found the golden sprocket on a bicycle she thought smelled particularly like chocolate. In the process of trying to find where this odor was coming from (perhaps for the purpose of creating a freshener scent of her own), she found the golden sprocket.
  4. Mark RV: A particularly scuzzy bike mechanic from Arkansas who owned an RV business. Mark RV actually changed his last name to “RV” because he liked RVs that much, which, in part, is what makes him so scuzzy. However, once every year, Mark RV decided to take a break from driving RVs exclusively to ride around on a bike in the fresh air. On this particular day, Mark RV rented the bike with the golden sprocket and, when he examined the bike to find out if he could steal any parts for his RV business, he found the prized sprocket.

Of course, millions of others scrambled to vandalize bikes for the purpose of finding the final golden sprocket. However, there was one boy, Harley, who really really really wanted to find it.

Sadly, the odds weren’t really in Harley’s favor. You see, Harley lived with his mother and four grandparents who were all part of a motorcycle gang and they loved motorcycles and bicycles so much that they didn’t believe in taking them apart. Which was ridiculous, but that’s besides the point.

It’s not that Harley liked bicycles– but he DID like sprockets. He knew what a sprocket was because he went to a STEM school. For weeks, he hung around at bicycle shops around his hometown in hopes that he’d find the golden sprocket, just lying on the ground.

His grandpa, Moe, even brought home an engine he found in a nearby junkyard in hopes that one of the sprockets within would be the golden sprocket, but Harley knew this was impossible. Especially because the engine belonged to a car and the golden sprocket was hidden in a bicycle. But alas, Grandpa Moe did not know the difference between a bicycle and a car because he didn’t go to a STEM school.

One day, while Harley was walking home from school because he was too embarrassed to ride home on a motorcycle with his mom, he took a detour past the junkyard. He admired all of the rusty old bikes there and collected only the coolest looking sprockets he could find. As he was about to leave, he found in the lot a newer bike that almost looked planted there. It was a Huffy.

Could this be?…

Ok, you don’t have to act like you don’t know that Harley found the golden sprocket on that bike. Seriously? You should know by now that the cute kid with a good education and a pure heart always finds the metaphorical golden sprocket.

And Harley did.

He ran home and told his family, hardly able to contain his excitement. And, because Grandpa Moe was the most talkative of all the grandparents, Harley decided to take him to the sprocket factory on the tour.

The day of the tour arrived and the mechanics, Harley, and Grandpa Moe were excited to finally see the inside of the factory. The rest of the world was just waiting in anticipation to finally find out what the heck a sprocket was (for the record, when the world found out, everyone was pretty disappointed. They had assumed Wanda was as exciting as her brother. They were wrong.)

Wanda Wonka came out of her factory, dressed head to toe in probably the most drab outfit. She was literally wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She also didn’t share any of her brother’s fashion genes.

Wanda took her guests into the factory.

The group traveled down a long hallway, filled with pictures of strange and unusual gears hanging on the walls– spur gears, hypoid gears, helical gears, herringbone gears, planetary gears, Richard Gere…

At the end of this hallway was a large door, made entirely of types of gears which all fit together in one giant rectangular mass. The door was odd because it was missing a few pieces, and it also had no doorknob.

Wanda Wonka looked sharply at her guests and said, “Please, hand me your golden sprockets.”

She held out her hand and the guests gave her their prized sprockets. They watched in amazement as Wanda placed the sprockets in the empty places on the door of gears. As she finished, every gear on the door began to turn and the door opened to reveal–

An entire room of bicycles and motorcycles and cars.

“This,” Wanda said, “Is the transportation room! While this factory does not focus exclusively on modes of transportation, we are constantly testing the best sprocket arrangements to accommodate travelers. You will notice, there is a river of motor oil running through this room. That is to make it smell like cars in here. It adds ambiance.”

She was right. There was a river of motor oil running through the room.

“Hey!” Mike RV yelled, “What are they?!”

He was pointing to a large pile of loofahs on the ground next to one of the cleanest vehicles in the room.

“Those are the poofiest loofahs money can buy– we use those to polish every sprocket in this factory,” Wanda replied.

“Really?” asked Harley,

“Yes,” answered Wanda, “I call them Poofah Loofahs.”

Just as Wanda looked like she was about to break out in song or something, everyone heard a cry for help coming from the motor oil river.

It was Augustine Stoop!

Augustine had stooped so far over the motor oil river to check the consistency of the oil that she fell into it! Wanda frantically explained that the motor oil from the river was pumped from the factory to AutoZones all over the world to be bottled and sold in stores. As she was explaining this, Augustine got sucked into the piping which transported the oil out of the factory and there was nothing Wanda could do.

No matter. Wanda Wonka hated Augustine anyway. You see, Wanda liked to make snap judgments about people she barely knew and rarely felt guilty about it.

Wanda then led the group to get on a boat which would take them down the motor oil river to their next destination on the tour.

This boat was especially haunting, as it was actually a canoe and riders were forced to paddle downstream. You see, canoes DON’T.REQUIRE.SPROCKETS.

It was, perhaps, the most harrowing experience of Harley’s life both because of the lack of sprockets and because Wanda Wonka kept saying super weird stuff like,

“There’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going!”

and,

“The danger must be growing for the rowers keep on rowing!”

Among other things.

Actually, Wanda got pretty hysterical for a hot second and Harley didn’t quite get it because if Wanda wanted them to stop rowing, all she really had to do was ask. She was in charge after all.

But the boat ride was soon over and they arrived at a room filled with shining sprockets which were being cleaned in various ways and using various methods.

“This is our testing division,” Wanda explained, “We test methods for cleaning sprockets: Different soaps, scrubs, scents…”

“Scents?” Scarlett Disregard asked.

“Yes, scents,” Wanda replied. She held up a spray bottle and showed those on the tour, “We are working on sprocket scents so that people who drive bicycles and cars will not have to worry about investing in air freshener. New car smell will soon just be part of the mechanics of cars around the globe! The scent in my hand is one we are also working on: A fresh-cut grass smell for lawn mowers–”

“Let me try that!” Scarlett yelled as she snatched the bottle from Wanda’s hand.

“You really shouldn’t–” Wanda protested mildly.

But it was too late.

Scarlett doused her entire body in the smell. And no sooner than she began to smell like the first week of summer, did she swell up to a truly enormous size. Scarlett had forgotten:

She had hay fever and a terrible allergy to grass.

And Wanda only used the most natural ingredients available for her formulas– so the grassy scent was derived from actual grass.

Employees at the factory literally had to roll Scarlett out of the factory to the nearest hospital. You see, Scarlett really should’ve brought an EpiPen along with her on the tour, but didn’t have an EpiPen because they’re like $600.

The tour moved on, to a room full of machines which manufactured sprockets.

At the end of each sprocket production line was a scale, which determined whether each sprocket manufactured was fit for use, or if it needed to be disposed of and instead used for some hipster steampunk jewelry or something. All of the rejected sprockets were dumped down a chute and into to a dumpster.

While Veronica couldn’t have cared less about sprockets, she did like things that were shiny. This room– with so many sprockets being manufactured in one place– was perhaps the shiniest she had ever seen. And, because she was unaware of the existence of safety protocols since her butler did everything for her, she ran up to the manufacturing equipment and began taking sprockets off of the conveyor belts which led to the scales at the end of the line.

Little did Veronica realize that she, herself, was heading toward a scale.

And, before she could say, “I’m a grown brat,” she was being dumped down the scale’s chute and into a dumpster where hundreds of steampunk obsessed jewelry makers were waiting to judge her outfit choice.

The group went on.

The final stop on the tour was the room of projects: In which one model of every thing that had ever needed a sprocket was stored.

That’s when Mark RV saw it: The largest RV he had ever laid his eyes on.

“Hey, lady!” he said to Wanda in the scuzziest tone of voice possible, “I didn’t know you had an RV here!”

“Of course!” Wanda replied, “That RV uses the biggest sprocket we’ve ever manufactured! Would you like to give it a spin?”

Harley thought this was a funny joke because sprockets spin, but Wanda was also speaking figuratively regarding the RV.

“Sure!” Mark said excitedly (but not without mild scuzziness).

Mark actually got into the RV and never came out again.

He didn’t die or anything, he just never stepped out of the RV. He literally lived there for the rest of his life.

Soon, the tour was over and Harley, Grandpa Moe, and Wanda went to Wanda’s office. Once there, Wanda was noticeably cranky as she sat at her desk and began to say goodbye to the two.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” Grandpa Moe began, “When does my grandson receive his lifetime supply of sprocket chocolate and his shares of stock?” he asked.

“First of all, I prefer ‘Miss,'” Wanda replied, “When you call me, ‘Ma’am,’ it makes me sound old. Second of all, NEVER. He receives them NEVER because he is a child. What child sincerely loves sprockets?! You clearly put him up to this, old man!”

“Miss Wonka,” Harley replied, “You don’t understand– I love sprockets!”

“Impossible!” Wanda cried, “I will give you the chocolate because children enjoy chocolate and I already get all the chocolate I want from my brother. But you and your lying grandpa need to leave.”

Harley did not know what to do. He decided the best thing was to respect Wanda Wonka’s wishes.

Harley looked at Wanda and said, “I only wish that you had given me a chance. I have a promising future.”

As he and his grandpa began to leave, Harley, with tears in his eyes, placed his report card on Wanda’s desk next to her– For he always carried around his report card and  it was the only thing he could give Wanda Wonka for her to remember him by.

Harley and Grandpa Moe walked to the door.

“Wait!” Wanda yelled.

“Yes?” Harley replied.

“Perhaps, I was wrong about you, Harley,” Wanda said.

“But, what made you change your mind?” Harley asked.

Wanda stood, turned toward Harley and Grandpa Moe, and took a long and hard look at Harley before whispering in a dramatic tone:

“I too went to a STEM school.”

Harley ran and hugged Wanda Wonka and the two knew that this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

And so, although Wanda Wonka had no intention of doing so before, and although she probably had about 50 years of life ahead of her, she gave Harley the sprocket factory.

Perhaps it was a rash decision on her part to do this– to give a perfectly successful factory to a young boy with little business experience. But her brother had done it. And her brother truly was clever, inspirational, and revolutionary.

If it was good enough for her brother, it was good enough for her.

And Wanda saw the excitement Harley had for all she had done– all the appreciation he had for this thing that so many others thought inconsequential– and Wanda thought to herself the same thing her brother must have thought the day he gave Charlie his factory:

“That’s all I wanted: for someone to look at me and listen to me, but in some beautiful and artistic way.”

-Gene Wilder

THE END.

Cheater Stan: The Boy Who Never Threw Up

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Once upon a time, there was a family.

Actually, to clarify, there are millions of families, but we’re only going to focus on one for this story.

This family was the Daring family. It was ironic that their names were “Daring” because they were probably the least exciting family in all of London, Ohio.

The father, Joe Daring, had only one rule for his three children: Grow up as fast as you can. This was very difficult because it’s impossible to age yourself any faster than the earth decides to rotate. Mr. Daring, however, had unrealistic expectations and didn’t care what scientists said. He also thought the earth was flat. But that’s probably because he lived his whole life in Ohio. His scientific viewpoints are also irrelevant to this story, but I thought you might find them amusing.

One day, Mr. and Mrs. Daring had to go to a work function because Mr. Daring worked for a company that always had work functions. The couple left their three children, Windy, Don, and Michelangelo home alone while they went to the work function, but figured the children would be fine because they also left their dog, Vanna, at home.

What the parents were forgetting is that 1) dogs are ineffective babysitters, 2) their daughter may have been 16 years old, but she was incompetent because she was going through a rebellious phase, and 3) their dog was named after a person on a game show (but that’s really of no consequence. I just wanted to point out that they forgot).

That night, Windy was awoken by the sound of something tapping on her window. She quickly went to her window to check the noise, but saw only the shadows of the trees and the outline of a guy who looked incredibly attractive.

Wait.

Windy did a double-take because the shadow of an incredibly attractive man can only mean good things about the actual man who was casting the shadow.

She threw open the window and yelled, “Hey! Who are you?”

She was not incredibly well-versed, but she was working on it.

As soon as she yelled, the shadow darted into her room– it wasn’t attached to a person at all! However, Windy’s yelling had woken up her brothers, who, at the ages of 14 and 5, were very protective of their sister. They saw the shadow leaping through Windy’s room and tackled it to the ground.

No sooner had they captured the shadow than Windy heard a knock at her window again. This time, it was the shadow’s owner: Cheater Stan. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

“Hello,” the shadow owner said, “I believe you have something which belongs to me?”

“Yes, I do,” answered Windy. She knew it was his shadow for he was the most attractive guy she had ever seen. But then again, she had never been out of Ohio.

“My name is Cheater Stan, and I have been 17 years old for 3 decades,” said Cheater Stan.

He was named Cheater Stan because his name was Stan and he always cheated people. Basically, he was a terrible person, but Windy did not care because he was really attractive.

Windy replied, “My name is Windy and I have been 16 years old for 200 days.”

Just then, Windy and her brothers heard a sound which they had never heard before. It was like the sound of several small farts, but cuter somehow.

Then, Michelangelo noticed a small fairy sitting next to Cheater Stan.

“Hey! Who are you?” Michelangelo asked.

“Oh!” Cheater Stan responded, “That’s Stinker Bell. She’s my fairy friend!”

“How cute!” replied Windy, “Does she have any magical powers?”

“Of course!” said Cheater Stan, “She possesses magical farts, which, when released, can make anyone in close proximity fly to a place called Neverplan– the land where you never have to plan anything for your future. You can basically just wing it or whatever! There’s never any stress, so I’ve never even thrown up in my life! Not once!”

Windy liked the sound of this place. She wanted to go there. And, because she was the babysitter, her brothers had to do whatever she said.

“Let’s go!” exclaimed Windy, “Is there anything else we need to do to fly?”

“What. Of course not,” said Cheater Stan, “Magical farts are enough. I thought I just explained that to you.”

And so he did. Windy wasn’t the best listener, but what 16 year-old is?

Stinker Bell went around the room, farting in close enough proximity to the children so as to make them fly, but not so close that it was un-ladylike and they all followed Cheater Stan out the window.

Past Columbus, Ohio.

Over Lebron James’ house.

All the way to the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

And then over the ocean.

Until they saw a small island: Neverplan.

But they were not greeted with a party, for 1) no one on the island was motivated enough to plan parties, and 2) instead, they were greeted unhappily by cannon balls flying through the sky– wait no–

Those aren’t cannon balls–

That’s…

BREAKFAST FOOD.

Giant bagels, eggs, sausage patties, and potatoes were hurling through the air at the Daring children, Cheater Stan, and Stinker Bell!

This must be the work of CAPTAIN COOK!

Captain Cook was a nefarious fellow who lived on a pirate ship and cooked only breakfast food– which is the worst kind of food on the island of Neverplan because it belongs to the meal which is the most planned of the day: Breakfast. Those on Neverplan never ate breakfast because they never planned and never never never set alarms.

But that’s not why he was named Captain Cook.

You see, Captain Cook’s largest enemy was Cheater Stan because Stan once cheated him out of winning a card game, which was a jerk move. After this, Captain Cook got angry and punched Cheater Stan in the stomach, but, because of Stan’s rock-solid abs, Captain Cook’s hand was irreparably damaged and he had to get it amputated. When he awoke from the procedure, Captain Cook looked at his arm and saw that, for a prosthetic, he was given a frying pan. The reason was that they were in the middle of the ocean and did not have a hook just lying around or whatever. But they had a lot of frying pans because everyone on the ship really loved food.

The Darings, Cheater Stan, and Stinker Bell dove through the sky, dodging breakfast food left and right. They flew to the island as fast as they could and, when they were on the ground, Captain Cook stopped pelting them with breakfast food and left them alone because all he had left on board was bacon and nobody should ever waste bacon.

Once on land, the Darings got a tour of the island. They saw lazy mermaids, soaking up the sun on the beach; a group of boys, affectionately called the Lazy Boys, reclining in chairs– which they made themselves solely for the purpose of being lazy– beneath the shade of the forest; a lazy pride of lions yawning the day away; and the president of Neverplan, who, because he was a politician, was the laziest of all.

All the while, Windy and Cheater Stan began flirting with each other because they were close in age and attractive. Stinker Bell became jealous, for she was in love with Cheater Stan. However, she knew she was at a disadvantage because Cheater Stan had recently friend-zoned her, citing her short stature, awkward gastrointestinal issues, and the fact that she was not a natural blonde as deal-breakers (Cheater Stan was super shallow, guys).

Stinker Bell’s jealousy drove her to fly to the edge of the island. Little did she know that–

Waiting nearby–

was–

Captain–

Cook!!!

Cheater Stan did not even notice she was missing because, hey, that’s what happens to girls who are friends with a guy who gets a girlfriend.

Cheater Stan wanted to take Windy and her brothers to dinner at a nearby village inhabited prominently by women who wear leopard print, by hot dog truck owners, and by Italian Americans. It was a loud village, but there was always killer food, so that made up for everything.

For dinner, they ate so much pasta that they nearly burst! (Don’t worry, guys. That’s a figure of speech. They did not almost burst. They were just so full that they felt like they might not fit in their pants again for about 2 hours).

However, the children and Stan were eating so much food and stuffing their faces so rapidly (not a figure of speech, their faces were veritably taxidermied), that they did not even notice that the village was being surrounded by the smell of maple syrup.

Indeed!

When the children ate so much that they had a difficult time getting up from a sitting position– and the rest of the village had gone to sleep because they had to arise early to open their bakeries and hot dog trucks the following morning– Captain Cook’s crew captured the children!

But they did not capture Cheater Stan because he was stealthy and also a coward, so he ran away and did not even stay to fight for his friends. No matter, Windy still loved him. She was a terrible judge of character.

The children were taken to Captain Cook’s boat and forced to do terrible things like make sunny-side up eggs without enough butter, cook pancakes with incorrect batter-to-water ratios, and eat only toaster strudels without any icing.

Cheater Stan realized that he had to save his friends from this misery, if for no other reason than to be the center of attention. Also, he was quickly losing his ability to fly and realized that Captain Cook must have taken Stinker Bell too.

He walked briskly to the shore and floated toward Captain Cook’s ship. When he climbed aboard, he devised a plan– which he hadn’t done for more than 30 years.

Here was his plan:

  1. Find a burrito.
  2. Find Stinker Bell.
  3. Feed Stinker Bell the burrito.
  4. Have Stinker Bell “make” the entire ship fly.

This SEEMS like a useless plan, but what I have neglected to tell you is that Captain Cook’s greatest fear was heights. There’s no particular reason– people are just afraid of ridiculous things sometimes and we have to choose to either accept them for it or use it against them.

So, Cheater Stan sneaked into Captain Cook’s cabin. It was easy for him because Captain Cook rarely locked his cabin door because it’s kind of hard to unlock a door with one hand and he was often just like forget it.

Cheater Stan found Stinker Bell within the cabin, locked in a Glade air freshener wall plug-in.

Poor Stinker Bell. But, from then on, her farts smelled like lavender meadows, so who was the real winner here?

Stinker Bell flew around the ship, dousing each section with her magical lavender powers– from the starboard to the poop deck– and the ship began to fly.

The crew began to abandon ship, but Captain Cook became frightened and confused. He had always vowed that he’d go down with his ship, but had never before contemplated what would happen if he was in a situation in which he’d have to go up with his ship.

No matter, Cheater Stan knew exactly what to do with Captain Cook: They would drop him off to work at a Dairy Queen because Dairy Queen never serves breakfast. And so they did. Captain Cook was veritably tortured by working in this place for the rest of his life.

After this, the ship flew back to the Darings’ house.

Windy was sad, for she had hoped to stay in the place where she never had to plan, or throw up, for the rest of her life.

“Windy,” Cheater Stan said, “You must stay here.”

“I don’t want to stay here, Cheater Stan,” Windy said, “I love you and I love Neverplan!”

Cheater Stan realized that he must tell Windy the truth, both because he felt bad that she was so naive, and because he was terrified of commitment, so when she said that she loved him it really freaked him out.

“Oh my naive girl,” Cheater Stan grinned, “There is no Neverplan!”

“What?! How?!” Windy replied.

“My dear Windy,” he explained, “There is no Neverplan for we were in Manhattan all along.”

Windy confusedly retorted– “But the mermaids?”

“Hudson River mutants–” Stan replied,

“The Lazy Boys?”

“Entrepreneurs,” he quickly snapped.

“And the lions?”

“Central Park Zoo,” he explained.

“But surely the lazy president–”

“Oh, yes, that was real. All politicians are lazy,” he laughed.

Windy began to sob. In hindsight, she should’ve realized that the strange people she feasted with in that village seemed like those she’d seen on Jersey Shore, Cake Boss, and in the televised Coney Island hot dog eating contest, but she had wanted so badly for the magical island to be true.

And she then realized that Cheater Stan’s name was CHEATER Stan, so she really should’ve seen this coming, dang it.

Cheater Stan left that night, without so much as a goodbye hug.

But Windy went to sleep that night, understanding that it’s okay to plan sometimes and that life is to be lived in moderation– which is probably why people decide to live in places like Ohio anyway.

And that was okay.

She also understood that Cheater Stan was probably 47 years old, come to think of it. In addition to being a terrible judge of character, she was a terrible judge of age and if he lied about everything else, Cheater Stan probably lied about his age.

Or, did he?

THE END.

 

Glow White and the Eleven Forks

cropped-snow-white-1503435_1280.pngOnce upon a time.

Once apon a time.

Wait, no. Apon isn’t a word, is it?

Upon. It’s upon.

Great. Now upon doesn’t even look like a word. It just looks like the ending of “coupon.”

Whatever.

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Glow White and, like most beautiful maidens, she always got whatever the heck she wanted. And, also like most beautiful maidens, she had one weakness. Unfortunately for her, Glow White was named for her one weakness, which was being so ridiculously pale that she glowed.

She glowed in the dark.

She glowed in a park.

She glowed in a shed.

She glowed in her bed.

You get the picture: It was very hard for Glow White to go to sleep sometimes.

But, even in spite of her iridescence, Glow White’s stepmother (for all royal maidens have fathers who either kill off their daughters’ mothers or make their daughters’ mothers terminally ill, resulting in untimely death and re-marriage), was terribly jealous of the princess, for Glow White’s stepmother was not as eye-catching as Glow White. Basically, her stepmother was an attention hog.

Glow White’s stepmother was beautiful, but she did not possess the natural and literal glow that Glow White did. No, rather she spent many hours in her royal tanning bed, visiting the royal hair salon to get her hair dyed, and, every so often, would get royal Botox injections to keep up with Glow White’s youthful glow.

One day, Glow White’s father died. It was unfortunate because death is often unfortunate, but it isn’t like Glow White’s father didn’t spend his own share of time in the tanning bed. Melanoma is a real threat. He wasn’t careful.

But now, Glow White was under the reign of her stepmother, who was a real jerk (listen, EVIL is a really strong word. Let’s not use it flippantly. Her stepmother was a jerk, but evil? Too far. You guys don’t even really know her yet, so you can’t really judge her). And her stepmother was kind of… unique. Every night, before she went to bed, Glow White’s stepmother would take out her vintage Lite-Brite and say,

“Lite-Brite, Lite-Brite in my hand, who is the most radiant in all the land?”

And, when she asked this question, the Lite-Brite would spell out the name of the stepmother. Whose name was literally just, “Stepmother.” Her parents knew what they wanted her to be and named her accordingly.

And, for years, because of her excessive tanning and exposure to artificial light, Stepmother’s name was always spelled on the Lite-Brite as the most radiant maiden in the land. That is,

Until.

The.

Day.

It.

Wasn’t.

On that fateful day, Glow White’s name was spelled on the Lite-Brite. This threw Stepmother into a jealous rage. Actually, Stepmother CHOSE to go into a jealous rage. Nothing can throw you into a rage. That’s a personal decision which can be assisted by training in self-discipline.

So, in this rage, Stepmother stormed up to Glow White’s bedroom to do away with her once and for all. However, Glow White was not there. She had gone out to talk to the friendly lightning bugs in the forest– the only earthly creatures which understood her fate (well, besides the angler fish, but honestly, where is she going to find an angler fish?).

Stepmother called for her royal huntsman. She pleaded with him to go into the forest and bring back with him Glow White’s heart. However, the huntsman was a poetic man, so, he assumed that Stepmother was speaking figuratively and decided to woo the princess with his wit, kindness, sexual appeal, and intelligence. Guys, c’mon, he liked to hunt, but that didn’t make him a monster.

So, he set off for the forest– thinking he would win the princess’ heart– Stepmother all the while thinking he was going to kill Glow White. Neither of them knowing what was in store for the other next.

Although Glow White was partial to the lightning bugs which inhabited the nearby forest, she was friends with all creatures because creatures usually gravitate toward light anyway, so making friends with them was easy. The creatures also had a keen instinct and knew when the huntsman was traversing toward the wood. The royal birds would tell the nearby squirrels, which would tell the nearby beavers, which would tell the kingdom’s ducks, which would notify the woodland chipmunks, who would tell the rest of the creatures in the wood because chipmunks are natural gossips.

When Glow White heard of the news from the woodland chipmunks, she knew that her stepmother had sent the huntsman after her because Glow White was a narcissist and assumed everything was about her. At least this time she was correct.

She fled into the woods and, because she herself lit the way, she was able to see a well-hidden cabin in the midst of the brush. She hid in this cabin until she was sure the huntsman would pass by.

The huntsman was very disappointed. He never did find Glow White. But that’s life for some people: Unrequited love. Oh, the stepmother also had him executed, which is sad, but he wasn’t a principal character, so what do you care?

Glow White decided that, because she could not return to the castle, she would live in the cabin until the foreseeable future. Luckily, Glow White was not alone, for in the cabin, she found eleven forks, which she dressed up like little dolls and talked to when she became bored with speaking to the woodland creatures that could magically understand her.

But this happiness could not last forever.

Stepmother grew weary of Glow White’s games and of the Lite-Brite constantly tormenting her with its words of truth which lauded natural incandescence. She decided to disguise herself as an old peddler woman and search for Glow White in the woods. She did so by skipping her next Botox injection and neglecting to pluck her chin hairs. She also wore a wig and an over-sized cloak she found at a thrift store.

After many months, Glow White had long forgotten the impending threat of Stepmother’s psychosis. She had also forgotten that talking to strangers is dangerous.

So, one day, when an old peddler woman (IT’S STEPMOTHER, GUYS. NOT AN OLD PEDDLER WOMAN, DON’T FORGET) came to Glow White’s door, she thought,

“Oh wow! Company! How embarrassing– I made a pie, but don’t have any forks for this old peddler to eat it with because all of my forks are people.” And Glow White opened the door.

The old peddler woman asked Glow White politely, “May I come in, dear?”

“Of course, old peddler woman,” the princess responded as she opened the door to the cabin.

“Would you like to have a sip of the water in my canteen?” the peddler woman asked.

“No ma’am, I don’t drink things offered to me by strangers,” Glow White responded. She was dumb, but she wasn’t an idiot.

“Hm,” responded the peddler woman (STILL STEPMOTHER, REMEMBER), “Perhaps then you would like this delicious berry which I found along the path?”

“GAH!” Glow White shouted, “You can’t just eat any berry you find along a path! Many wild berries are poisonous to human consumption!”

The old peddler woman (aka S.T.E.P.M.O.T.H.E.R.), however, was not thwarted, for she had one more idea,

“Young lady, you surprise me with your street smarts,” she said, “Won’t you take this– an ice cream cone which I picked up from the local ice cream trick–er–truck?”

“Ice cream!” Glow White responded. For, although her chief weakness was her glowing complexion, her second weakness was ice cream. Ice cream is everyone’s second weakness.

But, Glow White did not realize that the ice cream cone was poisoned.

Yes, POISONED.

No, I don’t know what it was poisoned with, but I do know that it caused Glow White to fall into a deep sleep. The only way she could be awoken was through true love’s kiss, which was remarkably unfortunate as she hadn’t even MET her true love yet.

But he was out there.

And he knew her.

Because he was her second cousin.

And he was next in line for the throne in his own kingdom. Stepmother had planned on poisoning him next so she could form a kingdom monopoly of sorts. Also, before you’re absolutely disgusted by this whole scenario, this is what royal families used to do to keep the bloodline pure. Don’t hate the historian, hate the history.

When news of Glow White’s unconscious nature reached the prince’s ears, he became very upset and locked himself in his room for a couple of days to grieve because he knew that grieving was healthy.

Then, he realized there was one option greater than wallowing and stuffing his face with a pint of ice cream: True. Love’s. Kiss.

He raced to the woods and found Glow White encapsulated in a glowing coffin. Then, he realized that it was no coffin– it was Stepmother’s tanning bed. He knew in that moment that this was Stepmother’s doing. But he would deal with that later.

The prince threw open the lid of the tanning bed and kissed Glow White. Her eyes fluttered open, but she was initially confused because she was wearing those protective tanning bed goggles (I told you Stepmother wasn’t COMPLETELY evil). Glow White then ripped off the goggles to see standing before her, her second cousin: The prince.

At first, she was weirded out because, like, she didn’t even know if this thing with her cousin was legal?… But then she realized that it was legal because royalty does this all the time these days and so, she and the prince rode off into the sunset on the prince’s royal horse.

And,  because she had spent so much time in that tanning bed and in the sunset, Glow White got a wicked tan.

Which meant that Stepmother was, once again, the most radiant in all the land. And she only became more radiant as she spent time in the kingdom’s underground dungeon, away from the light of the sun.

Which just goes to show you– radiance isn’t everything.

Because meanwhile, Glow White and her second cousin, the prince, lived happily ever after.

THE END.