Charming: A Modern Fairy Tale – Friday Fictioneers

Oh, darlings, what a week I’ve had! So you’ll excuse me if I indulge in the teensiest bit of therapeutic psychopathology-by-proxy for this week’s piece. If I were a betting woman, I’d bet that NO ONE went where I went for this week’s piece. I hope you don’t have me committed. I do apologize in advance for the misogyny, but Disney Princes creep me the fuck out, darlings.


Had she really thought that they would live happily ever after, having just met him?

With a dashing smile, sparkling eyes, and an enchanting singing voice, it was no wonder they called him Charming.

He liked playing games, the first one called Dreams of Escape.

He liked watching her face wilt as she reached the telephone only to find it broken and dead.

by Danny Bowman

by Danny Bowman

His seven compatriots dragged her back to him, an apple in her mouth, her mascara staining her snow white cheeks.

“Come here, you silly bitch,” he leered. “Let’s play a game called Hide the Broken Telephone Receiver.”


100 words, spot on.

Thanks for tolerating me, Rochelle! If you want to read more Friday Fictioneers, here’s where to go.

As usual, I will be linking my favourites below, once I have had a chance to read some!

Okay, the first one that really made me laugh (because I needed one) is called I phone, by Trudy K Taylor

Another good story by someone who’s been consistently clever lately – Rotten Apple, over at Vers les Etoiles

Here’s a darkly brilliant tale by JK Bradley called Scavenger Hunt.

Here’s one from KZ that surprised me

Friends Don’t Let Friends Sleep In Phone Boxes is a sad, broken tale I enjoyed.

Victoria Bruce even managed something of a ghost story (of sorts) with Caller that reminds me of Shirley Jackson’s descriptions of haunted places in The House on Haunted Hill.

Perry Block’s foray into telephonic archaeology is worth digging into: A Find Most Rare


67 responses to “Charming: A Modern Fairy Tale – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Oh, that is nasty!! Poor Snow White, definitely not what she was expecting dreaming of the day her prince would come! Mwah ha haa…I bet he did come after that, sick f*ck 😉

  2. Charming was always the creepy one. Anyone with a name like that can’t be for real. Delightfully disturbing, I knew yours would be brilliant!

    • James Marsden’s portrayal of Prince Charming in the movie Enchanted is the quintessential creepy Prince. And she rides off with him ten seconds after meeting him, declaring they’ll be wed in the morning. I always sort of hoped she’d end up as soup, even though I adore Amy Adams (strange, right?) I’m just waiting for her foray into strange adult film territory to shatter her family image a la Anne Hathaway (there’s even a similarity in that they’ve both played fairy tale princesses.)

      • That is an excellent point…I was actually just glad James Marsden FINALLY got the girl at the end of Enchanted, though. I’ve always maintained Beauty and the Beast was the most realistic of all the Disney love stories—though I’m sure there’s plenty of misogyny there, too.

        Amy Adams in a dark/weird role would be wonderful…she needs to dirty up that pristine white image she has!

  3. Oh dear oh dear… went where none have been there…superb crackling tension there,except the phone line’s dead…apple in the mouth…you thought of everything! A ghoulish cursory nod to the brothers Grimm, and what horror!

    • Thank you, darling — isn’t it strange how on one hand, we tell children not to get into cars with strangers, and then fill their heads with the idea of love at first sight and getting caught up in whirlwind romances? Is it any wonder that princes turn into frogs, or that those princesses end up as wicked stepmothers or witches?

  4. Pingback: Urge to Kill Fading… Fading… Gone | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.·

    • Thank you darling — I’ve beat myself up a bit over this piece, because it is so ugly — but then, so’s Silence of the Lambs, and that’s a masterpiece. So if I can sicken people with a mere 100 words, well, fait accompli, I say. I’m grateful that I haven’t received any truly negative comments — yet.

      • I’m no fan of horror, but I loved the wickedness of turning a silly convention (prince charming saving the day) on its head. Those 100 words were skillfully chosen and very well done.

      • It’s funny — I actually came up with this thought the other day while writing this: but never thought I’d actually write it, and then the phone picture just gave me the opportunity. I’m not a huge horror fan myself, but love twisted fiction, and re-imagining stereotypes and conventions. Do feel free to stick around — I swear, none of my other writing is actually this dark!

      • I will certainly be sticking around! I read a few of your comments on Andra’s site and loved your “voice.” I had to check it out, and I’m really glad I did.

  5. I really enjoyed that Shrek made fun of fairy tales and “charming” in particular. While I felt sorry for Snow White, I liked the dark, creepy nature of this (the SVU of it all) because human behavior would tell us that for every charming there is a narcissist underneath.

    this was clever and GOOD.

    • Thank you, Kir. It’s all about suggestion — you’ll notice I didn’t use graphic purple prose at all — I really didn’t need to — I left it up to the reader’s imagination. Believe me when I say it makes ME uncomfortable to go to that place, so I can sympathize with my readers’ discomfort. Thank you again for reading and your kind words.

  6. I always suspected something like this! Really….how can anyone be that damn cheerful? Well this will certainly get anyones attention. But I think you got it right.

  7. Wow – the darkness… love the archetypes being spun on their heads! Saw ‘Cabin in the Woods’ last night so the ‘game-playing’ resonated with me.

    • I wish I weren’t so cynical, but recently, a man near where I live placed a Kijiji ad to sell his car, and a couple of men showed up to test drive the car, and instead kidnapped, killed, and incinerated him. True story. This just happened two weeks ago. Who can you trust?

      • OMG that’s awful – there have been 2 terrible murders here this week – on the same day I think – the police even used guns, which rarely happens… the world can be a dark, dark place!

  8. This story is brilliant, I loved it!

    I was a typical disney-loving little girl, but I find it weird that all my 20+ year old housemates still like and watch the films so much! I find the princes especially strange now, they all look like creepy dolls. If I ever have kids, I’m going to try and get them into Studio Ghibli rather than Disney!

    • I think that we are conditioned to look past the subservient and meaningless roles that women play in these films in favour of the “romance.” Sadly, Twilight perpetuates this type of storytelling — pathetic damsel in distress, in quasi-abusive relationship, constantly having to be rescued… I think that every girl should have to listen to the songs “Army of Me” by Bjork and “Not A Pretty Girl” by Ani Difranco before they EVER watch a Disney movie or read some stupid tween lit romance.
      But it’s not hard to pick on Disney — they make it far too easy.

  9. Firstly, thanks for the pingback, and I’m glad it made you smile.
    Secondly, OMG! Excuse my modern teenage slang, but my goodness, that’s some Prince(just-call-me-psycho)Charming you’ve got there! Chilling stuff, but I did enjoy it!

    • Did you know that the mark on the key in the story of Bluebeard is supposed to be a bloody metaphor for infidelity? Penny’s taking a children’s lit class and I’m learning all kinds of interesting (if sometimes absurd) tidbits. Thanks for reading, darling.

  10. Wow, well written and pretty dark, although it shows the incredible naivety in Disney stories. There are pretty sobering consequences sometimes in real life.

    • I wish sometimes I weren’t so cynical, but when Cinderella is dancing with the prince (who only approached her because she was the most beautiful girl in the room) and starts singing “So this is love…” thirty seconds after she’s met him, my response was always “Really? This is love?” Nah, this is about three more drinks, an awkward moment involving birth control, and a breakfast of shame away from the insincere “I’ll call you.” Check out the comic book Fables if you ever want to read some really good modern twists on Fairy Tales. It’s the series that ABC wanted to do instead of Once Upon A Time, but Disney objected to the more mature themes of Fables. Thanks for coming back for more, darling.

      • Hmm, I’ll check that comic out.
        And yes, it is laughable how fast they are suddenly deeply in love after meeting for the first time, often under false pretenses. I think it’s dangerous, actually, since our culture has deified this idea of true love that’s unrealistic. A way better portrayal of love is from Fiddler on the Roof, in the song, “Do You Love Me?”

  11. Pingback: Revealed: Memoirs of a Dilettante, Vol. One | The D/A Dialogues·

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