It was a three cups of coffee type of morning. Bitter and fairly caffeinated. The phone never knew a moment of peace and the stacks of paper on my desk had reached unprecedented levels of organized chaos. Most of the calls and applications were dead end requests; “I need a prince to take me to prom”, “Can I request a prince for my school’s production of Cinderella?”, “Can I have a foot massage?”. Yes, I’m aware that the sign engraved haphazardly on the door reads ‘THE FAIRYTALE PRINCE AGENCY: A PRINCE FOR EVERY OCCASION’, but in all honesty, we’re a bit short on princes, and it’s fairly hard to come by new applicants.
The first real call of the morning came a short while after my third cup, not my usual female clientele. This one came from the woods from a shady character calling himself Sneezy. Nostrils the size of apples if his nasal voice was any indication. It became apparent pretty quickly that Sneezy was a novice when it came to the Fairytale Industry. He went on and on about a dead girl, an evil step-mother, and some rather obliging woodland creatures – the usual mess. When he finally arrived at the conclusion of his ill-fated tale, battling yet another fit of sneezing, he simply asked what types of services we offered, claiming that the irritable secretary at the coroner’s office across the street had referred him.
I sighed and rubbed my eyes tiredly. I could just imagine the hapless fellow at the other end of the line staring blankly at the wall and rubbing the stubble on his chin in confusion and panic. I allowed myself a brief sip of coffee then quickly dispatched an order for a prince, asking for Sneezy’s preferences.
“So, will it be the standard tall, dark, and handsome type, or the winning smile, sparkly eyes, and lustrous hair type?”
Sneezy grunted what sounded like assertion, although it could have been another sneeze. Hard to tell, but it sounded as though he held the phone upside down, the speaker on his ear as he continued to murmur between fitful achoooos.
I sighed heavily and just picked the prince who lived closest to the dead girl’s coffin, we’re paying enough in travel expenses as it is. I called him up and didn’t get a response until the third try – typical of these prince types, living off of their father’s wealth and spending their waking hours playing dress up. He was more than a bit disgruntled to be woken up this early in the morning, but he agreed nonetheless.
I called Sneezy back, charged him for the service, and assured him that the dead princess would be up and about in no time. He thanked me profusely and assured me that my package of homemade apple pies would arrive shortly. I politely declined the offer, having learned long ago never to accept food from these types.
I left the Prince a voicemail message to remind him to file his paperwork on the case and turn it in by the end of the week. Closing up for the night, I added a tally to our “Number of Happy Endings” board, bringing our monthly total to 38- the brunt of which would be discussed in our board evaluation meeting tomorrow afternoon.
I hadn’t expected to hear from the Prince again until the end of the week, especially considering his lazy nature and his penchant for throwing glamorous balls for his own enjoyment. Much to my surprise, he came in the next day looking a bit dazed and, hardly uttering a word, threw himself uninvited on the seat opposite my desk and proceeded to gaze longingly at the murky clouds outside my window.
“Are you…okay?” I asked hesitantly. It was never a good sign when a hired prince assumed a thoughtful expression.
He nodded his head slowly, eyes still focused on the gloomy skies. I questioned him further and finally managed to elicit a response. The Prince claimed to have fallen in love with the previously dead girl and they were to be wed next week. Listening to his weak proclamation of love, I scowled and hit the desk in frustration, upsetting two diligently stacked piles of paper. This of course had no bearings on his happiness as he walked out of my office in a haze of overwhelming thoughts and emotions. I would’ve called him back, but they’re usually unreachable at this point. It looks like I’m out yet another prince. I must say, it’s a good thing I’m only on my second cup of coffee.