Once upon a time there were two ugly, spiteful sisters who lived together in a mansion in the country with their mean, fat and ugly children. They had connived to marry well but divorce better but – alas! – their ex-husband’s lawyers were craftier than a brace of foxes wearing chicken suits at a poultry dance and they got stiffed with one drafty mansion and a bunch of mean, fat, ugly kids.
The first sister, back in the day, was a plain girl; with mousey hair, mousey eyes and, well, a mousey kind of face. The years had not been kind on this mare and to keep up with the fillies she undertook a bit of botox here…a tummy tuck there…and exercised so much that she was like the front cover of Gray’s Anatomy; so defined was every sinew and muscle. When she entered a room the women uttered, ‘sweet jesus…’ which she took for envy; and the men muttered, ‘man alive!‘ which she took as lust. But she was wrong on both counts. She just looked a bit freaky, like an orange on a toothpick.
The second sister was just plain ugly. She did, however, gamely do everything in her power to counteract it. She wore the finest clothes; sheer fabrics from Chanel, flowing gowns by Ghost. Her hair was perfectly cut and styled; washed and conditioned with luxury shampoos. She had facials, and masks and La Prairie mosturisers and the best make-up money could buy… But, her face was as if someone put some putty in a bag and stamped on it wearing football boots and she had the body of a scrum half which not even an expensive personal trainer could alter. She got the ugly and nothing can cure that.
Because they were mean and spiteful and didn’t really like their mean and spiteful kids they decided to get an au-pair – but not to look after the kids (they’d been in boarding school since the age of three) – but to clean the house as they were too craven to hire a cleaner and too lazy to do it themselves.
Cindy – the au-pair – was awfully nice, awfully hardworking but also a bloody knockout. The sisters love-lives were barren enough without distracting their revolving door of internet dates – fooled with witty emails and PhotoShop – with a pretty au-pair. So they worked her from six until eight every day – on a pittance – and enforced a strict curfew lest they cut her internet connection. Cindy’s life was hard enough – but without Facebook and Twitter? Forgetaboutit.
Because the mansion was in the Shires, the local prince – who had been single for as long as anyone could remember (Gay? Reasoned Grazia. Bi? Suggested The News of the World? Waiting for Mrs Right? hoped Hello) – decided to organise a ball so that he could meet some potential princesses. ‘Royal Booty Call’, intoned the two ugly sisters, and cackled their bestest cackles. ‘Let’s get some slap on, and get ourselves some royal…’ Cindy looked at them hopefully. ‘You,’ they sneered, ‘will spend the evening ironing toilet roll.’
The two sisters re-emerged an hour later. ‘Holy mother of god…!’ moaned Cindy. ‘Yes, I know,’ smirked the first ugly sister, ‘we’re hot.’
‘Smokin’…’ said the second as they left for the ball. They looked like something you’d dress up as for Halloween.
Once she was alone, Cindy sighed: ‘…but, how I do wish I could go to the ball…’
Then who should appear but Cindy’s fairy godmother, who span around the room in a shower of fairy dust. Cindy just had time to tweet: ohmygod before falling off her chair in shock. ‘I am your Fairy Godmother, and you shall go to the ball!’
‘ohmygod!’ shrieked Cindy.
‘I shall turn this pumpkin into a carriage,’ said the Fairy Godmother, flitting around the kitchen,
‘ohmygod!’ gasped Cindy.
‘These mice, into footmen!’
‘ohmygod!’ squealed Cindy.
‘And…and,’ said the Fairy Godmother, ‘will you stop saying ohmygod…it’s rather…irritating.’ She coughed, ‘and these rags into the prettiest ballgown in the world!’
Cindy, looked down at herself, ‘those weren’t rags, they were Abercombie…and this gown,’ she said, with her best whatever voice, ‘what am I? Six? This dress is minging, I am like Bride of Chav…’
‘Well…I could change the colour…’ muttered the Fairy Godmother,’…you really don’t like it?’
‘What I was thinking…’ said Cindy, leading the Fairy Godmother over to a truly frightening stack of magazines. ‘Is this…’
[some time later]
‘…and these strappy sandals, with the gold clasp, that Sienna Miller is wearing at Sundance. Ohmygod – and, like, the best clutch handbag, like, ever – ‘
‘I think,’ said the Fairy Godmother, checking her watch, ‘that we must get ready, or we’ll miss the ball.’ She twiddled her wand and in a flurry of sparkles Cindy was in her party outfit.
‘Ohmygod!,’ said Cindy. The Fairy Godmother winced. ‘But what about shoes?’ she asked.
‘Ah! My speciality: glass slippers!’ with a wave her wand Cindy was suddenly wearing the daintiest, prettiest glass slippers you ever seen.
‘Ohmygod!’ squealed Cindy. Then she looked up, ‘are they, like, dangerous – I mean: they’re, like, gorgeous and everything – like, totally, and so original – but what if I trip?’
‘You won’t,’ smiled the Fairy Godmother.
‘Yeah, but: after I’ve had a few glasses of fizz, I might break them and, like, they’re glass and I might sever my foot…’
‘It’s really good glass,’ said the Fairy Godmother, indulgently.
‘But – ‘
‘- Toughened glass.’
‘Yeah, but – ‘
‘ – BULLET PROOF GLASS!’ stated the Fairy Godmother.
‘But – ‘
‘They’re MAGIC!’ shouted the Fairy Godmother, ‘MAGIC, BULLET-PROOF, GLASS SLIPPERS – OKAY?!’
‘Okay,’ said Cindy in a small voice, ‘No need to get all, like, shouty…’
The Fairy Godmother composed herself, ‘there’s one more thing…’ Cindy paused at the door. ‘my magic only works until midnight.’
‘Could we make it one o’clock?’ asked Cindy.
‘No,’ said the Fairy Godmother, ‘at twelve everything will revert back to it’s original form…’ Cindy rolled her eyes.
‘You’re, like, worse than my mum…’ and with that she flounced out to the ball.
Well, Cindy was a big hit at the ball and the handsome prince went completely schwing! when he saw her and that was that: the rest of the party could have gone home, he only had eyes for her. They talked, they danced, they laughed – oh how they laughed! – and although Cindy thought he was a bit wet; he was, like, totally loaded and had a castle and everything. But then her iPhone thrummed in her pocket: ‘Ohmygod! I have to go…’
‘But…?’ asked The Handsome Prince. But she was gone.
Cindy sprinted for the exit – in her haste kicking off one of the slippers – and jumped into her waiting carriage. The prince, picked it up and thought: I will find this girl…whoever fits this slipper will be my bride.
Cindy urged the carriage faster and faster. But just as it reached the driveway of the ugly sisters house, the footmen turned back into mice, the party outfit back into jeans and a hoodie and the carriage back into a pumpkin. Unfortunately, Cindy was still inside the carriage and was sealed within it. Without any oxygen she asphyxiated within minutes and the pumpkin was eventually picked up by one of the drunken ugly sisters when she came back from the party. ‘Fuck me, this weighs a bloody ton…pumpkin pie tomorrow, then.’
‘How’d you get on?’ asked the other ugly sister who was already home, having a midnight whiskey.
‘I reckon I’m in there like swimwear, you should’ve seen his face when he saw me come in…’ she looked around, ‘where’s that idle wench? She needs to cook this bloody pumpkin.’
Over the next couple of days Cindy was nowhere to be found, even after a Crimewatch reconstuction and a Crimestoppers reward. The ugly sisters hired a new au-pair – but made sure this one had a touch of the ugly. The prince, meanwhile, took the slipper from hamlet to hamlet trying to find someone who’d fit it.
He eventually called at the ugly sisters house and when the first sister opened the door he said, ‘man alive!‘ but let her try on the slipper. It fit! What were the chances of that? That there would be another person with the same shoe size as Cindy? What’re the odds? Pretty good, in fact. The Prince thought: I must have had my beer goggles on but he was a man of honour and pledged to marry the ugly sister. She was so delighted that she telephoned Jennie Bond and booked a monster botox session.
The new au-pair’s first duty was to make pumpkin pie, but she got the shock of her life when she cut into it and discovered Cindy curled up inside, starting to go off a bit but still wearing the other glass slipper. She screamed and called the police.
The police had only one lead: the glass slipper. This obviously led back to the prince, but with only circumstantial evidence – and the palace’s legions of lawyers – their investigation came to nothing and the prince was, to all intents and purposes, exiled to far flung kingdoms to wear embarrassing tribal headwear and open supermarkets.
The lead investigator on the case turned her attention to the sisters. Eye witness accounts point to the prince and Cindy getting quite friendly at the ball – then lo and behold! – he only goes and proposes to Ugly Betty, She sends SOC to see if they’ve missed anything and they immediately discover magic dust from the Fairy Godmother.
The Fairy Godmother sees her face on the news and nearly chokes on her cinnamon danish. ‘What have I done?’ she sobbed and flew, in a flurry of magic dust, to the nearest police station to hand herself in. ‘Fairy LIQUIDATOR’ headlined The Sun. ‘Magikill’ splashed The Star. ‘Pumpkin’ ‘ell!’ shouted The Express. The Fairy Godmother was shamed.
She was locked up in a maximum security – specially modified – prison; her wings were clipped and her wand mothballed. She remains in solitary confinement to this day on a self imposed diet of pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto and pumpkin pie.
And that is why when you wish for something, it doesn’t come true.
(sorry for the length – seriously, normal service will be resumed shortly! – Oh, my illustration again.)