Once upon a time, there was a witch who lived in a third-floor walkup on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. And she…wait, what? Manhattan? That doesn’t sound like a fairy tale. We’re sure she didn’t live in a cave or a shack in the woods or something? No? Definitely the apartment in New York? Okay, if you say so. Let’s start again:
Once upon a time (apparently) there was a witch who lived in a third-floor walkup on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. And she spent all her time casting spells and mixing potions, which she then sold on the secret magical online auction site: eFey.
(Really? We’re really going with that? No one’s gonna get that joke. Fine, whatever, moving on)
Now, Angie (that was the witch’s name, Angie) was not exactly a wicked witch, though she was a little, I guess you’d call it “moody.” She sometimes got annoyed when she saw happy, giggling people and felt like turning them into toads or something, though she never did. Nor was she exactly an ugly witch, though, again, she wasn’t exactly what most people thought of as “pretty.” Her nose was a little big, her chin was a little pointy and her skin wasn’t exactly flawless. She did have pretty eyes, though, and, all in all, she was very happy with herself and very happy with her life, but for one thing:
She was lonely.
It might not surprise you to find out that most witches don’t have a whole lot of friends, which is why they usually have what is called a “familiar,” which is different from a pet, though no one knows exactly how. Of course, most witches’ familiar is a black cat, but Angie’s was different. Hers was a red and green parrot called Dave, which didn’t quite fit in with her dark, moody lifestyle, but she had inherited him from an aunt a few years back, so she just kind of went with it.
But a parrot, however nice he may be, is no substitute for a real friend or a partner, the kind of companion that Angie secretly craved.
One day she was at the market buying fresh herbs for her spell-casting when she bumped into someone. She was about to say “Why don’t you look where you’re going?!?” in her harsh, raspy witch voice, but she only managed to say “Why don’t—” before she saw who she had run into and was struck dumb. He was gorgeous! Fit and handsome with really great hair and a winning smile (which is impossible to describe, but you know it when you see it). He had very expensive clothes, a gold watch and a silver pendant hanging around his neck.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said the handsome man. “Are you all right?”
“Er…yes…I’m fine, thanks.”
The handsome man flashed her his winning smile then left the store, getting into a very fancy-looking black car just outside the shop.
“Who is that?” Angie asked the shopkeeper.
“Oh, you must know him. He’s the son of that guy who owns that electronics company. You know, ‘Charming Digital?’”
“That’s Alvin Charming’s son?”
“Sure. His name is Prince.”
Wait, his name is literally Prince Charming? I mean ‘eFey’ was bad enough, but this just seems lazy. Fine, whatever, let’s just get on with it.
When she found out who the handsome man was, Angie’s heart sank. She knew Prince Charming would never be able to fall for a witch like her. She tried to forget about him, but couldn’t. She heard singing when there was no one there. She smelled blossoms when the trees were bare. All day long she seemed to walk on air. She wondered why. She became distracted, started making mistakes in her work, her seller rating on eFey dropped several points. It was clear that she’d never be able to get Prince Charming out of her mind. So she came up with a plan.
A few weeks later, Prince was back at the shop, picking up a few things. Cooking was sort of a hobby with him and he preferred to buy his own ingredients. He saw a particularly nice-looking green bell pepper and reached to pick it up, but another hand reached out for it at the same time. The hand was beautiful, and the girl it was attached to was also beautiful. Stunning, in fact. The most beautiful girl Prince had ever seen.
“Oh,” she said, in a beautiful, sing-song voice. “Did you want that pepper? I’m sorry.”
“No, that’s okay. You take it.”
“No, I think you saw it first. You should take it.”
“Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take the pepper, and you let me use it to make you dinner tonight?”
This is what we in the storytelling industry refer to as “meet-cute.”
So, Prince went home to prepare for his date with the beautiful girl he had met at the market…never dreaming that she was actually Angie the Witch in a magical disguise. Knowing that someone as gorgeous as Prince Charming would never feel for her the same way she felt for him, Angie had turned herself into a beauty using one of her own spells. That was the easy part. The hard part was smiling all the time and pretending to be cheerful instead of moody. But, she thought, it was worth it if she meant she didn’t have to be alone anymore.
Dinner went all right, though, again, it was difficult for her to be giggly and happy all the time. But Prince really seemed to eat it up, so, she told herself, it was worth it.
“When can I see you again?” asked Prince.
“Again? Oh, well, maybe…” but just then she felt herself beginning to change back to the way she was. The potion was wearing off! She made a lame excuse (something about her parrot being ill) and beat a hasty retreat. By the time she was back to her apartment, she was her normal self again.
Despite this minor fiasco, she and Prince went on several more dates. She was happy to be with him, but the charade was getting harder and harder to keep up. She never let him come to her apartment, and she made sure to always carry an extra bottle of potion whenever they went out, just in case she needed a pick-me-up.
Finally, after several months of steady dating, Prince asked Angie to marry him. They had just come out of the opera and they were walking down the road together when he suddenly stopped, took both of her hands in his and said, quite simply, “Angie, will you marry me?”
Angie wanted to say yes right away, but then something awful happened. A genuine, bona fide, honest-to-gosh New York-style mugger with a genuine, bona fide, honest-to-gosh gun jumped out at them and demanded their money and jewelry.
“Okay, take it easy,” said Prince, and he motioned to take his wallet out of his coat pocket…but instead, he punched the mugger in the solar plexus, causing him to double over and drop his gun. Angrily, the mugger shoved Angie out of the way and ran off. They were safe and unrobbed, but all was not well. When the mugger shoved her, Angie had dropped her handbag, and when she looked inside, it was just as she had feared: The glass vial with her potion inside had broken! The potion spilled everywhere! And it was going to run out in a few seconds!
“Are you okay? Angie? Angie, what’s wrong?”
The jig was up. Right before Prince’s eyes, Angie transformed back into her old self. With tears in her pretty eyes (the only bit of her that was unchanged by the potion) she explained the whole thing, and said she was very, very sorry. But to her tremendous surprise, Prince didn’t seem angry at all. He just said, “That’s fantastic!”
“What?” asked a very confused Angie. “You’re happy!”
“Yes! Happy that I don’t have to wear this thing anymore!” So saying, he took off the pendant that he had been wearing ever since Angie had known him and threw it away. And before Angie’s eyes, Prince transformed. He was shorter, heavier, his hair was thinning and his nose was crooked. Again, not exactly “ugly,” but nowhere near as handsome as he had been before.
Funny enough, he still had a winning smile.
“I bought that thing off of eFey years ago,” he explained, “so that girls would like me. But that’s not who I am. I don’t really like sweet, happy, cheerful people. To tell the truth, I’m usually kind of…I don’t know, I guess you’d call it ‘moody’.”
Well, we took a different route than I was expecting, but we got to the happy ending. Once they stopped pretending and agreed to be themselves, Prince and Angie fell more in love than ever before. They got married and even started working together. Prince’s natural talent for cooking made him an ideal witch’s assistant and they were soon able to open their own web-based magic service.
And so, believe it or not (and I don’t blame you if you don’t), they lived happily ever after.