Family, Stories
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Wenderella: A Gen-X Fairytale of Viruses and Princesses

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful middle-aged woman named Wendi. Or Wenderella, as she called herself one night after she took a lot of cold medicine and watched RuPaul’s Drag Race. Wenderella lived in a far-off, foreign land called TEXAS in a big, big castle. More specifically, a single-story house in a cul-de-sac that was a little too tame for her liking, but whatever, the school district’s good. Not everybody needs to be Carrie Bradshaw.

Wenderella ruled her queendom along with her dashing husband and two strong teenage sons. There were also a couple cats and a white dog you may have seen on Instagram. But they were a happy family because they didn’t see each other very often. They frequently did something called “going places.” All was well. All was good. Until one day when everything changed. 

“Hear ye, hear ye! There’s an evil disease afoot!” Wenderella’s husband proclaimed to the family. “We must stay inside our castle, or we shall perish!”

Why did she order so many rice cakes on Instacart? Idiot. Nobody likes rice cakes. They’re like eating crepe paper with a mouthful of sand. She should have ordered Cheez-Its, like a real princess.

Wenderella cried out from her tuffet: “But that makes no sense! Why, I was just on Facebook and an asshole blonde mom in a fedora is on her way to Mexico for spring break! She said she deserves a vacation! How can that be if there’s a pandemic sweeping the land?”

Her husband replied, “Bitches be crazy,” then he ran off to cover his body in hand sanitizer.

Trapped inside her castle, Wenderella was sad. Her family was very mean to her, making her work all day cleaning, sewing, and cooking while they played Xbox and complained there weren’t any decent snacks in the pantry. She tried her best to make them happy, but it wasn’t easy. The snacks weren’t decent. Why did she order so many rice cakes on Instacart? Idiot. Nobody likes rice cakes. They’re like eating crepe paper with a mouthful of sand. She should have ordered Cheez-Its, like a real princess.

Now, Wenderella was known throughout the land for her charm and beauty. In fact, she was once described by a Russian gentleman on Twitter as “Not completely gross.” But being trapped in the castle was dimming her usual splendor. She could not visit the nail salon. Or the hair salon. Or even the waxing salon. They were all closed. She couldn’t even go to the gym and read a magazine while she slowly walked on the treadmill and pretended it was a workout. As the days passed by, Wenderella’s hair grew in places it never had grown before. So did her stomach. And her ass. And her … you get the gist.

One day, her son asked, “Mom, why are caterpillars living on your face? Are they our new pets?” 

“Those are my eyebrows,” Wenderella whispered. “MY EYEBROWS.” Then she cried and cried into a pillow she made out of her tunics that no longer fit. 

Poor Wenderella had gone from Beauty to Beast. Which is an entirely different fairy tale, I realize, but whatever, this isn’t Disney+. 

Then one day, a messenger arrived at the castle! His name was Orlando, and he was from a fabled land called Amazon.com. Orlando had a special invitation for Wenderella. There was going to be a royal ball at the palace! Okay, more like he delivered a jigsaw puzzle that she ordered one night when she couldn’t sleep because her asshole neighbor coughed on her, but during a quarantine, a 1,000-piece puzzle of a dog face is the same thing as a ball at the palace! Joy!

Wenderella was very excited. She ran to her attic and found a fancy dress that had been stylish in the 1980’s. It was a little baby doll number from an exclusive store called “Goodwill.” It was beautiful, but Wenderella knew she could make it even more beautiful! 

The night of the ball, Wenderella’s family kept her busy with chores. They asked her to bake something called “sourdough” that Wenderella knew would take her all night to finish. What the fuck is yeast? she asked herself. She’d never before heard of yeast much less touched it. Bread came from a grocery store, silly! But while she was toiling away, the mice and birds that Wenderella had invited into her castle, just so she’d have someone new to talk with while watching 90 Day Fiancé, fixed her dress!  They added ribbons and beads! And baubles! Well, more like they chewed it and pooped on it and made it look like something Courtney Love wouldn’t even wear, but so what? Standards are lower now!

Wenderella was overjoyed when she saw the dress. Now she could go to the ball!

But then, danger. The Owful Orange Ogre came on TV during his daily press conference and dashed all of Wenderella’s dreams of a fancy party.

“Drink bleach,” the Orange Ogre said. “It’s tremendous. I highly recommend a few glasses of Pine-Sol. Swish it around in your mouth. Trust me. I’m a stable genius. Hamberder.”

Wenderella sat on her tuffet and cried. This was terrible. There was no happy ending in sight! Not until maybe November 3rd, and even then who knows because they’ll probably cheat again, and for what it’s worth it’s still completely shitty that Warren isn’t the nominee and—

But then there was a flash of bright light, and Wenderella’s fairy godmother appeared!

“Are you my fairy godmother?” Wenderella gasped.

“No, I’m Andrew Cuomo and you’re watching me on your iPhone. Maybe cool it with the cocktails, lady,” Fairy GodCuomo said. “Listen, I gotta go meet with a task force now, okay? Do us all a favor. Take a shower.”

Then, with a wave of his wand, he turned a pumpkin into a Volvo sedan and — this parody is running out of steam. I realize that now. Let’s just skip over the part where Wenderella puts together a jigsaw puzzle while wearing a dirty dress from 1986 and loses a shoe and finds a shoe and blah blah blah.

Wenderella and her family stayed in their castle for over 45 days, only venturing outside for wine and supplies and wine, and only while wearing beautiful masks they bought from internet strangers. They stayed six feet away from other people at all times, even in Costco. Wenderella was sad, but she knew this time would pass, and she also knew that her family would remain strong. 

At least that’s what she told the mice and the birds when she was hiding in the attic with a stockpile of toilet paper and the last bag of Doritos. Somehow, they all lived happily ever after.

Watch Wendi Aarons read this story on Facebook!

Filed under: Family, Stories

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Wendi Aarons

Wendi Aarons is an award-winning humor writer and blogger who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. In the past few years, she has written for a number of publications including McSweeneys, and for Esther’s Follies, Austin’s famous comedy revue. She has been has also been a commentator on Austin’s NPR station, KUT. Wendi is one of the creators of Mouthy Housewives and the much-lauded twitter feed @paulryangosling. She is also a writer for US Weekly magazine’s Fashion Police.

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