The spell, the journey and the relieved stepmother. A fairytale about growing up

Elise Lawter

To the masses in the orchestra pit, they probably appeared to be a normal, happy family. To the unfortunate occupants of the boxes next to them, they were undoubtedly the most dysfunctional group of people to ever walk the earth.
Why a man would marry such a beautiful woman and then leave her alone with four such surly children no one had yet been able to figure out. Carmen was always yelling at her stepchildren – trying in vain to get them to listen to her.
But alas, they always had different things on their minds. Deana was too busy doing exactly as she pleased to listen, Andrea was too busy getting hysterical about the most minute details to pay attention, and Elise was much too forgetful to remember anything her stepmother told her. Jermane, on the other hand, heard and remembered every word his stepmother told him. He was, however too busy primping and flirting with the young ladies to actually do anything she told him to.
Carmen rubbed her forehead in a vain effort to get her headache to go away. Idly she reached out and without even looking grabbed the back of Deana’s dress. “I thought I told you not to hang over the balcony like that.” Her words were resigned, as if she knew they would do no good but some force other than common sense propelled her to say them anyway.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you.” Deana replied lamely.
“No, of course not.” Carmen replied sarcastically. “And Andrea, please stop that crying! This is just the first act. Nothing has even happened yet!”
“But they’re gonna cut of his beautiful hair!” Andrea wailed miserably.
“That’s Sampson, you dolt! This is Shakespeare!”
“But I wanted to see Sampson!” Not surprisingly, Andrea burst into another round of uncontrollably hysterical tears.
“That’s it! I’ve had it!” Carmen yelled. “What did I tell you would happen if you didn’t behave tonight?”
“I don’t’ remember,” Elise replied sincerely.
In an extremely upset manor, Carmen stormed out, dragging her four step children with her.

After a torturous carriage ride, they finally arrived at their home. As Carmen approached the house, a shutter fell off. This did not improve her mood. As she reached out to open the door, the handle came off in her hand. She spun on Jermane. “You didn’t even repair the door? I asked you to do that a week ago!” she raged.
“Well,” Jermane shrugged his shoulders, “I have a date tomorrow and I didn’t want to dirty my clothes. I figured I’d do it after that.”
The same straw that had broken the camel’s back fluttered down onto Carmen. She snapped. “Fine, if you all want to be screwed up, then be really screwed up!” She waned her hand around above her head like a madwoman for a moment. “There, see how you like that!” With that, she turned as gracefully as possible and walked around the house to enter through the back door, which was not broken.
Jermane, Deana, Andrea, and Elise all looked at each other for a long moment; each was thinking that they didn’t feel any different. Then suddenly Andrea exploded into uncontrollable tears.
“Why is that girl crying?” Elise asked.
“I don’t know’, Jermane replied. As he reached up to comfort his sister, he glanced down at his hand. “Oh, good grief, look at those cuticles. My hands look terrible!” he exclaimed in a voice more feminine than any of his sisters.
“How would you know how I dance?” Deana shouted.
“She put a spell on us!” Andrea shouted through her tears.
“Who put a spell on us?” Elise asked.
“Our stepmother!” Andrea shouted.
“Who spit on our mother?” Deana asked, quite loudly.
“Where is our mother?” Elise looked around as if she were looking for her mother.
“She’s dead!” Jermane shouted. Immediately recovering himself, he put his hand over his mouth and giggled. “Excuse me,” he finished daintily.
“Some guy named Ted spit on our mother? That’s disgusting!” Deana interjected.
Andrea sprinted off after her stepmother, crying all the harder.
“Who are we chasing?” Elise asked.
“Apparently some guy named Ted.” Deana replied and followed her sister around the back of the house. Jermane sauntered behind.
Catching Carmen just as she entered the kitchen, Andrea shouted, “Remove this curse at once!”
“Now why would I do such a thing?” Carmen asked sweetly. “You have such an affection for crying, I thought you would like it if you could cry all the time. And Deana does so love to pretend she can’t hear, I thought she’d like being deaf. And as for Elise and Jermane, they do so love their childish pre- occupations that I thought they would like to have them permanently.” Carmen smiled and batted her eyelashes.
“It’s not fair and you know it!” Andrea shouted.
“On the contrary, my dear. The four of you have made my life miserable with your childish behavior. Now you’ll see what it’s like to have to put up with such insanity every day.”
“Remove it!” Jermane shouted, his hand fluttering in time with his words before it came to rest lightly on his hip.
“The only way I will remove this spell is if your father comes home and tells me to!” Carmen shouted back.
“Fine”, Andrea sniffed. “Then we’ll go find him and make him come back and tell you!” She stomped her foot for emphasis.
“That sounds like an excellent idea,” Carmen replied. “As a matter of fact, I will tell you where he is and even give you directions.”
“Oh, goody. Decorations. What are we celebrating?” Deana clapped her hands in her excitement.
“Let’s go!” Andrea grabbed Deana’s hand and pulled her along behind.
“Where are we going?” Elise asked as she trailed along after her sisters.
“To find our father!”
“To win the lottery?”
“Shut up!” Both of Dean’s sisters and her brother all yelled at the same time.
After having pooled all of their money, they found that they had just enough to make the two day journey to find their father and have the spell removed. After portioning out the money, Andrea sent her sisters and brothers out to get the things they would need.
“Deana, you get us a coach to the village.” She said as she wiped tears from her eyes.
“Why would we need a boat to get to the village? I think we should get a coach.” Deana shouted back, which only made Andrea cry even harder.
Finally, Deana was on her way to get the coach, Elise was off to get some food for the journey, and Jermane was sent to find a sword or knife or something that could be used as a weapon in necessary. Andrea herself went off to find and pencil and some paper so she could communicate with her sister.

The coach ride progressed slowly and Andrea drifted off to sleep. The others quickly realized that Carmen’s spell even worked while sleeping.
“How does she do that?” Deana shouted.
“I don’t know,” Jermane mumbled, “But I wish she’d stop. It’s most unattractive.”
Suddenly, the carriage jolted to a stop. Startled out of her sleep, Andrea sat up, still crying. “What is happening? Where are we?” she wiped the tears from her eyes long enough to look out the window. “Are we on the outer highway?” she shouted histerically.
“How many times has Carmen told you not to travel on the outer highway!” Andera shouted at Deana. “Everyone who comes this way at night gets robbed! “
“Who is Bob?” Deana asked.
“Why are we stopping again?” Elise asked.
“We’re being robbed!” Andrea screamed, her voice broken and raw from her crying.
“There’s two Bobs?” Deana asked.
The black hooded robber watched his prey exit the carriage. The first to exit was a short blonde girl who walked right up to him and grabbed his hand, shaking it vigerously.
“It’s nice to meet you, Bob,” she shouted, “ But you’d better get going. Apparently there are robbers on this road.”
The next person to exit was a short, hysterical, brown haired girl. The robber was amazed that anyone could actually cry that hard. Behind her came a tall, handsome black man who hissed, “Get your hands off my sister,” – his very pale, white sister, - before turning back to help the thin, red headed girl behind him get out of the carriage. During this process he caught sight of his butt and exclaimed, “Oh, my! These tights make my butt look huge! Why didn’t you tell me???” He turned in several circles, like a dog trying to get a better look.
The red headed girl stepped out and asked, “Do I know Bob?”
“No!” the others all shouted.
“Then why are we stopping to talk to him?” she stamped her foot and turned back to the carriage.
Jermane turned to follow mumbling about Bob having a very bad sense of fashion. The hysterical girl grabbed her sister and pulled her back into the carriage, grinding out a speech between tears about not listening and how very dangerous this road is and how they were almost robbed – with many interjections, of course, from her sister of “Huh? What’d you say?” and “I can’t hear you!”
All and all, the robber was left stunned and speechless, but nonetheless resolved to give up the dangerous and unpredictable career of highway robbery.

The rest of the evening progressed without any remarkable events and night began to fall. The collectedly decided to stop at an Inn. Well, most of them decided. Deana had trouble hearing the conversation and eventually decided that they were going skinny dipping in ink.
Everyone settled into their rooms and decided that it was just about time to eat.
“Where is the food, Elise?”
“What food?”
“I told you to get food for the trip!” Tears followed
“We’re going on a trip? Cool! Where are we going?”
Jermane sighed. “Why don’t we just buy food here?”
“Because we won’t have enough money to finish the trip if we buy food!” Andrea’s voice was shrill and she immediately crumpled in tears.
“Perhaps this nice young man could hunt us some food.” Elise suggested.
“Oh, please. Jermane? He can’t even hunt his own shoes without worrying that he’ll mess up his hair!” Andrea cried.
Jermane just “humped”. “I guess I’ll have to do it. Where is the knife, Jermane?”
“Oh, the knife…” Jermane began.
“You did get a knife, didn’t you?”
“Uh… well… it kinda clashed with my suit, so I brought this nifty walking stick instead.” He presented to stick with great pride. Andrea cried. Deana wanted to know why Jermane wanted to put a stick in his shoes. Elise wanted to know where they were going. Eventually they settled on using enough money to buy one meal and share it.
Andrea had just settled down to sleep when she heard a suspicious noise at her door. She huddled deeper under the covers and even through her tears heard the door burst open. Peeking out, she saw a strange figure rushing toward her bed. She screamed and cried hysterically and loudly.
In an instant, the others came bursting through the door. Jermane had his stick in his hand but lingered outside the door – just to make certain that he didn’t actually have to fight and thus mess up his suit or hair.
“What is it?” Deana shouted.
“A man came bursting in and rushed toward me. He was going to kill me! He climbed out the window when you came in!”
“Oh, sure,” Jermane said, inspecting his nails. “ Just like Brad was trying to kill his dog that day he accidentally stepped on the dog’s tail.”
“No, really!”
“Maybe he was going to rob you,” Elise suggested.
“Bob is here?” Deana replied.
“Shut up!” they all shouted together.
“Come on, Andrea. We all know that you exaggerate,” Jermane began. “ There probably wasn’t even a guy.” With that, they all turned to leave, Deana disappointed that she wouldn’t get to see Bob again and Elise wondering who Bob was and if she knew him.

The next day they continued their journey. The long, silent carriage ride made them all cranky and they began to think. Elise kept feeling as though she’d forgotten something but couldn’t remember what. She wondered if it were important.
Deana, on the other hand, let her mind wander to the outer highway. Had Carmen really told her a hundred times that it was unsafe? Perhaps she should listen more carefully.
Andrea was sullen. Her mind hovered on the night before. Was she really so melodramatic that her siblings should not believe that there really was a man in her room? The possibility made her cry all the more.
Jermane, too, thought about last night. He wondered what had made him stay outside the door. As the older brother, he should have been the first to protect her. Was he really so girlish?
All these thoughts churned in their heads until at long last the carriage came to a stop outside their father’s business. Stepping out, they each breathed a sigh of relief.
“This building looks familiar. Have we been here before?” Elise asked.
“Of course we have, you dolt. This is where father works.” Andrea cried.
“ Father bought us a colt?” Deana asked, walking towards the building.
“Wait for me! I just need to adjust my tights!” Jermane called after them.

Finding their father’s office, they found that he was busy. They were instructed to sit in the lobby and wait. They did not have long to wait. In just a few moments, their father came out.
“Ah, I’ve been expecting you.” He said with a smile.
“Oh, father, Carmen put a terrible spell on us and she won’t take it off unless you tell her to!” Andrea wailed. Her father simply pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. After drying her eyes and clearing out her nose, Andrea found the she was no longer crying. She smiled. Her smile widened and she actually laughed. She turned to her siblings and said, “I am sorry that I have been so terribly melodramatic.”
“It’s alright, honey,” Jermane patted her hand.
“You want watermelon now?” Deana asked. Her father stepped over to her and put a small device in her ear.
“You sister was apologizing for being a drama queen.”
“Oh,” Deana replied. “Why are you shouting at me?”
“Because you haven’t heard a word anyone has said for ten years,” Jermane replied daintily.
“Oh, yeah. I’m sorry.” Deana smiled sheepishly. “And I’m sorry I almost got us robbed.”
“Bob was going to rob us??” Elise asked incrediuously. Turning to her father, she said, “ Father, I think we came here for a reason but I can’t remember what.”
Her father took a string out of his pocket and tied it around her finger. “Do you remember now?”
“Oh, yes. Carmen put a spell on us and we came to get it removed.” She smiled as though she had accomplished a great feat. She turned to her sisters and said, “I’m sorry I forgot the food. Which reminds me, I am hungry.”
“I can’t eat right now,” Jermane began. “I have to maintain my figure,” He turned and twirled to show off his figure.
“Ah, yes, my daughter,” The father turned on Jermane, “You must maintain your girlish figure.”
The insult enraged Jermane. In a flash of red and a bolt of anger, his control snapped and he punched his father in the face. Shocked at his own behavior but not regretful, Jermane looked at his father for a long moment.
After what seemed an eternity, his father threw back his head and laughed. “Well done, my son. Now how do you feel?”
“Hungry.” Jermane replied in a very deep, masculine voice. “And, Andrea, I am sorry that I didn’t defend you.”
“It’s alright. But there really was someone in my room, you know.”
“I know.” He smiled.
They all hugged their father before he took them out to eat, then took them all home.
As soon as they arrived, Jermane set to repairing the door, the shutters, and anything else he could find broken in the house, Andrea began telling her stepmother jokes, Elise began reciting everything she remembered, and Deana set out to repeat every word her stepmother said.
“Good job, my love.” Their father said to their stepmother.
“Good job? You sound as if you knew this were going to happen.” Carmen commented.
“Why do you think I married you?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
“Because you loved me?”
“Well, of course. But even so, that alone would not have been enough had I not known that you would teach my children wonderful things.”
She smiled and kissed her husband. And they all lived happily ever after.

Home | About Us | Events | News | Event Photos