Meet Clint McCallister, from Happily Ever After

Clint McCallister, the new Cinderella - a weedy, depressed-looking man in a cowboy hat.

Clint McCallister, the new Cinderella, in his father’s Stetson. Image by PSBrooks.com.

‘What?’ said Clint.
‘Well, you’ve heard of Cinderella?’
‘The fairy tale?’
‘Exactly. Heard of Snow White?’
‘Yyyyyes,’ admitted Clint.
‘Sleeping Beauty?’
Clint nodded.
‘Clint McCallister?’
‘What?’
‘All the girls? All real,’ said Tubal Cain. ‘You… next.’
‘What?’ said Clint again.
‘Every now and then, we in the fairy community perform an outreach to you in the human world. We pick one lucky lad or lady and we turn their humdrum little life upside-down. They all live happily ever after (terms and conditions apply), and the human world gets a timely reminder of how cool it is to share a planet with us fairy folk. Capiche?’
‘Ca-what?’ said Clint.
‘Understand?’
‘You wanna turn me into a fairy story?’
Tubal Cain looked around the kitchen. ‘You’re already a fairy story waiting to happen. You just need… y’know… the fairy. Ta dahhhh!’
‘Stop that.’
Tubal Cain grinned.
‘And you can cut that out when you like, an’ all. Gives me the heebie jeebies.’
There was a thing Clint should be doing, he knew. A morning thing.
Tea. He filled the kettle and put it on, scrolling to ‘Make Johnny’s Tea’ in his mental Stuff To Do list and crossing it off.

There’s a mad man in our kitchen, his brain chuntered. And you’re making tea.

Meet Clint McCallister. He’s a thirty-five year-old ‘paperboy’ in the East End of London, oppressed by his frustrated brother Johnny, terrorised by his would-be Sister-in-law Mary, and almost certain never to live up to his potential in the shadow of his late father, the Cowboy Newsagent of the Mile End Road. Your typical Disney princess, he is not. But the hero of Happily Ever After he is, after a fashion. Can Tubal Cain, the worst fairy in the world, arrange things so that this man lives happily ever after?

Seems unlikely, somehow…

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