A Christmas Prince in the time of Postmodernism

David Mack
8 min readDec 21, 2021

Esmeralda spun herself around, her shawl dancing through the wind, “One day I Shall be a princess!”. The girl giggled and ran until frozen by her sister’s icy stare “Esmeralda, you are hell bent on single-handedly upholding the patriarchy and aristocracy. Go and do your homework just in case you ever have to earn a living”. Stacy, the older sister, carried her look of dismay back into the house and set to highlighting her copy of Gawain the Green Knight with renewed vigour.

Prince Charlie of Iowa trotted on his golden horse around Lake Merritt, Oakland, its swishy tail swishing around in the Californian winter sun. “It is good to be a prince” he said to himself, semi-audibly, a smile upon his face that he felt every time he complimented himself on his own birth. Suddenly, he lept of his horse, “A stag!” he yelled, drawing a crossbow and maiming the beast, park visitors running to the poor deer’s aid, performing cervidian CPR and phoning in a pet-ambulance.

“Today I get to make someone’s dreams come true!” Charlie exclaimed, to nobody in particular. He swished the tassels on his padded shoulders, for he was inexplicably wearing full British military dress, and sauntered through the park towards a strip-mall.

Stacy left her somewhat run-down family home, wearing black shirt, trousers and apron, and headed across town. Stacy had a doctorate in English Literature, and was damn sure she would not take some cushy job afforded to her by white privilege. So she cycled to an ayurvedic coffee-shop to work minimum wage.

As far as Stacy knew, it was not actually possible for coffee to be ayurvedic, on account of being both addictive and a stimulant, but this was not one of the world’s problems for her to solve. She dusted some turmeric over a latte and handed it to an adult wearing dungarees.

Prince Charlie swung open the door of the coffee-shop, the outside light framing him as though a rock star. He stood, bathing in his silhouette, people politely ignoring him.

Approaching the counter Stacy warily took his order “Hi, welcome to Sai Baba Espresso, what would you like?”. Grinning, for this was the highlight of every year, Charlie replied “To change your life!”. He felt his apostrophe-inflection perhaps a little much for the coffee-wench, but continued grinning. Stacy shot back “That’ll be a tip of 30%. Latte, no dairy, double tumeric to go?”.

The prince realized he had a problem. He hadn’t expected pushback. In Kansas and Nebraska the girls just swooned and climbed upon his horse. The prince was, of course, under-cover, a pair of glasses with attached moustache hiding his true identity from the civilian before him. He thought of pulling it off and revealing himself, but that might scare the coffee-servant even more. Cunning, witty and wiley he needed to be. He’d spent a semester on those skills.

The prince stood, his mouth slightly ajar to allow the cogs in his brain to turn, until, “I desperately need to hire an event barista for this weekend, I’ll pay you minimum wage plus three dollars, whatever that amounts to. I’d be truly humbled if you’d do me this massive favor, please please please”. Stacy stood still, allowed herself to give almost no fucks, and said “Sure whatever”.

Prince Charlie of Iowa considered travelling by horse-drawn carriage from Oakland to Lake Tahoe, but his special Princely edition of Google Maps informed him that the carriage-ways and turnpikes had become overgrown one hundred years prior, it would take roughly two days and possibly a few horses would perish in winter storms. Reluctantly, he called up his driver and limo.

Meeting at a local Starbucks, Stacy lugged a wheeled suitcase, still wearing her black apron outfit. Charlie was again wearing his dress uniform, appearing like an out-of-work Hallmark actor. Charlie thanked Stacy again for helping him out with this “job”. He then told her, with great anticipation, “and of course, you will be dressed appropriately” brandishing a red floor length dress and tiara. Stacy gagged a little on vomit. Rapey. This guy is very rapey. Sensing he’d over-done it he quickly stashed the dress and prodded Stacy into the car.

The drive began with a long awkward silence. The prince tried to do a few games of Sudoku, but struggled to concentrate. Stacy stared out the window, enjoying effortless minimum wage.

Bored by the sudden influx of pine trees obscuring her view Stacy turned on her employer “So, like, who the fuck are you?”. The prince breathed in sweet air, having clearly waited for this moment. “My dear honorable lady,” (Stacy shot him a glare) “I am the Noble Prince Charlie the fourteenth of State Iowa, military commander and Royal page of the dolphins, at your most humble service”. He did a complicated rolling arm bow, like a lawn-mower cresting a hill. Stacy rested for a second in giving zero fucks, then smirked “Iowa doesn’t have a monarchy. The whole point of the United States was a republic revolting against the King. Also, your British accent is clearly fake. Your diphthongs are all wrong”. The prince stared at her with the scared confusion of a child, though briefly wondered if she had just mentioned thongs. Shaking it off he pulled out his phone and said “Well here’s me with my horse”.

It was true — Prince Charlie had grown up in a castle with a horse, a Queen and and King, and a lot of his pastimes involved some sort of animal dying. For his twenty-first birthday his father (King Ronald) had let him shoot a pheasant standing on a deer strapped to a bison all with one arrow. He frequently hosted balls and had more pageantry in him than the entire cast of Phantom of the Opera.

How this all fitted into the econo-politico-social fabric of the USA was just one of those things that Charlie had yet to get to.

Satisfied with her port-side blow into the galleon of aristocracy Stacy sunk into a comfortable nap and let the remaining drive slip away.

The limo pulled into a long and sweeping driveway, the snow-lined landscape bright and silent in the moonlight. Ahead of them stood hundreds of twinkling windows.

Rubbing her eyes, Stacy woke to another ridiculous situation she had to cross examine. With a sigh, she turned to Charlie, “What, what, a fucking castle in Tahoe, wait, what? Is that a fucking snow-sculpture of a lion?” (she internally grimaced, not her most eloquent of inquisitions). Charlie, whose hair still looked pristine, answered her unabashed, “Yes, this is the Alpine Seat of the Royal family of Iowa, where my family has sat for one hundred years,” his grandeur trailing off, “we built it for… these kinda weekends”.

Lugging her suitcase up the cobbled entryway, a band of golden gymnasts and a man with a big sack of angry sounding doves ran out of the doorway. Charlie projected over the din “No, not quite now, maybe tomorrow”, the gymnasts turning back dejectedly. Two huge black mastiffs came running out to meet him, “Sammy! Loo-loo!” petting them affectionately as they slobbered over his immaculately pressed dress pants.

Stacy slept with discomfortable dreams of stone walls and lions and curling tongs. At first light she got up, ignoring the tweed dress-suit with pleading note asking if she could maybe perhaps wear it to breakfast. She walked along the corridors of the castle, hating how nice it all was, occasionally sitting in antique chairs parked in random corners since you could never do that when visiting historical houses.

Crossing the third internal balcony of her morning, she saw through windows Charlie swimming laps of a golden Baroque pool. His physique was a fine X shape, his upper chest a monument to recreational exercise. She thought about going back to her room for a ladywank. She settled on getting breakfast.

Feeling a little guilty, Stacy put on the blouse and tweed jacket, but wore her own pants, to hold some ground. She found the breakfast room (seperate from the lunch room and dining room, according to the little brochure on her desk) and Prince Charlie sat there, carefully opening his egg at a precise horizontal cut.

“So, the barista gig is bullshit, right?” Stacy blurted out, feeling a little like her swearing might have upset the little cherubs cornicing the ceiling. “My dear Miss Stacy,” (her pupils narrowed piercingly) “, I am afraid that that might have been a pretense. I have brought you here under most important Royal matters…”. Stacy looked incredulous.

The prince realized he’d really got himself into a pickle. His annual tradition of attempting to elevate some poor woman from her low station, through gifts of money and offer of being his wife, had never really had a lot of thought put into it. It just seemed like a princely thing to do. Stacy’s wry cutting remarks and astute questioning of his reality had started to make him consider that perhaps this whole thing needed a re-think. But here he was, none-the-less, and the show must go on.

“I have brought you here under most important Royal matters… that, eh, eh, uh, fucky-do-dah”. He looked at Stacy as though he’d just been caught with his dick out in a chapel (he had once, in Sweden, on his eighteenth birthday after four bottles of Bollinger with the Royal Daughter). Stacy slipped into deconstructing the situation, as only a penniless academic can;

“Are you a rapey hallmark actor?” “Nope” (sad face from Charlie).

“Is this castle yours?” “Yes!” (happy looking Charlie).

“Do you stand for the patriarchy?” “Ugh…. maybe?” (confused looking Charlie)

“Will you bang me in a four poster bed, smack me with a riding crop and spray champagne over my tits?” (What the FUCK did I just say? Where did that come from? Do I want that? I think I want that. Yeah definitely want that. Ok look serious). Prince Charlie surprisingly unreactive, “I would accept your invitation…” (She said what?????!) “Sure.”

Stacy was relieved that shacking up with Prince Charlie did not involve a Royal Ceremony, a line of butlers or any sort of complex courting dance with ribbons and butterflies. More of a causal saturday Tinder invite to your mate’s house. Lying naked, on a alcohol sodden bed, the spent prince passed out face down, Stacy felt an ease with herself and warm comfort that perhaps she’d held back from herself all her adult years. She slipped out of abstract terms and admired the rainbows through the cut window glass.

The afternoon gave way to early evening with the slow surety of a grand timepiece, each minute passed with some feeling of design.

The pair began to collect themselves in the light of the early moon.

Stacy had ruminated. “This whole,” Stacy gestured to the expanse beyond the room, “bizarre production, I appreciate it”. Prince Charlie’s eyes grew warm, as like a praised dog, he replied “I’m not quite sure what the flip I’ve been doing, but how about, you stay for another day?”. Stacy pressed her tongue against her teeth, her face softening “Look, I honestly don’t have much to go back to”. Stacy’s eyes shone wetly. She took a collective breath, sat up a little taller, “but really, you’re going to have to tone down this prince shit” ending with something between a laugh and a sob.

Stacy and Prince Charlie spent Christmas together in Iowa Castle. The King and Queen joined them for Christmas dinner, and on Christmas day they joined together to ski through the Royal Forest shooting a carefully curated cast of animals. Stacy acted out a wide range of royal-sex-fantasies with Charlie, culminating with filling the outdoor fountain with glitter bubble bath and having the Royal Gymnasts all join in.

After a happy week, Stacy and Charlie decided to become friends. Real friends. Stacy embarked upon writing a royal-themed Fifty Shades of Gray (working title Twenty shades of Gold / Bound with Golden handcuffs”) and reluctantly accepted Prince Charlie pay her an editor’s advance. Occasionally Prince Charlie picks her up in his private jet.

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David Mack

@SketchDeck co-founder, https://octavian.ai researcher, I enjoy exploring and creating.