Harlow college creative writing student Alex Mustafa was asked to tackle a well known fairy story from the perspective of a minor character.
“ANOTHER?!” I yelled out to Dopey, frantically pacing up and down our seven-person bedroom.
The oaf just held up his hands in defeat, looking dopey as always.
“We can’t just send her away,” he muttered meekly as he fiddled with his hands.
“Why not?!” I questioned, “We’re pushing it with our lease here, Dope. We this was the only place that would take all seven of us, and you want us to let ANOTHER PERSON STAY HERE?!”
Dopey sighed to himself and continued to contribute nothing useful to this conversation.
I huffed as I ran my hands through my hair. This wasn’t good. We don’t even know this girl! Why on earth should we let her stay here? Plus, everything here is too small for her. We’re dwarves. We paid good money to have all our things tailored to fit our exact proportions. And now this woman has just waltzed in here and now everything seems too small for her. OF COURSE IT’S TOO SMALL! IT’S NOT MADE FOR HER!
“Please, Grumpy, calm down,” Happy urged, glancing around the corner of the door before closing it behind him, “Our guest can hear you from out there. You’re being very-”
“What? Grumpy?” I asked with a chuff, “Oh, imagine that! Imagine that I’m grumpy about something!”
I forced a laugh. That’s all I can really do here. I’ll punch something – or someone – if I don’t.
Dopey glanced nervously at Happy, looking for some sort of direction.
Happy sighed, his usual smile unwavering as he came over to me and put an arm around my shoulder.
“I know I can’t expect you to be jumping for joy right now-”
“Damn right you can’t!” I interrupted, “Are you mad?! I have nothing to be joyful about!”
“Let me finish, Grumpy,” Happy said calmly, taking a deep breath and urging me to follow.
I sighed to myself before doing as he instructed and matching his breathing. I felt myself start to calm down a bit. Damnit, I hated how that worked.
“As I was saying, I’m not expecting you to be happy about this. That’s my job,” he said with a hearty chuckle.
I hated how happy he is all the time. It annoyed me to no end.
“But we have to be welcoming,” he continued, “This girl is clearly in distress. She’s running from something, so we’ll hide her for a while. Just until it’s safe for her to leave.”
I grumbled to myself, rolling my eyes and crossing my arms. Not my problem that she’s gotten herself into trouble somewhere. Why should I have to suffer because of it?
“Come onnnn,” Happy urged, playfully nudging my side, “Where’s that smile? I know you have one in there. Remember that time a bird pooped on the neighbour? You were ecstatic!”
I smiled slightly at the memory, lightly breathing out through my nose. That was really funny actually. I laughed so loud I woke up Sleepy. Do you know how loud you have to be to wake up Sleepy? Really damn loud.
Happy’s smile grew, which I always forget is possible until it happens.
“There we go!” he said with a chuckle, lightly shaking me before letting go.
Suddenly, Doc ran into the room in a panic. Everyone turned to him with concern, waiting for him to catch his breath before speaking.
“It’s Snow White!” he called out frantically, “She’s been kidnapped!”
I paused for a moment.
I couldn’t hold myself together anymore-
“GRUMPY!” Happy scolded as I burst into laughter.
I didn’t bother trying to respond, I knew it would be useless.
At least Happy would have something to be, well, happy about: I sure as hell was happy now.
Our photograph shows Alex writing the story.