I hate snow.
And yet, here I am standing in it, waiting for a giant furball to do his business.
Stupid Prince Eric.
Whoa, I know what you’re thinking. What does he have anything to do with a dog? Well, let me tell you, this whole ordeal is his fault.
He and Princess Ariel came to the castle today for some kind of diplomatic meeting. (I might have zoned out when Blondie was telling me the details.) The two women became fast friends, bonding over their ability to talk to animals. It didn’t take long for Eric to get a glazed look over his face.
“Let’s get out of here,” I said. “I’ve got somewhere we can go for a while until they are done with Pascal.” The poor guy was already wearing a dress as the two ladies looked at him with adoring looks.
“I don’t know, Eugene. I don't know if Ariel would like that very much.” Great, I thought, he’s a goody-goody.
“We’ll be back before they know it.” I gave him my reassuring Flynn Rider look of confidence for good measure.
He looked back at Ariel who was brushing her hair with a fork.
Yes, a fork.
That was all the convincing he seemed to need. “All right, but I want to bring my dog with us.”
I shrugged. “Fine by me.”
“Come on, Max!” he called.
Max? Wait, his dog was named Max too? What were the chances of that happening?
I heard a familiar whinny from behind me.
This is bad. Really bad.
As expected, Max (the horse, not the dog) rushed to where we were standing. I lean causally against the snow-coated wall. “Oh hey, Max. I’m just taking Prince Eric out for a little tour of Corona.” He narrowed his eyes at me then looked at Eric for validation.
Come on! How long was it going to take for him to trust me?
Eric nodded as a giant furball--Max, I assume--came plowing towards him. “That’s not a problem, is it?”
I closed my eyes briefly. Did he really ask permission to leave the castle from a horse? Clearly this guy’s head had been knocked around the ship’s hull one too many times. “It’s fine,” I assured him. “We’re not going too far. Just look at all the snow on the ground.”
Max didn’t look convinced.
“I’ll bring you back a bushel of apples.”
That was good enough for him. He moved out of our way.
As we started walking, Eric turned to me. “Where are we going anyway?”
“The Snuggly Duckling. Charming place.”
We made it there, despite the snow, without any issues. Hookhand and the crew were there. Introductions were made and, thankfully, no songs were sung.
“So,” I said as I slid into a seat, “wanna drink?”
He laughed. “I am a sailor.” He looked at Bignose. “Give me your strongest drink, my good man!”
I had hope. Maybe this outing wouldn’t be as boring as I feared it would be.
But I was wrong.
So very wrong.
Mr. Lightweight got through less than half of the Duckling’s Special Brew before he passed out. I wasn’t impressed. Still, I wasn’t going to carry him back to the castle, so I spent the next hour listening to Attila's latest cupcake recipes.
Then that mutt of Eric’s started making pathetic sounds at the door.
I pointedly ignored him.
He didn’t stop.
“Rider, get that dog out of here before he soils my establishment,” Hookhand shouted. “Or else you're cleaning up the mess.”
Like it could be soiled any worse, I thought bitterly. But, fearing the thugs without Blondie around, I took the dog outside.
Which brings us back to this moment.
The one where I’m freezing, wishing I had stayed for the Chameleon Fashion Show.
Where is that mutt?
“Max!” I shout.
When several seconds pass by and he doesn’t appear, I wonder if losing a pet of a foreign dignitary could be construed as an act of war. “Max!”
Finally, I heard footsteps approaching and relax. Until I see that he’s not alone.
Rapunzel and Ariel are with him. No doubt they knew where we escaped to from a certain loudmouth horse.
He isn’t getting any apples from me!
Still, having Blondie around was certainly better than hearing Eric’s snoring. “Eugene!” Rapunzel calls, smiling. “I wanted to show Princess Ariel all of the lovely ruffians!”
“Ruffians?” Ariel looks less than convinced.
“They are super sweet, aren’t they, Eugene? And they even sing!”
“Sing?” Ariel’s eyes light up.
“Yup! Eugene sings too!” Rapunzel happily informs me.
I hold up my hands. “I don’t sing.”
“Don’t be silly!” Rapunzel says as she pulls us inside. She leans toward Ariel. “He’s really good.”
As we walk inside, the thugs greet Rapunzel warmly. Hookhand gives her a hopeful smile. “Is it karaoke night, Princess?”
She smiles brightly. “Yup, and Eugene’s singing first.”
I sigh inwardly, why do I have to be so good at everything, including holding my liquor and singing?
It could be worse, I think as I watch Ariel pick up Fang’s pipe and starts trying to blow into it like a trumpet. Much, much worse.
I nod at Hookhand. “Let’s get this party started.”