“Call Me Walt,” Part 2

Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons

Sharon is a recent college graduate who spends her work week at the lab and her weekends at Disneyland. She didn’t think her favorite place in the world could get any more magical, but that was before Walt Disney himself began spending every Disneyland Sunday with her. Only Sharon can tell that it’s him, and their time together is nothing but wonder, until Walt tells her she has a wish she’s not ready to make. What’s the real reason Walt befriended her?

“Call Me Walt” is my love letter to Disneyland and to the extraordinary man who created it. Part one was published last week. This is the conclusion of the story, published in celebration of this 116th anniversary of Walt’s birth.

Sharon watched Frontierland go by from her seat on the Disneyland Railroad. It was almost time for ice cream, but she was not in the mood for ice cream.

“Are we getting off at the Tomorrowland station?” Walt asked. “Or the next time we get to Main Street? Or shall we begin a third grand circle tour around the magic kingdom?”

The railroad chugged past the waterfalls. The secret entrance to the cave where they stored the floats for Fantasmic! was obvious if you knew where to look. And Sharon knew where to look. But she didn’t look.

When the train resumed after a brief stop at the Tomorrowland station, Walt folded his arms across the lapels of his suit. “If you leave what we do entirely up to me, I’ll tell you right now, we’re going to ride my railroad. A lot.”

“I read about Snow White,” Sharon said.

Walt raised one eyebrow. She speaks, at last.

“The first feature-length animated motion picture in history,” she said.

Walt nodded. His smile carried a wisp of pride. “You have seen it, haven’t you?”

“No one had ever made an animated feature before it,” she said. “What made you want to try?”

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” Walt said.

That cracked through Sharon’s malaise enough to make her smile.

“We were doing well with the Silly Symphonies and, of course, with Mickey,” Walt said. “But I knew we could do so much more. Took us a long time to get it right, though. Boy, we broke that story so many times. Went back and forth on what the Evil Queen should be like. And I don’t remember how many sets of seven dwarf names we went through.”

“Did they really call it Disney’s Folly?”

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“Call Me Walt,” Part 1

Photo by NASA, public domain. From Wikimedia Commons.

Sharon is a recent college graduate who spends her work week at the lab and her weekends at Disneyland. She didn’t think her favorite place in the world could get any more magical until the day she meets a man who sounds like Walt Disney and who looks like Walt Disney because he is Walt Disney. Sharon thinks the one thing she wants more than anything is the one thing she can never have. Can Walt teach her that at Disneyland, dreams really do come true?

“Call Me Walt” is my love letter to Disneyland and to the extraordinary man who created it. This is part one. The conclusion of the story will be published in one week, on December 5, the 116th anniversary of Walt’s birth.

The first thing Sharon bought with her first paycheck from her first real, post-college job was an annual pass to Disneyland.

Monday was work, Tuesday was work, Wednesday was work. Thursday was lots of work because the senior chemists enjoyed dumping grunt work onto a junior at 3:00 so they could be done for the week. Sharon spent Friday catching up after the Thursday pile-on, which made the day long, but mostly quiet. She picked up her Friday night feast of pho and french fries on the way home, then went out with friends. She’d only been in Irvine a short time, but she’d already made a decent-sized social circle. Being good at meeting new people and bad at being alone was a powerful combo. Saturday she took care of any chores that needed to get done, bought the groceries, and went to bed early because Sunday was Disneyland day.

She would wake up early and drive up to Anaheim. St. Justin Martyr had a 6:45 AM Mass which never lasted more than an hour. An adorable couple, Mr. and Mrs. Lester, had sort-of adopted her, and she sat with them every Sunday. They told her she felt like another daughter to them. They reminded Sharon of Carl and Ellie, with fewer balloons.

After Mass, it was a five-minute drive down Ball Road to the Mickey and Friends parking garage. Most days, she was on the first tram over to the parks. She’d pass through the gates, walk under the train trestle, and smile at the plaque above her which read, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” And once she got a glimpse of Sleeping Beauty Castle at the end of Main Street USA, she’d breathe a sigh of relief and say a prayer of thanks for having made it back one more time.

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Once Upon a Scheme

This is a story I wrote for a flash fiction contest some time ago. I don’t usually write short stories of any length but this was an idea that popped into my head and I ran with it. Let me know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!

A mountain of a man clad head-to-toe in black slammed open the wooden doors and burst into the hall, ready for murder. Before Prince Friedrich could react, the man-beast dismissed him with a forearm to his chest. Friedrich stumbled and crashed against the cold stone wall while his assailant departed cackling. The prince moved to pursue, then dismissed the thought with a shrug as he laid his eyes on the open doorway.

Metal hissed against metal as Friedrich returned his sword to its scabbard. He dabbed at the line of blood that trickled from his temple, used one hand to cinch the gash in his tunic back together, and wiped green slime off his sleeve. After a deep breath and a silent prayer, he limped into the princess’s chambers.

Through a haze of veils, Friedrich saw Ashleigh sleeping above the covers of her four poster bed. Her hands, folded on her chest, gently rose and lowered with her breathing. She was more beautiful than he’d imagined.

The prince used his left hand to brush aside her hair; his right arm had been immobile ever since the troll. With his heart racing even faster than it had when he escaped from the banshees, he leaned in close and gently kissed her lips.

Ashleigh’s blue eyes came open in an instant. “Who are you?” she said.

“I am Prince Friedrich of Verona,” he said. “I am honored to have awakened you and to make your acquai–”

Ashleigh sat up with a jolt and looked him over. “I thought you’d be taller,” she said.

Friedrich blinked.

“And you had a rough time with the dragon,” she said, pursing her lips as she examined his eyebrows. He rubbed the fingers of his left hand across them, trying to determine how much of them had been singed away, and dropped them back to his side when he realized what he was doing.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sure you’re nice and all, but this isn’t going to work.”

Friedrich’s mouth opened, but it took several moments for words to follow. “Do you know what I just went through to free you from the curse?”

Ashleigh sighed. “Excuse me, prince, for making the trials a challenge,” she said. She laid back down and tossed a pinch of sparkling dust across her face. “It was nice meeting you, Frederick.”

“Friedrich,” he said, but she was already asleep.

With a twitching curl in his lip, he stormed out of the room. Just outside the door, he pushed aside a dashing knight in battle damaged crimson armor and marched in the direction of the drawbridge. Before he returned to Verona, he was going to retrieve his shield from the stomach of that blasted sea monster even if he had to drain the castle’s moat to do it.