I Am An Enchanted Deer Prince Trapped Inside A Wooden Anthropologie Buffet
7:45 am: The household begins to stir. I envy the humans their night’s rest. My eyes have been carved into the poplar wood wide awake; immutable, all-seeing. Many moons ago, I was the prince of an Enchanted Wood. My father was the Hart King, and I the young stag poised to take his place on the throne.
10:23 am: Syd and Babe enter my line of vision as they set out on their quest to the kitchen. As the humans pass me, I commence my daily silent scream, imploring them with my eyes to free me from my poplar prison. Before the coronation ceremony, a jealous sorceress cast an incantation on me. When I came to, I found myself paralyzed inside a colorful mausoleum filled with accursed flora and fauna: woodpeckers petrified into a lamp, tiny ferns coating the surface of a onesie, an imperious sea lion enslaved by a duvet. This forsaken place was called Anthropologie. I hoped for deliverance when Syd and Babe culled me — but alas, I was instead delivered to their wretched apartment.
4:03 pm: The humans prepare for a banquet. Babe cannot find the poor monkey that was magicked into a gravy boat so she begins rummaging through my abdomen. It’s not an unpleasant sensation.
6:00 pm: The guests arrive. I learn they are called Derek and Etta. Derek has long hair that he wears in a beribboned tail and very wide pantaloons. Is he a warlock?
6:30 pm: Derek brought herbs from the forest floor to smoke out of a small pipe, which the humans pass round. Now I am convinced he is a warlock! If only I could call out to him, he might be able to reverse this spell.
6:45 pm: Dinner is served. Derek bloviates about how many acolytes he has on “Twitch.” I infer he is a most powerful Tree Witch. He shows the others a recording of himself wielding an array of weapons. As I inspect the insouciant faces of Etta, Babe, and Syd, it dawns on me that his powers do not extend beyond the simulation. With a heavy heart, I realize he is no sorcerer.
6:48 pm: Now it is Etta that draws my gaze. She has been here for nigh an hour, and yet — fool that I am! — I had not noticed her radiance. She has large doe-like eyes, gangly limbs, and caramel hair. Deep in the recesses of the buffet’s adjustable interior shelves, my heartbeat quickens.
7:30 pm: Derek brings out his pipe again. He is nothing more than an amateur herbalist, yet the hosts heap encomium upon his crumbs of dried greenery as the four take turns lighting it ablaze. He appears oblivious to Etta, sitting on the other side of a couch that entombs an entire family of polar bears. Is Derek so colossal an ignoramus as to not appreciate the ethereal forest nymph that calls herself his maiden? Had I free reign over my kingdom, I would name her my Doe Queen. All the creatures would bow before us.
8:30 pm: Etta gets up and wanders over to me. She runs her delicate hand along my flank, taking in my form, and I feel the thrill of attraction course through me. “I’ve only seen the nightstand version of this,” she cries out to Babe. “Did you get it on sale?”
8:32 pm: Etta grows quiet, then looks into my eyes. O, how I yearn to cry out to her, to bury my regal snout in her breast and unburden my heavy heart! But alas, I remain mute. She continues to stare, as if expectant, then drifts back to the others.
10:00 pm: Babe and Syd are clearing the plates; for the first time, I notice that my innards have felt lighter for hours now. Would that they aspired to use this set of dishes more often instead of leaving them to rot in my bowels.
10:15 pm: Etta teeters over to where I stand. Are we to touch again? I daren’t hope. “Am I just really high,” she calls to the others, “or is there something that seems almost alive about this deer?” Yes! I want to scream. Yes! “He’s kind of… beautiful.” Her face is mere inches away from mine. Before I can comprehend what is happening, she leans in and kisses me.
10:16 pm: There is a clap of thunder; lo, the spell has been broken! I leap out of the buffet, rearing up to my full height. Etta and I are rising, rising into the air, as if lifted by an invisible force. The last thing I see in the apartment is Babe frantically searching for Anthropologie’s Customer Service number.
10:17 pm: Etta and I are transported back to the Enchanted Wood, where I am about to be coronated. The witch has fled, her spell undone by the magic of our love. Etta has assumed her natural doe form and she is now even more majestic to behold: a true Queen. We gaze adoringly into each other’s eyes before we step out and greet our subjects.