If Cinderella Wore Cowboy Boots...
By Heather MacKenzie-Carey
Cinderella scooped mouse poop, added fresh shavings to the floor of the cages and poured clean water into all the containers. She was getting tired of cleaning all the cages for her step-sisters pets. The sisters didn’t even appreciate the poor little creatures- barely even looked at them and never talked to them. But then they didn’t talk to Cinderella either unless it was to tell her what to do. Cinderella felt a bit like a mouse herself. She was trapped in a cage, surrounded by poop, spinning around and around on a wheel going nowhere. Cinderella’s life was a mess. But, all that was about to change. Cinderella had a secret.
When Cinderella was five years old, her mother died. A year later, her father re-married. That’s when everything went bad for Cinderella. Her stepmother moved in with her two horrible step-daughters and they made Cinderella’s life miserable. They all treated her like a servant. Since her father was away most of the time on business trips, he had no idea that Cinderella was being bullied so badly. He believed all his new wife’s lies. He said Cinderella was “exaggerating the truth” any time she tried to explain how lousy her life was. He was in pretty heavy denial. Only Cinderella and her mother’s best friend knew about the secret.
When her mother was dying, she gave her best friend a package for Cinderella. She instructed her friend to give the package to Cinderella when the friend thought the timing was right. Last month, on her 16th birthday, the friend gave it to Cinderella. In it was the favourite bedtime storybook her mother read to Cinderella every night, a T-shirt that still smelled like her mother, and an emergency life-line phone. The phone came with hand-written instructions from her mother. She explained that it was for one-use only. It would connect Cinderella to a Fairy Godmother. The Fairy Godmother could get Cinderella out of a jam. Cinderella was about to use her lifeline.
A you-tube video call had gone viral. Justice, the greatest rap star ever, was looking for back-up singers in an open casting call. The open invitation was all over Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. It was all anyone was talking about. The news media was calling it the “modern day Woodstock”.
Cinderella wanted to audition. She knew if she got picked she could travel all over the world with Justice and be out of her step-mother’s house. She would never have to clean cages again. Everyone knew that it really wasn’t singers he was looking for. He was searching for “a look”. A lot of people said Cinderella had just the look he wanted. She knew she had a pretty good chance. The problem was, her step-mother wouldn’t let her go.
The step-sisters were going to the audition. Their mother had taken them to the mall where they bought fancy new dresses and shoes. They had manicures and pedicures and facials. They had been getting ready for weeks. The day of the event the pace was crazy. The whole house was in turmoil. A hair stylist had been in and gave them fancy up-dos. A make-up artist was now trying to give them “the look”. Cinderella had been sent out to buy toilet paper and cotton balls. She thought the toilet paper was appropriate to the occasion.
Cinderella called her father’s cell phone to complain, and to get permission to go. He was in a meeting and transferred her phone call to voice mail. He sent a text to Cinderella telling her that her Step-mother was in charge when he wasn’t there and she needed to clear any events through her. He said he’d work things out when he got home. Cinderella had heard that before.
Cinderella put on her mother’s T-shirt and inhaled the wonderful smell. She picked up the emergency phone and placed the call according to the instructions her mother had written. Suddenly a Fairy Godmother appeared. If Cinderella had known she was actually going to appear, she might have cleaned up her room, but the Fairy Godmother didn’t seem to notice the dirty clothes, and stacks of books. Cinderella discreetly nudged the mostly empty yogurt container under the bed. The Fairy Godmother looked just like they do in story books and movies. A little old-fashioned, but Cinderella figured she could work with her for sure.
The Fairy Godmother started taking over. “Honey, I’ve been doing this story for so many generations, I know it by heart. We’ll get you a fancy ball-gown and a coachman with white horses. I’ll just need a pumpkin to start out with. We can use your sister’s mice to transform into the horses. I’ll bring in the magical glass slippers and you’ll be ready to go. I find Cinderella’s are always beautiful and you’re no exception. This is one of my easiest gigs.” The Fairy Godmother pulled a sparkling wand from a pocket and turned it on. While she was waiting for it to charge up, she started to explain the story.
“You’ll go to the event and no one will even recognize you. Justice will love you and pick you from all those that audition. You’ll have to run out of there by midnight because the spell only last till then. You’ll likely dilly daddle and be late so you’ll have to run. On the way out, you’ll lose one of your shoes. Justice will come running after you and will find your shoe. He’ll come looking for you the next day. The shoe won’t fit anyone else but you, although everyone else will try to make it fit. He’ll put the shoe on your foot and “the rest is history”. You’ll marry him and live happily ever after. Now, let’s choose your gown...”
“Wait a minute,” said Cinderella. “I’d like to make a small change or two to my story if that’s okay?”
“A change,” asked the Fairy Godmother? She stopped her wand in mid-flight. “No one has ever changed the Cinderella story before. What are you thinking of?”
“Well, instead of a gown, I’d like something that is “wearable” and comfortable. I’m thinking maybe leggings or jeans- I’m not much of a dress person.”
“That’s not a problem,” said the Fairy Godmother. “It’s unusual and most definitely not my style, but wardrobe changes aren’t really a big deal”. She waved the wand and Cinderella was wearing a very fashionable but workable outfit out of breathable fabric. Cinderella danced a bit and held her hairbrush to her mouth while she looked in the mirror to try it out.
“Perfect,” Cinderella said. “I don’t want a fancy up-do or a lot of make-up,” she said as she saw the wand being pointed towards her again. “I’d like the natural look”.
“Kids these days. Styles have certainly changed,” said the Fairy Godmother. “I must say, I prefer the elaborate costumes, but at least you are very low maintenance. I’ve had some real divas in my day”. The Fairy Godmother waved her wand and Cinderella had just a touch of make-up and her hair was shinny and flowing with just the right amount of swing to make it look like she had just got out of bed. The pimples that had been lingering on her chin and forehead were gone.
“Okay, you go get a pumpkin and I’ll get the mice,” said the Fairy Godmother. “Let’s get some real magic going here. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing anything with you looking like that!”
“About the coach...” said Cinderella? She figured she better approach this change pretty cautiously. She didn’t want to insult her Fairy Godmother but it was her story and she needed it to be right.
The Fairy Godmother already had her hand on the doorknob of Cinderella room. She turned around to look over her shoulder. Cinderella figured by the set of her mouth, the Fairy Godmother had already suspected this change was coming. “I’m listening,” was all the Fairy Godmother said, but she turned around and made sure the door was tightly closed.
“I’m actually a pretty good horse back rider and I’ve always wanted my own horse. I was wondering if I could have a strong black horse instead of the team of white ones. I really don’t need a coachman. I’d rather just ride the horse bareback, all on my own. “Once she started explaining, Cinderella figured she might as well let it all out. “And, I’d like to switch those glass slippers for a pair of really awesome cowboy boots”, Cinderella said.
“Cowboy boots!!!” Her Fairy Godmother screamed and turned a bit white at the same time. She grabbed onto Cinderella’s desk for support and felt blindly for the chair which she collapsed into. “That has never been done. I’d have to check with the over-seeing committee on that one.” Cinderella figured it was best not to say or do anything at this point. She watched as the Fairy Godmother pulled a cell-phone out of another pocket and started texting.
To: Fairy Godmother Overseeing Committee (FGOC)
From: Fairy Godmother (FG)
Cindy wnts MAJOR changes to wardrobe and props. No coachman, 1 horse only will ride barebck. No glass slippers. Wnts cowboy boots. Can these changes be approved???? Sorry for the unusual request. This Cindy is very different!!!!!!
The Fairy Godmother pressed SEND. While they waited Cinderella pleaded her case. It’s really just a small change, said Cinderella. Cowboy boots are a little more practical than glass slippers. I’m not very good with high heels. My ankles are a bit wobbly in them. And I think boots would look very appropriate with this outfit- more my style.
The Fairy Godmother seemed to be considering the outfit. Her cheeks were back to the ruby color they had been before and she seemed composed again. Just as it looked like she was going to say something her cell phone binged an incoming text. Cinderella read over Fairy Godmother’s shoulder.
To: Fairy Godmother (FG)
From: Fairy Godmother Overseeing Committee (FGOC)
CC: Script Writers Union (SWU)
Wardrobe changes acceptable, x-change of coachman for horse ok, do u really mean cowboy boots instead of glass slippers????? Please confirm. SWU approve as well- these changes are highly irregular!!!!
Wow, now the union is involved said the Fairy Godmother. That’s a pretty big deal. Let’s think about how we want to phrase this. The Fairy Godmother smiled at Cinderella. She was definitely understanding and on Cinderella’s side now. Together they sent the following
From: Fairy Godmother(FG)
Yes, cowboy boots wnted, no slippers... heels a problem...
The Fairy Godmother smiled at Cinderella. “Now there’s nothing we can do but wait,” she said. “You could always spend the time cleaning your room.”
Cinderella moved impatiently around the room rearranging stacks of mess from one pile to another. The Fairy Godmother moved around the room looking for better cell phone coverage. Finally she opened the window and held the phone out. When that still didn’t bring a quicker reply she waved the wand around a bit and a pile of clothes became neatly folded. The yogurt container turned into a bar of white chocolate which they split between the two of them.
Finally they heard the bing. The Fairy Godmother held the phone between them while she pressed RECIEVE.
From: Fairy Godmother Overseeing Committee (FGOC)
To: Fairy Godmother(FG)
CC: Script Writers Union (SWU)
On conference call with SWU. Here’s the deal FG. Cindy can hve boots, horse and wardrobe change. Curfew stays at 12. GPS on lifeline phone will track and transform spell components at 12. SWU approves.
Luckily Cinderella’s step-mother had already packed the stepsisters and their hair into the SUV to get them to the audition. All the make-artists and designers had left. Standing calmly on the front lawn, eating the clematis was a huge black Friesian. Her curly mane glistened and her luxurious tail twitched at the occasional black fly.
“She’s beautiful”, whispered Cinderella. “I’ll call her Freedom”.
“Looks a bit big,” said her Fairy Godmother who maintained a respectable distance from the huge feet while Cinderella gently stroked the Frisian and asked permission to ride her.
Cinderella instructed a reluctant Fairy Godmother on how to give her a leg up so could mount Freedom.
Once Cinderella was comfortably mounted and balanced, her Fairy Godmother passed her the life-line phone. “Remember Cindy, this phone has GPS tracking in it. At midnight the committee will send a signal to it and all your magic disappears. You go back to Cinderella the mouse maid again”.
Cinderella put the phone in her boot and smiled. She had a plan. “No problem, and thanks for everything,” she said as she leaned down to hug her Fairy Godmother. A little pressure with her legs and Freedom and Cinderella were off to the audition.
Cinderella found a nice path of grass on the theatre lawn for Freedom to munch on and she slid off her back. No one seemed to even notice the girl and the horse in all the frenzy of the limos, the red carpet and the paparazzi. Cinderella figured there might be some kind of cloak of invisibility spell around Freedom.
Cinderella sailed through the intake questionnaire and the first series of interviews. She dodged her step-sisters, but by the time they got to the first round of auditions they were already out of the competition and partying with the roadies. Everything was running late and Cinderella nervously checked the time on her life phone. She set an alarm and placed the phone back in her boot.
Cinderella hid behind the curtains back stage to avoid step sister detection while she waited for her final call. She was finding Justin more than a little nauseating as he sat in the big chair shouting at people while attendants fawned and fussed over him. Cinderella really didn’t understand the attraction.
One of the stage hands admired Cinderella’s boots. The two of them got in quite a conversation while Cinderella waited. Turns out the stage hand was a cousin of Justin’s and had rather the same opinion of him that Cinderella did. They both agreed that Justin was pretty silly and cowboy boots and horses were much more important than fame. The stage hand had another cousin that ran a dude ranch well outside the city limits. He told Cinderella his cousin was always looking for help on the ranch. Cinderella put the contact information into her life phone. She Google mapped the address and saved it.
Cinderella was standing in the middle of the stage, staring down at Justin and performing when her boot started to vibrate the alarm she had programmed. At the same moment one of the step sisters screamed as she recognized Cinderella. Cinderella used the diversion to run. The alarm meant she had 5 minutes before the spell was lost and she didn’t intend to waste any of it. She bolted from the stage, ran past the astonished media and flew down the front steps.
She realized this was the part where the glass slipper was supposed to come off leaving a marker so the fairy tale could come to a happy ending. But everyone knows that once a good pair of cowboy boots is on your feet they aren’t coming off without a lot of tugging and effort. Cinderella’s boots stayed on her feet.
As luck, or magic, would have it, just as Cinderella reached Freedom, the huge horse gently lowered her head and front hooves in a bow enabling Cinderella to swing her legs over her back and mount up. As soon as Cinderella was balanced, Freedom took off at a gallop listening to the whispered instructions Cinderella gave her as she leaned close over her mane, hugging her legs to Freedom’s body, trusting her with every ounce of her being.
Perhaps they did actually fly. Magic has a way of being unpredictable. However they did it, by the time the overseeing committee was connecting the signal to the GPS in the life line, Freedom, Cinderella and her cowboy boots were all out of signal range.
And that’s how Cinderella changed the story line. She made it to the dude ranch with Freedom. They were both hired “on the spot”. Within a few months Cinderella became the head horse trainer and Freedom helps her out with that.
The step-sisters did make it as part of Justin’s posse. The fact that they knew the girl that ran off gave them some celebrity status with the tabloids and they have a following now that Justin appreciates.
Now that all her daughters have left home and are making their own way in the world, Cinderella’s step-mother seems a bit more gentle and Cinderella’s father is home more. He calls Cinderella a lot and they spend time together. The mice have been released to the wild.
Occasionally Cinderella’s step-sisters come to visit her at the ranch. It’s good for their reality T.V. show. Cinderella has taught them how to clean out stalls.
To: Fairy Godmother Overseeing Committee (FGOC)
From: Fairy Godmother (FG)
Cindy sends me encrypted texts. She is very happy!!!!! Maybe we should look at revising the Little Red Riding Hood story??????