A Cindy Rella Story

You think you’ve got problems. What if you’re a prince and you show up at your girlfriend’s house, then she rejects you?

A little back story. Our heroine, let’s just call her Cindy Rella for lack of a better name. Our heroine happened to be washing the dishes, as she did every Saturday night, when it all came down. The crud on the dishes on this particular evening was not cooperating. It didn’t want to be cleaned off.

“Why doesn’t she just get a dishwasher. I hear Whirlpool is a good model,” she muttered. Cindy was referring to her stepmother. You can see that there was no love lost between the two. Fact was they hated each other’s guts.”It’s not like she can’t afford one. She has the money she stole from daddy before he died.” Then, “Bitch.”

Cindy was 16 and never been kissed. Never even had a date. Just how was she supposed to get a date with the soot all over her from cleaning the chimney day-in night-out. There wasn’t a day she didn’t have to clean it. The darn thing just wouldn’t stay cleaned. And no matter how hard she tried, the soot would not scrub off. It had gone skin deep.

And her hair was black, though she was a blonde underneath. She was a mess. Right about this particular time she could have used a nice, leasurely bath. Soaking in some of that Sleeping Beauty Bath Wash must be heaven. If only her daddy was still alive, she would show The Bitch and her two daughters just what was what.

When she asked Stepbitch about going out on a date, the woman said to Cindy, “You want to date? No way. You’ll end up getting yourself knocked up. Then I’ll have another mouth to feed.” In those days, knocked up meant getting pregnant. “No, you’re better off staying home and doing the laundry and cleaning the chimney. You may need a job later and this is good training.”

“What about my two stepsisters? You know, the ones you pamper all the time. Won’t they get pregnant?”

“Don’t you talk to me like that, young lady. Such impertinence. If only your father was here. And to answer your question, they are on the pill, thank you very much, Little Miss Smartass.”

The two glared at each other. Then they each went on about their business, Cindy cleaning the chimney, Stepbitch stomping off to pamper herself. You may not believe this. Pampering can be a full time job, and it’s hard work too.

Well, you know the story. The two stepsisters went off to a ball, all prettified and everything. But the prettification didn’t help. They still had the warts. Stepbitch went off to sleep early. She needed her beauty sleep. Some would call it laziness, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Let’s call it beauty sleep. In the kitchen, Cindy was doing yesterday’s and the day before’s dishes. What with chimney cleaning, slopping hogs, feeding the chickens, running the wolf out of the hen house, and getting all the clutter out of the garage, Cindy had not had any time to do them.

Just as Cindy was about to faint from hunger (she hadn’t eaten her allowed daily meal of bread crumbs and water), this little old lady appeared in the kitchen doorway. “Want to go to the ball?” Old lady asked.

“Can’t,” Cindy answered, thinking it was a pigment of her imagination. “I’m starved and I have all this work to do.”

Before you can say abracadabra, there was a big plate of food on the table waiting for Cindy to dig in. What kind of food was it? I don’t know. I didn’t take a picture. Besides this is a fairy tale and details of this kind don’t rightly matter. Let’s just say that it wasn’t gruel.

Now Cindy didn’t just flop into a chair and scarf that food down. As famished as she was, she minded her manners, sat down and ate daintily like the lady she was. After all, her dead daddy sent her away to Southern Belle School before he went horizontal. When she finished, she drank the last bit of wine in her glass, then she poured another glass. It was a Bordeaux, a Cheval Blanc. A very fine wine indeed, so you know this was no run-of-the-mill fairy godmother, for fairy godmother the old lady was.

Just as Cindy was about to lift the second glass, the godmother put her hand on the glass. “You’re getting a little tipsy there, girl. No more wine for you. We’ve got some work to do.”

A tap of her wand on the table, a quick shazamarama and the dishes were done and neatly stacked in the cupboard. Then she turned to Cindy, “You want to go to the ball?”

“Does Mylie Cyrus know how to stick out her tongue and twerp? You betcha I do.”

“Come with me then,” godmother said and went through the wall.

Cindy watched in amazement. Then she heard mumbles. A hand stretched out and grabbed her and pulled her into the wall. On the other side of the wall was a coach with six white horses and two coachmen in fancy-dancy coachmen uniforms. She looked at herself and she was all snazzed up. Godmom handed her a mirror. She couldn’t believe what she saw in the glass. Her hair was done up by the best hairdresser in the land. The dress would make her a standout in any room. Wow! This is me. It’s really me.

“What do you think?” Godmom asked.

“It’s just like all the fairy tales I read when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.”

“Well, get in,” she urged Cindy. “Just one thing though. You have to be home by midnight.”

“What happens if I’m not?” Cindy asked after she crawled into the coach.

“Oh, you’ll be giving Lady Godiva a run for her money.”

With that, Cindy was off to the ball. Well, we know what happened there. The ball was a real wing-dinger. Cindy’s dance card was filled up in two shakes. The prince looked across the room, and that was it. He was smitten. This was the girl for him. And being the prince, he got to dance all the dances with Cindy.

Then the clock went dong, and it went dong again. It was midnight. Cindy was glad for it all to be over. All that attention and those shoes. The shoes were way too much of a tight fit. Cindy left without a goodnight kiss. Halfway home the carriage turned into a pumpkin and Cindy crawled out of the darn thing with pumpkin pulp all over her. She ran her fingers through her hair, combing the pumpkin seeds out. What a mess.

Princie just had to know who the girl was. She would be his bride, and they would live happily ever after. Being a resourceful fellow he searched the ballroom for anything that would help him find his golden girl. Finally he found a shoe. So he went off and searched. And he searched. And he searched. He left no stone unturned. He knocked on every door in the kingdom. Till finally he came to Stepmom’s house.

Think about it, ladies. Would you marry a guy who couldn’t even remember your face the next day? The only way he would know you was by your shoe size? I don’t think so. Which brings me to Cindy Rella. She went to a party. Danced all night with a guy. Took off before midnight. He realized he’s in love but he can’t even remember her smile, much less her eyes. Reason being we know what he was looking at. Don’t we? And it wasn’t her face.

So he showed up at Cindy’s doorstep. Only thing he didn’t even take a second look at Cindy. Nope. He went after the steps. After all, even with the warts, they were the local cheerleaders. What’s a better wife for a prince than a cheerleader?

Not only didn’t Charming, oh, that is what all the folks called him. Nobody could remember why. He sure wasn’t charming these days. More like a fuss bucket. Well, not only didn’t Charming not know Cindy’s face. He didn’t even know her shoe size. He went through the sisters lickety split, then it was Cindy’s turn. He almost left, thinking he wouldn’t be seen dead with a woman in the clothes she wore.

But his man, Jeeves, said that he’d better give the poor girl a chance. Elsewise his kingdom would be rioting gangbusters. If it got on the six o’clock news, he would be seen for the snob he was. Letting her try the shoe on would make him seem like a man of the people.

“But what if she has smelly feet?” Princie wanted to know.

“Sire, you can spray those feet with a whiff of Chanel No. 5.” Jeevies took out an ounce of the perfume.

Charming snapped his fingers as if Cindy was supposed to jump. She didn’t move. She had work to do. Clean the chimney. Do the laundry. Wash the dishes. Clean the chimney some more. She didn’t have time for no fancy pants prince. He had blown his chances the night of the ball by not following her, taking her in his arms and showing her the stuff a prince was made of. But Jeevesy was having none of that. He took her by the hand and led her over to his Audatiousness.

She did the polite thing. She curtsied. Charming showed her the shoes. And what do you think she said? “I wouldn’t be caught dead in those clodhoppers.” That was what she said.

She turned and headed off to the kitchen. Her fairy godmother stopped her. “Such an opportunity,” Fairy said, “to get all your wishes met.”

“Then you marry him,” Cindy said. “‘Sides everything else, he smells.”

To make a long story short, she went out the back door. She had decisions to make. The first one being that it was time to get a new Fairy Godmother. This one was a royal screw-up. The second one was to get some new shoes. The ones she had worn the night before had hurt like all get-out. When she’d been dancing, she felt like she was walking on fire. And not the kind of fire Anthony Robbins has his semineers walk. No, the really real stuff. The kind that burned Joan of Arc up into a puff of smoke.

Why did the chicken cross the road anyway?

An adult faerie tale not for kids.

Splattered all over the highway lay Humpty Dumpty. Sitting on his throne, Old King Cole wanted to know why. After all, he was a merry old soul, and this did not set right with him.

“Well, sire,” Hansel, his viceroy, said. “It has to do with The Chicken crossing the road.”

“What?” his majesty stuttered. “That Chicken never crosses the road.”

“I’m afraid she did this time.” Hansel stood beside the throne and leaned in toward the king.

“Why?” the king asked. “Why did The Chicken cross the road? This time?”

“If we knew that, we would know how Humpty Dumpty came to such a fate, now wouldn’t we?”

“Then find out. And have the culprit executed if there is a culprit.”

“And if there isn’t one, sire?”

“Then execute somebody anyway. It’s a good week for an execution. In fact, every week is a good week for an execution, don’t you think?”

“Of course, Sire. We haven’t had an execution in a month of Sundays. It’s about time we had a few. I’ll have the secretary type up the order, then you can seal it with your nice Big Seal.”

The king went back to his nap. Hansel left the throne room and walked the five minutes through the palace it took to get to the secretary’s office.

Gretel looked up from behind her desk. “I’m bored,” she said to her brother. She was in her late twenties. Blonde hair and blue eyes too. As blue as the Danube that passed down the street and making like the nice river it was.

“I have a bit of typing for you.”

Gretel’s cute little body perked up. “It’s about time. You know I’ve been behind this desk with nothing to do for I don’t know how long. For a blue moon, that’s how long.”

Everybody said she had a cute little body. Even Jack-Be-Nimble. And he ought to know. He’d seen enough women’s bodies to make Casanova blush. But Gretel never believed. him. She knew all he wanted was to get under her dirndl and she was not about to have any of that. She had other plans. Jack wasn’t sugar daddy enough to be her sugar daddy.

She wanted the country’s brothel concession and she needed someone to help her manage it. She had been counting on Humpty. He was such a good egg with figures. But now he was dead.

She typed out her brother’s dictation on her manual Underwood. Since she was a perfect typist, not one correction had to be made. When she finished, she handed the typewritten scroll to her brother. He quickly proofread the parchment and found it in good order.

Just as he was about to leave, she addressed him with a question she had been addressing him with for quite some time. “When is the king going to approve my vacation? I need to get to work on my business plan, and there is no time like the present.”

“You know what I think of your business plan,” Hansel looked at his sister. His face was aggrieved. “Mom would be totally pissed.”

“I don’t care. You know what a slut she was. Dad died when the large oak fell on him. Then she slept with every Peter Piper and Simple Simon around. That’s not for me. Maybe it is for me but I am not giving it away for free. I want my vacation. I’ve earned it. And if I don’t get it, all I can say is we’ll see.”

“Okay,” Hansel said “As soon as we get whoever did this dastardly deed to poor Humpty, you can have your vacation.”

He knew how stubborn his sister was. There was no talking her out of her business plans. Being a Taurus, once she made up her mind she made up her mind, then there was no turning back. It had been that quality that had gotten them out of the mess with the witch some time back.

Besides a good brothel might just be the thing. It could bring back all those tourists the kingdom had lost when the Happily-Ever-After Corporation opened up a theme park in the next kingdom over. He rolled the scroll up into a nice neat roll and put a rubber band around it so it would stay rolled nice and neat.

As soon as her brother left the room, Gretel went back to checking her list for the business and checking it twice. She wanted to make sure the naughty was connected with the nice. She wanted a palace to put the king’s palace to shame. Would actually call it The Leisure Palace. Had heard that was what they called them in Vegas: leisure palaces. She had acquired the services of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Architects to Kings.

Next thing on her agenda was the girls. Who would she get to serve as Ladies-in-Waiting in her palace? Last she’d heard Little Bo Peep was out of a job. She’d blown the shepherdess gig and lost all the sheep. She couldn’t live on unemployment forever. Actually she could if she was frugal, but it was a fact that Bo was not frugal. And Little Miss Muffet was flat broke. She had come to Gretel, crying that she was out of curds and whey. What was she ever going to do?

Hansel skulked back to the throne room. The king was at his snoring again. Hansel went to wake the king.

“Yeah, yeah, Cindy,” king said half asleep and half awake. “You don’t have to go back to cleaning your stepmother’s chimney. I’ve got enough money to buy you all the window cleaners in the kingdom.”

Hansel shook the old man.”Sire.”

The king popped his popping-fresh eyes open. “It’s you, Hansel.”

Hansel gave the king the order. The king signed it. He always signed anything Hansel put in front of him. That was how Hansel had come to get his greedy little hands on half the kingdom. The king went back to sleep, dreaming about his wonderful wife, Cinderella. He’d lost her in a fire at the palace and never got over it.

Hansel hurried to his office. He had just the one for the job. He called in The Flunkster.

“Flunky, get me The Cat.”

Five minutes later, and not a minute too soon, The Cat was standing before the viceroy.

“What can I do you for?” The Cat was not a cat to beat around the bush.

“I want you to investigate the Humpty Dumpty situation. The king is concerned, and so am I.”

“But why me?” The Cat asked as if he already knew the why me. “Who else but me, I meant.”

“You’re the one who brought Dish back, and with Spoon of all things.”

“That was easy. I knew they wanted to do a Romeo-and-Juliet. Not the dying part, of course. They were out to get married. So I chased them down to Tijuana. Where else would a teen couple, who had the marriage bug, go?”

“So? Can you do it? Find out?” Hansel was getting impatient.

“Of course, I already have the case solved. I do believe I know why The Chicken crossed the Road.” The Cat was up to his usual Sherlock Holmes.

“Yes?” Hansel wanted to know, and he wanted to know real bad.

“It was Little Red.”

“Little Red?” Hansel wanted to know some more. “Not Little Red. It can’t be Little Red.” It was hard to believe it could be her. So cute and cuddly. And innocent. When they had dated, it had been hard just to get a kiss out of her. And now she was being accused of murder.

“Little Red needed a chicken for dinner. You know, for the basket for her sick grams. So she chased The Chicken across the road. Humpty saw her. You see, The Chicken was that egg’s mom. He was out to rescue her from a wringing-of-the-neck.”

“So Red killed Humpty?”

“Not really. It was a little red convertible.”

The viceroy was all confused now. “But?” That was all he could say. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Big Bad was driving. Ran right over Humpty.”

Hansel wasn’t convinced. “Are you sure?”

“Saw it myself. I happened to be out fox hunting. Had chased poor Foxie up a tree. I was going up the tree when I heard this noise. It was the convertible rushing down the highway. Splat! went Humpty. Big Bad turned the car around and ran over Humpty again just to make sure.”

“No?” Hansel said. Amazed.

“Absolutely. B. B. pulled over and watched Red kill The Chicken. He parked. I followed him following her. She got to her apartment. After she fixed her Grams’ picnic basket, she came out of the apartment. He confronted her. But she convinced him that Grams would make a better meal than she and The Chicken. Man, she does have a way with words. Could sell an Eskimo a refrigerator.”

“Just what did she do with The Chicken?” Hansel was a gourmet cook. He remembered Red loved his steak tartar. She always wanted to learn how to cook. Now she had cooked real good. Convincing Big Bad the way she did.

“Chicken marsala with mushrooms. I got a whiff of that chicken. Mmmm, bon appetit.”

“So I guess we have them in custody? She for The Chicken, he for Humpty?”

“Not quite, sir. That’s the problem. We did arrest them. But they both got away. Red gave the guard, how shall I say, a coitus dilecti. We know that’s what happened ’cause we have the lip prints. And B. B. overpowered his man. So they are on the loose. We’ve got a man watching Gram’s house. Just in case they show. But I don’t think they will.”

“You don’t?” Hansel couldn’t believe his ears. He was going to fire every guard in the place. Have them replaced with robocops.

“Think Big Bad has taken a liking to Little Red.”

Hansel was exasperated. “Why would she go for him?”

“It’s the Goldilocks Principle, sir. Not too big and not too small but just right, if you know what I mean.”

 

Near 500 words: The Monsters Are Coming To Get You

The Boo Alarm went off twenty minutes before the midnight of October 31st, alerting the residents of Poeville. The monsters from Halloweeny Town were on their way. Dr. Van Helsing had warned this would happen. Fortunately, the mayor and the town council heeded his call for action. Thus, the Boo Alarm.

At nineteen minutes before midnight, the townsfolk ran to and fro to the soft thump of feet marching, marching, marching in the distance.

Fighting off the terror coursing through his body, Mayor Hershey ran through the streets, urging the citizens to prepare their defenses for the invasion.

Mrs. Joy gathered the women of Poeville at their designated meeting place in the Town Hall. The sound of hundreds of feet filled the air. Only fifteen minutes to go before the terror struck. And strike it would.

Mr. Joy led the men of the town to roll out the wagons. They pulled them across the center of Main Street.

At ten minutes before midnight, the women climbed the stairs with buckets of hot chocolate to throw onto the monsters when they arrived.

From behind the wagons, Mr. Joy directed the men to pull catapults to face the monsters, then loaded them with large bags of stuffing.

It was five minutes before midnight when J. B. rode into town, imitating Paul Revere with his “the monsters are coming, the monsters are coming.”

The sound of marching feet was deafening. As they marched, the monsters sang, “Trick or treat, smell our feet, give us something good to eat.”

Many of the townsfolk thought it might be time to vacate the premises, urged on by the Airhead twins.

Mayor Hershey exhorted them to stand their ground. “Remember the Alamo,” they yelled.

Unfortunately there were those who wanted to know, “What the heck is an alamo?” But the encouragement was enough to keep everybody in place and ready to put up a fight against the monsters like Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and Col. Travis did in San Antonio.

One minute till midnight, and there the marchers were, coming down the middle of Main. They were ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks, dragons and grim reapers, zombies and vampires, werewolves and mummies. They had looks of determination on their faces.

Mayor Hershey took one look at the horde and decided there was nothing that could stop them. Not catapults, not sling shots, not hot chocolate. Nothing. Nada.

Mrs. Joy and her husband, Almond, were the first to break for it. Right behind them was Jelly Bean on his horse, followed by Gummy Bear and Chocolate Drop.

The Marshmallow Treats were the first to be captured along with Peppermint Patty and her sidekick, the Gobstopper. Next were the M & Ms. Morton and Marsha had never been fast runners.

The children in the monster costumes were not to be denied this Halloween night. It was midnight and the Candied Citizens of Poeville had lost another battle with the Mad Trick-or-Treaters of Halloweeny Town.

After the siege had ended and everything quieted down, Mayor Hershey crawled out from under his hiding place, surveyed the damage, sat down in the Mounds Bar, and thought, “Perhaps next year will be different.”

One can always hope, can’t one?

Living Room Stories: Jack’s Cup

This one came from looking over and seeing that my coffee cup was empty. How it got that way I am not sure. But it was obvious to me there was a story to be found in the bottomless pit of my coffee cup.

Image by ChildishGiant from Pixabay

Of all the coffee cups on all the tables in all the seven worlds, this had never happened before. Jack’s Coffee Cup was empty.

Though Jack had traveled far and wide from Old Cathay to Timbuktu, his Cup had never been empty.

Though Jack had experienced adventures even Christopher Columbus would have envied, his Cup had never been empty.

Though Jack consumed more coffee than the student body of a university, his Cup had never been empty.

How had this come to be? Wasn’t the Universe aware of the Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt never ever let Jack’s Cup run dry.” What had led to this life-and-death dilemma? Why was it so important that the Cup never run dry?

It all began with a cow. Not just any cow. A cow named Bossie. One morning Jack went to the barn to milk Bossie. Bossie kicked Jack in the leg, not once but three times. Now this wasn’t like Bossie. Bossie had never liked Jack pulling on her teats for the liquid gold the cow produced morning after morning after morning. She especially hated his singing, “One teat. Two teat. Pull.” But she had not protested so vigorously before. We could blame it on age but Bossie was only two years old. In human years, that wasn’t even middle age. No, it must have been those little green men who had visited her the last three days.

“That’s the third time,” Jack’s Mom said. “We can’t have that in a cow. Pretty soon our insurance will refuse to reimburse us for the injury. Take that animal down to the cow auction and get a good price for her. And buy us a gentler sort of breed.”

Jack protested. He was just as masochistic as Christian Grey and he loved the pain. But Mom was insistent. Bossie had to go.

He loaded Bossie up on the bed of his red Ford truck and headed for the auction. Down at the intersection, he took the wrong turn and ended up in a dead-end.

“Oh, my gosh. I’ll be too late. Mom’s gonna kill me.”

From the side of his truck, Jack heard, “Are you Jack?”

Jack looked in his side mirror. A rather small man all outfitted in green with a top hat approached him.

“You are Jack?” the man said in the Irish-est accent you ever wanted to hear.

“The last time I checked my birth certificate I was Jack.”

Jack jumped out of the truck.

“My name is Seamus. Not the Ulster Seamuses but the Dublin branch.” The man reached out with his tiny hand and took Jack’s hand and they shook.

Jack was a friendly sort of fellow. Everybody in the Seven Counties said so. He gave the small fellow a smile and said, “Please to meet you.”

The little fellow continued, “That’s a fine cow you have there.”

“I’m taking her to auction.”

“I’d like to give you an offer for your cow you can’t refuse. Six beans.” He took six small beans out from his wallet and passed them over to Jack.

The beans felt warm in Jack’s hand and they had a rich brown texture to them. Of all the beans Jack had seen over the years–and he’d seen quite a few–these were the most beautiful.

“No can do.” Jack passed the beans back over to Seamus.”Bossie here is the best of cows and I can’t let her go for six beans.”

Seamus laughed. “That’s not what I hear. You keep things up with Bossie pretty soon you won’t have a leg to stand on.”

Well, Seamus had Jack on that. “These are magic beans. You do know that?”

“Magic beans?”

“And because you’re driving such a hard bargain, it’ll be five beans and not one bean less.”

“You said six beans.”

“That was before. This is the present. Five beans. Take them or leave them before I can change my mind.”

Jack hemmed and hawed for the next little while. Since Seamus had won the Zig-Ziglar-Salesman-of-the-Year Award six years in a row, it didn’t take long before Jack was back in his truck and on the road home.

Mom gave her one-and-only a big hug. “What did you get? What did you get?”

Jack puffed out his chest with pride. He was so proud of himself his pride had pride. “Five beans. Five beautiful beans.”

Mom knew she had a dolt of a son. But she never realized that he could be this doltish. “Five beans? You sold our cow for five beans? Just wait till your father gets home.” Now Jack’s father was long gone to the happy hunting ground in the sky.

But the woman’s subconscious always produced the words when Jack was being a bad boy. Like that time he fell down and broke his crown. She’d warned him about Jill. And her prophecy had come true. Jill stole Jack’s pail of water. Mom should have understood that Jack was going through puberty and he just couldn’t resist Jill’s charms. She was that kind of girl.

Mom took one look at the five beans and out the window they went. Then she went to her room, crying. There would be no supper for Jack tonight.

That night there was a huge noise behind the kitchen. It was like three flying saucers were landing. They weren’t. It was those beans, sprouting into a giant bean stalk.

The next morning, at five a.m., Jack put on his overalls and grabbed his pail and went out to the barn. No, Bossie. Where was she? Panicking, he ran back to the house and woke his mother up. “Somebody stole Bossie.”

Two slaps across the face brought Jack to his senses. “Oh, the beans.” He shook his head. “Bossie may have been a pain but she sure gave good milk.”

Jack looked out the kitchen window. He saw the bean stalk. “Oh, geez. Look, Mom.”

Mom gave the bean stalk a incredulous gander. “What the….”

“I’ll double that and raise you a What the f***”

Mom and Son stepped out onto the back porch. Their eyes were giant saucers. Finally Jack said, “Well, there’s nothing to do but climb.”

After a large bowl of porridge, Jack dressed in his lederhosen and his lederhosen hat and his lederhosen boots. He said his farewells to Mom. “Don’t wait up. I may be late.” Then he took his first steps up the bean stalk.

A half day later he was climbing.

A day later he was climbing.

A week later he was climbing.

He was tempted to look down. Knowing he had vertigo up the ying-yang, he did not look down.

Then, after taking a break for the Sabbath, he found his footing on land. He stepped out through the clouds and saw the most magnificent sight ever. This was Oz and Shangri La and Machu Picchu and Versailles and Buckingham Palace all rolled into one. Needless to say, it was a big WOW. And it left Jack breathless. He fell to the ground to keep from passing out from all the splendor.

After sitting on the ground for about a half of a millennium, he recovered and got to his feet. He stepped onto the brick road. It could have been the Yellow Brick Road. Only it was a rainbow of colors.

After a long time and the accumulation of several callouses on his feet, he reached a large wooden door. Just as he was about to knock, a cow approached him. “Don’t do that.”

Now Jack had seen the re-runs of “Mister Ed”. So he knew that horses could talk. But a cow. He slapped his face several times to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.

“You’ll be sorry if you knock on that door.” Cow gave Jack a huge cowish grin.

“You’re a cow. You can’t talk.”

“Now you tell me.” Cow gave Jack one of those I’m-going-to-have-to-be-patient-with-the-boy looks.

“Why shouldn’t I knock. It’s rude not to knock.”

“I’m telling you it’s not something you want to do.”

“Why not?”

“Oh, here’s the why-not. There’s always a why-not. Nobody ever listens to Cow. You think the Wicked Witch of the West and Ultron were bad asses you ain’t seen anything yet.”

“What do you mean?”

Cow finally had gotten Jack’s attention. “You-know-who resides inside and he don’t like visitors.”

“Voldemort?”

“No, silly.” Then Cow leaned over and whispered, “Giant.”

From inside the building came a voice. A big big voice louder than a hundred loud speakers. “Fie fih foh fum. I smell the blood of an American.”

Another voice yelled at the big voice, “No, stupid. America hasn’t been discovered yet.”

“Oh. Fie fih foh fum. I smell the blood of a Frenchman.”

The voice again. “Come off it. We’re not in France.”

“Oh, right. Fie fih foh fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman.”

“Good boy.”

Cow passed over some cologne. “Spritz yourself with this. Quick.”

Jack shot each of his underarms and passed the bottle back over.

Cow motioned for Jack to hide in the bushes.

The wooden door opened, and out stepped Giant. He was so big he would have put Cyclops to shame.

“Well?” a cuckoo bird said from the Giant’s shoulder.

“It’s just Cow and that smell. That p.u. smell. I hate that smell.” Giant turned and went back inside.

Cow put one of his hooves inside to keep the door from completely closing. Then Jack heard some music.

“That stinkum-delight smell has got to go.” Cow spritzed Jack once more. “This one is the no-smell spritzer.” Then he pushed Jack inside.

“What should I do?”

Cow handed Jack a list. “Get these and your future will be made.”

“Why am I stealing a Forever Cup?”

“It’s what makes the other stuff work. And please make sure it has coffee in it. If it’s empty, everything goes kaput-sky. ”

“Kaputsky?”

“Yes, and you’ll have one heck of a run of bad luck. And I mean bad.

Jack tippy-toed inside the massive building. The hall was large. Big. Humongous. In fact, it put the huge in humongous. Giant-sized furniture was everywhere.

He fell dizzy on the floor from the awesomeness of it all. But he soon recovered, knowing that danger was only a giant away.

Jack checked Cow’s list. The items were written in an elegant cowish script. Then he went looking. He found the ice creamer maker in the kitchen along with the Forever Cup. He knew it was the Forever Cup because it had Forever Cup painted on it. And yes, it had coffee in it. The blackest, nastiest coffee you ever wanted to taste.

Finally it was the goose’s turn. You’ve heard the term, “cooked your goose,” before. When he picked it up, the goose woke from a sound snooze. Not knowing what was going on, it started crying out, “Thief. Thief.”

Cuckoo heard the goose and woke Giant.

Jack put Goose under his arm, the ice cream maker under the other arm and the Forever Cup into his backpack. He headed for the door as fast as his legs would carry him. Cow held the door open for him.

Once Jack was outside, Cow slammed the door shut. Knowing how sensitive Giant was to smell, he did a humongous poop-a-rama right there on the doorstep.

“Jump on my back,” Cow said.

As Cow and Jack galloped off into the sunset, Cow yelled, “And a hi-yo Silver.” And down the bean stalk the two went. Then touchdown, and Jack ran for the barn. Back with an axe, Jack went to work chopping the stalk down. Unfortunately he lost the barn. Giant crashed on it, turned over and took his last breath. Cuckoo surrendered.

For the next fifty years, Jack prospered. He made the best ice cream throughout the Seven Worlds. He paid for the ice cream materials with Goose’s golden eggs and Cow became a big Wall Street hedge fund manager, manager of all of Jack’s money.

Every thing went hunky-dory until Cuckoo escaped and went about the countryside causing mischief. And his greatest act of evil was draining the Forever Cup, leaving Jack with only one message.

Near 500 words: Fairy Tale U

Now that Little Bo Peep has found her sheep and Humpty Dumpty has been put back together again, Mother Goose is devoting her time to a new project. Education. She is opening a school of higher leaning for those who wish to be fairy-tale endowed. Here’s some of the outstanding courses she’ll be offering at Fairy Tale U.

1.Prince Charming 101. Prince Rupert teaches the gentlemanly ways of wooing yon fair maiden. Without looking at her shoes.
2.You-tube phenomenon Cinderella will be giving her world-famous Housecleaning Techniques.
3.You won’t need a Fairy Godmother in the clothes department after you take Fashion Consciousness by The One-and-only Fairy Godmother. “It’s all in the shoes.”
4.Baking with Hansel & Gretel and their um-um good recipes.
5.Repunzel lets her hair down with Hair-styling 101.
6.Big Bad’s Huff-and-Puff Way to Real Estate Success.
7.For those in the weight-consciousness mode, the “Just Right” Diet by Goldilocks and the Three Bears is perfect.
8.Child Care by Rumpelstiltskin
9.Relationship Secrets by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
10. Flying Etiquette with the Wicked Witch of the West introduces students to  proper broom-riding techniques. Come and hear her say, “Eat your heart out, Harry Potter.”
11.Jack’s Course on the Bean Stalk Methodology of Survival.
12. After rescuing Grandma, Little Red Riding Hood joins the University with her Tips on Elder Care.
13.Beauty’s Taming your Inner Beast shouldn’t be missed.
14.Puss-in-Boots will share his secrets on How To Be Successful In Business Without Really Trying.
15.And for the meteorlogical-minded, Dorothy and Toto will be here for Storm Chasing Procedures.