Edna’s Feet

Dorothy got to return to Kansas, but Edna was stuck in Oz. She could not escape. Edna was envious of Dorothy. Dorothy had those ruby red slippers. All Edna had was a pair of one-size-too-small-and-never-quite-wide-enough brogans. Her left foot was smaller than her right. She never could find a quite-right fit for either foot no matter how hard she tried.

“Will you saw my feet off?” Edna Madison asked the plastic surgeon. She patted her thinning red hair. She was not at all concerned that she was going bald. She kept her hair long though it was fine, thin, too curly. It always appeared as if it was ready to fly away. No, what really bothered her was her feet. They were too tiny, too elfin, or too petite, or too large. Unlike Goldilocks’ shoes, they were never just right.

The doctor responded to her inquiry, “No,” I won’t.”

Edna walked to the bus, her eyes on her feet, making sure her feet were walking correctly, one after another in the right direction. If they walked incorrectly, there was no telling where they would lead. She sat in her seat on the bus, disappointment filling her pear-shaped face. A woman across from her asked, “Are you alright?”

“No, I’m not,” Edna answered. “It’s my feet.”

“I know what you mean,” another woman said. “I just can’t find a comfortable pair of shoes.”

Edna listen to the two women discussing shoes, and smiled. They affirmed that she was not crazy even though her younger brother, Raymond, thought so. Other women had the same problem she had. Bad feet.

In her small apartment, she threw herself into the large chair in her living room. Tears formed, then she was crying. Why would nobody help her? Sitting there in her frustration, an idea came to her.

“I shall walk my feet off.” She strategized how she would do it. The more she thought about what she was going to do the more she liked it. Before she made the walk, she had to tell her therapist at her next appointment two days away. As much help as he had given her, it wouldn’t be right not to let him in on her plan. She was absolutely certain he would approve.

She slipped off her shoes. Not only were they uncomfortable, they were ugly. She stood up and walked across the carpeted room, her feet tortured by the eggshells of her imagination. In front of the window and balcony were stacks of cans. They were her fortress wall against the world and its dangers outside. Inside the apartment it was safe.

She picked up a can of corn and a can of green beans. Slowly she hobbled to her kitchenette and sat down on the stool. From her perch, she was able to reach her stove and her sink and her cabinets. She made herself a supper from the two cans. After eating the meal on the stool, she phoned her brother. “Ray, can you come by tomorrow? I have to go grocery shopping. I have no corn.”

“I’ll be by the first thing in the morning. You be ready, you hear? I won’t have all day.”

“I will be ready.”

From her perch, she reached over to her tea kettle, took it and filled it with water, then put it on the stove to heat up. While the water heated, she washed her dishes, then waited on the water to boil. Soon it was whistling. She then fixed herself a cup of tea. Sitting on the stool, her feet in the air, she enjoyed her tea.

The apartment was dark when she decided to get ready for the next morning. Over the next couple of hours she bathed, pulled on clean undies and took out a bright red dress from her closet of bright red dresses. It was just the right one for grocery shopping. She dressed herself. Then she ran a comb through what was left of her hair and tied a ribbon around her head. Of course, It was a bright red ribbon. She was ready for the grocery store. She went and sat in the large chair and waited in the dark. Her mind focused on the task she would be doing in two days time. A question bothered her. Why had she not thought of this perfect plan before?

At eight the next morning, Ray knocked on the door.

“It’s open,” Edna said.

Her brother came into the apartment and walked over and kissed her on the forehead, then said, “Looks like you’re ready.”

“I am.”

Knowing the bother his sister had with her feet, he asked as he always did, “You sure you don’t want me to get you a wheelchair? You wouldn’t have to walk then.”

Edna was a proud woman, so she said her usual no. She slipped her shoes on, stood up and walked across the invisible eggshells and came to the door. She reached for the door to regain her balance so she wouldn’t fall.

Ray went to catch her. Edna said, “Don’t.”

“Boy, you’re stubborn.”

Edna followed Ray to his car and got in. They began their monthly routine. They stopped off and had pancakes for breakfast, then drove on to the grocery store. Following her list, she filled her cart with can after can of food, then she added tea and toiletries and paper products and odor eaters and other foot items. If it wasn’t on her list, she passed it by, sometimes commenting, “Next time.” She stopped and looked longingly at the ice cream case. Though she loved ice cream, she refused to buy it. Her feet would get too fat.

Each time Edna took an item off the shelf, she examined it to make sure it was the right item. She counted its cost in her head to make sure she wasn’t overspending. Her brother quietly followed her. He knew not to say anything. It would throw Edna off her ritual, and they would have start over with an empty cart. At the cashier, Edna did not look up at the girl. She kept her eyes on her feet.

“$71.99, ma’am,” the girl said.

Edna did not argue. It was the amount she had added in her head. To the cent and including tax. She reached into her large handbag and pulled out a number of coupons and passed them over to the cashier. The girl rang up the coupons.

“Your total is $25.34,” the girl said, then to be friendly, “Looks like you’ve hit the jackpot.”

Edna was not in the mood for friendly gab. She never was. She counted out the exact amount of bills and change, not handing it to the girl but laying it on cashier’s counter. The girl took her money and handed her the receipt.

“Would you like me to take these to your car?” the bag boy asked.

“No,” Ray said. “We’ll managed.” Pushing the cart, he followed Edna to his car.

At her apartment, Ray dropped her and her groceries off, then left. Edna unpacked her goods, stacked the cans in front of her window and put away the rest of the items. Then her tired body surrendered to her bed.

The next afternoon Edna sat before Dr. Michaels, her therapist.

“How are you doing, Edna?” he asked his patient, a patient he’d seen for five years once a week on Thursday afternoons at three.

“My feet hurt, Doctor,” she said. Her eyes looked down at her lap, not at the therapist.

Doctor Michaels studied his patient as he always did. They had been through this routine a couple of hundred times.

“Still can’t find the right shoes, huh?”

Edna didn’t answer. Her therapist knew the answer. She didn’t need to tell him.

“Why won’t you let me get you a wheelchair?” he asked.

“I’m not an invalid,” she said.

“Of course, you’re not. But you wouldn’t have to be on your feet.” he said. If he could just get her to agree, it would be such a tremendous help to her. But she wouldn’t give in. She wouldn’t take to the chair.

He changed the conversation. “Don’t you have a birthday this Saturday?” he asked.

She looked up at his face. He had never asked her about her birthday. “Yes.” Her head dropped back to looking at her chest.

“Edna, I hope you know that you are my favorite patient. We’ve been together for a long time and I always look forward to your visits.”

Edna looked up at the therapist again. She studied his face. Satisfied that he was being serious, she smiled. She had not smiled in Doctor Michaels’ office for at least two years. The last time was when he told her a joke she found funny. She didn’t find many things funny.

It was time to tell him her plan. The one where she would walk her feet off.

Before she could say anything, he continued, “I don’t usually do this, but I thought it would be okay since you are my favorite patient. I bought you a gift.”

Edna was stunned. Doctor Michaels bought her a present? Doctor Michaels bought her a present. It had been a very long time since anyone other than Ray gave her a gift.

The therapist reached into his desk drawer, pulled out a package and handed it to Edna. The box was wrapped in bright red paper with a bright red ribbon.

Edna didn’t know what to do. She set it on her lap and stared at it.

“Well, open it,” he said.

“It’s so beautiful. I shouldn’t. I can’t. I would ruin it.”

“No you won’t,” he urged. “The box isn’t the gift. The gift is inside. Go ahead and open it.”

Edna slowly untied the ribbon, then carefully undid the tape that held the paper in place. She slipped the box out from the paper. She opened the top of the box. And there they were. A pair of ruby red slippers. Just like the ones Dorothy wore.

Doctor Michaels had never seen Edna’s face glow the way it did at that moment.

Tears began to roll down her face. The therapist handed her a tissue. She wiped her eyes.

“Don’t you want to try them on?”

Edna shook her head no. She couldn’t. Besides they wouldn’t fit.

“Go ahead, Edna,” he urged. “Try the shoes on.”

She couldn’t bring herself to remove them from the box.

“Can I put them on your feet?”

Edna nodded yes.

Doctor Michaels went to take the box. Edna held onto it tightly. He loosened her grip and took the box and removed the shoes from it. He kneeled down at her feet and removed her shoes, then he slipped the ruby reds onto her feet.

Edna couldn’t believe it. For the first time in years, her feet felt good.

They. Felt. Great.

“Stand up,” the therapist said.

“Oh, no,” she said. “I can’t. They’ll hurt.”

“Edna,” he ordered. “Stand up.”

Edna obeyed. She stood up and still her feet felt good. She walked around the office. If feet can feel happy, her feet felt happy.

“Do you like them?”

Edna couldn’t say anything. She hugged her good doctor. Then kissed him on his cheek. Silently she picked up her things and walked out of her therapist’s office.

“Mrs. Wheeler,” she said to the secretary on her way out. “I will see you next week.”

The secretary was surprised. Edna never spoke to her.

Edna walked out into the street and toward the bus stop, her feet feeling like they were walking on air. She held her head high so that the world would know she had just arrived in Kansas and that she was never going back to Oz.

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.

What’s it all about?

After watching the final episodes of “Game of Thrones,” I have done some deep thinking about the whole darn thing. Several questions come to mind. Just what the heck was all that precious time devoted to? Would it have been more suited to watching “Seinfeld” episodes for the one-hundred-and-tenth time? Was that eighth season as bad as some fans say? Was it as much a disappointment as, say, the final episode of “How I Met Your Mother”?

Last things first. It was not as disappointing as the “How I Met Your Mother” fiasco. We can all rejoice that Cersei got her just desserts. Poor Jaime, he deserved better. Unfortunately he couldn’t resist drooling every time Cersei walked into the room. But I got to say that she wasn’t that bad with her clothes off. And I’ve seen her with her clothes. In fact, there weren’t any of the main characters I didn’t see naked.

And I came up with a good answer to the question, “What was it all about, Alfie?” It was about furniture. One particular piece of furniture. A chair. The iron throne. Was all the killing and sexing and hanging out with dragons worth it? After all, who would want to sit on the darn thing?

There’s a rumor going around the television channel that gave us “The Sopranos” that everybody who sat on the darn thing was given combat pay. After all, Joffrey could not sit down for a month after a couple of hours sitting his tush on it. Only Cersei could take the difficulty. That’s because everybody in the kingdom called her “Queen Iron Butt”.

As I considered the “Game of Thrones” dilemma of what was it all about, I came to some other conclusions. One of them being that the thing most super villains pine for is jewelry. Just look at the list. Sauron wanted a ring. Sure it wasn’t just any ring. But still it was jewelry. And Thanos, what did he want? Gems. Which is another word for jewelry. What did Lex Luthor want? Kryptonite. Which was just some green jewelry. Maybe he should have gotten in touch with Green Lantern.

Then there are the fairy tales. Just think Cinderella. All she wanted was a new pair of shoes. She ended up with a prince with a foot fetish. And talking about shoes. If Dorothy had surrendered those ruby reds, she would have avoided beaucoup amounts of trouble.

The Big Bad Wolf was a real estate developer trying to evict the Three Little Piggies. And Little Red was out for Granny’s real estate as well. But Big Bad got there first.

And what can you expect when you ask a Mirror who’s the fairest in the land? Fake news. The fairest may not have been the Queen. But neither was Snow White. That honor went to Sleeping Beauty. After all, she had Hollywood’s Best doing makeup when she won Miss Fairy Tale 2018.

As you can see, our heroes, our villains and our fairy tale folk are all after the same thing we ordinary mortals want. Furniture, clothes, real estate and beauty pageants. Why else do we play the lottery?