Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Fractured Fairy Tales - Little Ben Riding Hood
I know that's it has been far too long since I shared one of my "Fractured Fairy Tales" with you, and I apologize for that lapse. Quite frankly I had lost track of this dusty tome amidst the piles of books that these days seem to have all but pushed me out of my humble hermit's cave. I promise that I will not let such a shirking of responsibility occur again.
Now for those of you only recently come to the party here at Just Blowing Smoke, these slightly twisted (OK, more than slightly twisted) fables are stories of a far-away magical land known as Toodledeedoo (pronounced Tuudle dee duu), where unusual things have been known to happen from time to time. But hey kids speaking of time (and unusual things), let's not waste any more of it letting me attempt to describe the almost indescribable. Let's get right to our story.
"Where are you off to little girl, and why are you following me?" he asked.
"I am off to my granny's house for a visit," she replied turning back to look at him, "and how can I be following you when I'm ahead of you."
"Never mind that nonsense," he said. "People are always trying to copy me. It's the sincerest form of flattery you know. Now be off with you, don't try to steal my best ideas."
The young taxpayer, shaking her head in confusion, resumed her journey; but didn't realize that it would no longer be the same one that she started. For your see, Ben Riding Hood knew of the granny that she was talking about and that there were often lovely tidbits there to be had there for the taking. So he conceived of yet another in a long string of 'bold, fresh ideas' (many of which, strangely enough, seemed to have originally come from ideas previously put forward by someone else, but I digress), and he decided to get to the granny's house before the girl did. When he did, our young taxpayer would be in for quite a surprise.
So off he ran to granny's cottage just as fast as he could, arriving well ahead of the young girl, and knocked on the door. When granny answered, he quickly bound and gagged her and locked her in her own closet. Then, donning one of the granny's wigs and flannel nightgowns (hey, no comments here please, it is after all a "bold" idea), he climbed into her bed and waited.
It wasn't much later when the next knock on the door came and without waiting for a response from within, the young girl came in. Not seeing her granny at first, she entered the cottage, looked into the bedroom, and discovered the disguised Ben Riding Hood, lying in granny's bed now and with the covers pulled up over his chin.
"Granny, is everything all right?" she asked, sensing something strange in granny still being in bed this late in the day. The concern was obvious in her voice.
"Why sure it is," Ben Riding Hood replied, nervously pulling the covers a bit higher.
"I was just worried that maybe those 'good old boys' had been back again to torment you like they always do," she responded.
Ben Riding Hood merely shook his head, but was now looking around the room as if fearing that they would appear at any moment.
"OK," the little girl replied dubiously. "Well listen Granny, I brought those checks that you asked me to. You know, the ones for the windows for your cottage and the ambulance service. What do you want me to do with them?"
"That's lovely dear," Ben Riding Hood replied, visions of those long awaited scholarships now dancing in his head, "just set them on the dresser there next to you and leave."
"Well maybe I shouldn't just leave them, with you in bed and all. There's a lot of money here. Beside, I came to visit and I just got here, and well ... OK," she replied disappointed. "Listen though Granny, you really don't look so good. Is there something wrong with your eyes?"
"No, no, nothing wrong here," Ben Riding Hood replied with an anxious quiver in his voice and another darting glance around the room as he tried to hide them. "I'm just happy to see you stop by."
"OK Granny, if you say so; but I have to tell you, you kind of sound funny too."
"Yes," he croaked, the anticipation of that money all but taking his voice away. "Yes, you're right. I must have some kind of frog in my throat. I'm sure it will be fine though. You should just go ahead and leave the money and go."
But the girl had become suspicious now and said, "Granny, I really think that there's something wrong. You seem awful jumpy and now your hands are shaking really bad. Maybe I ought to get someone to have a look at you."
And she was right. Ben Riding Hood was now trembling almost uncontrollably, thinking of what he could do with that kind of money with nobody able to tell him he couldn't. Worried that the jig was up, and simply unable to resist the urge any longer, he leaped from the bed and dashed to the dresser, grabbing for the checks as he did
"Say," the little girl said, "You're not my Granny at all."
"Maybe not," he replied, "but I'm going to use this money help people whether they want it or not. I going use it to do the right thing the way that I see it, and there's nobody to tell me that I can't."
"Help!" the girl cried upon hearing this ridiculous statement. "Save me from this madman trying to steal my Granny's money!"
Now it just so happened that a group of people were passing close by the cottage at the time, heard the girl's call, and rushed to the rescue (I think they call them voters). Sizing up the situation quickly, they grabbed the checks from Ben Riding Hood, grabbed him by the seat of his short pants, and threw him out the front door into the street. Quickly freeing Granny and safely reuniting her with the girl, they then turned and chased Ben Riding Hood down the road and all the way out of Toodledeedoo, never to be heard from again (or at least we hope not).
Yes, yet another happy ending to another potentially tragic tale in Toodledeedoo. Perhaps those 'voters' are finally beginning to wise up to some of those smiling faces in this city masquerading as something that they are not. Perhaps they will in fact show up in force to chase both the madmen and miscreants from our fair land. Perhaps at long last, we will see that you truly cannot fool most of the people most of the time (even here in Toledo).