Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 22: Dear Diary

The prompt this week was to choose a fairy tale (or nursery rhyme) and tell the tale behind the tale. Reveal who these fairy tale people really are, and share their backstories. I decided to post the personal thoughts of one of Fairyland’s characters that was offered quite a challenging role.

Dear Diary

Dear Diary, Bella here. Today, I was in quite a quandary. The choice should have been a simple one for me, but before my final decision was made whether to remain in a role all the way to print, I decided to seek the advice of one of my closest friends. I made my way over the river and through the woods to Little G’s, one of Fairyland's five-star restaurants. Gretel was there, as always, hosting and making sure all were pleased with their meals. Hansel, as always, was off on one of his marketing tours

You know, Dear Diary, that situation never changes. Ever since they were booked into that gig with the witch, Hansel still can’t remain anywhere in, or near, an eatery for any length of time. Gretel handled it remarkably well, and once it all went to print, she moved on and opened the restaurant. She runs it amazingly well on her own, and her brother does handle the business side of it with great success. Poor Hansel though. He orders all his meals to go.

Why is it that there are always those who feel the need to disrupt the harmony of the lives of others? When I arrived at the front door, I had to make my way through the picket line of witches. One thing Hansel insisted on, and Gretel readily agreed to, was to post a sign that witches would be refused service. It’s completely understandable since during the enactment of their tale, once it ended, the witch playing the role of the witch tried to shove them in the oven and cook them for real. Perhaps she was just an aberration, but you have to admit, Dear Diary, that does make one hesitant to turn one’s back on their kind. No one likes witches in their businesses anyway. You hand them a bill and they cast a spell on you. But, I digress…

I did take the path through the woods on my way to see Gretel. There’s no danger anymore now that Goldi’s moved in with the Bears. Oh, excuse me, I mean Goldilocks. Yeah, right. As if those blonde curls of hers were ever natural. Apparently, Goldi-Brown-Roots didn’t flow as a title. I know I’m being snarky now, Dear Diary, but that was a cool story and I had my eye on that role from the start. I couldn’t even get in for an audition. It probably worked out for the best though, since Goldi’s getting on in years and gigs in tales are few and far between. She cooks, cleans and tutors the cub, and has a safe roof over her head. The Bears benefit too since Mama and Papa can both work now that they have live-in help. All’s well that ends well, I suppose.

I got to Little G’s and spoke with Gretel about my problem. She reminded me that sometimes compromises need to be made and frankly, beggars can’t be choosers. It did hurt that she considered me in the beggar category at this stage of my career, but I appreciated her candor. Time to face reality, Dear Diary. When I look in my mirror, I see a child with golden hair and a perfect smile. To the story recruiters however, I am a grown woman with a droopy top lip; not an elderly grandmother type who sits in a rocking chair, but not a little girl skipping happily down the road either. Distasteful as some roles may be, work unfortunately, is work.

I explained to Gretel what would be required of me for this latest offer, and she pointed out that for once, I would no longer be ‘woman in the crowd’, but I would be getting top billing. Yes, a small sacrifice would have to be made, but once it went to print, my legacy would be a glorious one. Once the gig was a wrap, I would have no trouble getting additional work and I wouldn’t have to simply settle. Did I want to end up having to take a role out of desperation like the chick who took the gig with the frog prince? What a nightmare that one was. After that one went to print, that poor girl went through Compound W by the case.

Here was a chance to be a headliner, but I would have to make a concession. I would have to agree to change my name. Thing is, with name changes, Dear Diary, they are forever. I would no longer be Bella. Gretel reminded me that when all was said and done, I would be a princess and end up married to a handsome prince, who had never been a frog. Was a name really such a big deal? I’d still be Bella inside, and always Bella to my friends. I had to admit it probably wouldn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. It’s just that dropping the ‘B’ and putting ‘Cinder’ in front of ‘Ella’ hit me kind of hard. I was going to be forever called Cinderella.

Rather than let this slip away and end up being an unnamed woman in the crowd forever, I’ve decided to grab this one. Gretel’s right. This role would give me security in Fairyland and higher class roles would come my way as I aged. I mean, once a princess… I have to confess though, Dear Diary, once I get past the name issue, there are still two other things about this gig I’m not too crazy about.

One problem I have is with the glass slippers. You know how sensitive I am about my hammer toes, and there’s no way I’m going to slide them into any slipper, much less a glass one. Hopefully, I can get away with wearing dark stockings or tights at the ball under my gown. When I was offered the role, I didn’t have to remove my shoes to try them on. I was just asked my size and was told the slippers would be made to order. Gretel recommended I not mention it to anyone; just wear stockings to hide them. I won’t have to have them on until the scene that goes to print, and I’m certain they won’t stop the shoot to fuss about my socks.

I’m not sure what to do about my other problem since that’s a truly critical one – even more so than the name issue. It’s the supporting cast they booked in for the gig. I realize that when we’re playing a role, we need to really play the role, but from time to time, some really can get a bit carried away. My Fairy Godmother in the tale is really sweet and a pleasure to work with, but the stepmother and stepsisters? Bitches, all – before, during, and after our rehearsals. Even when I did ‘woman in the crowd’, the other cast members invited me for coffee and Danish when the printer was off. But these three? Whoa!

Dear Diary, the rehearsals are really wearing on my nerves. The stepmother and the two stepsisters rotate their complaining that the scene just wasn’t right so they can stall production and force a re-do. I think the Director is just as fed up as I am, and I’m hoping that soon he’ll just tell them to keep it moving so we can go to print. It’s always the same scene too – the one where I’m scrubbing the floor. Stepmother, or one of the stepsisters (whoever’s turn it is to throw a monkey wrench in the works) complains toward the end of the scene that I missed a spot. Let me tell you, Dear Diary, one more of those cracks and they’ll all be picking their teeth up from that spot I missed.

Gretel took my hands in hers and reminded me that Evil Stepmother and Evil Stepsisters were the only roles they would ever get and their names would never change. I have to admit that did make me feel better. I’ll just grin and bear it. I mean, how much longer can they drag this out? There are so many tales out there that need to get made so they can go to print. Cinderella needs to wrap, and soon.

Talking all this out with my best friend, Gretel, and you too, Dearest Diary, has made me feel so much better. I’m actually looking forward to the next rehearsal, which I’m hoping will be the last. I want to go to print as this plain young woman, victimized by her step-family members, magically transformed into a glamorous lady by a Fairy Godmother, who is sought, found, and loved forever by a charming and handsome Prince. Cinderella, it will be. Cinderella, I will be. Hammer toes and all…


  1. Really interesting take on what it's like living in Fairytale land. Good luck to Bella!

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Rose. Glad you enjoyed this. It was great fun creating my little corner of make-believe land. I know Bella will love becoming Cinderella -- glass slippers and all!

  2. This is a great spin on an old story. I've always been partial to the concept of fairy tale folk looking for new jobs, and am glad Bella is willing to do some adjustments for a new career. Hammer toes and all - loved the humour too. I liked the Dear Diary idea too.

    1. Thanks, Mike. I'm glad you liked it. I went the Dear Diary route after considering other formats because I felt it would allow me to sneak in other characters and their alternate careers in a much smoother way. I like the idea of other jobs too because with only one role, what do they do once it 'goes to print'? You can live on your 15 minutes of fame only so long!