Once upon a time

July 29, 2022 / Henry Dumas

By Henry Dumas

The assignment: Take an old fairy tale and reset it in modern times and in your hometown. 

            Once upon a time in a far-off land called West Jordan, Utah, there lived three fairies.

            Elfie, Lucy and Sadie buzzed around the garden, protecting it from unwanted pests. They weren’t beautiful like Tinker Bell with her long blond hair, blue eyes, and skinny body. They looked more like bumble bees; short, fat and a little frumpy.  

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               Elfie was the oldest, with long red hair and green eyes. She was short in stature, dressed in dark gray, and sometimes seen in body armor. She fluttered around the garden, taking care of and pollinating the flowers. She ran the garden with an iron fist, and never started a fight, but was not afraid to end it.

             Lucy was the prettiest of the three, with short brown hair and green eyes. She collected baubles, shiny or sparkly objects, and things that represent the essence of the sun. She loved to flutter around the garden, making sure there was plenty of running water. Her favorite pastime was taking naked showers in the afternoon under the waterfall.  It was also the favorite pastime for all the male fairies to gather at the waterfall and watch her shower.

         Sadie was the youngest. She still had her young girlish looks, and her body fat was in all the right places. She was fast in flight and nimble as she buzzed around the garden. Her long brown hair fluttered in the wind and her blue-green eyes sparkled in the sunshine. The male fairies followed her, offering the finest pieces of fruits and vegetables they harvested from the garden. She was not interested and would wave them off with a scattering cloud of fairy dust.

           The fairies hated Tinker Bell because she fluttered around the garden using her magic wand to move rocks and plants without their permission. They couldn’t stop her because Tia, the queen fairy, removed the magic powers from their wands to keep them from terrorizing the garden creatures and exercising magic powers to malicious ends. The wands didn’t work, but that didn’t matter to the three fairies. They slid the magic wands in their belts like pirates, and used them like swords on garden creatures, including Cindy, the neighbor’s cat. 

            Cindy was a typical cat. She laid around the house all day sleeping and meowing when it was dinner time. At night she sat on the fence singing cat songs, trying unsuccessfully to attract an old tomcat. She loved to watch the birds at the bird feeders and thought of them as a quick snack. Her problem was she’s too fat and slow to catch them.

             It was mid-morning when Tia, the queen fairy, arrived in the garden surrounded by a cloud of shimmering fairy dust. She fluttered over the three fairies scowling at them like an old school teacher looking at a miss behaving class.

              “Ask Tia if we can get the magic put back in our wands,” Lucy whispered to Sadie.

              “It’s your fault our magic wands don’t work,” Sadie argued. “You’re the one that used your magic wand to make Tinker Bell’s hair fall out.”

               “It’s your fault, Elfie,” Lucy said. “You started the rumor about Tinker Bell having an affair with the ruby-throated hummingbird that hovers around the garden. You told everyone Miss Bell had a thing for him. You’re the reason Tia took away our powers.”

                “You’re all at fault,” Tia said. “I will return the power to your wands when you ladies decide to use them to do good deeds, and stop harassing my favorite fairy, Tinker Bell.”

              “That ain’t going to happen,” the three fairies mumbled under their breath.

                Tia scowled at the fairies and flicked her magic wand; sparkles of fairy dust surrounded her as she faded into a rainbow-colored cloud and disappeared into thin air.

            “We’ll find some other way to get rid of Tinker Bell,” Lucy whispered. Pointing at the sharp tip on the magic wand in her belt.

              The commotion woke the old gardener that was sleeping in a lawn chair under a shade tree.         

            “Get to work, you lazy fairies,” he shouted.

              The old Gardner’s name was Henry. His long, grayish unkempt hair and beard fluttered in the wind and it looked like he didn’t own a comb. The birds loved Henry because his hair was a great source for leaves and other nest building materials. Every fall, he packed his car and drove to the blue skies and sunshine in Mesa, Arizona, leaving the fairies behind.

           “I wish our magic wands worked. We could turn Henry into a toad.” Lucy whispered.

           “I’m still mad at him for going to Mesa last winter and leaving us outside in the Utah freezing weather,” Elfie frowned. “I froze my butt off.”

            “It looks like you still have a lot of your butt left,” Lucy snickered.

            “You don’t have any room to talk!” Elfie shouted.

             “The Gardner should’ve left a window open so we could spend the night inside his house and warm our bodies,” Sadie said. “Somehow, we have to make him fall down the stairs or trip on a rock in the garden. A broken leg would keep him home and us warm this winter.”

             “What about Cindy the cat? Can she help us?” Elfie said. “We could bribe her with some catnip, or help her catch birds at the bird feeders. We don’t owe the messy, squawking birds any favors.”

            “Good idea. We could kill two birds with one stone,” Lucy laughed. 

              Cindy was more than willing to help. She hated Henry the gardener. He always threw things at her when she sat on the fence at night, serenading neighborhood cats. And Cindy would do anything to keep from getting stuck in the butt with the tip of a magic wand.

           “I have a rubber ball we could put on the back door stairs,” Cindy said. “He would step on the ball, fall down the stairs, break an arm or leg, and that would keep the old geezer stuck inside his home all winter.”   

              “Great idea,” all three fairies said at the same time.        

               Cindy brought the ball to the garden and carefully positioned it in a perfect location on the steps.

                “Make some noise, ladies,” Cindy whispered.

                Cindy meowed loudly as the fairies buzzed the garden, disturbing the birds, and causing the neighbor’s dog to bark.

               Henry ran out the back door and stood on the stairs.

              “What in the hell is going on?” He shouted.

                He inched his way down the stairs as the cat and fairies held their breath in anticipation as his foot hung over the ball.

              “Stop,” a voice shouted. “Don’t step on the ball.”

                It was Tia, the queen fairy. She arrived just in time in a cloud of purple, glittering fairy dust to notice the ball on the steps.

                 “How did the ball get there?” The gardener asked no one in particular.

                “It was Tinker Bell. We saw her put it there,” all three fairies, and the cat said at the same time. We were just about to tell you when Tia arrived and warned you.

              Henry looked at the fairies. “You saved me,” he said. I could have tripped, fell and broke something. That damn Tinkerbell, what was she thinking?

               Tia looked at the smiling fairies in disbelief and reluctantly said. “Because you saved Henry, I will give you one last chance and return the magic power to your wands.”

                All three fairies knelt in unison. “Thank you, Tia,” they said. “We’ll only use the wands to help the creatures in the garden.”

            Tia shook her head side to side in disbelief, waved her magic wand, and disappeared in a cloud of glittering fairy dust.

            Henry was so overjoyed at being saved; as a reward, that winter, he took the fairies with him to Mesa. The fairies spent the winter fluttering around gardens, using their magic wands to terrorize hummingbirds, fairies, and other creatures. Tia couldn’t take away their magic powers  because Mesa was out of her jurisdiction.

            Cindy spent her winter nights sitting on the fence serenading the old tomcat. Sometimes he would join her on the fence and sing along. There were rumors they were sleeping together, but no one could prove it.

            That winter, Henry was pushing a shopping cart down the aisles at a local Walmart in Mesa, Arizona, when he unintentionally ran into another cart. Pushing the cart was an older lady, about Henry’s age. Her unruly purple hair looked like she spent three months in the middle of nowhere lost without a comb. Henry reached over and gently removed a leaf from her hair. Their eyes met, and it was love at first sight. They got married the next day.

             Tinker Bell went back to Pixie Hollow in Neverland, and they never saw her again.

               Everyone lived happily ever after except Tinker Bell. She got hooked on fairy dust, but that’s a story for another day.

              The moral of the story: A true friend will always support and stand by you in any situation. Or if you are going to lie, make sure you have collaborators.