Speaking of Maleficent

maleficent Disney‘s new take on a favorite fairy tale is doing scary good at the box office. It pleases me to see this classic retold because it has always been one of my favorites.

In 2010, I published a light, poetic version of of this story with a modern twist, which I chose to resurrect in celebration of the movie.

Prologue

Sleeping Beauty’s a tale of a princess of yore,
it’s a classic love story we’ve all heard before.
The Frenchman Perrualt was the first to compose,
Brother’s Grimm wrote a version they called ‘Briar Rose.’
Tchaikovsky adapted it into Ballet,
and Walt Disney’s version is well known today.
To be true to my conscience I must now amend,
the outmoded version, so long ago penned.
So forward, turn forward oh time for this tale;
let’s revise with respect to the modern female….

Sleeping Beauty . . . au courant

One upon a time, in a time rather recent.
lived a King and Queen who were fair, kind and decent.
They were loved by their subjects, as well as the press,
for they had no corruption, nor wretched excess.
Yet sadly, as thoroughly as they were blessed,
they continued to flunk their home pregnancy test.

The King switched to boxers, they timed ovulation;
they went for In Vitro, after failed medication.
Then one auspicious day, the Queen bathed in a spring,
and a talking frog uttered this linguistic string:
“You’re pregnant, Your Highness, of that I’ve no doubt.”
The Queen was ecstatic….albeit creeped out.

She studied Lamaze with the King as her coach.
When the time came, the drugs were a better approach.
The new Princess’ birth was a YouTube sensation,
and the King knew it called for a grand celebration.
A party for family, that none would feel slighted,
and they felt they should have local fairies invited.
Now, since fairies bring presents of blessings and wishes,
they would suck up a little and use the gold dishes.

With the four local fairies the guests totaled thirteen,
“But we only own service for twelve,” said the Queen.
Since they now had to cross someone off of their list,
they left out the mean fairy, who’d never be missed.
The party was lovely, the three fairies showed,
and soon after dinner their gifts were bestowed,
on the delicate baby girl christened Aurora,
who slept through it all with an angelic aura.

Good Fairy Flora gave her looks that were choice,
and from Good Fairy Fauna, a beautiful voice.
Then the mean one, Maleficent, crashed the affair.
She saw the good fairies and started to swear.
I’ve edited out the profane and obscene,
but below is, verbatim, the part that was mean:

“Since you won’t let me into to your smug little clique,
I’m cursing this baby, with one finger stick!
At sixteen, one spindle and one tiny jab,
and she’ll end up that night in the morgue on a slab!”
Security moved in to have her ejected,
but she vanished by magic, and thus was protected.

This vile episode was so highly unpleasant,
that fear overwhelmed everyone who was present.
They speedily took to both iPhone and Kindle,
To answer this question: What the hell is a spindle?
No plausible image was on Wikipedia,
so they googled and searched other digital media.

What they finally found was an antique machine,
a contraption that none of them had ever seen.
“What’s up with that?” asked the number one Fairy.
The second one mocked, “Oooooh…isn’t that scary?”
Fairy three, Merryweather said, “Well just in case,
let me put a small counter-curse safeguard in place.”
She picked up her wand, and set down her booze,
and said, “Let this death sentence turn into a snooze!”

In what felt like a wink, many years quickly passed.
Our princesses always do grow up too fast . . .
Then one fateful day, her odd Aunt Kathleen,
had flown in from Boulder for her Sweet Sixteen.
She was weighted with luggage and suffered jet lag,
when she said to Aurora, “There’s hemp in my bag.”
“Weed?” asked the Princess. “Auntie Kat, are you stoned?”
“I said hemp, it’s a fiber, silly girl!” Kathleen moaned.
For an aging flower child, Aunt Kathleen was quite square.
She made macramé belts for the Renaissance Fair.

In the guest room Aunt Kathleen set up for her craft,
and took out an odd gizmo with a wheel and a shaft.
“What’s that thing?” asked the Princess, “What does it do?”
Then she suddenly reached for it out of the blue.
The most minor prick, the tiniest puncture,
pulled the plug, so it seemed at that strange fateful juncture.

It was not just Aurora, as one might suppose.
Throughout the whole Castle, time suddenly froze.
Auntie Kat who’d been lighting her incense and candles,
resembled a statue in Birkenstock sandals.
The King with his coffee met sudden fixation,
while browsing a Robb Report on Aviation.
The Queen, at her mirror saw her frozen reflection,
and feared it was caused by her Botox injection.
Each servant stopped cold as they worked at their chores
and even the Roombas stopped sweeping the floors.

As bad as this seemed, it got even more rotten.
After a news blitz, they all were forgotten.
thus, time shambled on until nobody knew
they were hidden beneath where the Briar Rose grew.
In a tangled outcropping, beside a strip mall
that blighted the blight of the vast urban sprawl.

Then one evening Fate twisted, as only Fate can.
In a Kingdom adjacent, there sat a young man
who was surfing for bondage sites, extra hardcore,
when he stumbled, somehow on an old piece of lore.
The Prince read the story, and whispered, “This rocks!”
It’s uncanny just how opportunity knocks.
A satellite image’s triangulation,
confirmed that the site was an A-1 location.

That Prince didn’t need real estate, so much as cred,
for hard, steady work simply filled him with dread.
He believed that success meant he’d think up a trick,
and then become famous and then get rich real quick.
A chance lifetime, for this sort of slacker.
Off to Walmart for mouthwash and a weed whacker!

Through his weed-whacking quest with a Princess to find,
the dream of Aurora took over his mind.
He imagined the kiss, how her eyelids would flutter,
her blue eyes would open, “My true love!” she would utter.
Then after the rest of the castle woke up,
he would ask for her hand, then she’d sign the pre-nup.
And the story of how they fell head over heels,
would mean movie rights…. merchandise…licensing deals!

Yet despite all this glamour and so much ado,
their unsurpassed, all-perfect love would be true.
She’d be timid in public, a tigress in bed.
She’d delight in the children, and bake homemade bread.
And on every talk show, she’d be quite a hit,
his smart little lady so full of quick a wit.
And he didn’t believe in the old-fashioned roles.
Today’s woman, he knew surely needs her own goals.
Be it politics, bridge or perhaps violin,
he’d give her some spare time to squeeze it all in.

I’ll spare you the epic of defoliation,
it’s dreary enough to bog down this narration.
The Prince found Aurora, suffice it to say.
When he finally kissed that long-longed-for day
her brown eyes flew open.”Who are you?” she cried.

“I’m your Prince Charming!” the stunned Prince replied.
Aurora piped up with her usual spunk,
“Where’s Ashton Kutcher? I get it, we’re punked!”

Next, the Prince praised her beauty, swore his devotion,
and then he proposed with much showy emotion.
but before he could give her a second to speak,
he squeezed her up next to his manly physique.
“Kiss your Prince Charming who rescued your castle!
You owe it to me, I went through a huge hassle!”

The Princess asked, “How can you think of a kiss?
at a moment so horribly messed up as this?
Eons of bed-head have matted my hair,
and I’ve not brushed my teeth for that long! Don’t you care?
You don’t know who I am. You don’t care how I feel,
Yet all you can think of is… closing the deal!

And the old written record––alas–-ended here,
so the rest of the story is somewhat unclear.
Maybe once knew the end, but forgot,
whether she loved him, or loved him not.
I will wager their tears could be balanced by laughter,
and thus end with the words “…happily ever after.”

Epilogue

The lesson herein is simple, but true:
A wrong choice in marriage is hard to undo.
It’s written in stone and it’s posted on blogs,
Princes can turn to beasts, or at least into frogs.
Fall in love, fall in lust, even fall into bed,
But don’t fall into marriage without a clear head!

— Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

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