Cinderfella

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Oops on the gender. The result is Cinderfella and the Fairy Godfather. Hmmm. Based on the original story.

Submitted: August 21, 2017

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Submitted: August 21, 2017

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Cinderfella

 

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a respected bank robber who married, for his second wife, an exotic dancer, the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had been married before, and already had two sons named Vinnie and Bruno who were exactly like her in all things, except that they were only slightly smaller than oxen, and nearly half as smart. He had likewise, by his first wife, a handsome young son named Rocko, who was of unequalled skill at picking pockets, and bore the sweetest temper in Brooklyn.

No sooner was the wedding ceremony over, than the new wife began to show herself in her true colours. She ratted her husband to the cops, and within the hour, before the marriage was even consummated, he was in the slammer with a sleazy mouthpiece she had paid off to make sure her husband had a one-way ticket to Sing Sing, and she had the loot from his last three jobs under her mattress.

The stepmother could bear neither Rocko’s goodness nor his talented fingers, especially as her own sons were only hired muscle given to knuckle breaking, knee-capping, and whacking other thugs. The young man’s deft fingers made her own inept sons look like bag ladies. As a result, she made Rocko do the cheapest jobs in the neighborhood: running numbers, rolling drunks, fixing cock fights, and threatening Chinese food vendors. She forced him to give her all of his winnings, which she then gave to her own sons. While they were both dressed to the nines, she forced Rocko to live on five bucks per month, so he was always dressed in Salvation Army clearance specials. Rocko was made to clean and oil the brothers’ Colt pistols after each killing, and to sleep in the their brownstone cellar with the rats and spiders while his step brothers dozed in Victorian splendor two floors over his head.

The young man bore all patiently. When he was done with his daily criminal routine, he would descend to the cellar to play with the rats, who were much more personable than either Bruno or Vinnie. There in the damp, dark ashes of the furnace he would dream about being a bank robber like his father, to have his own piece, maybe even a Beretta, to threaten tellers and patrons. He spent so much time there that Vinnie and Bruno started calling him the cinder fella, which  to be called Cinderwench; but the youngest step-daughter, who was not quite so rude and unkind as the eldest, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, even though she was dressed in rags, was a hundred times prettier than her sisters, though they were always dressed very richly.

It happened that Don Giovanni, the local Mafia don, had a lovely daughter named Caroline, who was  about to turn sweet sixteen. To celebrate the occasion, the Don arranged to rent a cozy hall in center city Manhattan, the garden at Madison Square, to celebrate he birthday. He invited all the finest hoods in the five boroughs to join him and his family at the ball. Bruno and Vinnie, who roughed up welchers for the Don, were also invited as armed guards. They were truly delighted at this invitation, and became wonderfully busy in choosing holsters, black-jacks, and brass knuckles as might suit them. This was a new trouble to Rocko, for he was tasked with stealing new Brooks Brothers suits for the brothers, a gray, pin-stripe 48 Tall and a black 52 XLT, both of which had to inner pockets for their weapons. Worse, neither Bruno nor Vinnie had ever tied a necktie and they forced the kind young man to tie half-windsors for them as they admired themselves in the mirror.

“Hey, punk,” Bruno said, “that’s some sweatshirt you got there. What’s it say? Momma’s boy?”

“Nah,” Vinnie chirped. “It says Pretty polly.

Hey cinder fella, you goin’ to da ball?”

Rocko said nothing.

When the hoods were suitably dressed and armed, their mother snapped polaroids

 “Alas!” said she, “you only jeer me; it is not for a poor girl like me to go there.”

“You’re quite right,” replied they; “it would make the people laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball.”

Anyone but Cinderella would have dressed their heads all wrong, but she was very good, and dressed them perfectly well.

Just then, his fairy godfather, appeared on top of the coal pile near the furnace. The black-suited godfather’ broad face was set in a disdainful scowl that stretched his broad cheeks, almost as though they were stuffed with jujubes. He squinted at Rocko and sighed.

“Whassa mattah you?” the godfather rasped. “You some kinda wimp or sumpm’?” He raised a think hand and lightly stroked his wrinkled cheek

The rat leaped out of Rocko’s grasp and scooted into his hole in the wall as the young man fought through shocked tears  to find his voice.

“Hey! A man don’t cry.” Rocko wiped his eyes with his ragged sleeve. Dat’s bettuh.” The stout spirit slid down the coal pile.  “I’m Vito Corleone. I’m your fairy godfathuh, ‘n’ if I hear one peep outta you ‘bout fairies, you gonna be sleepin’ wit da fishes.” Rocko  straightened and pasted on an unfelt look of confidence on his face. “Whatta you doin’?” the don growled behind squinty eyes. His voice sounded like he had been gargling with gravel.

“Look at dis joint. Yer livin’ like a slave or something. If I was a hundred years younger, I’d take a flame thrower to da joint.“ So I hear youse wantsta go to da ball, huh? Well why don’t ya jus go, punk? Huh? Be a man!” The don motioned Rocko to come closer.

“I can’t go.”

Corleone slapped the punk across his perfectly-formed cheek. “Youse talk like a woman. Be a man! Youse goin’ ta da ball an’ dats all dere is to it. Got it? I got ouhduhs, ya know.” Rocko nodded, not as much in agreement as in fear of another slap-fest.

“Aw right den.” The don floated a hand past his cheek, lightly stroking with his perfectly-manicured nails. “Youse gonna need somethin’ that don’t stink.” He yanked a nickel-plated .45 out of his alligator belt and pointed it at the young man

Rocko ducked away.

“Hey!” The don pulled a clip out of his pocket, jammed it home, jacked a round into the chamber, and pointed it at Rocko. “I ain’t tellin’ youse again. If youse wimps out one more time – “ He thumbed the hammer and waited. Rocko straightened and Vito uncocked the weapon, ejected the clip, and racked the chambered round into the air. The slug turned a neat somersault and landed in his jacket pocket behind the French-folded, silk handkerchief.

He pointed the empty gun at the young man and pulled the trigger, blasting Rocko with a blinding shaft of starlight. When he opened his eyes, he was not only wearing a Rene Declaire tuxedo and nnnnnn shoes, but as he sniffed his armpits, he realized he smelled good. The three rats who usually kept him company had emerged from their hole and were sniffing and licking his silk socks.

“Dat’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout,” the godfather grumbled. “Now get yer butt upstairs.” Rocko cocked his head. “Now! Alla ya’s”

The don led Rocko and the three rats to the front stoop. “Where’s yer wheels?” he demanded. Rocko pointed at a rusty-black ’33 Ford coupe with the rumble seat lid broken off and a front fender held on with duct tape. Corleone lowered his head and raised his eyes in a look of “youse gotta be kiddin’ me‘. He looked up into the glare of a flickering street lamp and shook his head.

“Aw right.” He level his firearm at the rust bucket and fired. The coupe disintegrated in an orange flash. When Rocko’s eyes had recovered he saw a gray ’29 Olds that looked like it had lost a demolition derby. He slid his eyes sideways, seeing the don’s hand over his lowered face, shaking slowly.

POOF! The don fired again. The old Olds was gone, replaced by a sparkling, 12 cylinder Duesenberg convertible, cherry red with leather seats and white walls.

“Now fer do crew.” He leaned over and glared at the startled rats. The rodents dove for the open door and safety, but it was too late. The godfather fired and the rats were enveloped by a dusty cloud that smelled of boiled cabbage and rotted halibut. When the dust had settled, three husky men stood in their places.

Rocko gawked at the double-breasted goons, then at Corleone, then back at the goons. They checked their identical gray pinstripes, lifted their oxforded feet and tugged on their felt fedoras with their brand new fingers, checking everything in wonderment, including their new faces. While they were clearly no longer rodents, each of them sported a pointed nose, thin lips, bucked teeth, and ears that seemed to pop out of their heads. Their slim, trim mustaches sprouted sideways as their tiny black eyes darted from face to face, then from gun to gun, as each of them slid his Beretta from his shoulder holster.

Corleone grunted. “You,” he said, pointing his rod at the nearest goon. “You gonna be Paulie.” The rat-goon shrugged. The don named the next one Vincente, emphasizing the ch consonance,  and as he wiped a tear from a rheumy eye, he named the third one Lucca Brazze’.

“Aw right den. Youse guys make sure nuthin happens to Rocco here.” They nodded in solemn unison. “Good. Aw right. Who –“

Rocco had tapped his arm. The don’s eyes flared as he turned. “No man interrupts me.”

The young man stiffened. “I need a rod.”

“No.”

“Look, all the other goons gonna be packin’. I need a rod.”

Corleone gazed into the young man’s determined face, then a wide smile bloomed across his broad mouth. “Okay. Youse got some stones. Dat’s good. Check yer belt.”

Rocco pulled back his ebony-buttoned jacket and saw the custom-made silver, ivory-handled Beretta. With a triumphant smile on his face, he yanked it out. Having been made for him, it fit perfectly. He racked the slide, and popped the release, firing a .40 caliber round through the window of the next door bakery. Sheepishly, he set the safety and returned it to his belt while the godfather rolled his eyes.

“Look, I got ouhduhs ta help youse, but I don’t gotta put up wit dis crap. Look whatcha done. All dat fine pastry ‘n’  stuff ruint. Look, leave da gun, take da canoli.”

“Sorry,” Rocco fumbled through tight lips.

“What I gotta put up wit. Da union’s gonna hear ‘bout dis. Aw right. Go awready.” He pointed at Vincente and told him to drive the car, but neither the man-rat, nor either of fellow rodent-fellows had ever done so. Holding his head to ease his headache, Corleone slapped Rocco across the face. “Aw right. Youse drive, but if youse scratches dis ting, it’s on your head.”

Rocco nodded as the don walked his eyes down his checklist.

“Oh, one more ting,” he said as he folded the parchment and slid it into the inside of his jacket. “Youse got ‘til midnight. Den all bets are off.”

“Why midnight?”

“Cuz we got da suits and da Doozy on a daily lease; ya know?”

Rocco checked his wrist, only they realizing he was not wearing a wristwatch.

“Da vest pocket, stupid,” growled the don. “Youse got a pocket watch.” He turned away mumbling Italian curses to himself.

It was nearly ten. Rocco slid the gold timepiece back in its pocket and waved to the goons. They waved back. The don shook his head and disappeared; he was crying.

With the goons in the back seat playing with the new rods, and Rocco behind the wheel grinding only a few gears and rolling over a dozen or so curbs, he pulled up at The Garden feeling and looking like a million bucks. But when Bruno rumbled to the side of the car and held out his hand, a heart attack would have been a blessing.

“Keys,” barked Bruno without looking down.

Rocco exhaled and dropped the keys into the huge palm; then he nearly smiled as his step- brother held the door for him. He could not help but wonder if Bruno’s lack of recognition was also part of the godfather’s spell, but quickly dismissed it for the lummox had an IQ of just under 50.

With his entourage in tow, he strutted through the doors and onto the acre of hardwood floor with a couple thousand hoods, gals, cops, and councilmen, the Dorsey band, and a bar that ran a hundred feet along the far edge of the floor with a mountain of illegal booze piled behind it. At the corner, a food bar ran another hundred feet along the side. Feeling his oats, Rocko told his gang to spread out and have some fun, which they did, heading for the food bar and the fragrant cheeses that sat there begging to be eaten.

From across the floor, Caroline, Don Giovanni’s birthday girl, spied the prince-like young man. She laid down her Shirley Temple and sliced through the throng like a ninja Barbie Doll, stopping in front of Rocko with a gleaming orthodontic smile on her perfect face.

Speechless, Rocko could only stare at the vision of feminine pulchritude in front of him. Her long black hair cascaded across her bare, shoulders like a Niagara Falls ink drawing, framing a face that belonged on a W.P.A. poster. She inched forward, smelling of Chanel and lavender, her hips rolling like summer waves on the Jersey shore. Rocko felt something in his pants he had never felt before. It was sensuous, vital.

He realized his Beretta had slid through his cumberbun and twisted to alleviate the pain. Without thinking, he asked her to dance, only then realizing he had never danced before. She threw herself into his arms and proceeded to lead him through the band’s rendition of Blue Moon, holding Rocko tightly against her.

As the second chorus neared its denouement, she leaned her head toward his ear and whispered. “Are glad to see me or is that a gun in your pocket.”

The Beretta was not exactly in his pocket, and lying to the daughter of a don was not considered etiquette-like, so he told the truth.

“Yes.”

She giggled and squeezed his hand without interrupting her strong stepping, carrying the delighted young man along in his rapture.

Naturally, every eyeball in the joint was trained on the couple, some with envy, some with joy, but most with suspicion. Every  tongue wagged about the princess and her handsome, mysterioius prince. The pretty-boy looked Sicilian, but so did Napoleon Bonaparte, and they all remembered how that one came out.

Meanwhile, his goons had devoured every chunk of cheese on the buffet table, except for the limburger, which gave Luca Brazze a rash. They had also acquired an audience of three cute chicks, who kept making eyes like them and suggesting they take a walk or something. Forgetting their ride home, Paulie, Luca, and Vincenti (with a CH) started for the door as the scoreboard clock struck the first chime of midnight. Immediately, the chicks turned back into chicks. Their dressed fell to the floor and they ran around in circles like – you know – cackling and squawking. Their fairy godmother, who looked an awful lot like Mae West, hovered near the rear door, sipping gin and flirting with one of the guards.

Rocko’s dream crash landed. As the second chime rang, he kissed Caroline on the cheek and ran for the door, dodging dancers and kicking chickens out of his way. By the fifth chime, he was through the door, and rolling down the steps, having tripped over Bruno’s monstrous feet. Even with his head spinning, he knew the Duesenberg was toast. There was no way it was going to get him home. He looked back as armed hoods flooded out the door yelling, “Lock and load!”

Just then, his goons rumbled past him, heading for the subway. They seemed to be much stouter than they had earlier in the evening. He chalked that up to his double vision and hurried after them. As he threw a buck through the cage window and yanked his ticket from the attendant’s trembling  hand, the garden clock struck the twelfth chime.

Instantly, Rocko’s togs flashed from snazzy to sleazy: dirty shirt, frayed pants, and scuffed shoes. In front of him on the platform, three fat, confused looking rats were huddled together, each with a ticket in his mouth.

The ride back to Brooklyn was a torturous journey for the young man and the three rats who nested on his lap, sleeping and belching. All the time, between gaseous explosions from the rats, his mind was on Caroline, and of course, his rod, which was also gone.

Back at the ball, the don and his wife, Maria, tried to console their frantic daughter, but she would not be consoled. She knew the young man named Rocko was the love of her life, and despite warnings about Juliet, she would not relent in her bawling. It was during her meltdown that one of the guests, an ally of the DeVito family, happened to spot a shiny, Beretta on the floor. He waved Vinnie down and the two of them made their way to the don. Caroline recognized it immediately as Rocko’s piece. Finally, the don stopped the band, sent the guests home, and gathered his goons around him. Loving his daughter with all his jaundiced heart, he promised he would find this Rocko and make him marry her. Instantly, her tears dried up and she grabbed her mother to start making wedding plans.

With the gun, and only a name, the don called in favors from the mayors of the five boroughs, and within minutes city halls were buzzing with clerks and secretaries and councilmen searching birth certificates for Rocko’s.

Rocko went straight to the cellar with the rats, avoiding his stepmother, who was still at the mah jongg tournament in Harlem, . With his heart aching, he cried himself to sleep as the rats headed upstairs looking for cheese.

By half past one, the don’s team of hit men had a list of a hundred twelve Rockos who were about the right age, not in jail, and had not been deported. With an armada of police escorts, they rolled from row home to row home, knocking down doors and rousting families.

Some time later he was awakened by heavy footsteps and a gruff voice. “Hey Ma, we’re home!”

As the teary Rocko listened, Vinnie and Bruno thudded to the couch, shaking the floor, and proceeded to tell their mother how wonderful the ball was. They described the Thompson machine guns, the booze, and especially the wimp who came decked out like the Count of Monte Crisco  who danced with the  princess, then lost his nerve and ran away like a jellyfish. The stories went on for nearly an hour. Then, probably only to annoy him, the three of them stomped down to the cellar and made him listen to the whole thing again. Bruno, when he wasn’t bragging about how he and the don played pinochle and swapped yarns, kept squinting at Rocko as if trying to figure something out.

As they got to the part where Vinnie, single-handed, saved the princess from the weasel who tried to kidnap her at midnight, and Vinnie slugged the punk, who then ran away crying with the don’s men swearing to drop him in the Hudson with cement overshoes, the front door shattered into slivers.

The brothers and their mother each lumbered upstairs, drawing their pistols. The hit men demanded to see Rocko, or else. Vinnie replied there was no one there named Rocko Or Else. His mother slapped him. Hearing his name, the young man slowly climbed the stairs to face his fate. He figured he was going to die, but had not expected it to happen so soon.

Joey, the team leader, grunted at the filthy Rocko. He shook his head in disgust, but he had a job to do. “You Rocko?” The young man nodded. “You always stink like dis?” Another nod. “You ever been to the garden?” he asked. “Ya know, other than games and stuff.” When Rocko nodded again, Joey grimaced and pulled the Beretta out of his pocket.

Rocko’s face lit up like it was Columbus Day. He reached for the gun, but Joey pulled it back.

“Not so fast, paison.” Joey turned the gun around and handed it to Rocko handle first. Rocko took it in his trembling hand. It fit perfectly.

Vinnie and Bruno dove for the floor, feeling for their eyeballs, which had popped out of their heads. Their mother simply collapsed to the floor on top of two eyeballs; one brown, one black. Joey turned to his team and said, “Take him.”

Twenty minutes later, thanks to their police escort, the whole family arrived at gunpoint, at Don Giovanni’s estate on Long Island. Expecting to end up in the Hudson, none of them were smiling when were marched through the front door to face the don and his daughter.

Caroline squinted at them. She quickly discounted Bruno and Vinnie for they did not appear to be good dancers. She stepped forward toward the beaming Rocko, then shrank back as the smell gagged her. Joey drew his gun.

In a flash of red, white, and blue, reminiscent of his part time job of fireworks fairy, Don Corleone appeared in front of the princess. He looked like he had crawled out of bed. His hair was wild, his eyes blurry, and his pin-stripe pajama top was not tucked in, and of course, his upper partial plate was missing.

The don cleared his throat three times. He opened his slack mouth to speak, but before a word could be mumbled, he was knocked to the floor as the onlookers stared in shock. Rolling to his back and reached for his gun, Don Corleone saw the face of his cousin, Don Giovanni, beaming down at him. The two dons struggled to their feet; then they frisked each other, embraced and kissed each others’ cheeks.

 

THE END

 

 


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