Sleeping Beauty. Another Perspective (Part II) (An Update)

As you will recall from

Sleeping Beauty. Another Perspective (Part I) (An Update)

We left the narrative with Aurora ensconced with three old biddies and the old veteran foot-slogger promising to carry on the tale of:

Sleeping Beauty 

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I’m taking no copyright risks I tell ya!!

 

The dialogue continues at the sort of tavern polite people do not go to AND you would take your date to….

“Hey, not a bad watering hole this. Nice to have ale which tastes like before it’s been drunk…. and not afterwards…..

Now, back to the story.

Maleficent doesn’t see why she should go chasing around for the kid, I mean a curse is a curse right? She goes over the border, her sights on another of those widowed kings, I mean what do they do to their poor wives? Maleficent gets her hooks in and in a year he’s dead! Yep! NO doubt abut it, screwed him to death! Wadda way to go uh? But he’s got this teenage daughter, and like all of ‘em at that age she’s get spikey. Next thing you know she’s slipped the castle and shacked up with seven guys running an illegal mining operation. No wonder Maleficent tried to have the little monster put down! The story gets messy after that, some young noble getting involved, the kid nearly chokes on something…what I don’t care to know. But that’s they’re problem. Let’s get back to my story.

There’s us. Fifteen years of putting down spinning wheel riots, hunting out Conspiracy Kooks who claim the kid is actually half-elf and the king an’t his dad, and border patrol for smugglers AND the next door kingdom.

Next door kingdom? Yeh, well y’know how it goes, any instability and your neighbours are leaning over the fence. Kingdom to the east, that guy, he’s sharp. He’ heard things an’t so good back in Our royal boudoir and that the king is elsewhere looking for his royal happy-times. Now this guy knows he can’t take us on in a full-out invasion, so he nudges a bit. We’re on to him. He’s send these regular large patrols out, we ‘bump’ into them. And y’know the drill. It always goes;

        ‘Hey you guys’ we say, ‘How ya doin?’

                        ‘Ahhnn, not so bad. How’s yerselves?’

                        ‘OK. Say, do ya know you’re on our side of the border?’

                        And they go, like

                        ‘No shit?

                        And the corporal…it was always the corporal, he says

                        ‘See sarge. I toldya that map wuz out of date,’

                        And their sarge says to our sarge.

Gee sorry ‘bout that guys. Ah, we’ll be on our way. Some weather uh?’

Then we report back and they report back and the officers report up the line that they’re doin’ all that is necessary and everyone is happy. As the years rolled on and I stuck with it I moved up corporal to sergeant and we’d play the game back to them. When we sneak over to see what they were up to and of course encounters happened. I’d open my arms an’ go.

          ‘Aww heck boys! I’m sorry. It’s our l’tenant. He’s the biggest asshole ever! I told him this way was goin’ over the border, but he says in his squeaky voice ‘No sur-jent! I have the latest map! Now obey your orders.’ Do you see him here? I mean Honest-To-Stars! He could no more find his way around a map that he could a *****(redacted for proprietary’s sake) in a  brothel! Y’ know the sort…Uh-uh? You got one too. Yea! Ah well…take care you guys….Some weather huh?’

Yeh, the same old story.

An’ let me tell you if we’d been patrolling that forest where the old biddies had kept the princess none of what I’m about to tell you would have happened. But that’s what you get when a king kits out a bunch of youngest sons of second-class nobles and call ‘em the LifeGuard. It was only a money-scheme anyway! Them having to pay for their outfits and ‘special’ training. Then wander about in groups of five making enough noise than even a deaf man could hear them! No surprise then, when next door nation gets into that forest. Led by none other than the heir to their throne himself. What was he doing there? Who knows? Maybe the kid was bored sitting at home, maybe he was running his own side-line in the smuggling racket? Maybe he’d got intel on who was in the forest. Anyways he finds her, she apparently being a girl who likes to sing, loudly.

UH-uh–(chortles)!

And that’s just what we reckoned happened! Him being royal and young, just like a buck rabbit on aphrodisiacs! And she not knowing much about men. Dunno what it’s like up here, but down there, they got laws about girls under sixteen! Oh yeah! Must have been something to it because next thing we know she’s being scooted back to the palace, and an entire regiment put on guard around it. LifeGuard? Huh! They got theirs! Sent on patrol duty in one of the stinkest swamps you smelt, a sewer outlet for the kingdom’s biggest town.

Well, there’s a lot of toing and froing between kingdoms and a wedding is being put together pretty dam’ quickly, if you ask me. Some meeting between Aurora and her parents that must have been! Of course, we were up north at the time, chasing…yep you guessed it right…spinning wheel smugglers! Then check the irony, while we’re up there, the kid is nosing about the castle ‘cas it’s her first time, and wouldja believe it? She finds one dam wheel! Can you believe that after all those years of us poor dogs incacerating them, smashing and burning ‘em , some winner in the village-idiot contest five years running has left one in the castle. And, yeh the kid stuck her finger on the needle, ya saw that comin’ didn’t ya?

Of course the curse kicks in and it is a doozey!

Not only does she fall asleep but so do the whole dam’ castle staff and her folks. Not just that but a big mess of thorns grow up around the place, scattering that regiment all over the place, them that were awake that is!

Naturally  King Next Door makes his move! Says everyone needs to be rescued, stability returned, the usual old excuses. And over the border he comes with troops to help us. Naturally his son is there, all noble and upright to save his bride! For solidarity’s show, but actually to keep an eye on that army, we get called back and we all trudge off the scene of the crime.

Man! And those were no regular thorn bushes like the ones veterans throw bare-naked recruits into to harden them up. These were like branch thick and castle high with thorns that would double as swords. The lad must have really had the hots for the girl, for he’s off his horse and calling for us all to join him in hacking his way through. And us and his troops are looking at each other and sharing ‘What’s with this lad! Do we look like we’re combat engineers? Do you see any siege weaponry here?’. No use trying to complain to royalty though… Yeh you got that right!…And we had to hack and dig. Chop and cut. Seven days and half the army down with sprains, cuts an’ hay fever and only five feet in. Someone has a bright idea and has sent for some of those new-fangled cannons to blast our way through.

With all this racket going on it’s bound to attract Maleficent. She flies in smooth as a hawk and stand all haughty and grand demanding everyone to back off, because a curse is a curse! Us lot, it’s not the kind of thing we’re paid for right? Even the officers are a bit leery. Sonny, though he notices his father looking Maleficent up and down. The lad must have brains, worries for his mother’s safety and no doubt reckons with Maleficent as step-mother his chances of getting hitched to Aurora and planting his royal ass on a throne are slim. The boy ups at her with his fancy sword and get this! She turns into a dragon! Wings, fire! The whole deal!

His dad, The king. He’s backing off, hiding up and half his army ready to protect him. You got it! There’s always some ready to get back to the rear area out of the front line. MY squad and me, we get stuck at the front, and we’re ducking, dodging and diving, flames, flying thorns, you name it! The lad and some of his buddies go for the dragon, y’ know what nobles are like. No surprise, a few get barbecued. The lad is carrying some good hardware though, his shield is beating off the flames. Right then up rolls one of those cannons, while the witch an’t looking, the crew get a shot off and..pow! Right where we’d be looking if she were a woman and down she goes. Of course, the lad gets his sword in her neck so as he can claim credit and since he’s about that business a lot of us pile in with our own steel and hack off a few souvenirs to impress the yokels.

Since Maleficent’s dead, so the curse goes, and all the thorns fall away. Off goes the prince, up the castle steps, finds Aurora gives her a magic kiss or something and she wakes up, then so does everyone else. If you ask me the lad knew too much about the whole business. I mean have you ever heard of a young prince being that intelligent!

With all the fuss dying down and everyone active again and the girl past her sixteenth there’s a wedding. In just about nine months, there’s a little Aurora! Yeh! We wuz right all along. The kicker is though, grandad. He allegedly dies in a riding accident, or so it’s said. And his widow is consoled by her daughter’s father-in-law, whose’ s wife by the way had happened to have decided to take holy orders thus divorce and hide up in a nunnery…Sharp lady. There must be a whole other story there!….So the two older love-birds are wed, and the two kingdoms joined! An’t that neat? Smooth operation huh?

The three old biddies? There was scandal about security and upbringing. The Church got involved and the old girls had to flee the kingdom. Spinning wheels were allowed again, and suddenly there’s no need for so many soldiers they say, peace and happiness ever after, they say. Severance pay? Oh sure! Only some crappy bits of land and a few skinny hogs! I ask ya!

So here I am? Whadda ya reckon sarge? Sign on sure! What’s the deal around here? Uh-uh. Security sweep, hunt and search. Yeh-yeh. Your prince is looking for one girl.? Only one. That makes a change! He met her at a ball…She was wearing glass shoes, then lost one? And last seen riding off on a…pumpkin? You did do a narcotics sweep off the guests? Did you?….Just the usual sunk-drunk…Hmm…..

I tell ya what there sarge. You tell your officers we gotta look out for three old biddies…they’ll have the dope of this for sure!”

And they all lived.

For a while anyway…..

Thank you Mr Newhart & MAD magazine

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Sleeping Beauty. Another Perspective (Part I) (An Update)

We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty

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(Sorry but for fear of copyright rules and laws I have been obliged to redact the image)

And many of us have enjoyed the  film ‘Maleficent’  starring Angeline Jolie

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Well, look I’m sorry…You can’t be too careful these days and you all know the trouble I had with               big-raspberry       WP

Anyway where was I….

Oh yeah….Sleeping Beauty

As any writer, student of history, lawyer, reporter, tax industry worker etc knows there is more than three or four sides to every story……

This is one of them…..

Sleeping Beauty. As The Foot-Soldier Remembers It. (All Tale in II Parts)

The scene opens in an army recruiting office…..somewhere, somewhen, a long time ago

‘Yeh. Yeh that’s right. 18 years under my belt. I was a sergeant myself. What am I doing up here in the north-west? Oh boy! Just trying to get away from those flakes in my homeland, that’s what!

What did you hear? Uh-uh-uh. Yeh that’s right. Yeh the beautiful Princess Aurora. Cursed by the wicked witch, rescued by the handsome princes and they all live happily ever after. Oh sure, that’s the official line, trouble is they left out a few details. I mean, like Important Details. Lemme explain….

Going back to the beginning. I’d just put my first year in, place guard. Not so bad. Y’know the score, standing about like you’ve got a stick up your butt. Anyway, there’s been this big hoooh-hah on account of the queen finally getting knocked up. She and the King had been together for like fifteen years, and folk were starting to talk y’know? But I say what goes on in the royal bedroom is none of our business, how’d you like having a bunch of courtiers asking your old lady indelicate questions every month or so?

So, getting back to the narrative, the queen gives birth to a daughter, and she’s such a cute little button no one is bitching about her not being a boy and anyway she’ll be heir to the throne. All looks rosy and there’s gonna be the usual fancy ceremonies where all the nobility get to do their grovelling and pile on with the gifts.

Now this is when it gets tense, because the fairies have to have a look in. I don’t know what their like here, but in my home land we got these old biddy types see, nosing around and lecturing folk. Three of ‘em turn up and start with the wand waving and bestowing all the goodies, two of them are done with the usual stuff…. beauty, good nature, yadda-yadda, when suddenly the main doors burst open.

And in she comes! Tall, slender. A walk that shows off all the best features. Long black hair flowing out from under this horned helm, high cheek bones an’ smouldering eyes that could burn a carpet. Everyone is gasping, the women giving her ‘the look’ and the men all wishing they could be treated badly by her. Yep! That Maleficent was some package. Turns out no one thought to ask her if she wanted to be there, her being a witch an’ all, but it’s like I say ‘Ya gotta hear the other side of the story first,’ ‘Course she’s pissed, or maybe she was just looking for a reason to be pissed. Maybe she knew the king when he was still young and unattached, and, I mean…who’s to say?

She does a few crowd pleasers with lightening bolts, then launches into a curse on the kid, something about a nasty end, the usual drill. Well the third old biddy, she’s not got ‘round to her business. Now why she can’t undo the curse, I don’t know, like do I look like I got wings? But she puts a rider on it. She must have been getting soft in the head with advancing years, because, get this. She says, the only thing what would go wrong was if before Aurora got to be sixteen and she was to nick her finger on a spinning wheel, then she and everyone else would fall asleep to be awakened by True Love’s Kiss.. Yeah I know! Go figure!

By now our captain has decided he’d better show willing and gives us the order to charge Maleficent, but lucky for us the looker disappears in a cloud of smoke.

Then everyone gets to running about, and as much use as paper hats in a thunder storm. If this wasn’t bad enough the king, who until now been standing about like he was posing for a royal portrait has this idea. I tell ya, it’s a bad as the one the third old biddy came up with. He decrees, right there and then, without asking any advisors or running a focus group on the subject that every spinning wheel in the kingdom is to be collected up for the duration. I know, I know! Why did he and his wife just resolve to educate the kid not to go near the dam’ things.

And here’s the thing. Every spinning wheel in the kingdom? Who do you think has to collect them?….You got it! Us poor dog-faced grunts. I mean you can imagine, all the lumps we got! Those old grannies can be pretty mean where they jab you with their sticks. And of course, there’s always the farmer’s wife who is the village log-splitting champion! As for the guilds of weavers, spinners, and the whole clothing industry, we left that up to The Chamberlin’s Office, by then we were too busy patrolling for smugglers of clothing and yeh, you got it spinning wheels!….. Nah, we sure as hell didn’t get them all. What with the kick-backs and the girls who sweet-talk you into them keeping theirs…well pay and conditions weren’t exactly top-range in our kingdom, so you gotta get it when opportunities arise

There we are, us tramping up hill and down dale, in all weathers, and what else does the king do. Get this? He places the daughter in the care of those three old biddies! No kidding! Like his poor wife has only just got a baby and suddenly- poof gone! Needless to say, there were no more kids on the way out of that royal boudoir!

Now, this is where it really gets interesting. But its all on the hush-hush. You direct me to the nearest noisy tavern nearbyes where two old sweats can have a decent tankard, and you all truly gonna hear something!

 

(End of Part I)