“oh no, fairy Godmother! How did this happen?” Cinderella whined. Her attempt at masking her disappointment failed.
“I’m so sorry. So-so sorry. Cinders, I mean, Cindy dear, I want to know too.” She tinkered with the third point of her 5-pointed star. From the left. “Ouch” The star’s poke didn’t bother her. She started counting three from the right.
“Godmother, what are you doing?”
“Shhhhush. glitch in the matrix” she mumbled. Her outlandish costume bothered her. She didn’t want to stick out in her jeans and favorite pink t-shirt, in these ancient times.
“Huh? Matri…what?” This foreign language was very disorienting for Cinderella.
“Glitch, girl? Matrix…haven’t you seen the …? Never mind.” The Fairy was still struggling with the star.“This third point should have fixed the issue. I tried both counting from the left and the right. It just won’t work.”
“But, Godmother, if I may. Won’t it be the same…either way?”
“Oh yeah…Smart girl. What are you doing here in the past?” It was difficult to tell whether the Fairy was appreciating Cinderella or mocking her. Her smirky-sweet smile didn’t give much away.
“Not that smart after all, eh?” Mocking, it was.
“But Godmother, how did the shoe fit StepSister Number 2?”
“Don’t these girls have a name!?” The Fairy was exasperated with both, Cinderella and her wand. It was the wooden stick that she was examining now.
“I don’t know. We were never introduced.” went on Cinderella slightly disappointed.
“What Godmother? Did you fix it?”
“The 0s and 1s are exchanged.”
“Don’t you ever get anything girl?”
“When we were little, I heard the teacher tell StepSister Number 1 that 0 comes before 1. Does that help?”
The Fairy laughed out loud, she continued to laugh as she tried to explain, “Oh well, Cinderella, let’s just say we are all made up of millions of 1s and 0s. And they were somehow interchanged in the shoe.” She noticed the tear welling from Cinderella’s right eye. She imagined the prince on the white horse, riding away.
“The good news is, it is now conformed that you are the exact opposite of your stepsister.”
“You mean our feet are somehow exactly opposite each others’”
“How did that happen, Godmother?” her stern voice defied the tears now threatening to flow freely.
“Okay, here we go. Cindy dear, you might want to sit down for this one.”
Cinderella obeyed and sat on the pumpkin.
“We are a little short-staffed on Fairy Godmothers these days. Recession, budget cuts…”
“I’m so sorry, it must be hard.”
“Yeah, I was just coming to that. I-work-two-shifts-9pm-to-9am-for-you-and-9am-to-9pm-for-your-sister. And-I-was-tired-and-I jumbled-things-up.” All in one breath, those words came. “And the make of the shoe inverted itself.”
“O-kay, o-kay, I’m sorry!”
“Can we fix it?”
“I don’t know the wand’s third point just won’t work.” The disappointment was obvious. “ I’ll try to nod off with my head in the opposite side, when I am on your shift.”
“Does that mean you are on HER shift, right now? Shouldn’t you be around her, then?” The jealousy was undeniable.
“Yeah, the mornings are for mean girls. Usually, they don’t cry much, they are busy being mean. Yesterday, your stepsister chipped a finger nail, started crying. And I had to be there. She bored me with her whining, I must have nodded off. That’s when this might have happened.”
“Which also means you will have to cry, for me to help you, at night.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem.” Wry she was.
“Alright then, I should be off…” The Fairy felt sorry for her goof-up but was relieved in equal measure to be gone from here.
* * *
Cinderella cried. The Fairy came.
Cinderella whined. The Fairy nodded off to sleep.
Cinderella quickly made her do it in the correct direction.
And panic not children, the story pretty much ended the way you’ve heard it all your lives. Happily. Ever. After.
Until of course, the next glitch in the matrix.