by James Finn Garner***
There once lived a young wommon named Cinderella, whose natural birthmother had died when Cinderella was but a child. A few
years after, her father married a widow with two older daughters. Cinderella's mother-of-step treated her very cruelly, and her
sisters-of-step made her work very hard, as if she were their own personal unpaid laborer.

One day an invitation arrived at their house. The prince was celebrating his exploitation of the dispossessed and marginalized
peasantry by throwing a fancy dress ball. Cinderella's sisters-of-step were very excited to be invited to the palace. They began to
plan the expensive clothes they would use to alter and enslave their natural body images to emulate an unrealistic standard of
feminine beauty. (It was especially unrealistic in their case, as they were differently visaged enough to stop a clock.) Her mother-
of-step also planned to go to the ball, so Cinderella was working harder than a dog (an appropriate if unfortunately speciesist

When the day of the ball arrived, Cinderella helped her mother- and sisters-of-step into their ball gowns. A formidable task: It was
like trying to force ten pounds of processes nonhuman animal carcasses into a five-pound skin. Next came immense cosmetic
augmentation, which it would be best not to describe at all. As evening fell, her mother- and sisters-of-step left Cinderella at home
to finish her housework. Cinderella was sad, but she contented herself with her Holly Near records.

Suddenly, there was a flash of light, and in front of Cinderella stood a man dressed in loose-fitting, all-cotton clothes and wearing
a wide-brimmed hat. At first Cinderella thought he was a Southern lawyer or a band leader, but he soon put her straight.

"Hello Cinderella, I am your fairy godperson, or individual deity proxy, if you prefer. So, you want to go to the ball, eh? And bind yourself into
the male concept of beauty? Squeeze into some tight-fitting dress that will cut off your circulation? Jam your feet into high-heeled shoes that
will ruin your bone structure? Paint your face with chemicals and makeup that have been tested on nonhuman animals?"

"Oh yes, definitely," she said in an instant. Her fairy godperson heaved a great sigh and decided to put off her political education until
another day. With his magic, he enveloped her in a beautiful, bright light and whisked her away to the palace.

Many, many carriages were lined up outside the palace that night; apparently, no one had ever thought of carpooling. Soon, in a heavy,
gilded carriage painfully pulled by a team of horse-slaves, Cinderella arrived. She was dressed in a clinging gown woven of silk stolen from
unsuspecting silkworms. Her hair was festooned with pearls plundered from hard-working, defenseless oysters. And on her feet, dangerous
though it may seem, she wore slippers made of finely cut crystal.

Every head in the ballroom turned as Cinderella entered. The men stared at and lusted after this wommon who had captured perfectly their
Barbie-doll ideas of feminine desirability. The womyn, trained at an early age to despise their own bodies, looked at Cinderella with envy
and spite.  Cinderella's own mother- and sisters-of-step, consumed with jealousy, failed to recognize her.

Cinderella soon caught the roving eye of the prince, who was busy discussing jousting and bearbaiting with his cronies. Upon
seeing her, the prince was struck with a fit of not being able to speak as well as the majority of the population. "Here," he thought,
"is a wommon that I could make my princess and impregnate with the progeny of our perfect genes, and thus make myself the envy
of every other prince for miles around. And she's blonde, too!"

The prince began to cross the ballroom toward his intended prey. His cronies also began to walk toward Cinderella. So did every
other male in the ballroom who was younger than 70 and not serving drinks.

Cinderella was proud of the commotion she was causing. She walked with head high and carried herself like a wommon of
eminent social standing. But it soon became clear that the commotion was turning into something ugly, or at least socially

The prince had make it clear to his friend that he was intent on 'possessing" the young wommon. But the prince's resoluteness
angered his pals, for they too lusted after her and wanted to own her. The men began to shout and push each other. The prince's
best friend, who was a large if cerebrally constrained duke, stopped him halfway across the dance floor and insisted that HE was
going to have Cinderella. The prince's response was a swift kick to the groin, which left the duke temporarily inactive. But the prince
was quickly seized by other sex-crazed males, and he disappeared into a pile of human animals.

The womyn were appalled by this vicious display of testosterone, but try as they might, they were unable to separate the
combatants. To the other womyn, it seemed that Cinderella was the cause of all the trouble, so they encircled her and began to
display very unsisterly hostility, She tried to escape, but her impractical glass slippers made it nearly impossible. Fortunately for her, none
of the other womyn were shod any better.

The noise grew so loud that no one heard the clock in the tower chime midnight. When the bell rang the twelfth time, Cinderella's beautiful
gown and slippers disappeared, and she was dressed once again in her peasant's rags. Her mother- and sisters-of-step recognized her
now, but kept quiet to avoid embarrassment.

The womyn grew silent at this magical transformation. Freed from the confinements of her gown and slippers, Cinderella sighed and
stretched and scratched her ribs,. She smiled, closed her eyes, and said, "Kill me now if you want, sisters, but at least I'll die in comfort."

The womyn around her again grew envious, but this time they took a different approach:  Instead of exacting vengeance on her, they
stripped off their bodices, corsets, shoes, and every other confining garment. They danced and jumped and screeched in sheer joy,
comfortable at last in their shifts and bare feet.

Had the men looked up form their macho dance of destruction, they would have seen many desirable womyn dressed as if for the boudoir.
But they never ceased pounding, punching, kicking, and clawing each other until, to the last man, they were dead.

The womyn clucked their tongues but felt no remorse. The palace and realm were theirs now. Their first official act was to dress the men
in their discarded dresses and tell the media that the fight arose when someone threatened to expose the cross-dressing tendencies of
the prince and his cronies. Their second was to set up a clothing co-op that produced only comfortable, practical clothes for womyn.
Then they hung a sign on the castle advertising CinderWear (for that was what the new clothing was called), and through self-
determination and clever marketing, they all -- even the mother- and sisters-of-step -- lived happily ever after.
***Material (text) copyright
James Finn Garner. All rights