By Robin Weaver
I know Lowes and Walmart have had Christmas decorations out for days (as I'm writing this, it's not even Halloween), but that doesn't mean I'm in the mood for a holiday romance. Since I haven't read anything (sigh), I don't have anything to recommend.
But fear not, I've decided to put a spin on a classic, It's a Wonderful Life—truly one of the all-time greats. Only as a writer, I have been conditioned, since I first put my fingers on the keyboard, to always deliver the unexpected. And let's be honest, It's a Wonderful Life is hardly unexpected—not by today’s standards anyway. So let's change it up.
Having a fat old man be an angel is unexpected, even by today standards, so we’ll leave Clarence as is. No, wait. An angel is a bit predictable no matter what his shape. What if we made him a shape shifter? Hmm, that will screw up the plot. We want Clarence to evolve, not be dinner.
So who can hear when George wishes he’d never been born? I know, he can wish on a penny. Oops—that’s absolutely predictable. Let's make it a dollar bill instead.
So George finds a dollar and… He simply cannot wish he'd never been born--even to a dollar bill. I mean seriously, how many times has that been done? Let's have him wish he's been born a woman. To which the dollar replies, “The PMS alone would kill you. I like horses. What if I make you my little pony instead?"
And poof. Before George can protest, he’s got hooves and a shiny teal tail. He trots down the street, running into his mom—who falls and breaks a hip. Predictable, but what else can happen? Grandma has just been run over by a horse.
She’s screaming, “Bloody horse murderer!” because she doesn’t recognize her son. Did I mention he’s a horse?
Anyway, George’s mom is rescued by Uncle Billy—who hasn’t been institutionalized because the Building and Loan is still going strong. Don’t get me wrong, the Building and Loan collapsed (just like in the original story), only the government bailed out the financial institution. Billy splints mom’s broken hip and then kicks George the horse (didn’t expect that, did you? Evil grin). Billy pulls out his mobile telegraph (hey, no cellphones in this era) so George gallops home.
Mary will help him. Hold on, we have to make Mary less predictable, too. She can’t be some lonely, scared spinster. Maybe George was holding her back. She’s gone to Vegas and become…a champion bull rider (Gotcha. You were expecting a showgirl, huh?)
So George realizes he shouldn’t have wished he was dead. Or a woman. And a bell rings—only let’s make it a bullhorn. In the old story, we all know the angel got his wings. In our story, the angel becomes…hmmm, how about a boy wizard.
Okay. You’re right. The original is better. Maybe with a classic, predictable is okay. Only let’s not call it predictable. Let's call it tradition.
Hope your traditions are wonderfully predictable.
Available at Amazon.com
Available at Amazon.com