Just when you think we’re done, I present to you the original version of Wood You Be Mine? Written by me in my 12th grade Creative Writing class, the assignment was to take a popular fairy tale and put a new twist on it. As most of you guessed, I took the story of Pinocchio and asked, instead of a wooden boy becoming…you know what? I think you all know by now what I was going for. So here it is: The original, unedited version of 17-year-old Steve Giordano’s Wood You Be Mine? Please remember: I wrote this over eight years ago; the style is…less refined. That said, see if you can point out everything that was carried over in to the new version! You’ll be surprised how much was left in.
Legno Ragazzo was a poor Italian boy who had been orphaned at a young age. A kindly old man named Mr. Saggezza had adopted little Legno when he had been eight years old and Legno, now ten, was not content with how things were going with his life. Sure, Mr. Saggezza was great, but there was something that was definitely missing. He finally realized what that was when they were taking a nice stroll down the street, and Legno saw the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen. She was his height, with beautiful cornflower hair, deep brown eyes, and a nice oak finish. The girl was a wooden toy hanging in the store window, but Legno did not care. She was gorgeous, and she wood, I mean would, be his.
“She will be mine, but what would Mr. Saggezza say?”
“That’s she’s made out of wood and that it’s creepy,” Mr. Saggezza replied.
“How’d you know I said that?”
“I’m standing right next to you, Legno.”
“Oh. I thought I was having one of those moments like in a play where I say something out loud but I’m the only one who hears it. Y’know?”
“You could’ve just thought it instead.”
“I figured that this would be more dramatic.”
They continued on their walk for a few more minutes, and finally they returned home. Unbeknownst to them, they were being followed by a helpful insect known as Jiminy Termite. He had overheard young Legno’s problem and wanted to aid him the best that he could. He came into Legno’s room that night with intentions of introducing himself.
“Legno, wake up Legno,” Jiminy whispered, “I’m here to help you claim your love.”
Legno slowly woke up and saw Jiminy on his nose, staring at him.
“AAHH! AAHH! Termite! Someone kill it! Mr. Saggezza!”
“Shut up, Legno!”
“You can talk?”
“Yes, I’m a magical talking termite.”
“I see… AAHH! AAHH! Magical talking termite! Someone kill it! Mr. Saggezza!”
“Legno, be quiet! I’m here to help you!”
“Who… who are you?” Legno stuttered.
“The name’s Jiminy Termite, and I’m here to help you. See, I overheard your problem and am interested in helping you out.”
“Why not? I believe that every good deed goes noticed and I have taken it upon myself to personally ensure that you become a wooden boy.”
“That sure is nice of you, Timiny!”
“Yes well, anyway… get some rest, because tomorrow, the search to fulfill your dream will commence!”
Legno went straight to bed and dreamt about the future with his soon-to-be lady. He imagined himself holding her, running with her, laying down with her and looking at the stars. Now sure, most people would say that you can’t do any of those things because you’re made out of wood, but Legno wasn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. He also began to think of all the other fun stuff you could do if you are made out of wood: Polishing yourself with tarnish, sanding down the rough edges, and making a bunch of knock-on-wood jokes whenever he wanted to. Life as a piece of wood sure did seem pretty sweet.
The next morning, Legno woke up to the sweet smell of Mr. Saggezza’s breakfast being cooked. He went downstairs, pulled up a seat, and began to tell Mr. Saggezza what happened.
“Are you sure you didn’t just dream all this up?” inquired the old man.
“No! An insect told me last night that I would became a real wooden boy soon so I can marry my love… my amor.”
“Which is the toy girl in the window?”
“And this was told to you by a magical talking insect?”
“Are you on drugs?”
“Not to my knowledge, but who knows what they were serving us at the orphanage.”
“Mr. Saggezza, I don’t understand why you can’t be happy for me! How would you have felt if people told you that you couldn’t marry Mrs. Saggezza?”
“I’m not married, Legno. Have you ever seen a woman in here, ever?”
“Huh… well I’ll be. But my point still stands… you can’t stop our love!”
“My boy, I believe that every person has to go their own path. If this is what you truly believe your destiny is, then by all means, go for it.”
“Thank you, Mr. Saggezza!” Legno yelled as he ran out the door.
“If you ask me, that boy’s already made of wood,” the old man muttered to himself.
Outside, Legno found Jiminy waiting for him by the house, just itching to get things started.
“Top of the morning, my dear boy. Ready to start your adventure?”
“You know it, Jiminy… but where do we start?”
“Well, all we really need is to find a shooting star. A shooting star will grant a young child any kind of wish that they desire.”
“That’s stupid. What else you got?”
“The shooting star is really the best thing you can go with.”
“That doesn’t make any sense… how can a hot ball of matter spiraling through the sky grant any sort of wish?”
“Yeah, you’re right that is stupid. Hey, did you hear about the one guy that wanted to be made out of hickory and talks to insects?”
“No. Sounds like a moron, though.”
Jiminy rubbed his brow in frustration and said, “Fine, no shooting stars. I know of some old lady in the forest that we can talk to, so let’s try her.”
“I love old ladies! They always have the most interesting aromas!”
The two partners ventured into the forest until they reached a house made completely out of candy. They looked at the nibbled-on dwelling for a few moments before knocking on the door.
“May I help you?” the sweet old lady asked.
“We’re looking for someone to grant my friend’s wish. He wants to turn into wood.”
Oh, I may be of some assistance, why don’t you just come in…”
At that time Legno noticed a boy boiling in a pot of water and his sister in the oven.
“Help us, for the love of God, help us!” they cried.
“Eh, it looks like you’re already getting ready turn to that boy into a ladle and that girl into a pan.” Legno commented. “We’ll go somewhere else.”
“Come back any time, child,” the decrepit woman relayed.
“Know any other places?” Legno queried Jiminy as they were leaving.
“Well, I know a guy who knows a guy that says he’s heard of a guy that has a magical lamp. Let’s try him.”
So the two then went all around town until they found the lamp, and finally they were able to track it down and release the all-powerful genie.
“I will grant you any three wishes that you desire!”
“You know, I thought ‘Good Will Hunting’ was magnificent,” Jiminy replied.
“Okay, so wait… I only get three wishes?” Legno asked.
“Man, only three?”
Jiminy added, “But Legno, before you were happy with just one.”
“Yeah, but that was before I knew that there could be more. Just think of what I could get with four, or dare I say five, wishes! I wish that whole ‘three wishes only’ thing would change.”
“Fine!” the genie yelled, “It is granted! No wishes! That’s what you get for being greedy!”
The genie went back into his bottle, and Legno once again was left without someone to make his dream come true. It was getting pretty dark and Legno had felt like it was never going to be achieved.
“Look Legno,” Jiminy screamed, “a shooting star! Trust me, make a wish!”
“I wish you weren’t so stupid!”
“Ha! See! It didn’t work!”
“Just do it or I won’t help you again!”
“Fine, if that’s the way you’re going to act… ‘Oh, spectacularly stupid shooting star, please make me into a wooden boy!’ ”
There was a splash of light and Legno was gloriously transformed into a wooden boy, just like Jiminy had promised. His wish had come true, and he had his friend Jiminy Termite to thank for it.
“Thank you Jiminy, you were right this whole time!”
“Yes, well, as long as things turned out well now, that’s all that matters.”
“How can I ever repay you?”
“Well… I haven’t had a real wooden boy in such a long time. I think I know how I’ll get repaid.”
“Wait, so you only helped me just so you could eat me?”
Jiminy lunged and devoured poor unassuming Legno. The boy had wished for so much and it all had turned against him. Now he was just a pile of sawdust on the ground.
Moral: Plastics are the wave of the future.
An unexpected, not-so-happy ending here, but it’s an interesting prototype to the story that I eventually produced, don’t you agree? I remember thinking this was awesome when I first wrote it all those years ago, but now I look back on it and cringe (the same with Girls = Satan for all y’all old enough to remember that one). So what’s the verdict? Is there anything here you like more than in the new version?
And on a more important note, Empowered starts next week! In a world where everyone is super, what happens to the one kid who isn’t? A story that will stir up both feelings of nostalgia and lament from the days of high school, our new hero, Carl Freeman, must learn to find his place in a world where being different is the worst thing possible. See you then!