Now, as promised to April French, here, finally, is the story of how the old woman came to move into a flip flop.
The Old Woman Who Lived in the Uggs
Once upon a time, there was an old woman who lived in a pair of Uggs. Why did one little old lady need two boots in which to reside? Well, several years ago she had more kids than she knew what to do with. After a brief but severe illness (The old bat went completely bonkers) her best friend took up a collection to buy the family a big enough house to live in. The result was the Uggs.
Ten years later and Gladys Foote was shipping the last child off Fairyland State University to learn how to become a investment banker. Now what was she supposed to do? Two Uggs meant dozens of empty rooms to collect dust, and at her age, she just couldn't keep up with the cleaning. The only thing to do was sell.
After three weeks of having the boots on the market, she finally had a potential buyer. A clan of elderly elves. They used to make shoes of their own, back in the day, but they had recently retired and were looking to settle down and take it easy for a few years before going off to that great big cobbler shop in the sky. The Uggs seemed just perfect for them.
Mrs. Foote showed them all over the house. She had baked fresh cookies that morning for them, but one of the younger, ruder elves told her they tasted like sawdust, and that his cousins, the Keeblers, made much better cookies than she ever would. The oldest, wrinkliest, crankiest elf clonked him soundly over the head with his walker. He hit him so hard that three of the tennis balls bounced off the feet of his walker and knocked over seven of the other more feeble elves, and smashed Mrs. Foote's priceless antique mirror. The mirror sent out a puff of pink smoke, whispered, "Ouch," and was dead. Needless to say, that day did not go well. The elves paid for the mirror, but they never got back to her about the Uggs.
A few weeks later she had another potential buyer. This time it was a large group of snakes. The odd thing was that they were all wearing sunglasses. It made Mrs. Foote a little nervous that she couldn't see their eyes. She wondered if perhaps they were up to no good.
The snakes seemed harmless enough. They explained that they had all recently been unemployed and were looking for somewhere to set up a shop to sell their home-made garden statues.
"The area seems lovely," the longest of the snakes said. "I love the Uggs, and I know we would be very happy here. The only thing that would make this place perfect is if there were an abundance of gnomes around. Do you have many gnomes living in the area?"
"Oh, no!" Mrs. Foote exclaimed in horror. "I would never let my lawn come under such a nasty infestation. I spray gnome-killer every three months whether I see one or not!"
"Pity." replied the snake. "We can't make lawn gnomes without them. They are horrid little creatures, but for some reason people love to set them in their gardens once we've turned them to stone."
"Turned them to stone?" Questioned Gladys.
"Why yes! That's what we do! We can turn any creature to stone just by looking into their eyes. Our boss, Medusa used to use us to destroy her enemies, but then one day she up and decided to go for that new "Pixie" look that's all the rage these days, and she lopped us all off. Frankly, she looks hideous now. She needed the length. It was all she had going for her. Anyway, without any gnomes, I'm afraid this place just won't do. We need to have some way to support ourselves you know. So sorry, it was nice meeting you!"
And with that, the snakes were gone, leaving poor old Gladys there stunned, wondering what exactly had just happened. After she sorted everything out in her feeble old mind she was very, very glad that the snakes had been courteous enough to wear sunglasses.
Weeks passed with no one to even look at the Uggs. Gladys was about to give up hope. She decided that she needed a vacation and went to the beach. She found a lovely little flip-flop for rent and decided to stay there for the week while she figured out what to do. She lay down in the sun room at the front of the flip-flop and let her cares drift away.
As the day wore on, she began to notice clouds rolling in and decided to move further into the house, under the beach umbrella that served as a roof. As she watched the storm come in over the sea, she noticed something odd. It looked like there were people flying out there in the ocean. In the rain. Why would they be doing that? As the storm rolled into land she could see that these were not people at all. They were merfolk, and they were all wearing jetpacks! The sight was so fantastic that Gladys didn't care if she got wet. She went outside and walked down the beach to a mermaid who was picking coconuts and eating a banana. "Hello," she greeted her awkwardly. "What brings you to land?" she asked her. It was the only question she could think of.
"Oh, hello, Ma'am." The mermaid smiled politely. "Today is the day of the land harvest. Once a month, a group of merfolk go to land to pick fruit to bring back home to sell. I love coming up here, the land is awesome! The best part is the bananas!" She punctuated this thought by taking another bite. "What's your name? What are you doing out here in the rain? You seem a little old to be risking your health in a downpour like this."
"Oh! I... I don't know, I mean, I'm Gladys!" She didn't really know what to say. She just wanted to talk to the mermaid, since she'd never met one before.
"Well, where do you live?"
"I live in Fairyland, but I'm on vacation. I'm staying in a rental flip-flop up the beach. Do you want to come over for a banana smoothie?"
"Sure! I love bananas, and I've never had a smoothie before. I'd love to try one!"
"What's your name?" Gladys asked as they went into the house. The mermaid sat down in a chair and shut off her jetpack. "My name is Ocean. I know, it's so cliche. My dad thought it would be funny. Ha, ha, Dad, ha, ha." She took off the jet pack and set it beside her. "So what brings you all the way out here? From my studies of surface geography I know that Fairyland is hours away. Quite a journey for an elderly woman like yourself to take alone."
"Well, I guess I just needed a break." She explained as she put the bananas into the blender. "The last of my kids left for college this year, and I've been trying to sell my home, but I have no buyers. I came here to figure out what to do. I wish I could just stay here and live in this flip-flop for the rest of my life, and never have to worry about going back to Fairyland again." She turned on the blender and mixed the smoothies.
"I know what you mean." Ocean sighed. I love it on land, but I can't afford to move here. Money has been so tight since I moved out on my own. I can barely afford the apartment I'm renting in the shipwreck in Coralville. I'd love to live in Fairyland, I hear it's gorgeous there."
"It is very lovely." Gladys poured her a smoothie and sat down.
Ocean took a drink and looked wonderingly at her glass. "This is probably the most awesome drink I've ever had in my entire life! You have GOT to give me the recipe!"
The two sat in silence for awhile, drinking their smoothies. Suddenly Ocean spoke up. "I have it! I know how I can have my wish, and you can have yours! You could trade your Uggs for a fishbowl, and I'll sell my old jetpack to someone in Fairyland. My Dad just got me a new one as a "Moving Out" gift. With the money from the jetpack, I'll buy you the flip-flop, and you give me the fishbowl! I can live in Fairyland, and you can live here in the flip-flop! It's win-win!"
Gladys thought about it for a moment, a grin slowly spreading across her face. "Yes! Yes, it would! Ocean, you're a genius!"
A week later everything was finalized. Gladys took the Uggs to Goodwill, and traded them in for a two bedroom, three bathroom fishbowl. Ocean sold her old jetpack to Old Mother Hubbard who was having a very difficult time with her arthritis. Now she can get around like nobody's business! Ocean bought Gladys the flip-flop, and then went home to pack. A week later her family helped her haul a seahorse trailer full of stuff all the way from Coralville to Fairyland. After she got settled, she started a Smoothie shop right next to her home. Her specialty flavor was banana.
Gladys retired to the beach, and now lives a quiet life in her flip-flop. Her children still visit her as often as they can, as does Ocean, who comes every week or so to gather coconuts and bananas for her shop. Sometimes Gladys will travel back to Fairyland to see her friends, but she doesn't need to go often, since her best friend Mrs. Hubbard now has a jetpack and can come to the beach whenever she wants. Everything turned out great for everyone, and they all lived happily ever after.