Monday 23 December 2019

It's a Wanda Full Life - A Dog River Christmas Story

This year's Christmas parody is based on  "It's A Wonderful Life" starring James Stewart and Donna Reed and directed by Frank Capra. So if you haven't seen it already you better go watch it quick otherwise you will be a bit lost!

George Bailey has been replaced by Wanda Dollard
Mary Hatch has been replaced by Hank Yarbo
Clarence the Angel has been replaced by Davis Quinton
Mr. Gower is replaced by Lacey Burrows

Most of the other characters (and plot) have been cut out due to length issues (aka me being lazy)

Snow covers the ground around a little town. Crisp white flakes fall across the town sign that proclaims Dog River. Some hang like bright lights against the evening sky. The towns folk are all tucked up, cozy, in their homes. Lights shining from windows the only sign of life save for the sound of voices. Quiet voices. If you strain your ears hard enough you can just make out in each house the Dog River denizens offering up their Christmas prayers.

"If you can hear me, please help Wanda Dollard"

"Wanda is such a lovely girl, please make sure she is OK."

"That Wanda's a JACKASS!"

The voices drift upwards towards the heavens, never veering from their path, in search of a celestial ear to rest upon. This time of year, their words are always heard, always considered and never ignored.

High above the clouds two clusters of stars inter twine, and pulse as if speaking. We know not their celestial names, so, we will call them Brent and Hank.

"Jeez it's getting that a heavenly being can't get any rest round here. Have you heard all this racket from Dog River already?" Moaned Brent

"You ain't just whistling Dixie brother" Said Hank "Who is this Wanda broad anyways?"

"I can't whistle. I blow a pretty good raspberry. Can you raspberry Dixie? Wanda? She's that know it all with all the cavities from that rope licorice she keeps chewing on. Looks like we will have to send someone down to help her or we will never hear the end of it" Brent countered whilst polishing his shiniest star, which, in solar system terms he was actually using as his butt at the time.

"Send someone down, awww geez , you know how many forms you gotta be fillin' in to send someone down? There's all the customs declarations. Who wrote those things "Have you packed your own luggage?" Who would be stupid enough to answer "No, I got Bob from next door to do it for me just yesterday, an hour after he got released from the joint!" Complained Hank

"Well, needs must, who's turn is it?" asked Brent

"It's that Copper Davis' turn - but he hasn't got his stripes!" whined Hank "He's got the I.Q. of a Rabbit..a rabbit who is allergic to his myxomatosis medicine"

"But he has the faith of a child...."

"No, he has the face of a child, you heard it all wrong Brent" corrected Hank.

"Send for Davis" Commanded Brent in his best important voice

A small star shot across the sky, ricocheting off all the other stars as he did so. "You sent for me?" Asked Davis

"Yes, a woman on Earth needs our help" explained Brent "She is discouraged and is about to throw away God's greatest gift!"

"An X-Box?" Quizzed Davis

"Davis, if you do a good job with Wanda....." started Brent

"Ooh, will I win my stripes? I've been waiting for over two hundred years now and Karen keeps ribbing me. "Got your stripes yet Davis? I got mine ages ago. Even Wes got his stripes and he isn't even a cop" Davis said through gritted teeth.

"You will win your stripes Davis" interrupted Brent

"...and two weeks extra paid vacation?" hoped Davis

"Don't push your luck" countered Brent "Before you leave you must get to know Wanda Dollard"

Suddenly, everything went blurry -

"Ahhhhh, Cataracts!!" screamed Hank!

"Calm down man, it's just a transition - we are going back in time to Wanda's past. See, here she is twelve years old" said Brent


Wanda Dollard and her twelve year old chums were having a wail of a time in the deep snow. Laughing and whooping as they take turns sitting astride over-sized, snow shovels and sliding down the steep hill in the park. A hill, which is precariously positioned next to an icy pond which practically beckons children into it's murky, below zero, depths. Obviously, these kids are as dumb as box of peas.
"I don't know about this" said twelve year old Brent (who was not the same Brent as the celestial body above - but he liked to think he had a celestial body) "I feel that, through our juvenile exuberance, our make shift sledging could well lead to an accident in which someone slides too far on to the ice, it cracks and said person falls in needing to be rescued by a closely related child who will, due to his heroism, catch an illness which in turn causes an inner ear infection that will bring on deafness in later life."
"Ahh, quit with the exposition Mark Twain and get down there!" Snapped twelve year Wanda as she belted Brent across the noggin with her shovel causing him to slide too far onto the ice and have be saved by Wanda, who threw the evidence of her shovel into the water as he did so. Wanda soon fell foul of an inner ear infection that caused deafness later in life.
"Told you so!" Said Brent
"Pardon?" Said Wanda

Wanda had a job in the local popular eatery The Ruby. One day whilst working behind the counter she was serving a local lad, Hank (also not the starry one - but their voices were uncannily similar).
"You made up your mind, knucklehead?" she asked in her best customer service tone.
"Chocolate" He replied
"..with coconuts? she asked knowing she got five cents commission on every extra topping sold
Hank considered it for a moment "I don't like Coconuts"
"You Dullard!" Wanda snicked
"I thought you were Dullard?" Hank countered
"I'm Dollard idiot! Don't you know where coconuts come from? From Tahiti, the Fiji Islands, the Coral Sea!?" Wanda explained
"What's that got to do with the fact that I don't like the taste of coconuts" asked a bemused Hank
"I have no idea, but it's in the original movie so we have to stick it in here so people recognise that we are following the original screenplay and not just making stuff up as we go along" Wanda explained  whilst looking directly at you...yes you, there, reading on your iPad.
"I see...I still don't want any on my ice cream" decided twelve year old Hank. He bent over the counter to whisper in Wanda's ear. "Is this the ear you can't hear on Wanda?"
"Yes" she replied
"I will love you until the day I die" Hank offered
"Ewww, you will not! That kind of carry on could lead me to have a child and everyone will forever debate if you are the father or not!!!" Wanda spat in disgust

Out the back, Lacey had eaten a chili cheese dog, she suddenly became ashen faced, sweaty and had trouble standing. Wanda rushed to her side
"Lacey are you ok! I know Lacey. I know you put something bad in those chili dogs. I know you are unhappy, I know you are upset. You put something bad in the dog's!" Wanda panicked
"Wanda, everything in a chili dog is bad, that's why Brent's cholesterol is through the roof" Blurted Lacey who then burped and felt much better


Years later Wanda had a dream she had been saving for her whole life, finally, she was ready to live that very dream. She visited her old workplace The Ruby where her old boss Lacey presented her with a fine suitcase. 
"What's this for?" Wanda asked inquisitively.
"It's a gift, to help you on your way, to live your dream. I hope you see all the furthest flung parts of the world, far, far away from Dog River!" Lacey enthused enthusiastically 
"I'm not going anywhere. My dream was to have enough money to buy a car!" replied a confused Wanda
"Really? Oh...well shame to waste the bag. I had your name put on it!" Stumbled Lacey
" marker pen" exclaimed Wanda "Are you trying to get rid of me?"
"No, no, not at all. Here are some other gifts, a ticket for a cruise!" stammered Lacey as she shoved Wanda enthusiastically towards the door
"This isn't a ticket, it's a job application filled out in my name! Cattle boat?" she read "I'll be shoveling what now?!" asked Wanda tripping over the door frame as she was pushed outside to be met by the whole town of Dog River cheering under a big banner that said "Bon Voyage Wanda" 


Despite the towns efforts, Wanda stayed in Dog River. She often bumped into her old romantic interest Hank. Mostly she bumped into him with her new car. One night the pair met at the old school dance. Hank graciously walked Wanda home. The two of them looking like they had both taken an unexpected dive into a swimming pool. 
"I mean - who builds a gym floor over the top of a swimming pool! When I find out who wound that back I'm going to make him pay!" griped a soggy Wanda
"Well it's lucky he did really. I wonder how long those swimmers were stuck under there?" mused Hank
Somewhere across town two equally soggy patrons of the gym were making their way home. 
"I mean - who builds a dance floor above a swimming pool" one questioned. 

Hank and Wanda came to a stop outside the old Granville house, a weather beaten, two storied house that once was, no doubt, resplendent. Wanda finds a rock on the sidewalk and picks it up, testing it's weight in her hand "I'm going to throw a rock at that old house..." she explained to Hank who started to look worried.
"No! Don't..." he worried
"No, you see, you make a wish and then try and break some glass. You got to be a good shot nowadays too!"  she said as she took aim, her tongue sticking out in concentration "Now, watch...right on the second floor"
Wanda hurled the rock with all her might. It flew through the air with all the grace of a ...well ..a rock before coming to land on it's target. SCHMACK! Right on the be wigged cranium of old man Granville who was leaning out the window to water his flower boxes at the time. He always did have rotten timing. The rock belted him square in the forehead knocking his wig into the Hydrangeas below.
"I was just going to say, the wish house is behind us" exclaimed Hank pointing to a manky old residence across the street. "Hey, Wanda? Where did you go?" he quizzed as he was suddenly on his own.
"Here in the Hydrangea bush. Get in here you idiot before he sees us and calls the cops" whispered Wanda who poked her head out of the bush only to find she had the old mans wig atop her bonce.


Lacey, in an attempt to write the wrongs of her salt laden, high fat, non gluten free, sugar coated menu had put together a new recipe for The Ruby. History would soon tell that "The Ruby Club" was the tastiest, healthiest, lowest calorie meal to ever be created in the western hemisphere. Unfortunately, in her excitement in eating her masterpiece, Lacey choked on a big piece of chicken and died tragically*. 
The town of Dog River called a meeting to discuss who will run The Ruby. Somewhere in the universe a star that sounded like Lacey piped up "Oh, really! All the meetings I tried to arrange. I take a dirt nap and all of a sudden you're peachy keen to show up!" 
Emma Leroy took charge and spoke directly to Wanda "You have the most experience here at The Ruby, Wanda, we have all had a vote and although we know you have gone to great expense to buy tickets to travel the world, see all the seven wonders and generally party your ass off, we need you to stay here and run things"
"Where do you keep getting these ideas I'm off travelling? All I had planned was to go to the bar and drink beer until I see angels that look like cops...or a cop that looks like an angel...if you know what I mean!" she replied predicting the third act of this story and somehow changing it into a sordid hook up scenario.

Brent tore up another set of cruise tickets and started taking down another "Bon Voyage" banner from the rafters. 

"So you'll stay?" asked Emma
"Jeez, who is it with the hearing problem? Me or you?" replied Wanda before raising her voice "I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE!" She thought for a moment "Wait, when and how much do I get paid?"


We jump ahead some years now, mainly because re-writing a whole movie takes an awful long time and if I don't speed things along it will be next Christmas already! At the top of the stairs of the Dollard house Wanda appears in travelling clothes, standing beside her is Hank also dressed in his finest travelling baseball cap. All their nearest and dearest are gathered in the rooms below making quite a din in conversation. A wedding march is played as the couple start to make their way down the steps.
"Hey Doofus!" Wanda shouts above the chatter "Wrong tune!" 
Quickly, Oscar (who was to play the part of Potter, evil land baron, in this story before I cut that whole sub plot out to save more time...hey, don't judge, my dinner is getting cold), changed the record and the Imperial March started to play
"Hey Doofus!" Wanda shouted again "wrong movie!" Oscar changed the track to Uptown Funk and everyone started dancing to it about 80 years too early. 
Wanda walked outside and Hank passed her the bags he had been carrying. Hank was nothing if he wasn't useful, but not useful enough to get married to - the only tux he owned was printed on a t-shirt. "So you are finally off to see the big wide world, where are you going to go?" he asked
Wanda pulled out a big roll of notes and waved it at him " Here's the kitty - shhh, bootlegging money - I'm going to shoot the works. A whole week in New York. A whole week in Bermuda. The highest hotels - the oldest champagne - the richest caviar - the hottest music. The prettiest cops!"
"You sure have a thing about cops" winced Hank at the thought
"Yeah, it's almost like I have a sixth sense that a cop will play a huge part of my future" she mused still waving the huge wad of notes in the air.
"Sixth sense my butt!" Shouted Oscar as he galloped past on his horse he still owned since Corner Gas: The Movie, grabbing the wad of cash out of Wanda's hand as he did "That will teach them for writing me out this year!! JACKASS!!" he giggled and yelled 
"Well, we had to get him in saying it somewhere" Hank said to you reading on your PC, breaking the fourth wall. 
Suddenly Karen Pelly arrived and handcuffed Hank, pushing him in the back of her patrol car. "I'm arresting you for breaking fourth walls without due care and attention" she advised just when the scene ended as it was now getting very silly.

Wanda stood on the edge of the bridge looking down at the murky water below. "Hmm, so there really is a river here, whoda thunkit!" She contemplated. Wanda looked a mess, grief stricken, down in the dumps. She knew there was no other way out of the tradgedy she percived her life had become. She posistioned herself with her arms in the air, ready to perform a perfect swallow dive when all of a sudden she heard a scream falling from above
Splash! A body that wasn't hers hurtled past Wanda and into the cold water of Dog River River. She dived in after it, now with saving a life on her mind rather than ending hers. 
As she pulled the wretch out of the water the gentleman introduced himself "Hi...I'm Davis, I am here to save your life" he spluttered
"Well your doing a great job so far Dingus" Wanda congratulated him 

Eventually they both make it out of the water and take shelter in the Toll House on the end of the bridge. Davis stood by the fire changing out of his wet clothes. He suddenly realises that his undergarments must look amazing to the Tollkeeper and Wanda. 
"I didn't have time to get some stylish underwear" He proclaimed 
"Really, so what made you go for the Superman Underoos? Had they run out of Wonder Woman ones at the store?" proclaimed Wanda "What were you trying to do out there anyway?" she asked like she didn't already know.
"I was stopping you from committing suicide" Davis explained even though he was sure his actions were pretty obvious
"It's against the law to commit suicide around here!" the Tollkeeper exclaimed like a proper Buttinski
"So is punching you in the throat but I am willing to take the risk" bit Wanda
"I'm your guardian angel Wanda, Davis Quinton - A C-S-2 , Angel Cop Second Class" Davis piped up after realising he had put both legs into one side of his undies and immediately fell over. 
"How do you know my name" Wanda asked
"I told you, I am your guardian angel. I know everything about you" Davis answered 
"Everything? Even about the...." Wanda started
"Especially about that, you naughty girl!" Davis finished "Did they ever get the goldfish out of the toaster?" he quizzed
Wanda cleared her throat and changed the subject quickly "If you are an Angel Cop where are your stripes?" she asked as she poked Davis on his stripeless arm
"I am second class, I've got to earn them. You'll help me won't you?" Davis hoped "Tell me why have you got yourself into such a mess Wanda?"
"I thought you knew everything?" Wanda said, catching Davis on the hop. He was still hopping because he couldn't get his left leg out of his underpants. 
"I know, but the author has cut out such a huge chunk of the original story so he can go to bed on time that we are going to need a little catch up exposition" Davis explained thus getting me out of a rather sticky hole
"I see, well after Oscar stole my money it all went horribly wrong. I couldn't pay for my trip and so I decided to put my last dollar on a horse at 8000 to 1 odds" She explained, hoping to eventually get to the figure of $8000 just like in the classic version of the story that we are wading rough shod through in our size eights. 
"Oooh did the horse come in" asked the Tollkeeper who was still in the room, so we might as well use him
"Technically he crossed the line first" said Wanda
"Fantastic! So you won lots of money?" exclaimed Davis
"No, he crossed the line first because he was going backwards" sighed Wanda " and in an archaic ruling a backwards horse causes a backwards bet and I now owe $8000"
"Really! Author, is that all you have? That's a bit of a stretch" said Davis looking at me
"Sorry, it's late and I really need the toilet" I explained 
"So anyway I decided to kill myself for my life insurance policy which will pay off the debt" Wanda finished
"When did this all happen" asked Davis
"Oh, a few hours ago" Wanda told
"Wait. So you went from a little gambling blunder to deciding to do yourself in within a matter of hours? Did it not occur to you to maybe pursue some other avenues of payment?" Davis was very confused, mainly because he had never seen It's A Wonderful Life.
"I know, right! But we are sticking rigidly to the plot here in which James Stewart goes from mild mannered to bat poop crazy in a matter of minutes" Wanda excitedly answered, seeing the end in sight
"Well, we are hardly following the plot rigidly now are we - we've cut out about an hour and half of the screenplay" Davis countered.
"Fantastic! Shall we skip to the end then" asked Wanda
"I can't skip - my legs are still caught in my pants" Davis moaned 


".....and when a bell rings an Angel get's his stripes" explained Wanda to Tanner who may or may not bear a resemblance to Hank. "Do you want to know how he got his stripes? Well, Davis borrowed Jennifer the Billy Stick and went and made my bookie an offer he couldn't refuse! I know, not very Angel like behaviour but sometimes you  meet Angels with Dirty Faces......but that's another story"

"Alllllright!!" said a flashing star in the sky 


*This story isn't cannon folks. Lacey is just fine.