Thursday, January 5, 2012

23. Fairy believers

        We’ve been discovered.  Madison told Ms Weaverspell about the fairy and she believed her.  Can you believe that?  A chemistry teacher no less?  It amazes me how many people are willing to believe in fairies - even though they’ve never seen a fairy, never heard a fairy, never witnessed any evidence at all that fairies exist, never even known anyone that has seen nor heard a fairy; and yet they’re willing to believe in them.  I think some people just want to believe.  They long for the unseen, the mystical, the exotic; things that transcend the monotony of normal everyday life or the harshness of cold reality, something exciting and magical, something to ponder with wonder and feel good about.  We all feel that way to some degree.  I’m convinced a good number of people would be willing to believe in anything, if given any evidence at all - fairies, gnomes, leprechauns, elves, dwarves, vampires, ghosts, aliens, or whatever.  Now it’s going to be nearly impossible for me to keep the fairy a secret.
        As if things weren’t bad enough already, I surely didn’t need added troubles.  Things were already spiraling out of control - with gnomes staging raids on my house, being watched by hostile fairy warriors, the fairy prince planning some type of secret mind control mission with me as an unwilling ally, crows and rats infesting the area, Mom becoming increasingly suspicious, my enemy Major Unger breathing down my neck, my friends Madison and Westley becoming increasing worried, and my little fairy making hints that something big and awful is about to happen, which I don’t doubt.
        It all started to fall apart prior to first period yesterday morning.  Madison was standing in the halls by the door to chem lab, waiting for me.  She looked worried and halfway stepped in front of me.  I didn’t need this and tried to get around her, when she silently mouthed, “I’m sorry.”  What a thing to say to a guy.  I hurried to my workstation on the back row of lab benches wondering what in the world she had done now?  I put a hand in my sweatshirt and was reassured by a finger hug from Bonnie.  I take my fairy with me everywhere now, can’t take a change leaving her home alone.
        All through class Ms Weaverspell avoided looking in my direction.  Under her open lab coat she wore a black T-shirt with a unicorn on the front, something a little girl might wear, which makes it hard to take her serious, especially when trying to describe how ionization and electron affinity change according to an element's position on the periodic table.  Once, about mid way through the lecture, when I looked up suddenly, I caught her staring at me, and she had the oddest expression on her face.  Fortunately Bonnie was quiet throughout the class, which I was thankful for, and when the bell rang I was congratulating myself on not drawing any attention.  That’s when Ms Weaverspell said, “Could Ms Renard and Mr. Rigdon stay in their seats, I need to speak with the two of you.”
        A sinking feeling grew in the pit of my stomach as the other students filled out of the classroom.  Ms Weaverspell shut and locked the door behind them.  She turned and faced me, totally ignoring Madison, who was trying to shrink into her chair under my glare.  “Mr. Rigdon,” the chemistry teacher with a unicorn on her shirt came up in front of my desk and folded her arms.  “Do you have something you want to show me?”
        At that moment I wanted to strangle Madison.  What had she told the teacher, who was also her Laurels advisor at church, who therefore knew our parents?  I fought to control an urge to leap out of my seat and grab Madison around the neck and shake some sense into her.  I wiped my forehead, then looked innocently at the teacher and smiled.  Then, as calm as I could muster, “Why no Ms Weaverspell, why ever would you think that?”
        Ms Weaverspell hesitated, and without moving her feet, swiveled at the hips to look at Madison, then back to me again.  She pulled her arms tight across the unicorn on her chest, scrunched up her forehead, and stared at me critically.  “May I see what’s in your pocket?”
        I set bolt upright, then caught myself and relaxed, back into a casual slouch.  “But why?  You surely don’t think I have any illegal substance on me?  Do you?”
        “No,” Ms Weaverspell replied quickly.  Beyond her I could see Madison turning red in the face.  Ms Weaverspell leaned towards me.  “I just want to see for myself what you have in your pocket?”
        “But why?” I tried my most endearing voice, works on most all females.  “Surely you don’t think I have a weapon?”
        Again a quick answer.  “No, of course not.”
        Now I leaned forward, and tried to look hurt.  “Then, exactly what are you expecting to see?”
        I had figured by then that Madison must have told her I had a fairy in my pocket.  How could she believe such a preposterous assertion?  I watched her hesitate and doubt crossed her face.  Her eyes almost crossed.  It would be hard for someone to admit they believed in fairies, especially an adult.  She frowned, then glanced towards Madison again, but got no reassuring support there.  Ms Weaverspell pursed her lips, then said to me, “I was told you have … ahh …. I was told you have …”
        “I was told you have a fairy in your pocket.”
        “What?”  My mouth dropped open and I started to laugh.  “You think I carry around a fairy?  You must mean a toy action figure?  Why would I carry around toys in my pocket?  I’m not primary age?  And what if I did?  Is it against the rules?”
        Ms Weaverspell squirmed.  “Ahhh … no.”
        “So what’s the problem?” I said.
        Ms Weaverspell looked flustered.  She spoke in a real high voice, “Can I just see what you have please?”
        “Surely you don’t think I have a real fairy, do you?  Ms Weaverspell?”
        She turned red in the face.  “Well, no, but ahh, I was told that you do, and, ahh, I just want to see for myself.”
        “I can’t believe it.  You think I have a fairy, and you a teacher?  I must be imagining this.  Has the world gone crazy?  I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you, and I really should be getting to next period before the bell rings.”  I stood up to go.
        It was a mistake to get flippant, because now Ms Weaverspell grew angry.  “Michael, you will let me see what you have in your sweatshirt?  I noticed you protectively placed your hands on either side of your pocket when I first approached.  And all during class you kept looking down at the front of your sweatshirt, and even mumbling to yourself.”
        “I’m sorry, Ms Weaverspell, but what I have in my pocket is my business,” I spoke calmly, with conviction.
        She actually raised her voice at me.  “Well I insist, then you can be on your way.”
        I sat back down and half turned away.  “No thank you.”
        “Michael, show me what’s in your pocket?”
        “Do you have a search warrant?”
        “I don’t need one.  Not on school grounds.”
        “That sounds unconstitutional.”
        Ms Weaverspell actually stomped her foot.  Sometimes she reminds me so much of kid, not at all an adult woman.  “Do you want me to call the principal?” she said in a high voice.
        “Go ahead.”
        “He will back me up on this.  You know he will.”
        “I will refuse him also. “
        “Michael, I am disappointed in you.”
        “There’s nothing you can do, Ms Weaverspell, you or the principal.  Call the police if you want.  We both know you have to have just cause to search someone.  I’m sure the police will think it quite amusing when you tell them you suspect I have a fairy in my pocket.”
        Ms Weaverspell gritted her teeth, and I thought for a moment she was going to give up, but then Madison slammed her arms down on the front of her workstation with a loud crack.  Madison rose huffily to her feet and stomped over to us.  She glared at me and folded her arms across her chest.  “Just show it to her, Michael, she’s going to help us.”  The two of them stood shoulder to shoulder, daunting me with looks that could wilt a sunflower.
        I couldn’t believe Madison had put me in this predicament?  I can be stubborn too.  I folded my arms across my chest.  “No.”
        “You are being irresponsible,” Madison retorted.  “Show Ms Weaverspell the fairy.”
        I couldn’t believe Madison was betraying me like this.  I jumped to my feet and my stool fell over backwards.  “You traitor, you gave your word!”
        Ms Weaverspell put her hands up and stepped between us.  “Wait a minute.  Everyone calm down.”  She up righted my stool and patted on it until I sat back down.  Then she pointed to another stool and got Madison seated also.  “This is all ridiculous,” Mr. Weaverspell said.
        “I agree,” I retorted, and pointed at Madison.  “Why would you even listen to someone as ridiculous as Madison?”
        Madison caught her breath and couldn’t talk for a moment, then managed to spurt out, “Maybe because I’m telling the truth.”   Then Madison gave me another one of her looks and her eyes got so beady I was worried they might shoot lasers at me.
        “No more fooling around,” Ms Weaverspell leaned over the desk towards me.  “No more discussion.  Show me what’s in your pocket, and then we’ll know.  Or else.”
        “Or else what?”
        Ms. Weaverspell snapped open her cell phone.  “Or else I’m calling your mother, right now, and have her come down here to school and resolve this.”
        Madison must have seen the resolve drain out of my face, because she relaxed and pushed her hair back.  Ms Weaverspell started punching in some numbers and her cell phone beeped with each keystroke.  It was unfair to threaten me through my mother.  “Wait, wait,” I said.  “You win.”
        Then I reached into my pocket and took Bonnie out.  I sat the little fairy on the countertop in front of my chemistry teacher.  Bonnie blinked and stretched her limbs, and then turned to face Ms Weaverspell, who was naturally dumbstruck and did not seem capable of speech at the moment.  Bonnie was well aware of the situation, having not helped but heard every word of our argument.  The little fairy put her hands on her hips and critically looked the teacher up and down.  There was distain on her little pixie face.  She didn’t like people giving me a hard time.   They stared at each other with mutual curiosity for a full two minutes.  Mrs. Weaverspell’s mouth actually fell open and her breathing got rapid and I thought for a moment she was going to faint.  The little fairy, curiosity satisfied, turned to me with a questioning look on her face, as if to say, ‘Why did you show me to this dumb human?’
        I couldn’t help grinning.  Ms Weaverspell had the stupidest look of sheer awe on face.  She was totally mesmerized.  I probably could have waved a hand in front of her eyes and not distracted her.  Then her lips quivered.  “I always knew,” she whispered.
        “Can we go now?”  I interrupted her trance.
        Ms Weaverspell snapped into the conscious once more and looked at me as if I was an even stranger creature than the fairy.  “How long have you had her?”
        “Not long.”
        “But, but, where did she come from?”
        “Look, Ms Weaverspell,” I rubbed my hands in front of me.  “I showed you the fairy.  I did what you wanted.  Now I need to be getting on to my next class.”
        “But, she’s real.  She’s really real.”  Ms Weaverspell turned to Madison.  “You were telling the truth.”
        Madison arched her eyebrows and nodded.  “I know.”
        I held out my palm to Bonnie and the little fairy immediately came to me and climbed onto my hand.
        “Wait,” Ms Weaverspell said.  “Can she fly?”
        “Of course,” I said.  “She has wings.”  I gave Bonnie a little toss.  She landed nimbly on the counter top, nodded to me, and sprinted towards the edge.  She leaped into the air, gracefully uncurling her wings, and transitioning into a smooth takeoff.  She flew in a spiraling circle up to the ceiling, eliciting several ahh's and ohh's from Ms Weaverspell.
        I was becoming increasingly nervous though, what if people were to look in through the small glass pane of the door and see Bonnie?  I rose to my feet and held my hand up again, and this time when Bonnie landed in my palm I put her back in my pocket.
        Ms Weaverspell slumped onto a stool and began to fan herself.  “I always knew they were real,” she whispered, all so faintly.  I started for the door and she jumped up to intercept me.  “Wait, what are you going to do with her?”
        “Don’t worry about us, we’re fine.”
        “But Madison said you need help.  She said there were, there were … gnomes …”  Ms Weaverspell looked at Madison, who shrugged and nodded back, so Ms Weaverspell continued,  “ … yes, gnomes … who are after your fairy.”
        I tried to get around her.  “I have to go.”
        “Why don’t you bring her to my apartment,” Ms Weaverspell said.  “I will keep her for you.  She would be safer there?”
        “What?” I glared at Madison.
        Ms Weaverspell spoke in a rush.  “Sure, I would be happy to watch her for you.  She would be much safer with me.  And you don’t have to worry about her.  I live alone with one small child.  She would be much safer with me, until the danger passes.”
        “I have to go.”
        “No, wait, we need to take pictures.  I need to call National Geographic.  This is a marvelous find.  This is a scientific breakthrough.  We have to publish this.  This is world news.  People need to know about fairies.  We’ll be famous Michael.”  I hurried for the door.  “No, come back, let me help.”  I pushed through the door and tumbled out into the crowded halls.
        I was aware of Madison trying to follow as I hurried through the press of kids towards the school exits.  I wasn’t waiting for Madison, that was for sure.  I reached the large front doors and burst outside into bright sunlight.  I headed immediately for the parking lots, walking at a brisk pace.  I had to get out of there.  Madison was calling for me to wait, but she was the cause of all my problems.   This was a disaster.  The National Geographic?  Madison was such an idiot to tell Ms Weaverspell.  Now what are we going to do?

      January 5, 2013
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