10. Pixie Power

        There’re certain advantages to having a fairy on your side, especially one other people can’t see.  Bonnie was a great help to me this afternoon in averting a near disaster with Major Unger, who has become more and blatant in his pursuit of my mother.  Bonnie saved us in fact.
        I’ve learned fairies have kind of a sixth sense for knowing which way people are looking and how to avoid being noticed.  She’s quite good at darting about, even in plain sight, and not being seen.  I’ve been giving her free run of the house and neither Mom nor Brian has noticed her presence, even with her in the same room.  She likes to watch people and her curiosity is insatiable.
        The trouble with Unger started after I got home from school, earlier than usual since football is done for the year.  The fairy and I were upstairs in my room, I was sprawled out on the bed watching an episode of Wipeout on the portable TV, and she was at the desk examining pages of a National Geographic magazine, pretty much ignoring the running of the obstacle course by contestants, unless I got to laughing at a particularly hard fall, in which case she would look back and forth between me and the TV, trying to determine what I thought so funny.
        We were interrupted by the doorbell and the sound of footsteps hastening to respond.  Someone downstairs immediately opened the front door, as if they’d been waiting.  The fairy looked at me questioningly and I nodded, so she took flight to investigate.  The fairy’s extremely curious by nature and loves to explore and likes nothing better than observing anything going on in the house, no matter how boring the activity.  She watched my mother vacuuming with great interest that morning, and spied on Brian eating cereal for breakfast and then doing the dishes, which he should have done last night, and if I do anything, anything at all, she wants to be right there with me, even if it’s just watching TV.
        I no longer worry about the fairy being seen and even ran some tests with Brian as the guinea pig.  Three times I placed the fairy in the corner of a room where Brian was present, and then walked to the opposite corner, and held my hand out.  The fairy realized what I wanted immediately, thought it a great game in fact, and successfully made her way to me unobserved each time, dodging this way and that, circling around furniture as needed for cover, always out of sight whenever Brian looked up.  She was so delighted with herself when she reached my outstretched palm each time that she gave my fingers great hugs and would start to giggle and I’d have to hurry her out of the room.  So I let her fly where she wishes anywhere within the house.  She doesn’t cause a lot of trouble and mostly spends her time watching me, Brian, or my mom.  When bored with us, she gives the TV or magazines her attention.
        A few moments after disappearing through the doorway of my room up near the ceiling, the fairy came back, flying low along the carpet, flying fast.  I could tell something was wrong.  She rose to the ceiling in my bedroom and circled about in an agitated manner.  Finally she settled down enough to descend and hovered in front of my face, waving her arms to get my attention from the TV, and shouted, “Your enemy is here!”  Then she flew to her home on the desk and landed with a slide, stumbling a little.  She righted herself and shouted her warning at me one more time, “Your enemy is here!”  Then she grabbed up the sewing needle from her store of possessions, which was spear size for her, and immediately flew back out of the bedroom as if going into battle.
        This was not good.  I was on my feet in an instant and tore down the stairs in hot pursuit.  I chased after the fairy into the kitchen where I saw my mom, backed against the kitchen island, Major Unger up close like he had her cornered or something, his face right in hers, she looking aside.  I was initially paralyzed with inactivity, but then I saw the fairy fly up behind Major Unger’s head.  The hair on the back of the fairy’s head was all ruffled and stiff.  She reared back like she was going to throw her spear into the exposed back of Unger’s neck.
        I rushed forward waving my hands at the fairy, “No, stop, no don’t.”
        Everyone looked at me in surprise, then Mom pushed out from under Unger and slid away from him to the kitchen table.  “Michael, it’s not what you think,” she said, causing Unger to smirk.  He makes me sick.
        The fairy retreated to the kitchen counter, where she hid behind the Kitchen Aide mixing bowl.  I entered the kitchen and positioned myself between her and Unger, turning my back to the fairy, but waving a hand behind my back at her to stay out of sight.
        Unger strutted over to the table, causing my Mom to flinch as he passed, I thought, and then he picked up his coffee cup from the table and took a long and loud slurp.  I noticed it was one of my Dad’s old mugs!  It had the insignia of the 75th Ranger Regiment emblazoned on the front.  I felt like my Dad’s mug had been defiled.  And how did he get coffee in our house?  He placed the cup of coffee down next to a stack of legal-sized papers.  Then he moved behind mom and placed his hands on her shoulders.  I started to say something, but she shrugged him off herself before I could.
        Major Unger turned to me, puffing his chest out as he spoke.  What a pompous jerk.  “We were just discussing,” he said.  “Whether or not you were up to watching your brother for the weekend while your mother and I took a small vacation to a cabin I own down by the lake.”
        Mom shot Unger a withering glace and turned on him.  “Can I have a moment alone with my son, please?” she said quickly and harshly, cutting him off; and me before I slugged him.
        “Certainly, my dear,” Major Unger was a bit taken back.  He regained his swagger and ambled out of the kitchen towards the living room.  “I haven’t much time to waste,” he complained.  “The bank on base closes at five.”
        Once he was out of the kitchen, Mom turned to me, her face softening.  “Michael, you look upset, it’s really not what you’re thinking.”
        “What’s not to understand,” I said, angry with her.  “He put you on the spot bringing up your plans for the weekend.  When were you going to tell me?”
        “I never told him I would go,” she insisted
        “Good, but you didn’t tell him no either?  Surely you’re not considering it?” I asked.
        “I might?” she glanced back at the papers on the table.
        Now I understood.  “Mom, we don’t need Unger.”
        She signed.  “His offer is quite generous.”
        I couldn’t think straight.  I turned away from her and leaned on the counter.  The fairy peaked out from behind the mixing bowl at me.  There was questioning in her eyes.
        “Don’t worry son,” Mom put a hand on my shoulder and then massaged my back.  “You’ve taken on so many burdens since your father died.  You’ve had to grow up way too quickly.” 
        “Don’t,” I said to her without looking back.
        She took her hands off.  “Please don’t think poorly of me, son, I couldn’t stand that.  You know I wouldn’t do anything wrong.”
        I didn’t say anything.
        “Susan, we’re wasting time,” Unger called from the kitchen doorway.  He had not gone far and had probably been listening.  I hate him.
        Mom walked away from me to speak with Unger.  I leaned down to Bonnie.  “I need your help.”
        The little fairy squeaked and jumped up on the balls of her feet.   She emerged from behind the mixing bowl, swinging her needle in the air.
        “Bonnie,” I whispered.  “Can you steal those papers if I distract them?”  I turned so she could see the kitchen table.
        The fairy shook her head.  “Papers big, heavy, take time.  They see Bonnnnie.”
        “We can’t let my mom sign those papers,” I said.  “I’m going to distract them.  Will you try, Bonnie, for me?”
        The little fairy looked resolute.  “Bonnie will do it.”
         I nodded encouragingly, then turned to do my part. “Hey Mom, I want you to see something important out the front window.”  I marched out of the kitchen, through the dining room, and into the living room.  I crossed the living room and stood by the large bay windows next to the front door, looking out over the front yard towards the street.
        Presently mom caught up, stopped at my side, and put a hand on my arm.  “What is it Michael?”  She sounded more than a little stressed.  Major Unger followed us, as I had hoped, and took up a position just inside the living room.  He leaned against the wall and folded his arms, watching us impatiently.
        I looked out the window and pointed towards my old Mustang and said in all seriousness.  “You see that car of mine, Mom.  Next time I see this jerk in our house,” I jabbed a thumb back at Unger.  “I’m going to call my Samoan buddies from the offensive line, we’re going to strip him naked, tie him to the hood of the car, cover him with tar and feathers, and drive him out of town in the style he deserves!”
        Mom was scandalized.  “Michael!!” she scolded.
        “Why you little punk,” Major Unger snarled and started towards me.
        In the past I’d kept my anger towards Unger and the way he was pursing my mother in check; but no longer, this was declaring war and he knew it.  I think he was actually intending to punch me.  I wish he had got the chance to try, but luckily for him, we were all interrupted by the sound of a crash and something breaking, coming from the kitchen.
        Mom was the first to get back and investigate, followed quickly by Unger and myself.  We saw all his papers in a jumble on the floor with spilt coffee and broken shards of my Dad’s mug splattered all over the mess.  I was the only one that smiled.  I didn’t even care that one of my dad’s mugs had been broken, it was for a cause he would have been proud of.
        Major Unger howled in frustration and rushed forward.  “Everything is ruined.  What happened?  It was a lot of work getting these papers drawn up.  I had to get them notarized at the legal office on base.”
        There was no sign of the fairy anywhere.  I was so proud of her I wanted to laugh out loud.  Instead I mocked Unger, “You are such a loser, must have set them too close to the edge.”
        Unger scowled at me angrily, which my Mom noticed.
        “I’m sure you can get them done again,” Mom said, the irritation not hidden from her voice.
        Unger kicked at the mess, scattering it across the floor.  “I’ll be back in a few days,” he snarled, and stomped out the kitchen.  Mom and I watched in amazement as he exited the front door and slammed it behind him.
        “He sure knows how to charm a woman,” Mom remarked, and we broke out in laughter.  It’s been a long time since we’ve laughed together and it felt good.  She got the kitchen trash basket and began throwing the soaked and ruined papers away.  I joined her and we worked side by side cleaning up the mess and it felt good.  We finished by mopping the flow and I was feeling much better by the time we were done.
        Not seeing any signs of the fairy throughout the cleaning, I hurried back to my bedroom and looked about anxious.  Suddenly the fairy appeared from behind a stack of hot rod magazines on the high bookshelf.  She leaped into the air and flew straight into my chest, then fell back into my hands.
        “You did so good, little pixie,” I exclaimed.
        “Did I, Mee-el, did I?” the fairy gushed.
        “Yes, you really did,” I told her.
        There is no way I would ever give Bonnie up.  I’m determined to do whatever it takes to keep her.

November 2, 2012

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