14. How I captured a fairy

        I learned some interesting things about fairies today.  The fairy was asking me all kinds of stuff about my personal life, her curiosity knows no bounds, so I decided it was only fair she answer a few questions in return.  Not that I haven’t asked before - things like whether or not there are other fairies to be found in the woods behind Madison’s house, where fairies come from, what she was doing there that night I found her, are there boy fairies, etc., etc., etc.  The fairy always puts me off whenever I want to talk about her, and again she adamantly refused to discuss anything with regards to fairies.  She loves any opportunity to talk, but only about me, and the things she sees in my room or on TV or out the window.  Questions about her or other fairies get nowhere.  She conveniently acts dumb, or withdrawn, and sometimes even turns and walks away.  She’s even laid herself down and pretended to fall instantly sleep.  I never wanted to push her and didn’t feel any great need to know those things anyway.  I’m just happy to have her with me and don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable.  I figured she’d tell me when she was ready, and apparently today she was.
        I got home from school the first day after the Thanksgiving break and the fairy greeted me by swooping around my head several times, giving me a big hug on the cheek, then alighting on my shoulder.  The questions begin immediately and I hardly had time to stow my backpack and gym bag.  I haven’t taken her out of the house since that day she made a wreck of Ms. Weaverspell’s chemistry lab, and she’s always so full of questions I have to rehearse the my entire day for her, describing everything that happened, answering curious and sometimes odd questions about even the most ordinary of events.  It’s like a whole new world has been opened up to her and she’s constantly amazed and astounded by things I tell her from even the most ordinary of days at school.
        As I settled down at my desk, the fairy perched on top of the computer monitor and wanted to know about the subjects my teachers talked on at school, who Shakespeare is, what’s a parabola, about the clothes people wore, why no one carried spears and swords, about the airplane she saw fly overhead out the window, about the food I ate at school, why anyone would put ketchup on anything, about the school building, how it stayed warm without fire, how the lights worked, and on and on and on; but most of all, she’s curious about people.  Not just names, but relationships; why some are teachers and some students, who I hand out with and why, who my friends are, what they’re up to, why they said this or that, who likes who and who hates who – the questions never end.
        I finally got so tired of it I wheeled my chair around to the window and sat back with my feet up on the window seal and my hands behind my head.  The sun felt good on my face and I closed my eyes like I was going to take a nap.  The fairy didn’t take my hint, but flew from the computer monitor to the window seal and stood facing me, leaning against my foot with an extended arm.  She gave my foot a shake to wake me, and when I opened my eyes, she sat down, facing me with her legs hanging over the edge swinging back and forth happily, and launched into more questions, trying to resolve all the things swirling about inside her little pixie head.
        We were going over the lunch time menu and details on everyone that set foot in the cafeteria, how a group of Goths had almost gotten into an altercation with the Samoans, when suddenly Bonnie jumped up on her feet and changed the subject, as if a question of vital importance had just struck her that needed immediate resolution.  “Why did Madison the other day remind you about this thing she called a dance?” the fairy asked, catching me a little off guard.  That had happened maybe a week ago.  The fairy always got around to Madison at some point in her questions, even if I didn’t bring her up.
        “I don’t know,” I said.  “Maybe Madison wants me to take her to the dance.  She’s in for a disappointment.”
        “What is a dance?” the fairy queried.
        “It’s a party where people dance.  You know, they play music and kids dance around a dance floor.  A dance.”
        The fairy rose up on the balls of her feet.  “Ohhh, can I go.  I want to see.”
        The fairy beamed at me with delight.  “When?”
        “There’s a church dance Saturday evening,” I said.
        The fairy twirled around, and I wondered what kind of dances fairies might know, with wings and all.”  Then she looked at me.  “You take Madison to dance?”
        “But you like Madison?”
        “We’ve gone over this many times before.  Madison is just someone I know.”
        “Madison your girlfriend?”
        “But you said Madison your friend?”
        She was asking in all seriousness and looked genuinely confused, so I tried to explain.  “Yes, but not a girlfriend.  I mean, she is a girl, she might be called a friend, but definitely not a girlfriend.”
        “You want Madison to be girlfriend?”
        “Are you kidding me, no.”
        The fairy scratched the fur on her head and I could tell she was really trying to puzzle this out.  “Please explain.  You want Madison to be your girlfriend?”
        I shook my head, but noticing how hard the fairy was focused on this topic, which she apparently considered of great importance, I decided to use this moment to my advantage.  “Bonnie, I’ll make you a deal.”
        Fairies like deals.  She grinned and nodded enthusiastically.
        I looked directly into those deep brown eyes.   “I’ll tell you everything you want to know about Madison, but first you tell me who your little friend is?”
        The fairy looked suddenly uncomfortable and then shrugged her shoulders, as if she didn’t understand what I wanted to know.  So I pressed her. “Come on Bonnie, I saw the other fairy visit you.  She was wearing blue?  She has wings like you.  I saw the two of you that night, don’t deny you know who I’m talking about.  So who’s your friend?”
        The fairy’s eyes grew round.  She stepped back and her hair stood up a little.  “You saw us?”
        “Sure.”  Now I had her off guard.  “What’s her name?”
        The fairy was looking guilty.  She whispered something that sounded a lot like, “Genovefa.”
        I nodded and smiled, to make sure she saw I wasn’t mad or irritated.  “It’s okay Bonnie, nothing to be concerned about.”  There was no way I was going to be able to pronounce her friend’s name though, so I said, “Jennie?”
        Bonnie gazed up at me.  “Jennie?”
        I recalled how they had initially hugged each other like long lost friends, but then parted on angry terms.  “And is Jennie your friend?” I asked.
        “Yes, Jennie my sister.”
        “Jennie’s your sister, you have the same parents?”
        “Bonnie, what do you mean when you say Jennie’s your sister?”
        “Sister,” the fairy repeated, apparently not understanding the word.
        “I see, and your friend too.”
        “Yes,” the fairy responded.  “Friend.”
        I was excited.  The fairy had just confirmed the existence of other fairies.  I knew there had to be more, where there is one or two, there is bound to be others.  I needed to give her something now.
        “Thank you Bonnie, now you can ask me a question about Madison.”
        She rocked back on her heels and ran a hand over the fur on the back of her neck.  “Does Michael like Madison?  Sometimes seems like, no.  Sometimes seem like, yes.”
        Not this again.  I paused, like I was giving deep consideration to her question, then said, “Madison is a nice enough person, I guess you could say I like her, not all the time mind you, but some of the time.  I have no specific interest in her as a girl.  She’s in the way at times.  She’s not that smart and doesn’t know how to mind her own business.”
        The fairy looked at me quizzically.  Madison likes you!” she pronounced.  It wasn’t a question.
        I grinned and shook my head.  “I don’t think so.  She’s made it real clear she doesn’t approve of me.”
        “She like you,” the fairy insisted.
        “Well how could she not?” I said.
        The fairy nodded in agreement.  She is so amusing at times.  “In reality,” I explained.  “Madison doesn’t like me much.  She’s been pretty clear about that, and I don’t like her either.  She’s not my type.  Much too bossy.  I learned that about Madison the first time we met.”
        “Tell Bonnnie?”
        “Tell Bonnie what?” I asked.
        “About Madison,” she pressed me.
        “Oh, that.  Okay Bonnie, I’ll tell you all about Madison, why you want to know about her is beyond me, but first you have to tell me something - deal.”
        The fairy nodded agreeably and stepped closer, right up to the edge of the window seal so that her toes were hanging over.  She was barefoot and I was relieved to see she had five toes, not six, as I had been wondering.  Apparently she thought I was sharing big secrets with her, so she assumed I would expect her to share something big also.  I didn’t want to ask too much though, I needed to take it slow.  “Tell me about fairies,” I asked cautiously.  “How many are there in this area and do they live very far from here?”
        The fairy hesitated and scrunched up her face, then she answered.  “Fairies don’t live in the human realm, they live in the realm of fairies.”
        “But you’re here?  And Jennie?  Two fairies.  Any others?”
        She looked at me questioningly.  “Michael not see other fairies when he capture Bonnie?”
        It bothered me she said I captured her, like it was a kidnapping or something.  But I guess that’s what happened.  She didn’t seem angry about it.  “No, I only saw you.  Were there others around?”
        “Yes.  Fairies come to human realm, fairies go home to fairy realm, when expedition done.”
        “So you’re only here temporarily.  For an expedition you say.  How long will you stay?” 
        “Don’t know.  Plan disrupted.  Couldn’t get back.”
        I put my feet down and sat up.  “You can’t get back!  Maybe I can help?”
        The fairy shook her head vehemently.  “No, Michael no help.”
        “But you and Jennie are stuck here?  And the others?  How many of you?”
        “Fifteen,” she looked downcast.  “If all still alive.”
        “Fifteen,” I echoed.  “But why wouldn’t they still be alive?”
        “Human realm very dangerous.  Horrible creatures here.  Owls, hawks, dogs, cats, rats.  Also enemies live here.”
        “Bonnie, there must be something I can do to help?”
        The fairy shook her head and then expanded her wings to their full extent and stretched up on her tip toes and reached upward as high as she could.  She settled back down and curled her wings flat again and looked at me expectantly.  “Now Michael tell Bonnie all about Madison.”
        How could I refuse after she had opened up with so much to me?  My head was spinning with the implications of all she’d said.  So there are the other fairies about.  Fifteen of them.  “Can I meet them?” I asked Bonnie.
        The hair on the top of the fairy’s head ruffled a little.  “No.”  She frowned and pursed her lips.
        I could see not to push it, the little fairy was starting to get upset.  I needed to distract her.  “Well, let me see, what can I tell you about Madison?  I know, would you like to hear how we met?”
        “Yes, please,” the fairy’s face calmed and she settled down.  She folded her arms in front of her.
        So I began, “The first time I saw Madison was only a few months ago and I tried to play a joke on her; but she didn’t bite and the joke was on me.”
        The fairy grinned and I knew I had her attention.  She sat on the window ledge swinging her feet again, looking at me raptly, as if ready for a long story.  So I gave her one.
        “At church we sometimes have activities in the evening for the youth, where all the teenagers meet, and some adult leaders, and we do fun things and learn stuff, and generally have a good time together.”
        The fairy was hooked.  “Like what?”
        “Oh we do things like basketball, or scouting, or learn to tie knots with ropes, or one summer we built canoes.  The girls generally do their own thing, mostly crafts and stuff, but once in a while we have a joint activity where we do something together.  That night we were there to play volleyball.”
        “In my age group, sixteen and seventeen year old boys, there are seven of us that usually come on a regular basis.  We’ve all gotten to be good friends.  You’ve met Westley, he’s the president of our youth group.  There are only five girls in their corresponding age group, but that night a new girl was joining them.   Church boundaries had been changed recently and her house was now part of our area.  We had heard she was real pretty, so all of us boys were looking forward to seeing her.”
        The fairy looked excited.  Madison?”
        “Right you are, Madison herself.  After the opening exercises, the girls came into the gym and were congregating along one wall and the boys were at the opposite, waiting for the volleyball to start.  A net had already been set up, splitting the gym and separating our two groups.  Madison, the new girl, was there, and seemed to be hitting if off quite well with the other girls.  Jessica and Sarah you haven’t met yet, but you may have seen Natalie and Tosha at Scripture Study class with Madison, and you know Marie from chem lab, the girl you spilled acid solution on and scared half to death.”
        The fairy started laughing, so I felt encouraged.  “Anyway,” I continued.  “The boys and I were joking around and scoping out the new girl.   I was speaking with Westley and
Tim, the three Samoans were huddled together, Leigalo, Kanake, and Hemana, also talking about the same subject I’m sure, and Ramiro was stretching his legs although also watching.  He’s Marie’s brother and they’re both big time into taekwondo.  All the boys were eyeing Madison, but trying not to be conspicuous about it.  She is pretty, in her own way, when she’s not frowning, but she always has such a serious look on her face.”

        “Anyway, Madison broke off from the other girls and strolled across the gym, ducking under the net like she owned the place already, crossed in front of us, and exited out a side door.”  I jumped to my feet and imitated her, sashayed across the gym floor, swaying my hips back and forth in an exaggerated manner like how girls walk.”
        I demonstrated for the fairy and she burst out laughing and put her hands over her mouth.
        “So anyway,” I continued, “Westley and Tim get to daring me to speak with Madison and ask her out on a date.  ‘She’s hot,’ Westley’s saying, ‘you got to go for it man.’  And Tim’s saying, ‘You’re the big football hero, how can she say no.’  And Westley’s saying, ‘Take it as a personal challenge.’  Tim pokes me in the ribs, ‘No girl can resist you.”  Then Westley, ‘I dare you.’  And Tim, ‘Yeh, we dare you.’”
        “Well, I notice the other guys had all caught on to the exchange, and all my friends were looking at me to see how I’d respond.  The Samoans all play football with me and they’re giving me the thumbs up and nodding their heads and thinking it’s so funny.  Everyone’s putting the pressure on and having a good time of it at my expense.  We’re even getting a few glances from the girls across the gym, wondering what all the guys are thinking is so funny.”
        “I really had no choice at this point.  ‘No problem,’ I held up my hands.  ‘I’ll show you guys how it’s done.’  I spoke in a whisper.  ‘First I’ll get her to agree on a date for this Friday after the game, then I’ll tell her we’re going someplace really odd, something really strange like ghost hunting in the cemetery, or no, I got it, championship wrestling.  We’ll see how fast she backpedals.  It’ll be so embarrassing for her.’”
        The fairy hugged herself with delight and I liked seeing her happy, so I continued enthusiastically.  “Madison was back shortly and was standing just inside the gymnasium doorway by the other girls, so I said to my friends, ‘Here’s what I want you to do.  Westley and Tim, you circle around the halls until you’re just outside of the doorway where the girls are gathered, but out of their sight.  Get close enough for the new girl to overhear your conversation, and then start telling each other what a great guy I am and how much fun I am to be around.  You soften her up a bit for me and then I’ll casually meander over and dazzle her with charm.’”
        “So Westley and Tim agree wholeheartedly and take off to do their part.  They exit the gym down at our end and presently we see them through the open doorway down by the girls, but around a corner.  I’m too far away to hear what they’re saying, but all the girls stop their conversations and look towards the doorway, so I know they’re hearing something.”
        “I don’t want to give Tim and Westley too much time, just enough to give the new girl a good impression of me, so I steel up my resolve and start towards the girls.  That’s when things start going to pieces,” I said and shook my head.  The fairy got so excited she pulled her knees up to her chest and clasped her arms around her legs.
          I continued, “I hear my friends laying it on a little thick.  Westley says, ‘Michael is such a stud, he’s the star of the football team.’  Tim says, ‘They call him the arch-angel, he’s unstoppable.’  Westley says, ‘All the girls at school love Michael.’  And Tim actually says, ‘He could go out with any girl he wants, no girl would turn down a chance to be seen with him.’”
        “It was embarrassing and I almost turned back, but the girls saw me approaching and as a group they all turned to see what I wanted, big grins appearing on their faces.  All but Madison that is.  ‘So you’re new here,’ I spoke loudly, to get Westley and Tim to stop, which fortunately they did, but not before they’d done me irreparable damage.”
        “Madison is just kind of looking at me, her eyes narrowing and a frown furrowing her face, and I knew she wasn’t amused.  ‘I’m Michael,’ I held a hand out.  ‘You must be Madison.’”
        “She shook my hand, but then turned to Jessica, ‘This is the one you were telling me about?’”
        “Jessica, who likes to think of herself as kind of a tough girl, actually had on a black leather biker jacket that night, folded her arms, pursed her lips, and nodded.  I didn’t like the looks of that.  We’re all friends and all at church, but the guys and gals get to having fun at each other’s expense at times.  Apparently the girls had been talking about me already, and the new girl had already formed an opinion of me before Westley and Tim started, and not the opinion I had hoped for, but one which Westley and Tim unintentionally reinforced.”
        “I was committed, and all the guys were watching.  I had to follow through, ‘Say ahh, want to go on a date Friday?’”
        “Madison just stared at me for what seemed like a full minute, then spoke with sarcasm, ‘No, sorry, I don’t date guys who are so full of themselves.’  There were gasps from the other girls, then a rolling of eyes, followed by snickering, and even laughter from Nathalie and Tosha.”
        “I was thunderstruck.  Who did she think she was?  She didn’t know me.  What right did she have to judge me like that?  She didn’t even know me.  ‘Fine,’ I said curtly, growing angry now.  I had to do an about face and slink back to the guys, who were almost rolling on the ground with laughter.  ‘Shot you down.’  ‘Crash and burn.’  ‘Skewered you.’  ‘Out of your class.’  ‘Napalm city.’”
        “I didn’t mind the jokes from the guys, it was all in good nature, but Madison’s behavior was inexcusable.  ‘Listen up,’ I said, and the joking stopped.  ‘This new girls needs a proper welcome to the ward.  Who’s up for TPing a house Friday night?’”
        “‘All right,’ Westley crowed.  I can always count on Westley for support.”
        “‘Tim, you in?’ I asked.”
        “Tim’s kind of a friendly nerdy type guy, but he likes to have a good time too.  ‘Sure,’ he responded enthusiastically.”
        “I turned to the Samoans.  Leigalo and Kanake are brothers, and Hemana is a close friend.  They all play on the line and are the main reason I get so many yards every game.  I knew they would join us.  Leigalo, the oldest of the three, and unofficial spokesman responded positively, ‘Sounds like fun,’ and I had a quorum.”
        “I didn’t even have to ask Ramiro.  His sister is one of the Laurels and he takes every opportunity to torment them.  ‘What time?’ he asked.”
        “‘Meet at the church at midnight, after the game, and bring a lot of TP rolls.  Nothing’s off limits,’ I said, meaning trees and the roof were okay targets and rain would not be a show stopper.”
        The fairy was drinking in every word.  “What this mean, TPing?”
        I went into the bathroom and fetched a roll of toilet paper.  “It’s very simple.  We take these rolls of toilet paper and we TP a house.  When you throw them they unwind and leave a streamer of toilet paper.  It doesn’t take many and soon the house and yard and cars look like they’ve been hit by a hurricane of paper.”
        The fairy looked doubtful.  “But why?”
        “Oh, it’s great fun, and it’s a real pain to clean up.”
        The fairy’s eyes crossed, then she said, “But, it makes a mess, who to clean it up?”
        Madison would have too, probably.  That’s the beauty of it.”
        The fairy looked skeptical, but nodded.
        “Anyway, it’s a lot of fun.  So on Friday we met at church, after a great victory at our football game by the way, so we were all ready for a celebration anyway, and we drive out to Madison’s house.  We park down the street a bit, and we are throwing TP everywhere, over the roof, on their car, all over the bushes, even in the tree branches.”
        “We’re almost done out front and I go around the side of the house, and that’s when I saw little Amie, Madison’s baby sister.  It was night and the little toddler was outside, in the dark.  She’s way down in the far corner of a long grassy backyard.”
        The fairy grew suddenly serious and sat forward listening intently.
        “It’s really late and I find this very strange, so I follow along the side of the house into the back yard to see what’s up.  I don’t see any adults about.  The little toddler is out alone, in the middle of the night, out near the woods which border the back property line.  Well, I think about knocking on the back door and getting her parents, but with my friends still in the front yard throwing toilet paper all over the place, it seemed a bit awkward.”
        “I see the toddler circle around a small koi pond and a little waterfall, and she disappears from sight into the trees.  This is not good, so I run down through the yard to try and catch her before she gets too far into the woods and gets lost.”
        “You were trying to rescue the little girl?” the fairy asked.
        “Why sure, I couldn’t let her wander off alone.  She would get lost?”
        The fairy nodded with approval, impressed with my gallantry.
        “Anyway, before I could get all across the yard, the Renard’s dog goes charging past me, barking his head off, all in frenzy.  I was suddenly worried he might wake up the house.  He chances into the woods and then starts to yelping and crying likes he’s been hurt.  I follow into the trees and catch up to the dog and he’s gotten himself all tangled up in some ropes somehow.  I get him free and he races on down this path through the woods, barking and baying like crazy.  I chase after and come into that meadow, where I found you, with all the ferns.  I saw Amie then, but in my excitement I tripped on some vines or something and fell flat on my face, just as I entered the meadow.  The Renard’s dog was chasing all about,  barking and all angry and acting mad with fury, but the beagle wasn’t barking at me, he kept lunging around at the bushes and chasing here and there, like he was after some kind of small animals.”
        “Did you see what?” the fairy asked.
        “No, but I saw some rats later on, so I assume it was rats.”  I looked at the fairy suspiciously.  She wasn’t telling me something.
        “I also noticed bats swooping all around, at least I thought they were bats.  They weren’t fairies were they?”
        The fairy wouldn’t answer, and looked guilty.  “So then what happened?” she said.
        “Well, I got back to my feet and grabbed up the little girl.  She wasn’t crying or anything, I think maybe she was half asleep, or sleep walking or something.”
        “Ohhhh,” the fairy said.
        “That’s when I saw you,” I said to Bonnie.  “You were down on the ground in the middle of the meadow, on your bottom with your back against a rock, and hands out like you were afraid, like something was attacking you.”
        The fairy nodded vigorously.  “Yes, Bonnie had fallen.”
        “That’s when I noticed rats all about, and I kicked at them and shouted and they scattered.  I reached down to you, and you jumped into my hand, clinging on for dear life, and so I picked you up.”
        “Michael saved Bonnie,” she beamed at me.
        “From the rats?”
        “Yes,” the fairy said. “From the rats.  And the gnomes.”
        I think the fairy said gnomes anyway, not sure, but didn’t question her any further at that time.  “Well you know the rest,” I said.  “I took the little girl Amie back to her house and knocked on the back door.  Madison answered almost immediately.  She was already up and had seen the guys as they finished TPing her house.  She was mad.  ‘Who’s going to clean all this up,’ she complained, as she opened the back door.  I told Madison it was her problem and then she saw Amie and her eyes got so wide.  I told her she needed to keep better track of her sister, and then unfortunately, she saw you in my hand, and was totally flabbergasted.  She clutched Amie and pulled back into the house.  This was no time to stay and chit chat, there were lights coming on in the bedroom windows upstairs and I heard footsteps on the stairs beyond Madison, so I bowed and took off running and my friends and I beat it out of there."
     The fairy looked pleased, but a bit shaken from reliving the experience. I learned one thing that makes me feel a whole lot better. So I didn’t kidnapped the fairy, I saved her. No wonder she likes me and is hanging around. I’m her hero. Now if I can just win the fairy’s trust enough so that she’ll let me help her again, and the other fairies too, that would be great.

      November 26, 2012
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