18. Fairy payback time

        Just got home from the hospital.  I thought there might be problems getting my fairy away from Madison; but she brought the little fairy right over.  Unfortunately we’ve had a run in with Unger and he’s seen the fairy.  We caught Unger peeping at my mom and were playing a little prank to extract some revenge, but it didn’t go well.  Not sure how good a look he got.  Maybe I can convince him it was just his imagination, or a toy action figure, or a Barbie doll.  Right, one that moves, and has wings, and can fly.  Not likely.  More and more people are becoming aware of the fairy and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be
able to keep her secret.  Unger is mad and he is no friend.
        Getting the fairy back was foremost on my mind upon getting home from the hospital after being away for an entire week.  I’ve been healing faster than expected thanks to an ointment the fairy gave Madison and was declared fit by the doctor and released to go.  It took almost two hours to out-process but then I was out of there.  Hope I never have to see one of those sterile hospital prison rooms again in my life.  I wanted to contact Madison right away and demand the return of my fairy, but Mom was pleased to have me home again and I had to endure her attentions and wait patiently until after the dinner meal was finished and my family all occupied with other matters.  Brian left to hang out with friends and Mom retired to her room, with her TV for company and probably for the night, so I had the house to myself.  I immediately texted Madison, “I’m home, you can bring the fairy back now?”
        Madison responded after a short delay, “Sure, be right over.”  What a surprise.  No arguing.
        I couldn’t wait and got more than a little irritated when Madison took her sweet time getting to my house.  Seems she had to wait for her dad to get home from a church meeting so she could borrow the car.  Don’t know why she didn’t just walk?  When she finally did arrive, she had the fairy in a small pet travel carrier, which she had tucked under her arm.  It was shaped like a cylinder with a strap, which Madison had slung over her shoulder, had a flat bottom, and was screened at each end; so the fairy had a good view of everything going on and yet was well hidden from anyone that happened to look their way.
        I ushered Madison into the house hurried her up to my room.  She couldn’t help acting all smug as she placed the doggie carrier bag onto my desk and unzippered the front end.  Out walked the little fairy.  Bonnie clapped her hands with delight at the sight of me and began bouncing up and down on her heels.
        “Welcome home, little pixie,” I exclaimed, delighted by her reaction.  I put my face close to her and she gave me a big hug, wrapping her arms around my face.  “I’m so glad you’re safe,” I exclaimed.
        The fairy backed up and looked me over with concern.  “Bonnie worried.  Michael hurt bad?”
        I held up my hand for her to see.  “I’m fine now.”  All the swelling from the poison on that spear one of the fairies stuck through my hand has gone down and the redness all but disappeared, and I no longer keep a bandage wrapped around my hand to cover the puncture wounds.  Also the swelling on my forehead is entirely gone.  “Thank you Bonnie for that green stuff you gave Madison,” I told the fairy.
        “So you got it,” the fairy beamed at my compliment.  “I knew it would help.”
        “Yes, it did.  Madison snuck the fairy ointment into the hospital and rubbed it onto my wounds when no one was around.  It stung like crazy but did help a lot, took the swelling right down and neutralized the poison.”  The doctors had also given me anti-venom for snakebite.  Between that and Bonnie’s natural remedy, my body shook off the poison, otherwise it might have been lethal, I’ve been told.  I flexed my hand into a fist to show her I had full mobility.  “See, no harm done.”
        The fairy seemed truly relieved.  “Bonnie glad,” she said, then she got a curious look on her face.  “My liege,” she proclaimed in an uncharacteristically formal voice, and curtseyed to me.  She’d never done that before.  Then she got down on her knees and dropped her head.  I glanced at Madison questioningly, but Madison only shrugged.  The fairy saw I was confused and said, “My liege, please accept me as thy vassal.”
        “What!  What in the world are you talking about, Bonnie?”
        The little fairy looked up at me imploringly.  “Will you not accept me as thy vassal?”
        Madison caught on first.  “I told you what happened in the woods.  The other fairies disowned her.  They gave her to you.”
        I was shocked.  “What?”
        “Don’t you remember?” Madison accused me.  “You asked for her.”
        “I just wanted to take her home with us, away from them.”  I looked back at the fairy, but she was staring at the ground again, still on her knees, head bowed.  “Bonnie,” I said.  “You are not going to be my vassal.  I set you free.”
        The fairy looked up at me in sudden horror.  “But where will I go?  Michael not want Bonnie?”
         “Well of course I want you,” I responded hastily.  Madison was frowning at me. 
        “So you accept me as thy vassal?” the fairy was pressing me.
        Madison shook her head and glared.  “If you want me too, sure,” I told the fairy.
        The fairy nodded, then instructed, “Please say, I accept thy offer of fealty and swear - by heaven and earth, by fire, air, matter and spirit, in the name of the great creator of all realms and all life - to provide protection for thee and thy family, to treat thee with honor and respect, and to provide for thy maintenance.”
        I could tell the fairy was dead serious.  Madison had her arms folded and was shooting me the most furious of looks, but so what.  I raised one of my arms to a square and made a sign like I was giving the Boy Scout pledge, and repeated the words the fairy had said, adding “…. so help me God.”
        The fairy sighed with relief, and then smiled.  She stood up straight and stiff, like she was going to attention, and looked at me solemnly.  She rose and raised her arm, mimicking me with the Boy Scout sign.  “And I swear my allegiance to you - by heaven and earth, by fire, air, matter and spirit, in the name of the great creator of all realms and all life -to accept you as my liege lord, to give you my loyalty, and to serve you with all my heart, for the good of the fairy kingdom …. ahhh … and the human kingdom.”  Then she giggled, and said, “So help me God too.”
        “Bonnie, what does this all mean?” I asked.
        “I guess she’s your slave now,” Madison said sarcastically.
        “No no, not slave,” the fairy stamped her foot.  “Slaves are property.  Bonnie a vassal.  Michael my liege lord.”
        I needed to cut this discussion off before Madison got really wound up.  “Well I guess that explains it,” I said.  “So how are your wings?”
        “Ohh,” the fairy exclaimed, and uncurled her wings for our view.  It never fails to amaze me when she stretches out her glistening gossamer wings, but I was horrified to see the tips had been cut off.
        I’ve researched this wing clipping thing on the Internet, for birds anyway, saw nothing about fairy wings that was believable, and learned you clip a bird’s wings by cutting back the primary flight feathers.  It doesn’t hurt, and without full primary feathers a bird can’t fly.  The more you cut off, the longer it takes to grow back.  As the clipped feathers do grow back, the bird starts regaining its flying abilities.  Some birds, depending on the how badly they get their wings clipped, regain flight in as soon as a week, others take months.
        I looked closer and saw Bonnie’s wing tips had not been totally cut off.  The fairy prince had actually done her a favor by not being more severe.  He merely cut some membrane away, rather than cut or amputate the supporting ribs that held the different sections of her wings erect.  She was already beginning to heal and the removed pieces of membrane were starting to grow back, but looked red and tender and too weak to support flight.
        I felt terrible for her nonetheless.  “So you can’t fly,” I mourned.
        “I can fly a little,” the fairy responded optimistically.  Before I could stop her, she launched herself off the desk to demonstrate.  She couldn’t gain any altitude, although she flapped her wings and tried, but she was able to manage a slow controlled descent, gaining about a foot of forward motion for every foot of descent.
        I scooped her up off the carpet after she landed and returned her to the desktop.  “Good for you, Bonnie.”
        The fairy looked pleased and stretched her wings and arms.  She started to say something, when suddenly her eyes darted to the window.  She crouched down, then curled her wings onto her back as she dove and rolled for cover, disappearing out of sight behind the lamp.  Madison and I both whirled to the window.  I didn’t see anything.
        “Man at other house,” the fairy exclaimed, crouching behind the lamp.  “What is that he holds to his eyes?”
        Then I saw him.  Unger’s house is next to ours and he was standing in the upstairs window looking our way.  He had a pair of binoculars to his face.  “Hit the dirt,” I cried, and dropped to the floor.  Madison followed suit and dropped flat on the carpet.  We looked at each other in amazement.  I crawled across the floor to just below the window seal.  Madison followed, also crawling across the floor until she was by my shoulder.  The fairy flew down off the desk and followed after us.  Carefully Madison and I rose up and peaked out the window.
        Unger was still staring at us with his binoculars.  I couldn’t believe it.  Then, upon closer inspection, I saw he wasn’t actually focused on my window, but was looking towards the window to my left.  AT MY MOM’S ROOM!!  This was too much.  I jumped to my feet.  “Wait Michael,” Madison cried, but I paid her no heed.  I marched out the room and slammed the bedroom door shut behind me, so the fairy couldn’t follow, nor Madison, and stomped down the hall.  I heard the shower turn on in Mom’s bathroom, with only infuriated me further.  Had Unger been watching her undress?
        I burst into my mom’s room, thinking she was in the shower, planning to pull the blinds on her window.  Instead I found my mother standing in the middle of the room fiddling with her hair.  Fortunately she had a towel wrapped around her.  Ignoring the shocked look on her face, I marched over to the window anyway and let the blinds down in a rush.
        “Michael, what in the world is going on??” Mom sputtered.
        “That pervert, Max Unger, is a peeping tom, and he’s spying on you!!”
        She turned red in the face, “What!”  She clutched the towel closer around her.
        “I saw him watching you through the window!  He’s even got binoculars!”  I started for the bedroom door, planning to charge over to his house and have it out with him.
        “Michael don’t, it’s none of you business!”  Mom got in my way.
        “But Mom?”
        “Stay out of it, I mean it,” Mom exclaimed.
        I pushed around her anyway, slamming her bedroom door shut, and retreated to my own room.  “Where’s my gun?” I exclaimed.
        Madison turned white in the face.  “You have a gun!”
        “No, of course not, but I wish I did.”  I got my tennis shoes out of the closet and sat on the bed to pull them on.
        “What are you going to do?”  Madison got in my face, but I no sooner had my shoes on than we heard mom hurrying down the hall in our direction.
        I leaped up to hold the door shut, just in time, as she turned the knob and tried to come in.  Realizing I was holding it shut against her, Mom pounded on the door and shouted.  “Michael you let me in this instant.”
        “Quick, in the closet,” I hissed.  Both Madison and the fairy fled for the closet, each thinking I was meaning them.  Bonnie went low and hid in a shoe.  Madison got being some hanging clothes and pulled the closet door shut behind her.
        I let Mom in.  “What do you think you’re doing?” she scolded me.  She’d hastily pulled on some jeans and a bathrobe.
        “I’m going to strangle Unger,” I exclaimed.  And I meant it.
        “No, you are not going to do any such thing!” Mom spoke sternly.  She pointed a finger in my face.  “You are not to speak to Unger about this.  Do you understand me young man!!”
        I stared back at Mom, not answering, not wanting to say anything hurtful.
        She didn’t back down.  Then her voice softened.  “Don’t you understand, you could ruin everything?  Please Michael.” 
        My throat tightened and I could only look away.
        “I know he’s a jerk,” Mom said.  “But he’s helping us, and we have to tolerate his eccentricities.”
        “He’s not helping us,” I blurted.  “He’s trying to take advantage of you.”
        She looked anguished.  “Michael, I’m you mother, I know what’s best.”
        “No Mom, you don’t.”
        “I want your promise, you will not say anything or do anything to retaliate.”
        “But Mom?”
        “Your promise!”
        She wasn’t going to relent, I knew her better than that, and I could see she was getting more distraught by the minute, as hard as she was trying to disguise it.  “All right, I promise,” I said.
        “Good, now I expect you to keep your word,” she gave a deep sigh and patted me on the shoulder.  “Don’t disappoint me.”
        She knew I wouldn’t break my word.  Not to her.  “Fine,” I said grumpily.
        She left the room and I plopped down on the bed.  I hit my fist into the pillow.  Presently the closet door opened and Madison ventured out.  She had been watching through the slats in the closet door.  She looked at me intently, studying my face.  The fairy climbed out of a shoe and came up to the bed and also looked at me sympathetically.  I hate it when people feel sorry for me.  Then Madison had to say, “It’s really for the best.”
        “Oh what do you know?”
        “You will keep your word?” Madison asked.
        “I have too.”
        The fairy tried to fly up onto the bed and didn’t quite make it, so I put my arm down and she climbed up, fluttering her wings to assist.  She stood on my chest.  “I didn’t promise anything,” the little fairy said.
        I sat up, almost causing the fairy to fall, but she fluttered back to the bed.  “What did you say?” I asked.
        “Bonnie not promise.  Bonnie get back at your enemy.”
        “How could you do anything?” I asked in astonishment.
        “Get Bonnie in house, there plenty Bonnie can do.”
        “Oh no you don’t,” Madison cautioned.
        “Well, I imagine we could get you in his house, easy enough,” I said, speaking to the fairy.  I rose and walked to the window to study the layout of Unger’s house.  I could see the binoculars setting in plain sight right on the window seal where he had used them to watch my mother get undressed for her shower.  How many other times had he spied on her?  It was a miracle he hadn’t noticed the fairy in my room.  We had to do something, that was for sure.  “Like what could you do?” I asked Bonnie speculatively, still not convinced.
        “You can’t be serious?” Madison muttered.
        The fairy flew to the floor and came up to my leg.  She looked up at me.   “Bonnie steal things.  Or break things.  Or move things.”
        “Hummm,” that started me thinking.  “We need to make it so he’ll never try and spy on Mom again.”
        “Why don’t you just write him a letter and tell him to stop?” Madison implored.
        “Good idea,” I agreed.  “I’ll write him a letter all right, a nasty one.  Then Bonnie can sneak it up there and put it under the binoculars.  Can you do that Bonnie?  He’ll have a fit thinking someone was in his house.”
        “Bonnie can do that?” the fairy promised, and I heard Madison groan.
        I immediately sat down at the desk and pulled out a pad of paper and a black marker.  Then I wrote in big letters, the fairy standing at the top of the page and watching with interest, Madison looking over my shoulder anxiously, as I wrote the following:

You pervert!!  Voyeurism is against the law!!  Do it again and we call the police!!  Count on it!!

        “Michael, what is your mom going to say?” Madison exclaimed.
        I tore off the rest of the page to make it smaller, then folded it several times, and handed it to the fairy.  “Is this too heavy, can you hold this?”
        The fairy took it with no problem and hefted it high above her head.  “Yes Michael.”
        “Come on,” I pulled on my sweatshirt and held open the pocket for her to fly into.  I forgot she couldn’t fly, so I had to put her in by hand.
        “Michael, what if she gets caught?” Madison wrung her hands.
        “Bonnie not get caught,” the fairy piped up from my pocket.
        I was too mad not to do something.  That jerk was spying on my mom.  “Madison, you watch from the window.  If you see anything suspicious, warn us by holding up a handkerchief.”
        “I don’t have a handkerchief,” Madison cried.
        “You can find some scout handkerchiefs in my top dresser drawer?” I said.
        “What do you mean if I see anything suspicious?” she exclaimed.
        I just wanted to give her something to do.  The fairy and I were soon out the front door and cutting across the lawn towards Unger’s house.  I was determined, but started having second thoughts as we came up on the front porch and I almost turned back.  There were several cars parked at the curb and in the driveway and it looked like some kind of social or party going on inside.  “You sure about this, little pixie?” I spoke to my pocket.  “I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.”
        She spoke confidently, “Bonnie fine.  They no see Bonnie.”
        “Okay,” I said, and steeled my nerves.  I looked back at the house and saw Madison up in my bedroom window.  She saw me looking and waved the handkerchief at me, then motioned at us to come back, and gave me a disparaging look.  I shook my head at her and rang Unger’s doorbell.  My plan was simple - get in, distract Unger while the fairy delivered her note, then get out.  Keep it sweet and simple.
        Unfortunately it was Mrs. Unger who answered the door.  I’ve never met her before but have heard stories.  The Ungers are like complete opposites from each other.  He’s a diehard conservative and she’s flaming liberal.  He’s large and she’s petite.  He’s still in rock hard military shape and she’s grown a little plump over the years.  He’s always angry and she’s always cheerful.  He’s been in the military since high school and she was one of those 60's people that never out grew the hippie fad.  In fact, she was even dressed like a hippie for their party.  She had her hair long and straight and had on a purple headband.  She wore a dress with psychedelic print, calf-high white boots, and a peace symbol necklace.  Her skirt was very short, too short for a woman of her age, especially one that was starting to put on a little extra weight.  “Can I help you?” she asked. 
        “Hello Mrs. Unger, I live next door.” 
        “Yes, Michael isn’t it.  I recognize you.  How many times have you been in our yard chasing loose balls over the years?”  She smiled at me sweetly.   I could see several other adults beyond her in the house, drinks and beer bottles in hand, milling around the kitchen and living room.  She noticed my gaze and said, “We’re having a holiday party with some friends from the base.  I’d offer you a beer, but I don’t suppose you’re of age yet.”
        “I need to speak with your husband, can I come in?”
        “Sure, make yourself welcome,” she waved me inside, watching me speculatively.  She saw me eyeing the crowd.  “Just a bunch of Max’s squadron buddies and their spouses here for a friendly get together during the Christmas season, maybe some of them knew your dad.”
        I was not happy to see their house crowded with people.  The interior was decorated with an odd mixture of military and hippie type artifacts - a lava lamp on the fire place mantel next to a scale model tank, a picture of Patten on one wall and the guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on another.  A bean bag chair next to a camouflage camp stool.  There were plenty of things for the fairy to hide behind.  “Were you there?” I asked, pointing to a poster of Woodstock.
        It was all the distraction the fairy needed.  As soon as Mrs. Unger turned to look where I was pointing, Bonnie leaped out of my pocket, flew to the floor, and darted behind a brass artillery shell stuffed with flowers in a bright floral arrangement.
        “As a matter of fact, I was at Woodstock,” Mrs. Unger proclaimed proudly.  It was just after Max got back from his tour of duty in Nam.  Did you know, when he arrived back in the States I was at the airport that day protesting against the war.  I was holding a sign calling them baby killers.  Of course, I didn’t know him then.
        Mrs. Unger escorted me into the living room and I took a seat on a plush leather couch that gave me an unobstructed view of the interior of their house so I could keep an eye out for the fairy.  I pushed aside several magazines to clear a space, issues of Mother Jones and Soldier of Fortune, and sat down.  Mrs. Unger called upstairs to her husband, and then took a seat in a matching leather chair opposite me.  She stared at me for a moment, and then said, “So, you and your Mom doing okay?”
        “Sure,” I responded, her attention making me feel a bit uncomfortable.  Beyond her, I saw the fairy scurry across the floor, away from the main doorway, and disappear behind a curtain.
        “I mean,” Mrs. Unger continued, “It was so tragic about your father.  We were all shocked, simply shocked.”
        “We’re fine,” I said firmly.  What does she care about us?  She doesn’t.  Mrs. Unger has never had anything to do with us in the past, and neither has her husband, until he got interested in Mom.  I watched the fairy race for the foot of the stairs and then pause.  I sat forward.  How was she to get up the stairs when she couldn’t fly?
        “There must be something I could do to be of service to your mom, or you?”  Mrs. Unger leaned toward me.  “I want to do something for you.”
        She was watching me too closely.  I momentarily gave Mrs. Unger my attention and shook my head.  “We’re fine, really.”  Then I saw the fairy leap toward the lip of the first step and, flapping her wings, half fly and half climb up that step.  The little fairy approached the second step and repeated the process, and continued in like manner up the stairway.  I quickly glanced around to see if any of the guests were watching, but that made Mrs. Unger glance around too so I had to stop.  I regretted the risk we were taking and felt sweat on my forehead.  We were going to get caught.
        Mrs. Unger moved over to the couch and sat next to me.  “You’re looking ill, Michael, are you feeling okay?”
        The fairy was about half way up the stairs when suddenly she stopped, and looked to the top of the stairwell.  The fur on the top of her head stood up.  She flattened herself hard against the back of the next step, just as Unger appeared at the top of the stairs.  He saw me and did a double take, and I thought looked momentarily guilty, but then his bravado returned and he started slowly down the steps, clomping heavily.  He passed right over the top of the fairy and stopped, one foot on her step and one on the step below.  He scowled and me and then spoke.  “Well well well, if it isn’t Michael Rigdon.”  Then to his wife, “What is he doing here?”
        “Max, where are your manners,” Mrs. Unger scolded.  “This is the neighbor boy from next door.  He wants to speak with you about something.”
        I could no longer see the fairy, for Unger’s leg was blocking my view.  I stood up to further distract him, if he looked down, he would surely discover the fairy.  He was standing right over her.  I needed him to come on downstairs.  “I would like a few words with you, if you aren’t too busy,” I said.
        He looked at me suspiciously.  “I am very busy, what do you want?”
        “Max!” his wife berated him.
        “Busy doing what?” I challenged.  “Bird watching?”
        Unger caught his breath.  It was a mistake on my part.  Now he realized he’d been spotted staring out the window at my mom, watching her undress to take a shower.  He grew red in the face, but with anger, not embarrassment.  “You will leave now!  You are not welcome in this house!”
        He didn’t want to have this conversation in front of his wife and now seemed glued to his spot towering over the fairy.  I couldn’t let him chase me out of the house though, not without my little fairy.  I plopped back down on the couch.  “I have a complaint to pick with you, and it can’t wait.”
        The Unger’s were both staring at me now.  Then I saw the strangest thing.  The fairy was on the move, and she moved so quickly and so efficiently she almost looked like a blur.  She came around Max Unger’s right foot and pulled his shoe laces apart.  Hanging one to the end of one shoe lace, she glided down a step to his left foot, where she also undid the shoelace on that shoe. Without hesitation she swiftly tied them together in a neat little knot.
        I caught my breath as Mrs. Unger stood up and turned to address her husband, “Max, what’s this all ….”
        I was afraid she would see the fairy so I caught her arm at the elbow.  “Would you like to know what your husband’s been up too?”
        “No you don’t,” Max Unger snarled, and now he started down the stairs.
        Have you ever taken a step going down stairs and been tripped.  There’s no way to catch yourself and your momentum is all forward and down.  Max Unger let out a mighty bellow and took a dive down the stairs.  He hit hard on his belly with outstretched arms and slid down the remaining steps like a surf board, screaming like a pig all the way.  Everyone in the house turned to stare, except me, and I was the only one that noticed the fairy was on the move again.  Only instead of coming back to me, she made her way on up the stairs and disappeared around a corner towards the bedrooms, intent on completing her mission.
        Max Unger was on his feet in a rage.  Fortunately the shoe lace knot had come apart so he didn’t know what caused him to trip, other than his shoe laces were untied.  He rushed at me and grabbed me at the collar of my sweatshirt, lifting me out of the couch until my face was up to his.  His wife started shouting at him to stop and his guest were all staring at him in total amazement, so I didn’t resist.  Let him make a fool of himself.  He backed me up against the fireplace mantel, and I thought sure he was going to punch me.  I closed my eyes waiting for the blow, but it never came.
        “What in the world is going on?” my mother screamed, and I opened my eyes to see her standing in the open front doorway to the Unger’s home.  Just behind her was Madison, my scout handkerchief clutched in her hand.  “You let go of my son!” Mom demanded.
        I felt Unger’s grip loosening, so I slipped my hands between his arms and broke his grip, knocking his arms and fists away from my collar.  Unger backed away, looking bewildered.  He looked to his wife in confusion, but she was no help.
        “Mom marched into the room.  “Don’t ever touch my son again!” she bellowed, and I was totally amazed at her ferocity.
        I slipped away, down the wall a few feet, and Madison appeared at my side.  She reached over and patted my stomach, over the pocket of my sweatshirt.
        “Hey, we’re in public,” I said.
        Madison hissed at me, “Where is she?”
        I nodded in the direction of upstairs and Madison groaned.
        Meanwhile Mom turned her anger on me.  “Michael, you go home.  I told you not to bother Mr. Unger!”
        “Well what are you doing here?” I demanded.
        “She was invited to the party,” Unger sneered.
        “That’s not the only thing you invited her too,” I shot back.
        “Michael!” Mom raised her voice incredibly high.  “Go home now!”
        But I couldn’t leave without Bonnie.  I needed to stall.  “Well if you’re staying for the party, Mom, then I guess I will too.”
        “You are not welcome,” Unger shouted.  “And who is this?” he pointed at Madison.
        I stepped between them.  “She’s with me.  Don’t you point your finger at her.”
        Madison peeked around me.  “I need to use the bathroom.  Is it upstairs?”
        Everyone stared at her incredulously.  “No, I mean yes,” said a flustered Mrs. Unger.  “I mean, you can use our bathroom if you need too, of course.”
        “Michael,” now Mom was in my face.  “Go home now!”
        I couldn’t.  Bonnie was upstairs and I was not leaving without her.  Suddenly we heard a loud splash coming from upstairs.  Everyone in the house seemed to turn and look in the direction of the stairs.
        “I’m going for a beer!” I shouted, and jumped away from Mom.  I winked at Madison and broke for the kitchen. 
        “Michael,” Mom protested, and started after me.  Both Unger’s shook themselves to activity also and followed after us.  Behind them I saw Madison heading upstairs at a run.
        I made it into the kitchen, spotted a cooler setting on the counter, flung it open, and grabbed a Budweiser before they caught up with me.  I popped the can open, which made a satisfying hiss.  Mom grabbed at my arm as if to prevent me from taking a drink, as if I was really going too.  Then Unger rudely snatched the beer out my hand.
        Mom folded my arm into hers and escorted me out of the kitchen.  “We are both leaving,” she declared.
        As we came into the living room I saw Madison over by the door.  She had one hand in a sweater pocket and was smiling.  She nodded towards the door, so I pulled free of Mom.  “Got to go,” I said, and raced for the door.  Madison and I raced outside and flew down the front steps.
        “You got Bonnie?” I asked for confirmation, as we ran across the yard.
        “Yes, in my pocket,” she panted.  “What happened?  When your mom and I were coming up the front steps we saw Unger through the open doorway falling down the stairs?”
        “Bonnie tied his shoe laces together!”
        Madison actually grinned.  “No way!”
        Suddenly we heard a shout coming from upstairs back in the Unger house.  It was so loud it probably woke up the entire neighborhood.  “WHO PUT MY BINOCULARS IN THE TOILET!!!!!”
        Madison and I looked at each other in astonishment.  Then she started to laugh, and that caused me to break out laughing too.  I took her free hand and we raced across the yard together and back to the safety of my house.  Once inside the front door, with it locked securely, and my back against the door, we stopped to laugh and catch our breaths.  Madison took the fairy out of her pocket and set her on the end table in the hall.
        “What’s funny,” Bonnie exclaimed, laughing in merriment with us.
        “Bonnie, you did so good,” I exclaimed.  “We got him good.”
        Madison seemed to regain some composure.  “Well, it wasn’t a nice thing to do.”  I glanced at her disapprovingly.  “But I supposed he deserved it,” she smiled
        “And you put the note in his window?” I asked the fairy.
        “Sure did,” Bonnie exclaimed.
        “And you put his binoculars in the toilet?” I asked in disbelief.
        “It seemed like a good idea,” the little fairy said.
        “Oh, it was, it was.  You are the best, Bonnie, simply the best.”
        Suddenly there was sharp knock at the door and we all jumped.  “It’s Mom,” I exclaimed.  I looked at the fairy but she was already hiding and ducked behind a vase on the little end table.  I unlocked the front door and opened it to let Mom in - but it wasn’t Mom.
        It was Max Unger, larger than life.  He was looming in the doorway and raised his fist up at me, with the note clutched tightly in his hand.  I was so startled, I lunged backward and knocked the vase off the table, exposing the fairy to his view.
        So it wasn’t the fairy’s fault she was seen by Unger, it was mine.  Under normal circumstances I don’t think anyone could ever see her against her wishes.  She froze, there was no place to hide or run too, and the two of them were staring at each other.  Then the fairy uncurled her wings, leaped off the end table, and flew away down the hall, descending as she went, until out of sight around a corner.  Unger’s mouth fell open.  Then I slammed the door shut in his face and turned the lock and threw the deadbolt.  He didn’t even bang on the door or try to get back in, probably too stunned by what he saw.
        So now that makes five people that have seen the fairy besides me.  Nicole, Madison’s little toddler sister, but she can’t even talk yet.  Madison, who keeps threatening to tell people.  Westley Fench, my best friend, who would never tell anyone except out of stupidity, which is quite possible with him.  My brother Brian, who wants to sell Bonnie for money.  And now Major Max Unger, my enemy.  Word is getting out.  There’s no way I’m going to be able to keep her a secret for much longer.  Especially now that Unger saw her.

      December 12, 2012

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