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Monday, November 25, 2019
How Mabel Saved The World
"Psychic Hotline." Mabel knew who the caller was--not because she was psychic, but because the payment authorization tone never sounded. How were the kids getting through without paying? You were supposed to be eighteen to begin with.
"O Great Fairy, we come to you again. The persons have moved machines and materials into our sacred grove to build their houses."
Mabel had switched to speaker for the benefit of Claire at the next station. Claire had colorless choppy hair and a scrunched up face, making her look as cynical as she sounded. "Back again?" Claire asked. "That sounds like the one who calls herself Sephora. A little kid shouldn't sound so sultry. She must be channeling her favorite pop singer."
"Go ahead, Sephora." Mabel let her glasses dangle on their cord.
"We want to call a Grand Convocation, but it hasn't been done before. Please advise us, Great Fairy."
Rather than admit she didn't know what a convocation was, Mabel chose to be conservative. "You have fairy powers, dear. I'm sure you can handle it."
"We don't know what you mean, Great Fairy." The voice of the other one was even more Kewpie-doll innocent. Yet the kids had a strange adult cadence and vocabulary. They must be reading their tall tales all the time.
"Is that you, Pommi?" Mabel didn't recall the tricky name the other child used.
Hesitation. "Why do you dishonor my name, Great Fairy?"
Claire leaned closer. "I read somewhere how they don't like nicknames. I think her name is Melpomini."
"Melpomini!" Mabel clarified. "You know the 'persons' need materials and tools to work with."
Another pause, broken by Sephora. "You are wise, Great Fairy. We know what to do now."
Claire's shoulders shook with repressed laughter. "Cute kids. They could use some parental supervision, though. Imagine hacking into our system like that." She fielded the next caller, and the work day wore on.
Next afternoon, after the lunch break, Claire indulged her habit of sharing the internet news. "Did you hear about that construction site? Stacks of lumber turned to dust; vehicle tires, hydraulic hoses, everything organic. No tire tracks or footprints anywhere. The CEO is calling it eco-terrorism. Freaky, huh?"
That was all the country needed: a new type of terrorist. When the unauthorized call came in again, Mabel didn't bother with her pitch line. "Hello, dears. Did you take my advice?"
"We did, Great Fairy." Sephora. "You are so wise. We used a spell of decrepence to age their machines and materials. The persons have packed up and left our grove."
Mabel put a hand over her mouthpiece and leaned toward Claire. "The kids are taking credit for that construction caper." Back live again. "I'm glad I could help you kids, but I have to get back to work now. Shouldn't you be in school?"
At the back of a small cave, two fairies watched the talisman screen go dark. Sephora did a regal flick of bluish wings that contrasted nicely with raven hair. She had enlisted the blonde Melpomini of the emerald wings to help carry the talisman here. Some hiker person must have dropped it. One of its buttons was marked with a daub of paint; when pressed, it summoned the voice of the Great Fairy.
"What did she mean by us being in school?" Sephora queried.
Melpomini shrugged. "She is very old, and has a right to be eccentric. Do you think the person who lost this can speak to the Great Fairy?"
"Don't be silly. Only the fey can reach her. Anyway, the Great Fairy has spared us a lot of work. Do you remember the last convocation?"
"It was centuries ago," Melpomini said, "at a place called Roanoke. Settler persons from across the great ocean came and defiled the grove there. The fairies opened a portal to the fairy plane, from which no persons may ever return."
"Very good." Sephora looked at the talisman again. "Yes, a Grand Convocation would be a lot of work for all the fairies of the world. That would make all the persons go away."
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