Thursday, May 25, 2017
Flash Fiction # 252: That kind of day
The day started with my clock taking off from the nightstand with a wail of the alarm, flying around the room for five minutes while I tried to catch it, and then exploding in mid-air, showing the room with bits of plastic.
This was the third exploding clock this month.
It was half an hour late waking me besides. I threw myself into the shower, pulled on clothing I'd put out the night before -- I am not a morning person -- and ran to work. Literally. I put a touch of magic into it and a shield, so the poor, easily upset humans didn't see me, and still made it to work on time. I stood outside for a moment and got my breath back while I damped down the magic glow. Then I straightened my clothing and went inside the doors of Permia's Fine Clothing for Men and Women.
This was not the sort of place you would typically find a fae working, but at least it was a job. Fae don't frequent the human realm much, but some of us are just unlucky. I had fallen into a sinkhole in the fae realm -- one that appeared suspiciously fast under my feet and disappeared again before I could leap back out. I'd been alone, so no one knew where I'd gone, though I'd held to the hope of rescue for a couple months. Then I took fate into my hands and started looking for a way back home. The best I could do would be to gather enough magic to make a door of my own. That would take a long time. Meanwhile, I had to survive here. I could have done so by using magic without a problem, but if I did that, then it would take me even longer to gather enough power to get home.
So I had to survive the way humans did. I used a bit of magic to get a job at a clothing store, which looked marginally better than a fast food place (though free food did have an appeal), and then I just did the best I could. I had been daunted at first, but I soon learned that I had a better fashion sense than most humans.
"Well at least your on time today," Tavia said with a disdainful sniff. I had never, ever, been late, so I held her look until she walked away. Tavia La Madga (not her real name, and I didn't need magic to know it) was in charge of woman's footwear, and I was one of her three slaves. We dressed as though we were about to step out on a date with Prince Charming, including high heels and a short black dress that was the uniform of every woman in the building. The men wore black suits, blue ties, and white shirts. We did not fraternize, except for the occasional publicity photo.
After my first week on the job, I found the best way to make my life easy. Human women almost always lie about their shoe size. I don't know why, but I could look at supposed seven and know it was an eight. Rather than argue or have to retrieve several pairs of shoes before the woman gave up and left complaining about our sizing system, I started changing the tags on a box to read seven instead of eight. I started selling a lot of shoes which made Tavia as happy as she ever got, but didn't improve my relationship with Anna and Clarice. They didn't want to work hard, but they didn't want me to show them up, either. I'd see them standing at the edges of displays, eyes narrowed. I would have thought they were wraiths if I didn't know better. They certainly were thin enough.
I didn't care. I didn't intend for this to be my life's work.
We had rain in the afternoon, which was bad. Women did not shop for high-end shoes on a rainy day unless they were in dire need. That meant more time with my co-workers, and they were not the most appealing people. They were so 'into' the New York scene that they might as well have been speaking another language. I had learned to nod and never question anything.
When the young woman wandered into our department, the others took in her plain black coat and responsible shoes and gave her a look of disdain. Not important enough for them. I thought she had dressed well for the weather, though tame compared to most of what we saw here.
She looked lost. I took that as my chance to get away from the others.
"I have to go to a fancy gathering tonight," she admitted and made it sound as though she was heading for prison. "I don't have anything to wear. I thought I'd start with shoes. How hard can shoes be?"
She glanced my way with so pleading a look that I took pity on her. I also used a bit of magic so I could help her with the rest of her shopping, including makeup. By the time she left the shop, I felt as though I had done my first good deed since I came to this reality.
And it paid off. Before I left work that day, I had a new position: personal liaison to women who needed help for some event. They'd start advertising within the week. I got a raise in pay and my own office. Yes, it takes a bit of my hoarded magic to pull this off, but I didn't mind so much. It's been fun to help some of the women, and the ones that are not fun, I get through the process with magic, and they're happy in the end, too. Oh, and I ditched the damned heels, too.
This, people, is how I came to be a modern-day fairy godmother. The pay's not bad, either!