Tulip was a fairy
godmother. Most of the individuals in her extended family were likewise
enchanted characters of various stripes. Tulip leaned toward loyalty and
kindness. The uncle with whom she lived, a hill troll, leaned in the opposite
direction. Kinsfolks claimed that he had been deposited by aliens.
It cost Tulip much effort
to express composure around that uncle despite the fact that she had a
quasi-mastery of equanimity calmness was needed to cast spells. Her
uncle, all the same, didnt make any effort to mask his incessantly
perturbed state. Daily, he showered Tulip with bruises and harsh words. Almost
as often, Tulip escaped him by taking her supper at a local diner with the only
sprite she trusted implicitly, Rosemary, aka the Tooth Fairy.
One evening, as Tulip and
her bestie were chatting over chopping crudités and warmed
youll get no help, girlfriend, from all that plonk youve
hidden beneath those blankets in your four-wheel.
Tulip regarded her
beverage. It was made with unicorn horn powder, a precipitate known to be both
an aphrodisiac and an antidote to poison. As far as Tulip was concerned, abath
and pulverized horn was more delicious than chocolate. Say what?
Arent you the fairy who had been desperate for the dental floss and anvil
I had secured back there?
A long time
Lavender and Sage, the Cleaning Fairies had no problem borrowing my
slop bucket or my new broom. How many scores of years do you think will pass
before they return my tools?
Ok, girl, you
Tulip nodded. Please
pass the salt.
Flavorings suit you.
No matter the amount of fairies born to a generation, there is always someone
punctilious with seasonings.
Told true. Please
pass the cayenne, too. Tulip shook both essences onto her raw
Its time you
get the local government to stop objectifying pucks and peris.
Ive been busy
conferring individuals wishes and
running free loans out of my
Okay, so forget the
bureaucrats. Maybe, you could shepherd the lingering dragons and ichneumons
away from our village.
that you have wings, too.
Ill be more
helpful when the last of those great serpents skedaddles.
So you can boss
around the smaller denizens?
Perhaps. Split the
Rather than return home to
her uncles rage, Tulip spent a span penning up some of the areas
alarming, furry ruffians and daunting, scaly fiends. As she began to feel
increasingly tired and somewhat cold, she reevaluated. Packing her land rover
for her journey home, she mused over whether or not Uncle had really
fallen from the stars.
The first time that he had
loosened his temper on her was when she had returned from Fairy School. He had
deemed her decision to become a godmother as synonymous with joining the League
of the Antiestablishment. La la land was regarded as a forbidden place given
that obliviousness was problematic among fascinated folk.
Whereas almost all
extramundanes waxed and waned between lucidity and lunacy, no one else in
Uncles flesh and blood had ever attended school and or had ever possessed
the audacity to befriend the most out of control monstrosities, the Normals.
Family lore maintained that aiding humans was extremely irregular.
Uncle used that datum to
justify kicking Tulip when she was awake. He used it to justify fondling her
when she was asleep, too.
Rosemary had repeatedly
urged Tulip to move out even though Rosemary could not house her. The Tooth
Fairy had a few hundred offspring. Meeting Tulip almost daily for a shared meal
took more of Rosemarys resources than did any of her other activities;
Tulip would have to excuse her for not also being able to provide shelter.
On route home, Tulip
reminded herself that there was no win in confronting Uncle reliant on
tradition or not, he was already mostly destroyed by senescence. In hardly any
decades, hed be mortally felled.
Accordingly, whenever Tulip
was around that kinsman, she responded to his requests with bald monologues
that were filled with kind, but insubstantial words. Furthermore, after tucking
him in, washing his feet, trimming his toenails, and clipping his nostril
hairs, shed sing him to sleep with ballads of vindictive
griots. She meant for her mothers brother to have bad dreams. Similarly,
she wished hed sleep through the night and not bother her.
The next time that Tulip
and Rosemary met, Rosemary proposed that they travel together to Carcross.
Rosemary, who was gravid, was yearning for Artic grayling.
We could camp by the
Chilkoot Trail in my off-roader. Its unlikely that Normals will trouble
Are we Americans or
Not really - we
dont use permits.
Why are you pregnant,
I work in
Their dads often stay
awake and wait for me. Theres more than one way to grant a
Hmmm. In any case, I
thought youre out of vacation time.
No limit on maternity
Nope. Besides, my
business is championing also-rans and has-beens. The tooth things
Cook on a
Im not eating
raw fish. Also, Im telling you, now, if any social system becomes
compromised in my absence, youre accountable.
Super! Tidy up the
resident beasts. Were going on a getaway.
Ah, what about your
I hired a tribe of
babysitters from Pitt Island. Their visas are up to date.
A fortnight worth of
adventures later, Tulip and Rosemary returned to Skagway.
Why couldnt we
have stayed here? We have wonderful salmon!
Gestation makes me
Uncle was inconsolable. He
threw his slippers at Tulip when she came in the door. One of them hit her in
He bellowed. Children
ought to respect the laws of nature. Youre supposed to keel over when
something strikes you. He then grunted in emphasis. Youre
nothing more than a self-assured bovine thats okay thieving my frozen
dewberries and moose pemmican. Ill go hungry in ten or twenty years
time if you dont immediately restock what youve stolen.
Tulip refrained from
pointing out that bovine are herbivories and that she more resembled a kudu
than a cow. She refilled her uncles pantry until it was brimming with
The next morning, she
equally filled her SUV, noting to Uncle that shed be away for a couple of
weeks she had been asked to find the Yeti missing from the Alaskan Sea
Life Center. On the one hand, Tulip had to drive the one thousand miles between
Seward and Skagway. On the other hand, that trip meant she didnt have to
live with Uncle for a while.
A short way down the road,
the fairy pulled over. She had gotten too out of shape to fly one thousand
miles and her lapsed friendship with the captain of the Ice Princess meant she
couldnt accelerate her travels via the water, either. That captains
boat, one of a minority cruising Alaska Bay, had become unavailable to her ever
since she had refused to break a calved iceberg that had blocked it.
Tulip stuck her ring finger
out in the direction of Fairies Inc. Over the last handful of days, she had had
too little sleep and too much abath. Maybe she was a genetic throwback of
Uncles; maybe she, too, was alien. Sleep, or the lack
thereof, and alcohol were not supposed to impact her kind.
As Tulip stood there, her
finger extended in a gesture considered rude by humans, she lamented having to
track down a Yeti. To her, happiness was warding bowhead whales or restoring
Porcupine Caribou to their rightful grazing lands. Tulip was fluent in Cetacea
and liked befriending deer.
What happened next popped
Tulips socks. While she counted the quantity of tins of Uncles
dewberries that she had stashed in her glove compartment and of his pemmican
that she had stockpiled in her back seat, she heard her standard issue
intergalactic cellphone ring.
The voice on the other end
spoke gibberish (Tulip had not opted for the translation feature.)
Tulip hung up.
Her special contraption
vibrated once more.
Eight times, her special
piece of equipment rang and eight times she hung up. Eventually, Tulip stopped
Tulip inventoried her
inedible detritus and all of her foodstuffs. Among broken doohickeys and worn
out thingamabobs were tinfoil hats and containers full of freeze-dried
Byrsonima crassifolia. She and Rosemary had fashioned the former one evening
when all but seventy of Rosemarys children had fallen asleep. The latter
had been a gift from an elf that lived in rural Panama.
Tulip and her beloved elf
had parted ways after she had denounced his theories about extraterrestrials as
being no better than the quicksand premises about the cosmos that Tulips
academic advisor had once promoted. Whereas Tulips fairy godmother guide
had left Tulip alone, Tulips ex-lover had sent Tulip protective
Unlike those other two,
Tulip believed that a united front of pixies, brownies, leprechauns, gremlins,
imps, fairies, ogres, goblins, and jinni could successfully face off against
interplanetary invaders as long as the Normals stayed out of the clash and as
long as no roe deer or reindeer were sacrificed to the effort. Tulip also
believed that interstellar mobiles were overkill.
Nevertheless, the ringing
of her infinity device automatically modified her plans. Astral problems trump
an escaped Yeti.
The fairy shrugged. She had
long supposed that those special receivers, one of which she obediently
carried, were gimmicks awarded to Fairy Godmother School graduates so that they
could be tracked. The gibberish she had heard on hers made her begin to think.
So, she downloaded a
driving app. It was less than seven hours to Juneau, and from there, if she
arrived when there was ferry service, just half of a day to Gustavus. From
Gustavus to Hoonah, shed need another ferry and then from Hoonah,
assuming her car could handle the roads, she could drive to Elfin Cove, her
Before getting back into
her sport-ute, Tulip again stuck her ring finger out in the direction of
Fairies Inc. Her regular phone remained mute.
Therefore, she buckled up
and headed back toward her hometown. She wasnt certain when shed
next be able to detour and she felt pressed to deliver, to Rosemary, the cooler
she had filled with Northern Pike, lake trout, not many bottles of tobacco
sauce, and a jar of gherkin pickles. When pregnant, Rosemary was a hangry
Back on the road, Tulip
motored until she reached Juneau. Fortunately, she arrived on one of the two
days when there was ferry service to Gustavus.
Near Gustavus, Tulip
lingered to pick strawberries. Eating herself sick on a combination of those
fruits and the last of her uncles dewberries, she decided, preternatural
message or not, to camp for the night.
Tulip slept poorly. It tore
at her that she had abandoned Uncle. It required days, maybe a week, to hunt
down and capture a Yeti. Still, she could change her mind and return home after
such an undertaking. Inversely, there was no telling how long she would be away
when on a quest involving tramontane life forms. Sure, Uncles brutality
was horrific, but he was all that she had left of her mothers kith and
kin. What's more, hed likely anyway be dead in less than half a
That night, concealed by
towering Sitkas and hemlocks, Tulip cried. Shed befriended nasty
hedgehogs, given advice to insurrectionaries employed by Alaskas
Department of Fish and Game, and forgiven Rosemarys emotional unavailable
on countless occasions. She did not want to have anything to do with creatures
from the void.
Tulip almost fell short of
actualizing her mission. She woke to the suction of a mooses proboscis.
That bulbous thing, attached to a curious animal, was merely performing
respiration through Tulips open window. The giant critter attached to its
other end had failed to notice that tiny Tulip had become covered with phlegm
and was in danger of becoming inhaled.
Tulip quickly rolled up her
window. She beeped at the large deer, chanted some friendly, ineffective words
at it, and watched it back away. Perhaps it was cosmic justice that she had
nearly been killed by the snout of a critter whose relatives dried and
seasoned flesh she had nicked from Uncle.
After scarcely any hours,
Tulip found a ferry to Hoonah. She slept in her car as that boat crossed the
water. From Hoonah, Tulip drove to Elfin Cove.
That drive, which traversed
roughly blazed paths and unmapped tributaries, took her through groves of
through cedar, spruce, and hemlock. Because she had waned to keep her car with
her as long as she could, Tulip had opted out of a floatplane.
The area through which she
drove smelled of decaying needles, pinecones, and leaves. The foraging and
trampling of elk, as well as the scat left behind by raccoons and black bears,
revealed a domain largely unexplored by Normals.
Despite the majesty of her
surrounds, her nose repeatedly grew red and her eyes repeatedly became runny.
Tulip wished that instead of passing through so much beauty, she was listening
to Rosemary rant about children. Even though Rosemarys outbuildings were
overrun with Rosemarys fry, Rosemary always had enough pineapple upside
down cake for Tulip to have some, too. Fairies know that tropic fruits fix many
After more than a week of
crisscrossing back country, Tulip came to a certain juncture, where an
unremarkable hut stood. In front of that structure, Tulips erstwhile
counselor danced. That older fairy was snapping pretty blasts of pink and green
electricity into the air. It had been that paranormal who had taught Tulip
about the electromagnetic spectrum and about life beyond their
That same proctor was as
angry as hornets upon discovering that her former pupil hadnt translated
her received directive. That fairy reprimanded Tulip, shouting that celestial
ordinances should be treated with urgency. After she stopped shouting, she
decoded Tulips dispatch. That transmission, which was compelling in
itself, also had an immediate fulfillment deadline. The fine for failing to
meet that cutoff was only the destruction of the Solar
Distressed beyond words,
Tulips mentor shoved Tulip back into her SUV. She waited until her pupil
was out of sight to return to her multihued displays of electrostatic
discharge. It was not so much that that little person disowned her stewardship
of the girl who easily talked to faunae or that that she thought of herself
impervious to the kinds of outcomes visited upon straying magical denizens as
it was that she kowtowed to her superiors. Her overseers had earlier warned the
lightning-flinger to forget that she had ever met Tulip.
Meanwhile, Tulip arrived at
George Island. Given her advisers wrath, Tulip had remitted and had hired
a ride equipped with pontoons. Before leaving her automobile next to that small
commercial crafts airstrip, she had stuffed her backpack with nanche,
with a tinfoil hat, and with a photo of Rosemarys youngest two hundred
After landing, she hiked
through a temperate rainforest. Ordinarily, Tulip would have stopped to
dialogue with humpbacks, sing with sea lions, and signal to eagles. Her route
would have been circuitous. That day, conversely, it was all she could do to
keep the corners of her eyes from sagging, her brows from knitting, and her
lips from thinning. She dared not frolic.
Her limited storehouse of
incantations changed nothing among the ancient stands in which she found
herself. Her pushing on mighty trunks, too, proved ineffectual. In that
place of arboreal giants, both her magic and her brute force were useless.
After hours of jumping and waving, Tulip sat down. Both her deep space
handset and the thickets around her stayed silent.
Just before twilight, a
slim note floated down from the canopy. That missive, which had her name on it,
redirected her to Willoughby Cove of Lemesurier Island, that is, to a spot on a
small tract of land positioned in the Icy Strait, between the North and South
Passages. George Island was not, after all, her final destination.
Tulip tested her wings. She
was too exhausted for even a relatively short flight. Donning her tinfoil hat,
she fell asleep under the trees.
Before she was rescued,
Tulips phone batteries died and her food ran out. Fortunately, the
airplane pilot who had brought her to George Island had returned to see if she
wanted a ride back to Elfin Cove. For a price, that Normal was willing to take
her to Lemesurier, instead. Most humans believed that beings of Tulips
ilk were flush with gold. Accordingly, Tulip felt only a little bad about
paying him with magically-gilded gravel.
Lemesurier was quieter than
George. It drew only professional hunters, fishermen, and murderers. Tulip
didnt want to walk among its copses. Shed rather swim back to
Gustavus and hitch her way home than continue her expedition to the rocket.
Tulip tossed her small, intergalactic machine into the water. Minutes later,
the appliance reappeared in her pocket simultaneous with the starship appearing
beneath the trees.
Had Tulip teacher,
who was proficient in sorcery, not bewitched her, Tulip would not have boarded
the otherwise unoccupied projectile. She was claustrophobic as well as wholly
unschooled in astrophysics.
Tulip was talented with
nature. She was good at making peace among savages, be they men or monsters.
Her work demanded fields, streams, and thickets, not a chair that could whisk
her toward the heavens.
Nonetheless, Tulip adjusted
the provided helmet and fastened the provided seat belt. She considered that
maybe, after all, Uncle was an alien, and that maybe, after all, her assignment
was his doing, was his revenge for her delinquencies. Tulip wanted to hop out
of that missiles cockpit, but she couldnt justify letting the
universe go up in flames merely because of the machinations of a heartless
troll and because of her own fear of confinement.
Little is known about
Tulips journey or about the time she spent in a faraway realm. That the
Earth still exists and that all of the Solar Systems globes still seem to
be spinning in their correct solar orbits indicate adequately indicate that she
Optimists suggest that the
fairy godmother reached the designated galaxy intact and was greeted by
organisms whose give-and-takes of ideas was enacted via a series of snort,
grunts, and squeals resembling wapiti sounds and via a patterning of chirps and
grunts resembling the sounds of river otters. Tulip spoke both Wapiti and
suggest that the fairy godmother did not reach the designated galaxy or that
she reached it, but was confronted by organisms whose vocal instruments could
not mirror her singsong speech. Some cynics say she was eaten. Others say she
was disintegrated. Still others shrug and suggest that duty is duty and that
death comes to everyone, no matter the source. Essential, Tulips modus
operandi was of little concern to them.
Either way, there continues
to be a significance attached to Tulips enterprise. Not only have Normals
stopped interacting with supernatural beings, but until the invention of the IP
telephony, all unworldly gadgets precipitously disappeared.