It was a narrow route down to the creek. Patty, with her dark brown straight hair to her shoulders, bangs, blue eyes, wearing a navy and white striped sleeveless top, navy cotton slacks, bare feet in red clogs, stepped carefully on the pebble walkway and the final seven steps to the terrace, built there five years earlier when Murphy, her husband and the love of her life, was still alive. She sat on the wooden bench not really thinking, just observing a black-headed junco jumping from branch to branch on the slender pine tree across the creek. She heard the water rushing over the gray creek rocks, felt the slight breeze, and eased into relaxation. The creek was good for that. It was several minutes before she noticed the brown leather briefcase sitting on the floor of the terrace. It was odd as this was private property and rather her secret place on it. Then she heard a splashing and ye gods, a man appeared, climbing up on the terrace from the creek. His head came first and then his fingers clawing at the slate slabs and finally his whole body emerged. And when he stood up he quickly grabbed the briefcase and claimed it. He was dripping, about five feet tall, and he wore a dark trench coat, a brown tweed suit and brown loafers.
“Sorry, am I intruding?” he asked, drying his hands on his suit.
“Yes, actually,” Patty replied.
The man could see the faded remnants of three childhood freckles on her nose and the ton of freckles on her arms.
“This is private?” he inquired innocently. He had a manicured mustache, white as his hair, obviously prematurely white as he looked to be about thirty. His skin was tanned, his eyes green, almost glowing green. He smiled a lot.
“Yes!” Patty informed, getting quite perturbed and rather frightened.
“Oh dear, I’ve been using it as my office,” he said.
“Who are you?” Patty now alarmed, stood. She was preparing to scoot back up the hill to the safety of her home.
“I’m a fairy,” he revealed.
The fairy is a minor character in the story. So don’t dwell on the fairy. But he was a fairy. And he had wings. Huge, enormous dark wings. They tucked into his back and fell all the way down to his feet, but the tucking made them look like a black trench coat.
“Fairies are about the size of flies and they are feminine as least in all the books I read as a child,” Patty said, backing up the seven steps
“Okay I’ll leave,” the fairy said. “Didn’t mean to upset you. If you ever need me, my name is Sven. Just think Sven and I’ll fly in.”
Then he took off. The big wings unfolded and rotated a few times. Then slowly he rose, flapping like crazy. It was a very noisy rising and it made dirt fly and the creek pollywogs danced into whirlwinds and the juncos and chickadees fluttered their embarrassingly miniature wings and three spiders became entangled in their own shaking webs.
Patty had gone down to the creek to think about a predicament she found herself in. It concerned her teeth. She was getting messages in them. The fillings probably acted as some sort of receptacle for phone messages or so it seemed. Certainly not cell phone messages as there was no reception at the creek. In fact there was no reception at her home. She and all the neighbors had to walk out into the street to make a call from a cell phone. But perhaps her teeth fillings picked up house phones or most likely office phones as the messages she received were about stock tips.
Murphy, her loving husband, had been killed two months before while walking through the woods bordering the creek. He had been shot by an arrow. His homicide had been blamed on a homeless man, Abe, but the homeless man said he had found the bow and arrows nearby where he was sleeping and he was just fooling around with them and didn’t mean in the least to aim the arrow at someone let alone a big guy like Murphy. The bow and arrow set belonged to a 12 year old neighbor, Kirby, who his parents said, had carelessly left them in the woods while trying to shoot rats as big as beavers. Abe, the homeless man, got off with probation. The neighbor boy, Kirby, was spanked by his Dad and Murphy was dead and Patty left a widow at the age of thirty-eight. Justice served.
This is what Patty heard.
“Warren here. Fine, you know Omaha. Gonna take Heinz private. Your thoughts?”
That was it. She couldn’t get in trouble, could she? Her teeth weren’t “inside informants,” were they? So she bought a bunch of the stock. Maybe her teeth were liars. She didn’t know. But lo and behold, she made a huge profit when Warren and someone else, she couldn’t remember who, took the company private. Whoopee, she thought. I made $300,000. Yea for me. But then The Wall Street Journal reported that the SEC was looking into persons unnamed that profited from insider trading on the Heinz thing and Patty was really terrified.
She heard other tips too and she thought, why not act on them. So she put the $300,000 into the new tips and made over a million. She felt alive. She felt like a million bucks and lordy, she had over a million bucks on paper and she kept listening and buying and selling and before she knew it she had amassed three million and it was growing. Sure, she read about the Rajaratnam brothers and Steinberg and the insider secrets and the hedge funds which Patty called Ledge Funds as she fully expected the guys to leap off the ledge before they would be caught dead in jail but sure it worried her a bit but was she to blame that her teeth told her what to do when it was actually Warren that was the blabbermouth? They couldn’t prove it was her teeth could they?
As it turned out, they could prove it was her teeth. She was called before the SEC and they demanded that the fillings be taken out. Yes, a renowned dental surgeon was called in to the SEC and extracted all her fillings.
“But I’ll have cavities.” Patty exclaimed.
They didn’t care. And when she still got Warren’s phone calls, they had the same dental surgeon remove her teeth. And when she still heard from Warren, they wanted to remove her brain but luckily a judge said no and he prevailed. Still, Patty was sentenced to prison. She is certain that the reason the jury convicted her was because they were notoriously and blatantly bribed with free Dairy Queen Blizzards (for life) by the prosecutors and of course, Warren himself. Now usually in prison the inmates are fed hamburgers or baloney sandwiches but when you have no teeth, you actually are served gruel. So Patty survived on gruel with orange Jello for dessert. She had to promise never to act on Warren’s tips again and also had to pay restitution so all the money she had made through his tips was confiscated by the government.
Patty had a cold in prison. Her nose ran. She coughed. Her chest ached. She was broke. She lost thirty pounds. She was so desperate that she called out the name Sven and in seconds the fairy was outside the little window in her cell. Sven made himself tiny but as he tried to squeeze through the iron bars his wings got torn to shreds, his tweed suit was in tatters and as Patty cried, Sven cried too because he wanted to help Patty but without his wings he felt he was no longer a fairy.
Patty told Sven her troubles and he sighed. “Patty, if I had known you had teeth problems I could have helped. I am the tooth fairy you know.”
“No, I didn’t know. You didn’t specify.” She sounded angry.
“But now, my wings are torn,” Sven said. “It’s hopeless.”
“So, no fairy will rescue me? You dirty little bitch,” she cried. “You had me believing if I was desperate you would help! You’re nothing but talk. Get out of here. I never want to see you again!” She threw orange Jello squares at him.
Sven reluctantly climbed back through the bars and slid down the prison walls in a funk. But don’t worry; the little fairy will turn up again.
Three years later Patty got out of prison and the first thing she did was to buy all new clothes, on a charge card of course. She bought green and yellow dresses, pink tops and pants and silky white lingerie, fancy dude red cowgirl boots, sapphire rings, bracelets, barrettes, and she got a new haircut and a massage and a facial. She topped her purchases off with diamond stud earrings in 14 karat gold. She also got implants. Of course she still heard Warren’s stock tips and his arranging bridge partners and other conversations with Bill and Melinda, but she tried to drown all this out with playing hard rock music on her Ipod and it helped that she also heard other voices now, maybe from the implants, maybe the new earrings, she wasn’t sure. But it was a foreign language. It made her curious so she tried to figure out what was being said and as close as she got it sounded like “Vlad segits pianino.” Perhaps she wasn’t spelling it correctly. But she looked it up in Russian dictionary because of the word Vlad and she did her best and assumed it meant Vlad plays the piano. Who was Vlad, she wondered. It soon came to light when unbelievable Russian secrets were being revealed to her that Vlad was Putin and he played the piano. Did anyone know this? Did the feds know of this?
Patty decided to have a chat with the feds and tell them about her new communications. And the feds were entranced. They loved the piano gossip but they really did somersaults over the other Russian secrets. In fact, they started paying her as she revealed them. Before she knew it she was back to three million and heading into four. She became an American heroine. Now, the feds knew everything about Putin and I mean everything. Kinky stuff. Spy stuff. Secrets. They knew what Putin wore when he played the piano. It cannot be revealed because it was so bizarre it would set these pages on fire.
So life was good again for Patty. She still missed Murphy horribly but she had wealth, a good kind of fame, and she was an honored guest at the White House whenever she was in DC. One day as she was quite at ease on the bench down by the creek she heard a horrible booming noise almost like the noise when Sven took off on his voluminous wings. But it was a silver motorcycle and it had pulled up in the front of her house. Soon Sven appeared at the creek, wingless. He had a girl with big blonde hair by his side. She wore pink suede shorts and jacket and had dainty diaphanous wings extending from her ears.
“Patty, I want you to meet Gloria, my friend,” he said. “We’re both fairies. Tooth fairies. We deliver by cycle now.”
He handed Patty a bag full of coins. “For all the teeth you lost, Patty. I owe you.”
Patty put her hand up to stop the gift. “No, Sven. Keep them for the little children. They believe in the tooth fairy. I don’t need to anymore, but of course I still believe in you.”
“Bless you, Patty,” Sven said.
“And bless you and your darling Gloria,” Patty said.
“Let’s always be special friends,” Sven said.
“Yes, lets.” Patty hugged both Sven and Gloria. “Now get out of here,” she teased, “you have work to do and I am going to go for a hike.”
When she heard the motorcycle roar off, Patty began to walk through the woods. She hadn’t gone very far when she heard the TWANG TWANG of an arrow and as she ran this way and that trying to dodge it, the arrow swung this way and that also until it sailed right into her heart.
“Kids,” Patty muttered. Her last word.
Phyllis Green’s stories have appeared in Epiphany, Bluestem, Prick of the Spindle, Poydras Review, The McNeese Review, The Chaffin Journal, Rougarou, Orion Headless, apt, ShatterColors, Paper Darts, The Cossack Review, The Milo Review, Dark Matter, and other literary journals. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Micro Award nominee & Best of Storyacious 2013.