RABBIT IN A HAT
“So what kind of Fairy?” The Rabbit was standing in his Top Hat and leaning on its brim to address the Fairy who was now leaning against his top hat.
“Used to be a Fairy Godmother, but there isn’t much call for it now. So I’m under contract with an Agency as a general category Fairy, able to do most everything required. Shift work. Answering calls.”
She removed one of her wings and sat down to begin fashioning it back into shape, its gossamer gleaming and glowing as she carefully went at it.
“They can get a little bent out of shape in city air traffic and in all that fast in and out again business with little kid’s teeth,” she said, settling her back more comfortably against the Rabbit’s the hat as she worked to repair the wing.
“Good work?” the Rabbit asked.
“Not bad. Mostly Tooth Fairy. Occasionally a part in the revival of something like Cinderella, Rapunzel, like that. Once Hansel and Gretel. But mostly kids don’t know those golden oldies. Every now and then there’s a call for what I really am - a Fairy Godmother. And there’re always a few calls for just plain Fairies - an extra at a party, make a sick kid happy, things like that.” She yawned.
“Any smart-ass callers -- requesting a fairy?” the Rabbit asked, pushing aside the plastic flowers to get at the scarves, one end of which he proceeded to use to help him preen his whiskers.
“Oh, sure. I just go where they are and make ‘em trip a lot or drool or have crossed eyes for the rest of the day. Seems only fair.”
The Rabbit looked down at the Fairy. “You don’t look happy.”
“I’m not. I gotta solve any problem that comes up on my shift. Get it done before the shift ends. And today I get a call for a Fairy Godmother. When I appear, it’s a kid. So I tell her right up front she only gets 3 wishes and she’s just used her first one to wish for me ... .”
“Doesn’t seem kosher,” the Rabbit interrupted, pausing in his primping to do so.
“It’s not,” the Fairy sighed. “Agency Rules. Anyway, the kid’s not happy with me but says she wants to be a Fairy anyway. So I do my thing, saying to her that her wish is granted, she is now a Fairy, and what is her 3rd wish? Only now the kid, who’s trying to hypnotize her parrot and failing, says she doesn’t FEEL like a Fairy. So I say to give it time, she’ll learn. But she stamps her feet and says no, she wants to look like I do and I gotta make her exactly like me and she means EXACTLY. Now! I know this is foolish oh how foolish. But Agency Rules say I’m to do as I’m asked, not offer advice. So I just warn her that it’ll be her 3rd wish. But she just stamps her feet again, so I do my thing, saying, okay, you’ve got it, you’re a Fairy Godmother, just exactly like me, and I leave. Only now she keeps following me, trying to do everything I do, and she’s not invisible. Which’d take another wish which she doesn’t have. So now I’ve got a mini-me, who can be seen, following me around everywhere I go, copying me. Which is a big fat problem.”
“So where is she now? ‘Cause I don’t see her,” said the Rabbit.
The fairy sighed. “Back there a ways. I threw up a section of a stone wall to give her something to think about and she’s trying to do it too. Maybe when she gets the hang of it and realizes she IS a Fairy she’ll stop following me.”
But the Rabbit, picturing what the Fairy had done to slow the kid down, is guffawing. “Heh, heh, heh, you stonewalled her.”
“Yeah,” the Fairy said, carefully smoothing the final panel of the wing into shape. “That’s me. Smart.” She stood and began re-attaching the wing.
“Well I’ve an idea,” the Rabbit said.
“Oh?” said the Fairy, looking up at the Rabbit.
“Yeah,” said the Rabbit. “Just listen for a bit. See, my Magician ditched us. Fell in love and ran off on a cruise ship where he gets to saw his lady love in half every cocktail hour for 6 months. So, I - we.” - He gestured to include the tired old bouquet of plastic flowers and the string of once brilliantly colored but now faded and frayed scarves - “WE need help. I need a new Magician. Someone with a stable gig, who respects the trick of pulling a rabbit out of a hat -- with panache.” The Rabbit paused and raised an eyebrow at the Fairy who was watching with a wary look on her face.
“Is that a wish?” she asked.
“Naw, naw. Not just yet. Gotta get a few things in order, first. Like, you’re already here so I don’t have to wish for you ... . The Fairy was about to disagree strongly, but the Rabbit forestalled her saying, “Uh-uh-uh. Takes one to know one. My 3 wishes stand. That’s just gonna be a given. Trust me. I’m gonna help you with the mini-me.”
The Fairy who’d been fussing, re-settling her wings, stopped to look up. “Go ahead,” she said, grudgingly. So he went on.
“Yeah, see here’s my whole plan --” he said, “how it’ll work. First wish: you turn these sad old plastic flowers into a big gorgeous sweet-smelling bouquet of roses ...” He held up a foot to stall any complaints. “... and you make these silk scarves like brand new and fold them into a neat pile, after which you send them all back to where you found the stubborn wannabe mini-me kid. SECOND WISH: You turn the kid back into herself and send her back where she came from, where she’ll find the roses and scarves waiting for her, so she won’t be totally bummed out -- actually, probably kind of relieved. ‘cause after all, she’s only a kid. Right?”
He stared at the Fairy until she agreed to nod at him.
“Then,” he continued, “THIRD AND FINAL WISH: you send me and my Top Hat to a Magician who’s youngish, is locked into steady employment for the duration of his career, and who’ll take me and my hat and if not make us famous at least keep us in work for OUR duration.” He looked at the Fairy who gazed steadily back at him before bowing her head. “So,” he said, “is that a Yes?”
In the proverbial twinkling of an eye, the clearing emptied.
And all that remains to remark that day is a broken piece of stone wall where none stood before and, for the regular fans of Harriet the Great Prestidigitator, her new bit for occasional children’s parties, wherein she pulls a large and handsome white rabbit out of a newly refurbished and simply stunning Top Hat.
”But hey,” the Rabbit said to what he’s come to realize is Unavoidable -- a lady who’ll be sawn in half every night as part of Harriet’s night club act -- “it’s a home, it’s regular chow, and it’s work. In this economy that’s fat city.“