I’ve never quite got this living alone malarkey down. It always feels like things become untidy, and messy, all by themselves. The washing up was particularly vexing. It seemed to go from just a plate or two – to a stack that nearly shattered to the floor – in very short order. Then there is mold at the bottom of some glasses and I have fruit flies.
I could blame myself. But why do that when I can find someone else? I blame Blue Peter. I watched it even into early adulthood – they had an attractive present. Anyway when cooking they’d always have all these bowls containing the measured ingredients. I cook in the same manner. You see the mess in the kitchen is not my fault!
Naturally I’m not presenting to camera but I find these little bowls are the best way. Otherwise the onions burn while I’m still using a blunt knife to peal and chop a butternut-squash. The other problem is work.
I work at Burger Planet. It’s a living. Writing is my passion. I write most days. So between Burger Planet, writing, and cooking, washing up isn’t exactly top of my agenda. A box set of DVDs is. And so the washing up tends to get forgotten when its a problem and only gets dealt with when it is approaching a catastrophe.
I wish I had someone to do that part for me. Maybe that’s why people form relationships. With someone else we could take it in turns. I cook and my other half washes up and then vis-versa.
On this particular evening I got home a little after six. I’d cooked myself a very excellent curry, watched a dvd, and at nine sat at my computer to write. It went well.
Before I went I looked in at the kitchen. Not good. Definitely not good. There was: a chopping board, a wok, a frying pan, a source pan, six little bowls, two knifes, three spoons, a spatula, two stirrers, two serving spoons, a pair of tongs, a whisk, a side plate, a dinner plate, a bowl, all finished off with splatters of oil on the counter top. Part of me wanted to deal with it right then. A bigger part wanted a good night’s sleep. No prizes for guessing which part won.
I yawned and stumbled my way to the kitchen. I didn’t really need sight to know where the kettle was. I reached for it and carried it to the sink. Dimly I noticed the kitchen was completely clean. Not just stuff put away but the counters wiped down. The bit behind the oven was cleaned too. It was as if I’d stepped into a show room. It was too early in the morning to deal with this. I made my coffee and got ready for work. Leaving the bowl and mug on the side.
Work was like work always was. Customers being mostly nice but occasionally idiotic. Sometimes I can’t find the right button on the till. The costumer invariably jokes that it must be free – seemingly thinking they’re so hilarious and original. What they actually are differs in two important respects.
This was fantastic!
I had no idea what was happening. I also didn’t care. Someone was doing my dishes and they clearly didn’t want any credit for it. I saw no reason to do anything. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
The next day was a day off and I woke late. On the mat by the door was a circular – it was also circular in shape. The company name was Fehetin. Since it wasn’t a takeaway menu it wasn’t of much interest.
Over the next few weeks the washing up started to be done less frequently. That was all right though it was still being done. I continued to get letters from Fehetin – I continued to throw them away.
It was a Thursday when I arrived home to another letter on the mat. It was red. I threw it in the bin with the other Fehetin letters. I noticed that the colours had been changing: light purple, dark purple, dark blue, light blue, dark green, light green, yellow, dark yellow, orange, and red. Strange I thought.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re imagining an ethereal being with a beautiful sweet voice. Nope. This fairy was a little chubby. He had a shaved head with tattoos across it. He wore a baldric over black camouflage. When he spoke it was with a voice like sandpaper. ‘I am a representative of Fehetin and am here to collect what you owe us for services rendered.’
Still tired I sat up in bed and reached for my glasses. ‘What?’
‘You have ignored all attempts made to contact you. And must now pay!’
He pulled a small mallet from behind him. ‘Fourteen teeth should do.’
‘Wait wait,’ I spluttered. ‘Are you saying that those letters would have requested teeth to be left out for you?’
The fairy’s voice took on a tone of exasperation. ‘No. If you’d responded they wouldn’t have sent a collector. Now hold still the more you resist the more it will hurt.’
The fairly lunged towards me.
I blocked him with the back of my hand – but he took flight and flew away.
I rolled to the edge of the bed and picked up a duster and started to swot at him. He came towards me. With a swift grab I was able to clutch him out of the sky. He continued to swing his little mallet but I held him at arm’s length. His wings were flapping furiously. With my other hand I opened the window and tossed the little critter out. ‘That’s better.’ With a smile I settled back into my bed and tried to get back to sleep.
The next morning I had only the vague memory of something having happened. The full memory came roaring back as I stepped into the kitchen.
To say my face fell would have been to suggest that Word War 1 was a bit of a kerfuffle. The surfaces were covered in a thin film of honey, tomato sauce, mustard, pesto, chili sauce. The floor was splatted in tomatoes, oranges, and other fruits I couldn’t identity.
I gingerly moved to the cupboard. I’d barley touched it when it fell off the wall with an almighty crash. I jumped – quite literally. The floor was now covered in broken glass and crockery too – and I was barefoot. There was glass was lying on my feet.
I was trapped. I knew from past experience how far broken glass can travel but it looked like I could reach the lounge without too much difficulty. That was until the rest of the cupboards fell off the wall.
I didn’t have anywhere to go that day. Conceivably I could stand on my oily floor all day and try to figure out a solution. I reached for the towel hanging over the oven and placed it on the floor. Then with as little weight on my feet as possible I stepped on the towel and made a jump for the living room. I landed awkwardly. I sat up. Then, moving more athletically than in many a year, I turned so that I was on my knees. I placed my hands together in penance. ‘I’m sorry! If any fairies can here me I’m sorry. I am prepared to make restitution.’
I knelt there for about half an hour just waiting. I don’t know what I was expecting. I listened. I couldn’t hear anything – probably because their were no sounds to hear. Suddenly there was a little flash in the middle of the kitchen. There was a shimmering circle. The circle became a ring and through it I saw clouds. Suddenly twelve fairies flew through the ring and took up positions on either side.
These were more like the fairies in my imagination. They glistened. There wasn’t even much light to make them glisten but they did. They wore blue dungarees and they all looked rather stern. ‘This is what you get for ignoring our bills! We just wanted a bit of your earth money. They make great flying carpets. Now we will have teeth!’
‘Lots of spells work better with a few teach in the mix. Now hold still.’ The all drew their mallets and lunged towards me.
They stopped midway to me.
‘Maybe we can come to some other arrangement.’
I bit my lip as I tried to think. I look round my flat. There had to be something. ‘Um. How about movie nights?’
The fairies came into the room and I backed away still on my knees. They looked at my TV. To an eight centimeter fairy it was easily a cinema sized screen. ‘Terms accepted. First we’ll deal with the mess.’
The fairies zoomed back into the kitchen. They replaced their mallets and pulled out wands. Bits of glass and crockery flew upwards and reforged into the mugs, plates, and glasses. The oil, honey, and the rest of the mess was soon cleared up and the kitchen sparkled. It literally sparkled for just a few seconds like a cleaning commercial.
And that was how we settled it. Movie night for three hundred fairies once a week. A kilogram of popcorn goes a long way with a group of fairies. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a few hundred fairies nibbling on popcorn – so cute.