10.8.2002 by , every Tuesday.
This is possibly the most cynical story I've ever written.
I had fun.
Next week: a serious tale of sex and betrayal, or a disturbed comic strip, I'm not quite sure.
“I’m giving up,” said the lady. She sat down on the stone before the enchanted pool with an audible thump, and her soft pink wings flopped to her sides.
There was an expansive sigh. Beside her, a small rat-like creature was perched on a toadstool. He looked up at the lady with an exasperation that had obviously developed slowly over time. “You can’t quit,” he said, for the forty-ninth time by his count.
“Well, why not?” exclaimed the small lady with the pink wings. In a very unladylike manner, she adjusted her sparkly dress for greater comfort on the rough stone. “Love is stupid, I don’t believe in it any more, and that’s that.”
“You have to believe in it,” said the rat. He was not really a rat, but a Quasmoch, a mystical traveller to realms only dreamed, and an assistant to immortal beings. (This did not stop him from being hit with rolled-up newspapers.) “You have to believe in love, because you are the Love Fairy.”
The Love Fairy scowled. “Names don't mean nothin'," she muttered, and set about teasing a lock of hair horribly.
Some time elapsed. Finally, the smaller creature gave in. “All right then,” he said mournfully, staring at the enchanted pool. “Let’s have it. What’s eating you this time?”
The Love Fairy sighed, adjusted her dress a little more, and seemed to hunker down, which, to the Quasmoch’s deep misery, indicated that her story would be of considerable length.
Some time later, as the Quasmoch struggld to keep his eyelids raised, he noticed that the Love Fairy was almost done. She’d become grumpier and grumpier - not to mention less verbose - throughout the telling, and she ended her story with an eloquent snarl.
“So.” The rat-like creature shook himself from his trance and took stock of the all-too familiar situation. “Essentially, this boy loves this girl, and this girl loves this boy, but they don’t know it, and they’re too scared to tell one another for fear of rejection. So their lives are pathetic black holes of misery.”
The Love Fairy nodded emphatically. She’d liked the metaphor especially much.
“Well,” said the Quasmoch, “this doesn’t mean that love doesn’t exist, eh? It just means that these two pimple-bespattered youths haven’t got up the nerve to open their . . .” he groped for words, “braces-clad mouths and say a few words.”
The lady pulled a loose feather from a candy-pink wing and played with it absentmindedly. “No, you see, it’s not that. It’s more that Love, as I see it, should be this wonderful thing that everybody gets a piece of. So there’s this greeting-card view of big-eyed kids holding hands, of chocolate, hearts and flowers. Instead it’s just, well . . . a bunch of miserable people.”
The Quasmoch didn’t much like those greeting cards; he figured children with eyes that large would have long ago been picked off by natural selection. However, he agreed that the lady had a point. Love was something everyone sought, sang about, and praised, but very few people in the world seemed to be able to find enough of it.
“And even when love works out,” complained the lady, “it’s generally misguided, and it ends with a sharp misery that lasts and lasts.” She was absently putting the plucked feather through the ninth ring of hell.
“So your point is that humans never actually experience love; mostly they go through short moments of attraction and misguided affection before an extended period of pain.”
“Exactly.” The Love Fairy looked down at the mauled feather in her hands. She humphed and threw it away.
Finding himself empty of words, the Quasmoch watched as the feather drifted clumsily through the perfumed air of the netherrealm. It touched the water of the enchanted pool, hung briefly at the surface, then slipped beneath.
The battered pink feather sunk through the water and emerged on the other side, popping into existence above a city park. Sodden, it tumbled through the air to land with a wet chumph in the grass.
A young man, who had been smoking a cigarette, ran up to it. He bent low and lifted the huge wet feather, examining it with concern. A young woman had also noticed the strange feather’s fall. She hurried across the soft grass to join the boy.
“What the fuck is that?” asked the girl, in the sweet strains of a millennium youth.
“I’ll be fucked if I know,” replied the boy. He laughed a nervous, chummy laugh, and held up the feather for the woman to examine.
“Freaky, must have been a flamingo migration or something,” said the girl lamely, brushing her hair from her face.
“Yeah, heh. Flamingos.” The boy scratched his head, suddenly feeling his scalp had been conquered by a veritable Roman Legion of head lice.
The pair stood in silence for a minute. Then the boy started talking, and the girl started talking, and they laughed nervously a few more times. The sun moved across the sky, and things progressed.
The tender looks they exchanged make the Quasmoch re-examine his jaded view of life, if only for a split second. The Love Fairy was dismayed to note that she was actually smiling, and she quickly bent her mouth back to its customary scowl.
“You have to admit,” said the Quasmoch, “It is pretty nice to look at.”
“She’s going to break his heart, you know,” scowled the Love Fairy. “Or he’ll break hers, it’s still up in the air at this point.” But the smile was tugging at the edges of her frown.
“Maybe some things don’t make sense,” said the Quasmoch, “and we know it, but we do them anyway, and we always will.”
“Maybe,” said the Love Fairy. She shuffled her dress.