Exactly what defines “real?” Was I really in love with my first husband? Did he really love me? Was our marriage real? If so, reality is one slippery creature, alright. It can change on a whim and become so different from the previous reality that nothing seems real anymore, if you know what I mean.
And then there is this whole, “Well, this is MY reality” and “That’s YOUR reality.” There is no reality, is what I’m thinking. There’s something, but it’s not this myth we call reality. What it is, I don’t know. But reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Like “facts.” What are facts? If there is no reality, then there can’t be “facts.” If facts are what one or more people agree on in the convergence of one moment, we know that gets all shot to hell given a little passage of time.
Let’s look at some old, iron-clad “facts” to some people at some point in time:
Fact: World is flat. (Wrong)
Fact: My husband loved me. (Seems to have been proven wrong)
Fact: Bloodletting balances the four humours of your health. (Seriously wrong!)
Fact: Stress causes ulcers. (Wrong)
Fact: The Earth is the center of the Universe. (Wrong)
Fact: My landlord is human. (Wrong! But, who am I to judge? I’m a damn fairy and a real-live alien cleans my house)
So today was, well, interesting. I learned more about what my wand can do--other than shoot sparks. I learned more about what I can do. I guess I will go so far as to say I feel empowered. I had an empowering moment. The fact that it involved one earthquake, five werewolves and some kind of cat woman thing doesn’t take away from it. I can sleep well tonight knowing that I am growing as a person…and, yes, a fairy.
If only I can keep my business going. Without that, I am lost.
(Mid-morning, Pelican Plaza, office suite conference room)
Phoebe walks into the conference room and sees Lucy and Cooper at the far end of long table.
Phoebe: Hey there! (scans room populated with mostly older men, but also Cooper and Lucy) Where’s Sheila?
Cooper: I don’t know but is this the hottest room in America or what? (scans the ceiling) See? Only one small vent by the door! What kind of genius contractor did that?
A man next to Cooper turns from talking to someone else.
Man: That would be me.
Cooper: Ah. Good to know. Thank you. Good job on the ventilation and the…corners.
Lucy (mouthing to Cooper): Corners?
Phoebe and Lucy try not to laugh. Then Sheila, the retail plaza landlord and also the town mayor, makes entrance. She hasn't been around much. She looks like death warmed over, pale, dark circles under eyes, not quite so pulled together, maybe thinner. Still, she carries herself regally and commands the room.
Phoebe (in low voice to Lucy): I guess we can rule out the nip and tuck holiday absence.
Lucy (nods, then looks concerned): Huh. I've never noticed that before...
Phoebe (still whispering): Noticed what?
Lucy: Phoebe, what color would you say Sheila's eyes are?
Phoebe (glances over and tries not to stare): Wow. I see what you mean. Amber, maybe? With a nod toward highlighter yellow?
Lucy (her mouth almost hanging open): It's really...unusual, don't you think?
Phoebe (nods): Kind of reminds me of Miss Kitty Fantastico.
Lucy: Miss Kitty...who?
Phoebe: My uncle's cat. Trust me that you didn't want to find yourself on the wrong end of Miss Kitty Fantastico's claws.
Lucy (nods): Was this a gay uncle?
Phoebe (frowns and looks thoughtful): That would explain alo...
Sheila (bangs a gavel on the table): The meeting will come to order!
Cooper (low voice just to Lucy and Phoebe): What? No small talk?
The minutes from the previous meeting are read, then other mundane business. The energy in the room is very dull, until…
Sheila: The next business of order will be unfinished business. Fred? Could you please update us on the status of animal control?
A ruggedly handsome man dressed in a t-shirt and jeans sits up in his chair and opens a file folder on the table.
Phoebe (whispers to Lucy): Is this a Pelican Plaza meeting or a town meeting?
Lucy (whispers back): Sometimes it seems like both. I just go with it.
Fred (clears throat): Well…yesterday, we tracked one wolf through the forest and all the way to the wetlands. That’s when things got muddy. Our analysis concludes lone wolf of unknown origin, larger than those normally found in the area.
Copper (raises hand, Sheila frowns but nods at Cooper): How much larger? Because last year we saw more than one wolf and they were more like an angry herd of horses with...really sharp teeth and, and...claws. (Cooper holds his fingers in shape of claws and swishes the air in front of his face. Lucy and Phoebe stare at him with puzzled expressions)
Fred (nods): That’s about right, based on the tracks. The size of a yearling...
Sheila (to Fred): And you only found the tracks of one wolf?
Fred: Yes, Ma’am.
Sheila: And you think the animal has left the area?
Fred: Hard to say, but, yeah, we’ve scouted around and found no other trail.
Sheila: Are the interests of Pelican Plaza and its customers compromised by this animal?
Fred (thinks a minute): I'm not sure I can say…
Cooper (to Sheila): But you, yourself saw the pack of them, the night of the Full Moon Party last year. You know, the scream-a-thon?
Sheila (ignores Cooper): Thank you, Fred. I think we can safely conclude the wolf issue is closed. In other unfinished business we will review the report of the seismic conference. Sam?
Sheila looks toward a tall, thin man wearing a tie covered in pink whales.
Sam (scratches behind his ear): The conference discussed 3 new seismic stations, one being 200 feet behind the Pelican Plaza trash dump. Uh, that would be right back there. (Sam points his thumb behind his head)
Sheila: Takeaway, Sam?
Sam (sighs, closes notebook. Phoebe and Lucy watch him scratch behind his ear once more): We should quake-proof pretty much every building in town. The increase in seismic activity will only, you know, increase.
Phoebe (raises hand tentatively, Sheila nods): So, by quake-proof you mean…?
Sam (to Phoebe): First order of business would be to remove all breakables from tables and shelves. No glassware of any kind. The buildings, themselves, will need to be retrofitted with hold-down clamps.
Phoebe (looks miserable): But my whole studio is breakable...
Sheila: As for our customers, especially the tourists, I propose we refrain from all talk of wolves and earthquakes. The wolves, I mean wolf, was never captured on camera and our local animal control never saw the alleged animal.
Sheila: And the so-called seismic activity is under review by local students needing a science project.
Lucy: Sheila, what about the rash of murders? And the bite wounds on the neck of that lady?
Sheila: On Pelican Plaza property, I am happy to report we are murder free! This year, at least…. The other incidents are inconclusive and under review by the Sheriff. Sheriff Brown?
Sheriff Brown (a stocky, dark-haired man with small tufts of hair peeking out of his ears): That’s right. (Sheriff Brown shuffles a messy pile of papers) Under review.
Cooper: Certainly doesn't over-explain, does he?
Sheila (who looks paler than ever): Any more business? Questions?
Several hands shoot up.
Sheila: Great! Meeting adjourned.
Sheila bangs gavel on the table, causing several people to startle. Then...
Phoebe (looks around): Does anyone else feel that?
A low rumbling sound builds until the room and everything in it is shaking violently.
Sheila (grabs table with both hands and watches her gavel jump around then fall off table): Feel what? I don't feel anything.
Books fall from shelves. A large encyclopedia-looking book falls on a the head of a man in a suit and the man is knocked out. Several men run out the door. An enormous framed map of the island crashes to the floor. Glass flies everywhere.
Cooper (yells over the sound of rumbling and shaking building): Under the table!
Cooper grabs the befuddled-looking seismic expert and pulls him under the table.
Cooper, Lucy, Phoebe, Sheila, Fred and Sam dive under the table. Bits of ceiling fall to the floor around the table.
Phoebe (holds head in hands and moans): My gallery, my gallery...
Lucy pats Phoebe on shoulder and looks at Cooper.
Cooper (to Phoebe): Maybe it won't be as bad as it seems.
Phoebe looks shell-shocked. Behind Phoebe, the seismic expert faints.
Overhead, the chandelier crashes to the table. Sheila shrieks. Then, just as suddenly as it began, the shaking ends.
Lucy: I've felt a few earthquakes at my sister's place in California, but none of them were this strong.
Phoebe: Wait. Did anybody hear that growl?
Lucy: Yeah, I think I did.
They look at each other just as a low growl intensifies. Then there is a series of barks.
Phoebe, Lucy, Cooper, Fred and Sheila lower their heads so they can see the doorway of the conference room. In the doorway are five sets of green, glowing eyes. Wolves like the ones from the full moon party bare their teeth. They are massive.
Fred (pulls out a walkie-talkie): Hello, hello? K259, K259, this is K932. K259, this K932, can you read me?
Sheila is on all fours looking at the dogs. She is shaking all over and very pale.
Phoebe (looking at Sheila): Sheila? Are you okay?
Sheila looks at Phoebe and her eyes glow yellow.
Lucy (to Phoebe): See what I mean about the eyes?
Sheila's lips pull back into a snarl.
Cooper: Did she just hiss?
Fred (looks from the walkie-talkie to Sheila): What the...?
Furry, black pointy ears push up and of the hair on top of Sheila's head and a black tail swishes behind her. Sheila's face begins to change. Her cheekbones grow wider and higher. Whiskers sprout from her cheeks. Phoebe, Lucy, Cooper and Fred are frozen to the spot and watching Sheila with their mouths hanging open.
Fred: Get back! When their ears lay back, you want to give them space.
Cooper: When what's ears lay back?
Fred: Whatever that is, it doesn't look like it wants to play.
Lucy (leans closer to Sheila's furry face): Sheila?
Sheila hisses and arches her back.
Phoebe (to Lucy): I don't think I'd get too close.
Phoebe pulls out her wand and gives it a little shake (it lights up).
Phoebe: Okay, wand. I am visualizing happy puppy dogs who want to take a nap.
Phoebe points at the wolves, who look like they are about to pounce. A beam of light shoots out and surrounds the dogs. They stop snarling and begin to pant like puppies. They turn round in circles and settle down for a nap.
Sheila, in her new feline state, hisses once more and pounces out from under the table, leaps high into the air and over the pack of napping wolves. She makes a cat-like yowl as she goes.
Cooper blinks and shakes his head as if trying to clear it.
Cooper: Did that just really happen?
Fred gets on his walkie-talkie again and begins giving cryptic sounding orders to the static voice on the other end.
Fred: This is K932, we've got a code red in zone 8, code red in zone 8.
Fred crawls out from under table and runs out of the room, careful not to tread on large sleeping werewolves and shouts more orders into walkie-talkie.
Phoebe (looks worried): How long do you think they will sleep?
Cooper: You're the expert fairy.
Lucy: We'd better go while they are still in dreamland. Let's see what happened in our stores.
Phoebe (pokes out bottom lip and looks like she might cry): I'm not sure I want to find out.
[Phoebe's gallery. Phoebe, Lucy and Cooper enter the door, which is hanging off its hinges. Shelves have toppled and broken pottery lies everywhere.]
Phoebe: Oh... (she sways and Cooper catches her and holds her up). This... This is bad. This is really bad. I think I need to sit down.
Lucy and Cooper walk Phoebe over to a chair covered in broken pottery. Cooper pulls his sleeve down over his forearm and sweeps the shards onto the floor. The shards hit the floor and shatter even more.
Cooper (indicating the chair to Phoebe): Here you go.
Phoebe is in shock and staring blankly. She sits on the chair and stares at nothing, her mouth slightly open.
Lucy (wrings her hands and looks from Phoebe to the devastation): I'm sure we can fix this up in no time.
Cooper: Yeah, a couple of nails here, couple nails there, it'll be....(Cooper goes speechless as he takes in the destroyed gallery space).
[Later in the day, at sunset. Phoebe's gallery. Phoebe wears her pot throwing apron and is kneeling on floor as she broken pots, cups and plates into a dustpan. She looks up to find a man, woman and two children at the door]
Woman: Oh, hi (woman looks around with a look of surprise). We wanted to inquire about the art camp, but...
The family leaves. Phoebe sighs and continues to sweep then looks at doorway again and there stands Julian, the mysterious and handsome man who seems to appear and disappear in her new island life at weird intervals. As usual, he is wearing dark clothing.
Phoebe: If you needed a new teapot, we happen to be all out at the moment. Actually, if you need anything at all, we happen to be...
Julian: I came by to see if I could help.
Phoebe: Not sure where to tell you to begin. I need so much help, I don't know where you would even start.
Julian walks into the store and looks around.
Julian: This is bad.
Phoebe: Pretty much sums it up.
Julian (looks at Phoebe): I'm sorry.
Phoebe shrugs and empties the dustpan into the garbage can, the pottery making a loud clatter.
Julian walks to a fallen set of shelves, picks it up and puts it back against the wall. He goes to Phoebe and squats next to her. He takes the broom and dust pan from her and puts them on the dusty floor. They sit together on the floor in silence. Phoebe leans on Julian's shoulder and he puts his arm around her.