Hi, my name is Phoebe Quest. I am a divorced, middle-aged mom.
In a horrible misunderstanding I lost custody of my children, who now live with their father, my ex-husband. To add insult to injury, my ex stopped paying alimony—you know, just because he felt like it—leaving me near penniless and forcing me to give up a home near the kids. In the blink of an eye, I lost everything dear to me.
To keep from losing my mind, I moved to a nearby island where I have a free place to stay. My plan is to open a ceramic studio and gallery so I can work on healing my life after some serious heartbreak and loss.
The thing is, the more I try to run from my pain, the past, ME (!), the more I realize I need to face who I am, what I am. You see, in short, I’m a fairy. That’s right. A fairy. I only just found out, myself.
World order dictates that fairies exist “to fight the spreading darkness and bring love and light to Earth.” Quite frankly, I think world order should dictate that all divorced moms, fairy or not, get a free tropical vacation once a year and a monthly voucher to their favorite spa, NOT a mission to confront the demons in our midst. But I’m learning how to deal.
So, my real job is to fight evil. Just in case you’re wondering, the bad guys don’t go running the minute the fairies show up. And I have no idea how I can spread love and light when it seems that all the love and light in my world has disappeared.
This is my story.
April 1, 2015
(Phoebe’s new pottery studio and gallery space, Pelican Plaza, –Daytime)
“A clean start,” thinks Phoebe as she unpacks boxes and puts ceramic bowls on display stands in store window. A stack of newly printed flyers for her summer pottery camp for kids sits on front counter next to a bell. “No more crazy. No more explosions. No more weird, unexplained events. Just peace. That’s all I want. Oh, and money, too! Just enough to live a good life and help my kids here and there.”
When she opens a new box, she pulls out a dreamcatcher.
Phoebe: Oops. This box should’ve gone to house.
Dreamcatcher still in hand, Phoebe turns toward sound of knock at door. On other side of the glass door, a brunette woman (Lucy) with a bob and wide cheekbones grins at Phoebe. Lucy is holding a large gift basket.
Phoebe opens door and reaches to shake Lucy’s hand only to realize she’s still holding dreamcatcher.
Lucy: “Oh, I love these! I have something for you, too.”
Lucy hands over basket which contains a large stuffed rabbit, gigantic chocolate carrots and candy eggs.
Lucy: I’m Lucy, I own the book shop two doors down. I brought this but just realized you might not celebrate, um…but just think of it as a gift basket of assorted, Spring-themed chocolates with a stuffed woodland creature to symbolize fertility. Happy Spring!
Phoebe: Thank you. And, no worries. I haven’t had many vegetables lately, what with the move and all. The chocolate version will ease me back into the farm-to-table movement. That’s my theory, anyway. And I’ve always been a fan of the stuffed rabbit.
Phoebe notices the encyclopedia-sized volume under Lucy’s arm.
Phoebe: What’s that?
Lucy: This? This is just my plant identification book… Hey! I love your eyeshadow. It’s so delicate and sparkly. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Phoebe: Oh that. It’s not really eyeshadow. Just my…skin.
Lucy’s leans closer, stares at Phoebe’s eyelids.
Lucy: Wow. It looks like mother of pearl.
(She moves back and looks at her feet)
Lucy: Oh, sorry. That’s so rude. Didn’t mean to get in your space bubble. It’s just so enchanting, almost luminescent. (She stares at Phoebe’s eyelids again) I think I’ve been alone with my bird watching and plant identification books too long. Even as a shopkeeper, I don’t know how to talk to people anymore, which is why I’m babbling aimlessly right now.
Everything starts to shake around them. Something crashes and breaks.
Lucy: Oh no! Your bowl!
Phoebe (Looks around, confused): What was that?
Lucy: I don’t know, but there’s been talk of a seismology conference at the golf club. Maybe they brought the seismic activity with them.
Phoebe: A seismology conference in North Carolina? Aren’t they off by a few thousand miles?
Lucy: I guess we’ll find out. (Lucy crouches to pick up shards from bowl)
Man’s voice (Cooper): Well, hello!
(Lucy and Phoebe look toward door)
In walks man in a plaid shirt and work boots. Something about him is reminiscent of an Irish Wolf Hound.
Cooper: Everyone feel that? My shovel display just bit the dust. I see you had a casualty, too.
Lucy: Cooper!” (She stands, hugs him) Phoebe, this is Cooper. He owns the hardware store at the end of the row.
Cooper: So your space is…(He looks at general disarray)…coming along nicely.
Phoebe: The rain yesterday slowed down the movers and then we had a wild time with the kiln installation. So, a little behind. But, yeah, it’s coming along nicely, I guess. Have you two lived here long?
Lucy: I’ve been here two years. Since my divorce was final.
Cooper: And I joined the lonely hearts club last year after my divorce. (He looks at the open box next to Phoebe) Hey, want help unpacking?
Phoebe: Oh no, you don’t have to…
But Cooper is already pulling out an item wrapped in newspaper.
Phoebe (watching Cooper unpack): Sure. Why not? Thanks…Anyway, one of my biggest fears was that everyone here would be married and celebrating their silver anniversaries.
Cooper: Uh, actually, you are amazingly accurate. We happen to be the exception, not the rule.
Phoebe: At any rate, we seem to be a trend. I signed the papers two weeks ago.
Lucy: Well, if you ever need an expert. You should call Cooper. He’s a divorce coach.
Phoebe: Didn’t you just say he owned the hardware store?
Cooper: Yeah, it’s part time, the coach thing. I have to pay child support and alimony. Business here is slow in winter, as you will no less discover when the island fever takes over and you feel trapped, like a…Hey! (He holds up a green carved stick with a jewel cut crystal on top and waves it) What’s this, your wand? What, you make your pots with magic? Or maybe you’re a big fan of Halloween.
Phoebe: Uh…that’s… (She reaches over, almost too quickly, and takes the wand from Cooper) Well, you know. I work with kids sometimes. I offer a kids’ pottery camp during tourist season. The flyers are on the counter if you want to tell anyone.
Lucy: I know! Let me take a stack of those and I will put them out for my customers.
Phoebe: That would be great! Thank you.
Cooper: Yeah, I guess I could put some up front near the birdfeeders.
Lucy: So, where are you staying?
Phoebe (Sticks the wand in a satchel on the floor and then pushes at the satchel with her foot until it disappears behind a tall box): Near East Beach. A woman named Eileen is letting me use her place, temporarily.
Lucy: Oh Eileen! I know her. I know where you live, too. We’re practically neighbors!
Cooper: We’ll have to do a happy hour, soon, to celebrate our new Lonely Hearts member.
Lucy: I have an idea. We can all go to the Full Moon party on Saturday.
Cooper (Looks out window): Uh oh. Incoming! Everyone duck.
In the parking lot, a tall, regal woman, elegantly dressed steps out of a golf cart that looks more like a sports car with no doors. A Rolls Royce compared to the other golf carts in the parking lot.
Lucy: That’s Sheila. The landlord.
Phoebe: Oh good! I’ve only talked to her on the phone.
Cooper: You say good now. Just wait.
Sheila: You must be Phoebe. I’m Sheila Gantree. I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally have the arts represented in our little group. I mean Lucy here does a fine job with her rather unique selection of books, you know, quirky stuff. And every town needs a place to buy hammers. But thank goodness the culture cavalry has arrived. I know we will be fast friends. I have been trying to make Pelican Plaza an upscale shopping center since the beginning, but had to take, you know, just any odd merchant to get things going. (Cooper and Lucy exchange looks)
Sheila loops her arm through Phoebe’s.
Sheila: And, just because you lost custody of your children, well…I don’t judge.
Lucy and Cooper exchange looks again.
Phoebe (Unhooks arm from Sheila): How…how did you know I lost custody of my children?
Sheila: As landlord, I need to understand my risks. I did a background check.
Phoebe: But that wouldn’t show custody issues, would it?
Sheila: Not to worry! Again, no judgement here. Cooper, I notice the stretch of sidewalk in front of your store has porch chairs and wheelbarrows in addition to the other junk. I thought we discussed this.
Cooper: Yes, we did. And we decided that for businesses to thrive on this heap of sand we need to be as proactive in our advertising as possible and part of that is to display our more durable goods outside so paying customers will see them, get out of their golf carts and come inside, where the cash register is.
Sheila: Hardware sales is hardly a science in an area with no other hardware store. People will come to you whether there’s junk on the sidewalk or not.
Cooper: And let me just say, for the record, I think it’s way out of line to mention such a personal thing as custody in front other people. Phoebe, I apologize on her behalf.
Sheila: I’m not criticizing! I mean, I am sure Phoebe here is a good mom, even if a judge did decide she was unfit to care for her kids. There must be a good explanation, am I right, Phoebe?
Phoebe looks ill.
Lucy: So, Sheila,…(Clearly wants to change the subject), are we supposed to take any special precautions with the possible earthquake?
Phoebe: There’s that word again. (She looks at bowls, dishes and vases on display in the window) Earthquake.
Sheila: Actually, there was an emergency town meeting about it. I just came from there. Apparently, the seismologists have data that shows increased seismic activity right underneath this plaza. In fact, right below where we are standing.
Cooper: You don’t seem worried.
Phoebe: Can someone please explain the earthquake situation? I don’t think ceramics and earthquakes get along.
Sheila: Oh, that reminds me. Phoebe, do you have a copy of the signed lease for me? Don’t want to get sloppy and forget the paperwork!
Phoebe: Sure. I think it’s in this box. (Goes to look in box)
Sheila (to Cooper and Lucy): Did you hear about the animal attacks over on Henderson Street?
Lucy: Yes! What a horrible thing.
Cooper: Kind of got what they deserved, though, bringing his girlfriend to the family beach house. Poor wife and kids.
Lucy: Cooper! If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were a monster. They’re both dead! No one deserves that.
Sheila: A grisly business, too. Whatever it was, it had some serious teeth. As mayor I had to identify the bodies. Or, well, at least confirm their identities for the families, who are on their way. Why did this have to happen to me just before Spring Break?
Phoebe: Here you go. (Hands over signed lease) Did you say animal attack? And that you’re…the mayor?
Sheila: I am sure it’s nothing to worry about. Animal control is combing the area. We will find whatever it is and get rid of it.
Cooper: Well, this will certainly make for an interesting Full Moon party what with murderous raccoons and earthquakes and all. Let’s arrive early for front row seats!
Lucy: I’ll bring extra rum and…maybe a quinoa and kale fruit salad. Can I pick you up on the way, Phoebe?
Phoebe: I’m in. Although I could do without the earthquakes. (Looks again at pottery in window)
(A flower garden, but from viewpoint of something small, like a mouse or a snail. Flower stems rise into sky like tree trunks)
A very small man (Gus, a fairy leader) wears reading glasses, stands at lectern and looks out to hundreds of small people (also fairies) in rows of chairs. He looks down at paper he is holding then lifts his head. As he does so, his wings unroll to full expanse.
Gus: We are gathered here today to discuss The Large One called Phoebe. The signs have been clear for some time now. We have recent reports confirming the prophecy is not mythological in nature, as we first thought. Therefore, the time has come, my friends. We must begin preparations for The Exam.
Audience buzzes with excitement.
Gus (Points to audience member): Glade?
Glade (Stands up, wings unfurl): I hear she has…a bad attitude.
Sounds of alarm ripple through audience.
Glade: Uh, oh. Did that sound harsh? I didn’t mean it to. Anybody who’s gone through what she has could easily become a bitter, fire-spewing demon, I’m sure. Even though…I wouldn’t, necessarily, and none of you would. (Sounds of agreement) Not that I’m saying she’s a bitter, fire-spewing demon! I didn’t mean that exactly. It’s just, well, you know…
(Cultural side note: Most fairies value positivity. Negativity is cause for alarm. They tend to sound pass-agg to humans. The reason for the positivity is that when fairies allow themselves to entertain negative thoughts, they begin to go dark, very dark. And then you have yourself an evil fairy.)
Gus: Thank you, Glade. While the reports show that, to some degree, the one they call Phoebe may occasionally see the glass half empty …Yes, Clementine?
Clementine (Stands, wings unfurl): I don’t mean to criticize. It isn’t in my nature, as you know. (Fluffs hair, looks around, winks) And while I am sure The Large One has many, many….many good qualities, it is said she makes negative declarations as often as three to four an hour. That’s not including her gloomy thoughts that could scrape the luster from the dewdrops quick as you can say Jiminy…
Over sharp increase of audience buzz, a gavel.
Gus: Ladies and gentleman! If you please. While we thank Clementine for her insight, what we need to decide today is how to handle The Extremists. All the fairy factions know she is in need of training…and quickly I might add. We all know the consequences of her state of mind right now.
A ripple of fear.
Glade: Her ancestry places her closer in lineage to The Extremists. Why are we involved in her training at all? Not that we are opposed! (Audience agrees) Naturally, we would be delighted to train her. (More audience agreement) As they say, ‘Never cast stones at glass houses…’ (Chortles)
Another fairy (Stands, raises hand): Excuse me, I believe that’s, ‘People who live in nice houses needn’t throw glass.’
General audience buzz.
Clementine (Stands again): I just want to take a moment to acknowledge all of us today for our many correct answers. (She leads a clapping session) Everyone here is indeed…correct. Yet, I have always thought the saying was, ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw sto…’
Balthasar (Stands): I know, I know! ‘People in Pebble Beach never throw spouses!’ (Audience gasps, then goes quiet) Of course…I apologize for the violent image. (Sits down, lowers head)
(Cultural side note: Fairies love human sayings or idioms and the game of guessing the correct version of an idiom, which they usually botch)
Gus: Thank you, Balthasar. But, back to Glade’s point, let us consider what kind of weapon she could be in the wrong hands. Would you (Looks at Glade) care to elaborate on what might happen if we let The Extremists handle her training?
Glade: Now that you mention it… (Looks around, wings roll up and disappear)…no, Sir. (Sits down)
Gus: Ladies and Gentlemen, our very future is at stake. How we handle The Large One could be the difference between life on Earth as we know it or the extinction of the human race. And we know what that would mean for our kind, don’t we? So, like it or not…and, as we all know, we never dislike anything…we must take this Phoebe under our collective wings.
Balthasar—one of the little fairies.
Briggs—Phoebe’s oldest child. A son.
Chelsea—Phoebe’s middle child.
Chip—Phoebe’s divorce attorney.
Cindy—The wife of a murdered man.
Claudius (Uncle Claudius)—Phoebe’s guardian (her parents died when she was young).
Clementine—one of the little fairies.
Cooper—Phoebe’s friend. He owns a hardware store.
Dixie Special—a murder victim.
Eileen—Phoebe’s house benefactor.
Ernesto—Ernesto was hired by Eileen, Phoebe’s house benefactor. He’s an alien. Like from “up there” kind of alien.
Errol—Animal Control in Wrightsville Beach.
Fred—Animal Control in Wrightsville Beach.
Glade—One of the little fairies.
Gus—the leader of the little fairies.
Hilton—the brother of Chip, Phoebe’s attorney.
Irving—One of Phoebe’s guardian angels.
Julian—Phoebe’s love interest.
Liliana–Phoebe’s great-great grandmother, who was a very powerful and legendary fairy who went dark
Lucy—Phoebe’s friend. She owns a bookstore.
Maude—One of Phoebe’s guardian angels.
Mrs. McGillicutty—Phoebe’s nanny when she was a child
Pearl—Phoebe’s youngest child.
Phoebe Quest—A divorced mom who has hit rock bottom in a messy divorce and who is slowly rebuilding her life in a new location after her ex takes custody of her children. Added to her struggle is coming to grips with the news that she is, indeed, a fairy and, as such, has some sort of mission to help the world.
Sheila Gantree—Phoebe’s business landlord. Sheila is also mayor.
Thor—an angry fairy from a faction called The Extremists—he runs a surf shop.
Uncle Claudius—Phoebe’s guardian (her parents died when she was young).
White Rabbit—Phoebe’s annoying conscience.