Tuesday, April 5

I dream that everything and everyone is candy. I try talking to the bus driver, but she's an elaborate bus driver sculpture made out of hard-shelled chocolate pieces.

I wake up sucking on my pillow, the only thing my unconsious mind can find that isn't coated in sour sugar.

"Hey," says Mr. Happy Puppet Head. "They left this for us."

"A belt?" I sit up and rub the crusty stuff out from my eyes. "Who left us a belt?"

"The Fairies," he drops the belt on the floor. "You can have it, though. It's kind of cheap."

"Are they gone?" I ask, but he's already bobbling out of the room. I pick up the belt and inspect. Immitation alligator skin, metal buckle painted like gold. Way too small to fit me. I try turning it into a gumdrop or something, but my Fairy Powers are gone. No more Magic Portals either.

Standing outside the basement door, I slowly pry off the boards with my hammer. What if they aren't gone? What if the belt is their way of paying rent? How do you tell Fairies that cheap menswear isn't an acceptable form of payment? Since I did destroy their home, am I allowed to haggle?

With all the boards taken off the door and laid in a neat pile in the hallway, I stand with my hand on the knob, not sure if I actually want to open it.

"Mr. Happy Puppet Head?" I call into the next room. "Are you busy?"

"What's up?" He bobbles down the hall as he takes a sip from his beer.

"You want to go in the basement with me?"

Takes another sip. "Sure."

They're gone. Completely. We have our basement again. We stand in the middle beneath the bare bulb and breathe deep the musty smell. No gentle flutters of whimsy and magic, no sugary sweet wafts of delight. Nothing. Just basement.

"You done? I'm done." Mr. Happy Puppet Head starts back up the stairs. But I stay. There's something on the dryer. It's a note.

"The Midnight Mailman,
We the Fairies thank you very much for taking care of our problem. We regret the loss of Original Fairy Land, but we rigged a New Fairy Land with the desk and the chair and the TV all tied together. It's pretty sweet. Please accept this gift of Premium Quality Magic Belt that makes pants that fall down not fall down anymore.
Signed, The Fairies of Fairy Land."

I read the note a few times before I notice something else. The dryer isn't closed completely. I always close the dryer door completely.

Inside I find the dryer half-filled with Fairy Corpse. The victims from my accidental massacre. Hundreds of tiny, crushed bodies laid neatly side-by-side, one on top of another. My Dryer no longer, now Mausoleum.

I close the door completely. I guess I'll go find the duct tape and seal it off. I guess it's hang drying from now on.

From upstairs I hear the theme song for Mr. Happy Puppet Head's soap. I hurry so I don't miss any of it. I'll be damned if I never figure out what's going on.

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