Fifty Maids of Fay

By Pam Keevil

Published on 7th December 2016

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Fay re read the email from Millicent at HQ. How dare that young upstart say she was too old to practice her arts? She knew genies twice her age who could still squeeze into a lamp despite a touch of arthritis. She sighed. It must have been the incident with the jumbo jet over Heathrow airport that had caused all the problems. It wasn’t her fault she had become disorientated by the lights. It had been a particularly stressful day trying to outsource a new supply of glass slippers. Fay could just imagine Millicent telling them all that she would not be coming back to work. She checked the email again. She clapped her hands together and a smile spread across her face, still unlined except for the wrinkles around her twinkling blue eyes. It didn’t say she couldn’t work from home. She’d show them once and for all that you can’t  keep a good fairy down.

She went to the black cupboard which housed her wings, her wand and the precious silver jar and unlocked it. She picked up the jar which was dusty and battered after many years of use. As she lifted off the top, the room exploded with sunbeams and rainbows. She peered at the kaleidoscope of colours and shapes that nestled inside and as she tapped the jar, the contents woke and stirred, as if ready for an adventure. If she wasn’t too extravagant, there might be enough magic dust for at least fifty more spells. Where could she start?

‘Morning Fay’ the cheery voice of Cindy, her latest home help called from the kitchen, ‘I’ve got your shopping.’

‘In here dear.’ After the removal of her wings, Fay couldn’t get out as much as she liked and Merry Maids had sent a young student to help with shopping and some simple housework chores. ‘How did you get on at the party?’ Fay leaned forward, eager to hear Cindy’s latest exploits.

‘Didn’t go’ Cindy handed over Faye’s collection of magazines.

‘What do you mean you didn’t go?’

‘I’ve already got two cleaning jobs to help cover my uni fees. I haven’t got time and I don’t like discos. Besides, I’ve got nothing to wear,’ Cindy said, pulling a duster from her pocket.

‘Perhaps I can help out?’ This was just the chance Fay wanted.

‘No. I’d rather spend a day cleaning up than dancing with some spotty youth’ Cindy went round the room, wiping away any traces of dust from the ornaments that Fay had collected over the centuries.

They were enjoying their mid-morning coffee when Fay broached the subject of Cindy’s lack of social life again. Cindy twiddled a strand of curly red hair between two fingers. ‘There is a live band next week with a really great lead singer called Crash. I checked on the website but the tickets are so expensive I’d wreck my budget.’

After Cindy had scooted off to the second of her day jobs, Fay went to the book shelf and lifted down a battered leather bound volume, it’s pages yellow and fragile with age. She knew she had a spell somewhere although it might need a few adjustments. After all, the lead singer of a rock band was hardly in the same league as Prince Charming.

The following day Fay was relieved to hear that Cindy had won a complementary VIP ticket to see the band. It included a personal introduction to the lead singer and she had also taken delivery of a parcel containing a quilted black leather jacket, red boots and new skinny jeans all in her size.

‘So you can go to the ball after all?’ Fay clapped her hands, ‘I mean concert.’

‘It’s called a gig’ Cindy corrected her. ‘It’s funny but I don’t remember entering any prize draw.’

Fay spread out her hands. ‘It was probably a fairy godmother in the disguise of a tick box when you went on the band’s website.  You know…tick here for our latest promotions, don’ t tick here for prize draw entry…’ She smiled.

‘I suppose you’re right. Still there’s nothing stopping me now is there?’

On Monday morning Cindy burst in carrying a huge bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates and a card. ‘This is just to say thank you for encouraging me to go to the gig and that I won’t be coming back to work again.’

Fay’s opened her eyes wide in what she hoped looked like astonishment, ‘Why is that?’

‘Well I met Crash, the lead singer and he said he needs a cleaner as his house is so messy. He’ll give me five times the usual rate so I don’t need to do two jobs anymore.’ She kissed Fay on the cheek. ‘It’s been great working for you and thanks for everything.’

‘Not quite what I’d expected but it was a start’ Fay muttered as she opened her inbox to check the emails. There was a message from Merry Maids explaining that Cindy would be replaced from tomorrow by a young man called Jack who was working his way through agricultural college. Fay thought for a moment. What could she do for a young man with a farming background? Somewhere she recalled a spell about beanstalks and hens that laid golden eggs. She settled back with her magazines and opened the box of chocolates. It would be better to wait until she met him before she decided how to make his dreams come true. There was plenty of time.

HQ was buzzing with frenetic activity as Millicent swept into her office; the takeover of Merry Maids was proving she had been right to insist on diversification.
All that rubbing of magic lamps, wishing on a star and good deeds done by little old ladies walking round in long black cloaks was so out of place in today’s world. She scanned the report on her desk and smiled. Fay was coming up with the goods again, as expected. After Jack, she’d send her Ms White who had seven small people to care for followed by poor Rosie who would sleep for a hundred years if you let her. With any luck the backlog of those who needed some magic in their lives would soon be cleared. I was right after all, Millicent thought, Thank goodness, you can’t keep a good fairy down.

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