Randy Webber finished his lunch, then leapt off the dock into the lake to join his friends.
He didn’t have a chance to swim very far before a girl appeared beside him.
“Hi, Randy, you’re not going to like this, but I’m going to have to cite you,” said the girl.
“What?” said Randy. He was confused.
“I’m going to have to give you a ticket,” said the girl, who appeared to be floating effortlessly in the water.
“Are you the police?” asked Randy. He looked her up and down and she didn’t certainly wasn’t wearing a uniform. She wasn’t wearing a bathing suit, either. Her clothes seemed soft, and a little bit shiny.
“No. I’m a – well, never mind what I am. I’m here to write you up for not waiting an hour after you ate before swimming,” she told him.
Randy laughed. “That’s not even a thing. Are you staying around here for spring break?”
She was taken aback. “It is very much ‘a thing’. And I’m not going to get my wings if you don’t cooperate.”
Randy stopped moving ahead and began to tread water. “Wings?”
The girl rolled her eyes and shrugged. “I’ve done it again, haven’t I? Well, yes. I’m in training. To be a proper fairy. We don’t get to start out at teeth, or with lost boys. We aren’t even allowed the dust until we’ve been on the job for two years.”
Randy looked at her suspiciously. “No kidding?” he wondered. “And your job is to lurk around waiting for people to eat and then swim?”
“I most certainly do not ‘lurk’!” she sputtered. “But, basically, yes.”
“How come you’re not small?”
“People don’t like getting fined, do they? If I was small, you would have considered squashing me like a bug.”
“I would have shooed you away, probably,” Randy admitted. His arms were beginning to tire, and he stroked slowly back toward the dock.
She came right along with him. “Look, can I just get this over with? If I don’t meet my quota I’ll have to go back to stealing socks, and I worked really hard to get out of there,” she said assertively, but with a smile.
By this time, Randy was beginning to take a shine to his new companion. He wasn’t sure if he believed her story, but he was free tonight, and she seemed nice. Maybe he had a chance if he played along. “Ok. What do I need to do in this scenario?” he agreed.
“The fine is based on the amount of time you waited. The less time, the more you owe.”
“Uh-huh,” said Randy. “And where do I pay?”
“Oh,” she laughed. “You don’t pay with money.”
“Of course not! What would we do with money?” she scoffed.
“Since you only waited 48 seconds after you swallowed your last bite, that puts you into the top category,” she explained. “You’ll need to perform five acts of goodwill.”
“Like being nice to people or something?” he asked.
“Goodwill, yes,” she confirmed. She tore a piece of paper off of a pad that had appeared out of nowhere. “Here you go.”
Randy accepted it, reading the checked boxes carefully. He squinted at the line with her signature, but couldn’t make it out. There seemed to be an “i” with a heart-dot, though.
“That’s all!” she told him cheerfully.
“Thanks, I guess.”
She was about to leave when he spoke up again. “Hey, two things. First, can I get your name? And second, do you think it would count as goodwill if I helped you with your quota by luring some of my friends into the water after dinner?”