Thursday, February 21, 2013

Flash Fiction: A Gift for Management

Every tyrannical boss has to start somewhere. Meet Bubbles, years before she becomes the terror extraordinaire of Fairy Godmothers, Inc.

A Gift for Management
By Jenniffer Wardell

When your parents are cruel enough to name you Bubbles, certain professions seem inevitable.

Most of those professions also required the ability to at least pretend to like other people, a talent that Bubbles Applegate neither had nor wanted. What she did have was an obsessive need for order and a glare that could make more fragile souls burst into tears, which eventually led to a job managing the kitchen staff at one of the smaller castles. After a week, she had everything running like clockwork.

During one of the Baroness’s monthly fancy dress balls, however, the clock started breaking down. Her wait staff started disappearing one by one, and when she went to track them down she found them huddled around the coatroom.

A glare from her sent them all scurrying away again, but she caught one young man before he could flee completely. “What was important enough to make you idiots willing to risk my wrath?” she snapped, glaring at her employee.

He swallowed audibly. “There’s someone crying in there,” he stammered. “Big, loud sobs. We wondered if it was the Baroness.”

“If any of you had been listening, she went upstairs an hour ago with a headache. Now go do your job before I fire you.”

Letting the young man run off, she turned her glare to the closed closet door. Pressing an ear against it, she realized that the idiot had been correct about someone crying. Not that she cared, one way or the other, but if that person was still there when people came to get their coats it would make a mess.

Yanking open the door, she was annoyed to find two women crammed into the small space. The crying one was wearing fairy wings and the most ridiculous-looking pink dress Bubbles had ever seen, while the other wore a nightgown and a helpless expression.

Bubbles turned to the more rational of the two. “Is this your Fairy Godmother? Why on earth is she in here instead of presenting you at the party?”

The girl shrugged. “Something went wrong with the dress spell and hour ago, and she can’t seem to fix it. I’ve tried to calm her down, but….”

“Oh, for pity’s sake.” Deciding that the Fairy Godmother was going to be useless for the immediate future, she ushered the girl outside and got one of the pages to fit her into one of the queen’s less fashionable gowns. The witch in charge of the butterfly illusions the queen liked agreed to arrange a little something for the girl’s entrance, and the baron’s son seemed appropriately impressed.

The next morning, she sent a stern letter and a bill for her services to Fairy Godmothers, Inc. They sent her back a job offer.

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