Author’s Note: The draws for the January 2021 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge (Drawn by this year’s moderator, Jeffrey Ricker—read his books!) were a Fairy Tale, set in a big-city studio apartment, including a potted plant. I had family near Des Moines growing up so I’ve been there. Oh, and the title was a song by Jerry Samuels. —–J.S.B.
I Owe a Lot to Iowa Pot
By Jeff Baker
There lived, in the City of Des Moines Iowa, in a crummy studio apartment, an unemployed college dropout named Jorge.
Jorge had few possessions, a bed, a radio, several books and a large rubber plant growing out of an old crock pot with the words “State Fair” painted on it in faded blue letters that had come with the apartment. He also had a stack of bills which he had no way of paying. (“Unemployed,” remember?) And so one rainy afternoon he was sitting on his bed, munching a candy bar and listening to Def Leopard when he blurted out the words “I wish…”
Suddenly, the old crock pot shuddered and a small lady in a blue gingham dress, carrying a silvery wand with a star on top flew out of the pot on glowing pink wings.
“Hellooooo, young man!” the small lady said. “I am the Fairy of the Fair. I have waited since 1894 for someone to make a wish, and you have!”
Jorge stared. The Fairy was glowing blue, and sounded just like Margaret Dumont. He had no idea who that was, but he noticed that the wings clashed with the gingham dress.
“What’s in this candy bar?” Jorge said.
“Sugar, spice, candy, chocolate, and maybe coco leaf,” the Fairy said. “At least, that was what was in them the last time I was in the mortal world. Do you want another?”
Jorge was starting to think that the Fairy might not be a hallucination, but as he’d gotten the candy bar from Scooter, the guy who lived downstairs, he thought he’d better check.
“’Scuse me a minute,” he said. “I’ll be right back.”
He rushed downstairs and found Scooter in front of the building, working on his motorcycle. In the rain.
“Hey, man,” Jorge said. “Where’d you get these candy bars?”
Scooter looked up. He was big and burly, in a leather jacket.
“Out of the machine at work, just before I quit,” Scooter said. “I’m blowing this town, gonna see what I could see.” Scooter looked up at him and smiled. “And I hoped you’d get the message, that I think you’re sweet.”
Jorge didn’t know what to say. He stood there in the rain and they began to talk. And laugh. And plan.
A couple of hours later, after showering in Scooter’s apartment, Jorge rushed back into his own apartment to grab his gym bag and some shirts and underwear. He barely noticed that the Fairy was gone. A few minutes later, he headed downstairs. The rain had stopped. Early the next morning the roar of a motorcycle could be heard, headed for parts unknown.
In the State Fair pot, the Fairy smiled. Some people don’t realize what they wanted to wish for. And sometimes, what you really wish for comes in cycles.