The Fairy Godfather
by Tim McDaniel
I fluttered into the Don's inner office and hovered there, my wings beating a hundred
times a second, waiting for him to notice me. The office was a walled-off section of the attic
above an accountant's, who probably had no idea we were even there. Usually there was me,
maybe one or two other guys hanging around, ready to get whatever or whoever he needed to talk
to, but today he was alone in there. He was bent over something on his desk, something red,
something he was slicing at with a sharp, sharp knife. As I watched, he grunted, then slowly
placed the knife down on the desk.
He looked up at me with a lopsided grin that displayed just two teeth on the right side of
his mouth, pressing the lips on the left together. He picked up the knife again and carefully wiped
it with a cloth he brought out of a pocket, and then put it down. Then he gently took two edges of
the red thing, and lifted it up for me to see.
"Just sculpting some rose petals," he said. "Gotta get it just right." He smiled. "Frankie!"
he suddenly bellowed.
Frankie came in right off; he'd been hanging around just outside the doorway.
"Frankie. Get this and take the others, and see that they get attached to the rose bush right
next to Mrs. Crandel's back door. The back door, got it? She should have a nice surprise in the
morning. And Frankie--" he paused until Frankie met his gaze, "see that it gets done right. Hear
me? No slipups, Frankie."
Frankie gulped and nodded and buzzed out.
The Godfather picked up the knife again and gestured. "Just keeping my hand in, you
know?" he said. "Just passing the time. So what's up, Paulie?"
"Got an old gent here wants to see you," I said. "Someone maybe wants a favor or
"I see." The Don opened a drawer and slipped the knife into it. He swept the rose scraps
from the table. "So show him in, then."
I went back out and got him. An old geezer, must have been two, three thousand years
old. His wings couldn't hardly hold him up no more, and he flew backwards and sideways almost
as often as forwards. But the Don had a soft spot for these old guys from the neighborhood.
I got him settled in the chair in front of the desk and then flew off to one side.
"Hey, Flisswing, I didn't know it was you!" the Don said. "Paulie, you never said it was
Mr. Flisswing waiting out there. I would have had you in here pronto. Good to see you, you old
Yeah, he called him a spindletail, right there out loud, and the old guy stiffened. I averted
my eyes. The Don's wife used to put the squelch on that kind of talk, and I think he kind of
enjoyed his freedom a little too much, but it's especially bad because he didn't use it with any
finesse. But anyway, the old guy wasn't exactly in a position to take offense.
"Godfather," Flisswing said. You could hardly hear him.
"So, what can I do for you today, Flisswing?"
"I kind of have this problem."
"Sure, sure. That's all right. That's what I do. Handle things."
"I kinda need it taken care of, you see."
"Sure you do. Tell me about it."
Flisswing fidgeted, his wings doing that little half-flutter. "So I thought, I know you two
been apart for a few years, but you must still got some pull, get me in. Maybe if I could just see
The Don frowned. I kept my face absolutely still. "'Her'? We don't need to involve my
wife in every little thing. Not in guy stuff, right? Just tell me what you need done, Flisswing."
Flisswing sighed and tried to catch my eye. I didn't meet his gaze.
"OK, I guess," he said. He still waited.
"Well?" Now the Don was putting a little iron in his voice. Not a good thing.
"It's just--" Flisswing looked back at the door one last time, then continued. "You know
I got a little place over at Schuett's Fine Chocolates. The usual deal. I keep the place clean, the
rats distracted, and they leave me a little, you know. The good stuff."
"The 'good stuff' is right," the Don said, leaning back in his chair. "Prime stuff, chocolate.
Not a fairy in town doesn't envy you your situation."
"It's nice," Flisswing said.
"Nice. Yeah, I guess so. A spindletail like you, and you get the big prize just for a little
light housekeeping." The Don leaned forward. "I was always wondering. A little curious, you
know. So--just between us friends--tell me. How much they give you? A few shavings once a
week? Maybe a broken-off corner of a bar once in a while?"
"It's not something I like to talk about--"
The Don waved the reluctance away with a hand. "Sure, sure. I understand. I do. No need
to encourage any more envy than what you got already. But I mean just between friends, you can
tell me." The Don held Flisswing's eye until the old spindletail looked down.