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Supernatural Fairy Tales

Supernatural Fairy Tales

Short Story: Fairy Godmothers Unite! by Katherine Sanger

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 07:43 AM PST


by Katherine Sanger

"I'm telling you, we need to unionize," Ginger whispered. She waved her wand in a circular pattern, fastening the ribbon to the bottom hem of the dress on the sewing table in front of her.

Mabel sighed. It wasn't the first time Ginger had gotten this particular bug up her bottom, but it was a welcome change from last month's "Feed the Starving Wombat" campaign.

"Ginger, honey, I know this is your… well, your thing… but really, honey…"

"We have rights, you know. Rights that are being trod upon! Rights that are being ignored! Just because we're magical creatures doesn't mean that we aren't people."

Mabel put her wand down and fluffed her loose, powder blue curls with her now empty hand.

"But we aren't people, Ginger. We're fairy godmothers. This is what we're made for." Mabel gestured to the room around her--row upon row of tables covered in prom dresses in various states of creation and folding chairs with wand-waving fairy godmothers sitting under fluorescent lights.
Ginger shook her head. "You still don't understand. Look." She produced a pamphlet from under a pink dress that was on her table.

In bold, black letters, the pamphlet read "Your Rights at Work." Underneath the words was a series of photos of people in factories.

Mabel took the pamphlet from Ginger and looked at it more closely, peering through the glasses that rested on her pert nose. "My word, Ginger! These are --"

"Magical creatures," Ginger finished for her. "Yes. Now do you see? The elves did it. Don't you remember all that bad press Keebler got? And then there were the leprechauns. General Mills didn't know what hit them! Now it's our turn."

Ginger's eyes had taken on a glow. To avoid staring directly at them, Mabel studied the pamphlet.

On the first flap was a list of bullet points, each discussing a right that the worker had. The first right was, of course, the right to form a union.

Mabel handed the pamphlet back to Ginger. "Well, honey, it looks real interesting. And it says right there that it's legal to form a union."

Ginger nodded animatedly. She picked up her wand, and without even looking, waved the dress off the table and towards one of the empty hangers. "Yes, yes, it is. And think of all the good a union will do us."

Mabel raised an eyebrow. "Good? What good?"

Ginger's wand hand wavered for a minute, and the dress came close to missing the hanger, but then her hand steadied, and the dress hung itself neatly.

"What good? All the good in the world! We'll get more time off and better wages. We won't have to worry about job security."

Mabel shook her head. "We get plenty of time off, and the pay is fine. We even get raises every year. And there's plenty of job security. As long we as make dresses, they sell dresses."

Ginger tapped her foot impatiently. "What about our supervisors? Don't you want magical supervisors?"

"What supervisors? I don't think I've seen anyone on the floor except for other godmothers. The last time I saw a supervisor was at last year's review. And that only lasted five minutes." Mabel wanded her green dress into the air and turned it in slow circles, examining it critically. She hoped Ginger would let the subject drop. Last time, it had taken months for Ginger to find a new cause. But last time, she didn't have a pamphlet.

Ginger slumped back in a chair, wand limp in her hand. "But it's a union."

Mabel directed her dress to a waiting hanger, then turned back to Ginger. She laid a hand on Ginger's arm. "Honey, I don't think we need a union, but --" she paused, not wanting to encourage this return to union mania, but also not wanting to hurt Ginger. "I think a union might be a good thing." She closed her eyes, refusing to look at what she had just done.

Ginger squealed, and Mabel winced. Ginger threw her arms around Mabel. "Oh, thank you, thank you! You can be the secretary. Or even the treasurer!" Ginger released Mabel from the bear hug. Before Mabel could catch her breath and protest, Ginger had skipped from the room.

"What do we want?" Ginger stood on the table, colorful bolts of fabric stacked up to her ankles surrounding her.

There was a confused mumble from the crowd of fairy godmothers.

"Fish for lunch?" asked one of the older ones, her wand covered in sequins and thread.

Ginger rolled her eyes. "No, we want rights!"

The fairy godmothers shrugged and mumbled some more. Wands kept waving, prom dresses kept being made and sent to hangers, and fairy godmothers kept working.

Mabel, feeling guilty at having agreed to Ginger's pestering, called out loudly, "Rights!"

Emboldened by her success, Ginger tried again.

"When do we want them?"

"Now." Mabel's was the only answering voice. It didn't matter. Ginger was in the zone.

"We have rights, ladies! We have the right to unionize! We have the right to be paid a fair price for our labor! We have the right to better benefits, hours, and working conditions! We have rights!"

There were scattered grumblings. Most of them, Mabel thought, sounded suspiciously like they didn't care about those rights.

Ginger held up her right hand, filled with the same pamphlet she had shown to Mabel. "These will tell you everything you need to know about your rights! As secretary, Mabel will distribute them." She held them out to Mabel.

Knowing that her embarrassment would be nothing compared to what Ginger would feel if she refused, and knowing that Ginger would never let her forget "letting her down," Mabel took the pamphlets. Ginger beamed at her.

Without a word, Mabel put the stack in front of her and began wanding them to the other fairy godmothers, dropping them in the laps of the surprised sewing enchantresses.

"Our first meeting is tonight at seven," Ginger announced to the uninterested group. "We'll be preparing our case to bring before management. Be there and let your voice be heard!"

She wanded herself off the table, floating up out of the nest of fabric, then down to the floor, landing gently on her blocky, low-heeled grandmother shoes. She nodded to the group as though they were applauding her, then took her seat next to Mabel.

"Successful, wasn't it?" she asked as she started unfurling a roll of royal purple fabric.

"Mmm-hmmm," Mabel responded.

"Did I make a good impression?"


Ginger clasped her hands together on her chest, hitting her wand and dropping the bolt of fabric back onto the table with a loud thump. "It was wonderful." Mabel saw tears glistening in Ginger's eyes.

The meeting, in Ginger's view, was a spectacular success. Three people attended.

Ignoring Mabel completely, Ginger leaned over the folding table where they sat and focused on the newcomer. "How long have you been working here?"

"Hmmm?" The attendee was looking over at the table piled high with cookies and coffee cups. The coffee pot was full.

"Working here," Ginger repeated. "How long?"

"Oh, years now."

Mabel examined the attendee critically. Her hair was short and curly, like all the fairy godmothers, but it was mousy brown, not like the fairy godmothers' white or old-lady blue tinted hair. Her shoes were fashionable instead of comfortable. Nothing perched on her nose.

"Where are your glasses?" Mabel demanded.

"Contacts," the attendee said, pointing to her eyes.

Mabel squinted. She couldn't see anything.

Ginger bounced up and down in her chair. "Wow, a real union," she clapped her hands, then went back to bouncing again.

"Shouldn't we get started?" Mabel asked.

Ginger nodded, getting serious, or as serious as she ever was. "I spoke to the union organizer, and she said that our first steps should be to get educated and organized. She gave me these." Ginger pulled a large cardboard box from under the table. It was piled high with various pamphlets, booklets, and flyers, all rubber-banded into groups. Carefully, Ginger removed a copy of each item and handed the bundle to Mabel. Then she did the same for the mystery guest.

"May I have extras?" the woman asked.

Ginger dug through the box again, this time selecting three of each. She beamed as she handed them to the woman. "Please give them to all your friends."

The woman nodded. "I will."

"I think we're supposed to discuss our demands now." Ginger chewed on the tip of her wand.

"What demands?" The woman asked.

"Management by equals, first of all," Ginger said. Mabel had the feeling she was reading from a memorized script. "We're fairy godmothers, and our managers should be, too. We want shorter hours, longer lunch breaks, and two coffee breaks a day. We want a system in place to address any grievances." Ginger stumbled over grievances as she said it, making it last a syllable longer than it should have.

"Is that all?" Mabel asked, trying to be facetious.

Ginger's face screwed up tight. "Um. Yeah. Yeah, that's all." Her features relaxed and composed themselves. "I need to call our representative. She'll tell me what to do next. They're really wonderfully organized. It's like they've done this before!"

"Meeting adjourned?" Mabel asked.

Mabel was just finishing up a lovely cream skirt with frills and taffeta when Ginger appeared in the doorway. Her glasses hung around her neck on their rainbow chain and tear trails shone on her cheeks. Her red eyes met Mabel's, and she lurched forward. She dropped into her chair and collapsed sideways onto Mabel's shoulder.

"I met with management," Ginger sobbed, new tears wetting Mabel's neck.

Mabel twisted as much as she could to avoid the drenching.

"But isn't that good, honey? Didn't you want that?" Mabel couldn't imagine what would have done this to Ginger. She'd had her union idea shot down so many times by so many godmothers…how could one more rejection hurt her like this?

"That woman -- she was there! She's one of them!"

"One of who?" Mabel asked, worried more about the incorrect use of who and whom than she was about whatever drama was unfolding in Ginger's life now.

"Them!" Ginger sobbed. "Management." Mabel could feel the tears starting to soak through the fabric covering her shoulder. "They said we can't organize. They said that if we tried, no one would believe in us. They said that if we tried, they would get us committed somewhere and make us take thorazine." Ginger broke off. Her body shook, making Mabel shake along with her. "I don't even know what thorazine is!"

"There, there, honey, it's all right." Mabel felt for her wand on the table, found it, and wanded a box of tissues over. She worked one out of the box and handed it to Ginger who had stopped sobbing long enough to take deep, shuddering breaths.

"Anyway, where would we go? We can't really leave. There's no private practice left. Girls today are so spoiled that we can't give them anything they don't already have. We're trapped!" Ginger was whimpering now. She put her head back on Mabel's shoulder. "Oh, Mabel. I just don't want to be a fairy godmother anymore."

Not be a fairy godmother? Mabel gripped her wand so tightly that it snapped in half. No one should take away Ginger's fairy godmotherhood.

"Do you have any of those union materials left?" There was a determination that even Mabel could hear in her voice.

"Yes." Ginger sniffled a bit. "But what good will they do?"

Mabel felt a smile coming on. "We have a union to organize."

Katherine Sanger was a Jersey Girl before getting smart and moving to Texas. She's been published in various e-zines and print, including Baen's Universe, Black Petals, Star*Line, Anotherealm, Lost in the Dark, Bewildering Stories, Aphelion, and RevolutionSF, and edited From the Asylum, an e-zine of fiction and poetry.

Her poetry has won numerous awards, including First Place in Byline's "Autumn Poem" contest, First Place in "Lucky Thirteen" contest sponsored by Sol Magazine, and Honorable Mention in: The Houston Chapter Award, The Hap Fulgham Prize, and The "Varoom-Varoom" Award.

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