This story is by Emily Hornburg and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
I won’t be late today.
That was the plan at least. I prepared to step off the train when some guy in a green newsboy cap pushed me and spilled my drink all over my blouse.
I know. I shouldn’t have an open cup on a train. But, I couldn’t find the lid and I needed caffeine to get through my shift at the bar.
Now my cup was covered in glitter. Ugh.
“Hey!” I dashed out onto the Chicago streets. I threw my cup and hit the back of his head, knocking off the cap revealing a set of tall pointed ears and tiny brown horns.
He turned, rubbing his head, and stared at me with impossibly green eyes framed in sparkle.
“You can’t run into people,” I snapped.
He smirked. “Angry little pixie aren’t you?” He picked up his hat and gave a sweeping bow. “Robin Goodfellow at your service.”
“Sure you are,” I sneered as he stood again. Is there a cosplay convention in town? “You pushed me and spilled my drink. What am I supposed to wear? And I’m not a pixie.”
His eyebrows raised. “My apologies.” Before I could say anything, he grabbed my hand and snapped his fingers. In a moment we were standing outside of the bar. “Better?.”
Not only was my shirt dry, but it also matched Robin’s ensemble. “How did you do that?”
He waved his fingers and gold sparks danced around them. “Magic.” He crossed his arms and walked a circle around me as though inspecting a piece of art. “The real question is, how can you see me? Did I spill..?” Robin cocked his head toward the door and shrugged. “Oh well. Can’t be late.”
“Spill what? Your glitter?”
Inside, Ben was wiping down the bar and gave me the evil eye.
“Daisy, you’re la-”
“Right on time,” I interrupted.
Ben looked at the clock. His shoulders slumped. “Oh. Well, good. Our bus boy quit.”
“He needs to lighten up,” Robin murmured. With a hop and a skip he moved so he stood behind Ben and looked over his shoulder. I held my breath.
Please don’t get me fired.
Out of his vest pocket, Robin pulled out a tiny vial and tapped it over Ben’s eyes. His grimace relaxed and eyes softened. “Oh my,” Ben breathed. He walked past me and toward the display of succulents by the window. He picked one up and stroked its leaves. “I never realized how beautiful you were!” He was practically cooing.
With a glazed look, Ben cradled it in his arms and strolled away. “I’ll be in the back.”
I walked behind the bar and Robin followed, taking a seat upon the counter. “I must be crazy, dreaming, or you really are magic.”
Robin considered this and smiled. “One of those things is correct.”
I picked up the towel, picked up where Ben left off. “Weren’t you going somewhere before?”
He contemplated for a moment. “I can’t remember, but this is more fun I’m sure.”
And Robin did have fun as he danced upon the counter, rearranged the liquor cabinet, and made a particularly rude customer grow a pig tail. If Ben hadn’t been so distracted with his new plant love, I was sure I would have gotten fired. In fact, he was serenading the thing while Robin accompanied on his lute.
Enough was enough.
“You need to at least be useful!” I exploded once I was able to push him into the kitchen.
I led Robin to the dirty dish filled sink. “Wash these.”
“That sounds boring.”
“You chose to hang out here,” I said as I stomped back to the bar. But, I could make my own mischief too. I examined the pouch of glitter I had nicked from Robin’s belt loop. Robin couldn’t cause all that much damage if everyone in the bar could see him. I was sure the glitter was the reason I could. With each following drink I made, I sprinkled a tiny bit into the glass.
A girl’s eyes widened as she drank the cosmo I had made. “Wow! This is seriously the best cosmo I’ve ever had!” She immediately grabbed her phone and started texting.
She wasn’t the only one. One guest with a craft beer also called his friends to come over. Then a woman with a scotch had her husband and his friends come by. Before I knew it, the bar was busier than it had ever been.
“What’s going on here?”
I jumped to find Robin standing behind my shoulder. “You’re supposed to be cleaning!”
He shrugged. “I finished and it’s a party out here.” He jumped onto the counter and pulled out his lute.
“Hey!” the customer below him yelled. “What do you think you’re doing fairy-man?”
Robin blinked and looked down. He cautiously climbed off the counter and hid behind me. “Why can he see me?”
I dangled the pouch of glitter from my fingertips. “Now, anyone who drinks here will be able to see you. And you’re very popular I might add.”
“Give that back!” He went to grab the satchel back.
“I don’t think so buddy, this stuff has caused enough trouble.” I shoved the satchel down my shirt.
“Wow, this place is hopping.” Ben stood next to us, still petting his succulent. He gave Robin a once-over. “Who’s that guy?”
“Robin,” I answered. “He’s looking for a job. He gave me a new way to mix the drinks and everyone loves it. He also cleaned the kitchen for us.”
Ben nodded and gave me a pat on the shoulder before returning to his plant. “He’s hired.”
Robin gaped. “But… but… I don’t want to work! Why would you do that?” he sputtered.
I shrugged and smirked. “It looked like fun.”
Robin furrowed his brow, but as he processed the information, he gave a mischievous grin.