Gran Nana scowled at the trashed alley. Raccoons?
“Here,” came from behind the dumpster.
“Where were you last night?”
“None Your Business.”
She growled and NYB darted back into his bolt hole. “I don’t pay for sass. I pay for guarding, which you clearly can’t do.”
NYB crept out and began cleaning. She watched him for a few minutes before pressing, “Well?”
“Out with HOB. Mess weren’t here when I returned.”
“Meaning it happened while you slept.”
NYB sighed. “Apparently so.”
“Find the critter and stop it or I’ll snip your wings for the soup.” She didn’t wait for a reply before storming back into her cafe.
Two days later she found the flour switched with sugar.
“What the blazes is going on?”
She menaced him with a soup ladle and he disappeared.
Later a stack of dishes smashed to the floor. Then bleach spilled in the restrooms.
The final straw was when Gran Nana came out to the sight of a napkin flitting through the tables. She chased it with a broom and thought it cornered but it dove into an air vent. The napkin lodged between the slats for a moment before fluttering to the floor. She gave it a few whacks for good measure, but she knew the little miscreant was gone.
He appeared at her shoulder though she’d only muttered.
“Find my keys. I’m going to the mall.”
NYB trembled. “Gran Nana remember the last time.”
She scoffed. “Those boys deserved boils.”
“The humans closed the mall for a week.”
“Smelled better for the cleaning. Now find my damn keys.”
Gran Nana returned late that day with security cameras. NYB and HOB put them up while Gran Nana stood guard with the broom. The results were instantaneous. An hour after closing a green winged fairy crept from the vent and carted off chocolate chips one by one.
“Water Nymph,” Gran Nana mused as she watched the video.
NYB glanced at her. “Thought they never had boys.”
“Rarely have boys and they’re never allowed to stay past weaning.”
“So he’s orphaned?”
“No matter. Still gotta answer for nearly getting seen.”
NYB paled. “You’re going to squish him?”
Gran Nana grinned. “Worse.”
The fairy council fluttered uneasily as it waited for Gran Nana to explain why she’d called them.
“We have a problem,” she said and held up a jar with a sulking fairy inside.
She plucked him out by his wings. “What’s your name?”
She gave him a shake. “Full name.”
“Trouble On Dock.”
“Fitting.” To the council, “He’s caused me a lot of grief. I’m sentencing him to a year and a day as my assistant.”
The council gasped in unison.
Gran Nana’s new assistant stared at his reflection.
“A year and a day like this?”
“I’ll never survive!”
She cackled. “You’ll be fine. Hell, you might even like it.”
“Never!” He wailed. “I wish you’d’ve squished me.”
“Simmer down, Tod. It’s not that bad.”
“But I’m human!”