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by on March 21, 2018

Murphy hadn’t intended to see clients today. It was Wednesday, and he always set aside Wednesdays for catching up on paperwork. His in-box overflowed with motions, proposed court orders, and various and sundry requests for legal aid. He never actually managed to catch up on all of it, but at least on Wednesdays, he could make a dent in the pile.

However, on this Wednesday, he had a drop-in. She had done this quite literally. One moment Murphy was laboring over his computer banging out a particularly knotty motion; the next instance, she had plopped down in a shower of sparks on his desk.  Papers went skidding everywhere, along with “Hi,” she said. “I need your help.”

“Just once,” Murphy said, “I wish you people would use the door.”

She ignored the comment. “Sal told me you’re the best. I got a problem. You can help, right?”

Murphy sighed. He would’ve liked to say no, but he wasn’t nearly that successful a lawyer. And they usually paid well. “What’s the trouble?”

She was still on the desk. “Okay, so there’s this kid, yeah? I mean, he’s a teenager. Not really a kid. Anyway. He makes a wish on some star. I don’t even know what star it is. Probably Betelgeuse or some stupid thing like that. I get assigned, I check it out, and the kid wants a girlfriend.”

Murphy waited. He knew the rules as much as she did. Some wish-casters were very specific about their limitations. His paralegal, Daphne, had a side business, and she was quite adamant about staying out of love affairs.  She didn’t do dead people either. “As a genie, I can be choosy,” she had told him. “And dead people are just, ew.”

But star-wishes were something else. Murphy assumed there was more to the story. There was, of course. “So I try,” the fairy said. “I set him up. I set him up ten times.

“And?” Murphy asked, although he had a guess at the problem.

“Nothing,” she said in disgust. “Not one worked. Something always went wrong on the dates. Two never even showed. Five laughed in his face. Nine pulled the “I have an emergency work call” trick. The last one? A zombie. I was desperate. She ended up ditching him for a mer-guy. I can’t even set this guy up with zombies!”

“So you want out of the wish,” Murphy said.

“I can’t keep setting this guy up forever, right?” she pleaded. “Isn’t there some loophole? I did my best, so let’s call it? I can’t work miracles, you know!”

“There’s not a loophole in the traditional sense,” Murphy said. “Once you accept the wish, you stay with it until it’s granted. That’s the deal. But…”

“But?” she said eagerly.

Murphy had hoped to hold off on this for a while. But clearly he had no alternative. He rummaged in his desk drawer and produced a small silver lighter. “Get him near someone, and flick this twice,” he said. “It’s an Illusion-maker. She’ll think he’s the second coming of Channing Tatum or whoever.”

She looked skeptical. “Yeah, but for how long?”

“You said he wanted a girlfriend,” Murphy said. “Did he wish for a permanent one? Anti-break-up provision, and so on?”

She smiled. “Nope. Exact words were, “I want a girlfriend. ” I think he’s got prom.”

“Prom’s next month, isn’t it? It’ll last till then.”

“Awesome,” she said, snatching the lighter. “You’re the best!”

There was a flash of golden light. She had vanished from atop his desk, along with the lighter. In her place was the usual sack of gold.

Murphy hated gold. He had told the fairies again and again: pre-paid debit cards were the way to go. Now he was going to have to spend a long afternoon arguing with the bank about fairy-human exchange rates. Still, at least they paid well.

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  1. Pretty short interruption at least — now he can get back to that fulfilling paperwork. 😉 Great world-building here, very fun!

    • As a lawyer myself, I can assure you, paperwork can be very fulfilling. I like doing paperwork even more than courtroom work. 🙂

      • I can’t say I enjoy paperwork itself. But boy, is it satisfying to have the whole pile of paperwork DONE.

  2. I enjoyed this a great deal! You pulled me in and I was right there with the lawyer. It had a detective noir feel to it, which made it even better.

    • Thanks! I was kinda going with the noir vibe, so I’m glad that came across. 🙂

  3. As always, another enjoyable story! I really like how you write your dialogues.

  4. Laura permalink

    I want to know what else he has stashed in that desk! I hope this becomes another one of your regulars.

    • He just might; I really enjoyed writing Murphy, particularly as I’m an attorney myself. No fairies or genies in my office, however. 😉

  5. I loved the humor and that you incorporated magic into your profession. Murphy had backstory in my head because you suggested he’d been an attorney for fairies and genies for a while. Clients literally dropping in is a day-to-day occurrence in his office. My only criticism is the lighter wasn’t integral to the plot. The illusion-maker could have been a tuna fish sandwich and it would have worked just as well.

    • In my head it was sort of along the lines of a magical lighter could affect how things look, etc..thloguh I should’ve brought that out more specifically. On a side note, I am now considering working a magical tuna fish sandwich into a story soon.

  6. This was so engaging! The scene was set well enough that I had no trouble following the narrative.

  7. You hooked me when the woman dropped in and Murphy didn’t bat an eye. I liked how light and humorous this was, but I think you’ve got the bones of something more intense here too.

  8. So fun! I definitely want to see more Murphy and the fairy was adorable.

  9. I love that you managed to incorporate magical realism into a very Noir world. You created a really believable world, and I liked the way it was governed by strict legal parameters. Not giving us a backstory actually worked well — the reader had to just catch up on the action, and suspend disbelief. Each of the characters was well fleshed out, and had a unique, authentic voice. It’s interesting that you allowed Murphy’s prejudice to be so evident to the reader, but the genie remained oblivious.

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