by Justin Teerlinck
Once upon a time, there lived some faery forest people in a glade. All was merry and joyful with them, and they spent all day long holding hands and giggling and dancing round a long, stiff pole. In those days, all light came from their demiurge and benefactor, the Great Golden Honey Panda. The "GGHP", as the forest people referred to him, walked daily very far away to a giant beehive in the sky where he would procure a large quantity of magical honey. He was half as tall as the great oak that stood watch over the village, and five times as stout as the stoutest man among them. He would put the honey in a thousand-gallon honey bucket, and then he would carry the bucket home in his stumbling, bumbling carefree way, with one giant mitten hand holding the bucket's handle, whilst licking the other paw, sticky with the magical honey. The giant bees that made the honey were very safe and very friendly and smart. They worked out a deal with the GGHP that he could fill his honey bucket to the brim every day, but take no more. This way, there would always be enough honey for the people of the glade.
Every day, upon the return of the GGHP, the people would
surround him and tug at his golden fur and sing this glad song in praise
Honey for you and for me
Oh what joy, oh what glee
From mitten hands I'll never flee!
The Great Golden Honey Panda always set the honey bucket down in the middle of the village square, and he always said the same thing. "Take this bucket of sweet, oh my people. Take as much as you need, but no more. Use it on your crops. Spread your seeds and watch them grow. Amazing! Just like on TV! If you act now, you can also get my Magic Honey Resource Guide and learn how to reduce your magic honey footprint." Just as GGHP was about to give the people his contact information, he appeared to lose himself in his exuberant thoughts, becoming ponderous. He began to mumble and nod to himself. Usually, one or two people would raise a tentative hand, clear a throat or scuff the ground gingerly before attempting to petition their benefactor.
"Oh wisest and kindest benefactor, oh great cuddly one, oh revered bringer of the honey bucket ... may we be so bold as to ask you one quick question regarding how best we may obtain a copy of this sacred resource guide of which you so frequently speak?"
At that, the GGHP would always laugh kindly and respond, "Of course my good little faery people! But first, I must use the restroom." Upon hearing this, the people let out a collective groan, for they knew that their benefactor was equal parts forgetful and slothful about completing his business, and they would see him no more until the morrow.
The honey brought by the great and gentle panda grew the largest melons in all the wood, and the faeries hollowed out these melons, cut out doors and windows and used them for houses. They used the crystallized honey for the panes of the windows of their homes, and for great, translucent greenhouses they used for their winter herbariums and botanical conservatories. They used the honey as balm for their chapped and bruised faery wings, and as the glue by which all things were held together. In artificial honey ponds, they raised magical species of fireflies and golden coy and hummingbirds who gave light shows, spelled words in the sky and did the bidding of the people. Whenever the people needed milk, they squeezed milk from the udders of the honeycow, who grazed on sweet grass raised up with sweetened soil.
For many eons, the faery people passed a balanced and joyful existence in their hidden forest. But then one day it began to rain. It rained for one thousand days and at the end of the rain, the clouds parted. For a moment a rainbow appeared, but soon the rainbow turned gray and smoky. The Elder Faery Chief said, "Oh no! It is a drainbow, sent to suck us dry." The drainbow took all of the joy out of life, and left everyone feeling lethargic and apathetic. The Great Golden Honey Panda still came with his honey bucket and cheery voice, but every day fewer and fewer people greeted him, and then there was always bickering over how to use the honey, and lots of confusion, and the honey never seemed to go far enough in ameliorating the wants of the people. There was a commission set up to ration the honey, and the ponds that fed the hummingbirds went dry. The melons got smaller and were not as juicy, and a plague of pouting was rampant throughout the mystic glade. The people heard loud weeping coming from behind the door of the giant-panda-sized outhouse where their benefactor spent many an hour. They peered through the keyhole and saw sweet, viscous golden tears rolling off of his cuddly face. "Boo, hoo, hoo," they heard. "Boo, hoo, hoo! Oh my people feel sad, so I feel sad! Boo, hoo, hoo! Love me!"
About this time, the Money Angel appeared. He had the head of a pig and the body of a man. His body was green, unclad and smooth but void of distinct features. He wore a golden chain round his neck that terminated in a golden pendant in the shape of a dollar sign. He snorted when he talked, and he had an ugly, rough voice. He gave the people hard, cold golden coins and gave seminars about capitalism and market economics. Slowly, the faeries began using coins instead of honey, and they used money to buy pesticide to put on their seed instead of using honey. The Great Golden Honey Panda grew more despondent and mumbly every day, and some of the faeries openly mocked him for being so simple.
One day, a lonely centaur wandered into the mystic glade of the faery people. He was far from his native lands. He was driven to wander because he thought no one liked him (although they really did). As he entered the edge of the wood, he came upon a little faery lady weeping most pitifully by a tree stump. Her tiny wings shook as her fragile frame convulsed with sadness.
“Dear little thing,” said the powerful centaur. “Why do you make that wretched sound? Has someone taken away your ale?”
“No,” she said. She let out a little moan and slowly rubbed her belly in a counterclockwise motion with one hand, while she pointed at it with the other.
“You’re hungry?” said the centaur. The faery nodded, and then hung her head, her yellow hair hanging over her eyes. She glanced up at the giant, shirtless man-horse standing before her. It looked like you could crack an egg on his abs, and his arms were so ripped he could barely set them at his sides. A smell of patchouli mingled with powerful pheromones wafted toward her. She wasn’t sure what to think. None but the faery elders had ever seen a centaur before, and they were reputed to be violent drunkards with a penchant for irritating princesses and annoying maidens. The centaur looked at the faery and his heart almost burst. He wanted to reach out to her, but he was afraid of frightening her. He frowned at her, thinking she probably thought he was fat and unattractive. The centaur reached into his saddle bag and pulled out a vial filled with magical tater tot hotdish. He poured one drop into the faery’s open, baby-bird-like mouth and she suddenly sat up, gladdened. She told the centaur all about the troubles of the faery people, and how she chronicled their stories in her doodle book, along with numerous affirmations she had written to aid in their spiritual development. The centaur was moved by the seriousness of her endeavor, and the cute little drawings of mandalas and unicorns in her little book.
“I don’t have anyone to love me, because I’m not very lovable,” said the centaur. “I don’t suppose you’d want to date a half-man, half-horse total loser like me?”
She wrapped her faery wings around his head and patted his rough face. “You are loved! The universe is love and you always have all the love you need if you just open your heart to it.”
“Oh, so you don’t like me then?” said the sad centaur, taking another draught from his chrome-plated ale tankard.
“You’re silly,” said the faery. “I like and love you. Come with me, and I will be yours forever, but only on one condition.”
“Seriously?” said the sad centaur, his face brightening considerably. “You’d hang out with a dude like me?”
She blew a faery kiss on his cheek in response.
So the faery girl and the centaur walked through the wood, holding hands and nuzzling. The faery told the centaur about the Great Golden Honey Panda, the honey bucket, the Money Angel and market economics. He gave her a real big smooch, and it was a wet one too. At that point, the faery opened a page of her doodle book that listed her condition so that the centaur could be hers forever.
One Condition By Which I Will Be Yours Forever-Ever-Ever
The One Condition By Which I Will Be Yours Forever-Ever-Ever
Feed me every day.
1a. Rub my faery back with sunshine oil.
1b. Clean my little tootsies so they don’t get smelly.
1c. Unchain my heart to explore other relationships with other centaurs.
1d. Shave the inner bark of the pussy willow tree to make new pages for my doodle book.
1e. Pull a cart of melons every day for 17 hours so that the Money Angel sends us gold doubloons.
1f. Comb my long, flaxen faery locks with a comb made from the horn of a narwhal until golden nuggets tumble out.
1g. Wipe my bottom with the leaves of the last Frou-Frou Tree that only grows atop Death Knell Mountain and is jealously guarded by Urath, the Winged Dealer of Dread.
After the centaur finished reading, the faery girl shrugged her shoulders and giggled. “I think it’s fairly self-explanatory.”
“That’s a lot of…condition,” said the centaur. Then he saw her sunny, disarming smile and felt love like he had never felt before. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll do it.”
As soon as the centaur and the faery returned to her village, she showed him around. All the faeries had heard bad things about centaurs, and they cast judgmental glances when he sipped ale from his tankard, but did not pass the bong with them, or join in their drum circles. “This dude is, like, totally square man,” they said.
The centaur quickly tired of this scene, and soon took off to carry out the dictate of the faery girl’s sole condition.
When the centaur returned to the faery lady he washed her tootsies, rubbed her back with sunshine oil, combed her long, flaxen locks, pulled a cart for many hours, spoon-fed her honey from the great panda’s honey bucket, and wiped her bottom using the leaves of the Frou-Frou Tree, which he obtained only at great peril, and at great cost.
All the while, the faery girl thanked not the centaur for his efforts, but the Money Angel. Like all of the other faeries, she now believed that it was the Money Angel who was responsible for their success, and not the GGHP or the loved ones who give freely of themselves. Slowly, things became more tense between the couple. The centaur was strong and clumsy, and he accidentally stepped on her faery toe. “Hey big fella! That’s my faery toe down there!” While combing her hair, he ran the comb across a tangle and her hair pulled tight. “Owww! You pulled on my faery scalp,” she said. When the centaur mounted her at night, the faery girl complained, exclaiming, “Owww! What are doing? Be careful with me. You’re too big!”
Once, the centaur hurt his leg hauling melons in the melon wagon, and then he cut his finger whilst attempting to shave the bark of the pussy willow to make new pages for the faery’s doodle book. When he returned, she stomped her little foot. “Damn it, you said you would bring back new pages for my doodle book. Where will I write my affirmations now, mister?” She began to cry. “I’ve never felt lack before, only abundance. All we can do is keep praying to the Money Angel until gold coin falls from my flaxen locks.”
All the while, the Great Golden Honey Panda still wept in his outhouse, and the double-dealing Money Angel lent his coins and collected his interest, and the great gray drainbow seemed to suck all of the faery peoples’ joy into the swirling vortex.
Finally, one day the centaur overheard the faery girl paying homage to the Money Angel, and praising him for all of the centaur’s hard work. “Dear Money Angel,” prayed the faery. “Please give us some better quality centaurs, because this one is too negative and he stepped on my toe. Owww! Amen.”
The centaur heard this and spat in disgust. “Fuck it, man,” he said, and unslung his broadsword. He left the faery girl in her melon house and walked up behind the Money Angel, who was giving a speech about magical no-load mutual funds. The centaur raised his sword, and with one swipe, beheaded the pig-headed anthropomorphic beast. A trickle of blood exited its snout-like protuberance as the head rolled on the ground. As soon as the centaur had done this, the faery elders made accusatory remarks to the centaur. They drew their daggers and made ready to attack. “Wait,” said one elder, “this centaur has saved us from the Money Angel, and from market economics! Surely the drainbow will now be gone.” The other elders re-sheathed their daggers, but the drainbow continued to suck all the joy out of everything. Soon, there was barely enough honey from the honey bucket, and the Great Golden Honey Panda cried his little heart out.
The centaur returned to the house of the faery girl. Her gentle sobs preceded his arrival.
“I slew the Money Angel,” said the centaur, “but still the drainbow persists.”
“I am the drainbow!” yelled the caterwauling faery. “I am the drainbow. Look, it says so in my doodle book.” She held the book aloft to the centaur, and he saw it written in there, along with a frowning face picture. The centaur raised his sword and cast its shadow over her outstretched neck. His man-hands trembled and then he threw away his weapon.
“I cannot smite you who smote me first.”
He turned and left the mystic glade without stopping to retrieve his sword or look back. The faeries soldiered on in their misery, and they cursed the clumsy centaur for his lack mentality.