John punched his brother. “Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain! Yeah, they’re dick-heads. Anyway, good business.” The gardeners finished loading the plants and closed the back of the truck. “Nice talking to you, Ginger.” He nodded at Willow. “Willow.”
Willow just nodded, dismayed, as they pulled away.
“Those assholes!” Ginger stomped back inside and slammed the cash register shut. “They’re going to kill all the coyotes, foxes, eagles… Oh my God, the warbling snarp!”
Willow picked up the bulb and put it back inside its pot. She felt like the ground had flipped. Culture shock, humans called it. Culture shock was the wrong word. It was like being naked in a dream and running around so you wouldn’t be discovered.
“The warbling snarps nest there,” snapped Ginger. “I’m going to contact the university’s bird activists… It’s private property, but they might be able to get a petition going!”
On a logical level, Willow understood that someone was going to make a lot of money selling the land and killing the animals, and she understood their motivation, but emotionally—spiritually—she was cast adrift.
She did not really understand it. She took the bulb from the pot as Ginger ranted in the background. Ginger would rant and rave until her voice turned to gravel, and Willow curled up in the back of the store, needlessly tending to their pink tulip collection, which had already been purchased by a popular t.v. actress. She re-potted some dahlias, spread around the coffee grounds, cleaned the bathroom, and tried to remind herself that this was home, and things were different here.
“Hey,” shouted Ginger. “Isn’t that your ex?”
Willow froze beside her pomegranate trees, a death grip on her watering can shaped like a whale.
“No,” she stated, in denial. A gangly man loped his way up the path. He couldn’t see her yet.
“Yes it is,” Ginger said.
“I’m leaving,” said Willow. “I’m done for the day.”
As Ginger cackled—the big woman never laughed—as Willow snuck out the back door into their alleyway. The bell on the front door jangled. She snuck past the coffee shop next door, the rundown Scub Motel, and paused in front of the single screen movie theater.
The fairy girl stared at the bright lights, the explosion-filled posters. Willow wanted an escape into someone’s crazy fantasy and she bought a ticket, preparing to shut down her heartache and live in someone else’s dream for a few hours.
This particular dream was called THE REVENGE OF METAL MAN.