The fairies were always troublesome at this time of year. Sometimes they just seemed to wreak havoc with the sheep and then the dogs went crazy. Sometimes they stole the mail. Sometimes they let the air out of the tires. But Mark and Marisa seemed to have a truce with them this year. Some mornings Marisa would find her tomatoes harvested in a basket at her doorstep. That usually followed an evening when Mark just happened to leave some sodas and peanut butter crackers out near the garage. The neighbors had warned them that the fairies were troublesome and that they had best guard all of their important possessions. Mark and Marisa seemed to live by a different code – the simple be-kind-to everyone-and-most-likely-they-would-most-often-be-kind-to-you kind of code. And, of course, they did not believe in fairies!
Mark and Marisa moved to the country to escape the killer traffic of Atlanta. They both worked from home, so that transition was easy. The move to country life was not so easy. The friendliness of neighbors asking who their company was the night before and the garden snakes always gave them pause. But the darkness of the sky that highlighted every star and the concert of frogs and crickets each night made up for those minor upsets. Sitting on the porch to have lunch or to wind down the day was so much more pleasant than the excited energy of their favorite tapas bar in Buckhead. They preferred the new balance of more porch time with a little city life to the previous mostly city life with a rare hike in the country. But today was different.
Four of their neighbors came by and complained of flat tires, tipped over trash cans, missing tools, and a broken shed window. They blamed it on the fairies who were always more trouble during the full moon at the change of seasons. It was March, the time was ripe. The neighbors were ready for an intervention! Mark suggested bribery. The neighbors would have none of that – why reward these troublesome creatures. Mark and Marisa had no real evidence that fairies existed and those creatures were not part of their history. They found it hard to get excited about an intervention. The neighbors went home.
The next morning the whole town was swept up in plans to stop the fairy pranks. Some folks were a bit on the fringe with talk of extermination. Others were thinking of moving because the problems were just plain annoying. But Jason, the local mechanic and mayor, had another idea. What if the town developed a relationship with the fairies that could assist the economic growth of the town? The sluggish economy and the shrinking population had been going on for about three years. A few people stopped to think about this. It would be nice to have the vibrancy of the town back; a little entertainment in the town and a real grocery store might be nice again.
Mark mentioned that he and Marisa had noticed that when they left some sodas and crackers near their garage it was often gone in the morning and they had not had any problems with dumped trashcans. He wondered out loud if there was any relationship between the two. Some other folks said that they had similar experiences. Jason suggested that they all go home and ponder what to do with this new information and that they reconvene at the diner the next Saturday.
What a difference a week made! Most of the people in town started leaving various snacks out at night and they all commented that there had been no new flat tires, the bee hives were all still standing, no newspapers were found in mud holes. The week had been better.
Jason, taking his mayoral duties seriously, suggested a delegation be established. Perhaps it could be called the Townspeople and Fairy Interface Committee. This raised many questions. Did Fairies speak English? Could they be seen? Where did they live? How would they elect their delegates? How would first contact be made? Obviously, a planning committee was needed. Mark and Marisa were asked to join the planning committee. The mayor was the chairman of the committee.
In another week an elaborate plan to contact the fairies was presented to the town. It involved a short message of peace in English, Spanish, American Sign Language, Olde English (the librarian insisted), and braille, a looping video describing the desires of the town (no pranks in exchange for a varied offering of healthy snacks), and the proposal to work together to become the location of a documentary film on fairies and other mythical creatures . The townspeople and the fairies would be employed as all of the necessary extras, Tom Hanks would portray the mayor, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would be Mark and Marisa. The plan was greeted with overwhelming approval.
A local advertising company was employed to develop all of the necessary materials. Many visits to Costco filled the Healthy Snack Pantry. Screen writers were employed. They decided to hold off on contacting the lead actors until first contact was made.
The town was bustling with activity. The diner could hardly keep up feeding the new people in town for all of the development work. Fairy locators were hired and the most likely fairy neighborhoods were identified. The economy was booming.
The big night arrived. All of the materials (peace message, looping video, and the film proposal) were ready with multiple copies made. They were placed in the five most likely fairy neighborhoods. Extra snacks were at each spot. Then the townspeople went to bed.
No one slept. The next morning the five likely neighborhoods were checked. All snack and informational materials were gone. Nothing was in its place. Jason and the townspeople were crestfallen. Mark and Marisa suggested that maybe the fairies needed some time to think the ideas over; perhaps we should continue delivering snacks to show good faith and wait for a week. Jason and, therefore, the townspeople, agreed.
Another week passed. The town awoke to small baskets of harvested tomatoes or strawberries or zucchinis on every doorstep. This was taken as an acceptance of the proposal!
Now work started in earnest. Town clean-up and fix-up started. Painting was done, fences were repaired, broken windows were replaced. The diner was expanded to handle the sure-to-come new arrivals. Several families decided that their homes were perfect for bed and breakfast sites for the overnight guests who would be coming. The town was soon picture perfect.
Mark and Marisa contacted their friends in Atlanta and said they could stop picking up the snacks every night, thanked them for all of the pranks that they had been creating, and that the movie company that was wanting to shoot “Sweet Tea and Moon Pies”, the sequel to “Fried GreenTomatoes”, should contact Jason. They thought the town was ready. They also contacted the owner of the tapas bar to discuss a second location.