It took a teaspoon of courage to bring the watermelon to the Thanksgiving day festivities. Her family stared at it like it had come from outer space. She smiled widely. Magenta had stashed it in her basement. It was the last and ripest watermelon she had found in the summer. She had drilled a small hole in its side and then poured an entire bottle of grain alcohol inside of it. This was to be her saving grace. If anyone asked about her earth bound duties and whether she was keeping up with the souls she was meant to be guarding, she’d hand them a juicy slice of watermelon. It had absorbed all the liquor and left nothing but the taste of summer behind.
She saw that her sister Mauve, in typical bitch fashion, had brought Magenta’s crush to dinner. Mauve spent most of the afternoon fawning all over the young handsome werewolf. Magenta seethed and brought them slice after slice of gorgeous red fruit. Their mother declined any fruit and watched Magenta through narrowed eyes. She’d always known her daughter had a knack for trouble. Mother had hoped that the duties of being a guardian would give Magenta a sense of purpose. Instead she seemed to be acquiring the bad habits of her charges.
Mauve and the werewolf were giggling incessantly in the corner. Grandma Rose was snoring next to her bowl of soup. She’d only had once slice of watermelon but she could never hold her drink well. Meanwhile Magenta pranced around being the most helpful of daughters. She served food to the young ones and gathered up dishes to be washed. Finally she was able to get her father to try a slice of watermelon. He marvelled at how juicy it was and it was quickly devoured. His face flushed from the grain alcohol and he demanded a second slice to cool off. Magenta happily handed him a second, larger piece.
By five o’clock, only Magenta and Mother were still sober. Magenta smiled widely as she said what she had come to say at the dinner table over the many plates of pie and cookies. “I quit my job last week.” If anyone had thought that a pixie was a good choice for Guardian, they stopped thinking that after her first week on the job. She was much better at starting trouble than fixing it.
The table erupted into arguing and Grandma Rose woke up just long enough to throw a slice of pumpkin pie at her daughter in law. Magenta smiled and offered her mother a towel. Mother took it and cleaned the pie from her hair. The food fight that followed was glorious. Magenta threw cookies with glee at all of her family. By the time it was over there were cookies in the ceiling fan and the dog was being dragged away from the remains of Mauve’s apple pie. Everyone looked around at the devastation in awe. Mother frowned at Magenta. “We will discuss this tomorrow. Get out of here while I get these fools to bed. And take the rest of that damned watermelon with you.”
Magenta smiled and did as she was told. As she closed the door she heard the arguing start up again. Her Mother would get them all under control and would forgive her…eventually. But for now she was free for the next twelve to twenty four hours. She grinned at the watermelon and headed to the local bar. She had more mischief to stir.
The prompts for this short story:
a teaspoon of courage
Copyright 2019 Klaudia Grady