A Stitch in Time-
Angela Jamestone sat at her sewing machine, making an adjustment. Angela knew her sewing machines. She had worn out four, and currently owned three more. She sat in the midst of fat quarters, pattern samples, bobbins and threads. Her sewing room was orderly and filled with color and creativity.
"Your mother makes great quilts." she heard, coming from the kitchen. Her sewing room was just off the kitchen, and she liked to keep the door open.
"Yeah, she does great work." That was her son, Carl. He and the neighbor girl, Tammy, must have come in for a drink from the refrigerator. Angela smiled as she finished her adjustment. She could hear pride in his voice.
"How long has she been sewing like this?" asked Tammy, amidst the clinking of glasses and bottles.
"All of my life." answered Carl. Angela heard the refrigerator door close, and a moment later the slam of the back door. Her adjustment finished, Angela once again began to sew. As she sewed, she remembered.
Angela remembered weeping. She sat on the porch, in the dark, and wept. She wept for the words of her doctor, who had informed her that her son would probably not live. She rubbed her round belly, weeping for the boy within. She stared out into the darkness, and wept.
"I wish I could do something." she said aloud, focused on one particularly bright star.
She heard a cough, a poorly covered belch, and an unrestrained fart from the gathered darkness below the tree in her front yard. She felt too miserable to be afraid, even as the unshaven man stepped out of the darkness and glared at her with bloodshot eyes.
"Something." he said. "Pretty damned general. Kind of a blank check, eh?"
"Who are you, and what do you want?" asked Angela. It was barely a whisper. There was still no fear, even though the man looked like he had recently resided in a dumpster. A particularly dirty and neglected dumpster.
"I am a fairy." he said. "No, not that kind. You know, magic and all that crap."
He belched again.
"You made a wish on my star. I am responding." he said, with the patience born of boredom rather than compassion. "So, what do you want?"
"I want my son to live."
"Huh. Cheat death and all that? That one is going to cost you."
"Cost me what?" asked Angela. She would give anything. He knew it. She knew he knew it.
"Hmmm. You like to sew. I know that from your profile."
"You fairies keep profiles?" Angela asked.
"No, we check the Internet."
"OK. Here's the deal. It's my job to find something you like, and use that to bargain with. I require you to do that thing so much, you come to hate it. In exchange, you get the wish."
"What kind of a good fairy are you?" asked Angela. She had become curious enough to have stopped weeping. This was just too weird.
"Who said anything about good? You picked the wrong star. I failed the test to become a demon, and this was the only job open." answered the unpleasant creature. "I hate this job, but what is a supernatural being to do? Now, do you want the deal, or no?"
"What deal?" asked Angela. "You haven't made any kind of offer, yet."
The fairy rolled his eyes. "Sheesh. OK, you keep sewing, the boy lives. That simple. You stop sewing, the boy dies. Pretty clear, eh?"
"Not really." Angela replied. "How much sewing? What kind of sewing? Do you have any perks to sweeten the deal? You know, assured success in life for my son. Good teachers. Good grades. Good job opportunities. A good wife. Oh, and a good fairy, should he ever need one?"
"Lady, you sure are pushy." said the reprobate fairy standing in her yard. "I don't know anything about sewing. Tell you what. I got a thing a bit later with an angel on vacation, if you know what I mean. You state the terms, and I will decide if they are good enough."
"Here's the deal. I have to always be working on a quilt. I must always start the next one before the one I am working on is finished."
The fairy nodded.
"I don't have to sew constantly. After all, I will soon have a baby to care for. However, I have to do something on my quilts every day. That can include shopping for material, studying patterns, and keeping my work space clean and orderly."
"Sure. Sure." said the fairy. He was obviously anxious to get going. "Don't forget, you are going to learn to hate all of this."
"Of course." said Angela. She hoped her face displayed what this creature would mistake for innocence and credulity. "Oh, and my son gets all of that good stuff I mentioned."
"Fine. Deal." said the fairy. He turned and started to walk away.
"Wait!" called Angela.
He turned around. He did not look pleased. Angela wondered how he could fail to become a demon with a face like that.
The fairy grunted. He bend down, picked up a dirty stick, and waved it generally in Angela's direction. A muddy ball of energy drifted from the stick slowly toward Angela's belly. It enveloped her, and slowly insinuated itself into her distended abdomen. It was disgusting, but seemed to seal the deal.
Angela nodded, trying not to throw up.
The fairy turned left and departed Angela's reality.
Angela finished her stitch, and came back to the present. Carl was now a young teen. Angela thought back on the years of sewing. The friends. The contests. The prizes and awards. The life of her son.
No. She had not yet come to hate the task.
She hoped that damned fairy was miserable knowing that she was not.