Part 3

The other day, Bart came home from the park with the dog.

“He’s got something in his mouth,” Bart explained as he rummaged through the fridge, trying to find anything that Rufus would rather have than whatever disgusting, most likely dead thing he was sucking on at the moment. Half a pizza. That would do it.

Out of the dog’s mouth plopped a wet, bedraggled mess. It looked like a pile of leaves with a large set of dragonfly wings jutting out at unnatural angles. The whole clump was about the size of a tennis ball. Bart poked at it and it flopped over. I bent down to get a better look.

It was a small man. With wings. A faerie.

“Bart, it’s a person!” I could see the tiny man’s chest rising and falling. I put my finger on his forehead and, while he appeared to be warm, I had no way of knowing if he was feverish or if faeries just ran hot.

“Mister, are you okay?” I said, trying to gently jostle him.

“No, don’t do that,” Bart said. “Haven’t you had any kind of first-aid training? Don’t move the injured.”

“Well, then, what do we do? We can’t exactly call an ambulance.” By now, the dog was back in the kitchen, sniffing around the man. “Don’t put that thing back in your mouth, Rufus!”

The little man sputtered and opened one large, brown eye, and then the other.

“Thank you, kind sir,” he said to Rufus. “If you hadn’t carried me off, that raccoon would have certainly eaten me.”

“Oh, good boy,” I said to Rufus.

“I am the king of Nashville’s hidden realm,” the small man said.

“Cool,” Bart said. But I was more skeptical. I could say I was queen of Nashville but what did that prove?

“For saving me, I will grant you one wish.”

“To win the lottery,” Bart said, without hesitation and before I had a chance to say ‘a book contract.’ Rufus barked.

And just like that, the faerie king was gone and the bottom drawer in our pantry was filled with rawhide bones and, no matter how many we took out, the supply never dwindled.

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