Peckerdale Grene is a fix-it pixie who works as a mechanic and lives at the family community tower. Peck’s ambition is to service a wish, and when an almost-suitable wish is made, he’s ready and waiting. His wisher, Chloe Fraser, threatens him with pepper spray. Peck’s problems multiply when he discovers the green balls condition he thought was a myth, is very real. Only one person can cure him, and she’s already turned him down.
Peckerdale Grene was twenty-seven, but his wiry build and cap of shiny black hair made him look younger. He regularly got carded when he popped into a pub for a quick pint. Displaying his ID didn’t help because bouncers and barmen assumed it was forged.
“You need to be a bit more inventive than that, my lad,” said one weary-eyed publican, squinting at the licence Peck slid from his wallet. “Even I know Peckerdale Grene is the name of a posh block of flats over in Patterdale.”
“It is,” agreed Peck. “My grandparents own it. And they don’t call it flats. They call it a city community.”
“And they named the place after you? Pull the other one.”
“No, they named us both after two family surnames. My grandparents are Peter and Pia Peckerdale and Peter and Gentian Grene.”
“Really.” The publican sounded unimpressed.
“Really. You can look it up on Google.”
“And I suppose you’re the heir.”
“Not even close. I have cousins much higher up the family tree. I live in one of the service flats, but I’m a mechanic. I’ve been working for Ike’s Motor Services for ten years. Ike will vouch for me. Are you going to serve me or not?”
“I’m not,” said the publican.
“Aren’t you even going to check?”
“Clear out, kid.”
Peck slid his ID back into his wallet and put it in his pocket. When he withdrew his hand, he held a pinch of pixie dust which he flung at the publican with a practiced twitch of his fingers.
The man shook his head and sneezed. Peck was glad to see he did it into his upper arm. Peck couldn’t catch a human virus, but he had his standards and he didn’t fancy sneeze in his drink. Nor did he fancy being turned away be someone who couldn’t be bothered checking.
“What’ll you have, mate?” asked the publican.
“A bottle of stout, thanks,” said Peck. He put down the relevant coins, received the bottle, cold with condensation, twisted off the top and drank, leaning contentedly on the well-polished bar.
“Another?” asked the publican.
“No thanks.” Peck unpropped himself from the bar, gave a friendly wave and walked out.
He rarely used pixie dust, but the publican had been so smug and disinclined to listen. He wondered what the man thought he saw post-dusting.
Peck walked home through the city streets, whistling, enjoying the changing colours of the neon lights. As he approached his namesake tower, he stopped suddenly. There was urgency in the air.
Someone high above him was about to make a wish.
Finally! A wish was on the wind and he was well-placed to service it, so long as it was compatible with what he had to offer.
Peck mounted the fire escape and set his mind to listening.
After a few seconds, he tuned into a woman’s voice. “Where is he, Jo? I’m freezing my tits off up here. He should have been here ages ago. Come to that, where are you?”
A short silence ensued, then the voice said, “You what?”
“Okay, okay. Bring my car. Or, no, don’t bother. Stay there. I’ll get a taxi home. I just wish the fucking bloke would hurry up and get here!”
“Bingo,” mouthed Peck. The woman was talking on the phone and she’d used the w-word. He felt it in his blood which headed smartly south to trigger his urge to consummate the wish.
Peck oriented on the direction and bounded up the rest of the fire escape to the roof. There was the wisher, dressed in a brief green cake frill of a skirt, black tights and a top that left not much to his imagination. Pixie misses over there wore similarly brief clothing, but over here it was a brisk autumn night.
Over there was the place fairies went when they weren’t in the human world. On the other hand, when they were in that space, it became over here to them. They could have called it Fairyland and the Human World, but they didn’t. Using either term where uninitiated humans might hear was asking for trouble. Therefore, it was over here and over there. It was simple, really. Over here was wherever they were at the moment. Over there was wherever they weren’t right now.
The wisher huddled against the wall, and he detected the occasional shiver. She’d hung up the call and now stared at the phone, scrolling through numbers.
“Hello,” said Peck, stepping out of the shadows. He smiled at the young woman. “You look cold. Come and let me warm you.”
She looked at him through black-rimmed green eyes, shook her hair back so her six earrings jiggled and said in a friendly voice, quite different from the one she’d used on the phone, “Hi, handsome. Are you PP from Hook-Up?”