Surge Pricing and Cindi of the Shattered Shoes

by John MacBeath Watkins

There were three parking places in front of Mad Merlin's Joke, Costume, and Magic Emporium, and one was a 30-minute load zone. That is where Cindi of the Shattered Shoes was parked, and she was not done shopping.

She had come out to see if any other spaces had opened up, knowing that she'd been parked for nearly half an hour and her car was about to turn into a pumpkin. She found Jack the Blighter fuming, because the cars parked in front of and behind his Bulgemobile were too close for him to get out.

“Don't worry,” said Cindi, wincing from the pain in her feet that had been caused by a glass footwear-related accident, “I'll move out of my spot and take yours.”

A crafty look came into Jack's eyes.

“Oh, that's just what you'd like me to do,” Jack said. “If the spot's that valuable, I'm keeping it.”

The magic sigal the parking fairy had chalked on Cindi's left rear tire was beginning to glow.

“But the spot's no use to you, because you're done shopping,” Cindi objected.

:”Yeah, well, it's my spot, and I'm not moving,” the Blighter said.

Two people happened along just then. One was Prince Charlie, Earl of Studly, a region famed for its bull semen, the other was a parking fairy.

Maybe it was just the magic blowback from the parking fairy's wand as she turned Cindi's car into a pumpkin, but Studly was so charmed by Cindi that he immediately fell in love.

“Please,” Studly pleaded, “turn this young, beautiful and fecund young woman's car back into its original state, I wish to get busy with her and make some little princelings and princesslings, that my House may continue to rule, and I think it would really impress her if I got her car back.”

“Can't turn it back until the fine is paid,” the parking fairy said. “It's one magic pea.”

“I have a magic pea,” Jack the Blighter confided, confidingly. “I'll sell it to you for half your kingdom.”

“But the going rate for a magic pea is one farm,” Studly objected. “You're gouging.”

“Clearly, you wish to surge withing my lady's garden of delight,” the Blighter said. “Thus, surge pricing applies.”

“I will accept your hand and other projecting parts of you in marriage if you can get my car back to its original state,” Cindi declared, declaratively. The pain in her feet was becoming unbearable, and she really just wanted to sit down in her car. Plus, the guy still had half a kingdom.

“Oh, all right,” said the smitten prince, smitingly for some reason. With a flourish, he signed over half his kingdom to Jack the Blighter.

When he took the pea, Prince Charlie, Earl of Studly, discovered it was hot. As he juggled it in his hands, wincing, Jack winked at him, and Studly remembered that Jacks tend to steal things.

He quickly dropped the hot pea into the parking fairy's proffered purse. The fairy promptly turned to the pumpkin and waved her wand, turning it into an acorn.

“It was a Honda Accord, not an acorn,” Cindi objected, objectively.

“My remit was to return the pumpkin to its original state,” the parking fairy said. “When you bought the car, did you carefully read what it said on the boot? (Like many fairies, the parking fairy had attended an English boarding school.)

“But the lady who sold it to me was so nice!” wailed Cindi. “She said she only drove it to black mass every full moon!”

“Bent old biddy with a wart on her nose and sort of Goth taste in wardrobe?” the fairy asked, questioningly.

“Well, yes,” said Cindi, agreeably.

“You got taken,” the fairy announced. “I'm only allowed to return the vehicle to its original state.”

“I'll bet you'd turn it into a car for another magic pea,” suggested Jack, leering at the prince suggestively.

The prince didn't care to trade off the other half of his kingdom, so he decided to try and persuade the fairy instead, and started moving toward her, raising his hands pleadingly.

The fairy whipped out her wand and shouted “stop or I'll shoot,” while firing her wand. Prince Charlie, Earl of Studly, turned into a frog.

“You saw him!” the fairy said, “He came at me!”

“He had his hands up,” Cindi replied. I'm afraid that replyingly isn't a word recognized by my spellcheck, so I can't tell you how she replied.

“Change him back,” Cindi suggested, suggestively.

“He had it coming,” the fairy said. “the grand jury will clear me.”

Jack sidled up to the frog and offered to sell him a magic pea for the rest of his kingdom.

“No, you don't!” Cindi snapped, snappishly. She was a practical woman in all matters not related to the choice of footwear. “He still has half a kingdom, his offer of marriage is still valid, and under recently passed marriage equality laws, I can marry the frog I love. He's my prince charming.”

“Charlie,” the frog croaked, correctingly, if that's really a word.