SHORT ONES, FAT ONES

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"Short ones, fat ones, long ones, skinny ones…think I'll just be a worm…" I sang to myself, sitting on the grassy mound. It really was a mound because it was a little, baby, hill. And it was grassy, but I didn't care. It wasn't why I sat there.

It had rained that night, it must've because each blade of grass was wet at the tip. I could see the small drop and had placed my finger beside a dark green tip. I was real gentle so the raindrop could slide onto my finger, but it fell apart when I lifted it to my eyes.

I wanted to see my reflection in the little raindrop. Maybe I could see my dress.

I knew my dress was going to get wet from the night's raindrops, but I didn't think Robbie would get mad. He hadn't gotten mad at me in a real long time. Almost forever, but if he did, I'd just tell him about the worm. He would understand. Robbie liked animals, even if he pretended that he didn't care. He used to pretend a whole lot.

I had such a pretty dress on that day. It was pink with glitter on the fabric. I'd gone shopping with Robbie the day before. He didn't like shopping because he was always crabby, but he didn't snap at me all day. Even when I wanted to try on the purple dress. When I skipped out of the dressing room, I pretended I was a fairy and I touched him on his forehead with my magical wand.

The wand was purple and glittery too.

Robbie just gave me a sad smile and stayed sitting.

"Are you done, Janey?" He asked, as he bent his head down. His hands shook slightly. I didn't know my magical wand actually had magic. His hands had never shook before.

I smiled widely, spread my fairy wings, and tapped him on the shoulder with my wand's tip.

I whispered, "Now you will turn into a…happy boy!"

Robbie didn't look up at me. He just took a deep breath again. He'd been doing that a lot.

I decided to get the pink dress instead of the purple one. Both were real pretty and Robbie even let me keep my new wand. I'd slept with my wand last night. Someday I knew my wand would bring us a puppy. I always wanted a puppy and I knew Robbie would like one too.

But until then, that's why I was sitting on the baby grassy hill.

There was a worm. Worms were fuzzy. I heard that at church one morning.

It was long and green, but when you got real close the worm had it's own fur. It looked like it was yellow and the worm had brown circles by his head. It felt kind of sandpapery too. I knew, because I touched it once. The whole worm fell off the blade of grass that it had been climbing. I didn't mean to push it off the grass, I just wanted to see what he felt like.

I knew what boy and girl worms looked like. I could tell them apart. My magical wand let me see which was which. It even told me what their names were. This worm's name was Robert. His parents had just died. Their names were Mitchell and Pauline. They'd been squashed by a rock when they were going to visit Robert's aunt and uncle worms.

Robert had a little worm sister.

He wasn't alone.

Her name was Jane and she was a fairy worm. Robert was missing his little sister and was looking for her, but he knew she was very special. So many other worms wanted to play with Jane, so Robert sighed a lot as he waited for his sister to come back and look for him.

She would, Robert knew that his sister would never leave him. She loved him very much and looked up to him. Sometimes they played hide and seek in the blades of grass. And they would clean themselves when it rained and the raindrops were still on the grass. They'd wiggle through the raindrops.

Worms never got far, but they sure worked hard. I'd been watching this worm all morning. No one seemed to mind. No one seemed to mind that I had my wand either, even if it didn't match my pink dress.

They both had fairy dust on them. They were glittery.

I was sure glad I had my wand, otherwise I wouldn't know what Robert was thinking or even know that his name was Robert.

I wish I had asked Robbie if I could get a princess crown.

He might've let me.

"Janey." Robbie called from across the yard. He waved to me, "Come on. We have to go inside."

When he walked closer, I said, "I don't want to. I want to stay here with Robert."

"Who—nevermind." His tie flapped in the wind. It wrapped itself around his neck.

Robbie was different lately. Before he would've cursed or said something bad if that had happened. I knew he wouldn't have let me get my pink dress and my wand. He never would've taken me shopping. Mom always took me shopping and I sprinkled fairy dust when I skipped down the mall.

Mom would give me more fairy dust when I ran out.

Mom was the Queen Fairy.

Robbie bent and grabbed my hand.

"Nooo…" I whimpered. My aunt would get mad at me for sitting in the rain. I got my dress wet.

She'd driven me and Robbie to the church that morning, but she'd gone inside so that's why I met Robert.

He was scared of my aunt, so I tried to comfort him.

"Come on. They can't start without us."

"I want mom. Where's mom?" I tried not to let him hear how scared I was, but I was. I really missed mom. I hadn't seen her for so long, since before Robbie took me shopping.

"Don't—" Robbie turned away.

I wished my wand was real. I'd make Robbie be a real happy boy.

He'd never cried in front of me before. One time I thought he started crying when we were watching a movie, but when I sat beside him, he shoved me away. That's when I knew that Robbie only got mad at me when he wanted to cry.

I never got mad at him back anymore.

He didn't get mad at me now.

"Where's mom?" I asked again, standing in front of him as he sat on the grass. He almost squished Robert, but I didn't tell him.

"She's not…Janey, mom's not coming back."

"Yeah, she is." Fairies could fly anywhere.

He took another deep breath and brushed away a tear.

"Mom and dad…they got in a car accident."

I remembered. I'd been hiding in the attic with Robbie that night. He didn't know that I had snuck up there, but storms scared me.

"They died, Janey. They're with…they're in heaven now."

I didn't know fairies could go to heaven. Fairies could fly in and out of heaven. It's how we know when the angels are around, the fairies tell us. We can feel their fairy dust on our noses and when we sneeze—an angel is there.

"When mom gets back from heaven, I'm going to show her my pretty dress. She'll think it's beautiful and tell me that I'm a good girl."

She didn't need to know about the wand. That could be between me, Robbie, and Robert.

Robbie looked at me real sad and he put his arms around me. Standing, Robbie lifted me up and I hugged him back. I never told him, but I really liked to hug my brother.

Robbie never carried me anywhere anymore.

The fairies flew away because I was safe with my brother.

"She's already seen your dress, Janey." Robbie said softly. "I'm sure she thinks it's real pretty too."

That made me happy and I laid my cheek on his shoulder as he carried me inside. There was a whole bunch of people inside and they were watching the pastor do some magic tricks. He even had a big black box in front of him.

I closed my eyes when all those people turned to stare at us.

I didn't want them to see me.

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