It became obvious, once I knew what I was looking for.
Humans have always had stories about others, elves and fairies and trolls and the like, right? Those who are like us and yet different. And it seems like up until the last century or so, we all knew they were out there.
And then science happened. Science tells us that there aren’t any other intelligent beings on Earth, that humans are all there is. No fairies, no trolls, no gods, no angels. But I know better. I learned better.
I started seeing them when I was riding the bus one day outside of Tucson. I had my hair tied back in a tight ponytail. I had bleached and straightened and dyed it in Flagstaff, so it was a riot of blonde & red & purple, saying yeah, I’m a girl but I’m one of those girls and not worth the trouble. I was trying to catch some sleep while all the other passengers were old people on the boring part of the trip instead of the scum that would get on board when we got closer to Vegas. I had my backpack on my lap and my arms tight around it so nobody wouldn’t steal it. I woke up when someone sat down on my seat.
He was pale and had red hair and a wild red beard and green eyes, like, crazy green. He smiled at me when I woke up and said “Don’t worry, today’s your lucky day”. His voice wasn’t like one of those drunk oily pickup men, he meant it, it sounded like lucky. So I went back to sleep and slept all the way to Vegas and when I woke up all my stuff was still in my backpack & someone had shoved $50 in my hand. That’s when I realized that there were still sprites and leprechauns. I mean, what else could he be?
So I started looking around. And man, if you know what you’re looking for they’re everywhere. Not just leprechauns. All of ’em. That glitzy girl who looks like she’s flying when she dances and seems to sparkle, she’s obviously a fairy. That bouncer who takes a beer bottle to the back of the head and just turns around is all “sir, I’m gonna have to ask you to leave”, I mean, come on, he’s a troll.
Or like, part troll. I think they all got interbred with humans, so now it’s like, some dude’s got more fairy in him than normal and people call him metro. Or whatever, like we all just have all of it in us, after so long.
I wonder how many people know what they are underneath. Seems like everyone’s so stupid about it, just, like, saying “no, he’s just strong, it’s not a big deal”. And I’m like, “strong doesn’t make you not get cut when you get hit with a bottle”. So yeah, wake up.
Anyway my friend Jenny was definitely one. We lived together for a while in a crappy little trailer outside Vegas while we were trying to get enough money to go anywhere else. And once I knew what I was looking for it was obvious. Jenny was totally an elf. She doesn’t have like, pointy ears but her eyes are a weird color, like, copper gray? And she’s tiny tiny. I’m only like, five eight, and she makes me feel like a giant. But what makes it real obvious is how much she needs trees.
Vegas was killing Jenny. It’s all flat and dead and she couldn’t get whatever it was she needed from deserts. She came from, like, Canada or Idaho or somewhere that’s all pine trees and dirt, and all the sand was just drying her out. I guess she ran away when her dad went psycho and this was as far as her money took her. It’s like, everyone can get to Vegas, but nobody can get out of Vegas.
Anyway on really bad days when Jenny was crying and shaking I would try to get her to come with me to one of the Casinos that had an indoor park with real trees and Jenny would sit on a bench and cry, but it would be different, like, she wouldn’t be so crazy. And after a while she would just be breathing deep and then she’d say something like “These trees are crap, Liz” and we’d go home.
Oh and its not just the good ones that exist, you know. The bad ones are still around too. But they get all the movies and books and crap. Vampires and werewolves and demons and whatever. Everyone thinks they’re so cool. They’re not. Jenny was dating a demon, I’m sure of it. He said his name was Vince, but who knows in Vegas? But he was always in all fancy silk shirts and pants and had a car even though he worked at a crappy bar off the strip. And anyone could see that they were wrong for each other. Anyone but Jenny, because he used some demon spell to make her think he was the greatest guy ever.
Me, I started to suspect when we went to the beach. He never got hot. It’d be like, a hundred degrees outside and Jenny and I were sweating and exhausted and he was all “oh is it hot out here?” and he’d smile that smile of his under those sunglasses he thought were so cool. He was never any good for Jenny, I think he kind of hated her? But she was pretty, so he dated her. Kind of. He would have killed her if I hadn’t come home early that night, but I scared him off and fixed her up. I’ve always been good at fixing folks up.
But things worked out; I was making more at work now that I knew how to play the gamblers for tips and so Jenny and I moved out of that trailer and into an apartment the next day. I guess spending more on rent kept me in Vegas longer, but I had to do it, you know?
And anyway that apartment was where all the good times happened. We were both making more now, and we had money to get smart phones. And we came up with The Plan.
It wasn’t a fancy plan. We would just sit around after work and look for places for Jenny to live. She didn’t want to go back up where she came from; but she thought northern California looked like a nice place with all the redwoods and stuff, so we would look at apartments she could rent there and figure out how much it would cost for her to move there. Then one day some boy tipped Jenny $300 because he won a bunch and then some other guy sold me his laptop for $300 because he needed to “win it all back”. So Jenny and I made her a real resume in Word and we spell checked it and everything. Then we started sending it to jobs in some of the cities she wanted to live in.
It was right around then that I noticed something weird. Once you knew what you were looking for you saw that a lot of people were others, but it was always just the poor people like me. You never saw a casino manager and thought “he’s a goblin”, or a middle class tourist with their family and thought “oh, she’s a mermaid!” No, it was always the dealers, croupiers, dancers, bouncers, waiters, those were the people who were something other. Sometimes I kinda wondered if I was, too.
Anyway Jenny got a phone interview for one of those jobs and they agreed to hire her. I didn’t want to go to California. I kinda wanted to go back home Louisiana, but on the other hand I kinda didn’t. So I told Jenny I was just going to find a new roommate or whatever. I didn’t have a real plan or anything. Jenny kissed me on the cheek when she got on the bus for California and said “thank you so much, Lizzie. You’re an angel!” And then she was gone.
Walking home I thought about what she said. I wasn’t the usual blonde and blue-eyed kind, but why couldn’t I be an angel? My Granny always said I was, but that’s just what grannies say, right? But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I’ve always been blessed; you know, lucky. Like with that leprechaun. And I’ve always loved helping people, and I got a killer singing voice from my mamma.
Well, I got to thinking about it, and I realized that if there’s all these people around me that are other, whose to say I’m not an angel? If Vince was a demon, and I knew hew was, why wouldn’t angels be around as well? I don’t know about church stuff, maybe angels and demons exist outside of church stuff.
And that got me thinking. Some angels are all about singing and just being good, right? But others come down and get things done. And that’s when it clicked. That’s the kind I am. I’m the kind of angel that makes things better. And once I knew that, well, I knew what I had to do.
So that’s why I did what I did. Vince was a demon, and an angel’s first job is to fight off demons. And that’s why I let you catch me. I’ve got a job to do, and I wanted to let you all know. You regular people, you’ve been pushing us others into the shadows and ignoring us for a long time. So long you forgot we were real. So long even we forgot we were real, most days. Even now you don’t believe me, but that’s fine. You can believe what you want. I’m just going to give you my message and then I’m out of here.
You thought we were gone. You thought we were stories. Some of you hoped you could bring us back. But you know what?
We never left.