An Apple a Day, Keeps the Sparkle Imp at Bay

Shireen never turned down an intern applicant. Well, it wasn’t like she’d had many applicants, only two in eight years as a Regulator. But if someone was seeking licensure with the Arizona Chamber of the Metaphysical, and she wanted Shireen as a mentor, two things were true; no one else had accepted her, and she was desperate enough that she’d start out with a bad rep just from working with Shireen. But everyone deserved a chance. After all, Jello Jim had given her one, and that had turned out…well, she was doing just fine even if her reputation wasn’t so great.

When Poppy showed up for her first day, Shireen knew immediately why the young woman had sought her mentorship. Poppy was a below-the-knee amputee and wore a prosthetic foot on her right leg. The other pros in the field wouldn’t have wanted the liability. To be fair, the work the Regulators did could be very dangerous. AzCM had so many waivers that no surviving relatives had ever won a damages case. But there was always risk, no matter how prepared a Regulator could be. What was more important than physical prowess was a keen mind, a good grasp of magic, and perseverance.

It was clear from the defiant look on the young woman’s face that she had the last ingredient. Shireen smiled. Now she’d test her mind and magic.

“I’m Shireen, glad to have you. You got a smartphone?”

The defiant look was replaced by one of confusion. Poppy nodded, and pulled it out of her pocket, holding it in her palm for Shireen to examine.

“That’ll do. I’m going to text you an address. I need you to take care of a new client. The woman who lives there is complaining about a sparkle imp hiding out in her basement. We’ve been contracted to remove the imp from her property. AzCM guidelines…”

“Say to relocate them to a nearby park of their choosing,” Poppy finished.

Shireen raised her eyebrow.

“Sorry, I’m just really excited.”

“You ready-ready? We can start smaller if you want,” Shireen said, giving her an out. Sparkle Imps were pretty dang small though. They weren’t dangerous, just annoying, and they were simple to handle if one knew what to expect.

Poppy nodded with a confident grin. “Def.”

“Get to it, check in when you’re done. Any problems, call.”

Shireen spent the afternoon writing reports so she could be around for any complications.

Two hours passed, Shireen started to worry. She’d give Poppy another half hour and then track her down.

A few minutes later, Poppy walked in, coated in sparkles. She’d pissed off the sparkle imp. The sparkle coating wasn’t so bad, but it smelled like feces.

Shireen chuckled. She grabbed what looked like a shampoo bottle from the cupboard.

“Did you at least get the imp relocated?” Shireen handed the bottle to Poppy.

Poppy’s eyes were proud. “Yup, just some minor complications. Didn’t know about the fruit.”

“Lesson one, do your research first.”






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Genre: Urban Fantasy
Wordage: poppy, hide
Wordcount: 499

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