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So, it was the summer solstice and we were trying to have a backyard barbecue, except there were all of these fairies out celebrating -- little mayfly-sized fairies buzzing about, glowing, untying the laces on my "world's best dad" apron; brownies hiding behind the trees, running out and stealing potato chips; and a whole family of goblins under the hedge eyeing the corn. Potato salad was not even a remote possibility.

There's not much I could do about them, as you tend to accumulate curses if you try anything. One year, I set out a brownie trap, using a cat carrier with a bowl of potato chips as bait.  We must have caught two or three of the things, taken them out to the woods and released them.  Or so we thought; every time I tried to mow the lawn that summer, one of their little friends had put a rock in a strategic place.  I had to replace the damned blade at least nine times.

Well anyway, this particular day, I was out trying to get the grill ready, dodging dive-bombing fairies trying to catch a good thermal, when I noticed Jodie, my 11-year-old, catching sprites and tossing them to the koi.  Well, to tell you the truth, the koi were too busy to be eating, because the nixies were apparently holding a rodeo.  But the regular goldfish were having a good old time.  So, filled with nightmares of having half my roof shingles pulled up, I called over to him. "Jodie! stop that!".  Of course he kept right on doing it.  Stronger measures were called for; before long he would be pulling their wings off. I ran over there,  and pulled his latest victim out of his grubby little hands.   "Young man, you're in time out. Go inside, wash your hands, and go to your room until dinner's ready."

It was at this moment that the goblins decided to march out in force and walk away with four ears of corn.  Mimi, my six-year-old, screamed and tried running after them. At least the sight of a six-year old running around trying to chase a bunch of goblins running in all directions got rid of my bad mood.  But if Mimi fell down and skinned her knee, I knew who Ann would blame, so I embarked upon my own macro-version of trying to chase down a little goblin and get her back in the house.

Eventually the commotion died down and I was able to get back to the grill. Jason, the oldest, had brought out a plate of hamburgers all ready to go, so on they went.

No sooner had I put the last burger on the grill than I was assaulted by a great cloud of fairies, large and small, dive-bombing me, pulling on my hair, tossing the apron strings in the fire.  Plates were knocked over and broken, potted plants were ripped up.  Ok, some of it was caused by me, flailing about with a hamburger turner.  The only response my panicked mind could come up with was to invoke the nastiest fairy-hating demon I knew.  "Llewllafyrrej!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.  All the critters scattered.

Ann came running out of the house.  "Dammit, Jorge, I wish you wouldn't call on that creep", she exclaimed while we were cleaning up the mess.  "He gives me the willies.  You know what'll happen if you lose one of those Halloween poker games he makes you play."

"Look, hon, it was that or be torn into tiny pieces right now.  Something got them all stirred up." It was at this point that I should have made a mental note to put a roofer on retainer, but the utter silence from behind me told me I was in deep trouble.    I turned around and Ann was staring at the grill with a really grim look on her face.  Deep, deep trouble.  I followed her gaze and noticed pink-and-green sparks coming up from the burger I'd slapped on the grill.

By now, you've guessed it: Jason had neglected to put wax paper on the burgers. One of the little buggers didn't pull out of a dive-bomb on time and became mired in ground beef.   And I just had to pick that particular burger to slap on the grill first.

"Oh, shit." was my automatic response. Well, it was appropriate, as Ann quickly confirmed with her "you got it, asshole", followed by her storming into the house, probably to pack, hustle the kids in to the car, and head for the hills, leaving me to my inevitable doom.   I gingerly turned the burger over, confirming my worst fears:  There was a warm, flat, very dead sprite stuck to the underside of the burger, his little wings crisped, his body scored with nasty grill char marks.

So, now you know why I'm out here roasting on a spit.   Are you happy now?

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