Entry #124

Subject: "Poof"

Classification: "Fairy godparent"

Gender: Male (probably)

Age: Unknown

Location: A fishbowl in my room!

Questions:

-Does he have a last name? How are fairies identified?

-Where does his supply of magic come from and what are its limits?

-How old is he? How long is a fairy's lifespan?

-What do fairies eat?

-Do they eat?

-What is their society like?

-Can they read?

-How do fairies

"Good morning, Dib!" With a loud pop the purple fairy godparent appeared in the air next to Dib's bed, beaming with his arms spread wide.

Dib, sitting at his desk and scribbling in his notebook, yelped in surprise and his pen fell to the ground.

Poof glanced over at him and his face fell. "…Oh. You're already up."

"Yeah, I didn't expect you to—" Dib hastily closed his notebook and dropped it into his backpack. "…I usually get up pretty early. That's when a lot of the supernatural stuff comes out, y'know? Dusk and dawn have the highest peaks of paranormal activity." He'd been up for at least forty-five minutes already. So far, nothing interesting had been picked up on any of his monitors. Just the same as every morning… but... it was worth a shot, right?

Poof was looking at him oddly. "Paranormal stuff? …Okay…" He brightened up and flitted over to Dib. "Well! It's bright, it's early—well, actually it's not that bright, but it's early! We have the whole day ahead of us! Got any wishes for this morning?"

"Um… no, not… really," Dib said awkwardly. He still didn't have a clue what he should wish for.

"Are you sure?" Poof asked.

The fairy looked really disappointed. Dib glanced around and his eyes fell on the pizza box from last night. "Okay, I guess I wish that was downstairs in the trash," he said, pointing at it. "If there's any left it's probably no good now anyway. Hey, does your magic run out? I don't want to waste it!"

"No, it doesn't run out," Poof said, raising his star-tipped wand and causing the pizza box to vanish.

"Oh, okay. That's great!" Dib smiled, shouldered his backpack, and went to open his door.

Poof fluttered after him. "Hey, where are you going?"

Dib looked at him and jerked his thumb at the door. "Breakfast, and then I've got to go to Skool. I guess you can just… stay in here and—"

"Cool! I'll come with you!" the fairy said. He was grinning. Did he ever stop smiling?

Dib looked Poof up and down. He was quite obviously a fairy. "…Come with me? How?"

Poof did a little twirl in the air. "Wish me up a disguise!"

That hadn't occurred to Dib. What was the fairy capable of turning into? A goldfish, apparently, but Dib couldn't really bring a goldfish to Skool. What about an inanimate object? It would have to be something inconspicuous, unnoticeable…

…Not that the people at Skool were renowned for their powers of observation. In fact, he could probably walk right into class with the fairy hovering over his shoulder shooting fireworks up into the air and screaming "LOOK I HAVE WINGS" and no one would bat an eyelash.

Or, with his luck, they would notice and he'd lose the fairy before he even got to wish for anything neat. So… back to the "inconspicuous and unnoticeable" plan.

"I wish you were a watch," Dib said.

The fairy's wand sparked and he disappeared. A purple watch sprang into existence on Dib's wrist with a little animated sprite version of Poof hovering beside the digital time display.

Wait, a sprite of a sprite? Hah.

Dib didn't say that out loud.

"Hey, neat idea!" the little animated Poof said, tapping on the glass of the watch face. It made little ting noises. "Is the sound coming through okay?"

"Yeah, the sound's fine," Dib replied. He hoped no one would ask where he had gotten the watch. Actually, come to think of it, no one would probably care.

Dib's heart did a little skip. He had a mythical creature literally sitting on his wrist. This was so cool! He couldn't wait to tell Gaz! Oh wait. He had to keep the fairy a secret. Man, that was annoying.

He opened the door, headed down the hall, and stepped down the stairs, finding himself unable to look away from the fairy on his wrist.

"Do fairies eat?" he asked as he walked. "Do you have a specific diet?"

"We can eat anything!" Poof replied. "Well, anything you guys can, anyway."

"Hey, if you can't use your magic unless I wish for something, do I have to wish up food for you?"

"Dib! Who are you talking to?" Gaz demanded from somewhere. It sounded like she was in the kitchen.

"No one!" Dib said, and regretted it immediately. That was dumb. He was obviously talking to someone! Wow… he was really terrible at this…

Gaz didn't respond to him. Dib entered the kitchen to see that she was sitting at the table and munching spoonfuls of cereal.

"Morning," he greeted her, sitting down and pouring a bowl for himself. Gaz just grunted. Dib paused. "Hey, has Dad come back yet?"

"No, I don't know when he'll come back," Gaz replied.

"Oh." Dib looked down at his cereal and gave it a stir. That was okay. Professor Membrane was just too busy, that was understandable. And besides, Dib had other things to think about!

He gulped down his cereal so fast that Gaz looked at him with one eyebrow raised. As soon as he finished he jumped up from the table and ran to the front door and heaved his backpack onto his back, his hands clenching and unclenching in his excitement at the prospect of having a magical wish-granting creature with him at Skool. Would he be able to make wishes there? What on Earth should he wish for?

"Gaz, c'mon!" he called. A couple minutes later Gaz entered the room and trailed over to him with her own backpack resting on her shoulders.

"You're acting so weird," she said.

"Just come on. Don't want to be late!"


The jubilation was short-lived; when Dib entered his classroom he stumbled to a halt and his insides froze solid. No. Not her. Not again. Not again.

"What's wrong?" Poof whispered from Dib's wrist. "Is that your teacher?"

"Substitute…" Dib said faintly.

Ms. Bridgewater looked up from the little stack of papers in her hands. Her spectacles seemed to glitter in the light. "Good morning, Dib. I trust we won't have any further trouble from you today?"

Dib swallowed, inhaled, and willed his heart to start beating again. He could do this. Today would be different than yesterday.

"HAH, yet another ally for ZIIIM," the green Irken snickered from his seat near the door, watching Dib and the substitute teacher in amusement.

Dib narrowed his eyes. The stupid alien had to be saying that just to get on his nerves. Well, he could still do this. He headed across the room and slid into his desk.

Ms. Bridgewater stood and regarded the class. "Children, as you can see, your teacher still has yet to return from… the janitor's closet." She adjusted her spectacles. "So I'm to substitute for her again. However, I still have not received a lesson plan… your ordinary teacher seems a bit… incompetent. What were you learning about before she left?"

"We were talking about horrible medical experiments people did at different points in history," Dib said.

The substitute regarded him coolly. "I see. Can anyone verify that?" She looked at the rest of the class.

Dib rested his head on his desk. So now she didn't even trust him to tell the truth about Ms. Bitters' lesson plans.

"Yeah, Dib's right for once," Zita, the girl who had the unfortunate position of sitting in the desk behind Zim's, said. Ms. Bridgewater looked a little irritated.

"That's too graphic for children your age," she sniffed. "We'll work on your times tables instead."

The class let out a collective groan. Dib figured everyone had been hoping for another day of almost no work, like yesterday. A few people were glaring at him, as if they considered it his fault that they were being forced to practice their multiplication skills.

Ms. Bridgewater cleared her throat and addressed the entire class. "Two times two," she said.

"Four," the class moaned. Dib was silent.

"Three times three."

"…Nine?"

"Five times seven."

There was a long pause. Dib felt like his fingernails were digging into his desk. Huh, if this kept up, the thing would be covered with scratches by the end of the week. He still didn't say anything.

"Oh, for the love of—it's thirty-five!" Zim blurted from across the room, pounding his fists on the table. "You sick and wretched humans don't even know the simplest of mathematical equations! How is it possible that you've achieved what little space travel you've achieved? …Erm eh heheh…" He calmed down and leaned away from the rest of the class. "…And I love Earth!"

Dib slowly put his hand in the air.

Ms. Bridgewater, who had had raised one eyebrow at Zim's outburst, looked around at Dib. "What?" she snapped.

Dib's hand dropped back to his side. "…Zim called us 'sick and wretched humans.' Don't you think that's a little—"

"That is enough out of you!" Ms. Bridgewater stormed over to Dib's desk, looking livid. "I thought I had made my position on bullying quite clear yesterday but apparently I had not. Zim is not an alien, do you understand? He is a troubled young boy with a skin condition! Now GET OUT!"

Dib looked at her in surprise. "What?" Get out? Get out where?

"The hallway! You will sit the rest of class out in the hall away from the other children. And if I hear one word out of you, you're going to the principal's office!"

Dib stiffened. He'd never even seen the principal. From what he'd heard, the principal was even worse than Ms. Bitters, and he quickly decided that it would be in his best interests to stay far away from that office.

"Yes ma'am," he said, got up, and exited the room. Once out in the hall he closed the door and slid to the ground with his back against the row of lockers. There was a pop. Dib's watch disappeared from his wrist and Poof materialized, hovering in the air in front of him.

"Okay, what was all that about?" the fairy asked.

Dib sighed and pulled his knees to his chest. "That's… my life," he said.

Poof dropped down and landed on the ground, his fast-beating wings coming to a rest. "That sort of thing happens to you a lot, huh?"

Something stirred in Dib's mind. The fairy sounded concerned. Was this someone who might actually believe him about Zim?

"…Do you believe in aliens?" he asked.

"Oh, sure!" Poof said with a little wave of his hand. "When I was a fairy baby we used to deal with them all the time! It was fun, one time I—" He stopped. Maybe he'd said too much… but Dib was staring.

Okay, maybe asking a fairy if it believed in aliens had been a bad idea. But it was something! Something he'd never had before—someone who might listen to him! He sat up on his knees. "Did you notice anything weird about the green kid?"

Poof blinked. "Other than… he's green?"

"He's an alien!" Dib pointed at the closed classroom door and suddenly remembered Ms. Bridgewater's threat. He lowered his voice and sank back down. "Zim is an alien sent to invade Earth. But no one will believe me!" Poof glanced at the door.

"Are you sure he's here to take over Earth?" he asked. "What if he's just here for… peace? Or something?"

Dib looked at him, aghast. "He's trying to conquer the Earth! You think I risk my life again and again to protect everyone on the planet and foil the dumb schemes of a peaceful alien?! He's tried to kill me over…" he did a quick count in his head, "…four times!"

"Okay, okay!" Poof backed away with his palms facing out. "I'm sorry. Look, I guess I don't know what all's going on here. They didn't give me much information for the assignment…"

"Guess not," Dib said. He didn't look at the fairy. His finger traced invisible patterns on the dirty linoleum floor. "You weren't given much information? That seems dumb. What if you ended up with some weird kid that you had no idea how to deal with?"

"Ah, heh, yeah," Poof said with an awkward smile, rubbing the back of his neck. "Yeah, I guess the system might have some drawbacks…"

Dib sat bolt upright, his eyes wide. "Hey! Wait! I could make a wish!"

Poof started. "Ooh! What? Wish for what?" he asked excitedly.

Dib didn't answer right away. What would help him here? He couldn't take another minute of Ms. Bridgewater yelling at him. He… he just couldn't. And to make sure he wouldn't have to…

"I… wish Ms. Bitters was back," he said.

"Huh?" Poof said. His wand remained dark.

Dib glanced at him. "My old—real—teacher. I wish she was back."

"Gotcha," the fairy godparent acknowledged, and gave him a thumbs-up. "ALACA-ZAM!" He raised his wand in the air and it glowed.

A shadow fell over the hallway. Instantly, Poof vanished in a puff of smoke and once again became a watch.

"Dib!" the woman suddenly walking… gliding?... toward the classroom said sharply. "Get back inside to your desk where you belong!"

"Ms. Bitters!" Dib jumped to his feet, his back still pressed against the lockers. His teacher looked the same as ever. Old, black pointy dress, gray hair pulled into a bun. Dib had never been so relieved to see her.

"That vacation was horrible," Ms. Bitters growled as she passed him. "I almost missed being constantly surrounded by you whining children."

Her vacation in the janitor's closet? Okay…

Ms. Bitters shoved open the door. "All right, you're through!" she said to the shocked Ms. Bridgewater standing at the front of the class. "Get out of my classroom. You're an embarrassment to teaching."

The substitute stood up ramrod straight. "I will have you know that I have a doctorate!" she said.

"I'll have you know that I couldn't care less," Ms. Bitters said flatly. "There's the door. I suggest you use it before I get angry."

Ms. Bridgewater tried to lock eyes with Ms. Bitters, probably in an attempt at some sort of glaring contest, but of course failed miserably and quailed away. She glanced at the students gawking at her from their desks, then back at Ms. Bitters.

"Have it your way, then!" she said. "But you are doing an atrocious job with these students if you allow them to accuse each other of being aliens and 'teach' them about things like morbid medical experiments!"

Ms. Bitters leaned over, her eyes firing daggers at the substitute. "What I teach are the only subjects worth learning!" she snarled.

Ms. Bridgewater left rather quickly.

She barely even glanced at Dib on her way out the door. Dib slunk back into the classroom and dropped into his seat.

Ms. Bitters sat down behind her desk. "Well, class, I'm back," she said. As if anyone hadn't noticed. "Stare at your desks until the lunch bell rings."

"You'd… rather have her than the anti-bully crone?" Poof asked quietly from Dib's wrist.

"Yep, I'd say she's the lesser of two evils." Dib gave a little smile to the watch. "Thanks for the wish."

"You've never had a friend like me!" Poof replied.

But he looked a little unsure.