Luckily for Jack, the answer came when the owners decided to have their loft insulated. For the past 30 years Melanie had been content to literally stay in the loft, rationing her calcium intake and not taking a blind bit of notice of what went on in the house. All she cared for was reaching 75 and going to her heaven. When the builder suddenly opened the loft door and came in, Melanie was so startled by him that she had darted into the wall space to avoid detection – for it was absolutely forbidden by the Magic Fairy Code to be seen or caught by a human. In escaping from the narrow clutches of being revealed, Melanie had left her last remaining molar tooth behind. Once the builders had finished insulating the loft, the tooth was nowhere to be found and Melanie was facing the prospect of starving to death, 6 months shy of 75. Drinking milk was no good either, for only the calcium loaded teeth was sufficient to substantially compliment her cravings.
Feeling depressed and hungry, Melanie bumped into an ever-increasingly weary Jack in the wall space between the lounge and the dining room. Melanie was the first to break their 74-and-a-half year silence.
“I need your help,” she asked Jack.
“I only tangle wires, not pull teeth out. What makes you think I’d want to help you?”
“Because unless we work together for our own mutual benefit, we’ll be dead in the next month and then we’ll have to start our 75 years all over again. Do you really fancy giving up after almost making it to 75?”
“I’m so tired of tangling all the same wires every night. The two humans actually enjoy untangling them now as it gives them something to do with their uneventful days, apart from their daily newspaper crossword. There’s nothing I can do anymore, now go away and leave me to die – alone.”
In the old days, Melanie had often heard Jack sniggering away to himself after he had created a significant amount of PAM. Now, with his mental health degrading every hour, Jack was nothing more than a manic depressive and his death was due very soon.
“All I need is one tooth and that will be enough to feed on until I’m 75. I have an idea of how to get one, but I need your help in creating a tangle wire which has nothing to do with electrical cables.”
Jack was intrigued by Melanie’s proposed new method of creating a tangle mess and he perked up, producing a sadistic grin and rubbing his hands together in a scheming manner.
“How can I create PAM again?”
“When the children were around and before I permanently resided in the loft, the woman used to stand in the kitchen making food for the whole family. Does she still do this?”
“Every day at five like clockwork, she slaves away in the kitchen while the man watches television with his feet up. It’s very unfair on her, actually.”
“Excellent, does the woman wear shoes with laces?”
“Yes, but tangling shoelaces together is amateurish at best. I haven’t done it for 70 years; the humans simply untie them before they put them on.”
“Exactly, before they put them on. Have you ever tangled the laces together while the humans are wearing them?”
Jack’s body language positively improved at Melanie’s words. Tying the shoelaces together while the woman was standing would definitely create a large amount of PAM when she next moved and, subsequently, fell. Tying them together while the person was wearing them was an extremely risky business though. If Jack got caught, he would face imprisonment in his respective fairy jail. Fortunately though, only two incidents of “I saw a fairy” cases have ever been reported, with the man or woman who saw the fairy always being labelled a lunatic and imprisoned in an insane asylum. It was a very unfortunate outcome for both fairy and human, hence the imperative placed on all fairies of not getting caught. But the seriousness of the situation for both Melanie and Jack meant they had no other way of surviving without drastic action and mutual coalition.
“Hopefully, the woman will trip up and smash her jaw against the side of the kitchen units or on the floor. She’ll certainly be in pain, aggravation and misery – she may even die. That would certainly make me happy enough to last until I reach 75. You have yourself a partner, Melanie,” said Jack.
The prospect of creating PAM again had postponed Jack from slipping into a coma for at least three days, but sooner or later simply thinking about the distress he was going to cause would not suffice to meet his survival need. Melanie and Jack spent the first day planning their assault. Jack would hide in the side space between the oven and the kitchen unit and, while the woman was busy cooking food on the hobs, he would sneak out and tie her laces together. Then when she moved, she would trip up and hopefully crack her face against one of the side units, displacing a tooth. Melanie would then rapidly fly out and carry her food away. Fairies flew very fast and stealthily, so Melanie was confident the woman would be in too much shock to notice a fairy flying around the kitchen. Jack was also confident that this last evil deed would be more than sufficient to last him the remaining time. Melanie and Jack would then go their separate ways once the plan succeeded.