New chance at an old love

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Surprise Visitor

Norbert was still holding the pistol to his temple. still debating about whether to shoot, but now he was beholding a strange sight. He slowly put his pistol beside him on the bed and reached for his glasses. Norbert's eyesight was adequate, so the glasses only made the visitor's features stand out more clearly.
"Who are you?" Norbert asked cautiously by rote, not really thinking it the proper response.
"I'm your fairy godfather" the visitor said in an alto voice that almost tickled. Norbert walked around the visitor cautiously. There were no wings, no halo, no pixie dust but he met all the physical qualities of the second definition of fairy Norbert had learned as a boy watching Truman Capote on the Tonight Show alongside a drunk uncle. The visitor appeared to be an overweight male caucasian with shiny white hair slightly longer than a regular boy's cut. He wore a pink suit, suede loafers and a black and white bow tie that suggested a clown. There was no obvious makeup but his cheeks were puffy and ruddy.
To prove this wasn't a dream Norbert tentatively brushed his fingertips along the visitor's neck.
"What are you doing?" The godfather asked.
"Seeking a pulse" Norbert replied, not sure why he was talking to the apparition.
"Well, you won't find one, there or in my wrist. I'm not human or anything living-in any sense you're used to anyway."
Norbert sat on the chair nearby and motioned for the visitor to explain himself, itself, whatever.
"Well, I am your fairy godfather. Each person on this planet gets one and I've been watching you since birth. Tonight you need me."
"I've needed you lots of times," Norbert replied, his voice rising in volume and pace. "All those failures, all those..."
"Nothing as bad as tonight I assure you. I'm only allowed to intervene once and-bad as things got before-this is the first time you were ready to give up, isn't it?"
That was true enough, but Norbert hated thinking about the past. It was the barrage of bad memories brought on by Cecile's innocent inquiries that brought him to this moment. Norbert removed his glasses, rubbed his weary eyes and tried to concentrate on his strange visitor's comments.
"So I've been watching you your whole life, every boring moment."
"All the time?"
"Luckily for me you sleep soundly, and usually for eight hours at a time. Your prostrate never has a problem. So at night I can wander around, I've seen some fabulous things at night. I come equipped with excellent senses, so if you so much as whimper in your sleep I fly back to find out why. I also remember everything, much better than you do."
Norbert took a drink of water, washed his face in the restroom, again circled his visitor and took his seat. He slowly recounted the visitor's tale as presented. The godfather nodded as he correctly recited each point.
At last Norbert accepted the reality of the situation and tried to get to the point.
"So...what are you here for now?"
"Glad you finally asked" the visitor said with a chuckle. "Tonight you came face to face with your greatest frustration. You're a straight 68-year-old man who never married, and that little detail might be the very obstacle that prevents you from what you perceive to be your last chance to marry, so I'm going to give you the opportunity of a lifetime, almost a second lifetime-perhaps."
Norbert was normally a patient man, but this visitor, supposedly here to help him, was giving Norbert a new type of torment, and seemingly enjoying it. Finally he burst out.
"Get to the point!"
"Now, now, Norbert, hey, that could be a Broadway play. I may not be human or alive, but I have feelings too. I've been waiting all your life to talk to you. I had no idea it would be tonight, you know. Smart as I am, I don't know the future."
Though it would guarantee further delay, since this was apparently his one chance to know certain things, Norbert decided to ask about the situation.
"You said...everyone gets a fairy godfather, like you?"
"Yes, and they can intervene only once in each life. It can be at any time. Many, most I expect, never intervene."
"Why aren't there records, books, reports?"
"There are some. A lot of these interventions didn't go right. You've heard of Joan of Arc, haven't you?"
"Yes of course."
"Her fairy godmother intervened too early. It didn't go well. Think now for a moment: what if I had visited you during your religious phase, or your superstitious phase?"
Even Norbert had to chuckle at that, but the next question was obvious.
"So, who puts you and those others to watch us?"
"You can call him God if you'd like, but I'm not here to change your religion. If you're willing to let me help you, give me a big hug."
Norbert hesitated. This visitor might not be alive but he was certainly gay and he never felt right touching a homosexual.
"Ha ha ha ha ha" the visitor began. "This visit is about you overcoming your fears, so I took this form so you could get one big fear out of your system immediately. I could have come as Freddy Krueger."
With a flash of light Freddy Krueger now replaced the fairy godfather.
"Want to hug me now, or maybe you'd prefer a hearty handshake" he said, extending the claws toward Norbert.
"I think the other one is easier," Norbert replied and embraced the visitor. There was no bodily warmth. The suit felt like cheap polyester. As Norbert pulled away and settled on the bed the visitor resumed.
"You're frustrated because you never married. I'm going to give you a second chance to get married, to any woman you've ever met."
The visitor tapped Norbert's temple, the spot Cecile had kissed, the spot where, if not for this sudden visit, a bullet would now be placed.
"This gives you perfect memory of exactly what happened in every interaction with a woman since the start of puberty. In the next eight hours, I want you to decide which woman you should have married. When I return I will send you back to the day before you met her, taking with you full memory of every moment you were with the chosen girl. Your mission is to marry her and stay married for life."
"How?" Norbert started, "How can I start over like that?"
"You won't just be reliving moments. You'll be there, reliving your life starting at that day. Except you'll remember exactly how every moment with that chosen woman went and can change things as you wish."
"What else will I remember?"
"Whatever you remember now. You can invest in stocks you know will go up, win bets like who wins the world series, or how..."
The visitor paused and chuckled as Norbert grimaced as the image of Bill Buckner missing a ground ball flashed through his mind.
As Norbert regained his composure, the visitor continued.
"You can do anything you like, be a phila-phila-good deed-doers."
Norbert chuckled at that.
"See, your memory is great. How long has it been since you last saw the Wizard of Oz?"
"30, 40 years."
"Yet you remembered that, and many more things"
"So I might have to relive over 40 years," Norbert said sighing.
"If you make it to today still married, you win. If she divorces you at any time, or marriage becomes impossible for any reason, everything is nullified and you're right back where you are now. Understand?"
Norbert was grasping, thinking about the women, and the other sad memories of decades past.
"I can change other things, my parents."
"Seriously, do you think you could do anything to keep either of your parents alive one more week? A little less salt, a little less Spam? Trust me, it's not worth the effort. But no matter what else you do, your mission is to marry one woman and keep her happy for life. That's everyone's reason for living really?"
"Everyone's mission?"
"Well, a few people get special assignments, you know the type, but if everyone kept one person happy for life most other problems would take care of themselves. Now I've been here too long already. It's after 1 am. I'll return about 9 am for your answer. Don't do anything foolish until then."





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