The tiny blonde woman stamped her tiny, high heel shod foot and repeated, “Just take it! Why do I have to keep asking you?” She glared at him in exasperation, her outthrust arms holding a black leather briefcase handsomely trimmed in brass. “What is your problem?” Her voice was high-pitched, somewhere around the same range as a kitten’s mew and with an accent that George couldn’t quite place.
He stared at the figure. She was standing near the edge of his glass-topped desk. Just moments before she had walked out from behind his computer monitor and strode across the gleaming desk, her black, spike heeled pumps chattering across the dekstop, her black pantsuit reflecting in the mirror like surface. She stood about seven or eight inches tall, perhaps seeming a tad bit taller as a result of her towering heels. She was very slender and even a bit fragile looking with her pale skin and nearly platinum hair that was caught up in a chic bun. Her proportions were perfect or more than perfect, rather Barbie-like. Her suit was tailored and complemented by her choices in fashionably chunky jewelry. Her hands were tipped with shortish nails finished in a French style manicure. He could see this tiny detail (and on this miniature woman it was indeed a tiny detail) because those hands were holding the aforementioned briefcase out before her body, reaching toward him.
George had no idea what he was supposed to do. Not a single, solitary, lowly idea. His mind was frozen, he could not comprehend what was before his eyes. He continued staring, speechless. The diminutive woman seemed to finally understand his shock and she lowered the briefcase to the desk and looked at him with a softened gaze. “Not again,” she said. “What’s with you Yanks? You all act like you don’t know what a bixy is.”
“A bixy?” George finally managed to squeak. “What’s a bixy? Is that like a fairy?”
The tiny blonde woman, or bixy, George thought, shook her head and muttered not quite under her breath, “Bloody stupid Americans”.
“A fairy? Do I fucking look like Tinkerbell? A bixy is what I am, right? A pixy who specializes in business matters. Business + pixy, get it?” George nodded to the tiny creature. He didn’t get it at all but he didn’t want to rile her up further.
“What is your name? My name is George.”
“I know your name, George,” the bixy said. “I tend to know the names of those I’ll be working for.” She looked skyward and asked “Why me? First I get Paul Jenkins and now this dim bulb. Who up there hates me?”
George started at the mention of Paul Jenkins. Paul was the whole reason he was here to begin with. This fancy vice-president’s office had been Paul’s until his unfortunate breakdown. Jenkins had been discreetly carted off to a high priced institution only three weeks ago. His breakdown had birthed George’s big break, giving him the chance to move into the vice-president’s spot. George was a kind man and would never have wished ill on his predecessor, but, once he was out of the picture, George had to seize the opportunity given him.
He had barely finished unpacking his last box, arranged his pens and pencils (a bit old fashioned but George loved his #2 pencils), and adjusted his Execuvat 9000 Supreme office chair to his liking when the bixy had appeared on his desk, offering up the tiny briefcase to him and urging him to take it off her hands.
“My name is Cyberina,” she said. “My job is to help you succeed in your new job.”
George further refined his blank look as he stared rather stupidly at Cyberina. “How can you help me in my job?” he finally asked. The bixy looked at him with, not respect, but with perhaps a little less scorn than before.
“At least you’re talking to me, not running around the office screaming like that nitwit Jenkins,” she told him. George’s blank stare began to clear as he realized just what Cyberina was saying.
“You mean… you mean, umm, Paul’s breakdown was because of you?”
“Ha!” she said, the scorn back full force in her voice. “It weren’t because of me, but because he were too dense to believe his own eyes. What’s so hard about that? Look at you, you’re doing just fine. A bit slow, but no screaming ninny you are.” George blushed at this underwhelming praise.
“Where did you come from? How did you get here?” George asked, his shock receding and his natural curiosity coming forth.
“Remember when Mr. Paul Screaming Nitwit Jenkins went on that business trip to England about a month back?” Cyberina settled herself down on the edge of the desk, taking off her spike heeled pumps and rubbing her feet. “Fucking unholy things these heels are,” she said.
George nodded, he had wanted to go on the trip too but budgets cuts meant that he had to attend the sessions via video teleconference, an experience about as useful and satisfying as masturbating with a condom on.
“I had wanted to come to the States for a bit but the only visa I could get was an H1-B for temporary special worker with annex BP-CYBER. No problem for me, I’m a bixy, that’s what I do. But I had a problem convincing an American to sponsor me because they all refused to believe I existed. So, I sort of stowed away in Jenkins’ luggage, figuring I’d get it all sorted out when I got here. I mean, who wouldn’t want the help that I can offer? All I want in return is a chance to experience life in America. Land of drinks served with ice and 500 channels on tv. Stores that stay open for 24 hours a day.” Her face softened and took on a look of childlike anticipation. “I had 30 days from my arrival here to get my visa processed and that deadline is coming up fast. If I had picked a more mentally stable man’s suitcase I’d be coming up roses but here we are. And that’s where you come in,” she finished.
“Me?? What can I do?” George asked.
Cyberina closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. “I… need… a… sponsor,” she said. “You need help in your new job. You sponsor me, I work for you, you succeed in your career beyond your wildest dreams, I get to try out the American dream, everyone’s happy.”
“But how can you help me?” George’s shock had settled into a more pedestrian state of confusion.
“See this briefcase?”
“Of course,” he said. “What I don’t know is why you keep trying to give it to me.”
“This briefcase holds the secret to your success.” Cyberina’s voice was supremely patient. “It’s full of bixy dust.” George didn’t want to rile her up again but he had to ask.
“What is bixy dust? I don’t understand.”
“Bixy dust is what makes a bixy so special,” she said. “Bixy dust is what sets bixies apart from not only elves, sprites, and fucking fairies, but other pixies. You go to your big meeting, right? You have all these investors whose money you need, yeah? You’re sweating bullets because you know deep down inside you’re not really smart enough or talented enough or even schmoozy enough to get the job done,” she said, her voice lowering into a confidential tone. George felt slightly sick, how did she know thatwas exactly how he felt when he went into those big meetings? “What you do, you take a pinch of this here bixy dust between your fingers right before you go into your meeting, say ‘cyber, cyber, cyber’ and throw the pinch of dust over your left shoulder.”
“Like spilled salt?” George’s sense of humor began to emerge from the shock and confusion of the past several minutes.
“Nothing like salt!” Cyberina said. “This is serious business! If you don’t get this right I’ll be deported.” George was immediately contrite.
“I’m sorry, please go on,” he said.
Slightly mollified, the bixy continued. “Say ‘cyber, cyber, cyber’. Three times exactly. No more and no less. Then flick the bixy dust over the shoulder. Words first, dust second, in that order. When you walk into your meeting you’ll appear confident and competent and you will walk away with all the funding you asked for and then some. Your boss will think you’re a genius and will reward you with big bonuses.”
“Are you sure?” George asked. “How do you know for sure that’s what will happen?” Cyberina rolled her eyes.
“Because that’s my specialty!” she said. “Bixies concentrate on certain areas. Some bixies are focused on finance, others on trade or pharmaceuticals. Me? I specialize in anything cyber related. If you couldn’t guess from my name,” she said. “Look, George. You’ve got to trust me. What do you have to lose? Nothing, that’s what. All you have to do is sign my visa papers. Even if it doesn’t work (and it will), you’re no worse off than before.”
George thought about this. The whole thing was crazy. He wanted to pinch himself to see if he was dreaming but he had never understood why this was supposed to work. What did pinching have to do with dreaming? Suppose he was dreaming. Why wouldn’t he take a chance in a dream? What’s the worst that could happen?
“Let’s do it,” he told her.
“See? It’s already working,” Cyberina said. “That was an executive decision if I ever saw one.” George blushed again. Cyberina unzipped an outer compartment on the briefcase and pulled out a tiny sheaf of papers. “Sign these and we’ll officially be a team. Cyberina and George, George and Cyberina. Stick with me, kid, the world’ll be your oyster.” The bixy beamed up at him, her former disdain transformed into approval. “And to think, I nearly got stuck with that idiot, Jenkins,” she said. George wanted to defend his former coworker but he silently agreed with her, Jenkins was an idiot.
George signed Cyberina’s worker visa papers, no easy task on the tiny paper. The bixy took the papers and said she would file them with the appropriate authorities right away. She offered up the briefcase once again, and this time, he took it. He had a meeting to attend.
George paused before entering the conference room. He took the miniscule briefcase from his pocket, flipped the miniature latches, and carefully opened the lid. He grasped a tiny pinch of the bixy dust between his right thumb and forefinger and held it tightly while he closed the briefcase with the back of his hand and put it back in his pocket. Still clutching the magical powder, he glanced around to make sure he was alone, then softly chanted “Cyber, cyber, cyber,” the last cyber spoken with increasing confidence and vigor. He tossed the pinch over his shoulder and immediately stood taller. George grasped the handle of the conference room door, pulled it open, and stepped into the room.