B1 — F1. The Struggle Is Real

Fiona frowned as she got off the plane at Miami International Airport at eight P.M.  I was only in Ireland for two days.  Honestly, what the crap is up with all these demonetization claims?  Unlocking her phone, she called her lawyer and manager, Erica Kohne; the line rang a few times before she answered.

“Fiona, I’m so sorry I had to bother you when you were overseas seeing your family.  How was Clifden?”

She took a deep breath as she walked down the hallway toward the luggage section.  “I was able to see my family for about two hours before traveling back to Knock Airport—I was looking forward to spending more time with my little sister.  Maybe we can fly her out next time.”

“That would be nice,” Erica commented.

“I think she’d like it.  So, over three hundred of my videos have been flagged not user-friendly?”

“Yes, most of the claims are for inappropriate language.”

Fiona’s brow furrowed as she got on an escalator, going down.  “I don’t swear?”

“I know, it could be from the comments other people are leaving, or it could be how some words sound in the language you’re using within the videos.”  She said with a heavy sigh.

“Wait, are you saying they’re marking Gaeilge as an offensive language … because it sounds like offensive words in other languages?  So, my native language—my instructional videos and songs in Gaeilge are the ones being flagged?” She got off the escalator and continued toward her luggage.  “That’s ridiculous. The email I got didn’t say anything about that; it only said if I had an issue with the claim I should appeal it, but you’re saying I have to appeal over three hundred videos?”

Erica was silent for a moment.  “Two more were just hit; it keeps going up.”

Fiona sighed, slowing her pace to let a group of tourists pass.  “This, right after dealing with Barbra’s lawsuit about me correcting her pronunciation guides.  So, what can we do?”

“For right now, you’ll have to go appeal every video that was flagged.  I sent a message to talk to a representative at the company three hours ago, but I haven’t heard a reply back.”

“Alright, thanks, Erica.”  She made it to the luggage area and waited for her bag.  “I’ll go back to my condo.”

“Sounds good,” Erica went silent for a moment.  “I’ll head over there in a bit. I’m going to try getting them on the phone again; I’ll come over to help you appeal all the videos.”

“Thanks, see you later.”  She hung up with a heavy puff of air, putting her phone in her back pocket.  This is so stupid.  I’ve been planning this trip for a year.  Nora’s grown up; she’ll be eighteen this yearif my income is cut like this then I won’t be able to go back and visit home, much less bring her to Miami.  Is it Barbra trying to spite me after the lawsuit was dismissed?

Catching sight of her bag, she hoisted it over the belt guard, grunting at the weight.  Extending the handle, she walked out to her pre-arranged car. The driver helped put her bag in the trunk as she got in the back seat.  Getting behind the wheel, he asked, “Destination still Miami Beach, 6039 Collins Ave?”

She nodded without a word, vision turning to stare through the window as they entered traffic.  The driver tried to initiate some friendly conversation, but she wasn’t in the mood. The drive took thirty minutes with a bit of traffic; stopping in front of her condo, he got the bag out of the trunk.  “Need anything else, Ma’am?”

“No, I’m fine, thanks.”  He nodded before getting back in his car and driving away as she entered the lobby.  Going to the elevator, she pressed the button for the sixth floor. It stands to reason that I should make a video about this, but I should wait to post anything online until I talk to Erica.  What a disaster; still, being twenty-one and owning my own condo in Miami Beach. It probably won’t cause me too much trouble if I get on top of it now; hopefully, this won’t become a regular thing.

Arriving on the sixth floor, she went to her condo and unlocked the door.  Going inside, she frowned. She had replaced the wallpaper with different colored walls, making a whole video about it when moving in.  There were canvases with Gaeilge sayings and pictures she’d taken of her homeland spaced across the walls. It was a simple design, a bit colorful, but practical; most of her decorations were subtle advertisements for her online products.

Shutting the door behind her, she walked to her couch and dropped into it, her orange-coated cat came out of her room to rub against her leg.  “How was your time with Ms. Valory, Brion?” Petting him, she chuckled. “Yeah, she fed you more than she was supposed to?” Taking out her phone, she glanced at the time, eight forty P.M.  She text Erica as Brion jumped onto the couch and curled up next to her: How soon will you get here?

It took a moment before she responded.  Probably an hour, I’m taking care of some business down the street real fast.  Another client had an emergency, but I’ll be up soon.

Got it.  I’m going to take a shower then.  TTYL She dropped her phone beside her closed laptop on the oval table in front of her.  I wasn’t supposed to open my computer for another week and a half.  Sighing, she pushed it open, turning it on.  It responded quickly as she scratched Brion’s forehead before typing in her password.  Chrome popped up with her channel; showing a lot of notifications.

Growling, she scratched the back of her ginger hair.  “This is so stupid!” She fumed. Glancing down, she said, “Alright, I know you’re happy to see me, but I need to take a shower.”  Getting up, she walked to her bathroom and shed her clothes, Brion following her; turning on the hot water, she threw her old outfit into an empty hamper.  Brion ran out at the sound of the water, making her chuckle. Might as well get new clothes after the travel and flight.  

Running her hand through her hair, she sighed as she stared at herself in the mirror.  Irish through and through.  Maybe I should think about dating, I’m cute … seems a third of my comments are about that, but where do I actually meet people?  The content creator conventions … not that interested. Shutting the bathroom door, she got inside the shower, taking a deep breath as the welcoming water eased her muscles.  She closed the shower door and began singing a modern song in Gaeilge as she washed.

Fiona was about to bend down and press the cap on her shampoo bottle when something rippled through her body, oscillating within her.  “What…” Everything around her seemed to expand before she felt the shower water turn into a waterfall; it collided against her body, throwing her upside-down against the tiled wall.  She gasped as the air was forced out of her lungs, her back stinging as she fell to the ground. She struck the tile, gasping for air, only water filled her lungs, pelting jets continuously pounding against her skin.

Coughing and sputtering, she tried crawling out of the explosive burst that pelted her body.  After a few seconds, she finally managed to exit the stream; her whole body burned as she trembled in the hot steam that rose around her.  She cried as the bullets of pelting water ricocheted off the ground and walls, striking her from every angle.

She began hyperventilating, slowly curling into a protective ball as her vision squeezed shut.  Liquid continued to beat her from all sides as she held her breath, slowly regaining control of her body.  Teeth chattering, she stiffly stretched out and began crawling toward the wall, everything she saw was massive.  Looking up she read the large label of her shampoo bottle. What—is happening?  It hurts … everywhere hurts…

She shakily moved behind her large conditioner bottle and outside of any water jets, tucking into a ball, she felt something sweet touch her lips as tears dripped down her cheeks.  Why did everything grow?

Looking down at her legs, her eyes grew.  Why are my legs so smooth and thin?  Doing a quick check of herself, her breath caught.  Elf ears, I’m thinner, and my hair grew down to my waist … and it’s white…  “Why is my hair white?”  Her hand shot to her throat.  “My voice—no, no, no, no … my voice changed.”  Swallowing, she cleared her throat. “My voice is slightly higher than it should be and—why does it sound like this?  Can I even sing?”

Taking a deep breath, she began to sing a modern song in Gaeilge.  “Hmm, it doesn’t sound bad,” she muttered. “Still, it’s different than my ordinary voice.”  She licked her lips, tasting a sweet flavor.

Taking a deep breath, she examined her body once more, pulling her long silky white hair back.  I feel bruised all over, but I don’t see any marks.  Looking up at her colossal shower products, she pursed her lips.  It doesn’t look like everything’s grown—I’ve shrunk … like Alice, but I didn’t drink some magical bottle.

Peeking out from behind her conditioner bottle, she watched the shower water pound the floor; the reverberations they made against the tile causing ripples to transfer up her bare legs.  It’s like watching a hundred fire hoses … how do I protect myself?  At the thought, she knew the answer.  I can create a wind shield…

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Holding out her hand, she fed the desire and watched in wonder as she started to glow a brilliant green; invisible air wrapping around her body in a protective bubble.  She pulled her hair around with shock. It’s green!  My hair and nails turned green, and I’m glowing!

Swallowing nervously, she walked out from behind the bottle; the bullets of water struck the wind shield and shot off to her right.  I have wind magic?  This is insane! Am I dreaming?  She looked up at the spout, a skyscraper away.  How small am I?

Looking at the tiles and products around her, she tried comparing her height.  No way … I’m like, three inches tall!  How am I supposed to get out? Her thought broke as the information fed into her mind.  I can fly…

At the desire, she felt the energy appear at her back.  Looking behind her shoulder, she watched large green glowing fairy wings appear.  It’s like Navi’s wings … am I a Pixie … no, I’m a Mythickin Prismatic Fairy?  What’s a Mythickin … don’t want to give me that one, eh … a Prismatic Fairy … okay, like colors; I’m a color fairy…  Taking a deep breath, she rose into the air.  It’s so natural; I know exactly how to fly.

Looking over at the shower, she frowned.  Can my Wind Shield handle the pressure?  I should probably stay close to the ground.  Flying close to the floor, her wings were nearly stationary, she didn’t even have to beat them to stay floating.  A jet of water struck her shield; she could feel the pressure eating at her stamina as she watched it change directions.

She moved out, and the drain almost diminished entirely.  I see … so my shield can determine the power output needed to keep me safe … that’s cool.  Rising to the shower tap, she tried pushing it in, but no matter how much strength she mustered, it wouldn’t go in.  Okay, let’s try to beat my wings and…  “Oof!”  Her shield hit the shower head as she plowed into it, a large chunk of her stamina vanishing.

Floating to the floor, she panted slightly.  Really?  I’m not strong enough to turn off the shower?  Am I supposed to leave it running forever? At least I’m drying a lot quicker than normal.  A chill ran down her spine.  The door!  Flying over the shower door, she hovered at her bathroom doorknob.  Why is it the stupid twist kind?  There’s no way I can get my arms around that … it was always pretty stiff too.

Moving to the floor, she breathed a sigh of relief.  At least I can get through the door crack.  Flying to the mirror, she floated to a non-fogged section.  I look pretty cute for a fairy … I have a nice multi-shaded glow too … should I just accept this?  I mean, I don’t see many other options right now. I just turned into a small little fairy out of nowhere.  Why is this happening? I guess Erica could help me when she gets here … what am I going to wear? I’ve got nothing.  Maybe I can use the small silk wipe I keep for my computer screen.

Breathing out a sigh, she looked left and felt her skin prickle; staring right at her, not two feet away, was a massive Wolf Spider.  That thing’s like half my size!  She darted back to the opposite wall, her wind shield keeping her from striking it.  “Were spiders always this scary looking?” She muttered. I think I want out of the bathroom!  I’ll have Erica smash it—that thing could literally eat me!

Moving to the crack in the floor, she froze as she heard a deep masculine voice beyond the door.  “Master eats, master feeds me, master eats, master feeds me!” Master?  Who the crap is in my apartment?

Getting on her hands and knees, she frowned, lifting her dirty hands.  I really should have swept before leaving.  Peeking under the door crack, she saw Brion’s tail swishing back and forth outside the door.  Can I understand Brion now?

Swallowing, she released her wind spell and wings; her glow faded, white hair returning.  I guess this is a Prismatic Fairy thing; I glow when I use magic.  Crawling under the door, she stepped on the carpet.  My carpet’s like long blades of glass … I should have vacuumed too.

Looking up at her condo, she had a new appreciation for how big the hallway was.  Well, okay, I should probably fly to the cloth and figure out some way to make a robe out of it.  She froze as Brion’s soft purrs cut.  Looking left, she found large copper eyes staring at her.

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