“Mr. Grimm’s Fairy Tales” by Eric Andrews-Katz from So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press 2009). Edited by Steve Berman.
What a difference there is between this story and the last one I reviewed by this author (Short Stories 365/132). That one couldn’t have been any darker. This one is a bit of comic relief.
Mr. Grimm owns an employment agency. At the story’s start a very strange potential employee is seated across from him in his office. She’s only four feet tall, is dressed entirely in blue, and carries a magic wand with the requisite gold star on the end. She introduces herself to him as Mary Weather, says she is a fairy, and regales him with stories of outrageous adventures from her previous jobs. As they talk, we discover that the story is set during the height of the AIDS crisis, and several of Mr. Grimm’s friends are dying of that disease. The story uses black humor to lighten the mood and gets in some good one-liners about political figures of the day. In the end, Mr. Grimm figures out how best to utilize Mary Weather’s unique skill set, and his bleak world becomes just a tiny bit brighter.