"Hey, can you give me a hand?"
I looked up from my day planner as the unicorn lowered himself onto his haunches beside me. His huge black eyes met mine and then he nudged a carton of cigarettes with his nose. I crinkled my face.
"Those'll kill you, ya know," I said. "What would Ellie think if you just never turned up one day? Or worse, if you hacked up your lungs and keeled over before her very eyes?" I went back to scribbling. "Poor dear would be scarred for life."
The unicorn snorted. "Aren't you a fuckin' ray of sunshine? What's wrong this time?" he asked, pawing absently at the carton.
I sighed and scratched my nose with the top of my pen. "Little Isabella's mother has her on this strict schedule of school, tap dance, and junior toastmasters. There's hardly any time for us to play together anymore."
"So you're trying to pencil in playtime?" The unicorn had given up and resorted to chewing the carton whole. "Why not just ask the Agency for a new assignment?" he asked with his mouth full. I glared at him and set down my planner on the park bench.
"And abandon my charge when she needs me most? Her mother stuck her on the fast train to adolescence without even considering what Isabella wanted. I'm the last thing connecting her to her childhood and I'll be damned if I let that trophy wife and her buffoon husband steal that away from her." I took a steadying breath and stared down at my hands.
The unicorn chewed the last of the carton and swallowed. He glanced at the sky and said, "My kid doesn't need me back for another two hours. You wanna grab a drink? Might clear your head a bit. Maybe give you some inspiration?" he added, eyeing my planner. I packed it away in my purse and pulled my hair out of its knot.
"That mermaid still have that bar under Bow Bridge?"