“Do you need help finding anything?”
Jarrett Allen realized that he had been standing slack-jawed at the front of the computer components section of Micro Center for at least a minute. The sheer amount of PC hardware in front of him had stunned him; now the employee thought he was some overwhelmed millennial who could barely use an iPad. “No, I think I know what I need,” he replied. “Thanks.”
After dismissing the employee, Jarrett proceeded into an aisle that contained motherboards. Each one seemed to be calling out to him, begging to be used as the basis for an entirely new PC build. The temptation to just buy the highest-quality everything and have the most powerful PC ever was weighing heavily on him. He reminded himself of his teammate Dzanan Musa, who had spent an entire two months of rookie salary on fancy cars before he had even received a single game check. Jarrett couldn’t allow himself to fall into the same trap of reckless spending.
But Jarrett did have a legitimate reason for being there. He needed a new motherboard because the Ethernet port on his current one was flaking out. So he began the careful process of vetting motherboards for his home computer, carefully reading the specs listed on each box.
He had just narrowed his selection to a couple of choices when he noticed there was an unexpected humming noise coming from near his left shoulder. Thinking that his loud music-listening habits had given him early-onset tinnitus, he ignored it. However, when the humming sound switched from his left ear to his right year, accompanied by a faint green glow, he turned to investigate. When he saw the creature that was floating there, he was sure he had lost his mind.
“Don’t worry, Jarrett,” said the winged, fairylike being in a dainty, feminine voice. “You’re perfectly sane.”
Jarrett quickly looked around to see if anybody else was seeing what he was seeing, but there were no other customers in that section of the store. “Who are you?” he asked the mysterious creature.
“The Computer Parts Fairy,” the fairy answered with a melodic laugh. “Who else could I possibly be?”
“Fairies don’t exist,” Jarrett said. “Real life isn’t Peter Pan.”
“Is that so? You might change your stance on the matter when I do…this!” The fairy waved her wand, which was actually a stick of computer memory, and suddenly, a high-end mechanical keyboard dropped into Jarrett’s hands from nowhere.
The fairy smiled at Jarrett’s reaction. “Since you are an ambassador for the PC building community, I am granting you three wishes. Being that I am the Computer Parts Fairy and not a fairy serving the general public, all the wishes must be in some way related to parts for your computer. And don’t wish for a million-petabyte hard drive or a thousand-gigahertz CPU; I might be magical but I don’t wield that much power.”
Jarrett went over the fairy’s rules over his head. Three new parts for his computer, and they were free, which meant he didn’t have to feel guilty about his frivolous spending. What would bring him the most joy? A high-end video card? An ultrafast CPU? A 12 terabyte hard drive to store pirated anime? A gigantic monitor to watch pirated anime on?
“I guess I want this motherboard,” Jarrett said, pointing at one of the boxes on the shelf, expecting the fairy to wave her wand again.
“You can just take it,” the fairy said. “I’m not going to waste my energy conjuring one out of thin air. When you walk out without paying, I’ll disable the alarms.”
“Oh. Okay.” Jarrett grabbed the box and put it under his arm. “I also want one of those new GTX 2080s.” With the best video card that money could buy, he would be playing every game in glorious 4k resolution, plus, he could start mining Bitcoin like Spencer was always talking about.
The fairy nodded and flicked her wand through the air. “Those are sold out here,” she explained as another box materialized in front of Jarrett, forcing him to act fast to catch it. “One more wish.”
“I want Kawhi Leonard on the Nets.”
The fairy rolled her eyes as she floated alongside him. “I told you, I’m not a general-practice fairy. I definitely don’t do NBA transactions.”
“But Kawhi’s a robot. He’s literally made out of computer parts,” Jarrett explained.
“Even if that were true, robot parts are not the same as computer parts. Besides, isn’t having Kyrie and Durant enough for you?”
Jarrett shrugged. “I just want rings, that’s all. Anyway, if I can’t have Kawhi, I’ll have a—”
“Nope,” said the fairy. “You forfeited your third wish with your weak attempt at finding a loophole. Enjoy your new stuff.” Before Jarrett could protest the fairy’s ruling, she had disappeared.
“Well, I don’t have that much anime anyway,” Jarrett said to himself, thinking about the hard drive that never was. When it occurred to him that his new Bitcoins could pay for the hard drive, his mood improved. “Thank you, Computer Parts Fairy.”