Becky hated shopping, but she needed socks. Her others were full of holes. She smiled at the young man behind the counter and he rewarded her with a beam in reply. Then she blinked, for he seemed to twinkle and for a second he reminded her of a character in an old fairy tale. Only the spotlights shimmering on his bald head, of course, and the sparkle from his multi-studded ears, eyebrows and lip, the dazzle of his white teeth. She fancied she heard a jingle as he smiled. She was tempted to lean over the counter to see if he was wearing baggy pants and turned up toes on his shoes.
She plumped for five pairs of practical black socks and then she spotted them, the silver pair glittering amongst the black. She picked them up with a laugh. They weren’t for her. Too flashy, and they would be scratchy – they looked scratchy – but instead they felt like silken webs.
“Magical, aren’t they? Can you resist?” The young man folded his arms across his chest. Becky thought she heard a trill of music accompany his twinkling, but there was only the roar of the crowds and the dazzle of his ironmongery.
At home, she laid the silver socks on her dressing table. They glistened gently.
“You look like something from a fairy tale,” she muttered. “Do you grant wishes?” She laughed at the preposterous notion and heard the voice of the young man from the department store whisper back.
“Your wish is my command.”