Mason Porter and his friend Kenny Webb were hanging out by themselves, playing video games. They hadn’t eaten for hours.

“Dude, this is super important. It’s an emergency.” Kenny Webb took a deep breath, and Mason tensed, wondering just how life-changing this announcement would be.

“I need McDonald’s,” Kenny confided in all seriousness.

Mason groaned. Between clenched teeth, he growled, “Wanting McDonald’s is not an emergency, Kenny!”

His friend sighed and flopped back onto the couch in Mason’s room, picking up an Xbox controller and jamming the buttons. “Fine. But I’m starved. Can we order a pizza or something?” A moment later, Kenny shouted as an on-screen enemy killed him.

While his friend muttered beneath his breath, Mason extracted his phone from his pocket and called Domino’s. “Hey, I’d like to order a large pizza . . . Uh, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, olives, and sausage . . . Deliver it to Mason Porter on Spring Pine Road, 427. Yeah, thanks, bye.” He fell onto the couch next to Kenny and watched him play, drumming his fingers against his leg as he waited impatiently for his pizza to arrive.

* * *

Aidan Cox, pizza boy extraordinaire, was delivering a large pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, olives, and sausages. His unlikely friend, a baby faerie named Marceline Aspenglow, was spouting random “facts” from her perch on his shoulder.

” . . . The mayor has a homeless identical twin, mermaids have floating libraries, your life is actually just a TV show, peaches are really grown from corn kernels, and spiders –“

“That’s lovely,” Aidan interrupted, “but I’m trying to focus. We don’t want a repeat of last time . . .” His last delivery had gone haywire because he’d been distracted by arguing with the faerie about how plants grew. He had pulled up at the wrong house and given a teenage boy in a polka-dot party hat three free pizzas. Aidan had almost been fired over that mess-up.

Marceline nodded in an uncharacteristically agreeable way and fluttered down to Mason Porter’s aromatic pizza box, her tiny black wings beating the air. She sat crosslegged on top of it and giggled mischievously.

If the pizza delivery boy hadn’t been focusing on the road so hard, he might have wondered why the naughty baby faerie was giggling. A moment later, the little red car pulled into the driveway of a large brick house. Aidan scooped up the pizza, Marceline crawled on top of his baseball cap, and the boy marched up to the door. He knocked, and a moment later, a teen with messy black hair opened it.

“Are you Mason Porter?” Aidan asked. When the teen nodded, he explained, “I’m here with your Domino’s pizza: large, with a ton of toppings. It’ll be fifteen dollars . . .” He waited patiently while Mason rummaged through a thin leather wallet.

From somewhere in the house, a voice shouted, “Hey, bro, is the pizza here?”

“Yep,” Mason called over his shoulder, handing Aidan a crumpled ten dollar bill. “And I’m using your money, Kenny!”

“Fifteen dollars,” Aidan repeated forcefully.

“Oh, yeah . . .” The price was higher than Mason had prepared for. He was unsure of how to proceed; did he have any extra cash on him? To his relief, he found five bills in his pocket, gave them to the pizza boy,  and took the food, breathing in deeply. “Thanks, man.”

Aidan nodded curtly, then headed back to his car. Marceline’s squeaky laugh came from under his hat, and suddenly he paused. “Marceline? Why are you hiding? What did you do?” he asked, starting to sweat nervously.

“Heh heh heh . . .,” the faerie cackled. “I ate all the sausage on the pizza when you weren’t looking!” She let out a tremendous burp.

“It takes a very broken, twisted soul to do what you just did,” Aidan snarled, rushing back to the house’s front door.

“You’re too kind, thanks for noticing!” she sang.

He banged on the door until it opened. “Hey, I’m so sorry, I gave you the wrong pizza . . .,” he stammered, thinking quickly. “Can you give it back? I’ll go get the right one . . .”

Reluctantly, Mason handed him the unopened pizza box, and Aidan sprinted back to the car. There was one other pizza in the whole car that had sausage on it. He’d just take some, sprinkle it on Mason’s pizza, and give it back. Once the deed was done, he hurried back up to the house and gave Mason the fixed pizza. “Sorry, the sausage is a little sparse. We were running low,” he lied, with what he hoped was a sincere smile.

With the transaction over, he slipped into his car and rolled out of the driveway. “You’re despicable,” he muttered to Marceline.

“You just lied to a customer,” she accused, sticking her tongue out. “Really, we’ve been friends for so long, I can’t remember which one of us is the bad influence.”

Aidan was sure that Marceline Aspenglow was the bad influence, but he remained quiet. In his head, he was silently congratulating himself for saving his job. And on this day, the pizza delivery boy became the pizza delivery man, he thought to himself. He’d have to celebrate with a slice of pizza when he returned to the Domino’s store.