[image description: A long-haired girl of about 4 smiles mischievously. Hovering over her left hand is red light bulb that lights the scene. The bulb has been colored red with the magic marker she holds in her right hand. Text reads, “155, little miss chief ~ small god of harmless pranks”]
It’s not a joke unless everyone’s laughing.
It’s not a prank unless no one gets hurt.
A prank that ends in pain is something altogether different. We call it “cruelty” and “abuse” and “malicious.” Someone who plays pranks that hurt is not a friend. Someone who plays pranks that hurt is an enemy.
But that laughter in the distance after you open the door and dump a bucket of glitter on your own head? That giddy giggling down the hall when you grab the bathroom doorknob and pull away a hand covered in whipped cream? Those receding footsteps running along the sidewalk as banners of toilet paper wave from the tree branches to the evening air?
Little Miss Chief has been here.
Too many who consider themselves her acolytes serve crueler gods, and would know it if they stopped and examined their own motivations. But by claiming to serve the Little Miss, they can veil themselves in righteousness, can convince themselves that they’re only having fun, even as they’re harming people.
She doesn’t care for those “acolytes,” is happy to foil the antics that do fall close enough to her domain for her to complicate, reveals their location to anyone who opens their eyes to see.
She is the giggle on the wind and the superglue on your shoes. She is the smile from the darkened hall and the dollar bill on a piece of fishing line. She is not here to hurt you, but she needs to hear you laugh, and she’ll keep trying until you do.
So let the peeled grapes become eyeballs, and the ketchup on the doorframe become blood. Surrender to the silliness, and she’ll let you be, and remember, Little Miss Chief will never, ever intentionally do you harm.
Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: