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Urban Elf

by P. I. Barrington

Part 1, Part 3
appear in this issue.
part 2 of 3

“What happened?” I asked. “I thought we were having a conversation.”

“We were. But you fell asleep.”

“From the concussion, I’m sure,” I muttered again.


“Oh, nothing. How did I get into bed?”

“I put you there.”

“Oh, great. First time I get carried around by a beautiful giant and I’m unconscious. Figures.”

“Why do you sound like that?”

It was my turn to ask what.

“Like that. Unhappy,” he said. I shrugged once again.

“Don’t know.” I said. “Maybe I am. Who knows?” I walked over to the sink, filled a glass with tap water and rummaged in my purse this time for my pills. I found them and shook a bottle at him. “These should make me happy. At least, that’s what they tell me.” I took the handful in one gulp. Thraniel took the bottles and looked with great curiosity at the multi-colored tablets.

“These make you happy?”

“Well, that’s a figure of speech.”

He raised his eyebrows.

“I should have said, ‘in a manner of speaking’,” I corrected. “It’s kind of... complicated.”

“I wouldn’t understand.”

I laughed.

“Now you’re happy,” Thraniel observed with a smile.

“Hey,” I said, “I have a question. How is it that you speak English?”

“I do not know how this can be.”

“I do not know how this can be either, Thraniel.” I set the glass in the sink and headed to the bathroom, the only other room in the one-and-a-half room cabin.

“That sounded very nice,” he said.

I stuck my head back around the bathroom door to look at him. “What did?”

“That is the first time you have said my name. And I do not know yours yet.”

I smiled. “Dannika. Dannika Lawrence.” I waved my toothbrush in greeting. “I’m gonna take a shower. That means standing under a stream of water and washing myself.”

“I surmised that much,” Thraniel answered dryly.

“Smartass,” I said, stepping into the shower and turning on the water on full blast.

“Listen, I’ve been thinking.” I rubbed my hair with a towel as I re-entered the ‘living room’ of the cabin once more. “Seriously, you have to go back to... wherever it is you came from. I never believed in all this spooky mumbo-jumbo crap. Obviously you changed some of that. I need to figure some way to fix this situation. Are you game to try?”

Thraniel thought for a moment.


“Okay.” I started loosening the belt of my robe. “We’ll have to drive back down to Manhattan but first we have to make a stop in town. As soon as I dress, we’ll go.”

Thraniel shrugged and turned back to the window.

What the hell is out there that is so interesting? I wondered. Maybe he’s just homesick.

He was sick all right. Car sick. I prayed all the way into Portland that he wouldn’t puke all over the rental car.

“I’ve never been shaken in this manner,” Thraniel managed between gagging.

“What manner have you been shaken in?” I couldn’t resist. I must be getting better, I thought. My annoying sense of humor is returning.

He gave me a sidelong glance, and then shook his head as he doubled over in the passenger seat.

“Hey, let me know if you’re gonna be sick! I’ll pull over.”

Thraniel figured out on his own how to roll the window down and lean out a bit, letting the wind dance over his face and his enviable hair. I would have given a week’s paycheck to have hair like that. In fact, a couple of times I did. What does he use for conditioner?

I wanted to ask him, but he was still too sick and I did not want to endanger the Pontiac’s upholstery further.

At long last, we turned into town and I spotted a Big and Tall men’s clothing store. I guided him inside, glad that he looked a bit less green. The middle-aged paunchy storeowner looked at Thraniel as if he was from Mars. Close, but no cigar, buddy.

“Uh, this is... my... boyfriend. He’s... an actor! His normal clothes got... uh, taken back to the studios and I need to get him another set.” Yeah, yeah. That’s the ticket.

The proprietor circled Thraniel squinting up at him, then backing up and looking him over.

“I’d say... he’s about a double-extra-tall and extra-large,” He pronounced, still looking the Elf over.

“Okay.” I said. “Let’s just get him into some jeans and a T. Oh. What about shoes?”

“Fifteen and a half. What style?”

I shrugged, looking down at the huge Elven boots with a frown.

“What do you suggest?” I asked.

“Let me show you,” the round little man said to Thraniel. The Elf did not respond, except to look at me.

I nodded.

Three dozen pairs later, I decided.

“Just give him the Nikes.” I said. “We have a very long drive. Do you take Visa or MasterCard?”


“Go put everything on,” I instructed Thraniel, pointing to the dressing rooms.

While the Elf was gone, the proprietor rang up the sale.

“Five hundred dollars and forty-five cents.”

“What are they made out of: gold?” I snapped, handing him a card.

“Hey, he’s a big guy. Takes extra materials to make stuff that big.”

“Yeah, right.” I put the card back in my wallet and turned to find Thraniel behind me.

“Ooooh!” I couldn’t help myself. “You look scrumptious.”

Actually, he looked uncomfortable.

“You’ll get used to them. You’ll love the jeans once they’re worn in. Really.”

“Um.” Thraniel was not convinced.

“Let’s go.” I led the way to the Pontiac.

“Must we take this mode of travel?” the Elf moaned. “Is there any other?”

“Like what? A horse? You try riding an Appaloosa down the Maine turnpike!”

I could feel my temperature going up as I chucked his Elf clothes into the back seat. First five hundred bucks for jeans and a T-shirt, not to mention the oh-so-stylish Nikes, and Bozo the Elf here couldn’t hack a four-hour road trip? Then I remembered he got carsick and this was his first ride in one. So did my older sister and she’d been riding in them for years.

“Oh. Not to worry,” I said. “Follow me.”

I headed across the street toward the Rite Aid. After a few tentative steps in the Nikes, Thraniel managed walking in them very well. Very well. His ass didn’t look too bad in the jeans either. I kept sneaking glances at it as he wandered up and down the aisles trying to make sense of it all.

I was so distracted by the great looking ass-in-jeans that a clerk came over and asked if I needed help.

“Uh, yeah, actually I do. Where’s the Dramamine?”

She led me to the shelf filled with bottles of it. As she pointed to them, she got a glimpse of “the Ass” herself and a fly could have landed in her open mouth. She wouldn’t have noticed at all.

I wanted to commiserate with her on His Assiness, but Thraniel was getting both impatient and dangerously close to tasting some of the Ex-Lax.

“Uh, thank you,” I mumbled and grabbed Thraniel’s arm. I dragged him toward the register where the same clerk acted as cashier.

I swore she rang it up wrong.

“One-fifty,” she told me dreamily, never taking her eyes off the Elf.

“Sure.” I gave her two bucks and shoved him out the door as she tucked the money by rote into the drawer, still staring after us.

Not going to be as easy as I thought, I mused, turning the key in the ignition.

As my lucky star would have it, the Dramamine produced the same effect on Thraniel as it did on my sister. Complete unconsciousness. I hit the southbound I-95 doing 80 and didn’t stop until I reached my swanky apartment on the Upper West Side.

I guided the woozy Elf into the elevator without much notice since it was a weeknight evening and most people were enjoying dinner. Only the night doorman looked askance, but I gave him the ‘don’t even ask’ look as the elevator doors whooshed shut.

I managed to get the key into the lock and kicked the door open.

“Sit down,” I told Thraniel as I dumped him on my new couch. He complied without comment.

I checked the answering machine but no messages, everyone who needed to know was already aware of my temporary leave of absence. I suddenly got a brilliant idea.

“How about some coffee?” I called from the kitchen.

The only answer I got in return sounded like a muffled “mumph” from the living room.

“Yeah. Coffee it is.” I answered myself in a bright tone, caffeine being my personal drug of choice.

“I like it iced and sweet,” I sang out to my guest. “I think you should have it that way too! If you don’t like it, I can whip up a hot cup in half-a-sec!”

The same sound came from the couch again only louder.

“Come in here,” I said.

Thraniel obeyed, walking a fairly straight path to the bistro table and chair set.

He sat down with a small ‘thump’ and rested his face on his hands, gazing at me without much focus in his lovely eyes.

“Here!” I set a tall glass in front of him. “Try it.”

On the third circle he grasped it and raised it to his lips.

“Ummm. This is wonderful.”

I couldn’t help gushing.

“We’re soul mates! I love coffee. Adore it even. I live for it.”

I should have known.

Thraniel’s pupils dilated in pleasure. He drained the entire glass, ice cubes included, and slammed it down on the little table.

“More!” He demanded. His eyes look a little funny, I noted. I’d swear he’s drunk.

I served him two more glasses and left him to fire up the Internet, my new spooky guru for help. I went surfing for a magic fix.

“Hmmm,” I murmured to myself. “Witchcraft? No, too negative. Spell breaker? Nope. Wrong category. Gypsy? Too expensive.” I pondered the screen for a few moments.

“Oh, forget this. I’ll do it myself!” I decided. “Otherworldly dimensions.” I typed in, fingers flying across the keyboard. “To and From” read the choices on the page.

If they could post how to make nuclear bombs on the web, surely somebody must have instructions for manipulating the time-space continuum. I wasn’t sure what that meant exactly but I had an idea. Besides, my older sister forced me to watch Quantum Leap reruns until I could quote every damned line verbatim.

Proceed to part 3...

Copyright © 2007 by P. I. Barrington

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