Floriel’s eyes were gold, her hair silver, and her features so fine, Jack thought they should be chiseled in marble: paint and canvas would be too temporary. Her smile made him ache. Braless, she wore a bright pink t-shirt several sizes too small that proclaimed her the World’s Greatest Grandmother.
Loriel’s beauty mirrored his sister’s. He wore an Armani jacket with the sleeves ripped off and was bare-chested. Muscles rippled across his pale flesh.
I could totally go gay for him, thought Jack. “Our appointment was for ten,” he said aloud, tapping his watch. “It’s noon.”
Loriel smiled. “Your temporal distinctions are so quaint. A thousand apologies, my mortal friend, but my honor has been challenged.”
“All you can eat pancakes at IHOP,” explained Floriel.
Jack sighed. Why are elves such douchebags?
A year ago, a message carved into a Kentucky cornfield had heralded the return of elves to Earth. The flowing, scripted words were later translated to read, “Are they gone? Is it safe?” Elven warriors had charged from the dimensional rift and slaughtered a dozen cows they’d mistaken for orcs before greeting the farm’s octogenarian owners. Elves now lived on every continent.
Jack smoothed his comb-over. Real estate. It’s all about the commission. He grinned. “Well folks, your castle awaits.”
He guided the elves through the exclusive, waterfront property. Venetian plaster, Persian rugs, white leather décor. Its interior had been featured in Architectural Digest. “It’s a six-bed, seven-bath, custom-built estate, just shy of ten thousand square feet, on an acre of land.”
Floriel clucked her tongue. “No moat.”
“But there is a dock and a boat lift,” said Jack.
“Entry points?” asked Loriel.
“Just the one gate, as you requested, manned at all times,” said Jack.
Loriel snorted. “Manned? Trolled mayhap, if you’re referring to that creature at the gatehouse with the sandwich.”
Floriel laughed, a twittering sound, like bird song.
Jack clenched his hands as they entered the kitchen. It gleamed with stainless steel, polished marble, and African mahogany. “There’s a four-car garage, elevator, Jacuzzi, and—”
“An infinity pool!” finished Floriel.
In a blink, she’d stripped nude. Another blink and she’d flung the back door wide. With a stride, a leap, and a splash, Floriel glided over the crystal water. Jack followed outside.
Floriel twined her lithe body through the water. Jack gulped. Stopping beside him, Loriel slapped his shoulder, a numbing blow that rocked Jack in place.
“You would like to lie with my sister, would you not?” asked Loriel. “She desires you, you know.”
Giggling, Floriel erupted from the pool in a wet spray. Water trickled from her breasts. Sweat beaded on Jack’s brow. She swished forward and put her fingers on his neck, a touch as light as a butterfly’s kiss. “I think of you often,” she whispered in his ear. She pressed her lips to his, and he shivered.
Loriel’s face went from white, to pink, to purple. Then he shrieked with laughter.
Floriel broke the kiss, spat loudly, and wiped her lips.
“So droll, brother,” she said. “Wasn’t that a clever jape, Jack?” She winked. “Would you humans rut with monkeys just because their faces bear yours some resemblance?”
Jack took a breath and unclenched his fists. The commission. “Hilarious.” He swept his arm. “This place is an absolute steal at ten point five million. And I think I can talk the owners down to an even ten if you can pay cash.”
“Gold?” asked Loriel.
“Umm… No, ‘fraid not,” Jack said. “What with the price per ounce fluctuations and all.” And the curse: boils, blisters, screams. Hundreds had died handling Elvish gold, the result of a misunderstanding with a wizard, the Elves had explained.
Loriel shrugged. “No matter, we’ve retained the services of a personal banker. Jimmy Pointy Fish.”
Floriel shook her head. “Barracuda.”
Jack’s jaw dropped. “The loan shark?”
Loriel rolled his eyes. “Sister, he does not understand.”
Floriel clamped her fingers on Jack’s face and said, “BAR-RA-CU-DA!” moving his lips with each syllable.
“A delightful man,” continued Loriel. “And quite smitten with me, I’m afraid.” He wiggled his fingers. “He especially loved my thumbs; said he could bite them right off.”
“Silly man, why would we mind his high interest in our loan?” asked Floriel.
“I take it you’ve had some past financial…difficulties?” asked Jack.
Loriel waved his hand, dismissively. “An old argument with the Dwarves, resolved completely without bloodshed.”
Floriel grinned. “We banished them to the pain realm, Ragnathorian.”
Loriel blurred forward and leaped thirty yards to the boat dock. He dropped his pants and started to urinate in the bay. A family on a yacht happened to be sailing by, and he waved to them, his stream bending with each shake of his arm. He called over his shoulder, “We love this place, Jackoff! I think we’re prepared to make an offer.”
“It’s just Jack.” A vein in his head throbbed. The commission.
Jack whirled. A palm tree crashed to the tiled deck. Floriel, still nude, ripped a coconut from its branches and smashed it open with her fist, then dug out the white flesh with her fingers.
Jack ground his teeth. “That’s great to hear, Loriel. I’ll get the paperwork started…”
He sighed. Screw it. “And have the owners spray for dragons, of course.”
Loriel spun, his urine spattering the wooden dock. “Dragons?”
“But they’re all dead,” said Floriel. “They were chained to the rocks of Atlantis with all their young when we sank—when the island sank all by itself, into the sea.”
Jack shrugged. “You know dragons, they’re like cockroaches.”
Loriel looked crestfallen. “Mayhaps another domicile…”
Jack snapped his fingers. “Hey! I know the perfect house for you two. It’s not even publicly listed.” He smiled. “And it’s completely dragon-free, guaranteed. It’s on Sunrise Island.”
Floriel clapped her hands. “Our friend Jimmy lives there!”
It’s that weasel Enrique’s listing, thought Jack. He’ll shaft me on the commission for sure.
Jack grinned. “Let’s take a look!”
Robert Lowell Russell, a native Texan, lives with his family in southeastern Ohio. A former librarian and current nursing student, he once aspired to be a history professor, but found writing about the real world too constraining. Bob likes to write about all sort of things, but frequently includes action and humor in his work. Not satisfied with writing stories of questionable content for adults, he’s also started work on a series of middle-grade books incorporating his love of not-so-super heroes and toilet humor. For links to more of Rob’s stories—or to see him dressed like a ninja—visit robertlowellrussell.blogspot.com.