December 11, 2017

 

The Aser Stories 03: The Labor of Love

 
 
 

"Is she the one for me?" asks Liz. "Even if she doesn't eat bugs?"

Sitting in the tavern last Twosday night, I was enjoying a cold brew after a fine hot spring day when an obviously inebriated lizard man staggered up to the bar, breathed on me (the smell of booze breath is bad enough -- do you know what those guys eat?!) and said, "Hey, you're a shaman, ainchoo? Can I ask you a question?"

I leaned far back, reached for my staff, and gave the little herb bag on it a squeeze to freshen the air, and to get the staff between me and the lizard man. "There's this elf chick I met on the last campaign," he whispered loudly and odoriferously, "and she just won't go out with me no how. An' she's so beeootiful! Shaman, how can I get her to love me?"

The obvious answer, of course, was for him to have himself made into a nice stylish handbag.

I was powerfully tempted to encourage him in his pursuit of the elf by suggesting that he serenade her every night for a month, follow her everywhere she went, and tell everyone in the province of their romance. What a war between the elves and the lizards that would cause, and how I would love to witness it. But no, I let the temptation pass. I really didn't want the ghosts of the earth and air staring accusingly at me from the trees for the rest of my life when the elves eradicated the lizardmen. Instead, I asked him his name, so that I could address him with a modicum of respect.

"They all call me 'Liz,'" he said, gesturing with a dirty thumb at his lizardman friends around a messy table in the corner. "I call them 'Liz,' too. Makes it easier for all of us."

Why did I even ask? I pushed a barstool with my foot until it was as far away as I could shove it, and invited him to sit down, out of breath's reach. Advice to the lovelorn ... "Well, Liz, what was it that attracted you to this elf?"

"She's beeootiful!"

"And what else?"

"What else what?" His scaly greenish eyelids blinked confusedly.

"What else do you like about her?" Blink, blink, furrowed brow. "Liz, what else do you know about her?"

"She's a elf! And she's a she, if you know what I mean," he told me with a reptilian wink.

I hate it when I have to agree with an elf. "And elves like ...?" His only reply was more blinking and to order himself another mead. Yuck. "Liz, elves like reading old books in arcane languages, and cut gems, right? And line dancing to harp music, remember?

"If you want someone to love you, you have to be willing to share their interests. Could you do that to get her interested in you?" I waited while his nose wrinkled between the nose holes and his eyes, pulling his cheeks up so that his teeth showed. "All the Enya concerts?"

He gagged a little.

"What if she does start to love you, and wants you to read to her and dance in the moonlight and sing ballads about dead elves all the time?"

He drank down his mead in several large swallows, wiped his mouth messily on both of his arms, and belched resoundingly. "She ain't that beeootiful," he said, and hopped off his barstool and walked away.

I turned back to my neglected beer, and found one of the three dwarf bartenders leaning on the bar in front of me. "My turn next, Shaman," he leered. "Tell me how I can find some elf-chick -- I'll dance in the moon or whatever it takes."

"I already paid for this drink, Svarthund. Get lost."

Article © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-02-19


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In the same series:

The Accursed
The Aser Stories: Sidelong
The Aser Stories 80: Cabin Fever
The Aser Stories 79: Just Don't Say It Before Spring
The Aser Stories 78: Judgment Call
The Aser Stories 77: "Are We There Yet?"
The Aser Stories 76: A Bone to Pick
The Aser Stories 75: Coalition Forces
The Aser Stories 74: Flying Monkeys
The Aser Stories 73: Elspeth, Ad Nauseam
The Aser Stories 072: Starve a Cold
The Aser Stories 071: House Call
The Aser Stories 70: Dinner Dates
The Aser Stories 69: Fire in the Hole
The Aser Stories 68: The Silk Fable
The Aser Stories 67: The Simple Life
The Aser Stories 66: For What You're Worth
The Aser Stories 65: Taking a Shot
The Aser Stories 64: Second Chances
The Aser Stories 63: The Second Step
The Aser Stories 63: Second Thoughts
The Aser Stories 60: Fish Story
The Aser Stories 59: Ace in the Hole
The Aser Stories 58: Knowledge is Power
The Aser Stories 57: Animal Tracks
The Aser Stories 56: Oz Can Keep Them All
The Aser Stories 55: Small Comfort
The Aser Stories 54: Letting Go
The Aser Stories 53: In a Spirit of Healing
The Aser Stories 52: Stinkin' Kids
The Aser Stories 51: No Words For It
The Aser Stories 50: The Friend in Need
The Aser Stories 49: Run for Cover
The Aser Stories 48: On the Fly
The Aser Stories 47: Just Thievery
The Aser Stories 46: Take My Shaman ... Please
The Aser Stories 45: Hot Stuff
The Aser Stories 44: Courtesy Call
The Aser Stories 43: Adding Insult to Injury
The Aser Stories 42: Natural Selection
The Aser Stories 41: Funny Business
The Aser Stories 40: Happy Endings
The Aser Stories 39: Working Dogs
The Aser Stories 38: Taking Sides
The Aser Stories 37: Dumb Animals
The Aser Stories 36: Harsh Words
The Aser Stories 35: Endangered Species
The Aser Stories 34: Common Language
The Aser Stories 33: Legal Torture
The Aser Stories 32: Whose Fault Is It?
The Aser Stories 31: Money Talks
The Aser Stories 30: The Perils of Sympathy
The Aser Stories 29: Raccoons
The Aser Stories 28: The Ghost of Garfer Miller
The Aser Stories 27: Dynamite
The Aser Stories 26: Junk Mail
The Aser Stories 25: Rose-Covered Cottages
The Aser Stories 24: Crime and Punishment
The Aser Stories 23: Image Is Everything
The Aser Stories 22: Is As Does
The Aser Stories 21: Gourmet Dining
The Aser Stories 20: Families and How They Are
The Aser Stories 19: The Difference Between Men and Women
The Aser Stories 18: On a Silver Platter
The Aser Stories 17: Point of View
The Aser Stories 16: Easy Street
The Aser Stories 15: Moguls
The Aser Stories 14: A Mile Toward Change
The Aser Stories 13: The Price of Freedom
The Aser Stories 12: A Question of Nudity
The Aser Stories 11: Rabbit From a Hat
The Aser Stories 10: Awards
The Aser Stories 09: On A Roll
The Aser Stories 08: Raising Children
The Aser Stories 07: Crosspasses Market
The Aser Stories 06: Judge, Jury, Shaman
The Aser Stories 05:Habit and Stubbornness
The Aser Stories 04: The Wrong Question
The Aser Stories 03: The Labor of Love
The Aser Stories 02: Soup du Jour
The Aser Stories 01: Popping the Big Question
The Aser Stories 40a: Customary Behavior
The Aser Stories 36a: Madly In Love
The Aser Stories 03a: Descent to the Underworld

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