A gentle tugging on my T-shirt interrupts my computer game play.
“Good Lady.” Molly, my goblin housekeeper, looks up at me with her large, beautiful brown eyes. “Good Lady, would you mind terribly, if we had a few dear friends to visit this weekend? We’ve been wandering homeless for many years and now that we have a place with you, we’d like to catch up on what’s happening with a few of our dear ones.”
I glance back at the laptop screen to see my monk going down fast to a mob of demons. “Sure, Molly, no problem. If they need to spend the night, it’s Okay.” Turning back to the screen. I hit the key for a seven-sided strike and take out all the evil ones in a burst of body parts. Gathering the loot that dropped, I wonder, in passing, what I’ve agreed to with Molly. Will they try to sacrifice Lester, the orphan goblin child, again? Where is Lester? I must keep a better watch on him. He’s usually in some kind of trouble. I exit the game and hobble down the hallway to the kitchen. Arthritis.
“Molly?” No one’s in the food prep or the consuming areas. That’s odd. They’re not here and, I’m starting to talk like them. Maybe she’s in the laundry room? The house gleams with cleanliness. This team of goblins does excellent work keeping this place polished inside and out. Glad I let them stay when I discovered them in my closet. Nope, not doing the wash. Maybe Lex, my gargoyle, knows what’s happening.
“Lex?” He’s normally lounging outside by the front walk. “Where’s Gramps?” Gramps, the patriarch of the goblin clan that keeps up my abode, helps Lex maintain our safety. In reality, Gramps keeps Lex company. He’s highly entertaining and now he’s missing too. That’s very odd.
Lex and I tend to communicate through telepathy.
I don’t know. Lex’s voice sounds in my mind. He was here talking shoes and then he just took off. I saw Sweet Pea pull out of the garage a couple minutes later and take off down the street. Does Sweat Pea know how disturbing it is for a car to just go driving around without anyone in him? You should never have spelled him to drive himself. A purple ’99 Saturn SE1 with no one behind the wheel can be quite a surprise to oncoming drivers. He’s going to cause an accident.
Thinking in his direction, I reply, while shifting my weight from one foot to the other in anxiety. I know. I know. Bad enough he won’t let me drive when I’m in him! But to go off by himself? This is a first! I should have gotten a new car. Oh yeah, I didn’t have the money. Whatever is he up to and why didn’t I think of sending him up to town to pick up take out? I’m missing something here.
Yes you are. I can hear him huffing in my mind.
You wouldn’t want to take off and fly around looking for him, would you? Somehow I’m thinking the missing goblins are with him.
He sighs in my mind. Sure. He takes off in the direction of town. I watch him go.
Settling into a chair on the front stoop, I wait for either the return of anyone or everyone. The warmth of the sun sinks into my bones and I feel drowsy. Slipping gracefully into nap time, I dream of days past playing in this yard with my three wonderful daughters. Tears slip down my cheeks at the remembered sound of their laughter. My heart misses them so much.
I wake to the tinkle of little bells coming from the street. Brushing the tears away and blowing my nose on my sleeve, I spy a small Gypsy wagon pulled by a brace of bunnies hopping my way.
“Excuse me, madam.” A charcoal grey goblin in the drivers seat greets me. “Is this the home of the magnificent, generous one known as The Good Lady Mariah Walters? We are seeking our fellow goblins, the family Schuh headed by Joachim also known as,“ he hesitates, “Gramps?”
“You’ve found us.” Flattery gets me every time. “I guess you can park around back.” The intricate detail of the symbolic decoration painted on the vehicle is lovely. I hope Lex finds my goblin family and they get back here soon. Like now! Six other wagons are making their way towards me. I point towards the back yard. They nod and turn in that direction. Watching them go, I’m thinking either Molly had already asked everyone before she broached the topic with me or goblins have remarkably fast communication and transportation systems. A low rumble causes me to turn back to the street and, oh my, here come some more. How big is this family? She said a few. How many is a few? I must Google this. At least, twenty wagons roll past me. I run for the back yard.
Tents are rising in rings around a central fire place. Where did that come from? Laughter floats to my ears. The wagons form the outermost ring and the animals are eating everything in sight. There go my gardens. My eyes go wide in sick horror. What have I done this time?
My neighbors are approaching me and I don’t know what to say to them. Who’s in charge of this? Where’s Gramps?
“Wow, you’re hosting a goblin jamboree?” It’s the warlocks from across the street. “Way to go Mariah! There hasn’t been one in decades. They must feel safe with you. We’re coming too. Can’t miss this! Dancing, drinking, spell casting contests…”
I place my face into my waiting palms and shake my head. “Molly just said a few dear ones.”
The sounds of gargoyle wings comes to me but different than Lex’s. Looking up, three stone beasts appear above us and land beside me. Wow a goblin jamboree! Sounds in what’s left of my mind. Lex didn’t tell us. Wonder if we can use their bonfire for some good fun dropping them into it. Singed goblin yum! One hiccups and a little puff of smoke escapes his nose. Who’s bringing the cider barrels?
Lex! Help! Your friends are here. They’re making plans for the goblin bonfire. This is not going to end well. I send this thought out into the world hoping he’ll hear it.
Not to worry it’s just a couple of goblins. We’ll have fun.
What?!? A couple! Try a real crowd! No dropping goblins or anyone else into any fires! My mind squeaks and I marvel that it’s possible to squeak in a mind.
Another herd of wagons pulls into the yard. I realize we’ve gone over a hundred of them and how many passengers does each carry? I am deeply regretting my saying they could spend the night. Why do I have the feeling the goblins are planning to stay here longer, as in indefinitely? I’ve lost control. Wait come to think of it, I haven’t had control for quite a long time. I think I’ll go lie down. Turning to the house, I make my way slowly down the hallway to my bedroom and collapse on my bed. Staring at the ceiling, I run over in my mind the conversation with Molly. A few. She said a few and then just disappeared. Who’s going to clean up the mess after they go? Visions of a landfill in place of my backyard float before my eyes. I just keep shaking my head and muttering, “A few, she said a few.”
“Good Lady?” I must have passed out. I hear Molly’s voice and the rustle of shopping bags. “Good Lady?” The voice is closer. I refuse to open my eyes. Maybe if they stay shut the mess in the back yard will go away. Please?
“Good Lady!” She shakes me harder. “It’s okay, Good Lady. Come, the goblin people want to honor you for rescuing their King and keeping him safe. We are grateful that he is under your protection until he comes of age.”
I open my eyes. “King?”
“Yes, Lester is King of the Goblins. We didn’t know who he was when Lester found us.” Her eyes are bigger than ever. ”We thought he was just another lost orphan. Now all the goblins are excited and happy to know he’s alive and well. Come now. They want to honor you for the whole week they’re here. They’re so grateful to you.”
Lester the Kingling bounds into the room and gives me a huge hug. “Partee, partee, partee. Come on, let’s go partee.”
Carrying Lester, I walk to the sliding glass doors in the bedroom, open them and step through to see the mass of wagons, tents and goblins has doubled over the afternoon. One shiny purple ’99 Saturn SE1 is in the center with Gramps, Bert, Sid and Cheri, my goblin family, hopping up and down on the top. His lights are flashing and his horn is playing Roll Out the Barrel. A great roar goes up from the crowd. I look at Lester and give him a huge hug, “Let’s go partee.”
Lex lands beside me. You, gargoyle, no throwing living, or dead, beings into any bonfires.
I’m somehow missing something, somewhere in all of this. How am I going to feed everybody? King of the Goblins? Oh my.