By Perry Broxson
“I’m looking for Isabel. Isabel Huldufolk. She’s wee, like me,” said the elf, her voice as darling as a kitten’s mewl.
She was cute, crushingly cute. She stood 19 inches high, wore a tunic made of sunshine and daisies, and exuded an innocence so pure that heavy smoke in the nightclub foyer refused to touch her. The bouncer stood stoic, akimbo, allowing only his eyes to dip and survey the elf. “Isabel the elf – Friday, yes, she should be here. Whom shall I ask is soliciting an audience?”
“My,” the elf said, “you speak quite eloquently for a human. We were told that you all spoke like Orcs with tooth-rot.” She covered her small mouth with her small hand to stifle crystalline laughter.
“Thank you,” the bouncer said, “I’ve been attending Junior College. I want to be an ESPN broadcaster. I played a little ball before I blew out my ACL, but – wait, what’s your name again?”
The elf crossed her ankles, dipped her chin, and batted her huge blue eyes. “Chloe,” she said. Chloe Huldufolk. I’m Isabel’s little sister. I know she’s busy – working – ruling this beautiful palace, but if she could spare just a few minutes, I’d be ever so grateful.”
“Ruling this palace?” the bouncer said, “Isabel?”
Nodding her head, Chloe beamed. Pride made her tiny chest inflate like a songbird taking a deep breath. “She’s my hero. Although I’ve never actually met her. She left the shire before I was born – some fourteen summers bygone. But the crows bring us news of her success. She is a legend in the shire. Bravely, she ventured beyond the elven realms and became a great ambassador for our kind, forging important bonds with the humans. In so doing, she became royalty. The humans recognized her as their Princess – it is said they toss treasures at her feet when she deigns to greet them.”
“You talkin’ about Isabel?” the bouncer asked.
“My sister,” Chloe sang, “my inspiration. The crows tell us she reigns with the shimmering scepter. Please, if I could only glimpse her regal visage.”
The bouncer pressed his cell phone to his ear and mumbled something. “Yeah, Greg,” he barked, “you heard me right. I don’t care; she’s family.”
“Everything all right,” Chloe asked. “Will my sister see me?”
The bouncer rubbed his chin. A line of disheveled men were cueing behind the elf, leering. “Keep your distance,” the bouncer said, flexing. “You’ll go in when I let you in.”
Chloe moved closer to the bouncer. She stepped atop his shiny shoes and reached childlike toward his face. He leaned down and she whispered in his ear: “Are these my sister’s subjects? Are they here to pay tribute?”
The bouncer swooned. The elf’s breath filled his mind with lucid recollections of his grandmother’s sourdough biscuits. “Darlin’,” he said, “they are. Each and every one of these brutes is here for one reason – Miss Isabel.”
“I guess I can tell you,” Chloe started, “why, why I’ve come all this way – some did not believe the crows. I’ve come to confirm my sister’s majesty – to return with the glorious truth.”
The serpentine line of men buckled and bowed, the foyer becoming a choked throat. A man in a trench coat pushed through the red rope, waved a sheaf of cash, and demanded entrance. “Let us in already,” he said, “we’ve got money.”
The bouncer pocketed his phone. “Behind the rope,” he growled.
The trench-coated man refused. “If you won’t let us in, how’s about we get a little show from this pretty pixie?” He chewed a toothpick and leered at Chloe.
The bouncer pounced, his massive black arm engirdling the troublemaker’s unshaven throat. He squeezed and vine of veins rose on the man’s forehead. In seconds, the man collapsed, his purple face shrouded by the trench coat.
“Oh my,” Chloe said. “You must be the palace guard. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for protecting my sister.”
“Aint no thing,” he said, then correcting: “I mean, it’s my pleasure to serve.”
She beckoned the big man once again. This time he dropped to his knee and arched his massive back. “Yes,” he said.
Chloe sidled into his space, placing her chin on his shoulder, and whispered into his pierced ear. “I’ll ask my sister to make you the Magistrate of this province – what did you call it? Yves-espian?”
“Yes,” he said, fighting a smile. “ESPN. I am truly honored.”
The door opened and music gushed out. A man that looked exactly like the bouncer said, “She’s on stage – it’s the only chance you’ll get before she goes back to the private rooms.”
“My sister?” Chloe squealed. “Please, may I see her, speak to her – before she retires to her private chambers?”
The bouncer struggled with the decision. His eyes closed, envisioning heartbreak. Then an idea blossomed. “Greg,” he shouted to the other bouncer, “it’s Friday, right?”
“Duh,” Greg said.
“Star Wars’ theme . . .” the bouncer said.
Greg said, “Yeah, that’s why it’s so crazy. These freaky geeks love them some SW.”
The bouncer scooped up the elf, cradling her in the crook of his arm, then hoisting her to the beam of his shoulder. “You can see her,” he said, “but only from a distance.”
“Watch the rope, Greg,” the bouncer said, then waded into the inky expanse of the club.
“There she is,” Chloe shouted, bouncing upon the man’s shoulder, pointing at the stage. A spotlight shown upon the stage, and Isabel Huldufolk appeared. She was the spitting image of her adoring sister, albeit dressed in a decidedly different ensemble.
“Princess,” the crowd roared. “We love you!”
Isabel bowed to the boys, twirled, and exhibited her outfit – the metal bikini made famous by Princess Leia. She tipped her tiara, blew kisses, and then dramatically slashed the air with a lightsaber. Cash littered the stage. Isabel then reached to unclasp her top.
“Okay,” the bouncer said, swiftly turning, carrying Chloe back into the foyer.
“They love her,” Chloe said, hugging the man’s head. “It’s true. The shire shall rejoice.”