The case of the deadly glance
Nor sat at his office desk, nervously fidgeting. He was desperately trying to keep his mind and fingers busy, distracted. He wasn’t happy. A dwarf without work is never happy.
Not that Nor was the chipper type even during the best of times; but he was downright miserable when he had nothing to do. Dwarves aren’t built to sit on their asses. No profit in that. The door to his office, cracked open. Nor’s eyes shot forward, his spine snapped to attention. Could this be a case? A job? Some gold in his pocket? He kept one hand on his desk, ready to shake hands with a potential client. The other hand slid under the desk, just above the hand axe he always kept there. When you’re a private dick, there is no such thing as being too careful.
The door opened wider, Elisa coasted into the office. Nor’s entire body drooped.
“Don’t look so happy to see me,” Elisa said to Nor.
Nor looked at his watch. “You’re 20 minutes late, elf.” Elisa took off her wrap and released it. It levitated over to the coat rack. She glided over to her desk beside Nor’s.
“Wind your watch, Dwarf,” she said playfully but yet still seriously. “It’s slow again.”
She flipped her computer on and stared as it booted. “Did you hear?” “Hear what?” Nor replied. “It just hit the morning presses, but the chat room I visit was buzzing about it all night,” Elisa said. Nor looked at her.
Elisa sighed. “You really should get a computer. Come into the 80s with the rest of us.”
Nor shook his head. “I got you for the magic and the computers.”
Elisa smiled. “I’m also the sex appeal.”
Elisa was Nor’s business partner. She was everything Nor wasn’t. She was tall and slim, yet round in the right places. She had big beautiful yellow eyes that put the sun to shame. Her skin was so creamy smooth even the terminally dimwitted could tell that it had never seen a blemish or a wrinkle. Her long brown hair playfully danced around her shoulders caressing her back. Only her ears that were slightly pointed and her size 12 feet gave any hint at all to Elisa’s royal elf ancestry.
On parchment Nor Strongarm and Elisa Ruby were equal partners; but in reality Nor carried the brunt of the business, the dirty work on his wide back. While Nor was the heart of their organization Elisa was the face, the outward appearance. Nor knew that when push came to pushing harder most humans preferred dealing with the pretty face. Hades, he couldn’t blame them. Nor was a realist, he knew humans made up a good ninety percent of the population of Earth now. Seemed like the only thing humans were any good at was making more humans. Still, when one species dominates the population a good businessman learns to cater to them.
“Yeah, you’re the beauty and I’m the brains and the brawn,” Nor said, knowing fully well the brains part would get to her.
Elisa tipped her barely present nose up in the air. “I’m the brains also.”
“What’s the buzz about?” Nor asked.
Elisa smiled. “So you really haven’t heard? Don’t you buy a paper?”
Nor shook his head. “Papers cost copper pieces.”
“Mayor Quinn died last night, making love to his wife.”
“How’s it a surprise that the mayor died? He was getting up there in years. Plus his wife is a good deal younger.”
“That’s the surprising part, that he was with his wife…” Elisa said. “Not a very nice way to talk about the dead,” a voice said. “Even if it’s true.”
Elisa and Nor both turned to the voice. It was connected to a small white-haired pixie who was standing in the doorway. The pixie was backed up by a ten hand tall, four armed troll in a suit and tie and carrying briefcases in two hands. They had to be lawyers.
“What’s it to you?” Nor asked.
“We represent the mayor’s wife,” the pixie said.
“I am Penelope Pixie and this is my associate Timothy.”
“So what do you and Timmy want with us?” Nor asked. The troll clamored over and pounded a meaty green fist onto Nor’s desk.
“It’s Timothy you daft dwarf!” the troll growled.
“I expect to be respected. I am a lawyer you know.”
“Don’t slime all over my desk,” Nor growled. No matter how hard trolls and dwarves tried to act somewhat civilized to each other their natural animosity almost always won out. The troll lunged forward with one of its arms, grabbing Nor by the throat.
“I’ll teach you to back talk me, dwarf!” It spat, literally.
Nor wrapped his fingers around that hand axe he always kept under his desk. Nor chopped off the troll’s arm in one swift motion. The troll recoiled backward in terror, dropping his briefcases and using his other arms to stop the bleeding.
“My arm!” Timothy troll screamed to Penelope pixie. “He cut my bloody arm off!”
“Oh don’t be a baby,” Penelope said. “It will grow back!” She turned to Nor and Elisa. “You have to forgive my associate. He went to a public university.”
“But it hurts like Hades!” the troll protested, still fixating on his missing limb.
“Just be glad I didn’t lop your head off,” Nor told him. Every kid knows that everything eventually grows back on a troll except the head. Nor pointed at the troll. “If you bleed on the new carpet you’re getting the cleaning bill. It takes some pretty expensive and specialized magic to get troll blood stains out.”
Elisa cleared her throat loudly. Everybody turned towards her. (Elves can make a lot of noise when they want to.) “So what do we owe the pleasure?” Elisa asked.
“Mrs. Lilly Quinn requests you meet her in center park in one hour,” the pixie said, very formally.
“Why does the late mayor’s wife want us?” Elisa asked.
“That is not our place to ask,” Penelope said.
“Is it a paying job?” Nor asked. Penelope floated over to Nor and nodded.
“Mrs. Quinn is a very wealthy woman. She believes in paying well.”
“We’ll be there,” Nor said. “Very good,” Penelope said. She gave Nor a half-hearted pat on the shoulder. “We will be on our way now.”
“Where do we meet?” Elisa asked.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find you,” Penelope answered as she and Timothy left the office.
Elisa turned to Nor, “What do you make of that?”
Nor thought about it, but not too hard. A wealthy new widow wanted their services.
“We need the cash,” Nor said.