Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Then, A Spacer Walked In
By Acquanetta M. Sproule

On the day the Spacer walked in, Salto, a Highlands Troll, blew out a sigh of exquisite relief as he gingerly lowered his throbbing, swollen, hairy feet into the cedar tub filled nearly to the brim with orange peel and eucalyptus leaf laced steaming water, kindly provided for the weary traveler by the lovely (for a mere human) wench of the Keeper of the Grumpy Groundhog Inn, Tavern and Ten-Pins Emporium.

He wiggled tired hirsute tootsies and a satisfying scent wafted up from the foot soak to mingle with the enticing aromas of his much anticipated hot meal of savory roasted wild aardvark, buffeted bean sprouts seasoned with garlic, rosemary and just the right touch of tarragon and, lastly, a huge side of succulent, southern fried yams.

Salto was exhausted from the Quest he'd just completed with Prince Suaveo, rightful heir to the throne of the recently murdered king Champeone of the kingdom of Wajagunadoon as a favor to Salto's loyal friend and old wizard of the 42nd order, Fred.

Salto chuckled to himself, stirred his Goat Blood Ale with the cinnamon stick the sweet wench had slipped him (with a wink and a smile) before taking a sip.

"Ah-h-h, perfect!" Salto said.


Fred had been one of Salto's best friends for nearly two human centuries and was an excellent wizard to boot (despite his odd name, or perhaps because of it), so, at the wizard's behest, Salto had agreed to assist the royal whelp on his Quest to rescue a Princess in Distress (any Princess in Distress would've done, but luck, or Fred's machinations, happened the Companions upon the feisty Princess Voluptua and the two blue-bloods had ended up, after a rather tumultuous start and the requisite obstacles, becoming quite genuinely attached to each other) to earn support for Prince Suaveo's ascension to the throne usurped by his evil uncle, Duke Slaptdonogin.

Prince Suaveo had insisted on handling matters in the traditional fashion which entailed battling a hungry, but severely constipated (due to too many Common Folk Snacks, easily plucked from the Fief Fields adjoining the parking lot of the many area Zip 'n' Nip franchised motor-marts) and, consequently, extremely testy fire-eating dragon, in a hand-to-flame battle with only his heirloomed shield, sward and invisibility moo-moo instead of utilizing one of the Wajagunadoon Army's many neutron-cannon-tanks and, additionally, by walking all over every hill and through each dale instead of utilizing his own private, chauffeured princely skimmer.

Ergo, Salto's very sore feet.

Salto savored another sip of his savory ale, sat back contemplating the logistics of working around Troll and human wench physical incompatibilities, as disgraced and shunned Elf-Former-Lord tried to scrape a living in non-elfin circles by plying his trade as the Grumpy Groundhog's lounge lizard.

He was, Salto admitted though only to himself, quite good.

Salto surmised that that having ten digits per hand (a vivid example of why one should endeavor to never piss off a demi-goddess in the throes of PMS) must give the elf a great advantage in the ivory-tickling profession.

Must be difficult finding fashionable shoes that fit comfortably, though.

The song the elfin piano player pounded sounded vaguely familiar to Salto. After a few languid moments, the lyrics came back to him.

Softly (for a Highland Troll) and slightly off key, Salto began to sing along in his gravely tenor.

To fly on starry night,
To fight when sun is bright,
I do so with delight,
So I may set my sight,
On my moss covered pillow at home!

"A good Trollish Quest song!" Salto mused, while wiping away a sentimental booger and discretely scraping it onto the underside of his table.

Unbeknownst to him, the Innkeeper, after noticing the looks passing between the disgusting wench and the Troll had slipped the wench enough poison in her ale that just the aroma should've exploded her head. which she'd slipped to Salto.

Being a Highland's Troll, it had only made him sleepy and feeling a bit sluggish. Salto applied himself to his scrumptious meal before it got too much cooler.

The wench-experiment would have to wait until he'd had two, three solid days of sound sleep.

Then, a Spacer walked in.

"I don't like that song," she stated, as she whipped out her blaster, disintegrated the Elfin-Former-Lord and beamed out.

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