Etwas the Elf

Etwas the Elf
Our heroine, photo by Maia Ycot

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Elf and the Assisted Self-Improvement Center

Once upon a time, Etwas the Elf was running through the forests of grass, under the canopies of clover and around the stems of tall flowers when she decided to go pay a visit to her Uncle Gummi. Gummi was mostly a troll with some mad scientist thrown in. Nobody remembered whether he had started as a troll and become a mad scientist, or if he had been a mad scientist first and was turned into a troll. But most suspected that he had done the work himself. 

 Uncle Gummi ran an assisted self-improvement clinic on the banks of the Þjórsá river. Nobody was sure, but many who knew the place suspected he built his clinic by the raging river to drown the wailing sounds that came from inside. Regardless, he was rarely low on paying customers. 

"Howdy, Uncle Gummi!," Etwas yelled over the howling when she came in the door. 

"Oh, hey there, Etwas! How are you feeling?" 

"Oh, I'm fine, Uncle Gummi!" Etwas answered quickly. "Pink of health, yessiree." 

 "Want to meet some of my new patients?" Uncle Gummi showed Etwas into a room where a tiny fairy was folded double, her itty-bitty body rotating around legs 20 times as long as a fairy's natural size. "This is Golarun Stormsdóttir. She came here because she is the fairy godmother of an Ogre and felt her gifts weren't taken seriously because she was so small. So I chopped off her feet and sowed willow branches between them and her ankles. How you feeling about yourself now, Golarun?" Bent over at the ceiling, Golarun's face and body was level with Etwas' eyes, but upside-down. She held out a tiny thumb in what would be the upward direction, measured antenna-wise.  "That's great," the self-improvement guru encouraged as Etwas backed out of the room.

Uncle Gummi took her to the next room.  Opening the door revealed a bumblebee that was smashing from wall to wall out of control with contrails following its wings.  "This here is Kent.  He's a drone who read that bumblebees are aerodynamically incapable of flight, and can only leave the ground because they don't understand physics.  Well, once he read that he lost his confidence and, with it, the ability to work.  So I put together two tiny afterburners for his wings and now he's flying better than an eagle.  Isn't that right, Kent?"  The bee nodded once before the motion sent him into a forward spin that he only got under control by grabbing Etwas for ballast.  "Why, that's just fine, Kent."  The bee managed to cram his nose into a corner and keep still for a moment so he dropped Etwas onto her uncle's shoulders.

"And the best part is," Uncle Gummi whispered into his niece's ear, "he'll never sting again.  Long before he can get his business end backed up to stab you a good one, your skin'll burst into flames."

"Nice fix!" Etwas agreed, backing out the second door.

The third door opened into a long hallway with a stairwell at the far end lit by a flickering green glow.  Etwas could hear noises exhoing in a distant cavern.  "Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat Weeeeeeowwww!!! rat-a-tat-tat thud."

"Well, I'd better get back to work," Uncle Gummi said.

"Don't want to keep you," Etwas offered.

 "Oh! I brought you some potato cakes!"

"My favorite!" Gummi thanked her.  "And you know, I have a goose coming by tomorrow who's been trying to figure out how to ice skate..."

Etwas turned to leave but took the wrong door at first.  Behind it, in a dark  room, sat what looked like a toad except that its eyes glowed like a lightening bug, a fork flickered where its tongue should have been and where its front legs should be were talons like on a condor.  And its head was covered, save a patch here and there of green skin, with what Etwas initially thought was hair but, on closer inspection, turned out to be thousands of tiny wings.  "What did he need help with?" Etwas asked as soon as her speech returned.

"Oh," explained Gummi, "That's Doug.  Nothing wrong with him at all, but it seems to make him feel better to hang around here and watch me work.  Placebo effect, I'm thinking."

And ever since then, Etwas tries to adapt to situations instead of changing for them.