In a world ruled by committees of wizards, and packed with every creature imaginable, in the sleazy backstreets of Central City you can always count on Randolph C. Aloysius to solve your problems. That is, assuming his trusty Girl Friday, Bertha, can track him down.
A sucker for a pair of legs, Randy takes the case of a long legged Elf trying to locate a missing boyfriend. Simple.
Of course, nothing is ever simple in Randy’s life, what with avoiding commitments to his long-suffering lady friend, an attempted murder, a real murder, stolen baubles, and another damsel in distress. What’s a private eye to do?
Simple really. Follow the clues off-world, avoid demons, vampires and other assorted miscreants, and hope to come home with enough coin left over to meet Bertha’s back wages.
I don’t like Elves, never have. I sat tilting back in my chair counting the stains on the ceiling when she walked through the open door of my inner office unannounced—unannounced, because I’d just given Bertha the afternoon off to visit her sick brother. Bertha’s half Banshee, thin as a lamppost with long straight dark hair and big brown eyes. She’s always got a relative down with the Black Death or some obscure curse; I think she has twelve brothers, but I digress.
The Elf arrived in my office wrapped in a full-length gold lamé coat with a large hood covering her head and hiding most of her features, but I could tell she was pure Elf. Those yellow eyes are a dead giveaway even if you can’t spot the pointed ears. I’m a student of nature, have to be; the breed often determines character, or motive, or veracity. In my business you have to stay two jumps ahead or you’re squashed like a scarab. I’m a Mongrel myself. You can never tell about Mongrels, and there are more of us around now ever since the Goldilocks affair. Now there was a real witch, not the kind with just a warty nose, but she married that Wolf back in the days before they gave femmes the vote. Then they went overboard and made it all legal in the Intermarriage Act of 1812, and everything has tumbled Jack over Jill downhill ever since.
The Elf glanced about the room nervously, then in a single fluid motion crossed her long legs and slid into the battered chair opposite me like maple syrup poured from a mason jar. I sighed deep inside, rocked forward to rest my elbows on the scratched oak desk, painted a smile across my ugly mug and waited. I had all day; it had been two weeks since my last case. She fidgeted for a minute and I matched her, stare for stare, until my eyeballs screamed for mercy. The Elf had the kind of face you see perched high on a mantelpiece, thin bone china, pale, delicate, and carved by a master.
She broke first. “I need your help, Mr. Aloysius.” Her words vibrated in the air.