Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday!
This week’s Free Fiction Thursday story is a brand new addition to the stories set in Moretown Bay, the Pacific Northwest town my detectives Diz and Dee call home. “Rolo the Great” is not a Diz and Dee mystery, though. It’s a romantic fantasy about a courtly street peddler who finally finds his one true love. Only one problem: she’s trapped in the belly of a brass pig.
I hope you enjoy “Rolo the Great.”
Rolo the Great
Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Cover and layout Copyright © 2012 Thunder Valley Press
Cover art © 2012 Annie Reed
Rolo the Great owned the corner of Sussix and Wales. Or at least, that’s what he called it.
In reality, Rolo’s home turf was a six-foot wide strip of concrete sidewalk on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Madison Boulevard, just a mere two blocks from the tourist trap that was the fishermen’s and farmers market in Moretown Bay. Rain or shine, Rolo could be found on the corner hawking his wares, which this month happened to be spiral wires enchanted to sparkle in all the colors of the rainbow, with little trinkets of gold or silver jewelry or a small feather hanging off the ends. Given his courtly manner, not to mention more than his fair share of charm and wit and a smidgen of rugged good looks, Rolo was able to eke out a living by charming the ladies, tourists and local alike. The spirals he sold were hair charms, which he was more than happy to show each lady how to wear, provided they bent down low enough for Rolo to reach their heads.
Rolo was only four foot tall, you see.
He wasn’t properly a dwarf or a halfling, and he was too tall to be a gnome. Whenever a potential customer was crude enough to ask him if he was an elf, he would happily brush back his unruly brown curls to show them his perfectly human-shaped ears, which meant he was also neither fairy nor nymph nor leprechaun. He was simply a somewhat short person who thought he was the King of England. In a past life, of course.
So it all made a certain kind of sense when he fell in love with a princess.
An enchanted princess.
You might think by now that I’m the headwaiter in the local looney bin, which in a way might be true. I’m the assistant manager at Sessions, a sort of combination coffee shop/pastry shop/open mike night lounge (yes, such things really do exist), which means my customers range from the merely under-caffeinated office worker to the extremely over-caffeinated and severely depressed wannabe grunge rocker. Sessions is located—you guessed it—on the corner of Fourth and Madison. Since I’ve been at Sessions long enough to work my way up the non-corporate ladder from mere coffee brewer to coffee brewer with an official title, I’ve gotten to know all the regulars, including Rolo the Great.
“Matthew!” Rolo called out to me one night as he barreled in through the open front door. “I have met the most extraordinary woman.”
(read the rest of the story here)