Happy Thursday, everyone!
Can you believe it’s December 1st already? Wow. This year has just flown by. Pretty soon I’ll be annoying my co-workers with holiday music — I’m already annoying my family with a holiday CD in the car — and it will be time to put up the Christmas tree and see how the new cats and the tree cope with each other. To celebrate this first day of the holiday season, this week’s free story is a Diz & Dee holiday mystery – THE CASE OF THE MISSING ELF. Enjoy!
The Case of the Missing Elf
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Copyright 2010 by Annie Reed
I was having a non-argument argument with my partner about whether we should get a Christmas tree for the office when the front door opened and a whole passel of elves piled in.
Up front, I should tell you that my partner is an elf. A tall one. Broad shouldered, pointy-eared, strong jawed, and with the most drop dead gorgeous blue eyes I’ve ever seen. You might be thinking Legolas from those movies, but Diz is more The Rock than Orlando Bloom. He even has The Rock’s glower. The cinnamon and marshmallow-colored mullet, though — that’s all Diz’s own.
Yeah, I know. A mullet. But considering how great the rest of him looks, who am I to complain?
Together, Diz and I run a private detective agency called D & D Investigations out of a former bakery in a rundown neighborhood on the mainland side of Moretown Bay. I’m Dee, the other D in D & D. I’m not an elf. Or a dwarf. Or a fairy, or any one of a hundred other kinds of magic folk who call the area around the Bay home. I’m a plain old vanilla human with curly brown hair that tends to frizz when it’s humid, which is just about all the time. I also have a touch of precognition I’ve yet to learn how to control any better than my hair.
“You find missing people?” the nearest elf in the pack said.
I looked down at him. Unlike Diz, who’s a good foot taller than my medium height, these elves were all way shorter than I am. I counted seven of the mini elves. They all wore variations of the same outfit: forest green pants, red and green shirts that were more tunic than shirt, and red, green, or white scarves. The elf who asked me whether we find missing people had curly salt and pepper hair peeking out from beneath a red knit hat with a white pom-pom on top. They made the office look like a seasonal munchkin convention.
“Uh, yeah,” I said. I resisted the urge to point to the lettering beneath the agency name on the plate glass window of our office — Missing Persons Are Our Specialty. We’d paid extra for that, but no one ever seemed to read it.
The elf behind the guy with the red knit hat elbowed him. “I don’t care what you say, this can’t be the right place,” he said in a stage whisper I could hear fine even though his voice sounded like he’d just taken a hit of helium. “Just look at it.”
The rest of the elves nodded and muttered among themselves. Except for the elf with the red hat, they all sounded like helium addicts.
I glanced over at Diz, expecting to see his everyday glower amped up to a killer scowl. My partner and patience aren’t even on a handshake basis. Diz was born without that sense of serenity that’s second nature to most wood elves. Stuff gets to him. He left his clan’s home on Marlette Island years before I was even born. Life among the trees probably drove him batty. Lord knows why he puts up with me, not that I’d complain about that either. I know when I’ve got a good thing going.
One of the things Diz can’t stand is a client who won’t get to the point. Between the scowl and the lack of patience and the elfly strength, Diz can be flat out intimidating. That’s what made him such a kickass interrogator when we were both with the cops. Now that we’re detecting on our own and can’t afford to scare potential clients away, I do most of the initial interviews. I can be kind of a smartass, but at least I’m nice about it.
Most of the time.
But now, instead of having to deflect Diz from going into full scowl mode, I caught him in a near-grin.
“You’re smiling,” I said to him.
The grin disappeared. “Am not.”
I lifted an eyebrow. I’m not sure why my partner doesn’t like to admit when he’s having a good time, but far be it for me to let him get away with it.
“Right,” I said. “And I’m Santa.”
Immediately, all the pint-sized elves in the office went quiet.
“What?” I said to the group who were all giving me the evil eye.
(read the rest of the story here)