“You gonna eat that?”
I looked around. Maybe this was it, maybe this was “too high.” But after the hair on the back of my neck settled back down, my attention shifted back to the level I’d been bruising my thumbs trying to beat. After four more inevitable failures I tossed the controller against the ground. “Dogshit!” I shouted, pulling at my hair.
“It’s not dogshit. You keep trying to go through the undead paladin, you need to go around it. I mean they practically spell it out for you.”
I snapped my head around quick this time, and my stomach dropped. My eyes grew wide as they traced the enormous outline of green flesh, whatever it was seemed to be humanoid, male, and easily six hundred pounds. It had ram horns growing out of its temples and one of its four mammoth hands was grabbing the last slice of the pizza I’d ordered nearly twelve hours ago. But strangely enough, the featureless black eyes that were staring down at me seemed to be as full of surprise as I imagined my own were.
“Wait can you see me?” it asked, gnarled eyebrows contorting in confusion.
I gulped hard and gave a slow nod.
We both just sat there for a moment, each one staring at the other until finally he broke the silence by slurping down the pizza slice like a noodle, punctuating it with a belch that shook the room. “Ugh, shouldn’t have had that cat earlier,” he said.
I blinked, turning white as I tried to recall how long it had been since my tabby had strolled across the room.
“Whoa man, it wasn’t Sprinkles. I’m not a monster—or, well I am, but not that kind.” He put one of his hands to his neck and gave an embarrassed scratch. “I guess I’m just not used to anyone hearing me talk. It’s been so long, you know?”
I stared blankly at him.
“Wait,” he said, eying me. “Do you not remember me?”
I shook my head.
“Are you kidding? Shit.” He sighed and shuffled over to the edge of my bed, collapsing onto it. “I guess my parents were right. Yet another innocent child grows up unscarred thanks to Lognar the Incompetent.”
“I-I wouldn’t count that out just yet,” I said. “If I remember this tomorrow there might be plenty of scarring.”
The creature sat up and looked at me hopefully for a moment before dropping back down. “No, you’re too old now. You’ve probably already had enough cynicism crammed into your skull that when this is over you’ll blame it all on that doob you hit a few hours ago. I just have to face it, I’m not cut out for closets. When you turn eighteen I’ll just throw in the rag and go back to basement duty. Hell, maybe even under the bed, it worked for my brother-in-law.”
It was quiet for a while. Then through some strange twist of previously untapped courage, I sat myself timidly down beside the green behemoth. “Umm–” I cleared my throat. “That sucks about your job and all, and you might be right about me all blaming this on the weed tomorrow. But if you want I could order us another pizza and maybe you could show me how to beat that undead paladin?”
Slowly the creature straightened upward. “Well, it has gotten old watching you get your ass handed to you all week,” he said. “Do you have any more weed?”
“Do monsters get high?”
“They do if there’s a pizza on the way,” he said, his razor teeth curling into a grin that might have been horrifying had I been a few years younger.
“I guess you know where I keep it” I said pointing a thumb to the bedpost with the screw-off top. “What do you want on your pizza?”
“Anything but pineapple,” Lognar said, filling a rolling paper. “You humans and your fruit.”
I don’t recall much more of that night. But I do remember turning on my console the next morning to find that paladin lying in bony shambles in front of the door he’d once guarded. And I still can’t help but laugh every time I see Sprinkles sprinting away from my closet door in inexplicable frenzy.
Read more about Lognar in “Lognar and the Misappropriated Stereotypes”