New Goblin Stories 3

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Leading goblins is like herding cats, assuming the cats are drunk.

Submitted: November 27, 2016

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Submitted: November 27, 2016

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Splat the goblin was the leader of the most notorious goblin gang in the city of Nolod, which was a tad odd given there were only two members and he was one of them.  The second member, Mummy, barely counted given his total lack of skill in just about any category you could name.  Actually that might be the reason why Mummy stuck around.  One day this sorry state of affairs would change.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, and possibly not this century, but it would change.

“Okay you guys, let’s get started,” Splat told his followers.  He’d gathered ten extra goblins in addition to Mummy, and together they were plotting their next caper in a warehouse attic.  At four and a half feet tall Splat was big for a goblin and wore dark blue clothes in good condition.  There were three buckles on each arm and leg, and two across his chest.  He covered his mouth with a scarf and wore a blue hat and gloves to better disguise him.

“Who are you again?” a goblin asked.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” another goblin said.

“I’m a mummy,” Mummy said.  He was wrapped head to toe in dirty bandages.

The other goblins stared at him.  One asked, “What’s a mummy?”

“I’m glad you asked.  You see—”

Splat grabbed the goblins by their arms and literally pulled their attention off Mummy and back onto him.  “Focus!  We’re going to pull off the most audacious crime of the week, and if it’s going to work I need you to learn your parts.”

“No one said there was going to be learning!” a goblin whined.  He and two others headed for the stairs back to the warehouse ground floor.

“Cheese!” Splat shouted.  The goblins hurried back with eager eyes and giddy smiles.  “That’s right, boys, we’re going to get cheese, lots of it.  You like cheese, and I can get it for you.”

One of the goblins opened his mouth to ask a question, but Splat headed off that disaster when he rolled out a sheet of grubby paper.  “Feast your eyes on this.  I have a plan for robbing the big cheese just minutes after he buys his stash from the city’s main cheese factory.  It’s going to be a smooth job, easy if we all do our parts.”

“Wait, we have to get things right?” a goblin asked.

“We do and we can,” Splat assured him.  “I’ve led my boys on five capers and four of them worked just the way I planned.  Tell them, Mummy.”

“A mummy is a dead guy who has had all his squishy bits taken out,” Mummy began.

Splat pushed Mummy out of the way.  “Mummy and me have been partnered up for a year.  I’ve been filling out the gang by recruiting goblins like you lot when we pull off a big job.”

“And where are these goblins?” the same goblin asked.

Splat sighed.  “They keep wandering off.”

That was Splat’s problem in a nutshell.  Goblins make terrible followers.  They have the attention span of a gnat and the work ethic of a drunken goat.  They were also stupid and a bit crazy.  It didn’t matter that Splat had been successful most of the time, nor that he’d been good about sharing both the credit and the rewards.  Once a mission was over his goblins would drift off in a matter of minutes.  When he had a new mission planned he had to recruit a new gang to carry it out.

A wrinkled goblin frowned and said, “I’m doubtful.”

Mummy shook the wrinkled goblin’s hand.  “Nice to meet you, Doubtful.  I’m Mummy.”

Splat was going to start slapping goblins when he saw a new goblin come up the stairs.  “Hey, who are you?”

“I’m Molly,” the new goblin said.

“Molly?  That’s a strange name for a goblin.”

Molly giggled.  “I’m a girl.”

“Right,” Splat said, not even trying to hide his disbelief.  Molly was shorter than he was and had both messy hair and dirty skin.  Molly’s clothes were so filthy and worn they should have been burned.  It was obvious Molly was a goblin, and a crazy one at that.

This was not a problem in goblin society.  Goblins as a rule were at least a little crazy and many were totally out of their gourds.  But crazy goblins came up with ideas so bizarre they often worked, and if nothing else they made for interesting company when you got thrown in jail.  Goblins were also so small and weak that the only way to succeed was to smother their enemies with overwhelming numbers.  Goblin leaders couldn’t afford to reject goblins just because they were mad or incompetent, because that extra goblin might be the one to tip the scales.  So when Splat was presented with a goblin who was totally mad, he wasn’t much bothered by it.

“All right, Molly, we’re going after the mother load of cheese.  Are you in?”

Molly needed a moment to think about it.  “Yes.”

Splat clapped his hands together.  “There we go.  I’m in, Mummy is in and so is Molly.  Are the rest of you guys going to sit back and let us have all the cheese?”

That settled it.  The other goblins gathered around the paper where Splat had written down his plan.  Satisfied that he had enough goblins to do the job, he sat down and explained what he needed.

Pointing at a stick figure on the paper, Splat explained, “This is Lord Bryce, the big cheese.  Little people buy wedges of cheese when they go to the cheese factory, but Lord Bryce is so big and important he buys a whole wheel at a time.  That’s thirty pounds of cheddar.”

Molly looked awed.  “I didn’t think anyone had that much money.”

Splat lifted up a wood plank a foot across and ten feet long.  He pointed to the end where he’d tied an old cushion earlier that day.  “Lord Bryce rides around in a fancy carriage with open windows.  A couple goblins stop the carriage while the rest slide out this plank like a bridge, then I go in and grab the cheese.”

The wrinkled goblin rubbed his chin.  “Risky.  Who distracts the guy?”

“Mummy leads that team.  He’ll need one more goblin to make it work.”  Splat looked at Molly.  She did look kind of like a human if you squinted and the lighting was bad.  “Can you fight?”

“No.”

“Are you a good climber?”

“No.”

“Can you pick locks?”

“No.”

“Molly goes with Mummy and the rest of you are with me.”

Splat led his newly formed gang into the alleys of Nolod, with Mummy and Molly following him and the others carrying the board.  The cheese factory they were heading for was on the edge of the business district, a place where goblins weren’t welcome for a variety of good reasons.  At night this wasn’t much of an issue, but it was broad daylight in the stinking metropolis of Nolod, and the streets were crowded.  Alleys were one way to avoid notice, and they only came across a few humans.

They did meet one man hurrying along with a bulging leather sack who almost ran into them.  Both sides came to a stop.  The man’s sack jingled as he moved.  He looked nervous as he studied the goblin gang before Splat said, “I didn’t see nothing if you didn’t see nothing.”

The man tipped his cap and ran by them.  With the way clear, Splat led his gang onward.  They looked like a good bunch.  If he was lucky he could talk one of them into joining his gang permanently.  If he were really lucky they’d remember him and tell other goblins about his success.  This could be the job that made his reputation and brought goblins to follow him.  He could be a leader, someone people respected!

Splat stopped when he reached the cheese factory.  It was a large stone building built like a fortress to keep out goblins, and he’d learned the hard way how effective the defenses were.  But those defenses offered no protection once a customer left with his purchases.  The busy street had an empty building on the corner where the owner had been evicted and a new owner hadn’t arrived.  Lord Bryce’s carriage had to come by that house on his way home.

“You’re sure he’s going to come today?” the wrinkled goblin asked.

Splat nodded.  “I’ve been spying on his mansion.  They’re going to have a party this weekend and he’s coming to pick up supplies today.”

Mummy blinked, his eyes the only part of him visible.  “He’s not sending servants?”

That made Splat chuckle.  “His servants are busy cleaning the place up, and a couple of them quit when their boss shorted them on their pay.  Lord Bryce has to get his hands dirty for a change.”

Molly smiled and pointed at business in the street.  “My daddy works there.  He sweeps the floors.”

It astounded Splat how far Molly was going with this bizarre game of pretending to be human.  Granted, goblins are allowed their particular foibles.  He knew one who insisted on bringing a bag of live snakes wherever he went.  Shocking how a simple milk snake could make human women scream.

“Mummy, you and Molly head into the street.  When Lord Bryce comes, do whatever you can to stop him at the house on the corner.”  Splat waved for the rest of the goblins to follow him into the abandoned building.  “Bring the board and make sure no one sees you.”

Splat led his goblins into the building.  They snuck in through an open window, only to find a human carrying a rug leaving by the same window.  The man gulped and waved his hands.  “Hey, ah,—”

“I don’t care,” Splat interrupted.  The man smiled and left.  Splat went in with his gang, wondering if there were any honest people in Nolod’s million residents.  If there were, they should be escorted out before the rest of the city’s inhabitants robbed them blind.

Splat and his followers waited by a window facing the street.  Hundreds of men and women walked past them.  Most were workers at Nolod’s countless factories, markets, shops and stores.  They were poor folk eking out a living while millions of guilders poured into and out of the city.  There were a few foreign merchants in their outlandishly bright clothes.  You could tell which ones had been in Nolod over a week because their fancy clothes became progressively drabber as Nolod’s near toxic air stained the fabric.

“There we go,” Splat said.  The other goblins crowded around him, and he pointed out the window at a fancy carriage coming down the street.  People moved out of the way, not out of respect but to keep from being run over.  Lord Bryce had a list of bad qualities a mile long, but one look at that carriage proved he had money.  Sleek young mares pulled a carriage with brass fittings, expertly carved mahogany panels and a red satin lined interior.  Keeping it clean in Nolod’s polluted air (which tried hard to be a liquid or even a solid) had to be a full time job.

And then there was Lord Bryce himself, a striking human in that he was both handsome and likely to strike someone with little to no provocation.  His lordship was a man in his thirties, black hair trimmed and styled in the latest fashion, black suit with silk lining, just the right amount of gold to look wealthy but not gaudy, oh yes, he was impressive.  He also looked down on dwarfs, elves, goblins (no surprise there), trolls, minotaurs, ogres, and for that matter the vast majority of humans.  People who got in his way had a bad habit of getting slapped, insulted and occasionally spit on.

Lord Bryce’s carriage stopped at the cheese factory and a servant came out to take his order.  A minute later the servant came out with a wheel of cheddar and loaded it into the wagon.  No money changed hands, as a man of Bryce’s station had good credit and would be billed later for the goods.  With that done the carriage pulled away, but it moved slowly as the streets were crowded.  The carriage neared the house with Splat and his goblins.  So far everything was going well.

That’s when Molly came out in the open.  Mummy was nearby, but Molly went into action first.

“Mommy!  I want my mommy!  Mommy!”  Molly stood in the middle of the street, bawling her eyes out.  Splat could see the waterworks from here, tears pouring down as Molly screamed, “Where’s my mommy?”

The carriage came to a halt right where Splat needed it to.  The goblins with him slid out the wood board like a drawbridge until the end touched the open carriage window.  The cushion tied to the end of the board muffled the sound as it came down.

“Mommy!”  Molly was still going at it, and was wildly successful.  Most of the humans walked by, but enough gathered around her to block the street.  An older woman kneeled down and tried to comfort Molly.

Lord Bryce leaned out of his carriage and bellowed, “Get that brat out of the street before I run her over!”

Oh that was the wrong thing to say.  Splat had long ago observed that most humans were pathologically protective of children.  It was one of the few things he liked about them.  Worse, Lord Bryce commanded respect only due to his wealth.  Poor people knew how little he thought of them and they returned the favor.  Lord Bryce’s threat had turned this into an ‘us versus him’ situation.

The crowd around Molly grew as strong men gathered around her.  The mob swelled exponentially, their mood foul and their eyes locked on Lord Bryce.  Lord Bryce got out of the carriage and shouted abuse at the crowd, how they were lazy and delaying commerce.  No one attacked him, but no one moved, either.

Splat climbed across the board and into the carriage.  He spotted the cheese wheel at the top of a pile of goods.  Ignoring wine, pastries, joints of beef and other food, he grabbed the cheese wheel.  From there he rolled it across the board and into the building.  Men in the crowd spotted him, but to his relief they only smiled.  The other goblins pulled back the board and they retreated into the alley.  Minutes later the street cleared and Lord Bryce rode off swearing and snarling insults.

Molly and Mummy snuck back, Molly’s tears gone and a smile on her face.  “Did I do good?”

Splat patted her on the back.  “You were golden, kid.”

The wrinkled goblin nudged Splat.  “We’ve got the goods, like you said.  How’s it being divided?”

“Even shares all around, boys,” Splat promised.  He drew a knife and sliced up the cheese wheel on the spot.  That gave him time to evaluate this gang.  They’d all done their jobs, but Molly had really stood out.  He handed out wedges of cheese and gave Molly the last one.  He smiled and told her, “I’ve got more plans I’m working on.  Stick around and we can go far together.”

Molly took her wedge of cheese and ran off.  “I have to go home to my mommy and daddy.”

Splat watched her go.  He turned to the rest of the gang, only to find they’d left with the exception of Mummy.  Typical.  He pointed at Molly and told his only gang member, “There goes one confused goblins.”

* * * * *

Molly, who wasn’t a goblin and never had been, ran home smiling.  Her clothes were worn and dirty because her family was desperately poor.  Every coin and bite of food was hard earned, and her mother often scrounged for food in the garbage of better neighborhoods.  Molly knew how hard her parents worked, and until today she hadn’t been able to help.

She got home seconds after her father returned from work.  Maybe he’d finally been paid today.  If not then the cheese would be especially welcome.  Molly’s mother was in the kitchen of their meager house, cooking parts of a chicken most wouldn’t think of eating under the reasoning that anything was edible if you boiled it long enough.

Molly ran up to her mother and held up the wedge of cheese.  “Mommy, look what I brought!”

Her mother looked surprised in addition to tired and worried.  “Girl, where did you get that?”

“A nice man gave it to me.”

“Gave?”  Her mother bent down and studied the wedge of cheese.  “Mercy, that’s three copper pieces worth of cheese.  No one gives away that much, not to the likes of us and not for good reasons.”

Worried that she’d done something wrong, Molly hugged her mother.  “Mommy, am I in trouble?”

Her mother stared at the cheese wedge, the first food they’d had in weeks that hadn’t come from someone else’s trash.  “Not if we eat fast.  Husband!  Children!  Come quick!”


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