Short Story: Situational Awareness

What kind of animal walks into a room and works out what he can hurt people with? We’re not talking about standing round and taking notes here, but of it being an instinctive set of considerations undertaken while also socialising or engaged in mundane tasks. Let’s be honest, we’ve all considered it from time to time, especially if our tempers are flaring or someone is pushing our buttons. The difference though is that for most of us it’s dependant on circumstances or provocation.

You’ve probably guessed that the vitriol is aimed at myself, even tempered by the knowledge that it had just saved my life. The half conscious noting of pens, heavy lamps, glass bottles, shelf edges, door handles, magazines, phone chargers, and a cast iron knee-height stylised statue of a puppy had served me well in the rather crowded handful of seconds since the doors got kicked in.

I do take consolation from the knowledge that the catalogue of offensive options came from having been attacked before. It was a kind of on-the-job training that wasn’t advertised, and which had a painfully high and permanent flunk-out consequence. The groaning elf crumpled on the floor would live, even if the iron burns would seriously cramp his style for the foreseeable future. That of course assumed he had a future. That’s not bravado, just an acknowledgement of how toxic iron is to elves, and that Titania doesn’t suffer failures lightly. Bit of a temper on her, but that’s royalty for you.

Why was there a concussed elf on my floor? Well better there than my shelf I guess. Contrary to popular opinion, while I do drink and know things, I haven’t yet learned how to read minds. I’m working on that, but for now my best guess had to be either an intended retaliation or a warning. I was pretty sure we hadn’t rousted anyone embarrassing recently. Barring some overenthusiastic cultists the other week, and a small exotic pet smuggling ring, things had been quiet.

I put the statue back by the fireplace and spent a minute tying my new playmate’s hands where i could see them. He seemed to have no more fight to give, but we all know how tricky they are so i wasn’t taking any chances. Then I called for backup and someone to take him away. What, you thought I was going to torture him for information or something? No chance. I have a bad enough time reconciling this discovered flair for improvisation without deliberately making things worse. I know what type of animal I am – one that enjoys sleeping at night

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