Nicholas grabs a new glass resting on a small drying rack behind him and perfectly fills it to the rim with beer from one of the many choices on tap. He places it in front of the man, the man takes a sip but abruptly stops to cough, “I didn’t realize I said ‘stupid human customers.’ I didn’t mean to offend either one of you two men.”
I hear Nicholas snicker and I let out a few laughs myself. We both reassure our new elf friend that there was no offense found in his words. Nicholas gives us a brief story about a time when a drunk customer did something stupid in the bar, somehow ending with the person leaving the bar without their pants. The elf joins in on the comedic story-telling and gives us a story about an email he received from a customer that implicated buying a gun from a black market dealer.
We all have our laughs and pick up our drinks for a cheer; in Nicholas’ case, it was a glass of ice water. After we all finish our drinks in a matter of seconds, the elf finally introduces himself.
“I’m Nalbrinth, Middle Pale Elf from the Southern End.”
“Wait. Is that your entire name?”
“No. It’s just Nalbrinth. In Elven society it’s customary for an elf to introduce themselves by stating their name, then their social status, which race of elf they are, and which part of the region they were raised since birth.”
It’s customary, huh? I wonder what I would sound like if I tried it?
I take a moment to figure out the fill-in-the-blanks for this Elven customary, but fill in the words to describe myself. “I’m Dave, Middle… American Human from… Chicago?”
Nalbrinth laughs as my attempt at his culture, “It’s quite alright. I don’t expect those who aren’t familiar with my society to follow it. Still, I appreciate the gesture.” He pats my back in comfort even though I didn’t really need it.
“So, Nalbrinth. Nal-brin-th. Interesting name you have there. What made you want to work among the human race?”
“I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this, but there’s this new peace treaty that’s in place to allow the integration of humans and elves in the workplace. Humans have been accepting of allowing elves to join their workforce, but it was more with my people. We are very proud and prideful people who don’t really like to interact with outsiders.”
“What suddenly made you guys want to join up with us?”
Nalbrinth takes a moment to think. He probably didn’t know the exact reason behind it. He seems like a normal guy like me and the guys back at the office. He sure as hell knows how to drink, so he’s practically one of us already.
He takes a few more sips before he answers, “From what I heard, well, more like what was given to the public, was that elves wanted to begin stepping out and making new connections in order to grow in the world. Our leaders thought it would be a good idea to have a few citizens begin interacting with humans to see just how smoothly things to go.”
“And you don’t believe it?”
“I’d rather believe that a high-ranking elf was caught fucking a human diplomat and this whole integration is just a cover up. Although, I’m not against elves and humans getting along. I was honestly considering moving out to Chicago and living among humans myself. I got tired of seeing the same old place, you know?”
“You sure as hell act more like a human more than most of the elves I’ve come across.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised about that.”
Nalbrinth gives a small smile as he raises his near-empty glass in the air. I smile back and raise my mason jar next to his, “On behalf of the entire human race, I would like to personally welcome you to our great city and wish you the best. May you find a better job that’s not so shit, and may your ears continue to be long.”
“I gladly accept your warm welcome and hope that the next customer I have to speak on the phone won’t be such an annoying bitch who wants to speak to the manager. And may your job burn to the ground and allow you to sue for employee endangerment.”
We down the last few drops and continue to enjoy each others’ company. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I’ll be seeing this elf.