“So Foxy, where’s Elf?” I said. We were relaxing after dinner. Fox had some nice Cuban cigars. Woodsy was doing whatever it is that wood nymphs do.

“Where do you think? North Pole.”

“North Pole!”

“Where else are there any elves?”

“Yeah, but he tried that before. That Santa’s an abusive bastard.”

“Elfy’s got it under control. He unionized the elves.”

“Unionized them?”

“Yup. CUPE.”

“CUPE?”

“Canadian Union of Pissed-off Elves.”

“I’ll be damned. So I guess I better get back to Geneva and get the cats and shlep them up to the North Pole. Which way is the North Pole from here Foxy?”

“That’d be north, Joe.”

“North?”

“It’s way up at the top Joe.”

“Maybe I could ski across Finland,” I said. “Like Diane Keaton in Reds.”

Diane Keaton was hot in that movie, but now she looks like my grandmother.

“Could do that,” Fox said.

“I’m going to need some kind of sled so I can haul the cats. Maybe some kind of boat for the last part.”

“Could do that, but there’s no need,” Fox said.

“What? What do you mean?”

“It’s taken care of. Woodsy’s people already delivered the cats to the North Pole.”

“When?”

“Right after we left the alley.”

“I’ll be damned. So Woodsy has people?”

“Oh yeah,” Fox said. “In a manner of speaking,” he added.

“Still I’d like to see Elf. What made him take off like that Foxy?”

“A dame.”

“A dame?”

“What else?”

“Was it that fairy in the absinthe ad Foxy? She was hot. For a fairy.”

“Nah. It was Aggie. It was always Aggie for Elf.”

“That can’t be, Fox. Aggie’s down on Elgin Street. She does crafts and stuff. And shopping. She’s their muse you know.”

“Not her.”

“What?”

“That’s not her.”

“How can that be, Fox?”

“Did you read my post about the words you’re going to need to know?”

“I skimmed it.”

“You skimmed it.” 

“I don’t have a lot of time for reading, Fox. I have to work out and practice my yoga and everything. Look after the cats. Work on my tan.”

“Doppelgänger,” Fox said.

“Doppel what?”

“Evil twin, Joe.”

I gasped. I was completely knocked out. Aggie not Aggie? Aggie Aggie’s evil twin?

“It’s better to say doppelgänger,” Fox said. “Doppelgängers are mysterious. They’re not necessarily evil.”

“Which one has Elf got with him Fox?”

“That’s Aggie,” Fox said.

“How can I tell if it’s really Aggie and not her doppel… doppel… doppelgänger?”

“You can’t,” Fox said.

“I can’t?”

“No,” Fox said. “But I can.”

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