His feet shuffle through the yard, scuffing the cobblestones as he paces between the well and his vegetable patch, a scrap of green leaves propped above the grey stones. Every morning around five I hear his screen door c-r-e-a-k open and snap! closed, hear him ungh! grunt as he bends to his buckets. Even that early in the morning he’s in full formal attire, peaked cap and banner waving behind him. He’s a social climber. I can tell. Just from looking at him, I can tell.
Most goblins don’t wear shoes, for a start.
Back and forth, back and forth, watering bulbous red tomatoes and purple-skinned beans, watering the cobbles. He always pauses, to check for grubs and pumpkin beetles, to whisper his carbon dioxide breath onto soft leaves, to squeeze and stroke and measure their plumpness. His buckets go down with a clang! and a rattle of the metal handles, followed by the wheeze and splash of the pump. Back and forth. I don’t mind goblins, me. Industrious types, always hard at it.
I see him kiss his wife goodbye, fluttering, butterfly kisses for her cheeks. I see him leave for work, a whistle and a jig as he reaches the front gate. His wife turns inside, all swaying hips and long fingertips, singing the songs of the stars. My room is littered with sketches – she doesn’t know, of course. Doesn’t know about my rustling carpet of cameos and portraits laid beneath my shuffling feet, all of her.
And of Mrs Jenkins, pinching his tomatoes.
Written for Goblin Week.