Jeff the Minotaur

The children did not know of Jeffrey's sordid past or his immediate political concerns. They weren't affected by his views on the trade embargo with the Queendom of Pan. Or his opinions on the capital punishment of scripters. They wanted one thing and one thing alone from him regardless of his physical deformities or uneven temper. They lusted after what he could provide to such an extent, that they often arrived at bizarre hours of the night, clad in little else besides their pajamas and moccasins.

He had grown used to it years prior, but even as the soft rapping grew insistent on his stable door, Jeffrey could not help but think that perhaps it was best to establish some sort of of regular business hours. It was probably best anyway.

After making a quick survey of his dwelling he hoofed his way to the huge double doors that served as his breezeway. He snorted once and the insistent knocking replied with four rapid Tick-Tick-Tick-Ticks. He immediately lifted the 200 pound deadbolt that had once been a rather imposing evergreen.

Quick as lightning she slipped inside, all blood shot eyes and fidgets.


Jeffrey grunted, replacing the bolt before hoofing his way over to his stash.

"You know that I cut you off yesterday. You're going to make yourself sick."

She covered the callouses on her tiny, fragile hands. They were stained with graphite and ink. Hannah hesitated behind the plodding beast that was Jeffrey, but only because her mother had warned her about spooking Daisy, their milk cow. She didn't want a kick in the head.

"I was wondering, Jeff-Jeff...."

She squeaked, looking all to the world like a nervous bird.

"How much for a double dose this time? The stuff you gave me last night was way too light. It didn't do anything for me."

Jeffrey chuckled as he unlocked the enormous wardrobe that kept his stash locked away from prying and dangerous eyes.

"Girl, it was as strong as it ever has been. You're just building up a resistance to it is all. Your little brain is a tricky little engine, finding clever ways to foil my work."

"Kay-Kay. So... stronger?"

She grinned as he swung open the double doors and rifled amongst bricka-brack and utensils.

"It'll cost you three pounds of paper this time. Good quality, too. I'm not looking for the recycled junk your friends keep giving me. High grade cardstock, no watermarks. Can you handle it?"

He snorted, the cloud he produced was wet and sticky. He knew full well that he'd never even get half of that.


She croaked as she rolled her hands. Hannah was one of his most impatient customers, always far too eager to get back to her dirty little habits. But supplies were supplies. He could never really cut off anyone. The children needed him far too much now that he had fed their growing minds with his elaborate wares.

Finding what he needed he gathered it all up into his arms and swung around, lowering himself to her level. She quickly approached, looking for imaginary spies. Her face was distorted in his solid gold nose ring, like a carnival mirror. She looked terrifying to herself.

He held up a bundled stack of papers bound with black ribbon.

Hannah's eyes widened as she caught glimpses of the elaborate script beneath the silky ribbon. Jeffrey's hand writing was magical and dark. She kissed one of his enormous horns quickly. But with little control over herself she caught a full sentence in the corner of her eye and tiled her head to began how work out the riddles without aid of her home made abacus or chicken coop quill.

After a moment Jeffrey made an irritated, throaty noise. The girl yelped and grabbed the papers, scurrying toward the double doors. He followed her.

"Thanks Jeff-Jeff."

He lifted the enormous deadbolt without a word and she disappeared into the chilly night.

"Don't over do it! Get some sleep!"

But she was gone. With a sigh he replaced the bolt and went to make himself some tea.

Such were the trials of a puzzlesmith in The Land of Faj.


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