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Nix That by Suzanne Johnson

Nix That by Suzanne Johnson

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Published by Roxanne Rhoads
“Nix That” is an original short-short set in the world of the Sentinels of New Orleans series, featuring wizard DJ Jaco, her partner (and maybe more) shapeshifting enforcer Alex Warin, loup-garou enforcer Jake Warin, the undead 19th-century French pirate Jean Lafitte, Cajun merman Rene Delachaise, and a cast of many—few of them actually human.

Copyright 2013 Suzanne Johnson. May not be reprinted or shared without written permission of the author.
“Nix That” is an original short-short set in the world of the Sentinels of New Orleans series, featuring wizard DJ Jaco, her partner (and maybe more) shapeshifting enforcer Alex Warin, loup-garou enforcer Jake Warin, the undead 19th-century French pirate Jean Lafitte, Cajun merman Rene Delachaise, and a cast of many—few of them actually human.

Copyright 2013 Suzanne Johnson. May not be reprinted or shared without written permission of the author.

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Published by: Roxanne Rhoads on Sep 08, 2013
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02/16/2014

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Nix ThatSuzanne Johnson
Note:
“Nix That” 
is an original short-short set in the world of the Sentinels of New Orleans series, featuring wizard DJ Jaco, her partner (and maybe more) shapeshiftingenforcer Alex Warin, loup-garou enforcer Jake Warin, the undead 19
th
-century French pirate Jean Lafitte, Cajun merman Rene Delachaise, and a cast of many 
 few of themactually human.
The work of a wizard sentinel is never done. Once, the job meant guarding the borders between the modern world and the preternatural world known as the Beyond. SinceHurricane Katrina tore down the borders in 2005 and the pretes came streaming into NewOrleans, the job has changed. Now, there are merman feuds to settle, undead pirates to please, elves to evade.I settled behind my desk in the small, generic strip-mall space I call an office. Myrented space was sandwiched between a coffee shop and a Stein Mart in a strip mall onTchoupitoulas Street, so a chocolate latte or retail therapy was always near at hand.I might need both. An early-morning call from my merman friend ReneDelachaise had alerted me to an impending problem. A pod of nixes, water species aboutwhom I knew precisely nothing, had moved into the Pass a Loutre Wildlife Refuge near 
Rene’s mer clan.
 All the water species were territorial, and merfolk were among the worst. Rene
hadn’t told
me to get rid of the nixes
, exactly. He’d ended his short call with a cryptic“they don’t mainstream with humans very well, babe,
even by
 N’Orluns standards
.
I was
waiting for a 9 a.m. visit from the nix pod leader, Chilton, who’d been convinced
of theneed to meet me following a threat of violence from Rene.Armed with my elven staff, Charlie, and a strong latte, I logged onto the
wizarding Elders’ secure website
to get the scoop
on nixes. The words “peculiar” and“eccentric” showed up multiple times on the first page.
Not a good sign.A blowing horn sounded from the parking lot, and I looked out the office window,hoping it had nothing to do with nixes. The rein
carnation of the Addams Family’s Cousin
It hoofed it across the pavement in my direction, oblivious to a bug-eyed womanwatching him from behind the wheel of a blue Toyota. Bare, hair-covered feet poked outfrom the bottom of a silvery-green suit that looked suspiciously like scales. Each foot hadsix toes.Even as
I prayed this wasn’t Chilton
-the-Nix, I knew better. For one thing, he wasfocused like a laser on my office door and, for another, he
embodied “peculiar” and“eccentric.”
 He brushed a waist-length sweep of hair behind his shoulder, exposing a face thatsomehow managed to be both pinched and round. Outside my door, he rose to his fullheight of an optimistic five-three, and walked into the office
. I couldn’t decide if 
his hair was silver or gold, or both. The long beard was mostly silver.
“Good morning, wizard.” Pale yellow
-green eyes without lashes or lids regardedme from a solemn face.
The Elders’ website had been
generous.
Chilton’s ability to
mainstream was nonexistent. I just hoped the horn-blowing human
whose car he’d
 
walked in front of hadn’t called the police
. Even New Orleans has its limits on weirdness.Well, not really, but Chilton would be pushing it.
I nodded. “Chilton.
Mr., uh, Nix.
How are your...” I paused.
 People
 
wasn’t
 accurate, and
nixes
 
seemed redundant. “
Podmates
,” I finally said. “How are your 
 podmates adapting to Plaquemines Parish
?”“I must isolates my women,” he said, sounding petulant. English wasn’t Chilton’s
native tongue; his first language, I suspected, had
n’t been heard by human ears for a
couple of millennia. Maybe ever 
. “I
regrets my wife Arago has frinked a merman.Mermens needs to leave, and I needs a new wife to replaces her 
.”
 According to my research, nixes were polygamists to the Nth degree. However,finding him a new wife was not in my job description. At least not this week.
Then again, frinking might be illegal. “Exactly
which
merman did Arago frink?” I
stalled for time while doing a surreptitious search for 
 frink 
 
on the Elders’ website. I stared
at the illustrated entry in the Miriam Witchster Unabridged Dictionary of PreternaturalSpecies and Dialects. I turned my smartphone in different directions to see which endwas up, or down. Frinking involved reproductive organs, gills, and incredible flexibility.Holy crap.
“Was Arago injured?”
 
Chilton slumped into the chair facing my desk; his feet didn’t touch the floor. “I
t
isn’t
matters
. I doesn’t wants her anymore
. The mermans Rene said you could gets me anew wife since Arago has frinks his cousin and
I only has thirteen wives left.”
 
“Rene said that, did he?” I was relieved my buddy hadn’t done any frinking— 
atleast none I had to investigate
 —but he’d pay for this setup.
I motioned Chilton into a chair facing my desk and tried to force patience into myvoice when I really wanted to pull out his abundant hair.
Chilton, why do you needfourteen wives? Why not make do with thirteen? Or give Arago another chance?
 Nothing against my own gender but that many wives is insane. That many
husbands would be insane. I wasn’t sure I even wanted one, especially another wizard. Or an elf. Definitely not an elf, but that’s another story.
 
The nix gave me a blank stare. “I need
s more
wives so I can gets heirs,” he said.“Nixes has problems making sons. I has twenty daughters. I needs son.” He looked at me
with his strange, unblinking eyes, and a blue tear trailed down his cheek.Staring out the window with longing
at the CC’s C
offee sign, I poured myself acup of inadequate java from my cheap Walmart brewer as a stabbing pain began arhythmic throbbing in my right temple. Rene was going to buy me dinner. And a case of ibuprofen. Maybe a new car.I took a deep breath
. “The
Delachaise mer clan has been in Plaquemines a long
time, so I’m afraid y
ou
’re the one who will
need to relocate. You should move back to
the Beyond.”
When I began talking, blue tears had begun trailing down his chubby, pinchedcheeks and into his beard. At the mention of the Beyond, the tears stopped and the eyesnarrowed.
“We has
a right to lives here now. Wizards cannot tells us where to livesanymore. Wizards needs to get us new wife and make mermens move
.”
 Jeez-Louise. I poured a third cup of coffee and hoped
Rene’s shrimp trawler 
sprang a leak. I was going to have to find someone to take me out on the water inPlaquemines to oust this harem of nixes. Normally,
I’d ask Rene,
but Chilton might think he had an ulterior frinking motive.
 
I rifled through
the forms I’d have to fill
out in order to evict the hairy invaders.Expense report for boat rental. Chain of command voucher for whoever I got to help me.Summary of activities. Analysis of each nix
’s behavior 
 
and how it did or didn’t align with
that of humans.The Elders might have been forced by Katrina to admit other species from theBeyond into South Louisiana, but we were by God going to document their every movein triplicate.
“Miss Drusilla very pretty for wizard. She be much good wife
s
if hair down.”
 I barely avoided spewing coffee on my expense-reimbursement form and instead
collapsed into a fit of coughing. “That’s very flattering, Chilton,” I rasped, thankful I’ddecided on a ponytail. “But I’m uh...” Must be tactful. Mustn’t be rude. Mustn’t say
 I 
wouldn’t touch your 
 six-toed feet with a ten-foot rod-and-reel 
. “I’m already withsomeone.”
  Not technically a lie. I had a date Friday night with my former partner Alex and plans for a Saturday matinee with the undead pirate Jean Lafitte. Who sounded like the perfect person to navigate me to the Pod House.
Is you marrieds?
” Chilton’s round eyes
had taken on a determined set. He waslike a pit bull with the face of a Shih-Tzu.
“Yes,” I lied. “I has two husbands.
One turns into a dog and
the other’stechnically dead. We’s all very happy.”
 He looked truly disappointed.A few hours later, Jean Lafitte maneuvered
Rene’s fishing boat,
 
 Dieu de la Mer 
,to the pier where Chilton waited, having decided to swim home in the river. Thirteenclones of himself, except wearing scaly dresses instead of a scaly suit, sat beside him.Another hairy dress-wearer sat apart, weeping copious blue tears.
“Rene is going to owe me big
-
time,” I muttered to Jean.
 
Oui, Jolie
. As you shall owe me.” Jean looked
 pleased at that idea. In fact, helooked much more cheerful about my debt than about the hairy lump he pointed to on theadjoining pier.Oh. My. God. It was either a dead nix or a sheepdog.Jean quickly leapt off the deck, walked over, knelt beside it, and shook his head.
“Elle est morte.”
 I stared in horror, wondering what to do. I was supposed to be in charge. What a
 joke. Need a potion or spell? I’m your wizard. Dead
nix? Not so much.I fought the urge to recycle all that coffee and forced my attention back to Chiltonand his companions. Blue tears stained their cheeks, but the isolated woman gaped at me,terror in her pale chartreuse eyes. A rope bound her arms, and a rag had been stuffed inher mouth.
“Don’t touch anything,” I told Jean as I climbed off the boat and approached thenix. I did know that much. “Chilton, what happened?”
 He stood and pointed at the frightened, bound nix
. “I finds Gila with
 
Arago’s
 
 body,” he said, voice wavering. “I not
wants you to sends us to Beyond so I ties her up.You can has her. I tells her wizards eat nixes for dinners.
 The terrified Gila turned out to be
Chilton’s second wife and supposed murderer 
of the merman-frinking Arago. I pulled the rag from her mouth and regretted itimmediately.

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