Grotto Header

Nimue's Grotto


by Eleanor Park

Nigel’s white shirt was missing a button, causing it to gape open in an unattractive fashion.

Undaunted by a lack of needle and thread, he affixed the errant button over the button hole with a dab of glue, then glued the shirt together underneath it.

Admiring his handiwork in the mirror, he whistled a little tune as he tied his bow tie.

Later at the embassy ball as he danced with Isabel Martin, a blue-eyed blond with a luxurious tan, his glue job failed.

“You’ve lost a button,” Isabel said.

Nigel looked at this shirt front in dismay.

“Why is your chest green?” Isabel asked.

“It isn’t green,” Nigel said.

“It is. I can see it.”

“I’m wearing a green undershirt.”

“You’re wearing a green undershirt. Under a white shirt?”


“No you’re not.”

“I most certainly am.”

Isabel stopped dancing.”Your chest is green. I can see it. Why is your chest green?"

Nigel sighed, wishing he’d had the good sense to stay home. “Let’s get a breath of fresh air on the terrace. I’ll explain there.”

Other couples were on the terrace. Nigel led Isabel away from them.

“I was dying a coat green, forgot and climbed into the tub to take a bath, accidentally dying myself."

Isabel laughed. “So your whole body, except for your head and hands, is green?"

Nigel smiled sheepishly. “I’m afraid so.”

Isabel laughed again. “You know what? You just got lucky.”

“I beg your pardon.”

“Do you know what that means –- you just got lucky?”

Nigel shook his head. Isabel was American, and they have many odd expressions. “What does it mean, I got lucky?”

When Isabel told him, Nigel was shocked. No other Grovthian, as far as he knew, had ever gotten lucky. The prospect both delighted and terrified him. He’d read, of course, about human’s reproductive procedures and was sure he could manage.

Wait. What was he thinking? His mission was too important to jeopardize over a dalliance with an earth girl. Besides, he liked Isabel, and if something went wrong, causing her to have to disappear, that would be both sad and dangerous.

Isabel pulled the gap in his shirt open a bit and peered in.

Nigel slapped her hand away and closed his shirt.

“Don’t do that,” he said.

Isabel giggled and gave Nigel’s right ear a gentle tug. “I can’t wait to see more of you,” she said.

Her touch was warm and electric, and Nigel promptly forgot about danger, his mission, or anything other than this delightful American earth girl.

In her report, Lieutenant Grawltaz -- her skin color changed from tan back to its natural Grovthian green –- gave an unflattering description of how careless Agent Tlam-yak had been with his skin color, how ineptly he’d tried to account for it, and how easily he’d been persuaded to deviate from protocol and jeopardize his mission.

Agent Tlam-yak, though he had, indeed, gotten lucky (something he would brag about for eons to come), never knew the reason for his sudden recall or his reassignment to the repair section on an old, Orzocian-drive mining vessel.

About the Author

Eleanor Park is a sci-fi writer, a cosplay knitter, and a mom with three young children. Not necessarily in that order.