Cover Photo: Uncle Olin And The Three Beers. Leaving Trondheim.  by Fred Held

Uncle Olin And The Three Beers. Leaving Trondheim.

The Beach Saga Begins.

My Uncle said it was to be a beach vacation. Four days on the shore, sun and sand would do him a world of good. Winter weather back in Trondheim had been atrocious. Steel gray and clammy, he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Secretary booked the flight. A KLM nonstop from Oslo to Norfolk, he had a couple of parting Aquavits while waiting at the Gardermoen airport bar. He’d been spinning his wheels. Norway always seemed so goddamned depressing this time of year. After a while, stone and fog, snow and cold water can get to a gnome. Freezes him to the bones. Feeling worn down, he’d been pulling garden duty over in Sverresborg waiting for a grandma with a fondness for house cats to pass. She had seven of the creatures, and they didn’t miss a thing. Do so much as flinch, and they’d be on him worse than a diaper rash. Hanging around. Licking themselves. Napping near the kitchen stove, cat’s had the sweet life. You try to hold the same pose year after year and see how easy it is. It ain’t! He needed some sun, and he needed it now. Had some vacation time coming, and decided to cash in.

Read about it in the papers. Article said they had volleyball and fishing. Picture showed a pier and a lot of sand. Girls in bikinis, sailboats, and blankets spread, Virginia Beach sounded nice, so that’s where he was going. Maybe hook-up with a mermaid, he hadn’t been out since 1840, so now it was his turn on the rotation, but when the replacement gnome showed up late, Olin gave him hell. Sure, he might live five hundred years, but eat into his beach time, and buddy? There’d be Odin to pay. F**ck that guy. Sigurd was his name, and a dead ringer too. The old lady would never know the difference. The cats might, but that’s not his problem now is it? Na. Sigurd was on his own, and rightly so.

Humans. Big, slow, and blundering, in the speed department, were no match for a gnome. Gnomes move fast, and Olin was faster than most. Prided himself on it. Here to there in a second, in the time it took a human to hit the snooze, even a fat and out of shape gnome would have already showered, washed the cart, and read the morning paper. It’s not that people were lazy, it’s just that time doesn’t move at the same rate for everything. Someday human’s would catch on, and that would be the end of the gnome business. Oh well…It was a sweet gig while it lasted. But he couldn’t worry about that. Right now, Olin had other things on his mind. Things like strange trim, adult beverages, and the feel of warm sand beneath his boots. About the ocean breeze blowing through his beard and getting a fresh wax for his hat. Maybe he’d even get that missing button sewed back on his work tunic. The possibilities were wide open. Olin stretched his legs and smiled. By this time tomorrow, he’d be wading balls deep in the surf and sucking a frosty one blanket side. Didn’t see a downside. Hell, he’d be out of Trondheim, and maybe, if his luck held, this time for good.

Tune in next week for another installment of, “Olin and the three beers.”