In this tale there is some possibility of artifice, for it came in the
night among dreams of elephants written in books of sand.
Ali was made of a smokeless and scorching fire. A faithful servant of
time, principled under temptation, though he wanted to drink the sea
he let not one drop of azure brine pass his lips.
Resting beneath dunes for ageless ages, camels’ hooves passing over
head, he waited. Once every few centuries he was found again and
carried between oases and caravanserai until a fresh coat of brass
polish revived him. After that, it was business as usual: granting
master riches via his son’s life insurance policy, bringing master’s
son back from the dead as a zombie, shrinking master to the size of an
insect and feeding him to a hawk, et cetera.
At last came the day for the bi-millennial colloquium at Majlis
al-Jinn. All his friends would be there.
Ali drifted down into the cave on his six wings, to a party well under
way. Yeti was doing Jello shooters with Asterion the minotaur over by
the bar. The unicorn was in the chill-out area, preening as usual, a
collection of dryads stroking his mane and cooing. Kraken was tearing
up the dance floor, all tentacles and style.
"Ali! Let me get my eye on you," Polyphemus shouted over the
"Poly! dude! How’ve you been?"
"O, you know, all’s quiet out on the island. Desert treating you
"To be honest, it’s been a little lonely since the oil trade put an
end to caravans."
"Did you see that harpy? What’s her name?"
"Daphne. I’m totes majnūn for her, but the last time I saw her she
was all like, ‘still granting wishes to mortals, Ali?’, you know? And
that look, like ‘when are you going to get your shit together?’”
"Aw, Ali, you should talk to her," Polyphemus said with a friendly
shove that was maybe too hard, but that’s just how it is with
Ali was a few dozen raki into a solid supernatural drunk when she
flew in on the wings of an eagle. He looked up as into the light of
the sun and thought, “O, man, she’s looking fine. I mean, maybe
you’re not into chicks with birdy feet, but man, I love that shit, and
also: What! A! Body! Wait, hold up, is that… Sigur, that fucking
frost giant, with his hands all over her. I can’t stand that
hrímþursar, and he knows it.”
He sidling up to her at the bar and slurred out a “Hey Daphne!”
"O… hi," looking over her shoulder.
"Looking for Siggy? What’s he got that I haven’t got?"
"Well, for one thing, his father will rule the world after Ragnarok."
"Ugh. You believe everything he says?"
A massive, hairy blue clawhand gripped Ali by the shoulder, and he
felt himself being dragged toward the mouth of the cave.
"O, you want some? You want some of this?"
Ali expanded his blazing fires around the frost giant. Sigurd called
upon the forces of winter wind and ice to carry them up into the
clouds, and there they did battle in a raging vortex until they burst
into an unholy blanket of snow that covered the New York metro area.
And that, my son, is why it’s so cold tonight. Now go to bed!