In spite of their desire to remain low tech, the Millers had set up a line of lamps along the perimeter of the woods which lit up the beach in a dim glow. It lit the tips of the waves that slowly rolled towards the shore. Jack walked towards the water and found the edge of the waterline, moving back fifteen feet he dug a hole. Into that hole, he placed the tub. Enthusiastic goblins would knock it over in an instant. Under most circumstances, pouring out bottles of liquor all together would be a horrible idea but goblins lacked the discerning palate that Mr. Miller possessed.
Jack took a sip from each bottle before upending it into the metal pot. He hated to admit it, but he better understood the dilemma that Mr. Miller underwent when he handed over the bottles. Since Jack could hardly erase his presence, his scent would have given him away for miles on a beach with no cover, the booze would help. That heady aroma of aged liquor would wipe his scent away. It really didn’t take too long for the goblins to sniff it out. They appeared from the grass like shy mice popping their heads out from a nest before darting back into the woods.
Jack tugged on Stan’s coveralls, pulling him back along the beach slowly until they were a respectable distance away. The goblins crept out from the woods and as they did Jack felt the urge to rub the bridge of his nose. The number of goblins gradually increased until around fifty of them were on the beach, crowded around the hole and jostling to get at the booze. Jack had dug a hole with maybe twenty at most in mind and the hole wasn’t large enough for them. It didn’t take long for one or two to get greedy and start taking pot shots at the other goblins. Goblins with little malice and no brains were hardly a threat, even to each other, and Jack didn’t feel like getting in the middle of a bunch of goblins ineffectually attempting to punch each other and vomiting into each other’s faces.
Jack sat down on the beach and leaned back onto the sand, “Go ahead and light up a cigar, Stanley. We’ll be here for the rest of the night.”
Stan sat on the ground and lay back next to Jack, tugging a cigar out of his pocket and lighting it up, “Them goblins are gonna be at this all night, huh?”
Jack took his glasses off and tucked them into his vest pocket, “Feral goblins couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag. No tools, no smarts and no upper body strength. To top that off, some of them are completely hammered right now. This is going to take time.” Unfortunately, the trail hadn’t stopped and now there was around seventy of them on the beach. The booze in liquid form had long ago been drunken but the main attraction was now the fight that had actually managed to drag in the newcomers who hadn’t even had any booze.
It soon became clear that the goblins weren’t going anywhere and Jack could allow himself to lay back and watch the stars. They spread out into the distance in their glorious majesty. In the distance, Jack could see the glittering veil that was the Milky Way, stars beyond count that he could barely detect or even see with his bare eyes creating a veil that crossed the sky. The waves lapped up against the shore, coming closer and passing back into the ocean. Each wave brushing against the shore took countless grains of sand with it, pulling them into the ocean to follow the current as far as they could.
By the end of the night, the final number of goblins was around ninety. Jack rose to his feet and kicked his legs back and forth to get the sleep out of his legs, “I think we should consider this our vacation for time being. I’m going to hold the bag and you go ahead and toss.” Getting up, Jack snatched the bag, holding it wide in both his arms.
Stan rose to his feet and cracked his fingers, “Should be done soon, boss.”
The sky had just started to grey as the brawl came to an end. Some of the more active goblins were still stumbling around looking for sand that had some booze left in it. Most of them were bruised. In many cases, they were lost to a deep sleep. Stan grabbed one by the leg and tossed it over his shoulder. Jack caught it in the Bag, and thus the game began. Stan reached out in front of him with both arms, tossing them over his shoulder with reckless abandon while Jack dodged back and forth catching them in the Bag. The each vanished with no trace, except for the few that managed to get stuck on the edge of the Bag. One of them was aware enough to cling to the top of the bag and start to drag itself back up until the next few goblins landed on its head and pushed it down.
Getting all of them into the bag took about an hour, which included Stan chasing after the few goblins that could actually stumble around and the last couple of goblins that Jack had to cram down into the bag until they vanished. When Jack pulled his hand out it was cold.
With the job down, and with luck much sooner than they had expected it to, they headed back to the main building. The path to the ocean was lined with stones, “This resort would actually be pretty nice if it weren’t for all the goblins.”
Stan pulled another cigar out and bit the end off, “Them goblins did liven the place up no end, though.”
Jack swung the bag back and forth as he strolled along with Stan, “You’re missing the point, Stanley. This is a place to get away from your troubles. You don’t normally bring your work with you on vacation unless you make more money than God or if you’re emotionally dead inside.”
Stan considered this for a moment, “So it’s like that safehouse we got?”
“Well, I guess it’s possible that some people here are on the run from someone like the law, but that’s not how it works for most people.”
The main building had finally quieted down by the time Jack and Stan got back. Mr. and Mrs. Miller had passed out leaning into each other on the front steps, apparently attempting to merge into each other for real. Jack tapped Mr. Miller’s shoe, jarring him awake. He sat up, causing his wife to tumble away from him, waking her up as well.
To Jack’s annoyance, they went from unconscious to incredibly happy too soon for any normal person, “You did it? They’re really gone this time!?”
Jack shook the bag and nodded, “I know the bag looks empty, but they’re all in here. There were a lot more of them than we were told, so it is possible that there will be a need for us to return. We’ll stick around in town for a few days to be sure, but we got all the ones we could get our hands on.”
Mrs. Miller snagged one of Stan’s enormous hands, “Oh, I bet you did.” Stan shifted awkwardly.
Jack whipped a small notebook out of his pocket and wrote down a fee for the removal. It wasn’t exactly generous, but given the nature of the job and how long it had taken, he could have charged far more. Moving fast, he grabbed her hand and crammed the piece of paper into her sweaty palm. The sputtering the couple did when they saw the number would have been entertaining had it not been directly connected to a paycheck.
“This number is outrageous, we’re not going to pay it.” Mr. Miller looked as resolute as a man who jiggled like a sponge when he walked could.
Jack shrugged noncommittally and reached into the bag, “I can put them back into the woods if you’d like, I’ll have to charge you for that as well. I would also have to charge you again for removing them, and they will need to be removed quickly since most of them will wake up with nasty hangovers. They could set the whole property on fire and then the lawsuits will begin…” Jack trailed off, fishing his hand around in the bag. The goblins would do none of those things. If Jack actually managed to find a drunken goblin from his bag, it would spend the rest of the day trying not let any natural light touch its eyes. Even odds it ran into a tree within five minutes and knocked itself out.
Mr. Miller waved his hands in front of Jack frantically, “That won’t be necessary, I promise!” With a speed that Jack would have found admirable in other circumstances, he whipped out his checkbook and replicated the number which Jack had given him on a check. Jack checked it over and folded it in half, tucking it into his vest pocket.
“Thank you for the business, please let me know if they come back. We’ll do the stragglers for free, it’s the least we can do.”
“It’s the most that you’ll do.”
“What was that?” Jack fished his hand back into the bag again.
“Nothing, nothing! Thank you for your hard work.”
With that, they left the resort in their rearview mirrors and headed into the nearest town. Even though Jack had said they would be nearby in case they needed him the nearest town was about an hour away. Once they arrived, Jack reserved a room for both him and Stan. They needed to lay low a few more days anyhow, before Jack would even bother heading back up to the office. By the end of the day, Jack was wiping down the same table in their hotel room over and over.