Art by Melissa Mead
by Andrew Kaye
Jonathan ate elves because they were high in protein and vitamin B, and he fed them to his wife for the same reason. She was three months pregnant and couldn't stomach most foods; only elves satisfied her without bringing on a ripple of nausea in her belly.
He prepared them for her like a tuna fish sandwich, chopping the cooked meat into small, moist chunks and mixing it with mayonnaise and a blob of sweet relish, then smearing the resulting paste between slices of toasted Wonder Bread.
The elves had to be fresh. The processed kind prepared in factories and vacuum-sealed in thick plastic kept for a long time but just didn't taste the same, and their eyes were always glassy and staring like the squid Jonathan also refused to buy.
Fresh elves could be bought in delis and butcher shops, of course, but Jonathan didn't like the uncertainty of where the meat came from. Salvador's down on 24th Street had a decent selection but also a trio of dumpsters around back. Jonathan worried old Sal was trapping elves himself--fresh, but no doubt glutted on garbage and unsuitable for his pregnant wife.
Jonathan took matters into his own hands, sticking to trapping elves in more natural settings to avoid any unhealthy taint. City parks were the closest things he had to forests. He set his traps in discrete locations, appealing to the elves' notorious sweet tooths by baiting each accordingly with candy bars and chocolate chip muffins. Every morning, just before the streetlamps popped off, Jonathan quietly collected his traps and the wriggling, bright-eyed elves within.