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Hobgoblins by Daniel Doggett
SUMMARY: A lazy hobgoblin has to do some work because he needs the money.
A lazy hobgoblin was lying wrapped in a raggedy blanket on the edge of town at high noon. Passerby's sometimes laid a few coins in his hat, others sneered in disgust, and a few kicked him or spit on him. Hobgoblins are about four feet tall and only weigh about a hundred pounds, perhaps the same size as a prepubescent human. This greatly limited any retaliation on his part, as well as his nature. Whereas most hobgoblins were vicious and enjoyed blindsiding larger foes, this one had no interest in harming humans.
Rosh threw off his blanket and looked at the sun. He sometimes rose at dusk, but his stomach was growling so he decided to go off into the woods and scrounge some fruits and berries up for himself to eat. He had a few coins he made from playing his flute or playing his banjo, but he wanted to save those coins for when he was really desperate. He pulled off his backpack and grabbed his field guide for edible vegetation, then strolled out into the forest.
He was dressed in dark brown, hard leather armor, and his only weapon was a spiked club, which was really just a piece of wood with some nails in it. Spiked clubs are cheap, easy to make, and very few people steal them because swords and axes were much more in favor. It also did a lot of damage in his hands. His only other possessions of note were his flask of water, lighting equipment, a few dried provisions, and some materials for disguising himself as a human child.
Rosh located several blackberry bushes and rounded up some breakfast. Perhaps at this hour it would be more properly termed lunch. He filled his canteen in a babbling brook, and headed back to the soft patch of dirt he had laid his blanket down on. He put his hat out and began playing his flute. Maybe dozens of people passed by him on their way to the market and a few offered a small amount of coins.
One man dressed in elaborate robes with regal coats of arms on him kicked him and told him to get off his lazy butt and get a job. Rosh was too lazy to work in the fields or in the coal mine. Most hobgoblins were. It was a curse of the species and most became violent thieves, which is easier than working. He tried to make other excuses why he didn't work such as his big, pointed ears, or unusual face, or green skin, but those were not the real reasons. He could not just say he was lazy because that was not an answer.
"Would you hire a hobgoblin, sir?" inquired Rosh.
"No, but you can't lie here all day," replied the aristocrat.
"Do you have any coins for a sorry, old hobgoblin?"
"I cannot believe the audacity I am hearing! Do I have a few coins? You really have some nerve."
"How about you give me just 40 coins?" Rosh asked expectantly.
"Why so you can...so you can...you know what..." the man rubbed his hand through his gray beard thoughtfully. He did need a special task done and it was too dangerous for himself to do. Hobgoblin bums are expendable, so even if he doesn't succeed...Oh, this hobgoblin is good, he thought. He has done many special tasks, he surmised.
"There is a ring that turns the wearer invisible.