The Auctioneers in the Valley of Strength - Fazdran, Ralinza, Drezmit, and Xifa. Picture from Wowpedia.
“Hey Drez – guess what?”
Drezmit, auctioneer extraordinaire, stopped eating his breakfast long enough to eye his coworker, Xifa. Her grin was a mile long. His other coworkers — Ralinza and Fazdran — kept stuffing their faces, though their eyes were following the conversation.
“Do I hafta?” he mumbled before eating a big spoonful of porridge.
She ignored him. “Ta-day is the start of that ‘Love is in the Air’ festival!”
“What’s that got ta do with me, toots?” Drez asked, his mouth full.
“It’s the holiday where everyone gives chocolates and presents and stuff ta everyone they like. Or work with.”
“I know that. Everyone knows that. But the point remains — what’s that got ta do with me,” Drez said again. He smirked a bit as Xifa glared at him.
“I think she’s hinting at something,” Ralinza noted, nibbling on some boar bacon.
Xifa held her hands up defensively. “Hey, I’m not hintin’ at nothin’. I’m just sayin’ folks give out gifts this time of year, and these Orc types seem ta be serious about it. Have you seen the decorations out there?”
The others shook their heads. Their bookkeeping didn’t afford them much time out of the Auction House — not that they minded much. The pay was good. Very good.
Fazdran swallowed his large mouthful of food. “Yo babe, I can give you a gift any time you want!” He wiggled his eyebrows in Xifa’s direction. She squared her shoulders and opened her mouth to retort, but Ralinza beat her to it.
“Like she’d want a gift from you. You’re so cheap, it’d be a box of air!” All of them, besides Fazdran, snickered.
Any response he may have had was interrupted by a call from the front of the Auction House. “You ready back dere? We’re ’bout ready to open up,” Guard Wabang shouted, just as he did every morning.
There was a flurry of movement as the goblins simultaneously shoveled food into their mouth while cleaning off the table, just as they did every morning.
“Yehh, yehh, eer ‘om’ehn” Drezmit replied with a food-filled mouth. A few moments later, they collectively dragged themselves out into the main room to face a new day of ledgers and gold.
Usually the goblins spent the time after the Auction House closed in relative silence, finishing up their paperwork before handing it off to their subordinates. But tonight was a little bit different.
“I got 37 chocolates today. 37! That makes 63 over the past two days! 63 free, delicious chocolates!” Fazdran exclaimed.
“Oh pu-leaze. I got 103 chocolates — not to mention some wonderful smelling perfume,” Xifa bragged.
“You’re lying. No way you could eat all of those.”
“Yeah-huh, I did. They’re so small — only a lightweight couldn’t handle it. Ain’t that right, Ralinza?”
“You won’t be a lightweight for long if you keep eating that many.”
“I’m up ta 288 chocolates now.” Xifa smirked at Fazdran. He threw his hands into the air in annoyance, and then turned to plea to higher powers.
“It’s just not fair, boss! Her side always gets more traffic, so she gets more chocolates from people. Can’t we switch places so she stops hogging all the goods?”
Drezmit sighed loudly. “I already told ya, Faz. Ya stand where ya stand now ’cause that’s where ya are best at the job. All your stuff is there, all the regulars know where ta put and get their stuff.”
“I’m sure they could relearn to move over. Or I could just do with Xifa does and she could do what I do.”
“No way!” Xifa exclaimed. “Then I’d hafta talk with that creep whatshisface.”
“It might do you some good to deal with customers who ain’t fawning all over you,” Fazdran sneered.
“Enough!” Drezmit interrupted. “If you two did switch places, everyone would hafta and we don’t have time ta deal with reorganizing our system right now. And it’s stupid just to switch place just ’cause you want more chocolates. Understand?”
The two other goblins nodded, a little sheepish.
“Good. Besides, I like where I’m standin’. I got 302 chocolates — the ladies must like me.”
The other goblins were only partway through their breakfast when Frazdran put down his spoon. “Welp, I’m done eating. I better get out front.”
The three other goblins at the table stared at him as if he had grown horns.
“You? Done eatin’?” Xifa squeaked.
“You? Headin’ out ta work early?” Drezmit exclaimed.
“You got a fever or something?” Ralinza questioned.
“Nah – I’m fine.”
The other goblins narrowed their eyes.
“No, really!” Fazdran continued. “But the sooner I get out there, the sooner I can start eating chocolates. Why eat a big breakfast if your meal is gonna come to you for free?”
“I’m not too sure chocolates are a balanced meal,” Ralinza said doubtfully as Fazdran got up from the table. But breakfast lasted noticeably shorter that day… and their lunch break was almost nonexistent.
Ralinza had just finished jotting down an order when a Blood Elf came over. He thrust an open box of chocolates into her face.
“Here,” he said in a monotone voice, “please try one of these delicious chocolates made by the Crown Chemical Company.”
“Listen, not that I mind all this chocolate and all, but I’ve been on a mostly chocolate diet the last few days and me and my doctor have been talking about cutting back…” Ralinza pushed the box back towards the elf. He offered it again.
“Please try one of these delicious chocolates made by the Crown Chemical Company,” he repeated.
Apparently she had used too many words with this one.
“No thank you,” she said. Again Ralinza pushed back the box, and again it was offered, with more force.
“Please try one of these delicious chocolates made by the Crown Chemical Company.” The Blood Elf spat the words out from a tight smile.
“You got too much wax in your ears or something? I said I didn’t want any. Now scram — you’re holding up paying customers!” She gestured to the growing line behind the Blood Elf.
That seemed to snap him out of his stupor. “No, you have wax in your ears!” he hissed, leaning up towards the platform. “I have to give out each of these — individually — as samples to different people. They know if I don’t and then I don’t get paid.”
“Can’t you just give it to someone else?”
“No, I already gave samples to everyone else.”
Ralinza glanced around the Auction House. There was a suspiciously high number of people chewing something. Presumably chocolate.
The Blood Elf continued speaking through gritted teeth. “Now take the Light. Blessed. Chocolate.”
She did, but left it sitting in her hand. He seemed satisfied to have one less chocolate, though, and moved out of the way. The Tauren who was next in line stepped forward and started unloading a few goods he wished to list.
It then dawned on Ralinza that she would have a hard time helping him while she was holding now slightly melted chocolate. Dropping it on the ground seemed like such a waste — after all, it was free food, the best kind. Mumbling slightly to herself at the dilemma, she popped in the sickly sweet chocolate into her mouth and began to help move the Tauren’s goods.
“‘Linz, toots, could ya take this order over ta—” Drezmit stopped talking, realizing that he was addressing empty air.
He turned to ask Xifa, but she was gone too.
“Yo, Faz — ya seen Ralinza around?”
“Not for awhile, Boss. She said she had to go feed her cat or something.”
“Right. Well, this can wait.” Drezmit turned back to face the auction house, mostly empty during the afternoon lull.
A moment later, his brow furrowed.
“Feed her cat?” Drezmit asked. “Ralinza doesn’t have a cat.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought, but when I asked she just rolled her eyes at me and left.”
“Huh. Well, do ya know where Xifa went?”
“Um… I think she said she needed to wash her hair.”
“Yeah, I know! She said she washed it yesterday too! How often does a girl need to wash her hair?”
Drezmit wiped his face with his hand, pulling at some of the stubble on his chin while staring at the ceiling. It was a moment before he asked, “Didn’t they take their break a few hours ago?”
“A few of them, actually. They had to —” Fazdran started counting with his fingers “— powder their nose, take soup to Xifa’s grandma –”
“Xifa’s grandma lives in Booty Bay!”
“Impressive that they got back so soon from that. Now where was I… oh yes, they had to ‘freshen up’, take out the trash, deal with a call from ‘mother nature’ —”
“Okay, okay, I get the picture! So I take it they’ve been skippin’ out. Odd. They usually don’t mind stayin’ here for a long time. I wonder what’s up?”
A Forsaken approached the platform. “Could I interest you gentlemen in some delicious chocolates from the Crown Chemical Company?”
The two goblins visibly wilted.
“And try this wonderful perfume!” cried an Orc. Before either goblin could stop him, they were both douced in the heavy scent.
“I better see if my grandma needs some soup,” Drezmit muttered before selecting a chocolate and chewing on it viciously.
“Alright you lot, finish up yer business and get out!” called Guard Wabang. There was a flurry of activity in the Auction House, as buyers and sellers put in their last requests for the evening. Tonight there was also a frentic offering of chocolates, perfume and cologne samples.
A full half hour later, Guards Wabang and Grimful were able to shut the doors to the Auction House.
Turning back to face the inside of the room, they were surprised to see not the usual bustling of the auctioneers, but all of them collapsed on their platform.
“Oh, my stomach!”
“Oh, my nose!”
“I think I’m gonna hurl…”
Wabang and Grimful exchanged a look.
“What’s wrong wit you goblin-folk?” Grimful asked.
A cacaphony of voices lifted their complaints.
“— a whole week of nothin’ but chocolates —”
“— practically made us eat them all —”
“— sixteen days! What’s so good about love that you need sixteen days to celebrate –”
“— irresponsible of a company to keep handin’ out free stuff like that —”
Wabang and Grimful exchanged a more knowing look.
“Ahh, dis be you goblins first time in Org during da festival, right?”
“Yeah…” Drezmit said. They all nodded dubiously.
“You just don’t know da tricks fer dealing wit dis stuff yet,” Wabang said solumnly.
“Tricks? You mean there’s a trick to avoid them giving you chocolate?” Fazdran asked. They all sat up a bit, interested.
“Oh no, no trick for dat.”
“Then why aren’t you all falling over with horrible stomach aches?” Ralinza asked.
Wabang and Grimful exchanged a much more knowing look, accompianed by a nod. Simultaneously, they went over to their posts and each grabbed a large bag from behind some crates.
“We just put da chocolate in da bag, to save fer later!”
“My wife appreciates it. Her guard station doesn’t get as much chocolate traffic as dis one.”
The goblins stared agape.
“When were ya gonna tell us about this?!” Xifa demanded.
The guards shrugged. “It’s best to learn dese things on your own,” Grimful said.
Wabang digged around in his bag. “Chocolate, anyone?”
The guards had to duck and cover from the ledgers thrown with the goblins’ response: “NO!”
They may appear happy with hearts over their heads, but really they are crying inside.